Reviewing Xiaomi Redmi 2 - A Chinese Budget Smartphone With Android - Page 2
Android 4.4.4 Kitkat, MIUI 22.214.171.124 & Bundled Apps
Xiaomi Redmi 2 comes with Android 4.4.4 Kitkat. On top of the core Android operating system, Xiaomi added its own skin, called MIUI, which heavily modifies the user interface. The MIUI version installed on the Xiaomi Redmi 2 we tested, was 126.96.36.199.
While we liked the way MIUI looks and works, we noticed some lags when transitions or animations were happening, mostly when keeping more than a few apps running simultaneously.
One of the main differences between MIUI and the normal Android is that MIUI doesn't include an app drawer: all your apps are listed on the smartphone's homescreens. However, you can create folders so that you organize your things a bit.
The Xiaomi Redmi 2 we received in tests included no Google native apps. That doesn't mean the device offers no apps at all. You do get apps for pretty much everything, like Mail, Music, Camera, FM Radio and so on, but they are all apps developed by Xiaomi. However, if one of the core apps is not to your liking, you can install any similar app from the store and set it to be default.
The software experience offered by Xiaomi Redmi 2 is good. The Android 4.4.4 Kitkat is skinned with Xiaomi's proprietary MIUI 188.8.131.52 user interface. This interface looks really nice and works quite well. There are a few lags now and then, but they aren't that common to become annoying.
Important Things You Should Know Before Buying A Xiaomi Redmi 2
Xiaomi is a Chinese manufacturer and its devices are sold mainly on Asian markets. Because China is the main target of the Redmi 2, Xiaomi is rather cautious about offering Google services to their clients. By default, Redmi 2 uses Xiaomi's own Mi Market instead of the Google Play we're all used to.
Furthermore, the apps preinstalled on the smartphone differ from country to country, depending on where Xiaomi sells its device.
Before purchasing a Xiaomi smartphone, double check that it is a variant for European or American markets, not Asian ones. The smartphones that are created for Asian markets have no Google applications preinstalled on them. By that, we really mean nothing: no Google Play, no Gmail, no Google Calendar and no Google Docs. If you plan on buying the Xiaomi Redmi 2, be sure to check first if it has Google apps preinstalled.
Performance In Benchmarks
To see how good the Xiaomi Redmi 2 performs from a hardware point of view, we ran a few benchmarks tests. The first thing we wanted to check was the CPU performance. To do that, we used Vellamo, a benchmark app developed by Qualcomm, which is also one of the biggest manufacturer of mobile processors.
Vellamo Multicore is a set of tests that aim to measure the CPU performance when running multiple tasks simultaneously. Using this preset, Xiaomi Redmi 2 managed to get 1229 points. This scores puts Xiaomi Redmi 2 on par with LG Nexus 4, and ranks it higher than a Samsung Galaxy S3.
Then we tested the performance of the Xiaomi Redmi 2 CPU in single tasks. Because not so many apps are ready to work with multiple cores, this set of tests is much more likely to give you a better idea of the CPU performance in real world scenarios. In the Vellamo Metal tests, Xiaomi Redmi 2 obtained 854 points, ranking it higher than the LG Nexus 4.
The gaming performance of a smartphone is another important aspect. To measure it, we use the Manhattan and the T-Rex tests from GFXBench GL Benchmark. We take into consideration only the Offscreen versions, because they are run at a resolution of 1080p, regardless of the native resolution of a device.
In the Manhattan test, Xiaomi Redmi 2 rendered 112 frames. It's a weak result, similar to what a Huawei Ascend G7 or a Samsung Galaxy A3 offers.
In the T-Rex Offscreen test, Xiaomi Redmi 2 rendered 296 frames. This is another low score, that puts Redmi 2 on the bottom of the ranking ladder. Samsung Galaxy A3 or Samsung Galaxy Ace are devices with similar results.
Next, we tested the performance offered by Xiaomi Redmi 2 in a more mundane activity: browsing the Internet. In the Vellamo Browser tests, the smartphone scored 1670 points. These tests measure the performance of a device when rendering websites written in HTML5 and CSS3, but also the performance delivered when running scripts. Xiaomi Redmi 2 got scored better than the LG Nexus 4, but weaker than the Samsung Galaxy S3.
Then came the final benchmark from our agenda: the battery test. Normally, we would choose the Work battery life test offered by PCMark. However, this benchmark terminated with errors each time we tried running it. So we turned to the Battery Test included in AnTuTu. In this test, the Xiaomi Redmi 2 got 5499 points, which means an equal battery performance with Samsung Galaxy S4, but lower than a Google Nexus 4.
Where To Buy
Xiaomi Redmi 2 is a good budget smartphone. The hardware it packs is not what we'd call "top of the line", but it's more than enough to satisfy the basic needs of any user. If you also take into consideration that the Redmi 2 offers an HD screen and a better camera than other similarly priced smartphones, you will consider this smartphone as a good buy. MIUI, the custom Android flavor used by the Redmi 2 is beautiful and works well, even if at times, you will encounter some lags. Xiaomi Redmi 2 is a device we recommend for anyone who wants a good Android smartphone without having to spend too much money on it. However, unless you live in China, you should make sure that when you buy a Redmi 2, you choose a model that includes Google Apps.