Wednesday, July 22, 2015

First-impressions: Xiaomi Redmi 2

The "China-syndrome"

There's a saying that goes: "Cheap thing no good, good thing no cheap.."
And in moments of desperation, one would seek solace in China-made budget product that won't hurt the wallet.
My HTC One M8 took a head dive onto the pavement and cracked it's glass screen. The damage was serious enough to warrant a trip to the HTC-appointed service centre in Low Yat Plaza and I made it back just hours before some hooligans thrashed the place.
Jokes aside, with the high-end smartphone benched, I had nothing but an older HTC One X+.
This phone, though only more than three years old, is now a heap of junk. It tends to hang with multiple apps running the background.
It's Android KitKat OS can't be upgraded. Old is old and having seen the rapid pace of development in smartphone technology, the best thing to do for the old phone, is to put a broadhead through it's screen.
So, there I was, in search of a stop-gap measure before the HTC is ready for collection. The worse part was the turnaround time: 1 - 4 weeks.
With that in mind, my choice back-up phone is the Xiaomi Mi4i. But the cost was out of my present budget.
That said, the next best thing was the Xiaomi Redmi 2.
This one's a 64-bit quad-core 1.2GHz machine that has the speed to rival the older HTC One X+.
But, it has a really small RAM at 1GB and an internal flash memory of 8GB.

The Redmi 2
Quality and finish

Out of the box, the Xiaomi Redmi 2 is nothing but solid.
I don't see any flaws at all on this budget phone.
Specs-wise, it fulfills my needs for a 4G-LTE phone that the HTC One X+ does not have.
The casing is made of plastic and it doesn't really look and feel like some cheap at all.

Performance

The 64-bit Snapdragon 410 processor is pretty impressive for a basic phone like the Redmi 2 if you don't run a lot of apps.
Way I see it, the only drawback with this basic phone, is the speed tends to lag when you run memory-eating apps simultaneously.
I found this when I activated the Endomondo fitness tracker with GPS and at the same time, try to take a snapshot with the phone's camera.
As far as the user-interface is concerned, Xiaomi's MiUi 6 OS is smooth operating and simple.
It's responsive and not cluttered.
The only thing I need to get used to: is the home and back buttons because it's different from how HTC lays out their smartphones.
As for the camera, well, I'd say I've seen better ones like the Motorola Moto-G.
The HTC One M8 takes the cake in terms of producing high-quality images and videos. But for a phone under RM400 (RM399 for the Redmi 2 8GB version through Xiaomi's official website), you can't complain.
This phone costs even more at the retail stores, the lowest you can get is round RM450 without GST.
While the camera is only so-so, what I found impressive on this phone - is the music player. You can set the sound equalizer and there are preset features optimized to complement Xiaomi's range of in-ear headphones. 
In short, the sound produced by the music player on this little phone is good.
As far as call-quality is concerned, the Redmi 2 delivers. The speakers are crisp and clear.
The only thing that I can't get used to, is the small keyboard. My fingers tend to slide over to the wrong key when typing. So, if you have large hands, that's bad news.
Other than a few shortcomings. there's hardly any fault you can find on this awesome budget phone.
On a daily-basis, I use the Redmi for my Mi Band fitness tracker and the Mi Fit apps to track my daily activities.

And updated version

Xiaomi is now offering and enhanced version of the Redmi 2 with a 2GB RAM and 16GB Flash memory and is being sold directly from Xiaomi at RM459 a piece. Best of all, you can get aftermarket soft cases for the phone at only RM10. For more information, you can head to Xiaomi Malaysia's official website
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