Xiaomi Redmi 2 Review – Affordable Budget Phone with Good Cameras

 

Here’s a phone that fits your hand and your budget and comes with an unexpectedly good front and rear cameras. The Xiaomi Redmi 2 is only P5,999.00 at Lazada.com.ph, but it’s a budget phone that neither looks nor feels like one.

The Good

  • Affordable at P5,999.00 at Lazada.com.ph.
  • Fits in your hand. Nice to hold. Easy to slide into your pocket. Despite the trend of phones getting bigger and bigger, our hands stay the same.

Xiaomi Redmi 2, Huawei Mate 7, ASUS ZenFone 2

  • Rear camera is impressive – white balance is smart, focusing is fast enough, good dynamic range, colors are vivid. Front camera is adequate. As with most budget phone cameras, low light poses a problem. So use flash. (Check out lots of sample shots in the slider below.)

Xiaomi, Redmi 2 Review, Redmi 2 Price

  • Display has close-to-natural-looking colors (we’re not all fans of AMOLED screens), with great contrast and viewing angles (great for watching videos on during long commutes), and outdoor visibility is fine. Phone size is really comfy to hold and watch a video on. You may not need a phone stand if you’re watching short clips.

Xiaomi, Redmi 2 Review, Redmi 2 Price

  • If you love sliding your thumb from key to key to write text messages, the Redmi 2, because of it’s smallish size, is perfect.
  • Calls are clear, the other party can hear you even when you’re in a noisy heap.

Xiaomi, Redmi 2 Review, Redmi 2 Price

  • MIUI 6 is one of the best, most utilitarian, well-thought of Android skins there is. Items you need don’t feel like they’re buried in deep menus and the jargon seems toned down.

Xiaomi, Redmi 2 Review, Redmi 2 Price

While ASUS has highlighted its ASUS ZenFone 2‘ auto-start manager, to ease up phone RAM and battery drain, that feature has been with Xiaomi phones, including the Redmi 1s, for a long time now. 

  • Clearing up RAM so the phone performs faster is just two taps away (see image below). Tap on the left capacitive key to see recent/running apps. Then tap of the “x” icon to free up RAM.
  • Camera UI has a fun feature – when a face is detected, the camera app estimates that person’s age. Hours and hours of fun comparing ages. The age varies when you shift facial poses or when you move away or closer to the camera.

Xiaomi, Redmi 2 Review, Redmi 2 Price

  • Downloadable themes! You could lose hours of your life checking out each theme and maybe mixing up elements. You don’t need to download a third party launcher, but of course you still can if you want to.
  • Dual SIM. If you’re buying a good budget phone, it has to have two SIM slots.

Xiaomi, Redmi 2 Review, Redmi 2 Price

Here are some rear and front camera shot samples.

 

The Maybe Bad

  • Tends to choke when you launch and switch between many apps, due to the limited 1GB RAM. This isn’t a deal breaker depending on how you use your phone. Not all of us run so many apps at once. You need to keep clearing up RAM when you notice a slow down. If you’re used to 3GB RAM phones, you’re really going to notice stutters. But if you limit what you do, it’s actually fine.

Xiaomi, Redmi 2 Review, Redmi 2 Price

You’re going to enjoy taking pics with the Redmi 2. 

  • Battery life is just enough, about 7 hours with WiFi always on. But only because I’m not doing a lot on this phone – the 1GB RAM forces you to limit how many apps you run. With data on for an hour, I got about 5 hours with heavy social media – Facebook uploading and messaging, Instagram, Viber. We recommend the Mi 10400 mAh power bank, if ever the Redmi 2’s battery dips precariously low and you’re on the road.
  • Gets warm when playing graphic intensive games. But then so do most phones.

Xiaomi, Redmi 2 Review, Redmi 2 Price

  • Limited manual camera settings. If you’re one of those smartphone camera hobbyists that adore controlling scenes with manually set metering, ISO, etc. The Redmi 2’s stock camera app has limited options: you can adjust contrast, saturation, sharpness, and exposure level. Of course, you can download camera apps that offer manual controls, like Camera FV-5.

Xiaomi, Redmi 2 Review, Redmi 2 Price

  • Capacitive keys on the phone’s chin are not backlit, just like the ZenFone 2. A short vibration accompanies every touch on those keys. To be fair, said keys are colored red that are reflective even in dim lighting, so you can see what you’re tapping.
  • SMART LTE not supported. Good thing I’m on Globe. Some people won’t be happy with this.

Xiaomi, Redmi 2 Review, Redmi 2 Price

If you’re the type who doesn’t like big phones, this one’s for you. 

Redmi 2 Specs - Click to View

4.7-inch 1280 x 720 Sharp / AUO IPS display, 312 ppi
AGC Dragontrail Glass
1.2GHz 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 quad-core CPU
1GB LPDDR3 RAM
8GB internal storage, up to 32GB via microSD
8MP BSI rear camera, Omnivision sensor, F2.2 aperture, 2MP front camera
Dual-SIM, Dual-Standby, Dual-LTE
4G LTE, 3G HSPA+
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, USB OTG
GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
Android 4.4.4 KitKat w/ MIUI 6
2,200mAh battery |133g
SRP 5,999.00

Xiaomi, Redmi 2 Review, Redmi 2 Price

That notification panel looks so clean. 

 

The Verdict

While other phones compete at the Redmi 2’s price range, it’s hard to find a package with a camera this good, with an Android UI that’s this intuitive, and with a body that’s nice to hold. It’s a good buy if you need a budget unit as your secondary phone, or even as a main phone, assuming you don’t do too much multitasking or graphic-heavy games – or if you just need a fits-in-your-hand phone that works, and is quietly beautiful.

Xiaomi, Redmi 2 Review, Redmi 2 Price

Buy the Redmi 2 on Lazada.com.ph.

 

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See also:

Xiaomi Mi Power Bank 10400 mAh review

Author

Irwin Allen Rivera loves his wife’s cooking so much he’s now twice the man he used to be. His English essay won a Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature in 2012. His philosophical-horror story appeared in Philippine Speculative Fiction 8 (2013). He was managing editor and lead writer of Sites and Symbols 2 (2005), a coffee-table book about buildings in UP Diliman – his alma mater (BA Philosophy; MA Creative Writing continuing). He worked at the UP Diliman Information Office before shifting to web content writing. His sudden fiction, “Notwithstanding Pigs,” initially a Friendster testimonial, appeared in Philippines Graphic (2006) and in Very Short Stories for Harried Readers (2007). He used to write for www.technoodling.net.