Infinix Note 11S: A tall gaming-friendly phone

Mala Bharghava | | Updated on: Dec 22, 2021

A budget phone with sound specs and value

Hong Kong-based Infinix has long been known for its budget phones in India. For the past two years or so, it has started to offer more value for smartphones that are still affordably priced. A recent launch, the Infinix Note 11S, is an apt example.

The Note 11S, not to be confused with the Note 11 or the Hot 11S, comes in an ordinary looking bit of packaging. But the package has everything you need — a 33W charger and cable, a good quality back case, SIM pin, and a screen protector mounted on to the device. There’s also a scratch card or two.

You’ll immediately see what a very tall phone this is. Diagonally, it’s 6.95 inches across. That’s more or less tablet-sized, or would have been if the phone had been wide as well. It’s a large phone and inevitably somewhat heavy, probably not for delicate hands. At the same time, it’s surprisingly thin and well balanced. The form factor is meant to be right for its use in a landscape orientation, configured to suit those who want to be gaming or watching movies. The back is in a textured plastic, possibly designed to minimise slipperiness. It certainly minimises fingerprint smudges, which is great. Our review unit is in a muted blue that looks quite nice.

All the buttons are on one side. The power button doubles up as a fingerprint sensor and works quite well. On the other side, you have the SIM tray with a dedicated memory card slot. On the top, you may notice there are no noise cancelling microphones. On the bottom edge, other than the charging slot and speaker, you find a 3.5mm stereo jack.

At its budget price, the phone’s FullHD screen is not AMOLED but a decent enough IPS LCD. It doesn’t match in brightness to an AMOLED but is not bad and has a ~84.5 per cent screen-to-body ratio with a small punch hole for the front camera that barely disturbs all the viewing real estate. The screen has a 120Hz refresh rate which effectively makes it responsive and smooth.

The Note 11S is partly known as a gamer’s phone because of the 12nm MediaTek Helio G96 processor which is gaming focused. There are two storage and RAM variants: 6GB with 64GB and 8GB with 128GB. I checked out the former. The type of storage, UFS 2.2, has faster read-write speeds which adds to the performance.

With Android 11, this phone works on XOS, Infinix’ own interface, now in version 10.0. I find the skin has several annoyances such as how you can’t increase the display size and a distinct Apple arrangement for widgets, but it’s a far cry from the earlier interfaces one used to have to deal with. There are quite a few preloaded apps you can’t get rid of such as Hi Browser, XArena and Aha Games, a pity considering there’s hardly limitless storage on the phone.

From the back of the phone, it would seem the device has some major camera chops. It has three rear cameras: a 50MP primary, a 2MP depth and a 2MP macro. No ultra-wide. Decent enough for daylight photos outdoors with more than acceptable colour performance, but specially grainy indoors with poor or compromised light. The front camera is a 16MP and skin tones with its images aren’t bad.

And there’s not much more one can expect, given the great pricing for these devices: ₹12,999 for the 6GB variant and ₹14,999 for the 8GB one.

Published on December 22, 2021

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