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Redmi Note 11S Review: The budget smartphone that sets the bar high

After using the budget smartphone for a few days, here is our Redmi Note 11S review.

February 21, 2022 / 01:43 PM IST
Redmi Note 11S is the third Redmi Note 11 series smartphone launched in India. Xiaomi claims that its new budget smartphone sets the bar in its price segment with the specs on offer. So, is the Redmi Note 11S the best smartphone under Rs 20,000 in India? After using the budget smartphone for a few days, here is our Redmi Note 11S review.
Redmi Note 11S is the third Redmi Note 11 series smartphone launched in India. Xiaomi claims that its new budget smartphone sets the bar in its price segment with the specs on offer. So, is the Redmi Note 11S the best smartphone under Rs 20,000 in India? After using the budget smartphone for a few days, here is our Redmi Note 11S review.
 Redmi Note 11S review : The Redmi Note 11S shares some of the key specifications with the Redmi Note 11, with key differences in the processor and camera department. The screen is the same at 6.43-inches. It comes with an AMOLED screen to offer vibrant colours. Xiaomi's new budget smartphone under Rs 20,000 also offers a 90Hz refresh rate panel for a smooth scrolling experience. The screen refresh rate, however, is set to 60Hz by default and you need to manually switch to 90Hz to get that high refresh rate experience.
Redmi Note 11S review: The Redmi Note 11S shares some of the key specifications with the Redmi Note 11, with key differences in the processor and camera department. The screen is the same at 6.43-inches. It comes with an AMOLED screen to offer vibrant colours. Xiaomi's new budget smartphone under Rs 20,000 also offers a 90Hz refresh rate panel for a smooth scrolling experience. The screen refresh rate, however, is set to 60Hz by default and you need to manually switch to 90Hz to get that high refresh rate experience.
 Redmi Note 11S Review : Despite being a budget smartphone, the Redmi Note 11S has a surprisingly bright display. Even under direct sunlight, the display offers good brightness levels. It also has a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for added protection against scratches.
Redmi Note 11S Review: Despite being a budget smartphone, the Redmi Note 11S has a surprisingly bright display. Even under direct sunlight, the display offers good brightness levels. It also has a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for added protection against scratches.
 Redmi Note 11S review : While the AMOLED screen offers a great viewing experience, what makes the deal even better is a dual speaker setup. The speakers are loud enough to offer a good multimedia experience. My Redmi Note 11S review unit's earpiece isn't as loud in comparison to the primary speaker at the bottom edge. However, you get a reasonably good audio experience. There is a 3.5mm headphone jack next to the dummy speaker grille at the top edge.
Redmi Note 11S review: While the AMOLED screen offers a great viewing experience, what makes the deal even better is a dual speaker setup. The speakers are loud enough to offer a good multimedia experience. My Redmi Note 11S review unit's earpiece isn't as loud in comparison to the primary speaker at the bottom edge. However, you get a reasonably good audio experience. There is a 3.5mm headphone jack next to the dummy speaker grille at the top edge.
 Redmi Note 11S review : One of the key differences between the vanilla Note 11 and 11S is the processor. The latter comes with a MediaTek Helio G96 SoC, which is a slightly improved version of the Helio G95 chipset found on the Redmi Note 10S. You also get up to 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. Our Redmi Note 11S review unit has 6GB of RAM with 128GB of internal storage.
Redmi Note 11S review: One of the key differences between the vanilla Note 11 and 11S is the processor. The latter comes with a MediaTek Helio G96 SoC, which is a slightly improved version of the Helio G95 chipset found on the Redmi Note 10S. You also get up to 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. Our Redmi Note 11S review unit has 6GB of RAM with 128GB of internal storage.
 Redmi Note 11S review : The processor offers quite good performance for the price. Be it day-to-day tasks like opening multiple apps or playing games, the Redmi Note 11S has a capable performance unit under the hood. We played Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) and Asphalt 9 on the budget smartphone under Rs 20,000. The game supports HD graphics with High frame rate. The combination is about 30 fps, which might not offer a great gaming experience. I would rather suggest dropping the graphic settings to Balanced, which then supports an Ultra frame rate setting of about 40 fps. I played BGMI with the said graphic settings and did not experience any major lag or stutters. Therefore, the device can be considered if you are into casual gaming.
Redmi Note 11S review: The processor offers quite good performance for the price. Be it day-to-day tasks like opening multiple apps or playing games, the Redmi Note 11S has a capable performance unit under the hood. We played Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) and Asphalt 9 on the budget smartphone under Rs 20,000. The game supports HD graphics with High frame rate. The combination is about 30 fps, which might not offer a great gaming experience. I would rather suggest dropping the graphic settings to Balanced, which then supports an Ultra frame rate setting of about 40 fps. I played BGMI with the said graphic settings and did not experience any major lag or stutters. Therefore, the device can be considered if you are into casual gaming.
 Redmi Note 11S review : Another area where the Redmi Note 11S scores a point is the battery life. Despite featuring an AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate and full brightness at all times, the Redmi Note 11S lasted for more than a day for the most part of our review period. On the day when there were extended gaming hours, the screen-on time on a full charge was about 7.5 hours. You also get a 33W fast charger in the box, which charges the phone in about an hour with the proprietary charging tech. Use any other fast charger and the phone takes about an hour and 30 mins to charge completely.
Redmi Note 11S review: Another area where the Redmi Note 11S scores a point is the battery life. Despite featuring an AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate and full brightness at all times, the Redmi Note 11S lasted for more than a day for the most part of our review period. On the day when there were extended gaming hours, the screen-on time on a full charge was about 7.5 hours. You also get a 33W fast charger in the box, which charges the phone in about an hour with the proprietary charging tech. Use any other fast charger and the phone takes about an hour and 30 mins to charge completely.
 Redmi Note 11S Review : Much like the vanilla model, the Redmi Note 11S runs MIUI 13 out of the box but has Android 11 underneath. It has been months since Android 12 launched and we were expecting the Note 11S launching in 2022 to boot Android 12 out of the box. Hopefully, the update would come soon. Overall, MIUI 13 is aimed at offering system-level improvements that enhance the user experience. These include an optimised file storage system, processor priority optimisation, etc.
Redmi Note 11S Review: Much like the vanilla model, the Redmi Note 11S runs MIUI 13 out of the box but has Android 11 underneath. It has been months since Android 12 launched and we were expecting the Note 11S launching in 2022 to boot Android 12 out of the box. Hopefully, the update would come soon. Overall, MIUI 13 is aimed at offering system-level improvements that enhance the user experience. These include an optimised file storage system, processor priority optimisation, etc.
 Redmi Note 11S review : In terms of design, the phone is fairly similar to the Redmi Note 11. The polycarbonate rear panel curves towards the edges of the flat frame, thereby offering a comfortable grip. It is also quite lightweight in hand at 179 grams.
Redmi Note 11S review: In terms of design, the phone is fairly similar to the Redmi Note 11. The polycarbonate rear panel curves towards the edges of the flat frame, thereby offering a comfortable grip. It is also quite lightweight in hand at 179 grams.
 Redmi Note 11S review : The camera module protrudes over the rear panel. It has a quad-sensor setup with a 108MP main camera sensor, which is also found on the  Redmi Note 10 Pro Max ,  Xiaomi 11i HyperCharge  and the  Xiaomi 11T Pro .
Redmi Note 11S review: The camera module protrudes over the rear panel. It has a quad-sensor setup with a 108MP main camera sensor, which is also found on the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max, Xiaomi 11i HyperCharge and the Xiaomi 11T Pro.
 Redmi Note 11S review : We were fairly impressed with the Redmi Note 11S' camera performance. The main 108MP camera sensor clicks detailed, pixel-binned images. Colours are not too saturated but rather lean towards offering a realistic look. In lowlight too, the main camera sensor captures well-exposed images while not overblowing the highlights. There is some noise in the darker areas of the images but I would not expect top-notch lowlight camera performance from a smartphone under Rs 20,000.  Click here to check some of the camera samples we shot during our Redmi Note 11S review.
Redmi Note 11S review: We were fairly impressed with the Redmi Note 11S' camera performance. The main 108MP camera sensor clicks detailed, pixel-binned images. Colours are not too saturated but rather lean towards offering a realistic look. In lowlight too, the main camera sensor captures well-exposed images while not overblowing the highlights. There is some noise in the darker areas of the images but I would not expect top-notch lowlight camera performance from a smartphone under Rs 20,000. Click here to check some of the camera samples we shot during our Redmi Note 11S review.
 Redmi Note 11S Review : The device also has three more camera sensors, and only of them is useful for most cases. The Redmi Note 11S camera setup features an 8MP ultrawide camera that does a decent job. You get a wider frame with good colours. You will find the details to be soft if you pixel peep. Just avoid using the 2MP trash macro camera and rather use the 108MP mode and crop in further to get detailed close-up shots of subjects.  Click here to check some of the camera samples we shot during our Redmi Note 11S review.
Redmi Note 11S Review: The device also has three more camera sensors, and only of them is useful for most cases. The Redmi Note 11S camera setup features an 8MP ultrawide camera that does a decent job. You get a wider frame with good colours. You will find the details to be soft if you pixel peep. Just avoid using the 2MP trash macro camera and rather use the 108MP mode and crop in further to get detailed close-up shots of subjects. Click here to check some of the camera samples we shot during our Redmi Note 11S review.
 Redmi Note 11S Review : The Redmi Note 11S has a hole-punch cutout at the top for the 16MP front camera, which clicks fairly decent images. The selfie camera on the Note 11S gets the skin tone right in most cases but the software tends to slightly oversharpen the images. Portrait mode is also quite good for the price but it does blur out the edges of the hair strands at times.  Click here to check some of the camera samples we shot during our Redmi Note 11S review .
Redmi Note 11S Review: The Redmi Note 11S has a hole-punch cutout at the top for the 16MP front camera, which clicks fairly decent images. The selfie camera on the Note 11S gets the skin tone right in most cases but the software tends to slightly oversharpen the images. Portrait mode is also quite good for the price but it does blur out the edges of the hair strands at times. Click here to check some of the camera samples we shot during our Redmi Note 11S review.
Redmi Note 11S Review Verdict: So, should you buy the Redmi Note 11S? Xiaomi has introduced some good improvements on the Redmi Note 11S. The device offers a good multimedia experience with its AMOLED display and a dual speaker setup. You also get a 90Hz refresh rate panel. However, we hope more games offer support to make use of that high refresh rate. The performance unit will not disappoint the causal gamer in you and for those who binge-watch, the 5000 mAh battery should last a day. The Redmi Note 11S camera performance is also quite impressive for the price. However, we wish the Redmi 10 Pro's 5MP macro camera made its way too. The Android 11-based software does bring some negative points for the 2022 budget smartphone. We hope Xiaomi updates MIUI 13 with the latest Android 12 update and brings in some of the best features introduced by Google.
Redmi Note 11S Review Verdict: Xiaomi has introduced some good improvements on the Redmi Note 11S. The device offers a good multimedia experience with its AMOLED display and a dual speaker setup. You also get a 90Hz refresh rate panel. However, we hope more games offer support to make use of that high refresh rate. The performance unit will not disappoint the casual gamer in you and for those who binge-watch, the 5000 mAh battery should last a day. The Redmi Note 11S camera performance is also quite impressive for the price. However, we wish the Redmi 10 Pro's 5MP macro camera made its way too. The Android 11-based software does bring some negative points for the 2022 budget smartphone. We hope Xiaomi updates MIUI 13 with the latest Android 12 update and brings in some of the best features introduced by Google.
 Redmi Note 11S review verdict : If your budget is about Rs 16,500, we would certainly recommend buying the Redmi Note 11S. The device does come with some great hardware that offer a good smartphone experience. Sure, there are phones that come with a slightly faster processor in the price range. However, the Redmi Note 11S, as an overall package, does offer great value for money.
Redmi Note 11S review verdict: If your budget is about Rs 16,500, we would certainly recommend buying the Redmi Note 11S. The device does come with some great hardware that offer a good smartphone experience. Sure, there are phones that come with a slightly faster processor in the price range. However, the Redmi Note 11S, as an overall package, does offer great value for money.
Pranav Hegde A Journalist at Moneycontrol, Pranav writes about everything tech. He is also passionate about photography and enjoys bike rides to picturesque locations.
first published: Feb 21, 2022 11:58 am
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