Gadget

Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G Review

(Pocket-lint) – Redmi has a pretty confusing range of mid-range phones in the Note 11 family. Not only does it have models with the same name, but also devices with different specs for different regions. Each phone is different, but perhaps not justifiably so.

The Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G sits at the top of the range, very closely matched by the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G. Note the 5G part here, because there are also some 4G models in the family that also come with different hardware.

Once you wrap your head around the range, then, you’re likely wondering how the Note 11 Pro+ compares to its sibling and other Android phones in the same price bracket.

We’ve been testing in order to find out.  

Our quick take

In both price and performance, the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G doesn’t differ hugely from the Note 11 Pro 5G. You do get that fast charger for a little more money, and, admittedly, that charging speed is impressive, but across the rest of the device there’s little else to mark these phones apart from a minor processor boost.

It almost feels as though Redmi was so desperate to get a 120W charging phone on the market that it just went ahead and did so, rather than waiting another year. 

So, we can’t really say this phone justifies its place alongside the Note 11 Pro 5G, because they’re so similar and have the same software issues. The out-of-date Android, as well, is a really big shortcoming of this device. 

As an all-rounder, though, the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ is perfectly competent, offering good performance and value for money, with fast charging being the bonus. Just be aware that this is the only real flicker of excitement – the rest of this phone pretty much plays it straight.

Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G review: Fast and spurious?

For

  • Good display
  • Staggeringly fast charging
  • Solid overall performance
  • Good speakers
  • 120W charger included
Against

  • Clunky software experience
  • Outdated Android version
  • Flaky Bluetooth performance
  • Smaller battery than cheaper sibling

squirrel_widget_7007977

Design and build

  • 163.65 x 76.19 x 8.34mm
  • 204g
  • Side-mounted fingerprint scanner
  • Stereo speakers

The Redmi Note 11 Pro+ looks a lot like the Redmi Note 11 Pro; you’d be hard-pressed to tell them apart, but, as the weights and measures reveal, they’re in different frames.

The Pro models in this family are characterised by the flattened sides and back. Squared edges aren’t so great on large handsets, and we much prefer softer curves that don’t cut into stretched gripping fingers. As it is, this phone is more comfortable to use when in the soft plastic case that comes in the box. We actually like the frosted finish to the rear of the phone, it saves this device from fingerprints, and light shimmers across it nicely, especially on the Forest Green pictured below.

Pocket-lintredmi note 11 pro plus photo 11

The camera sits on an island top left. That positions the main camera top and assembles the supporting lenses and flash beneath it – one circle appears just to be a blank panel, patched in for symmetry’s sake.

The fingerprint sensor lives in the power button on the right-hand side of the phone and has been completely reliable during our testing; there are stereo speakers, along with a subtle “Sound by JBL” etching on the frame, which we like.

Those speakers are pretty good, too. They certainly don’t lack any volume or reasonable bass, so are a valuable addition for those watching ad hoc videos or gaming out loud.

Pocket-lintredmi note 11 pro plus photo 10

This phone also retains its 3.5mm headphone socket – a bonus for those who want to use an existing set of wired headphones. There’s an IP53 rating, as well, which is enough for basic splash protection.

Overall, there’s little to complain about, but also not a huge amount to be excited about when it comes to the design.

Display

  • 6.67-inches, AMOLED
  • 2400 x 1080 pixels (395ppi), 120Hz
  • Gorilla Glass 5

There’s a feeling of sameness about Redmi’s recent Pro displays. The 6.67-inch display is Full HD+, AMOLED and offers a 120Hz refresh rate. It’s not adaptive, as you might find on high-end devices, and we also found it was off by default, so hunt out that setting and turn it on if you want smoother visuals.

The reason that it’s not turned on is to preserve battery life – and with a smaller battery in the Note 11 Pro+ compared to the Note 11 Pro, that’s something you might want to consider – but more on that later.

Pocket-lintredmi note 11 pro plus photo 5

There’s a hole-punch camera in the centre of the display and it’s perfectly bright and vibrant, leaving nothing to really complain about.

Sometimes the auto-brightness gets a little confused, and we’ve found ourselves walking along in bright conditions with the display seeming to think that it’s dark outside; almost like it’s dimmed because you weren’t using it.

What’s good, though, is that Redmi has decent gaming software that swings in when you start playing a game, which includes quick access to brightness controls and the ability to turn off auto-brightness without messing around.

Pocket-lintredmi note 11 pro plus photo 6

Overall, we’re not really surprised that Redmi stuck with this display: it’s pretty good and there’s little that you’d have to complain about.

It is covered with a factory-fitted scratch protector, and, ironically, the softer plastic surface of this protector picks up marks fairly easily, so it soon looks messy. You might want to remove it for the best visuals – especially if you already employ a case to protect your phone and display.

Performance and battery life

  • MediaTek Dimensity 920, 6/8GB, 64/128GB +microSD
  • 4500mAh, 120W charging

There are a couple of changes to the hardware that mark this phone out from the Note 11 Pro 5G, and that includes the core hardware and the battery.

There’s a move from the Snapdragon 695 in the Pro to MediaTek’s Dimensity 920 in the Pro+, creating a real dilemma for buyers whether they want to go with the stronger brand – Snapdragon – or the potentially higher performing Dimensity 920.

Pocket-lintredmi note 11 pro plus photo 9

As far as mid-range devices go (and we’re still in the more affordable end of the market here), there’s plenty of performance in everyday tasks, and things are pretty much indistinguishable from flagship hardware when it comes to crunching your email or working your social media.

Most of the performance annoyances instead come from MIUI, which appears here as version 12.5 on Android 11. So, it’s out of date compared to the rest of the market, but it also seems to change a lot for the sake of changing it – and unpicking those changes to get back to a more practical arrangement is definitely worth doing, like moving to gesture navigation, disabling the lock screen carousel and reverting the quick settings and notifications pane back to a combined entity, rather than separated as default.

You can check out a range of MIUI tips in our YouTube video here.

Pocket-lintsample photos photo 8

We’ve found the Bluetooth to be a little rocky, taking a couple of attempts to connect to headphones (we tried a couple of different brands), making it more of a meal than it really should be.

Otherwise, however, connectivity – including 5G – seemed solid enough, with no problems reported when making calls and no problem streaming or accessing data-rich sources. We also found the hand-off from Wi-Fi to cellular to be nice and slick, without the stumbling that some phones go through when you walk out of the house.

When it comes to gaming performance, it’s not a graphical powerhouse, but it’s good enough. Attempting to switch to 120fps mode on Call of Duty Mobile drops you to low graphics, which isn’t worth the trade-off, but the game is perfectly playable at 60fps, so it’s not a huge problem.

Then you have the battery – or, rather, the charging. One of the big additions to the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G is 120W charging, which is blisteringly fast. To accommodate this, there’s a drop to a 4500mAh cell, smaller than the 5000mAh on the Note 11 Pro with its 67W charging.

Pocket-lintredmi note 11 pro plus photo 8

Do you need to charge this fast? Well, the good news is that a 120W charger comes in the box, and we daresay you could use it for all your other devices, too. As it is, supporting fast charging is a great thing, because the phone will charge in a flash and you don’t really need to worry about when you’ll charge the phone, because you just plug it in and it’s up to the higher percentages in about 15 minutes.

The downside – and there is a downside – is that this phone’s endurance isn’t great. It seems happy to burn through the power that it’s got and we’ve often found ourselves at the end of the day getting under 15 per cent battery. Lots of things contribute to this – especially if you’re going to game on it – as the demands on the processor are then high.

Does less than stellar battery life matter? Not when you can plug it in for 15 minutes and then go back to normal.

Pocket-lintredmi note 11 pro plus photo 12

Camera loadout and performance

  • Triple camera system:
    • Main: 108MP, f/1.8
    • Ultrawide: 8MP, f/2.2, 120°
    • Macro: 2MP, f/2.4
  • Front: 16MP, f/2.4

On the Note 11 Pro+ 5G, Redmi drops the depth sensor from the Note 11 Pro 5G – not that you’ll notice the difference. Otherwise, the camera loadout is effectively the same. That means it leads with a 108-megapixel sensor, although that top resolution is only unlocked if you delve into the ‘Pro’ mode.

Otherwise, it uses 9-in-1 pixel binning, resulting in a 12-megapixel photo, which is pretty standard practice on such devices. The high-resolution sensor is really a spec sheet play, giving Redmi something to shout about, rather than it offering remarkably better results than a 50 or even a 12-megapixel sensor.

However, it’s a decent performer and is quick enough to grab images. It doesn’t quite have the pop of the Pixel, obviously, or the luscious result of the latest Samsung phone – both of which seem to leverage post-capture processing more effectively – but the results are good enough. You’ll also probably notice that it’s not so adept with HDR scenes, or handling bright colours, which often over-expose and lose details. However, there is a decent night mode that will give much better results than the standard photos shot in low light.

The addition of the ultrawide camera is great, as this is a useful lens, if not the best quality, but there’s no telephoto here. You can tap through to 2x zoom, or pinch out to 10x zoom, but, the further you go, the more quality you lose. This is where this camera really can’t compete with flagship models. There’s also the macro sensor, but it’s barely worth a mention, as it’s low quality.

The 16-megapixel front camera is reasonable, once you tame the face-soften “beauty” features that will give you worse results – unless you want that, of course. It offers pretty good edge detection for portraits with nicely blurred backgrounds, with the ability to tweak the “aperture” to change the strength of that background blurring effect. Low light images get soft quickly, but outdoors it’s fine.

Video capture supports up to 4K/30fps, meanwhile, and you’ll have to drop back to 1080p if you want 60fps. On the whole, it’s a perfectly good camera, giving good results in most situations.

To recap

The Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G doesn’t differ hugely from the slightly cheaper Note 11 Pro 5G in the overall performance or the experience. It does have really fast charging, though, which might swing it for you. Otherwise, there’s little to pick between the two – it’s just a slightly better performer.

Writing by Chris Hall.


pocket-lint[dot]com

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button