Audio, Display and Camera Quality
The original Redmi Note sported a 720p display, while the second generation bumps up the resolution to 1080p in the same 5.5-inch format. Display quality is good for this price bracket, although the panel is not on par with the 5-inch Mi4c. This may be unfair, because the Mi4c costs roughly 40% more, so let’s take a look at the competition. In our opinion, the Redmi Note 2 has a vastly better display than the Lenovo K3 Note, but we feel it’s slightly inferior to the display on the Meizu Note M2. The latter is a close call and could be a matter of taste.
A few welcome software tweaks are on board as well, so you can tweak the saturation and colour temperature.
Audio quality is good. We don’t often get to see a noise cancelling microphone on such a cheap device, but Xiaomi managed to get it in there. The rear speaker isn’t very powerful, but it delivers excellent sound quality, with very little in the way of distortions (and a healthy dose of bass).
The camera is a mixed bag. It’s not bad, but we feel Xiaomi are overselling it. Yes, it has a new sensor with phase-detection auto-focus (PDAF), but it’s behind a slow f/2.2 aperture, which means it’s not that good in low light situations.
The slow aperture is especially problematic because Xiaomi’s camera software has a habit of aggressively going after noise in low-light shots, killing a lot of detail in the process.
Basically, it feels like Xiaomi keeps using the same aggressive noise reduction regardless of the aperture and sensor in its phones. We are confident that the camera could deliver better results with a few software tweaks, matching the noise reduction to the capabilities of the sensor and lens assembly, but for some reason Xiaomi seems to have dropped the ball in this department.
The good news is that focus is very fast, as is HDR mode. Daylight shots are quite good.
HDR mode is very fast and the results are good, too.
There's not a lot of ghosting, but on the other hand, a lot of detail is lost, as the 100% crops illustrate.
Unfortunately, when all is said and done, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 sports an average camera and we feel Meizu did a better job with the M2 Note. However, we did like the fast and reliable HDR mode.
The front-facing camera, with a 5-megapixel sensor behind an f/2.0 aperture and 85 degree lens, does a relatively good job. While the main camera might not be the best one in this segment, the selfie cam is right up there with the best in class.
The MIUI camera app user interface is top notch, no complaints here.