Redmi Note 11S review: Solid, accessible daily driver

It’s like an everyday camera phone!



Finding a smartphone is always a unique experience. It’s a case-to-case basis; fitting different preferences of every demographic. The highest variant in a new series always packs the most features, while the lowest ones offer something really basic. What if you find yourself in the middle?

That is the gap that the Redmi Note 11S is trying to fill. A middle ground who gets the basics with a lot more to offer, without being too overbearing.


From the get-go, the Redmi Note 11S resembles the signature design of its lineup. While the Redmi Note 11 Pro can be easily recognized with its taller build, the Note 11 and Note 11S might be too familiar in both front and rear.

The untrained eye might get mistaken in distinguishing this one apart from its vanilla sibling. However, the key is checking the camera modules. The Redmi Note 11S sports a whopping 108-megapixel sensor behind an f/1.9 lens, as compared to the Redmi Note 11 which only has a 50-megapixel sensor behind its f/1.8 lens.

The unit I have comes in Graphite Gray, which seemed dull especially when you don’t slap a funky case. Don’t consider that jelly case, it’s ugly.

There are other color options for the Note 11S: Twilight Blue and Pearl. I personally would love to have used the Pearl Note 11S for its luxurious feel and smooth texture. The rear uses a matte-finish design that tries its best to resist fingerprint smudges.

With Graphite Gray (or any dark-colored smartphone in my experience), certain angles can show subtle smudges. White paint would’ve elevated the Note 11S as a premium-looking midrange smartphone.

It has the makings of a premium looker, at least the first time you touch it. Stylish design? Check. Subtle curves to make your grip comfortable? Check. Matte-finish? Check. And its texture? Oh, it’s so smooth you can’t keep your hands off it.


Upfront, you can find the Redmi Note 11S looking like an actual midrange smartphone. The bezels help bridge the curved rear for a flat-edge design on its display. It’s giving a’ best of both worlds’ vibe, allowing you to enjoy the phone comfortably while keeping yourself entertained.

But of course, let’s talk specifics. The Redmi Note 11S sports a 6.43-inch FHD+ AMOLED DotDisplay with a 180Hz touch sampling rate. There’s an option to use a 90Hz refresh rate, but that’s barely consequential in the grand scheme of things. At least, for casual users like my best friend Nicole who had a great time using the smartphone for a day.

What we like the most is how we were able to enjoy catching up with Netflix’s Business Proposal one sunny afternoon in an al fresco cafe.

The colors are vibrant and you can watch the show clearly in broad daylight. The only issue would’ve been the glares if you were checking the screen from an angle. But normally, you’d watch it straight and in front of you.

I’d call it an entertainment powerhouse in the midrange department if only its audio experience was way louder. Despite sporting two linear speakers on its top and bottom sides, the Note 11S would still make you want to connect it to a Bluetooth speaker or a pair of wireless earbuds for better sound.


What I’m excited the most about the Redmi Note 11S is how it offers a 108-megapixel camera using Samsung’s HM2 sensor. For its price, can its sensor and MediaTek Helio G96 octa-core processor work hand-in-hand to produce stunning photos?

Aside from the 108-megapixel main camera, the Redmi Note 11S is equipped with an f/2.2 8-megapixel with 118° field-of-view (FOV) ultra-wide camera, an f/2.4 2-megapixel macro camera, and an f/2.4 2-megapixel depth sensor for its quad rear camera setup.

On the front, it uses an f/2.4 16-megapixel front camera situated in a punch-hole cutout. Let’s see how the cameras fare!

108-megapixel goodness

Using the 108-megapixel camera mode, I was able to capture highly detailed yet somewhat underexposed photos. Of course, it bins the photo like any other 108-megapixel camera. The process is always the same.

Frankly, an everyday user wouldn’t feel compelled to use the 108-megapixel on a daily basis. But it’s a nice feature to have especially when you consider printing your photos in some way in the future.

Shot from Shakey’s Pizza in Tiendesitas, Pasig City along C-5 road

The captured photos doesn’t look aesthetically pleasing, especially with the food part, but I like how it’s realistic to the sceneries I captured. The bluish tint is reminiscent of photos taken with Samsung’s flagship smartphones. But of course, we knew that already — it uses a Samsung HM2 sensor after all.

Regardless, the natural photos taken allows someone to edit and post-process their photos according to their preference. It offers the flexibility you might need if you ever use the device for creative purposes.

Taking photos using the default mode

Mirror selfie at my favorite restaurant: Weuna The Open Kitchen in C. Raymundo Ave., Pasig City

I’m a fan of taking quick photos — no fancy modes, no gimmicky features, just plain ol’ snap of a memory I’m trying to preserve. And most people do, too. It’s not everyday we get to use these different modes our smartphones offer. At the end of the day, we need a camera that helps capture whatever we want to take.

Quiet afternoons at Nono’s, The Podium, 12 ADB Ave, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong, 1550 Metro Manila

The Redmi Note 11S might not be a great option for most people who have been exposed to highly-saturated and AI-processed photos that other smartphone brands offer. Though a bit underexposed, I like how the Redmi Note 11S doesn’t color-correct or adjusts the white balance automatically.

It captures the same vibe and scenario as what I’ve seen with my eyes. Since I tend to plaster Instagram filters on my photos before uploading them on social media, I’m happy to report that any filter would work nicely when applied to the photos taken using the Redmi Note 11S. No overexposed or underexposed captures, just balanced shots that you can modify to your liking.

Trouble in focus and details

Taking photos indoodrs is quite troublesome for the cameras, as the Redmi Note 11S struggles in producing a shallow depth-of-field (or background blur as some people describe it). Not to mention, details are slightly blurred and softened when it’s struggling to retain it.

The beauty of zoom

Ever since Vincenz, our photography expert, taught us the beauty of using 2x or 3x zoom, I found myself using it on a more regular basis. And that’s where you can see the camera prowess of the Redmi Note 11S.

Of course, it’s far from perfect. But using the 3x zoom removes the unnecessary distortion that the wide camera causes. Not to mention, it has a better grasp on the shallow depth-of-field produced.

While some users will scrutinize these and say their phones have better photos, please be reminded that this is a midrange smartphone. Like the words my BFF said to me after we took some shots, “This is so much better than my Huawei nova 3i.”

Going wide

Now, this is where I’m going to be torn. Using the ultra-wide angle camera, the Redmi Note 11S produces severely underexposed photos. Its details were compressed, and were easily noticed when I padded a brightening filter from my collection.

I personally like ultra-wide angle modes, but the one on the Redmi Note 11S is something that you tolerate rather than celebrate.


The Redmi Note 11s’ Portrait Mode is far from perfect. But the same goes for every midrange smartphone trying to promote this feature that were never fully perfected in the past few years.

The background blur was still too strong, and the processed photo finds it hard to delineate the subject. If you can peruse, the lower left part of the portrait is close to being sharp. Where did that background blur go?

But better selfies, yay!

If there’s something I really love about the Redmi Note 11S, it’s the selfie cameras. It continues Xiaomi’s legacy when it comes to selfie cameras — which I discovered first when I used the Mi Mix 3.

Unlike selfies from other Chinese smartphones like Huawei, vivo, OPPO, and realme, Xiaomi’s selfies manage to retain details while keeping you fresh. It pads a thin layer of beautification to make sure you don’t look like you just came out of a battlefield. There’s an additional post-processing, but not as intense as other brands where you already look like a Barbie or Ken Doll.

There’s also a wider option when taking selfies so you can fit in nicely during couple or group photos.

The experience

If you haven’t noticed, the Redmi Note 11S is pegged as the camera phone to consider in the Redmi Note 11 lineup. The Redmi Note 11 is too vanilla, and the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G is geared towards power users.

This is why the focus of this review leans more on the camera performance. But of course, we still tested it out. The Redmi Note 11S is powered by a 12nm MediaTek Helio G96 octa-core processor along with a Mali-G57 MC2 GPU.

On paper, you know it can let you play smoothly. I tried playing Honkai Impact and Sprite Fantasia, and while the smartphone didn’t make me want to play games the whole day, it packs enough power to run the titles properly. I didn’t experience overheating — something that usually concerns me when it comes to midrange smartphones.

The unit I had sports an 8GB LPDDR4X RAM and a 128GB UFS 2.2 internal storage. Running on MIUI 13 based on Android 11, the Redmi Note 11S gave a seamless experience switching between apps and multitasking. It was lag-free and animations run smoothly.

More importantly, we were able to use the Redmi Note 11S throughout a day of taking photos, using messaging apps, being connected to the Internet to communicate and upload on social media. By the time I arrived home, the phone still had plenty of juice — 30 percent coming from 95 percent of a 5,000mAh battery.

I waited for it to drop to 20 percent before fully charging it to 100, and it only took 45 minutes to juice up with its 33W wired charger.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The Redmi Note 11S is far from perfect, and it’s unfair to put it in a pedestal since it’s a smartphone under the lower midrange lineup. But for the price it commands, it’s a package that you might want to consider if you’re in the market for a new midrange smartphone.

Everything about the Redmi Note 11S is made for the everyday consumer, with only a bit of a highlight on its camera system. You can watch your favorite K-dramas, play games when you’re bored, take selfies, and capture everyday memories. It’s a solid daily driver that won’t break the bank.

More importantly, it has features that you’d love to see in a midrange smartphone: Side-fingerprint sensor, 3.5mm headphone jack, Dual SIM and MicroSD slot, and an IP53 certification.

The Redmi Note 11S retails for PhP 12,999. It’s available in Xiaomi’s Authorized stores and online channels such as Shopee.


Redmi 12 review: Just the basics

Decent-performing, nothing exceptional



Redmi 12

The ever-worsening local economy and inflation rate makes us think from time to time if we will have to settle for less — not by choice but by necessity.

When it comes to smartphones, opting for an entry-level device might still be worth it, as their overall quality and suite of features have improved throughout the years to accommodate users.

Still, that depends on what you’re getting — which then depends on how much time you spend on your phone and how heavy you use it.

Xiaomi recently released the budget Redmi 12 which, on paper, can give customers a reliable budget option. But is it still worth it when put to the test?

First, here’s a quick overview of its specs and features:

  • MediaTek Helio G88 processor
  • Up to 8GB RAM, up to 256GB internal storage
  • MIUI 14 based on Android 13
  • 5,000mAh battery with 18W fast-charging
  • 6.79-inch FHD+ DotDisplay, 90Hz
  • 50MP main camera, triple-camera rear
  • 8MP selfie camera
  • IP53 dust and splash resistance
  • Side fingerprint sensor

Watch our Redmi 12 unboxing.


New budget phone alert! #Redmi12

♬ original sound – GadgetMatch – GadgetMatch

Don’t expect it to be 100% smooth

When we first turned this device on, it took a little while for everything to get configured and finished, which is quite expected from a phone in the budget segment.

It’s decent everywhere else. Physically, the phone has a good feel to it when held. The interface looks neat and non-confusing. The screen has ample brightness and good colors to watch videos on your desired streaming apps.

You can switch from one app to the other, browse casually, and take photos or videos without experiencing major issues, but still, don’t expect everything to be smooth.

Redmi 12 | YouTube

For instance, the product does say being able to watch videos at up to a 2460 x 1080 resolution, but I recommended sticking to basic full HD as the playback becomes glitchy and delayed when a higher resolution is selected.

Moreover, try to avoid having several apps open. As this is a phone marketed to the Gen Z audience, it’s tempting to use it and have a ton of social media apps open in one go, from Facebook to TikTok to Instagram to X.

Naturally, there will be links that lead to external apps from time to time, like clicking an ad that leads to Shopee or Lazada, but just do your best to keep the usage as low as possible.

For productivity? It depends

It’s best to keep it simple when using the Redmi 12 for tasks. Besides, there are tablets and laptops if you really want to be “productive.”

Granted, it can handle light tasks such as typing on Google Docs or editing a photo on a free app, but if you are going to open a video editing app and piece together high-quality videos with captions and add music or audio, it will take a toll on the phone.

If anything, it’s good that the phone still kept usual features such as a 3.5mm jock for listening to important audio, and a hybrid slot for extra storage.

Gen Z-tailored cameras

As expected, the Redmi 12’s camera setup includes a 50MP f/1.8 main shooter along with an 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera for the staple 0.5 selfies nowadays. There’s also a 2MP f/2.4 macro camera which works well to capture details up-close. In front is an 8MP f/2.1 selfie camera.

There’s a 50MP mode to take higher-quality photos with the main camera, although that will consume higher storage space.

The key here is to match the phone with sufficient lighting. It’s not ideal when used indoors; the captures simply lack brightness, sharpness, and vibrance and the results become noisier.

On the positive side, you can take this outdoors to get okay-quality shots at parks, malls, and everywhere else where the lighting is fine.

Do note that you will need to be extra steady when taking photos as it takes a little time to record what’s on the viewfinder. It does not work well in capturing moving subjects as well when zoomed in.

The macro lens, on the other hand, is hit or miss depending on the subject.

At the very least, 0.5 lens still work well in taking good landscapes or sceneries. The night mode feature also allows for more light to come in for your outdoor photos in low-light conditions.

You can also shoot full HD videos at standard 30fps, for your next TikTok or IG reels upload.

Take it easy on gaming

Redmi 12 | Wild Rift

Oftentimes, people expect much from entry-level devices when it comes to gaming. Surprisingly, the Redmi 12 performed decently on space fantasy RPG Honkai: Star Rail and 5v5 mobile MOBA Wild Rift, provided that you put the settings to low or medium.

Funny enough, the loading screen for Honkai: Star Rail, which is set to the best quality, took a while to finish and was laggish just as expected, but after that, you’re all good. Just keep in mind to give this phone an ample amount of rest after.

Also, since this is just a budget phone, you will have to come up with your own “gaming” or “do not disturb” mode. That’s either setting the phone to flight mode and connecting it to Wi-Fi instead of data, or disallowing all other apps from running in the background. Basically, it’s every little thing that saves up RAM space while you’re gaming.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

As mentioned, getting a device that suits you still ultimately depends on your needs and preferences.

If you just want a good everyday perform to work so you can communicate and entertain yourself while stuck in traffic or during your free time, the Redmi 12 is a decent choice.

But if you need a high-performing device without having to break the bank. Well,  just have more patience and save up, because there are better lower mid-range choices waiting for you.

If you’re really in an “I-need-a-phone-now” predicament, it doesn’t hurt considering the Redmi 12. But we have put everything on this review to make you think twice.

The Redmi 12 starts at PhP 7,999.

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Apple iPhone 15 Pro + 15 Pro Max Review: Huge Leap Forward

There’s more than just the Titanium Design



As you may already know, Apple has released their Pro-level iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max flagships.

A lot of you say they don’t look very different from their predecessors last year — but there’s more than meets the eye.

Aside from the new colors and a tougher Titanium Design, there are hardware and software features you’ll exclusively find on the iPhone 15 Pro series.

Curious to know what the hype is all about?

Here’s our very, VERY in-depth review of the new iPhone 15 and 15 Pro Max!

P.S: This is currently our second longest review video in our YouTube channel!

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OPPO A98 5G review: A+ for all-around experience

A strong contender in its category




The OPPO A98 5G has a very promising spec sheet. With that, you may be wondering if those figures actually translate into real-life use. After rocking the device for nearly two weeks, here’s an in-depth review of the OPPO’s newest midranger.

Before anything else, watch this unboxing

A Beauty that glows differently

The visual upgrade of OPPO A98 5G from its predecessor is very clear, so much so that the difference glows. The new design of the handset feels very refreshing to look at. Personally, I think the vertical pill-shaped camera module combined with the fingerprint and smudge-proof back panel look and feel more premium. Despite being made of plastic, the phone doesn’t look and feel cheap at all.

The handset I got is in Dreamy Blue. The blue shade changes when light casts on it, projecting a subtle glow that comes in the shades of purple, pink, and sometimes, orange. However, if you don’t feel like this color suits you, you can opt for the Cool Black variant of OPPO A98 5G, which leans more on simplicity and elegance.

The front of the phone also looks great with a single camera punch hole in the center. The bezels are also thin, pushing the screen ratio to 91.4%.

It may be light but hold it tight!

Despite having huge hands, I am certainly not a huge fan of big phones. Using the OPPO A98 5G was not a difficult experience for me. Although, I have a minor issue with the phone’s edges.

Don’t get me wrong, I love its trendy flat edges and one can argue that I am just nitpicking. But personally, I think this phone is not the easiest to hold because of its sharp edges. And because it’s also light at 192 grams, there’s a feeling that it might slip off my hands if I’m not gripping it tight enough. Don’t worry though, because its free jelly case solved the issue for me.

On the contrary, the OPPO A98 5G’s weight did not cause me any wrist strain even when I used it for an extended period of time. When it comes to the size, there are (a very few) times when I thought I would reach a part of the screen or a button easier if it’s not this big or tall but hey, the extra screen real estate definitely makes up for those not-so-important thoughts.

A screen that displays joy

OPPO A98 5G | Jungkook

Speaking of screen, the OPPO A98 5G sports a 6.72 inches FHD+ LTPS LCD display. While this isn’t technically that much of an upgrade from last year’s OPPO A96, the Chinese phone manufacturer still found a way to make it better by packing it with a 120Hz screen refresh rate, providing a smoother overall experience.

This is also power efficient as the screen refresh rate adapts and adjusts to whatever activity you are doing. For instance, you’ll get 30Hz while reading, 60Hz for watching videos, 90Hz while gaming, and 120Hz for scrolling on social media. These numbers translate to real-life use as I really enjoyed the smooth scrolling and I didn’t feel like it was draining my battery that much.

Glows for a day or two?

It’s not a secret that even on its midrange tiers, OPPO takes battery and charging seriously. OPPO A98 5G is not an exception with its 5,000mAh battery that juices up with the 67W SUPERVOOC charging technology. OPPO says it will only take 18 minutes to charge the phone to 50% and 44 minutes to fully charge it.

While I didn’t get that exact same time, I still managed to go from 20% to 100% in only 46 minutes. That’s pretty impressive for a midrange phone.

Depending on how heavy your phone use is, the OPPO A98 5G can really hold up to your lifestyle. I’m not really a heavy user so the phone lasted me for two days at most, still having a few percent left before I fuel it up again. Note that I am not into games but more of a social media scroller Gen Z.

It’s also worth noting that OPPO’s exclusive Battery Health Engine technology is present in the OPPO A98 5G. According to OPPO, this technology doubles the battery’s lifespan to four years or more by carefully monitoring your phone’s charging cycle to keep the battery in top shape.

Just powerful enough

Flipping the sheet around, the OPPO A98 5G is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 and comes with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage out of the box. The RAM can also be artificially expanded up to 16GB with OPPO’s RAM expansion feature. The storage can also be maximized to 1TB with the use of an external SD card.

Basic tasks like social media browsing wouldn’t shake the OPPO A98 5G, so to speak. It handles a lot of apps with definitive ease. In addition, it can also multitask just fine. Well, almost all of the time. I said “almost” because while switching apps back and forth is not a problem, I seldom find certain apps launching back from the start after re-opening them from the recent apps drawer. 

Mobile gaming

Delving into the gaming realm, I will be honest. I am not really into gaming but for this review, I did play Asphalt 9 and Roblox consistently. I also asked my cousin to play his favorite mobile games — Call of Duty Mobile and Genshin Impact.

Surprisingly, the OPPO A98 5G handles gaming really well. I played Asphalt 9 and Roblox in the highest graphics quality setting and I am genuinely amazed that I did not experience any lag or frame drop at all. As for Call of Duty Mobile and Genshin Impact, I also observed similar performance as long as the graphics quality is set to medium or low settings. Dialing the graphics quality to its maximum setting resulted in a few frame drops and faster increase in the smartphone’s temperature.

As for the device’s temperature, the OPPO A98 5G gets warm when used heavily for a longer period of time but it’s not warm enough to cause discomfort in your hands. A few minutes rest for the phone is all it takes for it to cool down. 

It’s loud. But it can get louder!

My love for music and the music industry (Taylor Swift) were satisfied with how the OPPO A98 5G’s dual stereo speakers perform. Sure, the bass is not flagship level but the sound it produces is loud enough to fill a whole room with music. And if your surroundings are not as peaceful as you’d like, OPPO’s ultra volume mode will let the speaker surpass the usual 100% sound level and go as far as 200% for louder sound. 

Classic OPPO camera

Cameras affect a lot of people’s purchasing decisions when it comes to smartphones. The OPPO A98 5G boasts its 64MP main camera, accompanied by its 2MP depth camera and a 2MP micro lens that could go up to 40X of microscope zoom. On the front lies a 32MP selfie camera.

The good news about OPPO A98 5G’s cameras is that they deliver classic OPPO photography. The cameras are indeed better than its predecessor.

It produces sharper and vivid images.

The extra HD setting that processes the photo to be 108MP is glorious.

The microscope photography is mind-blowing.

Night mode works just fine.

And the selfies are clear and crisp.

The video recording, however, is not that impressive. Sure, it’s usable but it’s nothing jaw-dropping. Limited to 1080p at 30FPS and EIS only available at 720p, it’s kind of underwhelming to see this kind of video quality at its price range. 

A love-hate relationship

The latest member of the OPPO’s A series runs on Android 13 topped with ColorOS 13.1. The good thing about OPPO’s software is it’s really packed with features that will give its users more convenience. Take the background stream for example. This feature allows you to play YouTube videos as audio in the background without having to pay for a premium subscription. 

The downside though is the UI still looks messy for me. Booting up the phone for the first time will give you a welcome to lots of bloatware apps. Fortunately, they can be uninstalled with a few taps. 

Is this your GadgetMatch?

In conclusion, the OPPO A98 5G has certainly made a mark in the midrange smartphone segment. With its eye-catching design, impressive display, and powerful battery life, it offers a well-rounded experience for a lot of users.

The device’s ability to deliver smooth performance and handle gaming well are really worth considering. The camera system, although not perfect, still captures quality photos and offers intriguing microscope zoom capabilities.

With its competitive pricing, I can say that the OPPO A98 5G is a strong contender in its category, earning an A+ for its overall offering and total upgrade from its predecessor.

The OPPO A98 5G is priced PhP 18,999 and is available for pre-order until September 21st. The handset can also be purchased on Shopee and Lazada.

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