While it is not a huge leap, when compared to its predecessor, the company has succeeded in again taking few steps towards achieving the best smartphone there is in the sub Rs 10k category.
Xiaomi recently pulled the sheets off its latest product, the S and once again has been able to tick enough correct boxes to wow the audience.
With Redmi 1S, Xiaomi was able to redefine the budget segment, and hence a capable follow up was expected.
Let's take a look at the complete picture.
One look at the phone, and it is clear that the Redmi 2 has inherited some traits of its predecessor. Xiaomi did however decided to give more rounded corners to the new model. Build quality seems to be adequate.
The right side of the phone sports the metallic power and volume keys, while the bottom side carries the micro USB port. The 3.5 mm jack is located on the top.
The phone's navigation keys sit right below the display screen. An LED notification light has been provided as well, which is located beneath the home key.
The back cover has a matte finish, and that should help with gripping the otherwise slippery phone. Compared with its predecessor, the Redmi 2 also seems to have lost some of the bloat. It is thinner and lighter. The Redmi 2 also gained a second microphone for noise cancellation.
Cranking up the levels here, Xiaomi has brought forward a display which will rightfully fall under the retina display category.
Coming with a 4.7-inch 720p IPS display, it has a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels. This translates to a pixel density of ~312 ppi which is fabulous, especially while considering its price bracket. The display also has AGC Dragontrail glass protection.
Redmi 2 happens to have a laminated display. This decreases the gap between the top glass and the LCD to an extent, that the users feel touching the pixels, something which the latest iPad also boasts of.
The colours are lively, good viewing angles, and decent sunlight readability.
All this at the cost of little reflective glass, Xiaomi has impressed hugely in this segment.
This section has seen steady improvements with time, and it is a delight to see the phenomenon being carried on.
The Redmi 2 boasts of a Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A53 Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 (64-bit) processor. Giving it company is Adreno 306 GPU, and the configuration is assisted with 1 GB of RAM.
On the internal storage front, the phone comes with 8 GB. Users gets to enjoy 5.75 GB out of that, and hence the microSD card slot proves to be a life saver. Users can expand the storage memory by a further 32GB.
The Redmi 2 runs on MIUI 6, which is based on Android 4.4 KitKat. After a swipe upwards to unlock the phone, one notices, like the trend in many Chinese manufacturers, here too the app drawer is missing. As a result, the apps and widgets are all found together.
The Indian version has Google Play installed, and comes along the Google apps like Gmail, Hangouts, Maps etc.
One of the interesting feature probably will remain the option to customise the phone with themes, but features like floating notification app can't be brushed aside either.
The Lite Mode is something which should be appreciated. Aimed at less tech savvy, like senior citizens, the phone only brings up the essential apps in big tile format like Windows mobile OS.
The 5GB of Mi Cloud storage should come in handy. The notification area comprises of two tabs. One carries all the notifications, while the other one has toggles and a shortcut for the settings menu.
It seems that Xiaomi tried a bit too hard to impress with the software bit. And that is a pity really, as there was no need for it. The phone belongs to the budget category and the software performance can't ignore the hardware hindrances.
The phone showed the hardware limitations with its animation and transition effects being not as smooth as intended. The apps took a hint of an extra time to launch. During the regular use however, the phone leaves little to complain. A few days of identifying usage requirement, and it was clear that killing non-required apps did help a lot.
Users should not find the normal usage of the phone to be an unpleasant experience. In fact, the GPU heavy games played at lower settings worked out just fine.
The Redmi 2 has an 8 MP rear camera with LED flash like Redmi 1S, but the Redmi 2 carries a 2 MP front camera as well. The camera performs remarkably well for the given price segment. The pics clicked from the rear camera came out to be crisp and with details. Colours were accurate as well.
Of course this was with good ambient light. The photos clicked with poor light condition did showed noise, but were decent enough for social network website sharing. Given the budget category of the phone, users won't be complaining one bit. Xiaomi has also slipped in the popular defocus effect for the snaps taken up close. HDR mode provides good result as well.
The rear camera is capable of grabbing 1080p videos. These were again decent and understandably not of very high quality.
Front facing camera takes just about decent photos. Hardware owing to its segment meant that noise showed up prominently.
The front camera at least covers a good area owing to its wide angle lens type.
Apart from the fabulous display, the Redmi also has some other features to boast about. Besides the usual connectivity features like 2G, 3G, 4G
Wi-Fi, LTE and Bluetooth, the Redmi also provides dual band 4G connectivity.
The phone supports not only the usual Band 40, but also Band 3, which makes it a good candidate for being future proof.
To make the deal even sweeter, the phone offers the 4G and 3G connectivity on both the SIM cards. This alone makes a strong case for the phone.
The phone has been provided with a 2,200mAh battery, which is an upgrade as well, since Redmi 1S came with a 2000 mAh battery along.
The removable battery is a Lithium Polymer variant, and pulls in quite impressive number with its performance.
The phone lasted for about 15 hours with heavy usage. Moderate usage should see the phone lasting near about 24 hours on a single charge.
As has been evident, users from the sub Rs 10k segment value their FM radio heavily, and Redmi 2 didn't have any plans to leave them high and dry.
Redmi 2 offers not only FM radio, but does so even without the users requiring to plug in the headphones. Users can also capture their favourite audio bits by making use of the recording capability.
The most impressive feature here being that the phone offers customised audio settings for different headphones which maybe used/preferred by the listeners. The audio output in itself was very good.
Coming to the phone speaker, this part didn't disappoint either. The phone speaker maintained good clarity even when played on high volumes.
Launched at Rs 6999, this easily tops the charts for the sub Rs 10k mobile phone recommendation. For users who already have the Redmi 1S, the upgrade won't matter too much, but for first timers, this phone should be on top of the list for consideration.
Coming with a display which immediately impresses, the phone also boasts of a camera which is sure to win further accolades. Most impressive has been the feature about the 4G/3G connectivity on both the SIM cards, as this can prove to be the difference for many. Support for dual band connectivity makes Redmi 2's case only stronger.
A software update should see the phone getting rid of the stuttering transition effects, which remains the only niggle with an otherwise solid option in its category.
Photographs: Courtesy, Xiaomi