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Infinix Note 11S review: a compelling value performer

Infinix, a subsidiary of Shenzhen-based Transsion Holdings, has been consistent in launching compelling smartphones in India. The smartphone maker is known for offering powerful budget-oriented phones under its Note series. To cap off the year 2021 in India, Infinix has launched its latest Infinix Note 11 series. The lineup comprises standard Infinix Note 11 and the Infinix Note 11S. These smartphones differ in terms of display, processor, and RAM/storage configurations.

Also read: Realme GT Neo 2 review: performance you can count on

I have been using the more premium of the two launches – Infinix Note 11S for over a week now. The smartphone does have what it takes to compete with the Redmis and Realmes of the world. But there are several evident shortcomings that don’t really put Infinix in the contention. Here’s my detailed review of Infinix Note 11S after a week’s usage.

Infinix Note 11S review of specifications

Specs
Infinix Note 11S
Display
6.95-inch FHD+ Ultra Fluid IPS LCD (120Hz)
Processor MediaTek Helio G96
RAM 6GB|8GB
Storage 64GB|128GB
OS
XOS v10.0.0 based on Android 11
Rear cameras 50MP + 2MP + 2MP
Front Camera 16MP
Battery 5,000mAh battery
Fast charging 33W fast charge
Dimensions 173.06 x 78.37 x 8.7mm
Price Rs 12,999 starting price

Design and display

  • 173.06 x 78.37 x 8.7mm,212.5 grams
  • 6.95-inch FHD+ Ultra Fluid IPS LCD display, 120Hz refresh rate

At first glance, the Infinix Note 11S comes across as a very well-built and stylish smartphone. The brand has kept it minimal with a single hue featuring a gradient, shimmering finish, and matching side rails. The matte finish on the back panel makes it smudge-resistant, which is a plus in my books. The back panel is slightly curved on the edges, which makes it ergonomic. On the flip side, the Infinix Note 11S is rather tall, which makes it unwieldy for one-hand usage and will require some finger gymnastics to reach the top corners of the display. And at 212.5 grams, the smartphone is not quite lightweight either.

Coming to the camera module on the back panel, Infinix has taken a leaf out of Vivo’s design book and gone for an industrial-looking rectangular camera island, that juts out significantly. Infinix has also copied the camera placement of Vivo with a rather large primary camera up top with three more camera cutouts and LED flash arranged in a tidy 2×2 grid right below. But as I looked closely, the circular bar around the cameras is unnecessarily thick and one of the camera perforations has no lens in it. While I understand the aesthetics POV taken by the brand, I couldn’t help but wonder if the module could have been made smaller and less intrusive than it’s now.

In terms of I/O ports and button placement, the Infinix Note 11S has the usual assortment of the speaker grille, USB Type-C port, noise-cancelling mic, and 3.5mm audio jack at the bottom. The top edge is bare but the earpiece doubles up as a speaker to create a stereo sound output, which is great. There’s a dual nano-SIM tray on the left edge and the volume keys with the power button on the right. Infinix has embedded the fingerprint scanner in the power button, which is quite accurate and fast.

The Infinix Note 11S is a borderline phablet with its massive 6.95-inch IPS LCD panel that offers an FHD+ screen resolution. Infinix is calling it an Ultra Fluid display because of the 120Hz refresh rate. Since it’s an LCD panel, the blacks are not that deep and the saturation is slightly on the muted side. Moreover, the brightness levels leave a lot to be desired when using the smartphone under direct sunlight. What works in the favour of Note 11S is the WideVine L1 certification for HD OTT streaming, which along with the massive screen estate is a boon for multimedia consumers. Moreover, the 120Hz refresh rate makes the interface feel buttery smooth.

Cameras

  • Rear: 50-megapixel primary sensor, 2-megapixel depth sensor, 2-megapixel macro sensor
  • Front: 16-megapixel sensor

The Infinix Note 11S’ camera module is headlined by a 50-megapixel primary camera but the brand has not specified the exact sensor utilised. The primary camera is accompanied by a 2-megapixel depth sensor for bokeh photography and a 2-megapixel macro lens for close-up photography. Selfies and video calls are taken care of by the 16-megapixel camera sitting inside the central-aligned perforation on the display.

The camera interface is pretty standard with preview, shutter, Google Lens, and camera toggle laid at the bottom, in that order. On the top, you’ll find the settings, flash, HDR, 50MP mode, aspect ratio, and live filters. On the viewfinder Rolodex, you’ll find short video, video, AI Cam, Beauty, Portrait, and Super Nights modes. Swipe up from the bottom on the viewfinder and you can access other modes such as AR Shot, slow motion, Pro, Panorama, Documents, and Time-Lapse.

The 50-megapixel primary camera failed to impress since the images lacked any details and colours were pretty much washed out as you can see in the gallery above. However, the colour saturation keeps varying depending on the lighting conditions. Moreover, I noticed a lot of noise creeping in whenever there’s less than ideal lighting. The camera does have HDR and AI scene recognition in theory, however, all these modes do is boost vibrancy. Portrait shots are commendable with good foreground and background separation, whereas, macro shots are passable when the lighting is good.

The picture quality dips south when the sun goes down and the dedicated night mode is not much of a help either. While night mode shots are visibly brighter, they are often over-processed resulting in a grainy image. Moreover, the camera is no good when there’s next to no lighting. The selfie camera on the front clicks decent images but tends to overexpose at times. Infinix can dial down the processing to bring out details without overcompensating for HDR with a software update but I wouldn’t count on it.

Performance, software, and battery

  • MediaTek Helio G96
  • 6GBGB + 64GB, 8GB + 128GB
  • XOS v10.0.0 based on Android 11
  • 5,000mAh battery, 33W fast charging

The Infinix Note 11S has the MediaTek Helio G96 at its core. The smartphone is being offered in two variants – 6GB RAM + 64GB storage and 8GB RAM + 128GB storage. I received the base 6GB variant for the purpose of this review and my experience was decent with the smartphone. In the day-to-day performance, I didn’t face any issue with moderate usage involving social media, instant messaging, and YouTube streaming. However, the smartphone did get hot after about 30 minutes of playing BGMI and the gameplay got jittery.

The software onboard is XOS v10.0.0 based on Android 11. Right off the bat, the operating system is loaded to the brim with bloatware including system apps like Beez, WeZone, YoParty, Magic Line, Hi Browser, and CarlCare, amongst many others. The OS itself is loaded with features like Game Mode, Lightning Multi-video, Social Turbo, Peek Proof, and Smart Panel, to name a few. The entire interface seems to be inspired by iOS 15, complete with similar-looking widgets, folders, quick settings, and the notification panel. What really grinds my gear though was the incessant notifications from Hi Browser and BoomPlay but there is an option to disable individual notifications.

The Infinix Note 11S is powered by a 5,000mAh battery with support for 33W fast charging. During my stint with the smartphone, I always had around 20 percent battery left by the time I hit the bed with moderate usage. The battery comes with support for 33W fast charging and it takes around an hour to fully charge from 10 percent to 100 percent.

Bottomline

Props to Infinix to put out a compelling budget offering that seems to be able to take on the competition, at least on paper. The smartphone looks good, performs decently, and offers a high refresh rate display to boot. I was also impressed with the battery backup and charging speeds offered by the handset. The chink in the armour for the Infinix Note 11S is the poorly executed software and below-par camera performance. Having said that, the Note 11S is a good option for those who are not power users and don’t rely on phone cameras.

If you can stretch your budget by Rs 1,000, you can pick up the Realme 8i (review). The smartphone comes with the same processor and camera setup as the Infinix Note 11S. However, Realme 8i offers a much better performance thanks to a fine-tuned Realme UI interface. The camera prowess of the Realme 8i is also much better. However, you get a smaller display, 2GB less RAM,  and slower 18W charging. These are not a deal-breaker considering the phone offers good performance and cameras.

Another option is the Moto G31, which is priced similarly and offers a stock Android interface through MyUX and an AMOLED display panel. The smartphone also has a 50-megapixel triple camera setup on the back but instead of a 2-megapixel depth sensor, it offers a more useful 8-megapixel ultrawide lens. It does miss out in terms of Helio G85 SoC, less RAM, 13MP selfie camera, and standard 10W charging.

The Note 11S is another valiant effort by Infinix that could get better if the company gets its software act together.

Pricebaba rating: 7 / 10

What works

  • 120Hz display
  • Stylish design
  • 33W fast charging
  • Long battery backup

What doesn’t

  • Average cameras
  • Cluttered UI
  • Sub-par gaming performance
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Abhiman Biswas

Abhiman has over 8 years of experience in content development. He is a Senior Writer and Social Media Manager at Pricebaba. He covers technology news, feature articles, and tech reviews, apart from managing the official Facebook and Instagram handles. Despite a degree in marketing, his love for latest gadgets and technology steered him towards consumer technology coverage.