Realme 11 5G Review: New Design, Same UI
- The Realme 11 5G smartphone has been launched in India.
- The 11 5G starts at a price of ₹18,999.
- MediaTek Dimensity 6100+ SoC powers the smartphone.
AdvertisementRealme has introduced a pair of fresh devices in the Indian market, namely the Realme 11 and 11X 5G. Continuing their trend of numbered device releases, these latest smartphones boast intriguing enhancements, particularly in their design facets. In this evaluation, I had the opportunity to extensively test the 11 5G model as my main device over the course of a week. Realme asserts that this is a judicious investment offering substantial value for the cost. The specifications listed on paper certainly bolster this assertion. However, the crucial question remains: does it truly deliver on these promises? All will be unveiled in my comprehensive review.
Price & Availability
Realme 11 is available in multiple variants. You can buy the Realme 11 from Flipkart.
|8GB + 128GB||₹ 18,999|
|8GB + 256GB||₹ 19,999|
Realme has taken a fresh approach to the design of both the Realme 11 and the 11X 5G, with a particular focus on the 11 5G. This year, the company has re-introduced a flat screen design, a departure from the curved screen experience of the 10 series in the previous year. Personally, I lean more towards glass sandwich designs, and the execution here is praiseworthy.
The design of the Realme 11 5G is sleek and visually appealing, offering a comfortable grip when held in the hand. The flat edges of the smartphone instill confidence in its handling, even without the use of a case. Notably, the weight distribution is well-managed despite accommodating a substantial 5000 mAh battery.
Realme has been known for its unconventional color choices on their devices. A recent example was the Hyper Space color variant of the 10 Pro+. As mentioned in my previous review, these experiments don't particularly resonate with me. However, there exists a segment of buyers who prefer vibrant aesthetics. For these enthusiasts, the 11 5G comes in a Glory Gold color option. Fatefully, this was the color of the device I reviewed. Approaching it from a rational perspective, I must acknowledge the tasteful execution. The subtle sparkle effect on the back when viewed from specific angles adds a touch of elegance. Moreover, the back's texture doesn't slip as much as anticipated. The golden-colored edges also contribute to the overall appeal.
Nonetheless, it's not my personal favorite color choice. Thankfully, the 11 5G also comes in a more understated black variant, which I find more appealing.
AdvertisementTurning our attention to the rear of the device, Realme has taken a distinct approach to the camera module. The two camera sensors are nestled within a circular cutout on the top left corner. A similar layout was seen in the Realme Narzo series, although the cutout placement here differs by being on the top left rather than centered.
The right side of the device hosts the power button along with the volume rockers. These buttons offer tactile feedback and a satisfying click when pressed. The power button also doubles as a fingerprint sensor, registering and unlocking the device swiftly. Despite its robust feel, the Realme 11 5G lacks an official IP rating, a feature that's becoming increasingly common in this price segment. While I understand cost considerations, such a certification would add a layer of assurance.
The bottom of the device is home to the USB Type-C charging port and the speaker grill. Meanwhile, the left edge houses the SIM tray, accommodating two micro SIM cards. A welcomed inclusion is the presence of a headphone jack. However, missing from the feature list is an IR blaster, which has been making a resurgence in mid-range devices lately. From the Redmi Note 12 to the OnePlus Nord CE3 Lite, this feature has been spotted. While this might not be a must-have for most customers, its absence is notable.
AdvertisementThe Realme 11 5G boasts a 6.7-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 1080 x 2400 pixels. Prior to delving into the display's visual attributes, it's noteworthy to acknowledge the meticulous attention that Realme has dedicated to the bezel uniformity. Drawing a comparison to my recent review of the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite, which also incorporates a flat display with a similar punch-hole design, the Realme 11 5G's bezels stand out as marginally slimmer, a subtle detail worth recognizing. While this might escape the notice of most users, as a reviewer, I find it commendable to acknowledge the craftsmanship behind such nuances.
The screen offers a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz, complemented by a standard 60Hz option. An automatic refresh rate selection feature dynamically adjusts the refresh rate according to the content displayed. During my testing, I favored the heightened 120Hz refresh rate, finding it to deliver a smoother and more consistent experience compared to the auto-select mode. The latter exhibited noticeable stutters when transitioning between refresh rates for different applications.
Surpassing my initial expectations, the viewing experience on the Realme 11 5G is notably superior. While Realme devices haven't been synonymous with top-tier displays, the 11 5G defies this reputation with its remarkable screen quality.
The panel's brightness is well-optimized, accompanied by commendable color accuracy. Images appeared sharp, and in certain instances, the results even outshined those witnessed on the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite—a direct competitor to the Realme 11 5G. Over a weekend, I indulged in content consumption on the 11 5G and found no grounds for complaint. The display exhibited satisfactory black levels, although there were occasional hiccups in HDR playback. Nonetheless, these minor interruptions are unlikely to mar your viewing experience. Encouragingly, the phone supports HD content streaming, allowing you to relish content in optimal quality.
The audio configuration, however, falls somewhat short of expectations. The device integrates a single-loud speaker setup, offering impressive loudness. The speaker even includes an ultra-volume mode, albeit with potential long-term implications for their lifespan. While keeping the volume at such elevated levels continuously might not be advisable, occasional bursts of loudness shouldn't pose issues. I was genuinely surprised by the sheer volume achievable on a compact device like this. While nuances might be overshadowed by the sheer intensity of the sound, I refrain from criticizing the offering given its utility.
A quick note before concluding this section: I recommend disabling the device's auto-brightness feature. Despite giving it several opportunities, the auto-brightness consistently fell short of delivering accurate brightness adjustments. Ultimately, I opted to set the brightness manually to my personal preference.
Moreover, the device incorporates a standard always-on display that can be customized to suit your preferences. While practical and legible, this feature doesn't prove distracting.
The Realme 11 5G comes pre-installed with Android 13, accompanied by Realme UI 4.0, the latest version of Realme's customized user interface.
AdvertisementFollowing the typical pattern seen with Realme devices, the phone is loaded with a substantial assortment of third-party applications. Although it is possible to uninstall these applications, this abundance can leave a negative initial impression of the device.
Taking the time to eliminate unnecessary bloatware, I eventually reached the core experience. What I encountered thereafter proved satisfactory. In my experience, Realme UI excels in striking a balance between lively and lifelike aesthetics. This holds true for the 11 5G model as well.
The user interface showcases vibrant colors, accompanied by engaging animations. Additionally, owing to Android 13, customization options for the device have expanded. Personally, I prefer maintaining my smartphone's appearance as depicted in advertisements.
However, if you have an inclination towards vibrant colors and diverse font styles, the device offers an abundance of choices for personalization.
While I appreciate Realme UI's qualities, I find myself desiring a fusion of stock Android features in certain aspects, particularly the dropdown menu, similar to what we observe in some Samsung Galaxy devices.
Nevertheless, in the grand scheme of things, Realme UI has broad appeal. I've introduced the device to numerous individuals, and it has garnered widespread admiration.
Android 13 introduces a selection of my preferred features to the platform, with audio dictation ranking among my favorites. Given my inclination towards note-taking, I find devices that offer reliable voice recognition quite appealing. The Realme 11 5G excels in this area, as the microphone's accuracy in recording audio is truly impressive. It even maintains proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling. This attribute proves invaluable when recording interview segments.
As of now, I haven't encountered any noticeable glitches in the user interface. However, it's important to acknowledge that this is a freshly released device.
The Realme 11 5G harnesses the capabilities of the Mediatek Dimensity 6400+ 5G SOC, a relatively fresh processor in its price category. In alignment with the device's theme, this chipset exhibits commendable performance across various domains during my testing phase. While not reaching extraordinary levels, it consistently delivers a satisfactory performance that enhances the overall user experience, justifying its value.
To delve into this matter, I'll initiate by discussing the gaming aspect of the Realme 11 5G. Personally, I'm an avid player of COD: Mobile and engage in up to an hour of gameplay each night. The smartphone smoothly handled the game at high graphics settings and maximum frame rate configuration. However, there were compromises evident, with the frames per second (fps) dropping to 30-40 under maximum load. Switching to medium graphics resulted in notable improvement, sustaining a respectable 60fps consistently. Although not groundbreaking figures, these rates are more than sufficient to rival more advanced gaming-focused smartphones.
A similar scenario unfolded with Genshin Impact, where the smartphone exhibited discernible lag while rendering the expansive open-world environment. Adjusting to lower graphic settings rectified this issue.
The Realme 11 5G's performance aligns with my expectations however I feel the heat management can be better.Throughout my gaming sessions, I encountered no abnormal instances of overheating. While the back of the device does warm up particularly after 50 minutes of gameplay.
The device proves its mettle in handling demanding tasks, although it truly excels in everyday activities. This includes tasks such as emailing, web browsing, and engaging with social media platforms. Engaging in these activities made me increasingly appreciate the device's display, as navigating through its content is a delight.
In terms of performance benchmarks, I conducted a Geekbench assessment on the smartphone. The results were commendable, showcasing a single-core score of 728 and a multi-core score of 1947. This is slightly better when compared to OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lites 869 & 1920 in the same segments.
My review unit boasts 8GB of RAM and offers the option to expand up to 8GB more. Despite this, I have yet to identify a practical use for this expansion. The 8GB RAM adeptly managed lightweight applications like Chrome web pages, Instagram, and Spotify, running seamlessly in the background at all times.
With 256GB of storage on my review model, long-term usage of the device is well accommodated. I recommend opting for the 256GB variant if you plan on acquiring the Realme 11.
Battery performance on the device aligns with my expectations. I consistently achieved a screen-on-time (SoT) of up to 5 hours on average. During weekends with extended gaming sessions and content consumption, the SoT did dip to around 4.5 hours. On lighter days, however, the SoT can stretch to approximately 6 hours, thanks to the 5000mAh battery.
The device supports 67W SUPERVOOC charging, facilitated by the included adapter. While the charging speeds aren't exceptional, you can anticipate a full 0-100% charge in roughly 50 minutes, even with data connectivity and background apps active.
The camera performance on the Realme 11 5G is satisfactory. It is solid in certain places and lacks luster in others. I will start with what I like, but first, the specifications.
The smartphone has a 108 MP primary camera and 2 MP depth sensor.
On to what I like. The primary 108 MP camera on the Realme 11 5G will surprise you. The pictures here are sharp and retain a serious amount of detail. You can expect great pictures from the phone with color accuracy in natural lighting conditions. The camera also correctly picked up the skin tone, which is good news.
The camera also has AI scene enhancement, which is handy when clicking pictures indoors. However, outdoors, I could observe visible burnouts on the images with the feature.
Low light performance on the smartphone camera can be underwhelming. The low light mode enhances the scene, but the images lose out on details.
With that little dip, the primary camera bounces back with the video performance. The camera can record 1080P videos at 30fps. The colors on the video are also over saturated especially the reds, but the focus shift is quick. Audio recorded from the in-built microphone is crisp.
There is no dedicated telephoto lens here, and you are reliant on digital zoom-in. The camera can hold up well up to 10X, post that you will see the details start to lose out.
Finally, the 2MP depth sensor needs to be placed correctly. It does its job well, yes. Making sure the portrait shots are crisp with precise edge detection with the bokeh effect in place.
The 16MP selfie camera is a strong point for the device since we get a respectable outcome with images here.
Video performance from the selfie camera suffers the same problem. With the color tones needing to be corrected and subpar autofocus speed. So if you are planning to shoot with the 11 5G, stick to the primary camera. You won’t be disappointed.
Realme 11 proves to be an efficient mid-range device. With the usual formula from the brand you get respectable hardware that can perform well, however the UI aspect is something that you will have to adjust with. So if UI is something you can’t compromise on, I suggest going for the Nord CE 3 Lite.
If you want to experience the Realme universe and can stretch your budget then I suggest checking out the Realme Narzo series as well. You can read my review for the Realme Narzo 60 Pro here.
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