Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi has a confusing line-up of Redmi-series smartphones catering to different propositions in the budget and midrange segments. While the Redmi Note-series and the Redmi-series cover entry-level and premium value-for-money propositions, the selfie-centric Redmi Y-series – Redmi Y1 and Redmi Y2 – promises to bring together the best of both worlds, and more.
The Redmi Y2, the successor to of the Redmi Y1, has got major upgrades in terms of design, technical specifications and camera. This brings the phone in line with other selfie-centric budget smartphones. However, it is the processor, 18:9 aspect ratio screen and artificial intelligence-backed camera features that make the Redmi Y2 a modern-day smartphone.
The Xiaomi Redmi Y2 promises enhanced camera performance, especially the selfie camera – thanks to AI-based semantic segmentation – and improved overall performance with a more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 system-on-chip (SoC). The Redmi Y2 seems quite an update. But can it match or exceed peers in the same segment? Let’s find out:
Redmi Y2 design
The Redmi Y2 looks identical to the Redmi Note 5 Pro, except that it has a tall and wide instance and metallic finish body. The front is dominated by a 5.99-inch 18:9 aspect ratio screen, which does not stretch from edge to edge, unlike other 18:9 aspect ratio smartphones. So, it leaves huge bezels around the screen. The screen is covered under a flat glass with no protection rating. However, it has a protruding plastic rim to reduce direct impact on the glass in the event of accidental drops.
On to the back side, the smartphone looks like a foil of the Redmi Note 5 Pro, except for its redesigned dual antenna lines, which run parallel on the top and bottom. Like the Redmi Note 5 Pro, there is a vertical dual camera unit on the back that significantly protrudes from the body. The camera bulge makes the phone go uneven on a flat surface causing scratches on the camera rim. Other than the camera, the back also gets a circular fingerprint sensor placed at the upper middle point for ease of reach and accessibility.
The phone sports a microUSB port at the bottom, for charging and data transfer, along with mono speaker and microphone placed under six-hole grills on either side. The volume rocker keys and power button are on the right, the 3.5 audio jack is on the top and the dual-SIM with dedicated microSD card slot on the right.
Redmi Y2 display
The phone sports a 5.99-inch 18:9 aspect ratio screen of 1440 x 720 (HD+) resolution. The screen looks bright and has good viewing angles. However, the HD+ resolution on a mammoth 5.99-inch screen estate gives a pixelated appearance due to a limited pixel-per-inch count. The colour reproduction seems to be another weak spot, as the display shows washed-out colours, diminishing the phone’s utility for multimedia content playback – watching videos on YouTube, Amazon Prime Videos or Netflix, for example.
Redmi Y2 camera
The Redmi Y2 gets a 12-megapixel primary sensor paired with a 5MP depth-sensing camera on the back, and a 16MP selfie camera on the front. Both the front and rear camera units are assisted by AI for semantic segmentation of object and background for portrait shots and the bokeh effect, along with an enhanced beauty mode.
The rear camera seems as good as the one in the Redmi Note 5 Pro. It takes detailed shots in good light conditions but stutters in low-light photography. The camera boasts the portrait mode, which utilises AI-based semantic segmentation to differentiate between the object and the background. Therefore, the portraits look balanced with enhanced background blur. Even in the auto mode, the camera manages to take detailed shots with ample background blur.
Talking of the selfie camera, the 16MP unit is on a par with the 20MP sensor found in the Redmi Note 5 Pro. It takes detailed shots in all lighting conditions, except that dark night shots come out with visible noise and require steady hands to capture stable shots. The depth effect using the selfie camera allows taking group portraits with enhanced blur. Interestingly, group portraits show no halos and manage to capture every individual in detail while blurring the background effectively. The selfie camera in the Redmi Y2 is by far the most capable unit among smartphones in the segment.
Redmi Y2 performance
The Redmi Y2 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC, paired with either 3GB or 4GB RAM and 32GB or 64GB of internal storage. The phone boots Android Oreo 8.1.0 out of the box covered under the MIUI 9.5 custom theme.
The phone is a mixed bag of hits and misses when it comes to performance. It manages to run tasks optimally and shows no signs of slowing down or lags. However, it heats up when used for extended hours performing processor- or graphic-intensive tasks. The background tasks also shut down automatically, something that the operating system triggers for saving the battery and keeping the phone in an optimal condition.
Apps such as Google Hangouts, WhatsApp and Telegram freeze in the background at times and retrieve notifications only when launched – that is not the way it should be.
Redmi Y2 battery
A power-efficient processor, coupled with an HD+ resolution screen, helps the 3080 mAh battery sail through a day without any problem. Online video streaming, screen-on time and multiplayer gaming drains more battery but not so much as to pull the life under 10 hours – that is satisfactory, if not excellent.
Redmi Y2 review verdict
Priced at Rs 9,999 for the base model with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, the Redmi Y2 is primarily a camera-centric smartphone with tried and tested processer, modern design and good battery life. The phone might not interest multimedia enthusiasts due to its HD+ screen and inability to keep background apps active for longer periods of time. However, considering the overall performance, the Redmi Y2 makes a great proposition as a selfie smartphone in the budget segment.