Updated: April 4, 2015 2:01:02 pm
After Xiaomi launched its Redmi 1S in India last year, smartphone enthusiasts reckoned that buyers cannot ask for anything more under Rs 7,000. This time with the Redmi 2, Xiaomi has managed to again deliver more under Rs 7,000. Everytime Xiaomi launches a new device, one of the major criticisms the brand faces is with the Flipkart flash sales. However, Xiaomi has promised to do away with flash sales for the Redmi 2 very soon. So, if the Redmi 2 is easily available should you buy it? I have spent over two weeks with the new Redmi 2 and here is my take.
Watch Video: Buyer’s Guide: Xiaomi Redmi 2 vs Moto E (2nd Gen)
Specs: 4.7-inch 720p HD IPS fully laminated display | 64-bit 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 CPU | 1GB LPDDR3 RAM and 8GB ROM (32GB expandable) | Android 4.4.4 KitKat with MIUI 6 | 8MP BSI f/2.2 rear camera | 2MP BSI front camera | 2,200 mAh battery with Quick Charge technology | Dual 4G SIM card slots
Price: Rs 6,999 (Only at Flipkart)
In Pictures: Check out the new Xiaomi Redmi 2
Design: The Redmi 2 incorporates subtle design changes when compared to the popular Redmi 1S. The smartphone is now rounded at the edges, a bit thinner and lighter. Both the Redmi 2 and Redmi 1S sports a 4.7-inch screen, however, the bezel width of the new version is slightly less. Xiaomi has replaced the glossy back cover (in the Redmi 1S) which was prone to a lot of smudges with a soft matte back cover. The soft matte rear cover prevent fingerprints and gives a premium feel. The build quality is good and it is compact.
Display: The Redmi 2 sports a 4.7-inch 720p HD IPS fully laminated display with AGC Dragontrail Glass. Overall, the display quality is good. However, it appeared a bit dull when kept at medium brightness. At full brightness, the display is good. It is crisp and the viewing angles are good. Outdoor visibility is decent. Xiaomi says that it has provided a fully laminated display to reduce the thickness of the device and reduce internal reflections. However, the display appears too glossy when used under direct sunlight. Apart from direct sunlight, the visibility is okay. Overall, consumers shouldn’t have much complaints with the display.
Performance: The Redmi 2 is built to perform and it does. It scored 20,561 on AnTuTu Benchmark (v5.6.2). The device runs on a 1.2GHz 64-bit quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 CPU with 1GB LPDDR3 RAM. Overall, the device is smooth. I did not face any kind of lags or app crashes at all. While multi-tasking, I witnessed a small delay but it can be ignored. On the performance front, the device will not let users down. RAM availability might be an issue on some handsets. While I got only around 270MB free from the beginning, other reviewers said that they always got above 500MB. I switched off animations and opted for balanced performance but nothing helped. However, this did not affect the performance.
Software and UI: This is one area which differentiates Xiaomi from the rest of the budget smartphone players. There are two things that make MIUI 6 one of the best. One, it offers everything from a security centre to a mere (but much needed) call recorder. Two it lets you customise everything. Even if you don’t get the latest Android Lollipop OS, MIUI 6 certainly compensates it with more than you can expect.
Top features of the MIUI 6:
1) Guest mode: This is a much needed feature. When your phone is in someone else’s hand, you are always worried about what exactly the other person is looking into. The Guest mode takes care of it. When enabled, it hides messages, notes, pictures and incoming calls. The best part is that it is included in the notification/quick setting drop down and can also be locked to prevent the guest from disabling it.
2) Lite mode: This mode simply turns the device into a feature phone with basic features. This not only saves battery when needed but it also helps the elderly to use the phone.
3) In-built app lock: This features allow users to lock apps with patterns. Another needed feature to lock WhatsApp, GMail, Gallery, etc. You don’t have to download a separate app locker.
4) In-call recorder: I have reviewed so many smartphones of late but haven’t seen a single one offer a simple call recorder. As a journalist, this is a must have feature for me. I carry a separate feature phone to record telephonic interviews as I am not satisfied with the quality from third-party apps. The Redmi 2 took care of it. You can record in-call audio with great sound quality.
5) In-built cleaner: Say bye bye to all cleaner apps. This in-built feature helps you to clear RAM very easily.
6) In-built security: MIUI 6 comes with a security centre which includes a virus scanner and permission manager.
7) Restrict per app data usage: Another useful feature in the security centre is that you can restrict data usage for each app. For example, if you don’t want a particular app to eat your data in the background simply deny access to it.
Apart from these, the MIUI offers more from themes, animations notifications to flashlight. Overall, Xiaomi has ensured that users get all the tools required from the start with the MIUI 6.
Camera: The device offers an 8MP BSI f/2.2 rear camera with Flash and a 2MP BSI 720p front camera. Overall, the image quality is good. The camera is quick and switching between the two cameras can be done simply by flicking the screen up or down. The new camera interface includes an exposure meter along with the focus ring which is very useful. The selfie camera is decent too. Overall, the camera is one of the real strengths of Redmi 2. It is one of the best in this price range.
Storage: The device offers around 4GB of actual storage space which can be expanded up to 32GB. The device supports USB OTG and the OTG performance is superior. I tried to watch a .MKV movie via my flash drive on my Moto G (2nd Gen) but there was a huge lag in the frames. But Redmi 2 played the same file easily without any lag.
Call quality: Overall, call quality is good but I was surprised to find out that the device sometimes did not respond properly. The caller at the other end complained that he couldn’t hear anything and seemed as if the phone was muted. I couldn’t find any reason for that in particular.
Connectivity: The device offers dual micro SIM card slots with 4G and 3G support on both. Overall, there are no issues on the connectivity front.
Battery: The device is powered by a 2,200 mAh battery.The Redmi 2 easily lasts over a day with regular usage. The battery life is good when compared to other devices in this price range. Xiaomi claims that its Quick Charge technology charges the battery 20% faster, however, I found that the device took around 4 hours to get fully charged.
Verdict: Under Rs 7,000, this is perhaps one of the the best smartphones you can buy at present. We don’t know when the device will finally go for open sale on Flipkart, until then, buy it if you get it.
Feel free to share your opinion about the Redmi 2 in the comment section below.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines