I already wrote an article on the Redmi NOTE 11 base-model calling it the best device under 20,000. That has not changed – even with the numerous follow-up launches. But if you’re looking to spend a little more than than amount, Xiaomi has a series of Redmi NOTE 11 devices for you to consider. This review covers the Redmi NOTE 11S with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. It costs KES 30,000 and is a proper device as you’ll see.
I will talk about the things I like first and later the things I don’t like. Then I will finish the review with my thoughts on value for money.
Things I like:
Of course, these will be the key selling points, or rather, the main features that should sort of push you to considering the device. They are as follows:
- Asking price
- Fast charging
- Extra Xiaomi goodness
There are three options for the Redmi NOTE 11S and these are the prices:
- 6/64GB: KES 22,999
- 6/128GB: KES 27,999
- 8/128GB: KES 29,999
I would obviously ask you to only go for 6GB RAM or more and 128GB storage or more. We’re in 2022, and if you want your phone to serve you long, and not fill up unnecessarily, those are the bare minimum specs. If you cannot pay more, then I’d advice you get the base model Redmi NOTE 11 which is 20k, and features a Snapdragon 680 processor.
I think Xiaomi knows that this is the sweet pricing point – as this is what most Kenyans are comfortable paying for when buying what most will call really good phones. And they are hitting the nail on the head.
How many companies can boast of AMOLED panels at these prices? Plus these aren’t boring panels with colours or brightness levels that will have you wish you had an IPS LCD display. The panel gets plenty bright. The colours are vibrant. And you also get to choose between a balanced profile, a saturated look, or a vivid dynamic look – depending on what works best for your eyes.
While we already have come to a point where many consumers know megapixel numbers don’t really affect the quality of a camera, we still are aware of the fact that whenever a huge number is thrown on a spec sheet, it will get customers interested.
The 108MP main shooter here is great. And so is the 16MP selfie camera. These are the only cameras you’ll be using. I know there are three other lenses, but forget about them. They won’t serve you well. Only trust the main back camera, and the single front camera.
These have been compressed for web upload.
Every time I have a discussion on the performance of this device – remember I’ve had it for a while now – I always point out how the Helio G96 is a processor we’ve seen on both quite expensive devices – and on slightly cheaper devices.
Personally, I’d prefer the Snapdragon 680 on the Redmi NOTE 11 and not the Helio G96 on this NOTE 11S. But from use, I don’t think you’ll be able to tell a difference. I have also used the Snapdragon 680 on a more expensive device, so I can vouch for both processors being good. They’re good both in performance and in battery life.
Remember Xiaomi is also using fast UFS 2.2 storage, which come in handy for RAM Expansion which the device supports. So on top of the 8GB of RAM (or whichever model you have), the device automatically allots 3GB of internal storage as “top-up RAM” should the device require it.
I cannot use a phone without fast charging anymore. I’ve used OPPO’s 65W charger. I have used the 33W and 45W fast chargers on TECNO and Infinix devices. I have enjoyed Xiaomi’s 120W charger on the Xiaomi 11T Pro and I am never going back. Anything that charges slowly is not a device you should get. Yes, I’m talking to all of you Samsung fans.
The 33W fast charger of course feels slow for me after getting used to a device that charges in 15mins from 0-100%. However, it is way better than 22W or 18W charging that most devices support.
Extra Xiaomi goodness:
I know you’re wondering what this is about. Well, it is simple really. And I will just list them quickly:
- Customisability – with MIUI there’s a lot of things that you can change from the always on display, the speed indicator and much much more.
- Clean UI – Xiaomi has embraced Google Apps. So everything default is by Google. And there are no ads.
- IR Blaster – Of course, the Redmi NOTE lineup has kept this going. You’re able to control your tech at home with your phone as the remote.
- Software Updates – The monthly security patches are on time. And you’re also running MIUI 13.
- Incredible battery life – I’ve used the phone for a while now and I can promise the 5000mAh battery will give you more than a day of use.
Things I don’t like:
These are the things I felt weren’t so good with the device. They’re not deal breakers to be honest, because as you’ll see, you won’t mind them. I am just nit-picking here. They are:
- Android 11 out of the box – Which of course isn’t a huge issue, since you’re already running MIUI 13. But it would be nice to have
- 90Hz refresh rate – It would be good to have 120Hz. However, most people can’t tell the difference between 90 and 120Hz. So, that’s sort of okay.
Value for Money:
I will say this: Xiaomi continually kills it with devices in value for money. However, the Redmi NOTE 11 Series is bloated with very many devices that can confuse even reviewers like myself. Which means it is quite hard to point out a good device in the series that I can recommend – apart from the base Redmi NOTE 11 of course.
Personally for the asking price of KES 30,000 for the unit I have, I would advice someone to top up a little more money and go for the Redmi NOTE 11 Pro series. That’s not to say this isn’t a good device for anyone whose budget is capped here. Get it. It’s a great device.
Redmi NOTE 11S Specifications:
|SPECS:||REDMI NOTE 11S|
|Prices:||6/64GB: KES 22,999|
6/128GB: KES 27,999
8/128GB: KES 29,999
Available on Jumia
6.43” FHD+ AMOLED Dot Display
|Rear Camera||108MP main camera|
8MP ultra-wide camera
2MP macro camera
2MP depth camera
|Front Camera||16MP in-display front camera|
|Dimensions and Weight||159.87mm x 73.87mm x 8.09mm|
|Processor||MediaTek Helio G96|
|RAM & Storage Tech||LPDDR4X RAM|
UFS 2.2 Storage
|Operating System||Android 11, MIUI 13|
3.5mm headphone jack
|Security||Side fingerprint sensor|
AI Face Unlock
|Charging||5,000mAh (typ) battery|
Supports 33W wired Pro fast charging
100% in 58 min
Quick Charge 3+
|Connectivity||Dual SIM + MicroSD|
USB Type-C 2.0
|Available Colours||Graphite Gray|