Back in August 2014, Xiaomi created a huge buzz in the budget category with the launch of Redmi 1S which went on to become one of the best sellers for the company in India. Now the company has launched the successor of Redmi 1S, the Redmi 2 in India. The device comes with upgraded specs and also supports 4G LTE (dual SIM) in India.
Redmi 2 comes with 4.7 inch (1280 X 720P) IPS HD display and is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 Quad Core processor with 64-bit support and Adreno 306 GPU. The phone comes with 1GB RAM and 8GB internal storage which is similar to Redmi 1S. There is dual SIM card support and runs MIUI v6 on top of Android 4.4 KitKat. The internal storage can be expanded via micro SD card upto 32GB. Here is the detailed review of the phone.
Related Reading: Redmi 2 Unboxing
Here is the video review of the device.
Design and Build:
Design wise, the Redmi 2 has almost similar design as that of 1S, but Xiaomi has tweaked it a bit to make the screen to body ratio better. The result is a device, which is shorter, narrow and slimmer than the predecessor. The rear panel has got more curved and has a great matte finish which feels premium. But it is still not the slimmest budget smartphone as Lenovo A6000 is just 8.2mm thin.
The power and volume keys on the right side have chrome finishing like the predecessor. The 3.5mm audio jack sits on the top while the micro USB is at the bottom. The rear panel has the 8MP camera, flash and the Mi Logo. The front panel has the 4.7 inch display, three capacitive touch buttons and the front camera along with sensors. The build quality of the device is very good and overall it is a good looking device in this price point.
While the display on the device is still the 4.7 inch IPS LCD panel with a resolution of 1280 X 720p (HD), it is still one of the best aspects of the device. The display on the device is protected by Dragontrail Glass which prevents scratches. The display is crisp and has excellent colors. The 312ppi gives in excellent reading experience on the device. We don’t see too many devices in the sub 7k pricing with a HD resolution and a display that is really treat to use.
The touch response is very good and the company has definitely improved it comparing to Redmi 1S.
Software and Performance:
The Redmi 2 runs Android 4.4 KitKat with Xiaomi’s MIUI v6 skin on top of it. One of the strong points of this device is the amount of features MIUI offers when compared to core Android, even though the Android version is not the latest (Lollipop).
MIUI offers tons of customizations, features and also tweaks which is seldom available on stock Android. It has a custom home screen, notification center, settings and more which does not even have any resemblance to stock Android.
The apps are all arranged in multiple home screens instead of the app drawer found on core Android UI. The notification center of the device is really useful and comes with options to customize the quick toggles.
One of the strong points of MIUI is the amount of options available to personalize the device in the form of lock styles, home screens, icons, themes, wallpapers, fonts and more. All these can be managed from the Themes app which comes pre-loaded on the phone.
Redmi 2 also comes with the Security app and it offers lots of added features like Cleaner, Data usage monitor, virus monitor, call blocking and more. Xiaomi has also included a ‘Lite Mode’ which is a simplified tiled interface which makes the phone UI simple and easy to use.
The Redmi 2 runs on Snapdragon 410 Quad Core processor with 1GB RAM. Unlike Redmi 1S which initially had issues with performance (including gaming), the Redmi 2 with MIUI 6 has good performance and the gaming experience is also much better even though there is still some minor issues when running too many apps in the background. The overall performance of the device is good and the company has improved it with MIUI 6.
The phone comes with dual SIM cards and both the SIM cards supports 4G LTE which is first of its kind in a budget category. The call quality on the device was pretty good and there are no complaints here. The speakers on the device also have fairly good performance. Xiaomi hasn’t included headphones with Redmi 2 similar to other devices, but you can use any earphones and the quality is also good. The device comes with 8GB of internal storage and also has microSD card support, so you can extend the storage. But the disappointing aspect is that you cannot install apps on the SD card and you will have to depend on internal storage for apps.
The phone features a 8MP rear camera with LED flash. There is also a 2MP front camera whcih is up from 1.6 on Redmi 1S. The company has also improved the camera on the device and the interface is fairly simple with MIUI6. The interface has now three scrollable pages (one up and one down) and it has 12 filters with live preview. Other features include Panorama, HDR, Skin Tones, Manual.
Last year when we tested the Redmi 1S, we mentioned it was one of the best camera smartphones in the sub 7k price. With the Redmi 2 you get a very similar experience and the photo quality has improved. The photos are vivid and sharp and have great color quality which are closer to real colors. Low light photography is not a strength of this camera, but still if there is adequate artificial lighting the camera performs well. The flash unit also works well.
The phone support recording in 1080p and the video quality is also pretty decent for a budget smartphone. Overall, we would say this is one of the best camera smartphones below Rs 7000 in India. Here are some of the samples taken with the device.
The Redmi 2 comes with upgraded specs in the battery department as well. The battery capacity has been upped to 2200mAh from 2000 in the predecessor. The battery performance on the device is pretty good and it can give you battery life for a day with average usage. We tested with calls, browsing, social and email apps on 3G and found the performance to be pretty good for a budget phone.
Further MIUI 6 allows you to change battery profiles and also save battery in case you are running out of juice.
Priced at Rs 6999, without doubt, the Redmi 2 offers great value for money. It comes with great build quality, superior camera and a highly customizable MIUI 6. The biggest issue with Redmi 2 is the availability as it is available only via flash sale on Flipkart. If you can pick one from Flipkart, it is best budget smartphone we recommend for 7k. You can also have a look at the new Moto E (2015) or Lenovo A6000.