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Review: Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G – misses that little bit extra

Review: Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 5G just falls short of its great predecessor though this is not due to the premium design.

Review: Xiaomi Redmi Note 11- At the end of March, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 series was officially presented. The successor to the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro, which we highly valued, is also included, in several variants even. Does the device surprise again and is it the best buy of this spring? You can read it in this review of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G.

It must be said in advance that there are no fewer than five different devices have appeared in the Redmi Note 11 series, including three different Pro models, namely the Redmi Note 11 Pro, Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G and the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G. The Pro devices all differ in terms of chipset and camera setup. This time we do not have the regular Pro, but the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G. This device has a 120 Hz 6.67″ FHD Amoled DotDisplay, a Snapdragon 695 processor and comes with 6 GB or 8 GB of RAM and 64 GB or 128 GB of storage memory. Charging the 5,000 mAh battery is fast with 67W. On the back we find a main camera of 108 megapixels, ultra-wide angle lens of eight megapixels and a macro camera of two megapixels. At the front we find a selfie camera of sixteen megapixels and of course there is 5G support. The device is available from 369 euros.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 11- Design and build quality

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G is a completely different device in design than the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro from last year. The Chinese manufacturer seems to want to imitate Apple, something we also saw with the Oppo Reno 6. And that is certainly no shame. The device has right angles and the sides are also completely flat. The smartphone is very solidly built and looks premium. So premium, in fact, that it seems as if we are dealing with an expensive flagship here. This has to be one of the best designs for a device in this price category at the moment. The back is completely made of glass and that is certainly not common in this price category. It is also nice that a (transparent) case and a screen protector are included.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G Group

On the right we find the volume buttons and the on/off button that also serves as a fingerprint sensor. By the way, it works smoothly and reacts quite reliably and quickly. Put your preferred finger in it a few times just to be sure, that always works best. Below we find the USB-C connection for the charger and the SIM card step. At the top we find a 3.5mm headphone jack, so your old trusty corded earplugs also work on this device. On the back we find the cameras arranged in a rectangle with extra space for the larger sensor of the 108-megapixel camera and below that a square with the ultra-wide camera of eight megapixels, macro camera of two megapixels, the flash and a logo with AI. The front camera is located in a hole at the top of the screen.

Display and sound

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G has a 6.67″ FHD Amoled DotDisplay. This ensures that this is not a small smartphone. You have a large 6.67-inch screen at your disposal with a resolution of 2,400 by 1,080 pixels and a refresh rate of 120Hz. This means that images refresh 120 times per second and this ensures that animations and scrolling over internet pages feel incredibly smooth. About the display itself, which conjures up incredibly bright colors on the screen. As standard, the color saturation is set a little too enthusiastically, because the cheerful colors splash towards you. Fortunately, you can further adjust this in the settings. The resolution is more than sufficient for a sharp image and the contrast of the display is excellent. Perhaps a small minus that stands out now that the weather outside is mainly sunny. The brightness could have been a little higher. You can read the screen in bright sunlight, but sometimes you have to put in just a little too much effort.

The double speakers are fairly unique in this price range. You’ll find a speaker on both the top and bottom for true stereo sound. The sound lacks some depth, but you can increase the volume considerably and in this price category we actually have nothing to complain about. The display and sound also contribute to the premium look of this device. Is this another hit in the making?

Performance

In terms of specifications, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G may even seem slower with the Snapdragon 695 compared to the one launched last year. Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro with a Snapdragon 732G. However, in benchmark tests, the Snapdragon 695 beats the Snapdragon 732G in terms of performance, which may be considered better on paper. So don’t be fooled by the chipset that also includes 5g support this time. Our test device has 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage memory. The smartphone responds quickly and smoothly enough for all daily tasks, even with multiple apps open. This smartphone is more than suitable for WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram, email and the occasional simple game, but don’t expect to be able to play the demanding new 3d games smoothly.

A big plus is the battery. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G has a large battery of 5,000 mAh that you can also charge at lightning speed with the included 67W charger. The device is fully charged again in about 40 minutes. Wireless charging is not possible. The battery will easily get you through the day and you are not a heavy consumer? Then the next day, too.

Camera

A 108-megapixel camera sounds fantastic, of course, but good photos don’t just depend on the number of megapixels. Yet the predecessor, also with a 108-megapixel camera, still managed to take quite nice pictures. Especially in daylight. This time we were a bit concerned about the chipset in combination with the camera. Do you get the most out of the good camera sensor in combination with a budget processor? No, although you can still shoot pretty decent pictures under the right conditions. Below you can see some pictures taken with the main camera.

In daylight, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G shoots good photos. This is mainly due to the main camera. Photos are sharp and contain a lot of detail. You don’t normally take natural photos. HDR is emphatically present and if you also check the AI, you just get a fairytale landscape. Fortunately, you can turn this off and it turns out that the main camera delivers just fine performance and is one of the better options in this price category. The ultra-wide-angle camera performs less well and the colors are also different with this camera. The white balance seems to have been adjusted differently, which is not corrected by software as standard. This camera also has a bit more trouble with contrast, so that photos quickly look too soft. Unfortunately, you immediately notice the lack of sharpness and detail. The ultra-wide angle camera is nowhere near the same level as the main camera. The macro camera is a nice extra for getting subjects close, but don’t imagine too much of it. Below you can see some photos taken with the ultra-wide-angle camera.

If you zoom with the main camera, the performance will quickly decrease with a lot of noise. Two times zoom is often still quite ok, but above that you hardly get any usable photos. As soon as it starts to get darker, the performance also decreases. There is a night mode, but it shows noise quite quickly. It will also be due to the lack of optical image stabilization. You notice that when zooming, but also when a slower shutter speed is required in dark conditions. Below you see photos with 2x, 6x and 10x zoom.

And whether it’s because of the chipset, I suspect it is, there are sometimes quite a few delays and small crashes in the camera app. In daylight you can take beautiful pictures, but as soon as the sun disappears, the camera performance also drops. We have compared the photos with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro which we still have here. The main camera in standard mode takes a step forward compared to the predecessor, especially in terms of detail. However, as soon as you start zooming it is the other way around, then the older device wins and that is remarkable.

However, there is also a big downside here. The predecessor was able to record video in a 4k resolution. That is no longer the case with this newer device and that is a big step back. You can now record a maximum of videos in 1080p at 30 frames per second, while the predecessor, in addition to 4k, also has the option of filming in 1080p at 60 frames per second. Despite the lower resolution, the videos look good with vibrant colors.

Software

Finally, we come to the main problem of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G and that is the software. Not only does this model still run Android 11, there are also a lot of unwanted apps (bloatware) installed on this device. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen it to this extent. Shopping apps from AliExpress and Amazon, TikTok, Facebook, Netflix, PUBG Mobile and so on. You may find it useful, but we prefer to install what we need ourselves. Fortunately, you can remove most of it yourself.

On a new device we can actually Android 12 expect, but that is not the case here. However, the more recent software shell from Xiaomi with MIUI 13 is on this device. And of course it is a matter of personal preference, but MIUI is not the best Android software shell. The fact that you have two drop-down menus, depending on whether you swipe down from the left (notifications) or the right (menu for quick settings) is not always handy. Also, there are sometimes minor delays that really seem to come from the software. It still looks messy and overcrowded, even though steps have been taken to bring order to the chaos. For example, a dark mode is available as standard and you can adjust a lot yourself in the field of text and animations. It will take some getting used to when you are used to a different software shell, but it will work out in the end. It’s just not the best Android software shell out there right now.

We briefly contacted Xiaomi about the update policy, but we were not very happy about that. You can still expect Android 12 and Android 13, although it is not yet clear when. Since the device is already an Android version behind, only Android 13 is really new. That is actually no longer of this time, where manufacturers have recently been going further and further with longer support. We understand that it is a cheaper smartphone that can expect updates for a shorter period of time than an expensive flagship, but this is actually no longer possible. You will also receive security updates for three years that are released every 90 days. The software is therefore not the strongest point of this device.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 – Conclusion

No matter how surprised we were with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro last year, and how good this successor initially seemed with the premium appearance. Ultimately, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G just falls short of its great predecessor. This is not due to the premium design, which is truly a feast for the eyes. The display and sound are also fine. That makes this smartphone a real entertainment device. Unfortunately, no progress has been made in terms of the camera, despite the once again excellent main camera in daylight. We can even speak of a step backwards due to the lack of the possibility to record videos in a 4k resolution.

Where the device falls short, however, is the software. Android 11 is actually no longer possible. There is too much bloatware on this device and the update policy is actually outdated. Do you see through that? Then the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G is certainly not a bad device. On the contrary. In this price range it is a good device, but unfortunately not without its shortcomings.

Pros

  • Beautiful design
  • Picture and sound fine
  • Main camera takes good pictures in daylight
  • Battery lasts a long time and charges quickly
  • Case and screen protector included
Negatives

  • Software bit messy
  • Lots of bloatware
  • No more filming in 4k
  • Android 11
  • Only updates to Android 12 and 13

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