Interface and functionality

Xiaomi's secret sauce. This is one of the best proprietary Android skins right now.

With the Redmi Note 2, we wanted to stick to the well-beaten path, and not mess with the software that comes packed with it. Since this is the Chinese model that everyday Joes will be getting, there are a few caveats that ought to be detailed.

For starters, our Redmi Note 2 is still stuck with MIUI 6 — Xiaomi's proprietary Android skin —and is missing an official update to the latest MIUI 7. That, however, is not that big a deal when put next to the fact that the phone comes without Google's layer of apps, including the Play Store — you'll have to install them yourself, or make sure that the store you order from has done that for you. Even if you do that, you'll still have to handle all the bloatware apps loaded on the phone. Thankfully, they are not system-protected and can be deleted.

So let's talk MIUI. As mentioned, we're still waiting for the latest update of the custom software, though it's good to see that what we have is already based on Android 5.0.2 Lollipop. Besides, there's already quite a bit to love about Xiaomi's software, which is filled with helpful, as well as practical, features and shortcuts.

For example, the notification shade — which we all visit dozens of times a day — can be summoned by simply swiping downwards anywhere on the screen. Combined with Xiaomi's awesome one-handed mode, easily activated by swiping through the capactitive navigational keys on the bottom bezel, we already have two phablet-tailored improvements in quality of life. Other neat tricks include a shortcut to the flashlight (long-press Home key whilst at the lock screen), Apple Spotlight-like search bar summoned through a short swipe up on the homescreen, and 'anchorable' apps that won't be killed off if you dismiss all your recents. MIUI also comes with a comprehensive security suite that will help you dispose of large temporary files, control data usage, block calls, control app permissions, and even scan for viruses. There's also a wealthy choice of themes available if you get tired with the look of your homescreen, the ability to customize quick toggles, and many, many more. Easily one of the best proprietary Android skins on the market.

Processor and memory

The MediaTek Helio X10 chip delivers respectable performance.

A very big part of the appeal of the Redmi Note 2 is the sillicon under the lid: an octa-core, 64-bit MediaTek Helio X10 processor (MT6795T), with two clusters of four 2.2GHz Cortex-A53 cores working together in big.LITTLE. The GPU on duty is the 700MHz PowerVR G6200, helped by 2GB of LPDDR3 RAM.

Certainly not the highest of high-end configurations, but absolutely beastly when considered in the context of the $170 price tag. And it does its job more than well enough: navigational fluidity is consistently satisfying, with hiccups being an exception; apps open fast, and heavy 3D games like Asphalt 8 run with pretty satisfying frame rates. Apps like Tinder also run pretty well.

For those who care, synthetic tests corroborate our findings, with the Redmi Note 2 scoring well across the benchmark spectrum.

Finally, on memory: There's 16GB of storage available with our model, though a 32-gig version is also available from Xiaomi. Regardless of which one you choose to go for, you'll have access to a microSD card slot, allowing you to expand internal memory.

AnTuTu Higher is better
Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 40869.33
Meizu m2 note 30359.33
LG G Stylo 21530
Vellamo Metal Higher is better
Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 1385.6
Meizu m2 note 916.33
LG G Stylo 793
Vellamo Browser Higher is better
Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 2318
Meizu m2 note 1660.33
LG G Stylo 1952
Sunspider Lower is better
Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 1148.93
Meizu m2 note 1499.8
LG G Stylo 1522.9
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen Higher is better
Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 18.3
Meizu m2 note 11
LG G Stylo 9.6
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 6.26
Meizu m2 note 4.1
LG G Stylo 4
Basemark OS II Higher is better
Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 811.33
Meizu m2 note 720
LG G Stylo 535
Geekbench 3 single-core Higher is better
Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 923.66
Meizu m2 note 550.33
LG G Stylo 451
Geekbench 3 multi-core Higher is better
Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 4356.33
Meizu m2 note 2529
LG G Stylo 1407

Internet and connectivity

An all-around competent device for the connected age.

The Redmi Note 2 comes with its own browser, which is actually one of the better custom solutions. Navigation is smooth in terms of both panning and zooming in and out of pages, and you get a smorgasbord of useful features. Perhaps most importantly, there's a built-in ad blocker, which will eliminate ads from pages, but fail to compensate for the blank space leftover. There's also a dedicate 'Night' mode, which changes the theme to a white-on-black one and dims the screen, a reader mode that allows you to focus on the text only, a data saving feature, and easy tabbing — just swipe from the edge of the screen to go to another tab.

If you want to use another browser, however, you'll have to go ahead and change the default browser in the Settings, as links and such will keep on opening with Xiaomi's own solution.

As for connectivity, the stack with the Redmi Note 2 is up to snuff for the price category. We've got FDD LTE with support for bands 1, 3, and 7, two micro SIM slots, Bluetooth 4.0, 5GHz Wi-Fi, and that aforementioned IR blaster for control over home electronics.

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35 Comments

35. Justin911

Posts: 1; Member since: Aug 06, 2016

I bought myself this Xiaomi redmi note 2 yesterday and extremely happy except for the battery life. its day 2 and this morning i woke up, took off charge and 4 and a half hours later its practically dead, did use it quite a lot but mostly chatting and watched one movie but part of that 4 1/2 hours about 2 hours i didnt touch it. the wifi was left on and yes i did get a couple whatsapps but according to this its suppose to last much longer. could this just be my model or is the battery really that weak? Hey ill shut my mouth and settle for it considering the rest but just curios...

34. iscom

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 26, 2015

I have just ordered the Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 prime does anyone have any info on this phone? and does it still record phone conversations?

33. Donbenie

Posts: 263; Member since: Aug 04, 2013

I own the Note 2 and overall it's a very satisfactory device and I must say I don't have any device creaking issues either,with that said my main quip with the device is on the screen quality,I certainly think it's a little below per,slightly washed out) and the battery is nothing to write home about but on the whole I'll rate it much more than PA's ratings and,I essential likes Xiaomi's take on Android and overall the performance is solid..

32. Användarnamn

Posts: 5; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

I have a G3 and a redmi note 2. The redmi is quicker in every way. The interface is one of the smoothest around. After putting in Miui7 from Xiaomi.eu its no longer have crazy uppdates that dont work outside China. My question is why they wright: The question is, what's lost in the translation from a specs sheet to a device used in the real world? The answer to that must be nothing. Take Google translate and read Swedroid.se test and se how they loved it! I love it to.

31. Eddimer

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 13, 2015

XIAOMI RedMi Note 2 LTE Only USD 162 With coupon (free shipping) Check: yazhuang.blogspot.ca

29. Användarnamn

Posts: 5; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Its so easy to get a proper uppgrade with miui 7 for EU and america on androidfilehost.com. All things did get better in my Redmi note 2. And all softwaer build for china was no longer a problem. (only a small one before) Look after developer: Xiaomi.eu and download this rom. androidfilehost.com/?fid=24052804347822062 With Xiaomi you only have to go to settings, about phone. in the bottom look for uppdates. When you there, look on the top of side for meny dots. Chose load from file, and chose the one you downloaded from Xiaomi.eu.

28. WallStreetWolf

Posts: 289; Member since: Apr 08, 2013

I got your back Chris P. The majority of these comments are a bunch of whiny and childish drivel. A 7.8 is a fair score for this phone, since its competitors in it's price point have better implementation and results in key areas. The build quality on the Redmi Note 2 is not up to snuff compared to the K3 Note or Meizu M2 Note, none of which come close to the P8000 by Elephone There is no creaking in either of those devices. And don't try to say no other review brought it up. Numerous reviews have brought it up, including the one provided by Knowyourmobile.com just to name one. it has a post in XDA and numerous YouTube videos. The screen is not in the same league as the M2 or K3 Note models. It doesn't have the same color accuracy or brightness. It is a good screen, but the competitors in the price point are better. The processor is not everything. It is about the whole package and from what I am seeing, it is inefficient at best compared to competitors. The battery life is hindered by it and that is mentioned in numerous reviews, most notably Android Authority's take on it. The camera, my god the camera. If you are going to put a 13MP Samsung unit into a device, it better damn well be good. The Elephone P8000 shots look better than what this provided and that wasn't a lauded phone for the camera. The Meizu has a much better camera. Just look at the results in the reviews from PA or around the web. The K3 is also an excellent performer for the price range. The competitors to this phone offer a better package for the money. That is why it earns a 7.8. It doesn't mean it is a bad phone, but it definitely means it is scored fairly. P.S. The only real Western owned company is Apple and they make excellent devices for their already excellent ecosystem. It is hard to compare them to Android when the competition within the platform has a tendency to dilute the value proposition of the product. And judging by the picture samples, this phone was reviewed in Europe, a large importer of Chinese mobile products.

26. Sidewinder

Posts: 515; Member since: Jan 15, 2015

Fair score.. But still 9.2 for iPhone 6s?? That's totally unacceptable

25. brasstax

Posts: 546; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

Ok, here are my 2 cents on the review.. 1.The creaky backplate & chassis discoloration are almost certainly unit specific as NO OTHER reviewer has mentioned it. Yes, in a review. PA was correct in mentioning it. But haing added the probable defective unit caveat towards the end. there is no justification in listing it as a con. 2.The antutu score of 40k is atleast 10k lower than the standard score of the Helio X10 chip. Heck. even the mt6752 based Lenovo K3 Note scores 45k. The Helio X10 score hovers around the 52k mark. 3.Why is bloatware that can be simply uninstalled without rooting listed as a con? Only an issue that is confirmed for the device in general & not unit specific & an issue without simple remedy without having to root/flash & go all geeky classifies as a con. And please double check benchmark scores. This device deserves nothing less than 8.5 for the bang for buck factor alone.

23. Memo214

Posts: 17; Member since: Apr 12, 2013

I guess ATT LTE is out of the question on this one.

18. dazed1

Posts: 815; Member since: Jul 28, 2015

"At about $170 to $190 (excluding any possibly applicable import fees), the Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 is a hard phablet to beat, though certainly not unopposed. For around that kind of money, you can get Meizu's m2 Note 5.5-incher, which sports a nearly identical specs list, but comes with a better camera and sweeter battery life" LOL what a pile of BS, nearly identical specs? 6753 vs Helio X10? M2 Note while great device - phone, being the same price is nowhere near at the same class or worth it. This phone is destroying everything for the money, and for that reason alone, should get much higher rating.

19. WallStreet

Posts: 256; Member since: Sep 21, 2014

Agree, there's just too much difference in performance! Try comparing it with the Moto X Pure

21. xioxas

Posts: 21; Member since: May 04, 2015

yeah helio x10 is flagship processor from mediatek "nealry identical" with mediatek 6753 low end processor. hahaha i'm just laugh it's not even identical, here the real pros redmi note 2 over meizu m2 note : have ir blaster, pdaf camera, helio x10 flagship mediatek processor, dual sim, have micro sd slot ( not sacrifice sim slot 2), better audio, removable battery. the only pros from meizu m2 note over redmi note 2 : better battery life , better camera quality

27. Chris.P

Posts: 567; Member since: Jun 27, 2013

Hence the 'nearly' part. Everything else pretty much checks out. With that out of the way, it's our opinion that the better-looking m2 Note, with its more reliable build, better battery life, better camera, and better display, is the smarter buy at essentially the same prices, and more than overcomes whatever it lacks in performance muscle in comparison. And just so everyone can sit the heck down, this review is coming from a long-time Xiaomi user, so I was very much rooting for the Redmi Note 2. The truth, however, is that it could've used some more work.

17. Spedez

Posts: 542; Member since: Aug 29, 2014

Comes with Chinese spyware pre-installed.

14. QYWANG

Posts: 2; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

We Chinese user will probably confused about the battery life testing since we believe the biggest problem with Redmi note 2 is its very poor battery life. It is hard to use it 5 hours without charging due to the unusual screen power consumption ratio, usually around 70% and can exceed 80% if one is a heavy user. And forgiving my poor english.

15. QYWANG

Posts: 2; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

And for now we don't have a way to active Xposed on Redmi note 2 since its Recovery only accept update.zip.

22. coldspring22

Posts: 349; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

If you use a phone continuously for five hours, no doubt it will need recharging. Very few phones out there now can take that kind of heavy use and go a whole day. In anycase, it's good thing Redmi Note 2 has replaceable battery. Just carry a spare or two and you're all set! One funny thing is there was no big price gap between Redmi Note 4G sold inside vs outside China. But there seems to be about $50 price gap for Redmi Note 2.

13. der_damo

Posts: 213; Member since: Sep 16, 2014

The comments are the best part of the review, hands down.

12. Tronlol

Posts: 35; Member since: Feb 06, 2015

Toon high for this pile of crap.

10. max1c

Posts: 105; Member since: Oct 11, 2014

I really don't understand how PA rates budget headsets. One thing I know for sure, however, is that they don't do it right. This phone should be getting at least an 8. And if you ask me aftrer reading this review its a solid 9.

8. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Finally a decent review of an Android device. Atleast this type of scores are acceptable. Thank you PA for hearing us.

11. SamsungPhanboy

Posts: 765; Member since: Mar 31, 2015

They aren't listening to people, they are just giving honest impressions on the device at hand, which is something you want a reviewer to do. Moto X got a 9.1.

24. Tizo101

Posts: 644; Member since: Jun 05, 2015

I'm starting to feel like the phones originally from the US get higher scores.

7. Dude2014

Posts: 448; Member since: Feb 12, 2014

Only 7.8??? With $170, you have good battery, Helio X10 which powered flagships like HTC One M9+, Good camera, Decent display, Good built quality. Wtf can you expect more from them?

20. coldspring22

Posts: 349; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

Yes, price is apparently irreverent to phone arena, as it judges $170 phone using same standard as a $700 phone. But in real world $170 Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 is heck of a lot more affordable than $700 iphone 6S ($900 in China for base 16GB model), while beating the fruity phone in some features as well.

6. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

meizu m2 note and motoG (2015) get 9 and this phone get 7.8 ?? there is something really wrong with your scoring standart lately :-/

4. yourmom

Posts: 82; Member since: Feb 21, 2015

Built-in Xiaomi apps aren't 100% translated to English MIUI comes with bloatware they run Chinese Rom hence the issue , global version of miui have little to no Chinese in them its a pretty low rating for something which offers so much for its price ,but then again seeing the trend PA is following against Chinese manufacturers its a no brainier

2. coldspring22

Posts: 349; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

Great to hear Redmi Note 2 has improved on original in every way. Score is only 7.8, but what about score for bang for bucks? The original Redmi Note 4G was an outstanding phone. Still use it everyday in USA on tmobile, and not much shortcoming next flagships sporting QHD display.. One item needs mentining - if you don't like the cheap back plate, you can easily find another third party backplate, in any color and material you want including gold colored metal backplate to improve premium look and feel of the phone.

1. Diego!

Posts: 880; Member since: Jun 15, 2009

I really don't get your review rankings... i.e.: PROS: MIUI is versatile and reliable CONS: MIUI comes with bloatware WTF?? If it's versatile and reliable it means it doesn't have bloatware!
Redmi Note 2
  • Display 5.5 inches
    1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP (Single camera)
    5 MP front
  • Hardware MediaTek Helio X10, 2GB RAM
  • Storage 16GB,
  • Battery 3060 mAh
  • OS Android 5.0 Lollipop
    Xiaomi MI UI

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