Xiaomi Redmi 2
Donovan Sung with Redmi 2
Xiaomi’s Donovan Sung with the Redmi 2.

Xiaomi today unveiled the successor to the global hit smartphone the Redmi — the all-new Redmi 2. The wallet-friendly device is now lighter, thinner, faster, equipped with dual-LTE capabilities and comes out of the box with the latest MIUI 6 OS. It will be available from mi.com starting 17 March (12 noon).

The Redmi 2 retains the same Sharp/AUO 4.7-inch HD IPS display (321PPI) protected by AGC Dragontrail glass found on the Redmi 1S. Also, it’s a fully laminated screen, which removes the gap between the glass and the LCD screen, thus images now appear closer to your fingertips.

The Redmi 2 has also shaven off some fat, weighing 15g less than its predecessor. It’s also smaller in dimension thanks to a narrower bezel.

The backplate has a matt soft touch and will be available in a single colour — white.

Xiaomi Redmi 2

Under the hood is a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 mated to an Adreno 306 GPU. Not shabby at all. Expect some gratifying 3D gaming performance despite it being a budget device.

It gets 1GB RAM, minimum but sufficient by today’s standards and also8GB of storage. A limited edition Redmi 2, made available in China sported 2GB RAM. Xiaomi said it does not plan to bring this to Malaysia although they’re taking consumer feedback on this. It’s a little silly really, of course we’d want 2GB!

Storage is by the way, upgreadable via microSD, up to 32GB.

Xiaomi claims the new chip delivers 50% better performance over the Redmi, and 30% faster browsing speeds.

The Redmi 2 is a dual-LTE, dual-standby device supporting 4G/3G/2G in both slots. What’s cool is that you can label these SIM slots at UI level (e.g. “Work”, “Play”, “Girlfriend 1”, “Girlfriend 2” and so forth).

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You can even customise different apps or contacts to use different SIMs, which is convenient and flexible.

During the demo, Donovan Sung, Director of Product Management, International at Xiaomi, showed how easy it was to delegate apps and contacts to use different SIMs.

As far as camera optics go, the Redmi 2 gets a 8MP f/2.2 BSI main camera with a 28mm wide angle lens and a 2MP BSI front-facing camera. Coupled with Xiaomi’s famous Beautify mode you can expect selfies to be perfect.

Xiaomi Redmi 2 xiaomi-redmi-2-launch-9

Xiaomi upped the battery to 2,200mAh, 10% more than the Redmi 1S. It doesn’t only lasts longer than its predecessor but charges 10% faster too with Quick Charge 1.0.

Support for OTG is a welcomed feature, enabling you to plug in USB thumbdrives and input devices like a keyboard, mouse or a game controller.

There’s plenty of hardware improvements but the biggest user experience improvements come from the new MIUI 6.

Xiaomi Redmi 2

MIUI 6 is sleeker, flatter and more intuitive compared to MIUI 5, offering feature enhancements and new ways to personalise your Mi experience.

Xiaomi showed off the new Home screen and enhanced way to edit and organise icons and home screen pages.

Improvements were also done to Notifications to reduce in-app distractions when a call or message comes in.

MIUI 6

Built-in performance utilities helps you keep the Redmi 2 slim, trim and running smoothly with Data Usage, Battery and Cleaner apps.

Themes have been a big part of the MIUI experience from the very beginning, and in 2014 alone, there were 8,000 themes submitted to the MIUI themes catalog — ranging from free to premium.

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There’s also subtle tweaks to how the Lock Screen and Airplane Mode work.

Lastly, bundled Weather and Clock apps have been given feature and UI enhancements as well.

Overall, MIUI 6 is fluid and  delivers some welcomed tweaks and enhancements to the user experience.

Key features

  • Thinner and lighter than Redmi 1S, same screen size (4.7-inch)
  • 15g lighter
  • Smaller in every dimension, 1mm narrower bezel
  • Soft touch matte back cover
  • Quad-core 64-bit Snapdragon 410 processor
  • Adreno 306 GPU
  • 1GB RAM, 8GB Flash (expandable to 32GB)
  • 30% faster browsing speeds, 50% higher CPU performance
  • 4G Dual SIM, Dual Standby, both slots support 4G/3G/2G
  • Customizable labels for each SIM slot (e.g. “work” and “personal”)
  • 4.7-inch 1280 x 720 HD screen (312 PPI)
  • Protected by AGC Dragontrail glass
  • Fully laminated screen, which removes the gap between the glass and the LCD screen, so images now appear closer to your fingertips
  • Camera
    • 8MP BSI f/2.2 for great low-light performance. 28mm wide angle lens
    • 2MP BSI front camera with 720p video recording (up from 1.6MP in Redmi 1S), with Beautify mode
  • 2200mAh battery, 10% more capacity than Redmi 1S
  • Supports Quick Charge 1.0 (charges 20% faster than Redmi 1S)
  • OTG support: Transfer files quickly with a compatible flash drive. Use peripherals such as a keyboard, mouse and even a USB gamepad

Pricing and availability

The Redmi 2 goes on sale at 12 noon, 17 March 2015 on mi.com/my for a retail price of RM449. Available only in white.

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