A flagship device is usually a model, the mobile manufacturer introduces to showcase their capability by taking the specs to the ceiling limit. Usually the price also reaches a ceiling limit with a flagship device. But a flagship device may not be the best seller for the manufacturer. The Lumia 520 was a classic example of this use case at hand. The Lumia 520 was able to run a high end operating system with low end specifications and it became an instant hit. On the parallel lines, Xiaomi introduced the Redmi 1s last year and showed the world that you don’t need to sell your kidneys to own a powerful hardware. The specifications of the Redmi 1s, didn’t hit the ceiling limit, but it was a classic showcase to show that a mid range hardware can give you the same experience of an expensive phone and you don’t have to burn your wallet in EMIs to own it. It became an instant success with the Indian buyers. Every flash sale, the Redmi 1s went out of stock in minutes and this by itself is a proof of its popularity.
Last year, I took the Redmi 1S, to the potential buyers and got their views to pen my review. This helped me understand what people really wanted. This year Xiaomi has refreshed the Redmi lineup with the Redmi 2. Although the Redmi 1s remained a popular device since its launch, there were a lot of issues that were blown out of proportion. Before I get on with the Redmi 2 review, let us see if Xiaomi has addressed the issues with Redmi 1s.
1. Over heating.
Users regularly complained about the over heating issues with the Redmi 1s. This was due to the overclocked processor used in the Redmi 1s. There were a lot of fixes and patches to resolve this, but still the issue is prevalent with most Redmi 1s users. Redmi 2 seems to have learned from its predecessor’s mistake. The processor is not overclocked and there is no over heating. Even on continous usage of processor intensive applications, the Redmi 2 stayed well withing the 40 degree Celsius limit.
Xiaomi is hell bent on selling all its devices on Flash sales model. Any layman who wants to get his hands on the device, needs help from someone else in the friends or family circle. Sometime the touts also cash in on this opportunity. To make matters worse, these devices gets sold out withing a few seconds. Xiaomi has not solved this issue with the Redmi 2. They did briefly solve with other models, but flash sales is here to stay for the Redmi 2.
3. Speakerphone quality
The Redmi 1s has an unique feature called the lite mode. This enables senior citizens to use the mobile at ease. But what good is the UI, when they are unable to hear the phone ringing. Redmi 1s had weak loudspeakers and Redmi 2 has marginally improved the speakerphone quality. It is located at the back and can be easily muffled when laid down on a cushion surface. Also it is a mono speaker.
4. Security Concerns
Redmi 1S, opened the flood gate of accusations on Xiaomi about their security policy. The moment they realized the data that is backed up from your phone is stored in a server based in China, there was no stopping the rumor mills. But now most of the accusations have been clarified and settled. If you are preparing yourself to get your hands on these devices, just understand that it because as normally as any other Android phone when it comes to security.
5. Non Backlit keys
Non backlit menu keys is a huge usability issue in Redmi 1S. It is virtually impossible to operate android without these navigation keys and when the room is totally dark, a back lit menu would have been a boon. Unfortunately the Redmi 2 still has that problem and the keys are just color coated and not back lit.
That being said, we can already see that the Redmi 2 is a not a major upgrade from Redmi 1s. Now let us compare the key specifications and later on dive deep and see what the new Redmi has got in store for us.
|Redmi 1s||Redmi 2|
|Dimensions||137 x 69 x 9.9 mm||134 x 67.2 x 9.4 mm|
|Weight||158 g||133 g|
|SIM||Dual SIM (Mini-SIM, dual stand-by)||Dual SIM (Micro-SIM, dual stand-by)|
|Size||4.7 inches||4.7 inches|
|Resolution||720 x 1280 pixels (~312 ppi )||720 x 1280 pixels (~312 ppi )|
|Protection||AGC Dragontrail glass||Corning Gorilla Glass 2|
|OS||Android OS, v4.3 (Jelly Bean) with MIUI 5.0||Android OS, v4.4.4 (KitKat) with MIUI 6.0|
|Chipset||Qualcomm MSM8228 Snapdragon 400||Qualcomm MSM8916 Snapdragon 410|
|CPU||Quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A7||Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A53|
|GPU||Adreno 305||Adreno 306|
|Card slot||microSD, up to 32 GB||microSD, up to 32 GB|
|Internal Memory, RAM||8 GB, 1 GB RAM||8 GB, 1 GB RAM|
|Primary Camera||8 MP||8 MP|
|Secondary Camera||1.6 MP||2 MP|
|Battery||Li-Ion 2000 mAh battery||Li-Po 2200 mAh battery|
It is clearly evident that the Redmi 2 has received a major overhaul in terms of physical design. Redmi 2 is slimmer and lighter than the Redmi 1s. The display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 2 and the battery is also slightly bigger. Redmi 2 is powered by a 64 bit processor, the Snapdragon 410. It is clocked at 1.2 GHz and also has a dedicated GPU, the Adreno 306. The version that is being sold in India currently has 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of internal storage.
The performance of this device is almost as good as the Redmi 1s. For a device priced at Rs 6999, the performance is decent. There is a bit of the lag in the UI, espcially when the interaction involve transition animations. Also once inside the app, there is a bit of stutter noticed occasionally when the task is processor intensive. But again for Rs 6999, I am ready to forgive the responsiveness of this device. When the Redmi 1s was launched, there was nothing to compare it with. But now, there is a pleathora of budget devices in the market and considering all those, I would say that the Redmi 2 never fails to impress.
The Redmi 2 has a 8MP camera at the rear and a 2MP camera on the front. Though the 8MP sensor is same in Redmi 1s, there is a slight differnce in the quality of the output images. The Redmi 2 gives better images with it natural color and better levels of details. The Camera UI in MIUI6 is very snappy and minimalistic. It has all the right controls at the right place. The camera is a auto-focus camera and the control to lock focus and change exposure, is just brilliant. The front camera has recieved a major upgrade. Overall the camera is one of the best I have seen in this segment. Check out the samples below.
I have been using the MIUI ROM since early and it is one the best ROMs, I have seen, that can decorate your Android device. MIUI V6 had a lot of visual enhancement to the earlier versions. Though not plenty of new features, the MIUI 6 brings a completely refreshed UI. But the downside of the visual enhancement is that, it has become a little bit of a resource hogger. The bench mark scores indicate that the Redmi 1s scores slightly better than the Redmi 2. The reason for this step back is the MIUI 6. The transition animations and the micro interactions are a bit unnecessary and there is no way to turn them off. Otherwise the UI provides a rich and intuitive user experience.
The closest competitor to the Redmi 2 is the Lenovo A6000 and the Moto E (2nd Gen). But Redmi 2 is a bit ahead of its competitors because of its MIUI. Though the UI lags a wee bit than earlier versions, it still has loads of customization options and rich set of inbuilt features. Also the Redmi 2 has better battery performance than its predecessor and competitors. All that being said the final question that remains to be answered is, “Can I buy the Redmi 2?”.
If you already have a Redmi 1s, hold on to it. But if you are looking to buy a value for money mobile in the budget segment, the answer is Yes, you can go ahead and buy it. If the Redmi 2 with 2GB Ram comes to India, then that would be a better option. Until then, I don’t see any reason why you must not get the Redmi 2.