The Redmi Note series has been the shining star for Xiaomi for a while now. Having sold over 240 million units globally in the last five years, it can also be credited for catapulting Xiaomi to the number one spot in the smartphone market in India.
Even though the series has gone broader with multiple variants and the refresh cycles have considerably reduced, every launch of a Redmi Note smartphone drives anticipation. In most cases, a Redmi Note smartphone is a default option on the table for consumers looking for a well-rounded, feature-packed smartphone at an affordable price.
The same goes for the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G, which was launched in March. Especially because it sits on the top of the heap of about half a dozen Redmi Note 11 smartphones. Let’s find out if it’s able to match the value offered by its predecessors as well as the current portfolio siblings.
The best part
For a while now, Xiaomi has offered the best display panels on a smartphone in its segment. The 6.67-inch AMOLED panel on the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ with Full HD+ resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate offers excellent calibration out of the box. The colours are excellent due to the sharp 440ppi pixel density. Outdoor visibility isn’t much of a problem, even in the bright Delhi sunny afternoons.
Another area where the phone excels is the stereo sound it offers (there’s the headphone jack too!)
Combined with the vibrant display, the identical stereo channels that deliver loud and punchy audio make the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ a fantastic device for multimedia consumption. Almost… because there’s no HDR10 support, which is a disappointing miss.
Another marquee feature of the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ is its stellar battery life. At 5,000mAh, the battery size is unchanged from last year, but I think I could eke out longer battery life due to the efficient 6nm chipset. The phone easily lasts for over a day, and when needed in a pinch, the 67W fast charging can charge the phone from zero to 45% in about 15 minutes. It takes about 50 minutes to fully charge the phone, by the way.
Big props to Xiaomi for including the full capacity 67W charger in the box at a time when other brands are either ditching chargers completely or include a basic one in the box, while putting out the appropriate one for sale separately.
The Redmi Note 11 Pro+ is also IP53-rated for dust and splash resistance which is a neat, and not very common, addition on an affordable smartphone. There’s nothing like the assurance of an official water resistance rating, yet I always advise people to still mind their usage around water.
Par for course
With these marquee highlights out of the way, the other departments on the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ aren’t underserved even though they don’t offer anything special or something we’ve not seen before.
Like the design.
There’s no compromise in the design department, mind you. It looks good, and definitely feels more premium than what you’ve paid for it even though it’s a plastic frame. Yet, it did not wow me as I took it out of the box. Something that the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max did last year with its curvy, exquisite design.
The Redmi Note 11 Pro+ has a boxy rectangular chassis which, combined with its weight, makes it a tad unwieldy to hold and use, especially if you have smaller hands.
The matte texture at the back feels nice in the hand but is prone to smudges. The camera housing protrudes quite a bit and there’s a decent amount of wobble when you place the phone on a table. If you’re using a case, you might not notice it since the cut-out accommodates the protrusion.
The gorgeous Mirage Blue colour variant has its own charm, or you can pick the more subtle and classy (less fun, that is) Stealth Black or Phantom White options.
Let’s come to the performance. The Snapdragon 695 chipset offers some gains over last year's Snapdragon 732 but most users won’t feel a difference in everyday use. But that’s not a showstopper. The Redmi Note 11 Pro+ is a reliable performer and can take most things thrown at it with quite an ease. It can also handle graphic-intensive games at medium settings well, but that’s that. There are phones with better specifications in this segment available if you’re interested in a capable gaming phone.
When it comes to the camera, the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ retains a familiar camera configuration with a 108MP primary camera with an 8MP wide-angle lens and a 2MP macro lens. The camera interface too is what we’ve seen all this while, and if you’re upgrading from a Xiaomi phone, you’d feel at home, especially with manual mode, which gives you granular controls.
In daylight, the camera offers plenty of detail and a good dynamic range. The photos come out vibrant, which are great shares for social media even though some purists don’t prefer that. The portraits look great with perfect edge detection on most attempts and not messing up the skin tones. In low light conditions though, it’s a mixed bag. While the colours and details come out well, there’s considerable noise that creeps in. The front 16MP camera does a decent job at selfies but the skin smoothening needs to go.
I’m not fan of the other two lenses. The wide-angle lens struggles with colour reproduction and is a no go in low-light conditions. And the 2MP macro will only work for you if you know your macro photography well. It’s not as bad as most 2MP macro sensors are, but needs to be used with precision and steady hands.
The move from a 5MP lens to this 2MP macro lens as well as letting go of 4K 30fps video recording is why many call the camera on the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ a downgrade. While these are edge cases, and wouldn’t matter to most users, it hurts the pitch of a smartphone that’s branded ‘Pro+’.
The hyped highlight of the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ is the support for 5G connectivity (it’s right in the name, d’oh!). But one, 5G is still not available in the country and wouldn’t be mainstream for a while and second, the phone is part of Xiaomi’s diversified portfolio which also has a Redmi Note 11 Pro that only supports 4G connectivity. So, that’s that.
It’s awkward that the only thing that makes to the ‘misses’ section’ is MIUI, Xiaomi’s proprietary skin that comes on top of Android, because the company, to their credit, has cleaned up MIUI over the last two years and have been tackling the issue of bloatware.
The Redmi Note 11 Pro+ comes with MIUI 13, which offers a fluid and modern Android experience that has garnered many fans across the board since there are several customization options, for every day users as well as power users. It’s not perfect… has some bugs in and out (nothing that can’t be ironed out with updates), and sometimes is overwhelming for casual users, but it does the job well on most counts.
But — and that’s an inexcusable but – MIUI runs on Android 11 at a time when most phones are shipping with Android 12 out of the box. Not only it misses out on some Android 12-based features around privacy but it also reduces the overall life of the devices, since with two platform updates, one can only expect to see Android 13, and no further.
Should you buy it?
One of the highlights of the Redmi Note series has been Xiaomi’s ability to undercut its rivals and offer terrific value-for-money smartphones. The ongoing supply chain shenanigans affecting all the smartphone brands, the breadth of Redmi Note portfolio, and the emergence of Realme in the past couple of years has put a strain on Xiaomi’s product pricing strategy.
In fact, Redmi Note 11 Pro+ comes at a significant premium in most global markets, and that puts Xiaomi at a disadvantage. Although, the company has still kept it tight in India because of the volumes it expects to sell. The Redmi Note 11 Pro+ starts at ₹20,999 for the 6GB+128GB variant and goes up to ₹24,000 for the top 8GB+256GB variant.
The Redmi Note 11 Pro+ is a decent mid-ranger, mind you. There’s the serviceable well-rounded Android experience despite some shortcomings here and there but there are beefier options available in the market that offer better value for money. Unlike the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max, it’s not an automatic winner in the segment and only a side-grade from its predecessor. Yet, there are enough people who’d want to go for it, because after all, it’s a Redmi Note.
Redmi Note 11 Pro Plus 5G: technical specifications
Operating System: MIUI 13 based on Android 11
Display: 6.67-inch Super AMOLED | 120Hz refresh rate | 700 nits brightness; 1200 nits (peak) | 20:9 aspect ratio | Gorilla Glass 5
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 (6nm) | Adreno 619 GPU
Memory: 6GB/8GB RAM | 128GB internal storage | UFS 2.2
Rear camera: 108 MP, f/1.9, PDAF | Ultra-wide 8 MP, f/2.2, 118˚ | Macro 2 MP, f/2.4 | Front camera: 16 MP | f/2.4 aperture
Battery: 5,000mAh | 67W fast charging
Dimensions: 164.2 x 76.1 x 8.1mm | 202g