Shruti DhapolaMar 25, 2015 17:00:41 IST
Xiaomi has followed up its Mi4 launch in India, with the introduction of the new Redmi 2 smartphone.
The company, which entered the Indian smartphone market only in 2014 and that too with nearly year-old products, has managed to carve a space for itself in the Indian market, with a serious fan following. A testament to this fact is that, according to IDC, Xiaomi is now number five in the Indian smartphone market in Q4 of 2014 with a 4 percent market share
Redmi 2 is Xiaomi's successor to its earlier budget smartphone, the Redmi 1S. The biggest changes in this smartphone from the earlier version are: design, 4G connectivity and a faster processor.
The Redmi 2 will follow the flash sale model on Flipkart (registrations start today at 6 pm) and it will go on sale on 24 March. Xiaomi says that 30-40,000 units will go on sale and it is hoping to move the Redmi 2 to a regular sale model that won't require registration any longer.
We spent some time with the Redmi 2 at the launch and here's our first look at the smartphone.
Design, Screen: Xiaomi has kept the screen size the same as the first Redmi device at 4.7-inches. It has a 1280x720p screen resolution along with an AGC Dragontrail Glass which makes the screen shatter and scratch-proof. It's also laminated, which the company claims will help with viewing angles and reducing glare.
The design of the Redmi 2 is definitely in sharp contrast to the Redmi 1S which had less rounded corners. The Redmi 2 with its colourful options (although India is only getting White and Grey) and rounded corners reminded us of the iPhone 5c with a bigger screen. The back cover of the Redmi has a matte finish, quite smooth to the touch and without the glossiness we saw in the Redmi 1S. Personally we prefer the matte finish, which gives the phone a superior look. The Redmi 2 is only 133 g, which makes it around 15g lighter than the Redmi 1S.
Given that Xiaomi hasn't changed the price for the phone at all, and improved the design, the Redmi 2 looks like a steal.
Processor, Storage, Connectivity: The device has a Snapdragon 410 quad-core 64-bit processor with Cortex A53 CPU. The processor is clocked at 1.2GHz and the GPU is Adreno 306. The Redmi 1S had a Snapdragon 200 32-bit quad-core processor with Adreno 305 GPU.
It's a fairly responsive phone, although we can comment more strongly on this only after we spend more time with the review unit. The Redmi 2 also comes with 8GB storage space which can be expanded via MicroSD to 32GB and 1GB RAM, which might be disappointing for some users. The Redmi 2 also supports USB On The Go (UOTG) and will allow users to connect other USB peripherals like keyboard, game-pad, etc, which sounds quite interesting.
This is a 4G smartphone, with both SIM slots supporting 4G and it supports both LTE bands in India (FDD and TDD) which is great news for users who want to try out 4G and don't want to spend a lot of money on such a device. Other connectivity options include WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS.
Camera, Battery: The device has a 2 megapixel front camera for selfies and an 8 megapixel rear camera with a LED flash, a Beautify feature (essentially Xiaomi's own version of filters, which fixes a photo based on gender, lighting, age etc) and Cloud Camera roll, where all your photos are stored on the Mi cloud should you opt in.
The Camera is one of the strongest features of the Redmi smartphone and from what we saw in the demo units, the pictures were sharp and crisp. Especially given the Rs 6,999 price tag, this is definitely one of the better cameras around in its price range.
The battery is slightly more powerful than the Redmi 1S at 2200 mAh, and is removable. The Redmi 1S had 2000 mAh battery and according to Xiaomi, the Redmi 2 has 10 percent more battery than Redmi 1S and supports Quick charge, which means 20 percent faster charging that the Redmi 1S.
In our review of the Redmi 1S, we had noted that "it took over 3 hours for us to go from 10 to 100, but once it was fully charged, we could easily use the phone for over 14 hours on the single charge." Hopefully Redmi 2 will charge faster as Xiaomi has promised. Of course we'll be able to discuss this more assertively once when we've spend some time with the device.
OS and other features: Redmi 2's biggest standout feature is its MIUI 6 OS which runs on top of Android KitKat. Key features of the MIUI 6 are: Motion, Colour Content, Customisation and Security. If you are one of those users who want every little detail of his/her phone customised, the MIUI 6 is meant for that. It's an entirely different Android experience.
MIUI 6 allows floating notifications, where if you get a call you don’t have to leave the app to attend to the call. There’s also a division of Notifications on the basis of important and unimportant ones and users can choose which apps go on which side of the line. Users can also choose certain notifications that they would like to see in the Locked Screen mode as well.
Users can also decide which apps get access to Data and WiFi and set the privacy settings for each app as well. There's also bulk delete and move where you can remove more than one app at one time. For a Xiaomi smartphone, this is the USP and if you don't want plain vanilla Android, this is a good option.
Conclusion: Xiaomi has been providing great specs at a low price and by keeping the price of the Redmi 2 at Rs 6999 the company is continuing to do just that. The smartphone definitely makes the Moto E (2nd gen) seem expensive and will compete with the Lenovo A6000 (another budget 4G smartphone which is priced Rs 6999). Given how Xiaomi has managed to build its brand in India, it's likely that Redmi 2 will be a successful device.
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