Xiaomi has been the highest selling when it comes to the budget segment of smartphones in India; they have some of the best offerings that make it a worthy deal for the money that you are spending. It isn’t the most natural thing to just bump up the specifications on the smartphones every year while still retaining the value for money tag. However, Xiaomi never fails to impress the audience with their smartphones and the prices that they are offered at. The Redmi Y2 is yet another example of how the brand manages to squeeze in the best for an affordable price.
The Redmi Y2 is an iteration to the Redmi Y1 which was the first ever selfie focussed smartphone from the brand, the smartphone is referred as a “smartphone designed for the youth” and is creating a lot of hype with the camera. In this review, we assess the different aspects of the smartphone to see how well it copes up with the competition.
Design and Display
The Redmi Y2 is enormous and is the biggest smartphone the company has ever manufactured, despite it being more prominent than the Redmi Note 5 Pro, the smartphone still fits perfectly in hand. The rear panel on the smartphone bears a striking resemblance to the Redmi Note 5 Pro, and when comparing it with the previous generation Redmi Y1, little has changed apart from the size and the design. The Redmi Y2 uses a polycarbonate body instead of an all-metal design as seen in the Redmi Note 5 Pro, this still feels sturdy in hand and helps the device lose about 10 grams in weight.
The USB port is still conveniently placed at the bottom alongside the bottom firing speaker; there is also a 3.5mm headphone hack besides the IR blaster on the top of the smartphone. The Dual SIM tray is on the left of the smartphone while the power and volume buttons are to the right of the Redmi Y2. The back of the Redmi Y2 has the vertical dual-camera setup along with the Xiaomi logo, and the design is very much identical to the Redmi Note 5 Pro.
The Redmi Y2 sticks to the 2018 trend of 18:9 devices and now has a 5.99-inch IPS LCD panel with an 18:9 aspect ratio. Although there is no notch on the top, the bezels are very thick, and the resolution remains very dismal at HD+. While the HD+ resolution is not immediately noticeable while using the smartphone UI, the pixelation is noticeable while playing games or watching videos. The color profile is very neutral, and the display is still better than most of the budget smartphones in the market. The viewing angles are decent and the contrast levels could be better, holding it beside a FullHD+ display can help identify the significant difference.
The Redmi Y2 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chipset. There are two variants; the 3GB RAM variant comes with 32GB internal storage while the 4GB RAM variant comes with 64GB internal storage. This is a considerable upgrade from the Snapdragon 435 that the previous generation Redmi Y1 came with. Multitasking wasn’t an issue on the device, and we had no problems using the device for regular tasks. The Split screen also works surprisingly well on the device without any issues.
Regular tasks including a bunch of social media, banking, and browsing apps had no issues on the device. Slightly heavier apps like Snapchat also worked smoothly on the smartphone without any hiccups. There is a huge improvement in terms of the performance comparing it to the predecessor, the apps installer quicker and load in a lesser time, the gaming performance is also better as the Adreno 506 GPU has fewer pixels to push. Most games including Asphalt 8 and Modern Combat 5 have no issues on the device and even demanding games like PUBG ran smoothly on low settings.
The camera on the Redmi Y2 is stellar, this is the second iteration of a selfie-focused smartphone from Xiaomi. The specification in terms of the camera optics have also seen a huge bump this year, the Redmi Y2 now features a dual camera setup on the rear with a 12MP f/2.2 primary sensor aided by a 5MP secondary sensor for depth detection and bokeh mode images. This is the second device from the company with an AI-enabled dual camera setup on the rear, the Redmi Note 5 Pro with a similar setup rendered some amazing shots.
The Camera application UI hasn’t changed much and has the regular Panorama, Manual, and Portrait mode. Images shot in the daylight turn on very well, in a few images, however, there was a slight white tinge which might be due to the over processing done by “AI”. The details are, however, immaculate and the exposure levels were just right. Portrait shots also turned out very well and according to the company the camera is bound to get better with time.
The low light shots weren’t the most pleasing unlike as we saw in the Redmi Note 5 Pro review, the camera does try to get rid of the optical noise in the images, there is very little detail in the shots when capturing in low light conditions. The aggressive HDR mode does help capture some detail in low-light but the hands need to be held very steady for the camera to be able to do its job.
The Front camera on the Redmi Y2 does a pretty good job of capturing selfies even in the low-light conditions and LED light on the front only adds to the ease. The front camera images are very sharp and have the right amount of detail in them. There is also a front bokeh mode that implements a software bokeh by identifying the faces in the frame, this also turned out pretty good and the bokeh looked very well phased.
Battery & Software
The Redmi Y2 has a similar battery to the predecessor, hence the similar battery life. The device doesn’t support fast-charging and it takes about two and a half hours to get charged. We got about a day of battery on regular usage, heavy usage will result in shorter battery times. This is the biggest trade off one needs to make while choosing a Redmi Y2 over a smartphone from the Redmi Note series.
The Redmi Y2 runs on the MIUI 9 based on the Android Oreo 8.1 operating system. While the device does come with the latest Android Oreo operating system, most of the changes are lost due to the heavy skinning implemented by MIUI 9, MIUI 10 is around the corner and the company is expected to be launching the Global beta very soon and we can expect the Redmi Y2 to also receive the update in the near future. The device comes pre-loaded with apps like Facebook, Netflix, NewsPoint, PhonePe and Amazon, these apps can easily be uninstalled. MIUI is one of the smoothest skins and also has excellent stability when comparing it with the other skins.
The Redmi Y2 gets the job done very well and offers excellent selfies in most lighting conditions, it has the power to handle most daily tasks without any issues and can even run some of the latest games at a low spec. The camera on the Redmi Y2 is perhaps one of the best we’ve seen in the price range and the device has seen subtle changes over its predecessor making it a right choice for someone who is looking for a selfie-centric smartphone.
The device faces stiff competition from the other contenders in the market, other smartphones like the Asus ZenFone Max Pro, the Realme 1 and other devices offer a much better raw specification for a slightly higher price, but if you are looking for a smartphone with better optics then the Redmi Y2 might be one of the best choices.
As the title suggests, we see a better Redmi Note 5 and that is what makes the phone such a good deal for the price it is being sold for, though it does face some real good competition in the market.