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Redmi Note 11S Review Philippines: Middle Child

by Duey Guison  March 2, 2022

Review verdict: While it is sandwiched between the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G and Redmi Note 11 in terms of price, the Redmi Note 11S  is still a capable choice for anyone looking for a bang-for-the-buck option in the Philippines. It’s a justifiable upgrade over the vanilla model, especially with its processor of choice.

Pros

  • Significantly better processor vs Redmi Note 11
  • Better rear camera performance

Cons

  • Looks practically similar to the vanilla model
  • Shorter battery life than the Redmi Note 11

Redmi Note 11S Review Philippines Specs

  • Helio G96 processor
  • 6GB/8GB RAM
  • 64GB/128GB storage
  • 6.43-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display, 90hz refresh rate
  • 108-megapixel f/1.8 main camera with PDAF, 8-megapixel f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle camera, 2-megapixel macro camera, 2-megapixel depth sensor
  • 13-megapixel f/2.2 selfie camera
  • 4G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth 5.1, side-mounted fingerprint scanner
  • Stereo speakers, IP53 rating
  • 5000mAh battery
  • 33w wired charging
  • Android 11, MIUI 13

If you feel that the Redmi Note 11‘s Snapdragon 680 processor is a little underwhelming, the Redmi Note 11S might be for you. It has a significantly better Helio G96 processor, along with a high-resolution 108-megapixel rear camera, though we expect it to come with a slightly higher price tag. Should you buy it?

Design

Like what we mentioned earlier in this review, the Redmi Note 11S has practically the same design as the vanilla Redmi Note 11. That being said, you get flat edges and round corners on the Redmi Note 11S, which is an updated design language to go along with today’s design trends. The frame and back panel are made from polycarbonate, but they do feel solid.

The camera module is the same save for the upgraded 108-megapixel sensor for the main camera–more on that later.

Since there’s no difference between the Redmi Note 11 and Note 11S, the button and port layout remains the same: volume controls and power button/fingerprint scanner on the right side; SIM card tray on the left side; headphone jack, IR blaster, and loudspeaker on top; and USB-C port, loudspeaker, and microphone at the bottom.

Display

One of the things we loved on the Redmi Note 11 is the 90hz Full HD+ AMOLED display–and the Redmi Note 11S also has that same awesome display. Just like its vanilla sibling, the Redmi Note 11S delivers vibrant colors that make it great for binge-watching videos on YouTube and Netflix. The 90hz refresh rate makes scrolling smoother, and the stereo speakers are just as good as the ones used on the vanilla model.

If we were to nitpick the Redmi Note 11S’ display, it would be the rather thick chin that’s forgivable given that it’s a budget mid-range phone.

Cameras

One of the two key changes of the Redmi Note 11S from its vanilla sibling is with the cameras–instead of a 50-megapixel main snapper, you get a 108-megapixel shooter instead on the Redmi Note 11S. This makes the Redmi Note 11S one of the most affordable phones to have a high-resolution main rear camera.

The higher-resolution main camera does deliver, as it provided significantly more details than the Redmi Note 11. Low-light performance is notably better on the Redmi Note 11S, and that can be partly credited to the Helio G96 having a better ISP than the Snapdragon 680 to help out with post-processing.

The Helio G96’s better ISP is also evident with selfies–despite that the Redmi Note 11S uses the same 13-megapixel snapper as its vanilla sibling.

Performance, software, battery

As much as we find the Redmi Note 11 as a real value-for-money budget midrange phone, we felt that the Snapdragon 680 processor limits it as a budget midrange king. That’s what the Redmi Note 11S addressed: instead of a Snapdragon 680, you get a Helio G96 processor that offers significantly better performance across all benchmarks.

With GeekBench, the Helio G96 trumped over the newer Snapdragon 680, and it even floored the Snapdragon processor in GPU performance. The same can be said with 3DMark and PCMark, where the Helio G96 showed better scores than the Snapdragon 680. Only MediaTek’s Helio G95 beats the Helio G96–and that is because the former has a higher-clocked GPU.

Beyond synthetic benchmarks, the Redmi Note 11S is a much more capable phone than its vanilla sibling, especially with games. With a significantly better GPU, the Redmi Note 11S can handle games well–from Pokemon Unite to Genshin Impact, the Redmi Note 11S does fine with these games.

With all the performance improvements the Redmi Note 11S offers, it does fall slightly short when it comes to battery. Because of the Helio G96’s 12nm process, the battery life of the Redmi Note 11S is shorter than the Redmi Note 11 at around 13 hours (for reference, the Redmi Note 11 pulled off almost 17 hours of battery life).

While it’s not a bad figure–the Redmi Note 11S can easily survive a day of use–it’s clear that the “S” in its model name refers to it being geared more on performance, while its vanilla sibling is made more for efficiency.

Wrap up and Conclusions

Our review of the Redmi Note 11S in the Philippines shows that the middle child of the Redmi Note 11 series is a very capable phone if you prioritize performance over battery life. While it is barely any different from its vanilla sibling, upgrades on the main camera and processor make the Redmi Note 11S the true budget mid-range champ from Xiaomi.

Xiaomi Philippines hasn’t revealed the official price of the Redmi Note 11S as of writing this review, but based on global pricing, we expect it to be more expensive than the Redmi Note 11 by at least Php 3k.

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