Smartphone design trends come and go, but some seem to have staying power. Curved edge displays, for example, are now considered the norm and large camera bumps are no longer a novelty, though they still look a bit ridiculous. Sometimes, however, the pendulum starts swinging in the opposite direction as shown by the iPhone 13 lineup. Xiaomi has embraced the return of flat edges with its latest Redmi flagship smartphone series.
Redmi has always been Xiaomi’s mid-range brand, and the new Redmi Note 11 series is no different. Though the line between smartphone tiers has blurred, there are ways you can tell a mid-range handset from its high-end peers. For example, the top-of-the-line Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G is powered by a Snapdragon 695 5G processor, while the line’s non-5G version makes do with a MediaTek Helio G96. Both options should be enough for most day-to-day use, but don’t expect them to offer blazing speeds, especially for games.
Xiaomi puts the focus on the Redmi Note 11’s cameras, though they are essentially the same as the ones used for the Redmi Note 10 series in 2021. The hardware includes the main 108MP Samsung ISOCELL HM2 camera and an 8MP ultra-wide camera. Of note, the 2022 Redmi Note series downgrades the macro shooter from 5MP to 2MP for reasons unknown. Even more curious is the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G, which is the only model in the series lacking a 2MP depth sensor.
Flat is in again
After years of promoting curved edges as more ergonomic and easier on palms, some manufacturers are back to flattening out their phone edges. Apple reverted to its once-iconic flat-edged design with the iPhone 13 and has extended that to its iPads. Redmi calls its own version a “trendy flat-edge body design,” but comparisons with the iPhone can’t be avoided.
The lower-end Redmi Note 11 and Redmi Note 11S will arrive in January 2022 with very low starting prices at $179 and $249, respectively. February 2022 will see the two Pro models arrive for $299 (Redmi Note 11 Pro) and $329 (Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G). The exact international market availability hasn’t been revealed yet, though it’ll be surprising if consumers can buy these models in the US without jumping through hoops.