A budget phone with a 125 euro price-tag? That can’t be much of a user experience, I hear you think. And in all honesty about a week ago, I probably woul’ve agreed with you. But today I will introduce to you the, without a doubt, best budget phone you can get at this moment within 125-150 euro range: Enter the budget magic of the Xiaomi Redmi S2. Yes, Xiaomi did it again. They managed to build a smartphone that is absolutely more than “just decent” for the lowest price possible.
Let’s just begin with the screen. The Xiaomi Redmi S2 sports no less than a 6 inch screen that comes with a 1440 x 720 p. resolution, which isn’t the best for a screen that size. However, it’s not the resolution that bothered me in the end, but more about that in a sec. The body is build out of plastic. Yet somehow they managed to build it in a way that it doesn’t feel too cheap. The vertically placed dual camera remind us somewhat of the iPhone, but at one tenth of it’s price, who’s fussy? There is, unfortunately enough, no 2.5D layer over the screen, which makes the screen feel flat, a bit like its just stuck on the rest. The colour repoduction and viewing angles of the screen are okay at best.
This is the only thing one notices, that Mi cut some corners there to keep it cheap. When it comes to power, the old and proven Snapdragon 625 (octacore clocked at 2 GHz) is doing a great job. There’s no lag in daily use and everything seems to run comfortable and smooth. Thinking about many other manufacturers that offer you a mediatek MT6737 (quadcore clocked at 1.3 GHz) for devices around the same price makes the Redmi S2 even more attractive. The MIUI is not every one’s favourite UI, but in all honesty, I fail to see the problem. It’ds intuitive, great looking and offers tons of option to personalize your device. I love it! And admittedly played around with more than I wanted to hehehe 😉 I was testing the 3GB/32GB version with Android Oreo 8.1 and even that did it’s job without any lag.
It even has an option to completely turn off the buttons and go to full gesture control! And it works really great, in fact all phones should offer this option! Another thing that I appreciated was the battery life. Even playing games didn’t lead to massive battery draining. The charging happens through good old fashioned Micro-USB. We would have appreciated USB-C, but again at this price range, who is complaining? So, all in all one can say the Xiaomi Redmi S2 is a very decent low budget device, but what’s that “magic” you mentioned earlier? Well… Let me introduce the camera’s Xiaomi slapped on the S2 to you.
Starting with dual rear camera’s consisting of a 12 MP (f/2.2, 1.25μm, PDAF) and a 5 MP secondary camera. phase detection autofocus and believe it or not a gyroscope based Electronic Image Stabilisation. Yes folks, you have a working stabilisation for your video recordings! Ofcourse I have shot a little sample for you:
Pictures taken with the rear camera’s turn out great, there’s plenty of saturation and the dynamic range is really good for a budget phone. It offers portrait mode, and let’s be honest here, that’s not one of the best I tested. It works great around persons, but when you try flowers, cats or objects it can fail at times. Other than other devices the Redmi S2 offers no option to refocus after the shot is made. But it can also turn out looking good, and when it does, it looks really good too. What was a double surprise, especially at this price, was the Redmi S2’s 16 megapixel (!) front camera, that not only comes equipped with a front flash, but also offers you the possibility to shoot portrait mode selfies! A feature that, even though only created by software, works better than I thought.
I will leave you with some sample pictures I shot in different conditions (dark, light etc). This way you can judge the camera of the Xiaomi Redmi S2 for yourselves. But first let’s go to the conclusion and my rating. Even though I think the tone of this review kinda gives it away I would definitely recommend the Xiaomi Redmi S2. It’s a fantastic device in it’s price range and it offers camera options you will not even find on some smartphones twice as expensive as the Redmi S2. They showed brands one doesn’t NEED to put in fake dual camera’s at a low price range, you don’t have to use laggy processors at a sub 150 euro price tag, and their message is understood LOUD AND CLEAR! This phone is a 9/10 in his price range, no doubt.