The Gen XY Lifestyle

Redmi 2: Best Budget Smartphone?

By  |  0 Comments

Xiaomi’s Redmi 2 reminds us that you don’t have to spend big bucks to get a decent smartphone.

The Redmi 2, might be one of the easiest products to review ever. With the price as low as it is – S$169 – the question simply becomes: are there any glaring faults?


The 4.7-inch screen and reduced bezel ensures a comfortable fit


It’s light, and understandably, feels really plastic, but apart from that, it’s well-assembled and doesn’t look cheaply made. Think polished consumer electronics product a la Philips – you won’t feel shortchanged, even for its price.


In an age of 6-inch monstrosities, a 4.7-inch phone (measured by display size) is a wee lad, and by modern standards is refreshingly comfortable to hold. The matte finish on the rear makes it less tacky in terms of look as well as feel. Both physical and touch-sensitive buttons are responsive.


It may be cheap, but you still get decent viewing angles and brightness here


It uses a quality, 4.7-inch IPS display panel. While not the sharpest in terms of pixel count, it looks quality enough: the Sharp-AUO panel displays a decent range of colour and has good viewing angles. While Xiaomi opted for a lesser-known, AGC Dragontail branded scratch-resistant glass instead of de rigeur Gorilla Glass, it still stands up well enough to daily use and abuse.

Benchmarking 1

The benchmarks aren’t impressive, but the phone gets the job done


The Redmi 2 uses a 64-bit, quad-core 401 Snapdragon processor, paired with 1GB of RAM, running Android v4.4.4. Sounds OK enough, but essentially it’s a budget offering, and in reality, it means that you can’t expect too much from the phone. While the Redmi 2 performs admirably when pushed to run demanding apps, but you will get a sense of its limitations in the form of choppiness. Fortunately it’s not to the point where it’ll frustrate you on a daily basis. However if you hate even a hint of occasional sluggishness, or if you multitask a lot, you should look elsewhere.


Both front and rear cameras are passable – the 8-megapixel rear camera and 2-megapixel front camera offer a fair amount of detail, but both fair a lot better with adequate light. In absence of light, the pictures start to display hints of noise fairly quickly but still not a deal breaker. The focus is a little on the slow side as well.

battery SIM

Its most impressive feature: dual LTE SIM slots in a smartphone for sub-S$200


A user-replaceable 2,200mAh battery is sufficient to last a day with moderate use. It charges quickly as well, so you don’t have to worry about throttling your own usage in the fear that you will be caught out in between charges. Plus, you can always carry a spare.

Dual SIM

A killer feature at this price, Redmi 2 has two LTE-capable SIM card slots, making it an ideal phone for travel and work. For every contact on your phone, you can assign a specific SIM cards to be used. It’s ease of use can’t be understated.

Home screen 1

You can choose a simpler, stripped down interface if that suits your fancy


Xiaomi’s customised Android operating system (MIUI v6) is arguably one of the best out there in terms of aesthetics as well as usability; it offers Android’s flexibility in an iOS-style interface. Whether or not that is a good thing is beyond the scope of this review, but what’s beyond argument is that it’s very intuitive and attractive. However, it would be good if you could somehow dial down the animations – this phone suffers for it. There’s also a priceless ‘lite’ mode if you want the phone interface to be really simple.


  • Is there such a thing as too cheap?
  • All features perform moderately well
  • User replaceable battery
  • Decent battery life – all day performance with some to spare
  • Dual LTE (4G) SIM capabilities
  • Smartly designed user interface


  • Fancy MIUI v6 and lack of RAM slows the phone down a bit
  • Doesn’t do anything particularly well
  • Screen might feel a little small


The bottom end of the smartphone market is mighty competitive, but the Redmi 2’s combination of features and price that places it in a unique position – it’s so cheap, you can’t really complain without coming across as unreasonable. While the value proposition does not absolve the Redmi 2 from any accountability, to its credit the Redmi 2 does a passable job in every department. I’d rather that they raised the price slightly and give us a slightly better processor or more RAM, but even so this is a phone that you can easily recommend to friends if they’re looking for something basic and cheap. However if they are thinking of upgrading from the original Redmi, be forewarned, you’re not actually getting something that’s substantially better.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *