The Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G subtly enhances a winning formula
- Still-great 120Hz OLED display
- Relatively capable processor
- Fast 67W charging
- Not much of an advance
- No 4K video
- MIUI is still a little gaudy and occasionally buggy
Xiaomi’s Redmi sub-brand has been on white-hot form in recent years, with the Redmi Note 10 Pro standing as one of our favourite budget phones of 2021. Hopefully, this explains why we’re so excited to see what the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G has to offer in 2022.
As it turns out, the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G is more of the same, albeit with a few minor tweaks and enhancements. However, given the sheer quality of its predecessor (five stars and a “Mid-range perfection” strapline), that’s certainly no bad thing.
In short, what this means is that the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G gives you strong performance, a great display, a solid camera and sterling stamina, all for less than £300.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G review: What you need to know
Xiaomi hasn’t attempted anything drastically new with its latest premium-affordable phone. We’ve seen 120Hz AMOLED displays before at this end of the market in the Redmi Note 10 Pro and the Poco X3 NFC. The former also squeezed in a 108MP main camera, which remains a highlight in this newer model.
That’s not to say that there have been no clear hardware improvements this time around. New to the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G is a faster Snapdragon 695 processor, a speedy 67W fast charger and 5G connectivity. All in all, it’s a heck of a lot of phone for the money.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G review: Price and competition
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G costs £319 in the UK, which is £50 more than the 128GB Redmi Note 10 Pro.
Given the strong core componentry that sits at the heart of the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G, it’s a spec that more than holds its own among such company.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G review: Design and key features
Xiaomi has gone with a slightly boxier, more industrial approach for the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G’s design. It doesn’t quite hit iPhone 13 levels of corner sharpness, but both the front and rear of the device, as well as the rim, are more or less completely flat.
That signature 108MP camera is given particular prominence on the back of the phone, standing out from the other camera sensors in a two-tiered configuration.
At 164 x 76 x 8.1mm, the Note 11 Pro 5G is a very similar size to last year’s model, but it’s a little heavier at 202g. The glass back is a classy touch, especially with its muted, matte finish. My test model’s Graphite Grey colour really is quite lovely, but it also comes in Polar White and Atlantic Blue if you prefer your phones to be a little more vibrant.
There’s a fingerprint sensor mounted in an appreciably long and flat power button located two-thirds of the way up the right-hand edge. I found it to be reasonably reliable, if not the speediest I’ve used.
The top of the phone is arguably the most interesting of all four edges. It’s here that you’ll find both a 3.5mm headphone jack and an IR blaster. The latter isn’t too common these days, but it enables you to use the Note 11 Pro 5G as a universal remote control. Xiaomi has even bundled in the Mi Remote app for that very purpose.
It’s also worth pointing out that Xiaomi has given us 5G connectivity with this year’s model, which always seemed like a bit of an omission with the Redmi Note 10 Pro here in the UK.
Xiaomi’s MIUI 13 comes installed on top of Android 11. It’s a middling Android UI at best, with fluid performance married to tacky icons and irritating interface embellishments. It can be prone to the odd bug too, as I discovered when trying to charge the phone (see battery life section below).
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Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G review: Display
Xiaomi has given us another 6.67in 2,400 x 1,080 (FHD+) display with the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G. The combination of a vibrant AMOLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate is only a little less impressive than it was last year. That’s the kind of one-two punch that’s more common further up the smartphone market.
The phone’s 120Hz refresh rate ensures a nice smooth scrolling experience, which is most evident when scanning down a web page or flicking rapidly between home pages. Again, it’s no longer a stand-out feature at this end of the market, but it remains a welcome one. You’ll have to activate it manually, though, as Xiaomi sets it to 60Hz by default.
Using a colorimeter, I recorded an sRGB gamut coverage of 99.4%. This makes it a decent, colour-accurate display, and certainly tops the LCD of the Poco M4 Pro 5G.
I measured a maximum brightness of 428cd/m² with auto-brightness turned off, which is about the same as the Redmi Note 10 Pro. This isn’t the brightest screen around, but it’s perfectly sufficient in all but the brightest of outdoor conditions.
As with the rest of the Redmi Note 11 line, I have to take issue with the shiny selfie camera surround at the top of the screen. Not only does it look rather cheap, but it proves quite distracting, too.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G review: Performance and battery life
The Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G runs on a Snapdragon 695 5G, which turns out to be an upgrade on the Snapdragon 732G used in the Redmi Note 10, despite Qualcomm’s unhelpful naming scheme.
I can’t compare directly with the Note 10 Pro due to some irritating Xiaomi-induced benchmark restrictions at the time, but it is possible to compare to the Poco X3 NFC, which packed almost identical specs as the Note 10 Pro.
There’s an appreciable bump in raw CPU power, as evidenced by average Geekbench 5 scores of 689 single-core and 2,054 multicore. As you can see, this represents a comfortable advantage over rivals such as the Poco X3 NFC, the Nokia X10, and the Poco M4 Pro 5G.
It’s a similar advantage in the GPU stakes, with our suite of GFXBench tests revealing the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G to be a cut above its rivals. Its superiority is comfortable rather than night and day, but it’s definitely got more potential as a budget gaming device than most of its peers.
Xiaomi has equipped the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G with a 5,000mAh battery, which is fast becoming table stakes at this end of the market. It’s another £200-ish phone that’s good for a full day of intensive usage or two full days of light use with change.
Despite this, it’s not quite the strongest in the category. In our regular looping video test, the Note 11 Pro 5G lasted 18hrs 31mins. That’s almost an hour longer than the Redmi Note 10 Pro, but about 50 minutes less than the Poco M4 Pro 5G and more than two hours short of the Nokia X10.
The ace up the Redmi Note 11 Pro’s sleeve here is the provision of a 67W fast charger in the box, which Xiaomi claims is good for zero to 50% in just 15 minutes and 100% in 42 minutes. Unfortunately, I experienced a weird but persistent bug with my test unit that saw the screen powering on almost permanently whenever the phone was charging, which slowed the process considerably.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G review: Cameras
The Redmi Note 10 Pro was one of the first sub-£300 phones to pack a 108MP camera sensor, so it doesn’t make quite the same immediate impact here in the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G. It’s still an impressive inclusion, though.
Interestingly, while this star component is accompanied by an 8MP ultra-wide just like the Note 10 Pro, you only get a 2MP macro camera here. The Note 10 Pro supplied a 2MP depth sensor as well as a 5MP macro.
It’s a step back from its predecessor, then, but not a massively consequential one. You’ll still be taking more wide and ultrawide shots, after all. Indeed, some regions get a non-5G model that swaps out top-level network connectivity for a 2MP depth sensor, but I’d take 5G any day of the week.
Image quality remains strong with this year’s model. The Note 11 Pro 5G doesn’t give you 108MP shots, unless you instruct it to through the Pro mode, but rather combines multiple pixels into one resulting in detail-packed 12MP images.
The results are sharp and reasonably balanced, especially for a budget phone. Xiaomi’s AI photo assistant is turned off by default, but I generally opted to keep it that way. While it served to punch up my shots, it also tended to overexpose the highlights. The normal camera settings seem to do the job just fine.
There’s a night mode here, but it’s merely adequate. It captures the tone of a low-light scene quite well, but there’s loads of visual noise and a general lack of clarity.
The ultrawide doesn’t fare anywhere near as well as the main shooter, either. At 8MP, it simply doesn’t have access to the same raw information as the main sensor, and neither the lens nor Xiaomi’s AI are sufficiently advanced to prevent noise and distortions from creeping in at the edges. More problematically, the tone of the ultrawide is completely different to the main sensor.
It is possible to get 2x shots, but these merely crop in from the main sensor. There are plenty of pixels to go around, of course, but this is still no substitute for a decent telephoto unit. Of course, you don’t tend to get decent telephoto hardware at this end of the market, so Xiaomi’s choice was probably the smart one.
There’s one big downgrade that we haven’t yet mentioned. Video recording has been dropped to a rather pitiful 1080p at 30fps, whereas the Redmi Note 10 Pro supported 4K at 30fps or 1080p at 60fps.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G review: Verdict
The Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G is another strong budget offering from Xiaomi, though it offers a package that’s perhaps too similar to the excellent Redmi Note 10 Pro, with the same display and much the same camera system.
It would have been nice to get more than a small boost to performance, faster charging and 5G connectivity this time around. Meanwhile, the Note 11 Pro 5G’s camera has actually regressed in certain respects.
Overall, though, that’s still more than enough to make the Note 11 Pro 5G one of the best phones available for less than £300. Compared to contemporaries such as the Poco M4 Pro 5G and the Nokia X10, it’s faster, has a better display, takes sharper photos, and charges more quickly.
While Redmi could be accused of treading water with the Note 11 Pro 5G, it’s really on the brand’s budget rivals to catch up.