Xiaomi Redmi 2 Review (English)

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Logo_uk
Background
Xiaomi was founded in June 2010 and released their first Miui ROM in August 2010. One year later, August 2011, they showed their first smartphone the Mi1 or Mi One. The phone was released with Android 2.3 and Miui V3. This phone received more than 3 years of software updates from Xiaomi. The latest update was released on 5 December 2014 and was based on Miui V5.
Xiaomi has managed to become one of the biggest brands in 2014. They have sold (almost) as many phones as Huawei and Lenovo (Motorola). These 3 Chinese brands are all aiming for the 3rd spot in the ranking, right behind Samsung and Apple.

Due to the large amount of pictures, it could take some time to load this review.
Changelog:
26-02-’15: First release of the review

Contents

Introduction
The choice for this Smartphone
Specifications
My first impression
Basic functionality
Camera
Video test
Picture examples
Battery
Display
Comparison with other devices
Pictures of the phone
Benchmarks
Additional information and links
Verdict
Comments

Introduction

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Xiaomi announced the Redmi 2 on 4 January 2015. The phone is the successor of the Hongmi/Redmi. There are many similarities with the Redmi and Redmi 1s. The phone has a 4,7″ 720P screen, dual SIM, 1GB of RAM, 8GB Storage and will be sold by Xiaomi for ~€ 95,-.

This review is based on the Multi Language Miui V6 5.2.13 (beta), with Android 4.4.4 from www.xiaomi.eu.

Here are the main differences of the Redmi, Redmi 1s and Redmi 2

Specs Redmi 1
Redmi 1s
Redmi 1s
Redmi
Redmi 2
Redmi 2
Chipset MediaTek MT6589T Qualcomm MSM8228, Snapdragon 400 Qualcomm MSM8916, Snapdragon 410
CPU Quad-core 1.5 GHz Quad-core 1,6 GHz Quad-core 1,2 GHz
GPU PowerVR SGX544 Adreno 305 Adreno 306
ROM 4 GB 8 GB 8 GB
Camera 8MP + 1,3MP 8MP + 1,8MP 8MP + 2MP
GPS GPS + A-GPS GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, Beidou GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, Beidou
Weight 158g 158g 133g
Size 137 x 69 x 9,9 mm 137 x 69 x 9,9 mm 134 x 67,2 x 9,4 mm

Newsflash: The Xiaomi Redmi 2 will get a Pro/Enhanced edition with 2GB of RAM and 16GB storage for ~€110,-. This phone will be available after 23 February 2015.

The-choice

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On Social Media (Facebook), I noticed that Xiaomi was going to release the Redmi 2. Based on the specifications, I didn’t know if it would be a good successor of the Redmi 1s. The brand-new Snapdragon 410 CPU didn’t seem to be better than the older Snapdragon 400 CPU. I searched for benchmarks between the 410 and 400 and I could not find a lot of informative pages. Showing the results of the Snapdragon 410 was something that I would like to share with my audience. I wanted to have this phone as soon as possible and it would be great to compare them with the 2 older versions. I also wanted to know how this phone would perform compared to others with similar specifications. The only phones with comparable specifications were the Lenovo A6000 and HTC Desire 620. Perhaps I can buy/import them in the future for a shoot-out review.

My favourite webshop for Xiaomi products is: www.ibuygou.com. I know that they sell genuine Xiaomi products. They are one of the few webshops who were invited to visit the Xiaomi Product Launch events.
I placed my order on Friday 16 January and I received the phone a few days later, on Tuesday the 20th. The order was shipped via DHL and there were no extra costs for customs. I hope that you will get all the information that is needed for you to get a clear image of this phone.

Specifications

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Import price during the review: ~ €140,- without shipment and additional taxes
2G Network: GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
3G Network: WCDMA 900/2100 MHz
4G Network: FDD-LTE 1800/2100 MHz
Simcard: Dual-SIM, dual standby (2x Micro and 2x LTE)
Dimensions: 134 x 67,2 x 9,4 mm
Weight: 133g
Display type: IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colours
Display Size: 1280 x 720 pixels, 4,7″ (~320 ppi)
Multitouch: 10 fingers
Waterproof: No
Headset connector: Yes, 3,5mm
Speaker: Yes
Sound: Vibration + MP3/WAV ringtones
Card slot: Micro SD (Up to 32GB)
Memory (ROM): 8GB
Memory (RAM): 1GB
Data speed EDGE/GPRS: 107/296 kbps
Data speed UMTS: 384kbps
Data speed HSUPA/HSDPA/LTE: HSUPA 5,8 Mbps / LTE 150 Mbps
WLAN: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot
Bluetooth: v4.0 Low Energy, A2DP
NFC: No
USB: Micro USB v2.0 (MHL), USB On-the-go
Camera (back): 8 MP (16:9) 3200×2400 pixels, F2.2 aperture, autofocus, LED flash, 6,1x digital zoom
Features: Geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, image stabilization, HDR, panorama, burstmode
Video: 1920×1088@30fps, touch focus, Face detection, record with LED support, FFW recording
Camera (front): 2 MP 1600×1200 pixels, 6,1x digital zoom, age detection
Features: Geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, image stabilization
Video: 720p@30fps
OS: Miui v6 / Android 4.4.4
Chipset: Qualcomm MSM8916, Snapdragon 410
CPU: Cortex A53 (64bit), Quad-core 1,2 GHz
GPU: Adreno 306
Sensors: Direction, distance, gyroscope, proximity, compass, light
Messaging: SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM, RSS
Browser: HTML 5 / CSS 3/ Default Android
Radio: FM radio, no wired headset required
GPS: GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, Beidou
Java: No
Colours available: White/Black/Pink/Light green/Yellow
Battery: Exchangeable Li-Ion 2200 mAh battery
Sound support: MP3/ACC/AMR/OGG/MIDI/WMA/FLAC/WAV/AWB
Image support: JPEG/PNG/GIF/BMP
Video support: MP4/3GPP/AVI/WMV
Documents: text documents
Led colours: Red, Green, Orange, Cyan, White, Blue and Violet

– Calendar, organizer, alarm clock, Image/video editor
– Exchange mail
– Google apps
– Voice memo/dial/commands are in English
– AOSP Google Keyboard, Predictive text input, Swype is supported.
– Active noise cancellation with dedicated microphone
– Wi-Fi Display

Impression

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Unboxing video of the phone:

The box where the phone is packaged in is very small, the phone fits perfectly in the package. When you open the box, you will see the black screen of the phone. Underneath the phone you will see a small folder with the manuals/documentation. When you lift these manuals than you will find the battery. Under the battery you will see 2 compartments. One of them contains the USB cable (and optional EU converter), the other one contains the Chinese charger.

Here is a comparison with my 2 year old Xiaomi Mi2 (4,3″ vs. 4,7″)
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Contents of the box:
• 1 x Xiaomi Redmi 2 Smartphone
• 1 x 2200 mAh battery
• 1 x Charger
• 1 x China -> EU converter
• 1 x USB cable
• 2 x Documentation

This phone is smaller, lighter and much rounder at the corners than the Redmi. It is perfectly build with good materials. There are no cracks or gaps between the housing and the removable cover.
The front of the phone is completely black, there are no logos or signs visible. On top of the screen, you will see the light sensor, the 2MP camera and the speaker for calling. On the bottom of the phone, you will see 3 onscreen buttons and the notification LED. Xiaomi uses the same order of onscreen buttons as Samsung. From left to right you will see; Recents/Menu, Home and Back. The buttons have vibration feedback, but don’t have a backlight. It is a shame that Xiaomi doesn’t support that in these phones.

• The right side of the phone has a volume button. The power button can be used to turn the phone on/off and to wake it up.
• The left side doesn’t have any buttons.
• The bottom of the phone has 1 small opening for the microphone. The USB 2.0 connector is located on the right side.
• The top of the phone has a 3,5mm headphone jack.
• On the back of the phone you will find the 8MP camera, LED flash, the microphone for the camera and a speaker.

Removing the cover is easier than before, with the Redmi. This is probably because the cover is slightly smaller and lower. You need to pull up the left side and then open it up from bottom to the top. Under the backcover you will see the location for the battery, the MicroSD slot, 2 Micro-SIM slots for GSM/2G/3G/4G (WCDMA/FDD-LTE). You will notice that the camera sticks out and it fits nicely through the hole of the backcover.

Basics

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OS
The phone is reviewed with Android 4.4.4 and firmware version Miui V6 5.1.13 (beta). In the time that I tested the phone, I received 4 Multilanguage ROMs.
I have tested a few devices from Xiaomi before. It looks like they build every phone with a brand new ROM. Most devices had bugs which could be easily found/noticed. Miui is one of the few companies who interact a lot with their customers/audience. They make their ROMs better together with the Beta testers, selected user groups and the input on their forums. They create in 6-8 weeks about 4-8 new software releases with a lot of patches/fixes and new features.
For a brand new phone from Xiaomi, I am glad that the phone was very stable from the beginning. As a former Miui Beta tester, I must be very critical. Under every section I will mention the bugs I found for the phone. I think that all of them can be fixed with software updates.

Update software:
There are several ways to update the software. When you are using the original ROM, than you will receive it via OTA (automatically Over-The-Air). You can also download it via the original source: www.miui.com or via www.xiaomi.eu. Go to “System Updates” and load the desired ROM. After the file has been loaded, you will get a prompt that the ROM will be installed. You can also boot into the Recovery mode. From this menu you are only able to update the phone with the ROM-file renamed into: update.zip.
Menu1

Languages
By default, the phone can be used in 3 different languages. Chinese, Traditional Chinese and English.
After the ML ROM, you can use about 40 different system languages. The keyboard supports many more languages. I have installed the Dutch keyboard and you can easily change between different languages. I have tested the phone completely in English and I didn’t notice strange translations.

Applications
The phone has some nice tools and applications. It doesn’t have many installed apps, so the phone is very clean. It does contain some Chinese apps, that aren’t very useful in Europe. You can remove such apps easily from the homescreen and system. Google Play has been added by the developers of the MultiLanguage ROM. It may happen that you encounter an Error Message called: RPC:S-7:AEC-7 when you download apps from Google Play. In that case you forgot to perform a full reset/factory restore after changing the ROM.
Menu2

Miui has some great build-in security apps. A few of them are: AntiVirus, Data Usage and a phone cleaner to check security settings and to remove waste from your phone.
The phone also has a “permission” app, which is something every Android phone manufacturer should have by default. You can deny access to your location, phone book or other system information. For instance: You can remove the rights for the app AnTuTu, to use the camera.

Security

Root
When you run the Multilanguage rom, than root access has been installed by default.
The only thing you need to do, is to turn the switch at Root access in the Permissions app.
Root

Homescreen
The phone doesn’t have an appdrawer. All the apps are located on the homescreen. You can organize your apps, by placing them in separate folders.
You can use widgets from a calendar, e-mail or weather apps. You can use shortcuts to go directly to your favourite bookmark or Wi-Fi Hotspot settings.

The pull down menu can be accessed by scrolling down on your homescreen. You can even activate it from the middle of the homescreen, it doesn’t have to be from the top of the screen. The pull down menu has 2 tabs, the left tab will show the time and date, data usage and notifications. The tab on the right will show the musicplayer, the quick settings and a link to all settings. The amount and type of notifications can be managed in the “Notifications menu”. The order of the quick settings can also be managed within the same menu.
Homescreen

If you worked with Miui V5 before, than you will see many differences with Miui V6. The biggest changes are the settings of the apps. Most of them can only be changed via the global settings menu. Settings for the camera, browser and musicplayer can be changed in this menu. There are also a few apps moved into this menu. Some settings have been put very far away in the structure. A lot of things can be improved in the current structure.
Settings

Within Miui V6, you can control the phone with just 1 hand!

Connections
The phone supports all common standard connections like Wi-Fi, GPS en Bluetooth.

Wi-Fi:
The connection to the router is almost perfect at home and work. It connects to all wireless devices without any problems. I have used the wireless connection to upload my pictures and to stream movies from my NAS. When the router is near your window, then you can connect to it from 70 meters away.
The only remark I have is that it doesn’t support Wi-Fi AC, so no support for the 5GHz bandwith.

GPS:
Although the phone has support for Glonass, I must admit that the GPS is very poor inside. The GPS works very fast, good and stable outside. You can configure the behaviour for the GPS with 3 different profiles:
Device only: Only the internal GPS
Battery saving: Only Wi-Fi and Mobile networks
High accuracy: Everything turned on; GPS + Wi-Fi + Mobile networks

You will get a good and stable connection within 10 seconds. I’ve used the app Sportstracker to keep track of my location. The GPS stayed within a range of 5 meters, according to the displayed Google Map. The recorded speed was very accurate as well.
GPS
GPS works perfectly with my navigation and other GPS apps

Home 1
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Home 2
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Outdoors 1
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Outdoors 2
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Bluetooth:
The phone could connect easily to my car headunit and also to my wireless headset. Calling via BT was working as it should be. I had some stability problems with the BT connection. When BT was not in use, it turned off after a few hours. This problem was fixed after a software update.
Reported bug: When using Spotify, I notice that the music stops playing when the phone receives an e-mail or Whatsapp message. This problem can’t be reproduced within the default mediaplayer.

Calling
The provider I used was: T-Mobile. During my phone calls, I didn’t have any problems with the connection on this network. You can easily switch to the handsfree functionality of the phone. The speaker is loud enough if you want to use it in the car. During hands-free phone calls, people could hear me well enough.
It is very easy to find or call a person from the phonebook. You can use smartdialing by typing the name with T9 or by using (a part of) the phone number.

Ringtones
There are a lot of different ringtones, message- and notification sounds available on this phone. You can set your own MP3 files as a ringtone. You can add different profiles to make sure that it fits your needs. The maximum sound of the message tones is very loud. It will be loud enough to hear it when you are in the bar.

Music player
You can add files to an own directory on your phone. I created the folder “Music” and downloaded 2 different albums from my NAS directly to my phone. I have also uploaded a few .Flac files. These separate songs were about 25-40MB for each file. The phone recognized them directly and I was able to listen to them via my headset. You can see the musicplayer in the pull down menu and via a widget. The musicplayer looks OK and works very good.
Good to know: In Miui V5, there was a mediaplayer available in the lockscreen. This feature is also available on Miui V6, but you need to download another theme. I have downloaded the Sony Xperia Z theme. This theme will add the next features on the lockscreen: Camera, Text messenger, Call menu and buttons for the mediaplayer.

Settings

Keyboard and browser
The AOSP Google keyboard is installed by default. I like this keyboard, because you can add different languages. You can use “Swype” movements for every language that you add. The keyboard is quick, easy to set-up and it is very accurate.

On most 4.4 phones, you will get Google Chrome as your default browser. Xiaomi is using its own browser for a few years now. I don’t have a preference for either of these, I just use the default installed browser. The browser has some nice features like a pop-up blocker, nightmode and you can configure volume buttons to scroll through the pages.
The browser was very slow in the beginning. This bug is solved in the official Stable ROM from en.xiaomi.com.

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Camera

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Pictures
The quality of the images are good. It looks like the Redmi 1s has a slightly better camera/app to deal with daylight pictures. When it comes to pictures in the night, then this phone can capture a lot of the things your eye can see. In both cases there seems to be a “blur” over the pictures. When you zoom into the pictures, than the quality drops very fast. The speed of the camera is very good. From homescreen to snapping a picture only takes 3 seconds. There are many options available to make the best possible pictures at night and day. You can also use the burstmode to shoot 20 pictures in 3 seconds.
The frontcam is OK and you can shoot nice pictures. It is good enough to create some nice selfies. There are some nice settings available like: Face detection, Face recognition which can predict the age and gender. The camera focusses very good and if needed, then you can touch the screen to focus on an object in the fore-/background.

Videos
Shooting videos with the camera is good enough for most conditions. The camera doesn’t have many features, but the basic features are very good. One of them is the ability to zoom in very far. You can bring an object 6,1x closer to you. This zoom ability is available in every part of the camera. You can use it during filming and shooting selfies. The microphone can pick up the sounds very well.
The LED flashlight can’t reach very far. Shooting a video in the dark will be a challenge because you won’t see a lot of the things that you recorded.
The quality of the frontcam is good. It will be great for Skype or other video conferencing apps.

Settings for the main camera
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Features and settings of the frontcam
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Score of the camera
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• The quality of the pictures is OK, but it’s not always better than the Redmi 1s.
• LED flashlight is too bad for filming in the dark.
• With burstmode, you can only shoot 20 pictures.

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• You can zoom in far, very far. You can hit 6,1 times digital zoom.
• The camera app starts very quickly.
• Nightmode for pictures is working very good
• Create pictures while you are recording a video.
• The quality of the microphone is good. What you hear is what you record.

Video test

Playing music via the Xiaomi Mibox Pro

Nightshot

Kid escaped from jail

Picture examples

Zoomtest
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Focus on various things
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Some examples
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Nightshots
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Low light
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Flashlight
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Frontcam
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Battery

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The phone has an 2200mAh battery. When you don’t do much exciting stuff with the phone and you only use 1 simcard, than you can use it for 2 days. I usually turn on the next things: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 2 Gmail accounts, 2 Hotmail accounts, Facebook, LinkedIn, Skype, Twitter, a weatherapp and Whatsapp. When I use 1 simcard I can reach the end of the day (around midnight) with ~55% left on my phone.
In most conditions you can use the phone for ~40 hours. I believe that these results should be the standard for every phone.
Battery1

Battery2

Display

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The first thing I noticed with the screen, were white lines around my finger when I touched the screen. You can notice this behaviour when you do this while the phone is turned on with a black screen (f.i. when you boot your phone). With this first experience, I don’t think that the top of the screen is made from glass, but probably from a low budget top layer like plastic.
The colours are looking good, the brightness is very high and the display can be viewed from different angles. It is possible to change the brightness of the display with a slider. I’ve tested it primarily via the automatic settings and I didn’t have any problems viewing the content in direct sunlight.

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Comparison

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From left to right: Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, Xiaomi Mi2, Xiaomi Redmi2, UMi C1
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https://i1.wp.com/tweakers.net/ext/f/TGuyTcyFCfo2tqxqZa3i6fUF/full.jpg?resize=280%2C160 https://i1.wp.com/tweakers.net/ext/f/CL7ltjO9QwsVRIJrwLSaixt1/full.jpg?resize=280%2C160

Pictures-of-phone

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• I haven’t applied the screenprotectors of the Redmi and Redmi 2 very well…
https://i0.wp.com/tweakers.net/ext/f/gzcbbNKlD60FLKTE9chTHpjr/full.jpg?resize=280%2C160 https://i2.wp.com/tweakers.net/ext/f/ujaBfoluSPHMDiPQJSgC0EUk/full.jpg?resize=280%2C160
https://i2.wp.com/tweakers.net/ext/f/7g39ZQ0tYPKpuRFmio0zu4BI/full.jpg?resize=280%2C160 https://i2.wp.com/tweakers.net/ext/f/lDcJ0hkncRRp3nANgsgbAThD/full.jpg?resize=280%2C160
https://i0.wp.com/tweakers.net/ext/f/dfjYpnXgHu2P5L0BLqYA0NQn/full.jpg?resize=280%2C160 https://i0.wp.com/tweakers.net/ext/f/Efj75LqIUOx2IEFkso5Zx4rQ/full.jpg?resize=280%2C160

Benchmarks

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https://i2.wp.com/tweakers.net/ext/f/hOmDchfxvqJNZBNQ7yA6uXwe/full.png?resize=144%2C256 https://i2.wp.com/tweakers.net/ext/f/91vy8b62TfWOYoV0sh2cV4wK/full.png?resize=144%2C256
https://i2.wp.com/tweakers.net/ext/f/5XZkMhjYTPj37W4KBTNzp7Y0/full.png?resize=144%2C256 https://i2.wp.com/tweakers.net/ext/f/Wo4jorErP4zvYxLHRJLWRkL2/full.png?resize=144%2C256
https://i1.wp.com/tweakers.net/ext/f/ydlTk2lytqHd1ZJh3FKvJMny/full.png?resize=144%2C256 https://i0.wp.com/tweakers.net/ext/f/9v9f3P33pBkGGhOj58ENkxk0/full.png?resize=144%2C256

As you can see, the Redmi 2 wins 2 times from the Redmi 1s. With these tests it is a draw between these phones.
Benchmarks

Additional-info

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Links
English Xiaomi website
Announcement of the Xiaomi Redmi 2 on the Miui forum
Specifications of the phone (translated)
European Miui developers (Xiaom.eu)
Official Redmi 2 ROM
Background information of Miui
Gizchina, this publishes many posts about Chinese phones and tablets
Download you latest ML ROM from this location

Reviews
Gizchina
GSM Arena

https://i1.wp.com/tweakers.net/ext/f/1zgfs4XXjkSmEBjPTkWbaidn/full.png?resize=128%2C128
• Memory management should be improved
• No screen from glass
• Hard to shoot films in the dark
• No support for NFC and 5GHz networks
https://i1.wp.com/tweakers.net/ext/f/Y61vYWRJzuuen1rGPrxuascB/full.png?resize=128%2C128
• Slimmer 4,7″ phone design
• Battery life is very good
• GPS is performing very good
• Nightmode for pictures is great
• Build in permissions/security app
• Miui provides many updates for this phone

Verdict

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The current price of this phone is about € 140,- without shipment and additional taxes. If you are using a Redmi 1s at this moment, then you don’t need to upgrade that phone just jet. The build quality is almost the same, but this new phone is slightly smaller. The performance is almost the same. It is 2-2 when you look at the benchmark results.
The speed of the phone is OK, but the phone has some issues with the memory. The contents of pages are lost when you switch between apps. When you are typing a message in Facebook and try to search for background information in the browser, it forgets the content of Facebook. At this moment it has also troubles with apps that use push messages. These apps will be closed after 30-60 minutes and won’t process new messages. Whatsapp messages won’t come in, new e-mails won’t pop-up, etc. Most of it is fixed in the latest stable build: Version: V6.3.2.0.KHJCNBL. I hope that the new ML Miui v6 release in March has this fix as well.
I haven’t tested the Redmi 2 Pro yet, but for about €30,- extra, you will receive 2GB memory and 16GB of storage extra.

When the memory management is in order, than you will have a very good phone for a good price. The GPS works very good and it is stable. The quality of the night and day pictures are good as well. Without much trouble, you can use this phone for 2 days. It will have Android 5.x in the future, this version will also support the 64-bit architecture of the CPU.
The phone does what you would expect from a Xiaomi for this price. It is a great phone and therefore I give it nearly 4 stars.
When the memory issues are solved than it will get the full 4 stars!


Do you have any questions or remakrs, please send me an e-mail or leave a comment.4 sterren

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