Xiaomi Redmi 2 Review

Introduction


Xiaomi Redmi 2 Review
Xiaomi Redmi 2 Review
Xiaomi Redmi 2 Review
Xiaomi Redmi 2 Review
Xiaomi Redmi 2 Review
Xiaomi has quickly grown to become one of the world’s top five _phone_ makers. However, its success is based solely on the Chinese market, with no Xiaomi devices that you can officially purchase in the United States or in Europe.

Luckily, third-party resellers make the task of getting a Xiaomi _phone_ relatively easy, and for those who want to experiment with one, we review one of the company’s most affordable handsets: the Xiaomi Redmi 2.

A 4.7” phone with a 720p display, a Snapdragon 410 system chip, and an 8-megapixel camera, it takes the most pride in its software: Android 4.4 KitKat skinned with the rich and deep MIUI version 6.0. It’s also got a removable battery and expandable storage, rounding up this impressive package for a device that costs $130 off contract. Is it all as good as it sounds on paper? Let’s find out.

In the box:
  • Xiaomi Redmi 2
  • 1A - 5V wall charger
  • microUSB Cable
  • User manual

Design

The Redmi 2 is made out of matte plastic that feels nice to touch, and overall the phone is impressively lightweight.

The first thing that you notice when you hold the Redmi 2 in your hand is just how lightweight the phone is. Put it on a scale and it will tip the scales at just 4.72oz (134g). In terms of materials, it’s an all-plastic affair with a matte, polycarbonate finish and a variety of color options for the back cover, which also happens to be removable. Unfortunately, while this has its advantages in the form of easy access to the battery, SIM cards, and microSD card slot, in the case of the Redmi 2, it also translates to a body that does not feel tightly put together. Parts move and screak slightly when you hold the phone - it’s not a terrible issue by any means, but we also can’t say it contributes to solid build quality.

Right below the display, you have three small-ish, red capacitive buttons. The physical buttons are all on the right side: a power/lock key in the middle and a volume rocker above it, both clicky and comfortable to press. The speaker of the phone is located on its back, where there is also the main camera and a single LED flash.

Front view | Side view
Xiaomi Redmi 2
Xiaomi Redmi 2
5.27 x 2.64 x 0.37 inches
133.9 x 67.1 x 9.4 mm
4.72 oz (134 g)

Xiaomi Redmi 2

Meizu m1 note
Meizu m1 note
5.93 x 2.96 x 0.35 inches
150.7 x 75.2 x 8.9 mm
5.11 oz (145 g)

Meizu m1 note

Samsung Galaxy A3
Samsung Galaxy A3
5.12 x 2.58 x 0.27 inches
130.1 x 65.5 x 6.9 mm
3.89 oz (110 g)

Samsung Galaxy A3

Apple iPhone 6
Apple iPhone 6
5.44 x 2.64 x 0.27 inches
138.1 x 67 x 6.9 mm
4.55 oz (129 g)

Apple iPhone 6



 

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Display

The 4.7” 720 x 1280-pixel IPS LCD display is sharp enough to disallow nasty pixelizations, and it offers pleasing colors with some slight issues.

The Xiaomi Redmi 2 features a 4.7-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels. This translates into a fairly decent pixel density of 312ppi - sharp enough not to notice much pixelization at regular viewing distances, but still, jagged pixel edges are noticeable when you look at the phone from up close.

In terms of colors, Xiaomi offers some customization options, and the default setting is not accurate at all - with overly cold, bluish colors. Luckily, when you go into Settings -> Additional Settings -> Display, you’d see that you can pick between Warm, Standard, and Cool for the color temperature, and Brilliant and Standard for saturations. Switch to the Warm color temp and Standard saturations, and you end with a very decent display in terms of color quality. We ran our display measurements in this mode, and they confirmed what our eyes saw: color temperature is still on the cold side at 7800K (6500K is the reference value), and gamma is consistently over the top at an average of 2.35, which results in colors that look noticeably darker and appear more contrasty. Color saturations, on the other hand, are just very slightly shifted towards the blue, but for all else, they are fairly well calibrated to fit inside the standard sRGB color space. It’s worth pointing out that the Redmi 2 has one of the best displays in its class of affordable devices where other screens often have serious color issues.

Outdoors, the display is not hard to read at all as it can reach a maximum brightness of the excellent 552 nits. Viewing angles are also very decent, with colors retaining a lot of their vibrancy even at an angle, but brightness does get noticeably reduced when you look at the phone from the side.

Right above the screen are a light sensor and a proximity sensor, so that the phone can automatically switch off its display when you’re in a call and automatically adjust its brightness. Those are features that come standard on higher-end phones, but some lower-end phones of the Redmi 2’s class still miss them.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Apple iPhone 6 606
(Excellent)
7
(Good)
1:1563
(Excellent)
7162
(Good)
2.23
3.51
(Good)
3
(Good)
Xiaomi Redmi 2 552
(Excellent)
12
(Average)
1:995
(Average)
7813
(Average)
2.35
4.92
(Average)
5.37
(Average)
Xiaomi Mi 4 490
(Good)
2
(Excellent)
1:901
(Average)
7392
(Good)
2.2
4.82
(Average)
6.91
(Average)
Motorola Moto E (2015) 407
(Good)
18
(Poor)
1:1260
(Excellent)
6323
(Excellent)
2.16
4.11
(Average)
4.78
(Average)
Motorola Moto G (2014) 390
(Average)
15
(Poor)
1:908
(Average)
8290
(Poor)
2.39
5.32
(Average)
6.78
(Average)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Motorola Moto E (2015) 75.7%
77.8%
84.6%
12.8%
5.6%
23.8%
76.2%
Xiaomi Mi 4 76.5%
50%
85.7%
10.2%
5.5%
2.9%
7.1%
Apple iPhone 6 82.3%
85.7%
86.9%
2.3%
10.8%
6.6%
24%
Xiaomi Redmi 2 85%
91.7%
82%
13.8%
2.1%
14.4%
26.4%
Motorola Moto G (2014) 86.4%
86.7%
77.1%
13.8%
0.8%
17.7%
18%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all

Xiaomi Redmi 2 Review

Introduction


Xiaomi Redmi 2 Review
Xiaomi Redmi 2 Review
Xiaomi Redmi 2 Review
Xiaomi Redmi 2 Review
Xiaomi Redmi 2 Review
Xiaomi has quickly grown to become one of the world’s top five phone makers. However, its success is based solely on the Chinese market, with no Xiaomi devices that you can officially purchase in the United States or in Europe.

Luckily, third-party resellers make the task of getting a Xiaomi phone relatively easy, and for those who want to experiment with one, we review one of the company’s most affordable handsets: the Xiaomi Redmi 2.

A 4.7” phone with a 720p display, a Snapdragon 410 system chip, and an 8-megapixel camera, it takes the most pride in its software: Android 4.4 KitKat skinned with the rich and deep MIUI version 6.0. It’s also got a removable battery and expandable storage, rounding up this impressive package for a device that costs $130 off contract. Is it all as good as it sounds on paper? Let’s find out.

In the box:
  • Xiaomi Redmi 2
  • 1A - 5V wall charger
  • microUSB Cable
  • User manual

Design

The Redmi 2 is made out of matte plastic that feels nice to touch, and overall the phone is impressively lightweight.

The first thing that you notice when you hold the Redmi 2 in your hand is just how lightweight the phone is. Put it on a scale and it will tip the scales at just 4.72oz (134g). In terms of materials, it’s an all-plastic affair with a matte, polycarbonate finish and a variety of color options for the back cover, which also happens to be removable. Unfortunately, while this has its advantages in the form of easy access to the battery, SIM cards, and microSD card slot, in the case of the Redmi 2, it also translates to a body that does not feel tightly put together. Parts move and screak slightly when you hold the phone - it’s not a terrible issue by any means, but we also can’t say it contributes to solid build quality.

Right below the display, you have three small-ish, red capacitive buttons. The physical buttons are all on the right side: a power/lock key in the middle and a volume rocker above it, both clicky and comfortable to press. The speaker of the phone is located on its back, where there is also the main camera and a single LED flash.

Front view | Side view
Xiaomi Redmi 2
Xiaomi Redmi 2
5.27 x 2.64 x 0.37 inches
133.9 x 67.1 x 9.4 mm
4.72 oz (134 g)

Xiaomi Redmi 2

Meizu m1 note
Meizu m1 note
5.93 x 2.96 x 0.35 inches
150.7 x 75.2 x 8.9 mm
5.11 oz (145 g)

Meizu m1 note

Samsung Galaxy A3
Samsung Galaxy A3
5.12 x 2.58 x 0.27 inches
130.1 x 65.5 x 6.9 mm
3.89 oz (110 g)

Samsung Galaxy A3

Apple iPhone 6
Apple iPhone 6
5.44 x 2.64 x 0.27 inches
138.1 x 67 x 6.9 mm
4.55 oz (129 g)

Apple iPhone 6




Display

The 4.7” 720 x 1280-pixel IPS LCD display is sharp enough to disallow nasty pixelizations, and it offers pleasing colors with some slight issues.

The Xiaomi Redmi 2 features a 4.7-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels. This translates into a fairly decent pixel density of 312ppi - sharp enough not to notice much pixelization at regular viewing distances, but still, jagged pixel edges are noticeable when you look at the phone from up close.

In terms of colors, Xiaomi offers some customization options, and the default setting is not accurate at all - with overly cold, bluish colors. Luckily, when you go into Settings -> Additional Settings -> Display, you’d see that you can pick between Warm, Standard, and Cool for the color temperature, and Brilliant and Standard for saturations. Switch to the Warm color temp and Standard saturations, and you end with a very decent display in terms of color quality. We ran our display measurements in this mode, and they confirmed what our eyes saw: color temperature is still on the cold side at 7800K (6500K is the reference value), and gamma is consistently over the top at an average of 2.35, which results in colors that look noticeably darker and appear more contrasty. Color saturations, on the other hand, are just very slightly shifted towards the blue, but for all else, they are fairly well calibrated to fit inside the standard sRGB color space. It’s worth pointing out that the Redmi 2 has one of the best displays in its class of affordable devices where other screens often have serious color issues.

Outdoors, the display is not hard to read at all as it can reach a maximum brightness of the excellent 552 nits. Viewing angles are also very decent, with colors retaining a lot of their vibrancy even at an angle, but brightness does get noticeably reduced when you look at the phone from the side.

Right above the screen are a light sensor and a proximity sensor, so that the phone can automatically switch off its display when you’re in a call and automatically adjust its brightness. Those are features that come standard on higher-end phones, but some lower-end phones of the Redmi 2’s class still miss them.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Apple iPhone 6 606
(Excellent)
7
(Good)
1:1563
(Excellent)
7162
(Good)
2.23
3.51
(Good)
3
(Good)
Xiaomi Redmi 2 552
(Excellent)
12
(Average)
1:995
(Average)
7813
(Average)
2.35
4.92
(Average)
5.37
(Average)
Xiaomi Mi 4 490
(Good)
2
(Excellent)
1:901
(Average)
7392
(Good)
2.2
4.82
(Average)
6.91
(Average)
Motorola Moto E (2015) 407
(Good)
18
(Poor)
1:1260
(Excellent)
6323
(Excellent)
2.16
4.11
(Average)
4.78
(Average)
Motorola Moto G (2014) 390
(Average)
15
(Poor)
1:908
(Average)
8290
(Poor)
2.39
5.32
(Average)
6.78
(Average)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Motorola Moto E (2015) 75.7%
77.8%
84.6%
12.8%
5.6%
23.8%
76.2%
Xiaomi Mi 4 76.5%
50%
85.7%
10.2%
5.5%
2.9%
7.1%
Apple iPhone 6 82.3%
85.7%
86.9%
2.3%
10.8%
6.6%
24%
Xiaomi Redmi 2 85%
91.7%
82%
13.8%
2.1%
14.4%
26.4%
Motorola Moto G (2014) 86.4%
86.7%
77.1%
13.8%
0.8%
17.7%
18%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all

Interface and Functionality

MIUI version 6, running on top of Android 4.4 KitKat, is a nice skin with a lot of useful features, but many of them are made for China, and we had issues with some apps.

The Redmi 2 runs on Android 4.4 KitKat with the MIUI 6.0 skin on top of it, and this skin really is the star of the show. MIUI is one of the most profound and deep attempts at customizing the stock Android interface to the point where it’s hard to recognize you have Android running on the phone.

Yet, in our modern, Android 5.0 Lollipop times, some elements like the keyboard for instance, look decidedly quaint. Will the Redmi 2 get updated to Android 5.0 Lollipop? It certainly has the needed hardware in the form of the 64-bit Snapdragon 410, but Xiaomi has not said anything officially yet.

Going back into the intricacies of the MIUI 6 skin, it’s a note-worthy skin for a few reasons: the fact that all Xiaomi phones - from the most expensive ones to the cheapest like the Redmi 2 - support an almost identical user experience. Some of the signature features include the fact that it is well optimized to run, with smooth, good-looking animations, extensive customization options, and support for themes.

With Xiaomi’s clear focus on the Chinese market, though, the nagging question about the MIUI skin is whether it’s well-tailored for use to those outside of China. The answer is ‘not really’. Even though MIUI v6 is well translated in English, there are still some places where you bump into Chinese characters or services that you don’t understand or that are not relevant. The Mi account that Xiaomi invites you to create - which is akin to an iCloud account, granting you access to cloud storage and purchases in the Xiaomi store - is basically an almost all-China affair, and most of the themes are also made with the Asian customer in mind. Then, there are some issues: the default font on the Redmi 2 breaks when trying to display Cyrillic characters. Not an issue that will affect everyone, but still this is the first time we see such a problem on Android (you need to manually go into Themes -> select Category -> tap on Components -> go into Fonts, and find a more universal font to fix this).

Xiaomi’s stock apps all feature well-refined design, but some of them are again tailor-made for the Chinese market: the video player allows you to catch up with the latest Chinese TV soap operas and other TV series, and you can even stream full movies for free directly from the app. This would qualify as piracy in the Western hemisphere, but apparently this is how China operates. Then, even if you try this streaming feature, all of that available content is streaming from China, meaning it has to go through the Great Firewall, which slows down streaming speeds, making the feature practically useless.

Then, it seemed like there were particular issues with some particular apps: the camera crashed on us a few times, and both Facebook and Facebook Messenger would take an eternity to load. Since Facebook is an essential app, showcasing such unsatisfying performance puts the Redmi 2 at quite the disadvantage.

It’s not all bad, of course, the interface runs mostly lag free and has some soothing smoothness to animations. In the form that it is presented in the Redmi 2, though, it just does not seem fully ready to present itself outside of mainland China.

Processor and Memory

The 64-bit Snapdragon 410 system chip with 1GB of RAM is pretty much everywhere in mid-range devices, and the Redmi 2 has it as well.

The Xiaomi Redmi 2 runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 (MSM8916), a 64-bit chip with four Cortex A53 cores running at up to 1.2GHz, 1GB of RAM, and an Adreno 306 GPU. There is one key tune-up option that you need to be aware of before we go into further performance details: in Settings -> Battery -> Power Settings, you can select between two modes for the phone, a Balanced and Performance mode. Performance would squeeze the most out of the silicon, while the default Balanced mode would put brakes on the silicon in order to maximize battery life.

We do notice some slight stutter in the Balanced mode, so we would rather recommend running the phone in Performance mode.

In that mode, performance is good, but we can’t say that it’s great. We have precedents like the Motorola Moto G (2014 edition) that runs very quickly and very smoothly, so the Redmi 2 definitely feels a bit slower than the slightly pricier Moto G.

Turning over to gaming and graphics performance, the Adreno 306 GPU does a decent job. Casual games as well as more intensive titles run on the Redmi 2 without much of an issue.

Performance benchmarks

AnTuTu
Higher is better
Xiaomi Mi 4 34032
Motorola Moto E (2015) 22061
Xiaomi Redmi 2 20428
Motorola Moto G (2014) 18249
Vellamo Metal
Higher is better
Xiaomi Mi 4 1284
Motorola Moto E (2015) 745
Xiaomi Redmi 2 777.66
Motorola Moto G (2014) 608
Sunspider
Lower is better
Xiaomi Mi 4 1571.8
Motorola Moto E (2015) 1297.8
Xiaomi Redmi 2 1527.9
Motorola Moto G (2014) 1470.6
Apple iPhone 6 353.4
Basemark OS II
Higher is better
Xiaomi Mi 4 995
Motorola Moto E (2015) 493
Xiaomi Redmi 2 503
Motorola Moto G (2014) 523
Apple iPhone 6 1239
Geekbench 3 single-core
Higher is better
Xiaomi Mi 4 850
Motorola Moto E (2015) 476
Xiaomi Redmi 2 482
Apple iPhone 6 1630
Geekbench 3 multi-core
Higher is better
Xiaomi Mi 4 2155
Motorola Moto E (2015) 1439
Xiaomi Redmi 2 1463
Apple iPhone 6 2927
View all


For internal storage, you have the very limiting 8GB on board (of which only around 6GB are available to the end user), but luckily the handset also supports expandable memory via microSD cards of up to 64 gigs.

Internet and Connectivity

The stock browser does a good job for surfing the web, but 4G LTE connectivity is limited to just a few bands that are not supported in the United States.

The Redmi 2 comes with a custom browser that features a nice, well-tailored to touch design and it is a fairly fast performer when it comes to loading pages. When you try to scroll around, though, it seems that there is some issue with the screen refresh rate, as content starts to blur slightly. It’s not a terrible issue, but still worth mentioning.

In terms of connectivity, you have 4G LTE on board, but with fairly limited support for bands. The Redmi 2 supports bands 1 and 3 on FDD-LTE, which are the bands used by the majority of European carriers, but there’s no support for bands 4 and 2 which are required for most carriers in the United States. We still urge you to check your carriers’ supported bands to ensure that LTE will work for you, but otherwise, you can rely on good old 3G connectivity.

It’s also worth mentioning that the Redmi 2 is a dual-SIM phone. Other connectivity options include Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and GLONASS.

Camera

An 8-megapixel camera that exceeds expectations for this super affordable class of devices, but still has its issues.

The Xiaomi Redmi 2 ships with an 8-megapixel main camera with single-LED flash and with an f/2.2 lens with 28mm focal distance (in 35mm equivalent terms).

At first sight, the camera app is very reminiscent to the one we’ve seen on iOS, with a very similar interface, and even the option to control the exposure in a manner similar to that on iOS. And while it copies its design approach and simplicity, it does have quite a few settings that you can manually tweak, including a manual shooting mode. Speaking of different modes, you can swipe left or right inside the app to bring up various filters, as well as access different modes like HDR and Panorama.

The actual Images on the Redmi 2 turn out very well: with lively colors and great dynamics. Colors tend to be overblown, much more vivid than they look in reality - some may like this effect, others might prefer more realistic tones. The overblown color situation is particularly noticeable when you capture macro images of colorful things - we took a few macro images of flowers and you can see that colors just look neon-like, way overblown, and while in other images the effect is not all that noticeable, it does more harm than good to the close-ups.

Auto-focus is not all that fast, nor particularly reliable, but that’s when you compare the camera with the best camera phones out there that have really pushed the envelope. We had several shots that turned out to be out of focus, and slow focus times make it hard to capture fast-moving objects, but given that the Redmi 2 is an extremely affordable phone, this is more the norm than the exception for its class.

Indoors, in scarce light conditions, images still turn out fairly good. We’ve often seen cameras capture blurry photos indoors, with inaccurate colors, but luckily, this is not the case with the Redmi 2, which manages to keep images sharp and colors fairly pleasing, with little amount of noise. The single-LED flash does a good job illuminating rather large areas, but skews colors towards a colder, bluish tint resulting in unnaturally colored shots.

Up front, there is a 2-megapixel selfie cam that does the equivalent of plastic surgery on images. Well, maybe not that much, but fact is that it is set to weirdly change the natural tone of skin colors which results in weird, extremely pale skin tones. We guess this is an attempt to ‘beautify’ reality, but it looks very unnatural and fake. We captured some selfies using both the front and the rear camera, and you can see the staggering difference in colors.


Camera speed

Taking a pic (sec)Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec)Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Apple iPhone 6 1.9
2
619
432
Xiaomi Mi 4 2.8
4.3
799
742
Xiaomi Redmi 2 3
5.5
517
439
Motorola Moto E (2015) 3.11
6.11
No data
No data
Motorola Moto G (2014) 4
6.4
435
348
View all

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Turning over to video, the Redmi 2 can record in up to 1080p at 30fps and a bit-rate of around 30Mbps. Having 1080p video on such an affordable phone is definitely an appreciated feature, and we’re happy to report that footage looks good: the handset manages to auto-focus fairly fast (it’s not the fastest, but not sluggish either), colors are good, and footage looks fine. The one issue we do have is with the microphone as there is no noise cancellation and wind noise creeps in, ruining a lot of the audio quality of a recording.



Multimedia

Media apps are simple and well done, but their extra features are reserved for Chinese users.

The media experience on the Redmi 2 is tailor-made for the Chinese market starting from the gallery app, and going to the music and video players.

The gallery, for instance, is a fairly straightforward affair, and it offers you the nice option to back up your images in the Xiaomi cloud. This is a nice option (we did notice some Chinese characters when registering and setting up the account, but nothing that would make registering impossible for those who don't speak Chinese), and the phone backs up your images effortlessly, but we did notice that trying to retrieve or just browse through those images was a bit slow.

We’ve already touched on the video player in the interface part, but let us quickly recap that it has no issues playing various formats and codecs of videos. It is also tightly integrated with an online streaming function that allows you to watch the latest Chinese soap operas and even full-on movies without paying a dime (again, possible copyright issues arise here).

The music player is a very straightforward affair with no fancy options: it shows you all your music arranged in alphabetical order, and you can also conveniently view songs by files and folders. The single speaker on the back blasts out tunes in a fairly loud and clean manner, and while it lacks any depth, we do like the sound quality.

Audio output

Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
Apple iPhone 6 1.017
Xiaomi Redmi 2 0.5
Motorola Moto G (2014) 0.41
Motorola Moto E (2015) 0.37
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
Apple iPhone 6 74.5
Xiaomi Redmi 2 82
Motorola Moto G (2014) 74.2
Motorola Moto E (2015) 74.8
Xiaomi Mi 4 69
View all


Xiaomi Redmi 2 Review
Call Quality


Call quality on the Redmi 2 is good, having no major issues on both ends of the line.

This does not mean it’s perfect, though, in the earpieces voices tend to sound a bit on the quiet side and with a slight distortion, while on the other end of the line there is a similar slight noise to voices. Noise is also not cancelled out perfectly, so when you are in a noisy environment, side noise gets in the way.

Battery life

Battery life is nothing short of great.

With a 2200 mAh removable battery, the Xiaomi Redmi 2 manages to squeeze a lot of actual run-time and it easily lasts over a full day even under heavy usage, while more moderate use may even help you get two days of battery life out of the device, which is definitely very impressive.

For more accurate measurements, we turn to our own battery life test. Keep in mind that we perform our battery tests uniformly for all devices: with the same load simulating typical smartphone use and all displays pre-set at 200 nits. The result that we get is for use with no screen-off time, and in the case of the Redmi 2 the phone ranks at the top of the charts with battery longevity of 7 hours and 45 minutes. Keep in mind that actual battery life depends a lot on how you set up the Redmi 2, and whether it’s running in Performance or Balanced mode.

Unfortunately, recharge times are fairly slow on the Redmi 2 - it takes nearly two hours and a half to charge up the phone from zero to 100% with the stock 5V - 1A wall charger. The phone does not support any fancy quick charging methods, as we tried juicing it up with a QuickCharge 2.0 wall charger, and the result was not any faster.

Battery Benchmarks

Battery life (hours)
Higher is better
Motorola Moto E (2015) 9h (Excellent)
Xiaomi Mi 4 8h 32 min (Excellent)
Xiaomi Redmi 2 7h 45 min (Good)
Motorola Moto G (2014) 6h 17 min (Average)
Apple iPhone 6 5h 22 min (Poor)
Charging time (minutes)
Lower is better
Xiaomi Mi 4 126
Xiaomi Redmi 2 148
Motorola Moto G (2014) 151
Apple iPhone 6 147
View all

Conclusion


At a full retail price of $130 (799 yuan in China), the Xiaomi Redmi 2 is one of the most affordable Android phones money can buy.

Previously, such extremely affordable phones would come crippled significantly and lacking in features, but at first sight the Redmi 2 does no compromises: it has a fairly sharp, 4.7” display, the ubiquitous Snapdragon 410 mid-range system chip, and an 8-megapixel camera that shows promise.

However, there is a reason why this phone is not sold outside of Asia, and it’s the software. There is a lot to like about MIUI v6 that powers the Redmi 2 - its rich customization options with themes, it’s likable style and plentiful settings that you can manually tweak, and its mostly smooth operation. However, it is still a phone from China and leaves a lot of its important features to that market only: the Xiaomi account that you can register is all in Chinese, the cloud and streaming services as well, and even the Theme menu is all in Chinese. The biggest issue is that it seems that some apps just don’t run well for some reason, and those happen to be crucial apps: Facebook and the camera app crashed on us way too often.

If you are willing to tinker around with it, though, or want a phone with great battery life that captures decent images, the Redmi 2 will not disappoint, and for its price it remains a good deal.



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