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Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 Review: Yes, Please

by Linus 25

Here on we have a lot of readers who are looking for Chinese phones not only because they love Chinese tech, but also they want to find a phone that is the best bang for the buck. Naturally, Xiaomi is the company that comes to their minds and this time around we are taking a look at the highly anticipated Xiaomi Redmi Note 2.

We wanted to thank for sending the Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 for a review and we suggest you visiting the Giztop product page.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 Review: VIDEO REVIEW

Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 vs Meizu M2 Note:

Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 Review: UNBOXING

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The Redmi Note 2 comes in a plain box and all you are getting is the micro USB cable, a power plug and some documentation.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 Review: DESIGN

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The phone has a very similar design to the previously released Xiaomi Mi4i and I suggest you checking out the Xiaomi Mi4i full review as well.
It is made of quality matt plastic and the phone is very comfortable to hold in the hand. However, the back cover makes a few wobbling noises when pressed and this tells that the Redmi Note 2 is a budget device after all. Nevertheless, it is nothing to be worried about and the build quality is good.
On the front top side we have a 5MP snapper, earpiece, proximity sensor and a highly customisable LED light.
On the bottom there are 3 capacitive keys, which also have a nice backlight.
On the back we have a 13MP shooter along with a single LED flash and on the bottom there is a speaker grill.
On the right there is a volume rocker and a power key. They have a good tactile response but feel a bit plasticky.
On the top we have a headset jack, noise cancelling mic and yeah, there is the IR blaster on the budget phone!
On the bottom there is a micro USB port and the main mic.
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The backplate is easy to remove and underneath it you can find a swappable 3060Ah battery, 2 micro SIM card slots and the microSD card slot for storage expansion.
Overall, the Redmi Note 2 is a nice looking phone and it is well built device for such a low price. The only shortcoming is the small crackling noise once you press the back cover or the sides of the phone a bit harder but it is far from the deal breaker to me.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 Review: DISPLAY

The phone is not the smallest one due to its 5,5” display. I honestly believe that this is one of the best panels we’ve seen on a budget phone as the display is bright, sharp, vivid and has great viewing angles. In short, you would never think this is a cheap panel used to reduce the cost of the device.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 Review: USER INTERFACE

The phone runs on MIUI 6, which is built on top of Android 5.0 Lolipop. If you are familiar with the MIUI, it has tons of features, settings, customisation options and it is just so much different than the stock Android.
You can select from thousands of themes available online. Also, you can change wallpapers, fonts, transitions, animations and so on.
Pressing a menu key brings a recent apps tray where you can swipe them up to close or swipe down to lock.
Swiping down anywhere on the screen opens up the notifications menu and if you swipe left you go to the quick toggles menu, which is also customisable.
Other features worth mentioning are the ability to customise the notification LED light, assign different tasks to navigation buttons, adjust the colour temperature of the screen, play with music equaliser settings, enter the one-handed mode, choose a lite mode and do so much more. There are literally tons of settings and features to play with that you will never find on the stock Android version.
A few downsides would be that MIUI is memory hungry and I usually got less than 1GB of RAM left and if I ran a few apps in the background, the amount of RAM reduced even more.
Other annoying things include that the phone came with a few pre-installed bloatware apps like speed booster and cleaner. While it may be useful for some but I don’t like any of these third-party apps but the worst thing is that you cannot simply uninstall them. Well, at least you can disable them.
In addition, I found a few apps like Google Play Store and Facebook work a bit slower than usual at times.
Overall, the MIUI is full of features and settings but I cannot say that it flies through everything once you install lots of apps and use the phone on a daily basis. Yes, it is fluid most of the times but there is occasional stutter from time to time. You can live with that but I believe the phone needs to get a software update to improve the overall user experience.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 Review: HARDWARE and PERFORMANCE

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 is quite a powerhouse for the price. It has a Mediatek 6795 Helio X10 chip, which has 8 cores and the clock speeds of up to 2GHz. The chip is supplemented with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of expandable storage. If you opt in for a more expensive Prime model, you will get a slightly more powerful chip (2.2 GHz) and 32GB of storage.
This combo of specs proves to be a real deal when it comes to 3D gaming as Asphalt 8 and Real Racing 3 ran almost perfectly. The graphics are not on par with flagships but still look very good. I didn’t experience stutter or lag that it is worth complaining. Overall, I am very happy with the performance.
A downside is that the phone gets a bit warm pretty quickly but not hot that it becomes uncomfortable to hold it in the hand.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 Review: BENCHMARKS

Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 Review: MULTIMEDIA

Consuming the full HD content on a nice looking screen is just a blast. Also, the sound that is coming out of the loudspeaker is one of the best ones that we can hear on a budget phone.
The sound via earphones is not bad either.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 Review: CAMERA

The Redmi Note 2 comes with the MIUI camera app, which is nicely designed, it has some a few shooting modes and settings to play with.
The shutter speed is very fast and this is thanks to the phase-detection auto-focus.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 Review: IMAGE QUALITY

The 13MP camera on the back is capable of producing some nice looking images for a budget phone. However, the pictures could have a little bit more resolved detail but my biggest complaint is that the dynamic range is a hit or miss and some shots came out a bit blurry.
The indoor shots have more noise and less details and it is a similar story with the night shots but it is one of the better performing phones in this price range.
Overall, the Redmi Note 2 has a decent camera for a price. While it has some issues there and there, a decent image quality and the shutter speed is what makes this phone a decent performer in this price range of phones.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 Review: VIDEO QUALITY

The 1080P video quality is usually not impressive on cheap phones. Well, I cannot say that the Redmi Note 2 does an amazing job but it is not a disaster either and I’ve seen much worse performers. Just keep in mind that you have to have a steady hand to avoid shakiness. See a video review for the video sample.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 Review: CONNECTIVITY

The call quality is decent, Bluetooth, Wifi are working fine. Also, the GPS lock speeds are fast and the navigation is pretty accurate to use it while driving.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 Review: BATTERY LIFE

The battery life is okay but I expected a bit more. I could get a maximum of 4 hours of screen-on time but with a bit more intense use it reduced to less than 2 hours. Well, it seems that the phone takes too much energy while idling and we may want to see a software upgrade to see an improvement.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 Review: CONCLUSIONS

So there you have it, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 – a phone that has a reseller price tag of under $160.
The phone has a decent design, a brilliant screen, a feature rich MIUI operating system and good gaming performance  Also, for this price you are getting a good camera with a fast shutter speed, 2 SIM card slots with the 4G LTE support, microSD card slot, a good loudspeaker, removable battery and more.
That doesn’t mean that the phone is perfect though. The MIUI still needs some polishing and I would love to see an improvement an RAM management, and the pre-installed bloatware is annoying. Also, the battery life is not the worst but it is not great either. Well, at least it is removable.
Is it worth $160 price tag? Definitely yes. Well, the Redmi Note 2 is not perfect but it is impossible to find a device in this price category that it doesn’t have any flaws. To be honest, I’ve seen a lot worse phones with a lot more disadvantages. All in all, if you are on the budget, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 is a great bang for your buck.

We wanted to thank for sending the Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 for a review and we suggest you visiting the Giztop product page.

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  • Shaun Lee

    Hey Linus, could you review the Oukitel U10? Great review btw!

    • Hi, thanks! I see what I can do regarding this phone.

      • kdokma

        Hello, which would you recommend focusing on the quality of the camera: Meizu m2 note, xiaomi redmi note2, umi iron? Or something else to $ 200. tnx

        • Hi, I would choose the Meizu M2 Note. However, I didn’t have time to put them to the head-to-head camera comparison.

          • Muhammad Yasir

            does the m2 note really have that KILLA of a budget cam ?

            your redmi 2 note review says that cam is Best in its price range … but u recommend meizu…

            can we have a comparison article on gizmochina , with all major sub $200 phones having a camera showdown and your highness , Linus , deciding the winner ?

          • I told that I haven’t made a head-to head comparison, so I was kind of careful with a final answer. I remember that M2 Note kind of impressed me with its camera for a budget phone. I trying to finish these other gadget reviews and I appreciate your idea.

          • Muhammad Yasir

            no its ok … finish off your remaining work and then do the comparison

            or at least one b/w redmi note 2 and meizu m2 note :p

          • I appreciate your piece of advice and yeah, I need to finish some other tasks I need to do. My main interest is and will remain phones (although I am a huge fan of Bluetooth speakers), so I will try to do these comparisons asap.

          • Radek

            what about LeTv compared to redmi note 2, witch is better?

          • Letv is better. Not only camera, the whole device – design, built quality, speed of the UI… I’ve been using the Le 1 and Le 1 Pro for quite a long time. Despite the Chinese bloatware (that includes Letv services that I don’t care about), they are really great phones. Of course, Letv phones are more expensive than the Redmi Note 2.

          • Marko

            Did you have any overheating issues with Le 1 Pro?
            It is only 80$ more expensive than the One one honorbuy sale (300 vs 220).

          • It tends to get warm and a bit hot when gaming but nothing uncomfortable. This is also due to the natural heat dispersion on metal surfaces.

  • Bogdan Botezatu

    The ROM installed on the phone is not the one official from Xiaomi. It is one modified by the resseler with bloatware and bugs. Head over to xiaomi . eu and install MIUI 7 with Google playstore and absolutely no bloatware. Then post your feedback please.

  • HaJo

    THX for your review: In every sentence I feal this is a man who knows what he is talking about!

  • Victor Ksl

    Hello Linus, does both SIM slots supports 3G ?

  • Josep Ali

    Is’t true that this phone doesn’t have Quick Charge 2.0 feature ? Because Xiaomi says it has in when launching.

    • Hi. Xiaomi may have used a false marketing here. Quick Charge 2.0 feature is available only on Snapdragon powered phones. In case you are wondering, there is a list of phones, which support Quick Charge 2.0 on Qualcomm’s website. During my testing, I can say that the phone does not charge quickly.

      • Josep Ali

        Thanks for testing it and I guess you’re right that they made mistake about the QC2.0 feature on this phone. But, QC2.0 works not only for Snapdragon, but Intel & Exynos as well.

        • You are welcome. Yeah, a quick charge feature works on other chips too but “Quick Charge 2.0” name is used only for Snapdragon chips. E.g. Mediatek uses a term “Pump Express Plus” and so on.

          • Victor Ksl

            Right….they use different name..

  • vizslahal

    Wow, at least a detailed review of this phone! Thanks!

    This phone seems like the best buy in this price range in the 5.5′ phones.

    Do you know a similarly well priced phone at maximum 5.0′? (beside the overall quality, the camera is the preference)

    • Hi, thank you. Well, it is hard to recommend something that is good but has a max 5″ screen as the majority of phones come with 5.5″. Regarding this phone, yes, it is definitely a great option in this price range. Also, you may consider Meizu M2 Note. I may do a comparison of these phones soon 🙂

  • haq

    Such a epic phone like Vkworld T1 🙂
    I found the video review of vkworld T1 plus kratos mobile box,Enter the stunning and breathtaking virtual world of 3D games and
    Virtual Reality. With some simple moves the packaging box of the T1 Plus Kratos can be turned into a budget style VR box comparable to the Google Cardbox Glasses 🙂