Redmi Y2 review: Delivers premium features at a budget price
With a large display, capable hardware, great cameras and good battery life, the phone is an all-rounder.
Price: Rs 9,999 onwards
Specifications: 5.99-inch IPS 18:9 display, 1440 x 720 pixels, octa-core Snapdragon 625 processor, 3/4GB RAM, 32/64GB storage, dual SIM with dedicated microSD slot, 12MP + 5MP dual rear camera, 16MP front camera with selfie flash, rear fingerprint scanner, 4G with VoLTE, WiFi, Bluetooth, Android 8.1, Face unlock, 3,080mAh battery, 170 grams
Pros: Bright display, full screen navigation gestures, good build quality, excellent rear camera performance, great front camera with group face detection, smooth day to day performance
Cons: Plastic body, HD resolution display, not meant for heavy gaming, prices too close to Redmi Note 5 (confusing for consumers)
In our experience, Xiaomi remains focused on delivering premium features at budget prices. This trend continues with the latest called Redmi Y2 – a budget smartphone with a 16MP front camera, dual rear camera and AI capabilities. This is also the successor to the company’s first selfie smartphone (Redmi Y1) launched last year.
Unlike the Redmi Y1 which focused mainly on the selfie camera, the Redmi Y2 has a bunch of trending features. You get the tall 18:9 display, dual rear camera setup, high-resolution front camera, latest version of Android and face unlock. Xiaomi even chose to give it a design similar to the popular Redmi Note 5 Pro. It is, in fact, an almost exact replica of the Note 5 Pro. Button placement is the same, dual rear camera and fingerprint scanner placement too. How do you tell them apart? The Redmi Y2 has a plastic body and skips the 2.5D curved front glass. When kept side by side, you can tell that the Redmi Y2 is not as premium as the Redmi Note 5 Pro. However, thanks to the metallic finish and unibody design, the phone looks great and feels well built.
Up front is a 5.99-inch IPS display with 18:9 aspect ratio and a resolution of 1440 x 720 pixels (HD+ resolution). This is one of the corners that have been cut to bring the price down. Despite a lower resolution, the screen is bright, offers good colour reproduction and is easy to read in direct sunlight. The lower resolution works fine for basic tasks such as web-browsing and chatting, but when compared to the full HD+ display on the Redmi Note 5 pro, the lack of sharpness is apparent in photos and videos.
Moving on, this is amongst the first phones from Xiaomi to come out of the box with full screen navigation gestures – we used them throughout our review and they work great once you spend the time to get used to them.
Redmi Y2’s main purpose is to offer good camera capabilities on a budget. Within that purpose, it is a selfie phone first. It has a 16MP front camera with f2.0 aperture, soft LED flash and AI capabilities. Xiaomi has also included pixel binning technology which essentially combines multiple pixels to improve photo sharpness & quality. The selfies we captured had sharp detail, rich colour and minimal noise. You also get a portrait mode which adds a depth effect to your selfies and it works incredibly well. The edge detection (especially around problem areas like hair) is surprisingly accurate, making the subject stand out better. Xiaomi says they have also improved the beauty mode to detect Indian features like bindi and facial hair. It supports group selfies too: the phone had no issues detecting three faces together and applying the bokeh effect appropriately. Overall, this is easily one of the best selfie cameras available in this price range.
Around the back, it has a dual camera setup with a 12MP primary sensor and a 5MP secondary depth sensor. The is very similar to the Redmi Note 5 Pro on paper, but the performance is not the same in the real world. The dual camera on the Redmi Y2 is a capable shooter on its own – it captures good details and rich colours in daylight as well as indoors. However, we did notice that lowlight images have visible noise. The Note 5 Pro fares much better in low light. The portrait mode with added AI is the star here – edge detection is great, and it adds a good bokeh to photos. Xiaomi says that the AI will learn and improve photo results over time on both the rear and front camera.
On the hardware front, Redmi Y2 uses the Snapdragon 625 processor and comes with either 3GB RAM + 32GB or 4GB RAM + 64GB storage. Our review unit was the 3GB RAM variant and we faced no issues in day to day activities. It even managed to run the popular PUBG game with graphics set to low. The battery manages to last from 9 am to 5pm with around 15% to spare as long as there is light usage. With an hour of gaming during the day, you will have to recharge by the evening. With the supplied charger & cable, the phone goes from 10% to 100% in just about 2 hours.
On the software side, this is the first device to come with MiUI 9.5 based on Android 8.1. If you have used a Xiaomi device in the past, the user interface is unchanged. Face unlock is easy to setup and works well even though it takes a second or two to identify and unlock the device. At the launch event of the Y2, Xiaomi also announced MiUI 10 for India and it will be available for the Redmi Y2 later this year.
Other features we liked include the dedicated microSD slot for storage expansion, fast and accurate fingerprint scanner, loud speaker output, built in call recording and the built-in infrared remote control.
In our opinion, the Redmi Y2 proves to be a great all-rounder smartphone for its price. You get a large display, capable hardware, great cameras and good battery life with option to expand the storage via dedicated microSD slot. The trouble is that at the same price you also have the option of the Redmi Note 5. The Note 5 has a metal body, similar hardware specifications but a bigger 4,000mAh battery. Choosing between the Redmi Y2 and Redmi Note 5 comes down to choice of camera, battery and build quality. If you want superior cameras, go for the Redmi Y2 but if your preference is battery life and build quality, choose the Redmi Note 5.