Redmi Note 11T 5G Review – the 5G Tax is Heavy | Comparison vs Redmi Note 10 Pro, Realme 8S

Should you compromise the other specs for 5G support? Find out in our review of Redmi Note 11T 5G.

Redmi Note 11T 5G review

When you say T-Series, the first thought that probably crosses your mind is the Indian music label which has the largest YouTube channel in the world. Also, the reason why Bitch Lasagna exists. However, within the offices of Xiaomi India the “T” series would probably evoke a different reaction. The “T” suffix in the Redmi Note lineup indicates “Technology” as explained by Xiaomi’s spokespeople. In 2021, the technology in focus for Xiaomi is 5G. It started with Xiaomi’s first 5G phone, the Redmi Note 10T 5G and now has the Redmi Note 11T 5G, which is basically a rebadged Redmi Note 11 which launched in China a month earlier.

However, by now we are all aware that these phones do come with a special 5G tax, which means Xiaomi has to carefully compromise on other parts of the hardware. Now, whether those compromises make sense, or not, in the Redmi Note 11T 5G, is something that we shall evaluate in this review. And, as usual, I will compare it with its immediate competitors as we go along.

Design

The first compromise starts with the material used in the construction of the phone. The Note 11T 5G has a plastic back and frame. The textured, slightly sandpaper-ish design, adds to the overall plasticky feel as well. The camera module is slightly raised from the back, as usual. However, what I found odd was the fact that despite including only two cameras on the Note 11T 5G, Xiaomi’s engineers thought it’d be fine to still include a massive module with an extra row of fake camera rings for marketing ‘AI.’

Visually, it is fine considering the symmetry’s been maintained well. But, I can’t help but shake off the feeling that it’s been done purely to make consumers think that there are four cameras on the phone instead of two.

As for the rest of the hardware, Xiaomi doesn’t leave any stone unturned. First things first, there’s IP53 rating for dust and splash protection, which is great in this price range. Furthermore, you get a nice and tactile volume rocker along with a power button on the right edge at the optimum position. This power button also houses the physical fingerprint scanner, which can unlock the phone in a jiffy. Then you have the Type-C port at the bottom along with the 3.5mm headphone port. There is a proper stereo speaker setup and an infrared port too.

Audio performance on the Note 11T 5G is great as the 3.5mm port supports up to 24bit/192Khz Hi-Res audio streams. Once, I switched on the Hi-Fi audio setting, it could drive my Moondrop Blessing 2 with ease and sounded fairly clean too, especially for a phone. However when it comes to the speaker performance, there is a clear imbalance in sound and the speaker on top sounds feeble compared to the one at the bottom.

By the way, I also noticed some confusion around the memory card slot and I can confirm that the Redmi Note 11T 5G most definitely has a microSD slot in the hybrid SIM tray. GSMArena’s listing needs to be corrected.

The design of the Redmi Note 11T 5G is nice enough with a good in-hand feel as well thanks to the controlled weight of 195 grams. That said, owing to the chip shortage and the constantly increasing prices of phones, the Note 11T 5G is priced very similarly to the Note 10 Pro. And you will agree, that the Note 10 Pro has a design that is leagues better with its glass back and classier frosted back shades. In fact, even the Realme 8S has a nicer matte plastic frame as opposed to the shiny, glossy one on the Redmi Note 11T 5G.

Display

The Note 11T 5G has a 6.6-inch display up front. Now, this is an IPS LCD panel with FHD+ resolution and Widevine L1 support. There’s absolutely zero support for HDR content playback. No, it doesn’t even work on YouTube. Also, the colour calibration is slightly off even in the Standard setting where it looks warmer than usual. As for the brightness levels, phones like the Realme 8S and the Note 10 Pro can get brighter.

You do get support for 90Hz adaptive refresh rate. Essentially, the display can switch between 50Hz, 60Hz, and 90Hz as the situation demands. That’s not too many variations, I know but, for what it is worth, it works fairly well and 90Hz scrolling does feel smooth for the most part. Regardless, the advantage of variable refresh rate is better battery life and I will talk about that in the battery section of the review.

Moving on, the display also offers a touch response rate of 240Hz, which feels extremely responsive in everyday use and while playing games too. What’s also fantastic is the haptic feedback, it has been further tightened now. In fact, I feel this is almost as good as any super mid-range phone.

Overall though, the display on the Redmi Note 10 Pro is far, far more impressive in this price range. Everything else looks absolutely lacklustre when compared against the Note 10 Pro’s AMOLED 120Hz panel with HDR support and higher brightness. It is still class leading until the Note 11 Pro comes along, at least.

Camera

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a dual camera setup on the phone. The Redmi Note 11T 5G has a single 50MP shooter and an 8MP ultrawide. Xiaomi didn’t reveal the make of the 50MP camera though. Let’s quickly check if this austere approach actually works and how’s the camera performance compared to the Redmi Note 10 Pro and the Realme 8S.

  1. Starting with the details, the Redmi Note 11T 5G’s 50MP camera is no match for the 64MP sensors inside the Redmi Note 10 Pro and the Realme 8S. You get sharper textures on the Note 10 Pro and the Realme 8S samples at close crop. As a matter of fact, I noticed the Redmi Note 10 Pro tends to over-sharpen slightly as opposed to the Realme 8S. However, I am just nitpicking on the technicalities here and most regular users might actually prefer it because it is not really overbearing.
  2. Moving on, even when it comes to colour accuracy, the Note 11T 5G falters badly. From the Reds to the Blues to the Greens, every single colour has been inaccurately rendered here. The Green colour of the chair is closer to natural looking on the Realme 8S’ sample. The Reds and the Blues, on the other hand, are closer to true-to-life on the Redmi Note 10 Pro. In fact, there’s some added contrast in most of the Note 10 Pro’s shots. Therefore, it also looks more attractive as a result.
  3. When it comes to dynamic range performance, all the three phones are almost equally matched if you ask me. The only issue with the Realme 8S is that when it fires the HDR mode, it tends to botch up the colours, especially that of the sky.
  4. Only the Redmi phones offer an ultrawide shooter but I really prefer the colour reproduction of the Note 11T 5G. The Note 10 Pro, on the other hand, tends to offer a brighter more vibrant exposure making it look more appealing.
  5. If you are a fan of capturing macros, the Redmi Note 10 Pro should be your go-to phone. It captures such detailed macros, it can compete even with the expensive flagships. So yeah, you lose out on that in the Redmi Note 11T 5G. The Realme 8S does offer you a 2MP macro, though.
  6. Moving on to the human subject pictures, note that these samples were shot using the rear camera and not the selfie camera. You will see that the Note 11T 5G picks up the Reds in the face. The Realme 8S has the closest to natural facial tone of the three. Plus, it isn’t as badly over-sharpened as the Redmi Note 10 Pro. My only concern with the Realme 8S’ capture is the cool cast over the jacket and my shirt inside, therefore botching up the colours.
  7. But, when it comes to portraits, Xiaomi’s algorithm is leagues better than Realme’s. Both the Note 10 Pro and the Note 11T 5G offer cleaner cutouts and a better depth of field simulation. In fact, it looks like Xiaomi has further enhanced the algorithm on the Redmi Note 11T 5G. It is more confident with the blurring effect in the background and the portrait looks a lot like a DSLR image would.
  8. Now, I don’t even have to say it, clearly the Redmi Note 11T 5G and the Realme 8S offer the best selfies here. But, the Realme 8S has an edge with its close to accurate facial tone and overall better colour temperature reproduction as well. Against the light, however, the Redmi Note 11T 5G is better. The situation is similar when it comes to selfie portraits, where the Note 11T 5G and the Realme 8S clearly take the lead.
  9. But, if you are shooting selfies in low light, the Realme 8S and the Redmi Note 10 Pro offer a Night Mode as well. However, the Realme 8S’ low light selfies look the best. Overall, when it comes to human subject shots using the rear camera and the selfie camera, the Realme 8S and the Note 11T 5G would be my picks for the best camera setup over the Redmi Note 10 Pro. I am glad Xiaomi has fixed my biggest concern with the Redmi Note 10 Pro’s cameras – pictures of people.
  10. The Redmi Note 11T 5G’s low light performance with Night Mode on is disappointing to say the least. The Note 10 Pro and the Realme 8S offer sharper textures and a brighter exposure. But, both the phones really bungle up the colour science so badly. Realme’s image has a terrible Green overcast whereas the Redmi Note 11T 5G shoots up the red. I’d still pick the Note 10 Pro if I were to shoot pictures in the night
  11. Finally, in video recording, you can shoot up to 1080p 60fps videos on the Redmi Note 11T 5G. The Realme 8S tops out at 30fps. The Note 10 Pro can shoot up to 4K 30fps videos. In my 1080p 60fps test, the Note 10 Pro’s footage looks sharper, offers better contrast, and audio quality as well. Both the phones don’t offer image stabilization in this setting. That said, the sound recording is actually the best on the Realme 8S. But, the 1080p 30fps recording quality is still the best on the Redmi Note 10 Pro. In my 1080p 30fps testing, I noticed the Note 11T 5G tends to hunt for focus a lot and has a lot of tonal shifts as well. The footage looks very jarring. And when it comes to stabilisation, the Realme 8S is extremely janky compared to the Redmis.
  12. The same is true for front camera video recording where the Redmi Note 10 Pro creams the Redmi Note 11T 5G and the Realme 8S in every single parameter – stabilisation, details, dynamic range, and sound. The Note 10 Pro would easily be my go to camera for shooting videos.

While the Redmi Note 10 Pro is still the most versatile camera setup among the three phones here, it does struggle with human subject pictures. That’s where Xiaomi has improved the algorithm a lot with the Redmi Note 11T 5G. The Realme 8S is pretty good too, and has a nice balance of crisp rear camera performance and good human subject pictures as well. But, it does not offer an ultrawide angle camera. To conclude, if you can spend more money, the Redmi Note 10 Pro would be my camera phone of choice under Rs 20,000.

Software

As for the software, it is the same MIUI 12.5 experience based on Android 11 that we’ve experienced all of 2021. It is feature packed and doesn’t include ads in the system level anymore. But yes, you will still have to contend with a lot of unwanted apps, which can be deleted. Thankfully. I didn’t notice any bugs as such but once in a while the Albums app would take time to render the full image. In fact, I noticed that once I took a picture it would take a while to process but I suppose this could be a Dimensity 810 issue and not really a software one. Overall though, it is the same MIUI experience that continues to be polarising – some hate it, some love it.

Performance

The Redmi Note 11T 5G uses the MediaTek Dimensity 810 SoC and is available in 6GB or 8GB RAM variants. This is the first time I’ve actually used a phone with the Dimensity 810. And, I actually expected it to be more powerful than the 800U but that’s not really the case, considering the nomenclature. But, that is not really the case here. In all my benchmark tests, the Dimensity 800U outperforms the Dimensity 810. But, it goes without saying that the Dimensity 810 is more powerful than the Snapdragon 732G inside the Redmi Note 10 Pro.

I also ran Call of Duty Mobile and noticed the Note 11T 5G can only hit a max graphics setting of Medium and High framerates. This is true even for the Realme 8S, which is the other phone with the Dimensity 810. But, I think this could be an optimisation issue rather than a capability one because PUBG New State runs at the Ultra graphics and Max framerate. Now, if you are a gamer, I’d suggest picking up the Poco X3 Pro or the Realme Narzo 30 Pro instead. Otherwise, the performance on the Note 11T 5G is not too bad. It runs cool and doesn’t stutter in daily performance.

The 4G performance and call quality is great on the phone. Nothing to complain about.

Battery

Much like most phones under 20k this year, the Redmi Note 11T 5G also has a 5000mAh battery. The battery life is great through and through. You can easily expect over 8 hours of SoT on heavy usage, which is about a day and a half worth of battery life. Also, with the bundled 33W charger, you can charge the phone from 0 to 100 in under 1 hr and 15 mins.

Should You Buy the Redmi Note 11T 5G?

Irony time: while I’ve mentioned 5G so many times in this article, there’s no way for me to test it. So, we can only look forward to it and brands will do all it takes to promote it. Yes, we might see commercial 5G rollout by the end of 2022, but I still don’t think you should necessarily buy a 5G phone especially if you have to deal with a lot of compromises. The Redmi Note 11T 5G is the perfect example of that.

And, if you are waiting for the Note 11 Pro and Note 11 Pro+, let it be known that those devices are bound to be more expensive and will possibly be priced over Rs 20,000. So, if you are planning on buying a phone in the next two months, at least until the Redmi Note 10 Pro is on sale, it’ll still be my recommendation for a well rounded phone under Rs 20,000. It has a better design, display, and a more versatile set of cameras.

But yes, if you are comparing between the Realme 8S and the Redmi Note 11T 5G, the Redmi phone does have a slight edge overall.

What do you folks think? Let me know in the comments section below.

Redmi Note 11T 5G

Rs 16,999
7.9

Design and Build

8.3/10

Performance

8.1/10

Display Quality

6.6/10

Camera Quality

6.3/10

Software

8.2/10

Battery Performance

5.4/10

Audio Performance

8.3/10

Day-to-Day Usage

9.0/10

Network Performance

9.0/10

Value-for-Money

10.0/10

What Is Good?

  • Good battery life
  • 90Hz refresh rate
  • Good audio performance through 3.5mm port
  • 5G for future-proofing
  • Fabulous haptic feedback

What Is Bad?

  • Average camera performance
  • Stereo speaker sounds imbalanced
  • Average build quality

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