The Redmi Note 11S is the fifth Note 11 model we are reviewing, and just when we thought our review series was finally complete, we received its 5G-enabled sibling as well.
The Redmi Note 11S is a more powerful version of the vanilla Redmi Note 11. Borrowing hardware from the Redmi Note 11 Pro, the Note 11S has a snappier Helio G96 chipset (up from Snapdragon 680), which is coupled with more RAM and a 108MP primary camera (up from 50MP). Meanwhile, the 11S has a smaller display than the Note 11 Pro and a slower 33W charging.
The Redmi Note 11S looks like the rest of the Redmi Note 11 phones – an IP53-rated flat design with a large rectangular camera island on the back. Its centerpiece is the 6.43-inch 1080p AMOLED screen with a 90Hz refresh rate.
The Redmi Note 11S employs this year’s Xiaomi mid-range camera combo with a 108MP primary, an 8MP ultrawide, and a 2MP macro cams, plus a 2MP depth sensor. The front camera is a 16MP shooter, and all cameras (except for the macro) support 1080p video capturing.
Finally, the Redmi Note 11S has a 5,000mAh battery, a typical capacity for the Note series. It supports 33W fast charging, and it ships with the corresponding power adapter. The Pro models, on the other hand, support 67W fast charging.
Here is the complete specs sheet of the Redmi Note 11S.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 11S specs at a glance:
- Body: 159.9×73.9×8.1mm, 179g; ; IP53, dust and splash resistant, Gorilla Glass 3 front, glass back, plastic frame.
- Display: 6.43″ AMOLED, 90Hz, 700 nits, 1000 nits (peak), 1080x2400px resolution, 20:9 aspect ratio, 409ppi, Gorilla Glass 3.
- Chipset: Mediatek Helio G96 (12 nm): Octa-core (2×2.05 GHz Cortex-A76 & 6×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55); Mali-G57 MC2.
- Memory: 64GB 6GB RAM, 128GB 6GB RAM, 128GB 8GB RAM; UFS 2.2; microSDXC (dedicated slot).
- OS/Software: Android 11, MIUI 13.
- Rear camera: Wide (main): 108 MP, f/1.9, 26mm, 1/1.52″, 0.7µm, PDAF; Ultra wide angle: 8 MP, f/2.2, 118˚; Macro: 2 MP, f/2.4; Depth: 2 MP, f/2.4.
- Front camera: 16 MP, f/2.5, (wide), 1/3.06″ 1.0µm.
- Video capture: Rear camera: 1080p@30fps; Front camera: 1080p@30fps.
- Battery: 5000mAh; Fast charging 33W, 100% in 58 min (advertised), Power Delivery 3.0, Quick Charge 3+.
- Misc: Fingerprint reader (side-mounted); Infrared port; 3.5mm jack.
The Redmi Note 11S looks like a balanced lower mid-range offer with a good AMOLED screen, one versatile camera with a high-res primary, as well as stereo speakers, a large battery with fast charging, and a chipset that should be enough for a smooth experience. All these are wrapped within a likable shell with basic waterproofing.
It’s not all promising, though. The Redmi Note 11S GPU is inferior to the one used on the previous Note 10S model. And there is no 4K video capturing – something the Note 10S could do. Finally, MIUI 13 is available out of the box, yet it runs on top of the older Android 11 OS.
Still, we are living in challenging times, and we can imagine the manufacturers have to go through many hurdles to push a new phone and keep the price as low as possible. And with that being said, let’s unbox this Redmi Note 11S and see what happens.
Unboxing the Redmi Note 11S
The Redmi Note 11S retail bundle is quite familiar. The box contains the phone, a 33W power adapter, and a 3A-rated USB cable.
Just like other Xiaomi models, this one also ships with a soft transparent case and a cheap-looking protective film you’d need to apply by yourself.
Design, build quality, handling
If you have a hard time telling one Redmi Note 11 from another, that is completely understandable. Xiaomi hasn’t made it exactly easy to do so, but one thing is sure – all Redmi Note 11 smartphones are good-looking devices with recognizable and likable designs.
Left to right: Redmi Note 11 • Note 11S • Note 11 Pro • Note 11 Pro 5G
You can also easily tell the Redmi Note 11 from the Redmi Note 11 Pro models – they are smaller.
Left to right: Redmi Note 11 • Note 11S • Note 11 Pro • Note 11 Pro 5G
The Redmi Note 11S looks a lot like the rest of its Note 11 siblings. It is a dual-glass smartphone with a flat plastic frame. The front glass is a Gorilla Glass 3 and is completely flat.
Finally, the rear panel as per official press materials is made of AG Glass. But unlike on the Pro versions, the 11 and 11S back glass has these subtle curves across all sides – not steep enough to say they are rounded, but enough to make them worthy of mentioning.
We have to be honest and say the back feels more plasticky than the one we’ve encountered on the Note 11 Pro models, but unless we break this thing, we cannot be certain what it is made of. So, for now, we are relying on Xiaomi’s word for it being a glass piece.
What we do appreciate, though, is the matte finish of the entire rear panel, which makes it incredibly pleasant on touch – it feels somewhat frosted – and smudges are not as visible as on glossy pieces.
Finally, the Redmi Note 11S is IP53-rated for dust and splash resistance. This is one of the most basic water-proofing categories, and it means the phone can handle light rains or light splashes, and that’s it. We can confirm there is rubber insulation around the SIM/microSD card tray.
Now, let’s take a closer look.
The 6.43-inch AMOLED panel occupies most of the front, quite expectedly. The bezels are reasonably thin, all things considered, and the chin is in line with other similar phones.
The panel has a 1080p resolution and supports a 90Hz refresh rate. It has a tiny perforation centered at the top – this is where you’d find the 16MP selfie camera.
Above the screen, you can spot a thin grille that hides one of the speakers – the one that also acts as an earpiece. This speaker has two sound outlets – besides the one at the front, there is another one on the top of the phone. This speaker is not as loud as the bottom one, but thanks to the two outlets, it makes for a pleasant and balanced audio experience.
The two-step camera island is on the back, and it looks a lot like the ones we’ve already seen. The 108MP primary camera is jutting out the most, while the 8MP ultrawide, the 2MP macro and the 2MP depth sensor, along with the LED flash, sit on the lower level.
The back itself has a matte finish, and we loved the soft touch.
Because of the thick camera, the Redmi Note 11S wobbles a whole lot when lying down on a table or desk. The bundled case reduces this wobbling if it annoys you.
The frame of the Redmi Note 11S is made of thick plastic and has a matching paint and matt finish to the back panel. It provides for a secure enough grip.
The 3.5mm jack, the IR port, a secondary microphone, and one of the speakers are together at the top of the Redmi Note 11S.
The bottom has the other speaker, the USB-C port, and the primary microphone.
The tri-card slot that accepts two nano-SIM cards and a microSD one is on the left.
The right side houses the volume and power/lock keys. The surface of the power button cans your fingerprints – the sensor is incredibly fast and reliable.
The Redmi Note 11S measures 159.9 x 73.9 x 8.1mm and weighs 179 grams. This makes it identical to the Redmi Note 10S and Redmi Note 11.
We did like the Redmi Note 11S shape and design – it has a solid build and provides for a secure enough grip. The design is stylish and no-nonsense, and the Graphite Gray color is particularly nice. The splash resistance, however basic, is also appreciated and helps for peace of mind when raining. Overall, the Redmi Note 11S is one well executed device, and we liked our time spent with it.