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Xiaomi’s Redmi 2 certainly didn’t build as many rippled in the smartphone industry as the previous-gen Redmi 1S (which genuinely had a gem of a camera). However, buyers around the globe have been waiting for the 2GB RAM version of the Redmi 2 (also known as the Redmi 2 Pro) to show up.
Xiaomi undoubtedly has ambitions beyond the low end of the Indian market, but its bread and butter up to now. The release of the outrageously impressive Redmi 1S was probably the most disruptive event in the entire Indian mobile market in all of 2014, as well as with rivals arriving, there has been no shortage of demand. Thousands and thousands of units were sold before the model abruptly vanished from the scene, and it still commands nearly full price when sold second-hand.
Look and Feel
There is not significantly distinguishing the Redmi 2 from the Redmi 1S. The two are nearly the same dimension and also have the same proportions. A look at their particular specification sheets tells us the fact that Redmi 2 is somewhat smaller and lighter, yet this will hardly be noticeable to anyone. The device is quite cozy to hold and we had no trouble using it with one hand.
Xiaomi has introduced the Redmi 2 having a white rear shell which provides it a substantial family similarity to the Redmi Note twins. This model’s rear shell, nevertheless, features a pleasant soft texture instead of shiny hard plastic. Smudges and scuffs will be very noticeable, and it is possible that it may get discoloured with time thus a protective case might be a good investment.
The overall appearance is pretty staid, that is not an undesirable factor. The front face is quite blank though there’s a tiny bit of flair to icons for the capacitive buttons under the screen, that happen to be printed in red. They are hard to locate in the dark, however, it turn out to be highly reflective under the sun. There is also a notification LED, although it’s hidden under the Home button and it is only visible if you have an alert or if the phone is charging.
The rear is additionally quite simple, aside from a very obvious silver Mi logo. The camera lens is somewhat raised, and also the flash, speaker grille and secondary mic are organized around it. The power and volume buttons are on the right, the 3.5mm headset socket is on top, and the Micro-USB port is at the bottom. Xiaomi continues to make use of a rectangular port cutout making it difficult to orient Micro-USB cables – no reversible Type-C connector yet, sadly!
Specifications and software
Consider the Xiaomi Redmi 2 as the Redmi 1S with a few things freshened up. There’s a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 SoC in place of last year’s 1.6GHz Snapdragon 400. The clock speed might be reduced, however, the 4 CPU cores tend to be more modern and much more powerful. The built-in GPU is additionally the more recent Adreno 306 when compared to Adreno 305.
There is 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage space even though a more pricey limited edition with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage is available as Redmi 2 Pro. The display measures 4.7 inches diagonally and its resolution of 720×1280 is among the main features which set this phone aside in the budget segment. Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS and FM radio are standard. The back camera continues to have an 8-megapixel sensor though the front one gets an upgrade to 2 megapixels from 1.6. The battery has additionally received a good bump up from 2,000mAh to 2,200mAh.
Needless to say, the most significant new features is support for LTE on both SIM cards. Whilst definitely welcome, this is simply not going to be an enormous sales motivator. LTE is less likely to become common and inexpensive before this phone is outdated, and thus we would actually have appreciated seeing a more affordable version without it. If the Redmi 1S was still available for Rs. 1,000 less, LTE alone may not encourage a lot of people to purchase the Redmi 2.
Xiaomi’s custom made MIUI 6 skin is installed on top of Android 4.4.4. It’s a little slicker compared to version 5, which came on the Redmi 1S. Like almost all Chinese manufacturers’ skins, this one dumps the Android app drawer besides making all icons and widgets live on the home screens. Some of the little touches we enjoyed, in particular, were the pocket-dial prevention mode, easy exposure level modification in the camera app, notification LED customisations, configurable shortcuts for all buttons, and high-quality themes.
Performance & Camera
Even with its cunning appears, this is absolutely a low-cost phone and you also probably will not be able to suspend disbelief of that fact after spending some time with it. Things are somewhat sluggish and there is quite a few lag when starting and stopping apps while using task switcher, and even within simple apps for example Google Play. Swipes registered as taps frequently. We even sometimes saw a load screen when quitting apps, telling us it’d take a second or maybe more for the main menu to show up.
Benchmark test results were consistent with our objectives. The phone was able to pull in 20,550 and 10,616 points in AnTuTu and Quadrant correspondingly. The graphics-heavy 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme and GFXbench tests gave us scores of 2,634 points and 9.5fps correspondingly. Most of these are consistent with the Redmi 1S’s scores and don’t amount to any major generational leap involving the two.
Camera quality is actually consistently fantastic, although there were still difficulties. It took some time in order to autofocus and we soon began automatically just tapping to focus to prevent waiting. Moreover, almost all the photos we took had a very obvious warm tinge, almost just like a creative filter was permanently triggered. While colours weren’t accurate, we were pleased to see that detail levels were high and there was not much noise in daytime shots. The camera app provides a Manual mode which only adds controls for ISO and white balance. Video recorded with the rear camera was reasonable.
The Xiaomi Redmi 2 takes the place of the Redmi 1S, probably the most popular phones of the past year, but at a greater price. It is much more refined in some ways but is not going to really raise the bar when it comes to affordability. LTE is a huge feature but has extremely limited relevance in India and it is not something we would pay Rs. 1,000 more for at this point in time, given the choice. In that sense, this phone is considerably outweighed by its forerunner.
For those looking to buy this phone, you can get the Pro edition of Redmi 2 on GearBest @ $135.96.