Every new Redmi has a seemingly impossible task – to deliver more bang for your buck than the previous one. In a rather familiar Xiaomi fashion, the Redmi Y2 is available in different markets under a different name. India gets it as Redmi Y2, while China and the rest of the world will know it as Redmi S2. The Redmi Y2/S2 is a successor to one of the most-affordable Redmi’s ever – the Y1, also known as Redmi Note 5A, or Redmi Note 5A Prime for China. And while it may be coming just six months after the Y1, the Redmi Y2 is a massive upgrade.
There is now a bigger 5.99″ 720p screen with the new tall aspect, a Snapdragon 625 chip for the first time ever in a budget offer, a dual-camera setup on the back with digital stabilization for the 1080p videos, a high-res selfie camera with enhanced portrait mode, a large battery, and the latest Android with MIUI.
All the typical Xiaomi quirks are here – the IR blaster, the always-on fingerprint sensor on the back, and a dedicated microSD card slot, too.
Looking at the specs sheet we can’t be asking for more – Xiaomi has packed a lot more than we expected. So, let’s unwrap this Redmi Y2 and see how things will turn out.
The Xiaomi Redmi Y2 is all-plastic, but the maker did try to make it look as metal as possible. You will immediately notice the antenna lines on the back, which serve no purpose except for decoration. But those are the details that make up the whole make-believe. The Redmi Y2 (S2) looks a lot like the Y1, but you can easily tell it’s the more recent one. The screen is now larger and taller, yet the phone hardly grew – instead the top and bottom bezels were trimmed. The new 5.99″ screen occupies most of the front and there are no capacitive keys below.
The Redmi Y2 relies on MIUI to provide onscreen buttons. The 16MP selfie camera is here to stay, but it now comes accompanied by a LED flash. While not the brightest selfie LEDs we’ve seen, it will do the job when it matters. Xiaomi hasn’t shed light on the screen glass just yet, but the Y1 had a Gorilla Glass 3, so we’d guess the Y2 might be having it, too. The 12MP camera on the back has a 5MP helper, both sharing the same hump. In-between is a bright LED flash, for all the low-light occasions. The fingerprint scanner is also around, always-on, accurate, and blazing-fast, as usual. The Redmi Y2 is equipped with all the essentials – an audio jack and IR blaster, a micro USB port, and a tri-slot for two SIM cards and a microSD.
The 18:9 display is 5.99″ big on the Redmi Y2, which is a bit of a stretch for its 720×1440 resolution. The Redmi Y2 display has a maximum brightness of 500 nits, but its black levels aren’t that deep, which led to an average contrast ratio of 1000:1. But that’s the contrast Xiaomi is promising, and apparently, it has delivered. Sunlight legibility is nothing to phone home about, although its score is still respectable especially for a budget phone. In real-world terms, the handset remains perfectly usable outdoors. The default color rendering is average – the screen offers mostly accurate colors, but it looks a bit bluish, and the representation of the white color is way colder than it should be. You can switch from Auto contrast to Standard and get rid of the blue tint.
The Xiaomi Redmi Y2 (S2) rear camera has a 12MP sensor with f/2.2 lens and 1.25µm big pixels. There is another snapper nearby – a 5MP one, whose sole job is to provide scene depth information. Phase-detection autofocus, and a LED flash complete the camera specs. The camera app puts toggles for HDR, filters, and the flash toggle on the left. The app also offers quite a few different shooting modes – Panorama, Timer, Straighten, Manual, Beautify, Tilt-Shift, and Night (HHT) as well as the camera settings. Unfortunately, the Manual mode lets you tweak only ISO (100-3200), and white balance, but not the shutter speed or focus. The image quality is very good in broad daylight – photos are sharp and detailed, and noise is kept reasonably low considering the f/2.2 aperture. The dynamic range is rather limited, but that’s where the HDR mode will come in handy. The Redmi Y2 low-light shots came out soft in a variety of scenes.
The Redmi Y2 uses the combination of the two cameras to shoot the trendy Portrait shots. It’s a process of mapping the distance to all objects of the scene and attempting to isolate the subject in front by defocusing the background gradually in accordance with its distance to the subject. Shooting a portrait is easy, but it takes a while for the camera to read the scene and apply the depth effect. The Redmi Y2 has a 16 MP sensor for selfies with 4-in-1 pixel binning, f/2.0 lens, and has some AI abilities. The machine learning comes handy when the phone is in Beautify mode or Portrait Selfie mode. There is an LED flash in the top bezel to assist in low-light conditions for photos and videos. Xiaomi brags that the AI allows for much more accurate subject separation than the competition. The Portrait shots were taken with the selfie camera very impressive.
The Xiaomi Redmi Y2 (S2) is powered by the Snapdragon 625 chipset, not the most recent iteration in Qualcomm’s popular 600 series.
The Snapdragon 625 has a rather classic setup found in many mid-rangers in terms of CPU configuration – eight Cortex-A53 cores clocked at up to 2.0GHz. There is also a capable Adreno 506 GPU, which should thrive on a 720p screen.
The Snapdragon 625 has found a new home in the budget market. Its processor is more than enough for the class, while the once-balanced Adreno 506 seems like a beast when living under a 720p screen. Other benefits are the high-end 14nm manufacturing process, which makes the S625 silicon quite power-efficient and keeps it cool under peak load. The Redmi Y2 performance is concerned – it’s just brilliant and offers a lot more punch than many competitors.
MIUI is one of the more heavily modified OEM skins. Xiaomi’s Android skin has seen a lot of popularity over the years. Despite its big difference to vanilla Android, MIUI 9.5 runs smooth and looks nice. Here are the default home screens no app drawer on the Redmi Y2. There’s a weather widget in the upper right corner across from a large clock widget. There is a Quick Card pane, the leftmost one. The app switcher feels like it came out of iOS – apps are represented by appropriate thumbnails in the same manner, but there is an additional key for the Split Screen mode.
MIUI 9 adds native support for multi-tasking via the new Split Screen feature. It allows you to launch two apps side-by-side. MIUI v9 also offers a Security app. It can scan your phone for malware, manage your blacklist, manage or restrict your data usage, configure battery behavior, and free up some RAM. It can also manage the permissions of your installed apps and allows you to define the battery behavior of selected apps and applies restrictions only to the apps you choose. MIUI also offers proprietary Gallery, Music, and Video player.
The Redmi Y2 is powered by a 3,080mAh sealed battery – the same as on the Y1. It supports regular 5V/2A charging, which restores about 30% of the battery in 30 minutes of charging from zero. Not exactly fast, but expected for the price. That’s a significant improvement over the Y1 with its 74h rating.
The Y2 has the same energy-efficient Snapdragon 625 chip as many other Redmi phones, so expected the Y2 (or S2) to do better than the Y1 (S435) in spite of the larger screen.
Good-looking design, secure grip
Trendy display with good specs for the class
Excellent battery life
Great performance for the segment
Great audio quality and speaker loudness
Lovely all-round camera performance
4K video recording with EIS
Flagship-grade portrait selfies
Limited market availability
Plastic all around
|Dimensions (mm)||162 x 77 x 8 mm (6.38 x 3.03 x 0.31 in)|
|Wight (g)||199 g (7.02 oz)
|Battery capacity (mAh)||Li-Po 4000 mAh battery|
6.59 inches, 107.3 cm2 (~86.0% screen-to-body ratio)
Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
1080 x 2316 pixels (~388 ppi density)
|Processer||Qualcomm SDM845 Snapdragon 845, Android 8.1 (Oreo)
Octa-core (4x2.7 GHz Kryo 385 Gold & 4x1.7 GHz Kryo 385 Silver)
|Storage||128GB / 256GB|
|Camera||Rear camera-12 MP, f/1.8, 1/2.5", 1.4µm, 4-axis OIS, dual pixel PDAF 5 MP, f/2.4, depth sensor
Dual-LED dual-tone flash, HDR, panorama
Front camera-Pop-up 8 MP, f/2.0