Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G Review: Not What You Might Have Expected

If you’re obsessed with phone specifications and are looking for the best combination of components you can get without spending a huge amount, chances are you’ve spent some time looking up Xiaomi’s Redmi Note and Redmi Note Pro models. The company made its mark in India by selling low-cost phones, but the Redmi Note series has always been about aspiration while remaining affordable. Whether it’s a bigger screen, more powerful processor, higher battery capacity, better cameras, or just more RAM and storage you’re after, Xiaomi knows how to play this game.

However, we’re at a point when it’s tough for companies to keep pushing the envelope – there’s only so much that can be stuffed into a phone, and prices keep rising. The new Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G is priced starting above Rs. 20,000 which pushes it into new territory. Do buyers simply have to accept that things are now more expensive, or is this now a phone that’s meant for a different audience? Keep reading to find out if the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G is right for you.

Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G price in India

The base variant of the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and is priced at Rs. 20,999. You can step up to 8GB of RAM with the same 128GB of storage for Rs. 22,999, and it will cost Rs. 24,999 if you want 8GB of RAM with 256GB of storage. At that level, you’d also have choices such as the OnePlus Nord CE 2 (Review), Realme 9 Pro+ 5G (Review), and iQoo Z5 (Review).

Xiaomi also sells the lower-end Redmi Note 11 Pro, which lacks 5G and has a slightly weaker SoC but is nearly identical in terms of display, battery, charging, and software specifications. This model is priced at Rs. 17,999 with 6GB of RAM and Rs. 19,999 with 8GB of RAM. Both options have 128GB of storage.

Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G design

As I stated in my first impressions, the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ is rather plain-looking. Other than the finish of the rear panel, which we’ll get to in a moment, there’s very little design flair to speak of. The lines and angles are all very simple, which is a pity since last year’s Redmi Note 10 Pro Max (Review) had more of an individual look and feel. The two-step camera module on the rear is the only thing that stands out, design-wise, but unfortunately it makes the phone rock from side to side when placed face-up on a flat surface.

The front of the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ is all black, except for the prominent transparent camera lens at the top with its silver ring. Normally, this is something I find distracting but it is the only way to tell which way is up at a glance.

The Mirage Blue finish catches light and reveals patterns that look like the surface of a pool of water

 

This phone is available in three colours – Phantom White, Stealth Black, and Mirage Blue. The former two are relatively plain-looking, but the latter, which is what I have for this review, is extremely eye-catching. You’ll see diagonal intersecting “waves” that of course catch the light when you move this phone around. That perception of motion, along with the effect of depth that you get with such a finish, makes it seems as though you’re looking at water on the surface of a pool. The metal frame is also a matching pale blue. Even after seeing dozens of phones with gradient and pattern finishes over the years, this looks fresh. However, it isn’t for everyone.

At the top of the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ you’ll find a 3.5mm audio socket, a grille for the earpiece speaker, and an infrared emitter that can be used to control appliances. The power button with its integrated fingerprint sensor and the volume buttons are on the right, all within reach. The hybrid dual-SIM tray, USB Type-C port, and primary speaker are on the bottom, leaving the left side blank.

I would have preferred more rounded sides or edges since this phone isn’t the easiest to hold and use. It’s comfortable against the ear but if you have smaller hands you might find it a bit awkward in everyday use. The 202g weight and 8.12mm thickness are both slightly above average. Xiaomi says it has used Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and “frosted glass” on the rear. This phone is “IP53 tested” which is technically not the same as saying it has an official IP53 rating, but still provides some reassurance. My unit came with a screen protector already adhered, and a semi-rigid clear plastic case in the box.

redmi note 11 proplus top ndtv redmi note 11 pro

The Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G has a 3.5mm audio jack, IR emitter, and speaker cutouts on the top

 

Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G specifications

Keeping in mind that the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G costs considerably more than its predecessors, I’m expecting specifications that can compete with what you’ll find in the sub-Rs. 25,000 market. It’s also interesting that there’s a fairly expensive 256GB storage option – typically not something you’d expect value-conscious buyers to splash out on when you could instead channel that money towards a more powerful phone.

For that reason, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 SoC will need to go up against the likes of the MediaTek Dimensity 900 which is found in the OnePlus Nord CE2 and the Dimensity 920 which powers the Realme 9 Pro+ 5G and Xiaomi 11i 5G. We also can’t forget the Snapdragon 778G in the iQoo Z5. All these phones cost about as much as the higher variants of the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G.

You get a 6.67-inch full-HD+ (1080×2400) AMOLED display with a 120Hz maximum refresh rate. Peak brightness is rated at 1200 nits but there’s no mention of HDR support. Xiaomi also claims DCI-P3 colour gamut coverage. There’s an Always-on Display feature which is disabled by default but only stays visible for 10 seconds when the screen is tapped, which contradicts its name.

The battery has a 5000mAh capacity, and this phone supports 67W charging when the charger in the box is used. Other features worth noting are this phone’s stereo speakers, Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.1, and support for seven 5G bands.

Software is a bit dated – the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G ships with MIUI 13 but it’s running on Android 11. An update to Android 12 should be released soon. My review unit had the February 2022 security update which is good. MIUI has loads of customisation potential starting with an optional app drawer, navigation gestures or additional shortcuts if you stick with buttons, icon size and layout control, and tweaks for the Recents app menu.

redmi note 11 proplus tray ndtv redmi note 11 pro

The double-sided tray lets you use either a second Nano-SIM or a microSD card

 

Much like on iOS, swiping down from the right of the camera hole shows quick toggles while swiping down from the left shows notifications. There’s a system-wide search feature and a widget screen to the left of the main homescreen. In the Settings app, you’ll find controls for more features such as Lite mode, Second Space for privacy, floating windows, and a floating shortcut sidebar.

Unfortunately, some of the default apps such as the GetApps store and MX player show ad notifications without having even been opened. The widgets are also full of promotional content, and Glance shows sponsored content as well as ads on your lock screen if you don’t disable it. Several apps including Facebook, LinkedIn, Amazon Prime Video, Spotify, and Mi Credit are preloaded, and the UI shows “today’s recommendations” and additional icons that make it seem as though users need to download even more apps. Xiaomi has in the past said that it would reduce clutter and make its UI lighter, and so I feel a little disappointed with what I experienced on the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G.

Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G performance

At this point we don’t expect that any smartphone, even in the budget segment, will struggle with running everyday apps. The Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G can handle such tasks easily and I had no trouble multitasking with a few big games and apps open in the background. Xiaomi sent the middle variant, with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, for this review. The display refresh rate is set to 60Hz by default, and since MIUI has a lot of animations, there was a noticeable improvement in UI responsiveness when I switched to 120Hz.

The fingerprint sensor was quick and easy to use. Face recognition was also convenient, but I was surprised to see a warning during the setup process that it can be defeated by a photo of the user as well as “objects with a similar appearance”. This is concerning, but a photo of my face on another phone’s screen did not work to unlock the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G even after multiple attempts.

redmi note 11 proplus topfront ndtv redmi note 11 pro

The embedded front camera has a distracting shiny ring around it

 

I found the display readable under sunlight. It’s quite crisp and colours are vibrant, though some might find videos a bit oversaturated. The reflective ring around the front camera is certainly distracting. You get WideVine L1 DRM certification so HD playback should work in supported apps. The stereo speakers are relatively well balanced and sound is quite loud. Voices come through clearly when watching videos, but music sounded a bit harsh and compressed.

In terms of benchmark scores, performance was pretty solid. AnTuTu showed a score of 365,861 and Geekbench 5’s single-core and multi-core results were 688 and 1,903 respectively. These are a bit lower than what the OnePlus Nord CE 2 managed, and quite a bit behind the Realme 9 Pro+ 5G and iQoo Z5. The story was the same for graphics tests –GFXBench’s T-rex scene ran at 82fps but the Car Chase scene only mananaged 17fps. 3DMark Wild Life produced a score of 1,211.

Gaming was fairly pleasant, though the upper rear of the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G did get a bit warm after about 15 minutes. Asphalt 9: Legends ran without any trouble, and Battlegrounds Mobile India also ran well at the HD quality setting and High frame rate. This should be more than enough for most people, but again, doesn’t quite match up to the best in the segment.

The Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G did do well in terms of battery life. With casual everyday use, I still had about a 30 percent charge left at night. Our HD video loop test ran for 15 hours, 8 minutes. Using the supplied charger with the phone powered down, I was able to go from zero to 36 percent in 15 minutes and 66 percent in 30 minutes. It took just over 50 minutes to get to 100 percent. Xiaomi claims a 51 percent charge in 15 minutes which is a big difference, but what I observed was still quite good.

The phone does get uncomfortably warm while charging though, and you’ll need to carry the very bulky 67W charger as well as Xiaomi’s own cable everywhere to take advantage of this charging speed on the go, when you’re most likely to need it. I was able to charge a MacBook Air using this charger, which was convenient.

redmi note 11 proplus camera ndtv redmi note 11 pro

You get three rear cameras including a 108-megapixel primary camera

 

Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G cameras

Xiaomi has managed to one-up its competition in the camera department, at least when it comes to specifications. The Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G features a 108-megapixel primary rear camera with a Samsung HM2 sensor and f/1.9 aperture. This sensor was also used for the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max last year. There’s no optical image stabilisation, and video recording only goes up to 1080p which is a surprise.

There’s also an 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera and a 2-megapixel macro camera. Interestingly, the lower-end Redmi Note 11 Pro features an additional 2-megapixel depth sensor on the rear – this gives it a slight marketing advantage in terms of numbers, but obviously Xiaomi felt that the more expensive model doesn’t need this. Sadly, the 5-megapixel “telemacro” camera of last year’s Redmi Note 10 Pro series, which I was highly impressed with, has been dropped. The front camera has a 16-megapixel resolution and f/2.45 aperture.

Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G daytime photo samples (Top: standard, bottom: 108-megapixel 1:1 crop) (Tap to see full size)

 

The camera app is fairly well organised, though there are a few quirks such as having a Macro toggle in a sub-menu rather than implementing this as a mode with all the others. Thankfully, photos are not watermarked by default.

Shots taken with the 108-megapixel camera are binned to a sensible 4000×3000 resolution by default, and that goes up to 12,000×9000 pixels if you override this manually. Downsampled photos taken outdoors in the daytime exhibited slightly crisper detail and punchier colours than full-resolution counterparts, but the true value of a 108-megapixel shot is that you can magnify and crop them to simulate optical zoom without losing fidelity. Either way, colours popped nicely. Detail was good in close-ups, but dropped a bit if subjects were at a slight distance.

Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G daytime photo samples (Tap to see full size)

 

The ultra-wide camera didn’t capture very vibrant shots, and there was noticeable warping of perspective. Daytime macros were disappointing – last year’s model could capture genuinely usable and visually interesting macros, but we’re back to novelty value for the sake of listing multiple cameras on the spec sheet with the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G. Portaits came out well enough.

At night, the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G’s main camera was just about okay. Detail was lacking and shots looked murky and heavily compressed unless there was very good lighting nearby. Night Mode reduced shadows and slightly improved detail, but in some cases I saw an exaggerated warm tone to shots. 108-megapixel shots didn’t improve quality much, and there was almost no point trying to use the ultra-wide-angle or macro cameras at night. You can’t use Night Mode with the ultra-wide camera or if the 108-megapixel mode is selected.

Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G daytime photo samples (Top: portrait, bottom: macro) (Tap to see full size)

 

Video was generally smooth, but it’s surprising for a phone in this segment to not offer 4K recording or even 1080p 60fps at all. Daytime footage shot with the main camera seemed to have a slightly warm colour tone but was generally sharp and smooth. The ultra-wide camera took grainier footage and there was a significant drop in quality. You can actually record 720p video with the macro camera, though this is largely pointless.

Skin smoothening is enabled by default when you switch to the front camera. Selfies did have an artificial quality and detail wasn’t great. Portrait shots had good depth separation. Front camera quality did suffer quite a bit in low light, though.

Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G low-light photo samples (Top: standard, middle: Night mode, bottom: ultra-wide) (Tap to see full size)

 

 

Verdict

The Redmi Note series has been one of Xiaomi’s best-selling offerings, but the company has now pushed it into a higher price segment and so we can’t just look at the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G as a replacement for the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max and the many popular iterations that have come before it. We do still have several models priced below this level – there’s the 4G-only Redmi Note 11 Pro, the Redmi Note 11S (Review), the Redmi Note 11T 5G (Review), and even the simply named Redmi Note 11, most of which overlap with each other. Older models continue to be available as well.

What the new Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G has in its favour are its display and speakers, battery life, charging speed, software features, and everyday performance. You can find most of these things in less expensive phones though, and they don’t justify its new high price. Even the base variant which costs Rs. 20,999 will face stiff competition from its own predecessor, the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max, which has the same primary rear camera, a more useful macro camera, and many similar features. The older model is certainly weaker in terms of SoC performance when it comes to gaming, but if you prioritise that, you won’t be choosing the new one either.

Overall, the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G is fine for what it is, but it isn’t a clear-cut segment leader. If Xiaomi had gone all-out with either the SoC or the cameras, there might have been a specific niche for it. The OnePlus Nord CE2, Realme 9 Pro+ 5G, and iQoo Z5 are its most notable competitors – they do have slightly higher starting prices, but if you’re spending this much, you should consider them.



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