The latest Xiaomi Redmi 2 is perfect for those on a budget, keep reading for the full Xiaomi Redmi 2 review.
We all groaned a little when Xiaomi unveiled the Xiaomi Redmi 2. Overall it was pretty much everything we had seen from the Redmi 1S, and at the time of launch only came with a 1GB RAM option.
Now that I have had some time with the affordable little Xiaomi though I have come to really enjoy it. It’s an amazing little phone for anyone wanting high-quality and stable performance on a budget.
Xiaomi Redmi 2 review – Hands on
Xiaomi Redmi 2 review – Design
The major update for the Xiaomi Redmi 2 over the previous version is the design of the phone. The new Xiaomi Redmi 2 is lighter and smaller than the older phone and looks much more modern to boot.
The Redmi 2 measures in at 134 x 67.2 x 9.4mm with a weight of 133g, those are not terribly impressive dimensions when compared to some of the designs we are seeing from Chinese companies, but for this price range (699 Yuan in China for the 1GB RAM model) it’s on par with other phones. It’s also a great improvement over the Redmi 1S which measured 137 x 69 x 9.9mm at 158g.
A narrow body aids comfort as some the very smooth to the touch rear shell. The white removable plastic rear has s very soft texture to it, even my son commented on comfortable the Redmi 2 is to hold.
Knocking a couple of mm of the width and height hasn’t affected the screen size nor resolution as the Redmi 2 retains the same 4.7-inch 720p HD panel as the original Redmi phone.
Beneath the screen are the familiar red navigation keys which still don’t offer a back light below the keys is the notification light. The LED is an RGB model which means you can set up different notifications to shine a different colour. Above the display is a 2 mega-pixel front facing camera.
The soft to the touch rear shell has the famous Mi logo in silver, and we se a slightly protruding 8 mega-pixel Samsung camera, single LED flash and small grill for the external speaker. Speaker placement is good and rarely get’s covered even when holding the phone in landscape for gaming or video.
Smooth, rounded edges and corners really aid the comfort of the Xiaomi Redmi 2. That white panel extends right to the bezel of the screen and holds the power and volume rocker on the right side. A 3.5mm headphone jack is in the top while USB is in the base.
Getting at the SIM trays for the Xiaomi Redmi 2 means roving the rear panel. There are two spaces for LTE SIMs and an additional slot for up to a 32GB SD card.
A bight orange battery can be removed and replaced, but we hoped for something a little larger than 2200mAh (although it did perform well).
Overall build quality is good. The phone feels really solid and well put together with no odd rattle or creaks.
Xiaomi Redmi 2, Redmi 1s Comparison
Xiaomi Redmi 2 Review – Display
At $100 the Xiaomi Redmi 2 does’t have the budget for a FHD display, but at only 4.7-inch the 720p panel is more than good enough. The lower resolution display also means that the small battery is under less stress and the Adreno 306 GPU isn’t being pushed to it’s limits.
In China the TD-SCDMA version of the Redmi 2 has a Sharp display, phones with WCDMA/FDD that will work outside of China come with a AUO screen. These AUO screens have been known to flicker from time to time, and there are a few comments on MIUI forums of the issue. I don’t know if this has been solved with updates or if I have been lucky as the screen on our test phone has been flicker free.
I’ve used the Redmi 2 without a screen protector for the past few weeks and it hasn’t scratched yet, other users have said the same but it is unsure if the phone uses either AGC or Gorilla Glass 2. Whatever it is it seems to be hard-wearing, and if you are worried there is also the choice of running a tempered glass screen protector.
Touch response, colours and viewing angles are all very good, although the screen isn’t as bright as say the Meizu MX4. Also, bear in mind that MIUI V6 offers you the option of changing the ‘temperature’ of the colours system wide (settings > additional settings > display > colours and saturation).
Xiaomi Redmi 2 Review – Hardware and performance
Unfortunately at the time of writing only the 1GB RAM version of the Xiaomi Redmi 2 was available for review, although the 2GB RAM model should start shipping through resellers in the next 10-14 days.
Other than lacking a little in the RAM department the rest of the hardware is the same. There is a quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor running at 1.2Ghz and an Adreno 306 GPU. You might already be aware now that this set up isn’t quite as powerful as the Mediatek MT6732 chipset, but at least the SoC is known for reliable GPS and Qualcomm are more likely to open sources for future Android versions (where as Mediatek most certainly will not).
The Redmi 2 is an entry-level phone and in reality we cannot expect blazing performance, and in fact we don’t get it either. With only 1GB RAM on board MIUI V6 leaves just 417mb left over and that quickly get’s eaten up with social media apps open in the background, gaming and general daily usage.
If you have the 1GB RAM version already you should get in to the habit of cleaning your apps (default is a single tap on the menu button), if you haven’t purchased yet go for the 2GB RAM model early next month (March).
Xiaomi Redmi 2 Review – Benchmarks
Call quality is good as is reception, 3G and 4G data. The sound quality through the receiver was launch, but there are plenty of phones out there which have clearer sound, but they are also more expensive too.
Audio through headphones really depends on which headphones you use, but audio through the external speaker is really poor. The volume can be cranked up well, but the resulting sound is tinny and lacks any bass.
With the Snapdragon 410 chip on board I wasn’t worried about GPS performance and found lock on speeds to be fast and accuracy good even when driving.
Battery performance of the Xiaomi Redmi 2 was a concern. With just a 2200mAh battery on board I was really worried how well it would last, even though the phone does have a low power processor and screen. Like any phone the battery life will depend on how you use the device. Generally it is possible to get 2 days of use from the phone if you don’t call very often and you only use an hour or so of video a day. If you tend to call a lot then your battery life will be lower, and we found that the Redmi 2 lacks a little in the battery department if you make a lot of calls.
Xiaomi Redmi 2 Review – Camera
Camera’s on the Xiaomi Redmi 2 are a basic 2 mega-pixel up front and Samsung 8 mega-pixel on the rear.
The front facing camera is only really worth using for video calls, and when there is plenty of light. Although MIUI does have camera options (such as beauty mode) for the front camera, the sensor really isn’t capable of much.
The 8 mega-pixel F2.2 rear camera is better, and it is possible to take some good-looking photos in nice bright conditions. Image quality remains pretty good even when the sun goes down too, and I would say that low light performance of the Redmi 2 is above average at this price.
MIUI V6 offers some nice camera features in the application. You don’t get the same number of options as you do in MIUI V6 on the Mi Note, but it’s still a functional camera app with Panorama, HDR, HHT (night mode) and manual mode, plus live filters too.
Xiaomi Redmi 2 Review – MIUI V6
One of the biggest features the Redmi 2 offers over phones of a similar price is the MIUI ROM. It might not be everyone’s favourite ROM in the world, but it is a feature packed system with tons of options to customise the phone to run as you like.
MIUI V6 offers so many features that we could spend a whole feature on the ROM alone.
Overall the ROM is stable and offers a lot of options to play around with. Xiaomi also update MIUI frequently to add features and fix bugs, and Lollipop should also be making it’s way to the affordable Xiaomi very soon too.
Xiaomi Redmi 2 Review – Specifications[table id=187 /]
Xiaomi Redmi 2 Review – Conclusion
This version of the Xiaomi Redmi 2 costs 699 Yuan in China with 1GB RAM, and 799 Yuan with 2GB RAM, that’s between $110 – $130 for a phone that is well made, comfy to hold and boast a powerful and features packed custom ROM.
International reseller HonorBuy.com, who we purchased this review phone from is selling the 1GB RAM Redmi 2 for $149.99, a fair price for a phone which ultimately does everything you expect from it.
Knowing that the 2GB RAM version of the Redmi is going to be on sale soon I would say that you should avoid the current 1GB RAM version as you will enjoy the additional RAM when running multiple apps plus it also gets 16GB of internal memory too.
The Redmi 2 is a phone that I would recommend you to choose if you wanted a good reliable smartphone for your kids, or non techie friend or family member to use. For these users the performance, battery life and the size of the little Xiaomi make it a perfect device, the fact that I will give this Redmi 2 to my daughter to use is proof enough that I feel it’s a reliable device.
If you are on a budget and want more performance, and are a more hands on person then one of the more powerful MT6752 phones could be had for a similar price to the 2GB RAM Redmi 2 and might be worth a look instead.
Thanks again to HonorBuy.com for the Redmi 2 and also the Mi Note which we will review soon.