Overview
Introduction
Design
Display
Hardware
Software
Camera
Audio & video
Performance
Battery
Conclusion
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Xiaomi Redmi 2 Prime

Xiaomi’s first made in India device hits the bullseye, and is the best entry level smartphone available
By Sukesh Mudrakola on 2015-10-19
Key Features
  • 4.7-inch HD display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 chipset
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 8-megapixel BSI rear camera
What we like
  • High-resolution crisp display
  • Smooth overall performance
  • Ample internal storage and RAM
  • Good build quality 
  • Dual microphones
What we don't like
  • Outdated Android 4.4 KitKat
  • Front camera could have been well tuned
8.2
Our Score
Introduction

Redmi_2-intro

Xiaomi, a Chinese smartphone brand, took the Indian market by storm last year when it announced devices with stellar specifications at unbelievable prices. Although, many other brands, Chinese included, have entered the competition since, this has affected the sales of Xiaomi’s recent phones like the Mi 4, which was the worst hit. 

Having said that, with its latest phone, the Redmi 2 Prime, Xiaomi is ready to make a comeback of sorts. One ace that the brand has up its sleeve is the fact that the Redmi 2 Prime is manufactured exclusively in India, thereby squashing any perceptions that Chinese-made phones are of inferior quality. The Redmi 2 Prime has gotten bigger and better with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage space.

Let’s find out if Xiaomi’s attempts to win back the market with the Redmi 2 Prime are successful or not.

Design
8.5

In terms of design, the Redmi 2 Prime is no different from its predecessor. The handset sticks to the basics, following a rectangular candy bar design with rounded corners and a matte finish on its plastic back. Under the rear cover, you will find a removable 2,200mAh Lithium-Ion Polymer battery, a microSD card slot, and dual Micro-SIM slots.

Redmi_2_Prime-design

Weighing 133g and with dimensions of 134x67.2x9.4 mm, the device gives a reassuring feel in the hand. The overall build quality of the device is sturdy, despite the plastic body and the matte finish on the rear cover, which also provides a good grip. 

The 3.5mm audio port is located on the top edge, while the USB port is located at the bottom. The power button and the volume rocker keys are placed along the right edge of the device, and both these buttons have decent tactile feedback. However, the fake metal finish of these buttons is susceptible to wear and tear over prolonged use. The device has a pulse notification light, at the bottom on the front, just below the capacitive buttons, which supports seven differently coloured LED lights.

Redmi_2_prime-design2

The front camera is placed on the front, along with the earpiece. The rear camera with an LED flash is placed at the centre on the back. To its right, are two hollow strips for the speakers. Surprisingly, the device comes with dual microphones for improved noise cancellation and recording better quality audio while shooting videos.

Redmi_2_prime-design3

Display
8

The 4.7-inch IPS LCD display on the phone offers sharper images, and the viewing angles are also pretty good. The colours on this display are vibrant, which almost mimic a Super AMOLED screen. Thankfully though, the colours aren’t oversaturated. 

With a resolution of 720x1280 and pixel density of 312PPI, it is difficult to spot pixels with the naked eye. The sunlight legibility of the device is not so good, though. The screen is protected with a shatter and scratch-resistant AGC Dragontrail glass. But, during the time we spent with the review unit, the screen gained a few scratches and therefore we suggest that you pick up a screen protector.

Xiaomi_redmi_2-display

Hardware
8

Under the hood, the device packs a quad-core 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 SoC which has four 1.2GHz Cortex-A53 processors along with Adreno 306 GPU for handling the graphics. The Redmi 2 Prime gets bumped with a 2GB of RAM, as compared to the 1GB on its predecessor, and 16GB of onboard storage. 

Out of the 2GB of RAM, we found that only 1.2GB was free for user applications, and out of the 16GB of built-in storage, just about 11GB was available for user. One can always expand the storage up to 32GB using a microSD card. 

Xiaomi_redmi_2-hardware

As mentioned, the device supports 4G connectivity on both the SIM slots. For India, the device supports LTE at band 3 (1800MHz) and band 40 (2300MHz). Besides, Redmi 2 Prime supports Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n wireless and Bluetooth v4.0 for faster file transfers. For navigation, it features GPS with A-GPS and GLONASS support. During our time with the device, the GPS locked instantly almost every time. It comes with bunch of handy sensors such as the electronic compass, gravity sensor, gyroscope, proximity sensor, and ambient light sensor.

Software
8

The Redmi 2 Prime runs Xiaomi’s own MIUI V6 which is based on Android 4.4.4 KitKat. The software is well-optimised for the hardware packed. That said, it still lacks an app drawer and takes some time to get accustomed to. Do keep in mind that Xiaomi has recently launched the latest version of custom software, MIUI 7, that runs on base Android Lollipop. Thankfully the Redmi 2 Prime is capable of supporting the new MIUI 7 and is expected to release for it in near future.

The phone is packed with several built-in apps which might prove to be quite handy at times. But, these additional apps kill a good amount of RAM and tend to drain the battery faster. The device further comes preloaded with a number of Google apps such as Gmail, Maps, Chrome, Hangouts, YouTube, and Drive. The phone is also packed with security features such as junk cleaner, block list, antivirus, and permissions option, where one can easily assign permissions to accessing internet, give notifications, Backgound running and many more according to the apps. There are additional tools included in the device such as compass, scanner, and updater, which are quite useful. For text input, SwiftKey acts as the primary keyboard, but one can also set Google’s Android keyboard as the default option. 

Redmi_2_prime-software

The device also supports one-handed operations with a few software tweaks. The drop-down notification menu, which is closely related to Android, comes loaded with shortcuts for several features, such as turning the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on and off, and putting the phone in airplane mode. You can also quickly turn on the flashlight from the lock screen by holding down the home button. 

Overall, the device has a well-optimised software which works in tandem with the hardware to provide a superior user experience. Additionally, Xiaomi also provides support for a variety of themes that can be downloaded from the Theme app.

Camera
7.5

Redmi_2_prime-camera sample

The Redmi 2 Prime has an 8-megapixel (BSI) rear camera with an LED flash and a 2-megapixel secondary front-facing camera. Interestingly, unlike most budget handsets in the market, the Redmi 2 Prime’s rear camera is made with a 5-element lens, that takes detailed images. While the camera’s shot-to-shot time is not bad for a phone in this price range, it definitely could have been better. 

Redmi_2-camera

The device comes with the same minimal user interface that is present on the Mi 4. Swiping right brings up various filters and swiping left throws up options such as Panorama mode, HDR mode and Manual mode. One can switch between cameras (front and rear) just by swiping up. The gallery offers you an option to backup your images to the Xiaomi Cloud. The phone backs up your images effortlessly, but we did notice that trying to retrieve or just browse through those images is a bit slow.

Though the autofocus speed is not the fastest, the option to manipulate the exposure by just tapping on the frame and circling the slider around the focus circle is quite helpful and allows you to adjust the brightness easily. 

Although the daylight shots are very detailed, the photographs have a slight warm tinge to them. The sharpness around the edges was decent, but we noticed some overexposure and burnout in areas that were predominately white. The indoor shots on this device had better control over noise when compared to its competition. 

Redmi_2_prime-sample 2

The performance of the camera in low light is not too great, and we noticed that noise started to creep in some of our shots. The front-facing 2-megapixel camera takes some really soft images with very little details, and may disappoint selfie lovers.

The rear camera can record Full HD videos, and also supports time-lapse. While the camera does an adequate job of capturing video, the automatic exposure can be a bit aggressive at times, which can cause the visuals to start paling if you move from a light source a little too quickly.

Redmi_2-sample3

On the whole the camera performance is good, and surely has an upper hand when compared to competing devices in the same price range.

Audio & video
8.5

The Redmi 2 Prime is provided with a default music player, which does the job exceptionally well. However, you can also use the Google Play Music app which comes preloaded with the device. The sound quality of the device is admirable and does not crackle even at higher volumes when tested with a stock pair of SoundMagic ES18 earphones. Even the loudspeaker outputs crisp, clear sound sans any distortion. 

Redmi_2_prime-audio

The built-in equaliser works really well and any changes made to the frequency is immediately apparent. When using earphones, the audio experience can be further enhanced using the MI sound Enhancer which already has a stored set of adjustments for various kinds of earphones. Comparatively, the Redmi 2 Prime performs marginally better than the loudspeaker on the Motorola Moto G (3rd Gen).

The built-in video player does a decent job and can play most of the video formats. The device plays Full HD 1080p videos with ease and delivers good audio output as well.

Performance
9

The performance of the Redmi 2 Prime is quite commendable and the device hardly lagged during our entire review period. The device doesn't heat up much even during intense usage and we could notice that the temperature was always well below 40-degrees.

It can also handle multi-tasking with ease, thanks to its 2GB of RAM. The graphics are handled well by the Adreno 306GPU, which is good for moderate gaming, but is not suited for games like Asphalt 8: Airborne. In high visual quality mode, the game is playable, but you can see it lagging occasionally. With graphics settings set at medium, the game would runs smoothly and the device barely heated up even after a prolonged gaming sessions. 

The Redmi 2 Prime manages to notch really impressive benchmark numbers for the hardware that it offers. The device managed to score 21,110 in AnTuTu Benchmark which reflects an overall performance. In the Graphics segment we tested Redmi 2 Prime with 3DMark and to our surprise, the device scored a decent 2653. In terms of browsing experience, metal, and multicore the device has been tested with Vellamo and ranks above many of the devices in its competition.

Performance-screenshot

The call quality of the device is also pretty good and we didn’t face any call drops either.

Battery
7.5

Packing a 2,200 mAh battery, the Prime on moderate usage, which involved making voice and video calls for about an hour, running benchmarks, continuous usage of WhatsApp, browsing the web, playing HD videos, gaming for about an hour, and using social networking apps, the phone lasted for about 6-7 hours. However, for a normal user the device’s battery can easily last a day. Moreover, since the battery is removable, one can always carry a spare battery for emergencies. The phone takes nearly two and a half hours to charge from zero to 100 percent, since it doesn't have QuickCharge support.

Overall, the battery performance of the Redmi 2 Prime is good enough to last you a day.

Battery port

Conclusion

The Redmi 2 Prime is an upgraded version of its predecessor, providing seamless performance with twice the RAM and internal storage. The device comes with decent specifications and the ‘Made in India’ aspect of this device certainly makes it stand out. This smartphone has a right balance of power and performance, making it a strong competitor in the budget segment, thanks to its mere price tag of Rs.6,999.

Though the Redmi 2 Prime disappoints in terms of its front camera’s performance, it makes up with several other features such as 4G LTE supports in both the SIM slots, 16GB of internal storage, good rear camera, and well optimised software. With those things, the Redmi 2 Prime certainly has an edge over the competiting handsets like Micromax YU Yuphoria and Lenovo A6000 plus. This is definitely a good purchase for first time smartphone buyers.

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