Redmi Note 11 launch live blog: Xiaomi's new cheap phone reveal as it happened
And maybe some other Xiaomi tech
We now know everything about the new Redmi Note 11 series, because following on from launches in China and India last year, the new line of cheap Xiaomi phones has been re-unveiled for global audiences.
These new mobiles have some tweaks over the Asian versions, but we also now know their price and release dates too, thanks to information provided at the event which concluded recently.
In total, four new phones were unveiled: the Note 11, Note 11S, Note 11 Pro and Note 11 Pro 5G, all with slightly different specs, particularly in the screen size, camera and processor departments.
If you're interested in the new mobiles, you can follow our live blog of the launch below, including pre-launch pieces of information, all our thoughts and observations during the event, and important pieces of analysis afterward.
You can also watch the launch back yourself using the YouTube video below.
Welcome to our Redmi Note 11 live blog - if this is the only post you can see, it's because we've only just kicked off this page. Stay tuned for more very soon.
You might be thinking “didn’t the Redmi Note 11 series already launch?” and you’d be right - sort-of. We saw the mobile phones debut in China, and you can find out everything you need to know about those versions of the phones here.
However, when Redmi phones launch in different regions there are often slight changes, particularly in the processor, charging and camera departments. So the phones we see debut today could actually be different mobiles in a few ways.
The names will likely be the same though, so we’ll probably see a Redmi Note 11 and Note 11 Pro - perhaps there will also be a Redmi Note 11 5G or Note 11T based on the company’s past performance.
We’ve also seen the Redmi Note 11T, which launched in India last year. That was basically the same phone as the Chinese Note 11, but with a different name.
Redmi often releases T versions of its phones a little after launch, sometimes with tweaked specs to the original version, and sometimes as completely different mobiles.
Honestly, Redmi phone naming can be quite confusing, especially when you look at global markets where the same titles are used on different mobiles.
Could we see more tech unveiled at the Redmi Note 11 launch today?
Well, if there’s more up Xiaomi’s sleeves, we haven’t heard about it. We sometimes see wearables or wireless headphones launched at this kind of event, and Redmi does make those kinds of devices. But so far, we haven’t heard anything.
Xiaomi is also prone to show off some random flashy smart home gadgets at its launches like air purifiers, smart TVs, streaming sticks and the like, but it mainly sells these products in Asia, so we’re not confident anything like that will show up.
We often see Xiaomi's CyberDog (pictured) show up at these events though, not to go on sale but just as a fun extra, so maybe the metal mutt will show up later too.
So expect just the Redmi phones, but if anything else appears we’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Interested in what else is happening in smartphone news today, outside Xiaomi?
Well, it's been a very OnePlus-heavy day. Firstly, a rumor suggests a OnePlus 10 Ultra is on the way, which will arrive later in the year if it's actually real at all.
Secondly, we've heard more about the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G, which sounds like it could be launching very soon, maybe even February 11 according to this new leak.
Seeing is believing! See how the #RedmiNote11Series will #RiseToTheChallenge when it comes to giving you an amazing display. The global launch is coming very soon. Watch from 12:00pm (GMT) today! pic.twitter.com/0OQ7gu5fXCJanuary 26, 2022
There's now an hour until the Redmi Note 11 launch kicks off.
A teaser on Twitter (opens in new tab) gives us some idea of what to expect, in somewhat broken English. It says "smooth every scroll" then "color every frame" then "immersed in every moment".
Presumably, these things refer to the display, so we expect a high refresh rate, a wide color gamut and... well, we don't really know how to interpret the last phrase.
The slogan for this launch is 'Rise to the challenge' but this sounds like a motivational phase more than a tease for the phones - Chinese brands like picking out random catchphrases like this.
It sounds like the first few months of 2022 could end up being very busy for Xiaomi. Kicking off the proceedings is the Redmi Note 11 launch, but we’re expecting a lot more in the coming months.
The company’s latest flagship, the Xiaomi 12, debuted in China in December last year alongside the Xiaomi 12 Pro. The company generally unveils its tech in its home country first, as this Redmi Note 11 launch shows, and we’re expecting the top-end phones to launch globally in February or March.
Black Shark, a gaming phone brand owned by Xiaomi, also tends to debut its yearly phone in the first few months of the year, so March or April could bring the Black Shark 5.
Finally, we haven’t heard much from the Poco sub brand recently, but it maintains a slow and steady stream of budget mobiles, so we could see the next of those coming soon too.
The Redmi Note 11 live stream has begun - sort-of. The placeholder saying 'X minutes until the live stream starts' has gone, and the video has a time counter on it now, which means it's technically begun.
However we're still just seeing text which says 'the event will start shortly' so it's not exactly exciting. Chat is popping off, though.
Half an hour left - better get your drink and snacks ready.
Judging by this Tweet (opens in new tab), we might hear about MIUI updates today too. MIUI is Xiaomi's fork of Android, and it's the software the company's phones run.
We've previously found MIUI to be quite buggy, and it's often full of bloatware too, especially on the budget Redmi phones. However we've heard that Xiaomi is looking to revitalize its divisive software, so maybe we'll hear about that today.
On the live stream, we're currently seeing a looping video that's just promotional video for older Xiaomi phones - but the event proper is due to kick off very soon.
Oh - the Redmi Note 10 trailers have stopped, and we're back to the old 'the event will start shortly'.
This time it's accompanied by a timer, counting down from 5 minutes.
And it's begun.
Like most tech launches, we're starting with the company just explaining how popular its phones are.
The presenter is explaining how popular Redmi phones are, giving an example of how the company talked to a fan who visited ten different stores to pick up the Redmi Note 10.
That doesn't exactly say good things about Xiaomi's global supply though...
First, we're looking at the Redmi Note 11 Pro and Note 11 Pro 5G - it sounds like these are two different phones - which the company is referring to as its '108MP powerhouse'. Did anyone tell the company that the Redmi Note 10 Pro also had a 108MP camera?
Xiaomi first run us through the colors of the phones: Polar White, Atlantic Blue (which has a textured effect that looks like how refracted water does when it bounces on other surfaces) and Star Blue which is a light blue and violet gradient.
Here's that Atlantic Blue.
We've also heard other design features - there's a glass back, side-mounted fingerprint scanner, 3.5mm headphone jack. You can see the camera bump yourself in this image.
We've already smashed straight into photography, but at the moment they're just sharing photo samples. These were taken on Redmi phones, but were obviously edited in software afterwards to make them look good.
They're explaining the benefits of 108MP, particularly in the detail and low-light department.
We're reading between the lines quite a bit here, but it sounds like the 108MP sensor used is a better one than we saw in previous Xiaomi phones.
We've also heard the other cameras: there's an ultra-wide and macro camera. We hope the latter is like the one we saw in the Xiaomi Mi 11, as it was a telemacro which was great for close-up shots, but they didn't say.
Xiaomi has moved straight onto video, and they're not wasting any time with this launch. As tech fans, we appreciate how Xiaomi seems to value our time, and isn't spending ages discussing every small point about the phone. As someone having to live blog this launch, our hands hurt.
Thankfully a video of someone skateboarding down a hill is giving us time to write this post out - apparently it was shot on the Note 11 Pro 5G.
It sounds like some Mi 11 videography modes are coming to the Redmi series.
Here's a summary of the Redmi Note 11 Pro camera modes.
We've already moved onto display. Apparently the phones will get AMOLED screens, which is surprising, as that's the display tech top-end phones use, and we generally see LCD or OLED in budget mobiles.
There's also a 120Hz refresh rate - this means the display updates 120 times per second, making motion look smoother than on other phones with 60Hz or 90Hz screens.
Here are those screen features, as it's easier to screenshot than to write it all out, thanks to Xiaomi's fast event speed.
Oh, and apparently the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G has 5G connectivity, which is an absolute shocker given that name.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G is getting the Snapdragon 695 chipset. That's a bit of a surprise, as it's more of a budget processor than the 732G used by the Redmi Note 10 Pro, and the phone might not be too powerful as a result.
The non-5G version gets the MediaTek Helio G96, which also won't be too fast.
There's expandable storage on both though, with a micro SD card slot which supports up to 1TB storage.
Oh, and apparently RAM and storage go up to 8GB and 128GB respectively, though we expect there will be different configurations you can pick.
Oh crickey, we're on to battery already. My poor hands...
The Redmi Note 11 Pro is confirmed to have a 5,000mAh battery and 67W fast charging, two pretty impressive specs for mid-range or low-end phones.
Xiaomi says you can get an entire day of battery life from just 15 minutes of charging, a claim we're dubious of, and we're definitely going to test out that claim when we get our hands on the phone.
Also, Xiaomi is using Samsung's phone charging speeds to compare. That's a clever example, but not the best as a point of comparison, as Samsung uses painfully slow charging speeds for its mobiles.
Oh, and Xiaomi has confirmed that the phones will come with a 67W charger in the box.
So that's the Redmi Note 11 Pro and 11 Pro 5G. We're moving onto the price now.
The 5G phone will start for $329, for 6GB RAM and 64GB storage. Just note that the company doesn't sell its phones in the US, so presumably it's using US Dollars as a point of comparison.
The phone goes up to $349 for 128GB storage and $379 for 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. The phone will go on sale at some point in February, though a pre-order deal was mentioned that's only live on February 15 and 16, so presumably it'll be available at some point after that.
The 4G version starts at $299 for 6GB RAM and 64GB storage, with the same bigger variants as the 5G one at $329 and $349 respectively. It'll also be along at some point in February.
And now we've moved onto the Redmi Note 11 and Note 11S - the former is the '90Hz AMOLED Pioneer' and the latter is the '108MP Expert' apparently.
The Note 11 and Note 11S look the same - there's the 6.43-inch screen, side fingerprint scanner, 3.5mm headphone jack, flat edges and rectangular camera bump. They also look the same as the Pro models.
The phones come in blue, black, white and blue.
The Note 11S comes with a 108MP camera, like the Pro and Pro 5G, as well as an ultra-wide and macro camera.
The Note 11 'just' has a 50MP camera, joined by an ultra-wide, macro and... another camera, though while a fourth camera was confirmed, we weren't told what it actually was.
Display! (we've given up with images because it takes too much time, and Xiaomi is going so quickly).
Both phones have FHD+ AMOLED displays, broken up by punch-holes for the front cameras at the top-center. The the Note 11 and Note 11S both have 90Hz refresh rates and 1000 nits max brightness.
The Note 11S has the same Helio G96 processor as the Pro 4G, while the Note 11 has the Snapdragon 680, another Snapdragon 600-series chipset like the Pro 5G.
We're not sure about either of these chipsets, and it sounds like they might not be the fastest budget phones in the whole world, but we'll need to test that out before saying it for sure.
So it sounds like all the Note 11 phones will have a 5,000mAh battery. But the Note 11 and Note 11S get 33W charging (with in-box chargers) unlike the 67W of the Pro versions.
According to Xiaomi, this will power the battery to full in just 58 minutes, something we'll have to test out.
Xiaomi has also detailed Memory Extension mode, which lets you turn free storage space into RAM temporarily to give you extra processing power - we've seen a few phones which do this.
There's also dual stereo speakers.
Here's that roundup. Now onto prices...
...if our keyboard hasn't caught fire before we announce them.
The Note 11S starts at $249 for 6GB RAM and 64GB storage, and goes up to $279 for 6GB/128GB and $299 for 8GB/128GB. Apparently it'll go on sale 'starting January', which doesn't exactly give Xiaomi much time to release the phone.
The standard Note 11 costs just $179 for a 4GB RAM and 64GB storage model, and goes up to $199 for 4GB RAM and 128GB storage, and $229 for 6GB RAM and 128GB storage.
Those are some pretty low prices, though we'll need to hear regional pricing in places the phones will actually go on sale.
The phones will go on sale in January like the Note 11S.
So those are the four phones, and Xiaomi has confirmed those are the only smartphones launching today - but it's already barreled on to software, and its MIUI Android fork.
Apparently MIUI 13, the new version of MIUI, has four key focuses.
The first is 'Liquid Storage', which is an algorithm that optimizes storage space by reducing fragmentation. A good idea is like, when you play Tetris, you know how gaps can form in your grid? Defragmentation lets you fill these in to automatically remove lines and optimize storage. That's a bit of a mixed metaphor, hope it makes sense.
RAM optimization is another new focus, which smartly optimizes what your phone's RAM is doing at any one time.
Third is focused algorithms, which improves speeds and performance by... doing something? We couldn't catch it.
Next is Smart Balance, which automatically finds the correct mix between performance power and battery life depending on what task you're doing, which should improve your phone's battery life.
We've also heard a design change for MIUI - a side bar is being added, which lets you easily access your most-used apps by swiping in from the side.
Oh, apparently all four new Redmi phones will get MIUI 13 pre-installed.
We're looking at Xiaomi's wider tech products now.
Apparently the brand has sold 16 million air purifiers so far, and it's announcing a new one now, called the Smart Air Purifier 4 Pro (or Pro 4?) which... purifies the air around you, we guess.
Not all Xiaomi's smart home tech comes to all regions, so you'll have to see if this goes on sale where you are.
It sounds like the air purifier was the only smart-home product Xiaomi had today. So no TVs or CyberDogs or anything.
The event is likely wrapping up soon then, unless Xiaomi has a 'one more thing' - it wouldn't be the first time the company has used this Apple-like presentation for a final exciting product.
Nope, it sounds like that's it. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 launch is officially over.
That doesn't mean you should close this tab, though, because we've got more to come.
For the rest of the day (or until we clock off from work, at least) we're going to be sharing analysis, opinions, things you might have missed and other important bits of information.
I might also cede the live blog to another member of the TechRadar team, for some perspective from a writer who doesn't cover every move Xiaomi makes. Maybe.
Firstly, here's everything you need to know about the Redmi Note 11 and Note 11 Pro 5G, the two handsets that are coming to the UK, as we won't be seeing the 11S or 11 Pro here.
Now we're going to quickly pop out for lunch but expect more analysis in less than an hour.
Now that the event is over, we're going to be moving on to analysis.
One of the interesting points we've noticed is that there's only one 5G phone in the new Redmi Note 11 range, in the 11 Pro 5G, compared to three 4G-only devices.
Given how insistent telecoms companies are on the prevalence and importance of 5G, it's curious that Xiaomi isn't going all-in on the new form of connectivty.
The timing is something to point out, as just hours before the Note 11 launch began, rival company Realme announced that it was going 'all in 5G [sic]' for its Realme 9 Pro series, which will likely rival the Redmi Note 11 series closely in terms of price and specs.
So other companies are clearly embracing 5G more than Redmi.
We gave the Redmi Note 10 Pro a really positive review because its specs were impressive for its low price.
In particular the cameras wowed us with the 108MP main camera and, arguably more importantly, the 5MP telemacro camera which was borrowed from the Xiaomi Mi 11 flagship phone.
Because of that, we're really confused as to why Xiaomi opted to drop this camera for the entirety of its Redmi Note 11 range. As far as we're aware, the macro cameras the phones have aren't telemacro, and they're also paired with 2MP sensors instead of the 5MP one the Note 10 Pro used.
As a result, it's likely the Note 11 Pro is actually worse than its predecessor for macro photography, and that's a shame, as the Note 10 Pro was probably the best budget phone for this type of picture.
Xiaomi unveiled four new Redmi phones, but if you're on the market for a new mobile, you're not going to have to choose between all four of them.
That's because Redmi phone availability is dependent on market, and we'd imagine most countries will get two or three of them, not all four.
For example in the UK, only the Note 11 and Note 11 Pro 5G will be going on sale. In some other regions, especially ones where Redmi phones are more well known, we could see more of the devices, but we'd be surprised if any regions received all four.
That's good, because with their similar pricing and specs, it could get hard to choose between them.
Xiaomi made a big song and dance about the fact all its new phones have AMOLED panels, and for sure, that's a big feature. Lots of budget phones have LCD panels that don't look as good, with less bold colors and contrast.
It's worth pointing out, though, that Redmi phones have used this panel before - the Redmi Note 10 Pro had an AMOLED screen too.
So the important news is that the lowest-end Redmi Note 11 gets it - phones of that price almost never get AMOLED panels.
MIUI 13 was something else that was explored at the Redmi Note 11 event, and we're glad.
Software changes are something that's very hard to explore in conferences - even Google and Apple struggle to make their new operating systems interesting - and so you'd be forgiven for zoning out for that part of the launch event.
You'll be able to explore MIUI 13 much better when you're testing a phone running it.
But we're happy that Xiaomi detailed MIUI 13 now now, because it means that in the Xiaomi 12 launch - which is likely going to be very soon - we won't have to go through this again.
On hindsight, we've decided this is our favorite color for the Redmi Note 11 series. The textured effect really does look like that pattern that appears on surfaces when light is shone on water and it reflects and refracts.
Is there a scientific name for that effect? Probably? Do we know it? No.
So, we're probably going to start winding down this live blog - partly because we're running out of analysis, but mainly because our work day is nearly over.
Oh, one final thing:
When we think about Redmi phones, particularly with regards to their competitors, we think of a few key phone lines - there's the Moto G, Realme numbered series, Nokia G and OnePlus Nord, to name a few.
But launching budget phone series in the beginning of the year is an interesting prospect, because it's a very busy period of year for new mobiles. Most of them are premium devices, like the Samsung Galaxy S22 or Xiaomi 12, but often these devices bring Lite versions too.
In the next few months we could see a Xiaomi 12 Lite, Motorola Edge 30 Lite, Oppo Find X5 Lite and maybe more too, which will also rival the Redmi Note 11 handsets.
Not only will those mobiles have competitive specs, they'll likely also have features inherited from their pricey siblings, which could make them more tempting buys than mobiles from the established budget lines.
That means the Redmi Note 11 phones will really need to impress us before we test them.
This is our last post for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 live blog - it's been a busy day, especially with how detail-packed that launch event was. Thanks for following along live if you did, or for catching up afterwards if that's how you picked up all the details.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for full reviews of the Redmi Note 11 phones, and all those other devices we mentioned earlier in this post.
Sign up to receive daily breaking news, reviews, opinion, analysis, deals and more from the world of tech.
Thank you for signing up to TechRadar. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.