In the burgeoning category of entry-level 4G LTE smartphones, there are at least six that can handle 4G LTE networks. With the arrival of the Redmi 2, there’s a new contender for the throne.
Xiaomi’s update to the Redmi 1S makes several new design changes and spec upgrades over its predecessor. The Redmi 2 adds 4G network connectivity on both sims, dual standby mode, USB OTG support, a faster processor and a fully laminated HD display.
We took the phone out for a quick spin, and here are our early impressions based on a day of usage.
Build Quality, Design
The phone is 15 grams lighter, and has a narrower bezel, and a soft touch matte back cover. It’s not a particularly slim phone, but it doesn’t need any kind of bumpers or screen guards, and fits snugly in your pocket. The screen really is scratch proof - keys and metallic objects won’t put a scratch on it.
MIUI 6 adds plenty of features that are not found on Android - you can set per app data restrictions, record in-call audio, set profiles on both the SIMs. The phone lets you set per app data restrictions, and chooses which SIM to use to call or text, based on usage history.
The Redmi 2 supports expandable memory, has a removable battery, and supports 4G on both SIM card slots. The phone uses the Qualcomm MSM8916 Snapdragon 410 chipset, which upgrades the CPU to a quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex A53, from a Cortex-A7. Xiaomi claims 30 percent faster browsing speeds and an overall 50% higher CPU performance compared to the Redmi 1S.
The Redmi 2 has a 10% larger Li-Po 2200 mAh battery, which seems like a thoughtful upgrade to a device with dual sim, LTE connectivity. The RAM and storage remain the same, a limited edition version provides 2GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage, and will be in a flash sale sometime in the future. Other notable spec improvements include USB-OTG support and QuickCharge 1.0 for faster battery charging.
Like its predecessor, the Redmi 2 has a 4.7-inch 1280x720 pixel resolution display protected by AGC Dragontail glass. The Redmi 2 uses a new manufacturing process to provide a fully laminated screen - there’s no gap between glass and LCD — the pixels feel closer to your fingertips.
The HD IPS display has a pixel density of 312 ppi, and it reproduces media with good contrast and colours at 50-100% brightness.
The cameras in the Redmi 2 really do punch above their weight. The rear camera is an 8 megapixel shooter, the UI sports plenty of improvements, including 36 new smart filters under Beautify, 12 new filters in Preview mode and shooting modes like HDR, Panorama, and manual shooting modes.
We particularly liked the performance of the camera in night and macro modes, the Huffpost team was quite excited playing around with the selfie mode where the phone flatters you by low-balling your age.
You would be hard-pressed to find a phone that’s as feature-packed as this one in the price range. The Lenovo A6000 is as good, if not better, but based on just the sheer amount of features Xiaomi adds on the software side, it will be difficult for competitors to produce a comparable device.
Compared to the Moto E 2nd gen listed on Flipkart, the Redmi 2 outclasses its competitor on screen size, resolution, network connectivity, processor and cameras. Compare it to the Lenovo A6000 on specs, and the odds are even — both use the same Snapdragon 410 chipset, support 4G LTE on dual sims, but the A6000 has a larger screen, Dolby Digital Plus audio on a dual speaker setup, and a larger battery.
Xiaomi has done plenty to revamp the Redmi 2 on the software side of things with MIUI 6, which hasn’t been rolled out on the Redmi 1S yet. If you’re looking for a non-phablet sized dual sim Android phone, something that’s affordable, the Redmi 2 is a no-brainer, provided you can get your hands on one.
The Lenovo A6000 is a worthy competitor, but in terms of bang for the buck, you can’t do better than the Redmi 2. We’ll be doing a review of these two devices to provide a verdict soon.