What separates the two is that the Spark 9 series gets a two-tone design with a glossy top half and matte bottom half.
Xiaomi also uses the same design for its Redmi Note 11 lineup with the two-step camera island. However, the Note 11 Pro’s are a little bigger when compared to its non-pro siblings. You are also getting a dual AG glass back with a plasticky feel and Gorilla Glass 3 for the Redmi Note 11S.
It gets an IP53 rating making it splash and dustproof.
The two phones continue their separation when it comes to the display.
TECNO opts for a 6.5″ 1080p LCD screen featuring a standard 60Hz refresh rate. We have a notch to house the selfie camera.
Redmi Note 11S rocks a 6.43″ AMOLED screen featuring 90Hz refresh rate. We see a centre punch-hole cutout for the front-facing camera too.
At the bottom, we have the Type-C port, headphone jack, microphone and bottom-facing speaker.
Both phones come with power and volume rocker keys on the right. Fingerprint sensors are embedded in the power buttons.
Our TECNO Spark 9 Pro comes in Quantum black. Other options include Burano Blue, Holy White, and Hacker Storm.
Redmi Note 11S comes in Graphite Gray, Pearl White, and Twilight Blue colours.
Even though we get a bigger screen with the TECNO Spark 9 Pro, Redmi Note 11S takes the first choice with its IP53 certification, AMOLED screen with 90Hz refresh rate, a peak brightness of 1000 nits and Gorilla Glass 3 protection. You also get an IR Blaster for good measure.
When it comes to performance, both phones are equally capable.
TECNO Spark 9 Pro rocks Helio G85 chipset paired with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of board storage. You also get up to 3GB of virtual RAM thanks to HiOS Memory fusion feature.
TECNO Spark 9 Pro ships with Android 12 and HiOS 8.6 straight out of the box.
Redmi Note 11S on the other hand sports Helio G96 chipset paired with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage(23K). There are different options you can choose from including 6GB RAM and 128GB at 28K and 8GB RAM and 128GB at 30K.
Redmi Note 11S get a disadvantage here as it comes running Android 11 and MIUI 13 straight out of the box. So you miss out on the nice-to-have Android 12 features like the new quick tiles, new widgets, improved one-handed mode, notification settings, visual overhaul, and new app pairs for split-screen and privacy improvements.
MIUI 13 gets you an additional 3GB of virtual RAM.
Redmi Note 11S combo gives it an edge over its rival thanks to its powerful processor and RAM combination. TECNO Spark 9 Pro ships with more storage at 128GB but they both support exapnadable storage via external MicroSD cards.
Both phones will handle light to medium tasks including multitasking and gaming. But if you’re hoping for a more dependable performer, then the Redmi Note 11S is the one to go for.
As my colleague, Ken pointed out in his review of the Note 11S, be ready to come across bugs in MIUI such as half-processed snaps, occasional bugs and freezes.
Before we hop into how their cameras perform, let’s check in with how their battery life performance fares. Redmi Note 11S and TECNO Spark 9 Pro sport 5000mAh batteries but different charging speeds – 33W fast charging and 18W fast charging respectively. Their chargers and cables are included in the box.
Redmi Note 11S can juice up from empty to 59% in half an hour and to 100% in 62 minutes. TECNO Spark 9 Pro takes a little bit longer as it takes an hour and 22 minutes to go from 2% to 83%.
Both of the phones will give you full day battery life and some more depending on how you use your phone.
These entry levels smartphones have gotten so good with photography. Redmi Note 11S has a quad camera setup featuring a 108MP main, 8MP ultra-wide, a 2MP macro and a 2MP depth sensor.
Its counterpart has a 50MP triple camera array that includes a 2MP depth sensor and VGA camera.
To the front, TECNO gets the advantage of sporting a 32MP front-facing camera housed in the notch, an upgrade from the 8MP of its predecessor.
Redmi Note 11S has a 16MP selfie camera.
TECNO’s photography prowess on the Camon 19 series is rubbing off on their entry-level Spark 9 Pro.
The selfies are really good with great colour, dynamic range, details and sharpness.
Portraits also come out really well but the colours are a little dull.
Video capture is capped at 2K for both front and rear cameras.
Daylight shots are bright and cheery and they’re pretty consistent in terms of sharpness and brightness. In good lighting, expect photos with excellent detail and dynamic range.
Here are some samples:
TECNO Spark 9 Pro also extends its excellence when it comes to taking photos when the sun sets.
Here are some lowlight selfies and portrait shots:
Here’s what you need to know about how Redmi Note 11S cameras perform:
- The camera shoots 12 MP images as default. The images are well detailed and offer a lot of detail for the price. White balance is terrific, and colours are represented well.
- The dynamic range is above average, and the contrast is also just about right.
- The images have low noise, especially during the daytime.
- In some cases, you will notice, however, that the snaps are oversharpened.
- The 108 MP mode can be used here too. It allows images to have more details and is a better solution than images that are upscaled using the software.
- Low light photos are equally good for the price. Just don’t use the ultrawide sensor when shooting them at night.
- Portrait shots are straight-up gorgeous. You can also get them using the selfie camera.
Here are some samples:
Both phones put a good fight when it comes to how their cameras perform and you can’t go wrong with either.
Redmi Note 11S is a really good phone when you put it against its rivals in the same price category. It’s a little costlier, especially the base model that I used for reference in this comparison(6GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage – 23K) but brings much-needed features and thus gives a run over other smartphones in the same playing field.
TECNO Spark 9 Pro brings iterative features over its predecessor but they don’t match what its rivals offer. Redmi Note 11S ships with IP53 certification, AMOLED screen, 90Hz refresh rate, Gorilla Glass 3 protection, 33W fast charging, IR Blaster, 108MP main camera, a powerful Helio G96 chipset and beefier RAM option.
Even with a 50MP main camera and 32MP selfie camera, it held its own in the photography department.
PRICING AND AVAILABILITY
TECNO Spark 9 Pro is available at TECNO official retail stores for Ksh 20,899 and e-commerce sites like Jumia.
Redmi Note 11S is available at Xiaomi’s official retail stores and online on Jumia. They go for:
- 6GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage – 23K
- 6GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage – 28K
- 8GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage – 30K
TECNO Spark Your Dream
TECNO is also running Spark Your Dream campaign powered by the Spark 9 series. The activity is targeting youth between the ages of 18 and above. Through this campaign, TECNO will support the dreams of 3 people who will be carefully selected and vetted by judges.
The support will be in form of cash and a 6-month mentorship program.
The campaign is led by award-winning, recording and performing artist, humanitarian and entrepreneur Octopizzo who is the brand ambassador for the Spark 9 series.