Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 review - High-performance 5.5-inch phablet for under RM700


Like previous Xiaomi devices, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 has really stirred the midrange pot by offering high-performance hardware at just RM649. Featuring one of the latest MediaTek Helio X10 processors, a 5.5-inch full HD display, 13MP phase detection autofocus rear camera, infra-red universal remote control and more, how much more value does the Redmi Note 2 have to offer? We answer this question in our full review of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 2.

Design,  and Features - Slim, simple and comfortable

At 8.25mm and just 160g, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 is quite light and thin for a 5.5-inch display phablet. While the design isn’t much to shout about, the slim matte back and metallic buttons offer a nice elegant contrast to the black front and its signature red capacitive keys that light-up when active. The grip is very comfortable but we’d recommend getting a cover for this as soon as you can (especially if you have the white coloured version) as it can get stained rather easily.  


The Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 is slim with a plastic matte back


Check out the infra-red blaster on the top, allowing you to turn the Redmi Note 2 into a universal remote controller

Tech Specs and Features - Plenty of midrange features

Here are the Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 tech specs and features:

  • 64-bit 2.0Ghz octa-core MediaTek Helio X10 processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • 13MP rear camera (phase detection autofocus, f2.2 aperture, 5 element lens, LED flash) + 5MP front camera
  • 16GB storage + up to 32GB microSD
  • 5.5-inch display (FHD 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution)
  • Features infrared blaster, 802.11ac WiFi
  • 152 x 76 x 8.25mm | 160g
  • 3060 mAh battery
  • Android 5.0.2 + MIUI 7

Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 cpu-z.jpg

Within the price range of RM649, there aren’t many contenders that can match the value offered by the Redmi Note 2 especially with its fast MediaTek Helio X10 processor. Other tech specs are similarly high-end like the 13MP rear camera with phase detection autofocus, f2.2 aperture and 5-element lens and LED flash. You also don’t see many large 5.5-inch full HD displays either while the infrared blaster universal remote control and and 802.11ac WiFi are nice additional features.


As usual of Xiaomi, they’ve also packed in their proprietary MIUI 7 which is both clean and lean with not much bloatware. However, the lack of any app drawer may be a bit jarring for some Android users. Apple iOS users looking to switch to Android will probably like this one more, but in this latest iteration, the Redmi Note 2 is as easy to use as other MIUI 7 packing Xiaomi devices.


Camera features are quite varied and interesting with a Manual mode in the Camera functions along with the standard HDR, panorama and beautify for selfie shots, along with the standard scene modes. A gradient mode is also available, a feature which we don’t often see in other smartphones.

Performance - Fast, fast and faster


Benchmarks like AnTuTu and 3DMark showed upper midrange performance levels for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 2

Our benchmarks returned fairly high scores especially in AnTuTu and Epic Citadel. 3DMark performance is also up there with the other midrangers. However, gamers in particular should be quite satisfied as we got fast nearly lag free performance with Asphalt 8: Airborne on high visual quality settings.


Performance was nearly lag free in Asphalt 8: Airborne


Even on full HD resolution, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 did well in Epic Citadel

The camera is very fast with accurate phase detection autofocus, and this seems to work even for the selfie shots. Images captured with the Redmi Note 2 are for the most part but sometimes we would get some blurrines in HDR under low-light conditions. Video recording is smooth as well.


13MP, auto


13MP, Auto


5MP, Auto




13MP, Auto

However, the slim body and mediatek processor combine to make a fairly hot phone. Even normal usage may see it getting rather warm but a game marathon could see you having fairly toasty fingers. Sound is quite loud and clear but a bit tinny. For the most part, the phone is quite stable, but we did encounter a few hangs once in a while. Battery life is good, on heavy usage it can last a bit more than a day but on standby it can last for weeks. We also found that the raised camera hump could scratch other phone screens (thank goodness for screen protectors) despite there being no sharp edges at the back at all.


You can get fairly good battery life on minimal usage

Conclusion - Excellent performing phablet with rather plain looks

At RM649, there are next to no phablets in the market that can match the Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 in terms of value. The looks and design might be a little on the plain side, but Xiaomi have done well to squeeze out as much performance from the hardware as possible. So, if you’re looking for a phablet with excellent camera and processor performance then the Redmi Note 2 should definitely be on your consideration list, but it may look a little plain compared to say the other full metal body phones out there. A brand new shiny case should solve both this and the heat issue, but if you’re looking for second-glance brilliance from the onset you should probably look elsewhere (and add on a few more bucks to your budget while you’re at it).

Here's the Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 unboxing video

Here's the Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 hands-on video

*TechNave.com would like to thank Mi Malaysia for providing us with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 for this review. It allowed us to do a more in-depth review and highlight more features.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 Specs & Price >