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Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 review

Xiaomi is huge in China, but how will its latest hold up in the Western market?

Xiaomi Redmi Note 2

Xiaomi Redmi Note 2

If you’re in the market for an entry-level to mid-range device, the choices have never been better than they are today. Extremely capable devices, such as the Moto G, Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3, Vodafone Smart ultra 6 or the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua, mean you are very much spoilt for choice. But what if you’re after something a bit different? Perhaps you want to sample a device from the wildly popular Xiaomi range from China? The Redmi Note 2 would be a great place to start.

In China, the Redmi Note 2 starts at 799 yuan, which is just over £80. By the time you’ve added delivery and tax charges, the final price is likely to be around £120, which still considerably undercuts all of the phones listed above. So it’s unquestionably cheap, but what do you get for your money? You get a finely built, well-specified and mightily impressive device.
The Note 2 (that doesn’t have a stylus despite the name) has a 5.5-inch IPS screen with capacitive buttons below in the typical Chinese layout (menu, home, back) and a soft touch finish on the back of the device that is removable.

The buttons have a satisfying click, there’s no flex or creak and the device is very well put together. A silver accent around the rear camera and a stylish silver ‘Mi’ logo on the back complement the look, giving an overall feel that belies the budget-price point. What is more, the device is only 8.3mm thick despite the generous battery size.

At the heart of the device beats a Helio X10 processor, complemented by generous 2GB RAM and 16 or 32GB storage (expandable via microSD). The device positively zips along with the unconventional, but often impressive, MIUI version of Android. It offers considerably more control than stock Android regarding device permissions, autostarts and background services, all of which help make the most of the battery. Although the device is Chinese, that is not an issue from a language perspective: MIUI is fully localised to English and the Mi Market store app can be replaced with the more conventional Google Play store app.

Find out more about what we think of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 in issue 57 of Android Magazine, available for instant download now.