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iPhone SE (2022) vs Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G: two routes to mid-range mastery

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It’s a choice between hidden charms and front-loaded feats in this mid-range smartphone face-off.
If you’ve got around $400/£400 burning a hole in your pocket, and you’re after a mid-range smartphone to buy, then the iPhone SE (2022) and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G have to form part of the conversation. So which of the two represents the better buy? This is a tricky comparison, given that the two phones look and perform completely differently from one another. Both phones have their share of perks and quirks, but we’ve arrived at a clear winner – for most people, at least. Let’s take a closer look. The iPhone SE (2022) starts at $429 / £419 / AU$719 for the 64GB model. The 128GB model costs $479 / £469 / AU$799, while the 256GB model costs $579 / £569 / AU$969. It hit shops on March 18, 2022. There are several Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G configurations, but they’re not all equally available. The base model, with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage comes with a quoted price of $329, even though it isn’t available in the US. The more common model is one that comes with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage, and that one has a reference price of $349/£319. There’s also a 128GB/8GB model for $379, but it’s not on sale in many regions. The Redmi Note 11 Pro is certainly the cheaper phone of the two, but its availability is a bit of a mess compared to the iPhone SE (2022). The iPhone SE (2022) looks and feels much like the 5-year-old iPhone 8, which is positively ancient in smartphone terms. You get a phone with a sizeable forehead and chin, a physical Home button (albeit one that doesn’t actually move), and a tiny 4.7-inch display. At 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3mm and 144g, it’s one of the smallest phones on the market. We quite like how different it feels from every other phone on the market, but let’s not pretend here. It’s an outdated approach, and we wish Apple had shifted the range to a fresher design language. Compare that to the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G, which is a far more modern yet also more anonymous-looking handset. We dig the glass back, which isn’t a common feature in an Android phone of this price, but the frame is made of squared-off plastic as opposed to aluminum, like on the iPhone SE. It’s a large phone at 164.2 x 76.1 x 8.1mm and 202g – certainly way larger than the iPhone SE (2022), at any rate. It also packs a much more prominent camera module than its rival, for reasons we’ll get into in the appropriate section. While the iPhone houses a fingerprint sensor in its dedicated Home button, the Redmi stashes its own sensor in the power button on the right-hand edge. It’s nice and fast, but no-one beats Apple at this kind of thing. Both phones give you stereo speakers, which is great to see at this price. One final advantage for the iPhone SE is that it packs an IP67 rating, while the Redmi Note 11 is stuck at a lowly IP53. The SE will stand up to showers and dusty pockets better. In a nutshell, then, the Redmi is bigger and more modern, but the iPhone is better built and uses more premium materials.

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