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'Selfie-centric smartphones' is one of the fastest growing trends in the Indian mobile phone industry. Smartphones with better front-facing cameras sell in huge numbers and are preferred by consumers of all age groups irrespective of sex and occupation. As per market reports, the number of selfie-centered handsets grew nine-fold by Q4 2017 and is constantly growing by every month.
Brands like OPPO and Vivo have managed to create a distinct category of smartphones that focus on delivering crisp and clear self-portraits. Even Samsung introduced Galaxy A8+ (dual-lens selfie camera) with a focus on selfies in value flagship category. Xiaomi is also working in the same direction and has introduced the successor of company's budget selfie smartphone- Redmi Y1.
The new smartphone- Redmi Y2 brings some noteworthy upgrades and will be available in two variants- 3GB+32GB and 4GB+64GB at Rs.9,999 and Rs. 12,999 respectively. Xiaomi Redmi Y2 is available at Amazon.in and Xiaomi's official website Mi.in.
Xiaomi Redmi Y2 is a selfie-centric budget smartphone that sports a 16MP front-facing camera. The camera uses Artificial Intelligence to improve your selfie experience. Redmi Y2 also features a 12MP+5MP dual-lens rear camera setup that can create hardware driven bokeh effect and runs on the latest MIUI skin based on Android 8 Oreo.
The on-paper specification of Redmi Y2 looks promising but how is the smartphone's performance in real life. We spent some time with the handset to find out the answer.
16MP AI Selfie camera Performance
Xiaomi Redmi Y2 sports a massive 16MP front-facing camera. The 16MP front sensor has f/2.0 aperture and works on "Super Pixel" technology that as per Xiaomi combines information from four pixels and create one large 2.0µm pixel. The process is said to reduce noise levels and deliver bright images even in low-light. On the software side, the 16MP selfie camera also uses Artificial Intelligence to improve the selfie camera's performance. This makes Redmi Y2 the first smartphone under Rs. 10,000 to utilize machine learning for image enhancements.
The images captured by 16MP selfie camera show good detailing and camera captures fairly natural skin color tones with default settings. The software-driven portrait effect by 16MP selfie camera also looks comparatively natural and better than the depth of field effect achieved by Honor's budget smartphones selling in sub Rs. 10k price-point. The AI camera can apply beautification effects on multiple faces while taking a picture, which is impressive. The front camera tends to overexpose whites in the scene captured in bright light but thankfully it's not very harsh. During challenging light conditions, the selfie-light makes things better with its natural looking light effect.
AI Beauty 4.0 mode, Auto HDR and more
Xiaomi has thrown in lots of modes and filters to let you experiment with the selfies you capture. Xiaomi has added AI Beautify 4.0, which is designed keeping in mind specific needs of users in India, and can detect elements such as makeup, beards, nose rings, etc. and keep them intact. Besides, the camera on Redmi Y2 also has an ‘Advanced Mode' that can help you tweak the selfies you capture. The mode allows you to change your skin tone, enlarge eyes, tweak skin texture, etc. Last but not the least, the camera app also has Auto HDR mode for selfies. However, the HDR mode and the Portrait mode do not work side by side. Overall, the 16MP selfie camera on Redmi Y2 combined with the feature-rich camera MIUI camera app is a good performer and will please selfie lovers in India.
Design: Big yet ergonomic and light-weight
Redmi Y2 is a big phone. The phablet-sized device sports a massive 5.99-inch screen and is technically not the perfect fit for single-handed use. The rounded corners, curved edges and lightweight (170g) helps to some extent. As far as look and feel is concerned, Redmi Y2 looks a lot like the recently launched Redmi Note 5 Pro; however, it's made out of plastic and feels somewhat less premium. Instead of using an all metal construction, Xiaomi has given Redmi Y2 a brushed metal finish. The smartphone will be available in three colors- Gold, Dark Grey, and Rose Gold.
The rear side features a circular fingerprint scanner and a vertically aligned dual-lens camera setup at the top left corner, just like Redmi Note 5 Pro has it. The power button and volume rockers are placed on the right side and the hybrid triple-slot SIM card tray is positioned at left side. You can use two SIM cards and one microSD card at the same time. The bottom holds the micro USB 2.0 charging port and speaker grills. The 3.5mm headphone jack sits at the top along with the MIC and an IR blaster. The front of the smartphone is mostly covered by the 5.99-inch screen but there are thick bezels on top and bottom of the handset.
Display: Massive 5.99-inch HD+ Display
Redmi Y2 is a good budget smartphone for multimedia consumption as it features a big 5.99-inch HD+ screen. The screen is not very crisp but outputs good contrast and natural colors. The viewing angles are also decent but the screen feels slightly dull while using the smartphone in direct sunlight. The MIUI 9.5 also allows you to calibrate the display properties and you can choose between Automatic contrast, Increased contrast and Standard contrast settings as per your requirement. Xiaomi MIUI 9.5 also let you tweak the color tones as per your graphical preferences.
Redmi Y2 follows current market trends and offers the 5.99-inch screen in 18:9 aspect ratio format. The good screen real-estate makes Redmi Y2 a good budget option for watching videos, reading and for web browsing. Gaming experience is not very good as the 720p resolution display only results in a pixel density of 269ppi. If you care about crisp gaming and video watching experience, you can go for Redmi Note 5 that comes at a starting price of Rs. 9,999 and offers a Full HD+ display.
Dual-lens Rear camera Performance
Xiaomi Redmi Y2 sports a 12MP+5MP dual-lens camera setup. The 5MP secondary camera is provided to create a hardware driven bokeh effect. The camera is a good performer in daylight and images come out to be crisp and bright. The low-light images show noise but the output is still slightly better from other smartphones selling in the same price-bracket.
The camera app is quite easy to use and you can change the different modes by just swiping right or left. The bokeh effect is good considering the budget price-point of the handset. The camera app also offers a handful of filters to change the color tones of the images you capture.
Hardware: Tried and Tested Snapdragon 625 CPU
Xiaomi Redmi Y2 is backed by the same Snapdragon 625 CPU that powers up the widely-popular Redmi Note 5. Redmi Y2 comes in two RAM configurations- 3GB and 4GB to handle multitasking. As far as graphics are concerned, Redmi Y2 gets Adreno 506 GPU. Like the Redmi Note 5, the performance on Redmi Y2 is also smooth and mostly lag-free. The apps load instantly and you can stream videos on YouTube, play light games, edit pictures and browse internet simultaneously without any performance slowdowns. Redmi Y2 will not disappoint consumers who mostly use their smartphones for day-to-day tasks. I played some light games on Redmi Y2 and found it to be mostly lag-free. The lower resolution screen makes for a smooth graphics rendering.
Software: Feature-rich MIUI 9.5 based on Android Oreo
The Redmi Y2 runs on MIUI 9.5 based on Android 8.1 Oreo. MIUI 9.5 is full of useful features such as a rich theme store, second space to create phone user profiles, quick shortcuts, battery saving modes, etc. The MIUI 9.5 also comes with Smart Photo editing app and AI-based face unlock. Besides, to make full use of big screen on Redmi Y2, Xiaomi has also provided gesture support.
The set of gestures in Redmi Y2 allow you to navigate throughout the UI of the phone with just swipes in right left and up direction. Swipe up from the bottom of the display to go to home screen. If you swipe up and pause, recent apps bar will open up. The gestures work as said and offer more screen space to use in everyday scenarios.
Xiaomi also showcased the MIUI 10 during the launch of Redmi Y2. The upcoming UI is full of enhancements and new features. As per Xiaomi, the 14 system optimisations make MIUI 10 even faster. Two more critical system optimisations have been added, namely Lock-free critical path and Codependent prioritizing, which improves the overall responsiveness of MIUI 10 by 10 percent. Besides, the upcoming UI will offer new system sounds, visual improvements and some significant change in stock messaging app. We hope Redmi Y2 gets the new software update to take the full use of new software features.
Battery and Connectivity
Xiaomi Redmi Y2 is powered by a 3,080mAh battery unit. The battery lasting capacity is not as good as we have experienced on Xiaomi's recent smartphones- Redmi Note 5 and Note 5 Pro. Redmi Y2 can last for a day but only with moderate usage. Redmi Y2 ships with a 10W charger in the package that takes around two hours to fully charge the handset.
As far as connectivity is concerned, Redmi Y2 has Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, microUSB 2.0 port and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Redmi Y2 comes with a dedicated microSD card slot that can be used to expand the internal memory by up to 256GB.
Xiaomi Redmi Y2 can be a good affordable option for selfie lovers. The smartphone is a promising upgrade to the last year's Redmi Y1 and features a capable AI backed selfie camera. It runs the latest MIUI 9.5 based on Android Oreo and is powered by the snappy and efficient Snapdragon 625 CPU. The display and battery backup are slightly disappointing, which can be a deal breaker for consumers. If you care about selfies more, go for Redmi Y2; however, if a crisp display and long-lasting battery is your requirement, Redmi Note 5 is a better buy for you.