The Redmi Note 11 flagship series manufactured by Chinese company Xiaomi was launched in Kenya in February this year.
The launch unveiled the Note 11, the Note 11S and the Note 11 Pro into the Kenyan smartphone market.
We got a chance to review the Note 11, the base model of the series. Here are our first impressions on the flagship device.
Network: GSM / HSPA / LTE
Dimensions: 6.30 x 2.91 x 0.32 inches
Weight: 179 g (6.31 oz)
SIM: Dual nano-SIM with dual stand-by (IP53, dust and splash resistant)
Screen: 6.43 inches AMOLED (Corning Gorilla Glass 3) , 90Hz, 700 nits, 1000 nits (peak)
Resolution: 1080 x 2400 pixels, 20:9 ratio (~409 pixels per inch density)
OS: Android 11, upgradable to Android 12, MIUI 13
Chipset: Qualcomm SM6225 Snapdragon 680 4G (6 nm)
CPU: Octa-core (4×2.4 GHz Kryo 265 Gold & 4×1.9 GHz Kryo 265 Silver)
GPU: Adreno 610
Internal storage: 128GB (microSDXC Card expandable) 4GB RAM.
Main Camera: Quad 50 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide), 1/2.76″, 0.64µm, PDAF 8 MP, f/2.2, 118˚ (ultrawide), 1/4″, 1.12µm 2 MP, f/2.4, (macro) 2 MP, f/2.4, (depth)
Features: LED flash, HDR, panorama Video 1080p@30fps
Selfie Camera: Single 13 MP, f/2.4, (wide), 1/3.1″, 1.12µm Video 1080p@30fps
Sound: Loudspeaker Yes, with stereo speakers 3.5mm jack Yes 24-bit/192kHz audio
Connectivity: WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct Bluetooth 5.0, A2DP, LE Positioning GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO, NFC (market/region dependent), Infrared port, FM radio USB USB Type-C 2.0, USB On-The-Go
Sensors: Fingerprint (side-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, compass Virtual proximity sensing
Battery: Type Li-Po 5000 mAh, non-removable with 33W fast charging
Colours: Graphite Gray, Twilight Blue, Star Blue
Inside the box
The Redmi Note 11 comes in a white box with plain sides, bottom and back. The front and top have the phone’s artwork renders showing its various skins, and manufacturer details respectively.
Inside the box is a secondary fold-up box that holds the safety guide, set-up guide, a case for the phone and a SIM key for the SIM tray.
Beneath that is the Redmi Note 11 housed in a packaging sleeve sitting atop a cutout cardboard that covers the housings for the USB Type C charging cable and the 33W fast charging power brick.
The slick Note 11 is a unibody build with a plastic chassis on which the back cover and monolithic screen are mounted. The 50 megapixels quad camera is located on the top left corner at the back of the device with a slightly raised bump housing the snappers. Below the cameras is an LED flash for photography that doubles up as a flashlight. The front is a monolith screen with a 13 megapixels selfie camera slightly off the top edge and under the screen. In between the screen and the top edge is the earpiece, a row of small holes that has become an industry standard which gives the front side of the phone a seemingly minimalist design.
At the top edge and to the left of the Redmi Note 11 is the 3.5 mm jack for your standard earphones. As the phone packaging does not include a set of earphones, those would have to be an after-purchase acquisition. Next to this is one set of stereo speakers. Off to the right side of the top edge are the infrared port and a secondary microphone for picking up ambient sound as part of Note 11’s machine learning that filters out noise during phone calls – at least for the caller on the other end of the line. This too is a pretty standard industry inclusion with many handsets being released in recent years.
The right edge of Note 11 has two sets of buttons – the volume rocker and the power button. The slimmer volume rocker is sturdy and does not rattle when used. The much wider, but less raised power button that doubles as a side-mounted fingerprint scanner sits just below that. This layout favours a right-handed user with fewer adjustments of the device to reach buttons on the left edge as is the case with other devices. However, for such functions as taking screenshots which require simultaneous pressing of the volume rocker and power button, a left-handed user will get the best utility out of it. With this feature not being a core function needing specialised skill, most users will have the dexterity of both hands to execute that and most other functions with relative ease.
The bottom edge of Note 11 has a second speaker on the right edge, the charging and media connectivity USB-C port in the middle, and the primary microphone off to the left edge on the bottom.
The offset layout of the stereo speakers would have a tendency to create sound dissonance and so takes a bit of getting used to when not using a wired or wireless headset. To the top of the left edge of the phone is the dual SIM tray that also has a recess for a microSDXC card to provide additional storage on top of the 128GB Note 11 comes with.
Camera and screen
As listed in the specifications, the Redmi Note 11 has a 6.4-inch AMOLED screen protected against superficial damage by a Corning Gorilla Glass 3. This is a screen-to-body ratio of just under 85 per cent. The resolution of the screen is 1080 x 2400 pixels with a 20 to 9 ratio. Note 11 has a pixel-per-inch density of approximately 409 which gives a fairly vivid and crisp viewing experience. The smartphone features a 90Hz refresh rate and is lit up by 700 nits of illumination with a peak brightness of 1000 nits.
Note 11 has a total of four cameras; the front-facing 13 megapixels selfie camera with a fixed focal point of 2.4 and is a wide-angled shooter. It can record up to 30fps of 1080p video.
The rear four cameras constitute a 50 megapixels wide-angle camera, an 8 megapixels ultrawide angle camera, a 2 megapixels macro camera and a 2 megapixels depth camera. A variety of modes include pro, video, photo, portrait, night, panorama, time-lapse, short video and full 50 megapixels modes.
Performance and battery
The Redmi Note 11 has a Qualcomm SM6225 Snapdragon 680 4G chipset backed up by an octa-core (4×2.4 GHz Kryo 265 Gold & 4×1.9 GHz Kryo 265 Silver) processing unit. The graphic processing unit (GPU) is an Adreno 610. This combination of chipset, CPU and GPU enables the phone to run well being pre-installed with the Android 11 operating system upgradeable to the current Android 13 version. The device comes with MIUI 13, Redmi’s custom skin.
To supply power to the motherboard is a 5000mAh, non-removable Li-Po battery that charges from 0 to 100 per cent in an hour. This is made possible through the 33-Watt fast-charging power brick.
Connectivity, Entertainment and Sensors.
The Redmi Note 11 features a series of connectivity options such as GSM / HSPA / LTE network options, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac as well as Wi-Fi Direct for quick transfer of content between compatible devices. It also has Bluetooth 5.2 with A2DP and an Infrared port. This latter feature would enable the phone to act as a remote control.
The Note 11 comes with an FM Radio and uses a wired headset as the antenna for the FM Radio signal.
The device also comes with the standard proximity sensor, gyro sensor, accelerometer and fingerprint sensor.
At just under Ksh20,000, the Redmi Note 11 is an affordable yet capable device with just enough variety in terms of colours (graphite grey, star blue and twilight blue) to cater to a variety of needs. A sizeable screen, reliable battery and powerful chipset will enable a range of functions on a wide spectrum ranging from easy to complex while enabling the user to stay connected.