Xiaomi has been constantly churning out great smartphones, and what makes these smartphones so irresistible is their price tag, which are always so light on the pocket. Before entering the global smartphone market, Xiaomi was limited to China. But its entry in the international markets with cheap high-end devices helped it create a niche for itself. And with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 2, the company has created another budget flagship killer which will give the bigger brands a tough time.
As we all know, the Samsung Galaxy Note5 is out in the market now and is the best Samsung smartphone till date. And at $740 for the 32GB version, the Note5 is by no means affordable. In case you are wondering whether this is a comparison between the Redmi Note 2 and the Galaxy Note5, no it’s not. Both the devices are poles apart and it would be foolish to compare these two as both their roles and purposes are different.
However, the basic need of a smartphone buyer remains the same. A nice big screen, great processor and RAM, good camera, decent battery life, 4G connectivity, latest Android OS, etc. are the basic things that budget smartphone buyers look for. While Note5 packs so much more than these basic things, it comes at a premium price. And when the aforementioned needs are to be met in the best way, the the Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 does a really excellent and impressive job.
The first thing you see about a smartphone is its design and the way it looks. And in the looks department, the Redmi Note 2 does really well. The removable back cover is made of matte soft plastic which gives a mature yet elite look to the phone, while the front is totally black with thin bezels. The corners are curved elegantly and overall, the phone does not look cheap at all.
The phablet is fairly thin at 152 x 76 x 8.3 mm and comfortably light at 160 grams, adding to its overall style statement. The microSD and dual SIM slots are placed beneath the back cover itself, so the only things visible outside are the volume rocker, lock/power key, the USB charging port, and the 3.5mm jack.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 gets a 5.5-inch IPS LCD screen just like the Redmi Note. However, the screen resolution in the Redmi Note 2 is now FullHD as opposed to 720p of its predecessor. The screen is quite bright with a pixel density of 401 ppi and the viewing angles are sharp and excellent. Though the display could have been more vivid, it is definitely not bad at all.
Processor and Memory
The Redmi Note 2 houses MediaTek’s MT6795 Helio X10 octa-core processor coupled with a PowerVR G6200 GPU. There are two variants of the device, and the difference is that one is clocked at 2GHz while the other gets a 2.2GHz processor. There’s 2GB of RAM and there is a 16GB and a 32GB variant of the device, the latter getting 4G LTE connectivity in both the SIM cards while the former getting it in just one of the dual SIM cards.
Overall, the performance is excellent and very smooth when it comes to general daily usage. The multi-tasking is handled well, but the users may feel lags if they run high-end games on the phablet. The heating issues are known to be minimal and are not uncomfortable.
Camera and Sound
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 boasts of a 13 MP rear camera accompanied by a phase detection auto focus and a LED flash, while there is a 5MP camera at the front for selfies. The auto focus is speedy enough, but overall the camera performs just decently. The images are not as sharp and detailed as you would expect from a 13MP sensor, but they are still good enough for the price range and aren’t bad by any means. The camera app is fully of many options and modes and the manual mode with ISO, exposure, white balance settings will appease to those who love smartphone photography.
Talking about sound, the Redmi Note 2 houses a speaker at the rear bottom which is adequately loud and louder than most of the phones in the $200 price bracket. The distortion is minimal and the audio experience is better than the previous Xiaomi smartphones.
Software and UI
The Redmi Note 2 gets Android 5.0.2 out-of-the-box with Xiaomi’s MIUI 6 running on top of it, though the MIUI 7 update has already been released. MIUI is poles apart from stock Android, but it looks smart and is very organised. You get to play around the settings and themes to customize the look of the UI according to your taste. Simply said, the MIUI is full of useful options placed at the right spot. It looks very fluid and runs smoothly without stuttering.
Battery and IR
With a 5.5-inch LCD and a powerful processor under its hood, the Redmi Note 2 needs a lot of juice to keep going which it gets from a 3,060 mAh battery. However, the battery life is not that impressive and will last you just less than 12 hours with normal usage.
Another impressive thing about the Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 is that it is the only phone in this budget and perhaps one of the very less smartphones that get an IR blaster. The Mi Remote app helps you to control your TV from your Redmi Note 2. In case it does not work with your TV, you can use a third-party app for it.
Price and Verdict
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 is available only in China as of now. The 16GB variant costs $140 only, while the Prime variant with 32GB native storage and LTE-support in both SIM slots costs $156. Once the phablet is launched internationally, the prices are expected to be similar. The Redmi Note 2 will be available in snazzy color options like including Yellow, Pink, Blue, Black, and White.
So that’s about it. Though the Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 comes nowhere close to the Galaxy Note5 in terms of features, the Note5 too doesn’t come close to the Redmi Note 2 when the talk revolves around the pricing. The Redmi Note 2 gets smart looks, great features, a good display, and excellent performance, while the little niggles about the average camera quality and battery life can be set aside looking at the price of the phablet. So yes, its a must buy for budget-buyers!