It was the rivalry that no one saw coming. While Xiaomi and OnePlus crossed each other’s paths in the past, it was mainly in the flagship category, with the likes of the Mi 10 clashing with the OnePlus 8 Pro and the Mi 11 Ultra with the OnePlus 9 Pro. That has, however, changed with OnePlus moving down the price ladder and getting into the mid-segment zone which Xiaomi has dominated in recent times. Indeed, with the OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G, OnePlus has come out with a phone with a price tag that is lower than the starting price of a Redmi Note.
As a result, OnePlus and Xiaomi are slugging it out in one of the most popular and competitive price segments in the Indian phone market — the one around Rs 20,000. Standing in the path of the OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G is th flagship of Xiaomi’s bestselling Redmi Note series, the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G. The difference in price between the two phones is just a thousand rupees.
Both phones offer a lot to the user, and both come from well-established brands. So, which of the two should you be going for if you want the most smartphone value for around Rs 20,000? Let us figure that out.
Design and appearance: Sober vs shiny
Nothing illustrates the difference between the two phones more than their appearance. They might have very similar price tags, but the OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite and the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ look nothing like each other. While the Nord CE 2 Lite opts for a classic, understated OnePlus design with a subtle dual-textured carbonate back, the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ goes all out to grab attention with a shiny glass back that reflects patterns when light falls on it. Both are slightly large-ish phones and weigh around 200 grams, so it boils down to what you prefer design-wise — jazz or disco. The Redmi Note will appeal more to those who like to flaunt a phone, while the OnePlus is for those who prefer an understated style.
Display: LCD vs AMOLED
The “bright vs understated” battle continues in the display department too. That is because while the OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite opts for a 6.59-inch full-HD+ LCD display with a 120Hz refresh rate, the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ brings a 6.67-inch full-HD+ AMOLED display with a similar refresh rate to the table. They are both very good displays, but colours and contrasts appear better on the Redmi device — thanks to AMOLED. Some might also like the slightly larger display on the Redmi phone. This is not to say that the Nord CE 2 Lite has a bad display — it is bright, handles colours well, and is great to watch content on. It just does not have the “pop” that the Redmi Note’s AMOLED display has (if you prefer that).
Processor, RAM, and storage: The clone wars
The one area where both phones are almost carbon copies of each other is processor and memory. Both phones are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 chip, which is supposed to be one of the most powerful at their respective price points. They both have 6GB and 8GB RAM variants. The one area where they differ is in storage — both have 128GB variants, but only the Redmi Note has a 256GB storage option. Both phones also come with expandable storage — a pleasant surprise in the case of the OnePlus!
Cameras: Big megapixels take on a steady performer
The cameras of the two phones are about as similar as chalk and cheese. And the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ wins this one comfortably. The OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite’s 64-megapixel main camera takes great photos, especially in good lighting conditions, but is really not in the same league as the 108-megapixel main camera on the Redmi Note in terms of both detail and colours. The Redmi Note also has a very good secondary 8-megapixel camera, delivers much more value than the 2-megapixel depth camera on the OnePlus phone. Both phones pretty much match each other in terms of the 2-megapixel macro camera on the back and the 16-megapixel selfie camera at the front, although folks who prefer brighter colours might like the Redmi Note’s results more. If photography matters a lot to you, the Redmi Note is the phone to go for.
Gaming and multimedia: Speakers make a difference
With largely similar processor and RAM configurations, there is not too much separating the two phones in terms of gaming. Neither is really a gaming phone, but both can handle most titles out there, provided you tweak the settings a little. The Redmi Note 11 Pro+, however, steals a march over the OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite, thanks to not just its brighter and more colourful display, but also because of its stereo speakers. The speaker-display combination also gives the Redmi Note a clear edge when it comes to viewing multimedia content — watching a TV series and videos is a much better experience. Once again, the Nord does not do badly — its display is good and its single speaker delivers decent volumes, but the experience is just not as immersive as it is on the Redmi Note.
Software: Oxygen or MIUI?
It is really a matter of personal preference here. And the choice is as contrasting as in terms of design, with one device trying to keep things simple and the other trying to pack in a lot of features. Many tech experts and analysts like the relatively clean and uncluttered OxygenOS interface of OnePlus devices, but mainstream tech users like the more feature-rich MIUI interface on Redmi phones. There used to be a problem with ads in MIUI, but that has been largely resolved, which kind of makes choosing between the two interfaces a bit like choosing between strong black coffee and a choco cappuccino. Both have their pros and cons. However, the Nord CE 2 Lite has a slight edge as it comes with the latest Android 12 out-of-the-box, while the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ runs on Android 11, although it is expected to get an update soon.
General performance: Day-to-day work bosses
In terms of general performance, there isn’t much difference between the two phones. Both work smoothly when it comes to handling routine tasks like Web browsing, social networking, mailing, and messaging. Switching between apps is also not a problem. Both phones also come with reliable and speedy side-mounted fingerprint scanners, handle calls well, and have 5G support. You can go for either and feel well-equipped to handle a normal day in your phone life!
Battery: Redmi has a charging edge over OnePlus
While both phones come with 5,000mAh batteries, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite lasts a little longer than the Redmi Note 11 Pro+. They will both comfortably see off a day of normal-to-heavy use, but the Nord just packs in more — perhaps the slightly smaller and slightly less bright display makes a difference. However, when it comes to charging that battery, the Redmi Note springs a surprise by beating the Nord hands down. This is a surprise because OnePlus is considered by many to be the OG of fast battery charging. The 33W SuperVOOC charger bundled with the OnePus Nord CE 2 Lite charges the phone in a little more than an hour.
That’s actually pretty good, considering the size of the battery. But the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ comes with a 67W charger, which charges a similar size battery in about 40 minutes. Slightly more battery life or much faster charging — the choice is yours to make.
Price: OnePlus has a price edge over Redmi
In terms of price, there is not too much separating the two devices. The OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite is available at Rs 19,999 for its 6GB + 128GB storage variant and Rs 21,999 for the 8GB + 128GB configuration. The Redmi Note Pro+ variant, on the other hand, starts at Rs 20,999 for the 6GB + 128GB variant and its 8GB + 128GB model is priced at Rs 22,999. The phone also has an 8GB + 256GB storage variant, which the OnePlus lacks, priced at Rs 24,999. If money is tight, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite is the option that will appeal more.
So, which phone should you go for if you have a budget around Rs 20,000? The comparison above makes it rather clear. While both phones share the same processor, they are very different devices. The OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite will appeal to those who are on a slightly tighter budget and want a phone that mainly works smoothly and does the basics right. In fact, the Nord CE 2 Lite is very good for someone who is starting out their smartphone journey.
The Redmi Note 11 Pro+, on the other hand, might cost a little more, but it definitely brings much more to the table in terms of features and functionality: you get a better display, sound, faster-charging battery, cameras, and a flashier design. It is the phone for the more accomplished smartphone user who wants to go well beyond the basics on their smartphone.
In fact, the names of the phones make the choice easy — a relatively ‘lite’ user would be delighted with the OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite, while a Pro user looking for some ‘plus’ in their smartphone experience would prefer the Redmi Note 11 Pro+.