Xiaomi Mi-2S Review:
If you have any specific questions about the phone please comment below and I will come back to you ASAP!
Excellent build quality with no squeaks or creaks. The Mi-2S feels slightly bulkier than similar class phones due to weight (145G) and thickness (10.2 mm), but height and width make it ideal for one handed operation. Screen is bright and clear, with a pixel density of 342 (beating iPhone retina) and 1280 X 720 resolution. Screen is easily visible under bright day light at only 75%, which was a major step up from other Chinese androids (such as the Jiayu G2). Location of physical hardware buttons is excellent and unlocking, ending calls, flicking phone to silent mode etc is all super convenient with the location of the power button, half way down the right hand side. Right handed users will always have this button within easy reach of their thumbs,and I really enjoy having a physical button to end calls. Overall I would say the build quality of this phone is on a par with Samsung, better than my recent xperia (arc) and almost rivalling the i-phone 5 (too much plastic to really compete).
Xiaomi Mi2S - Great Viewing Angles
Xiaomi Mi2S - Shiny Back
Xiaomi Mi2S - USB Port on bottom with OTG
I have the phone on the emobile network here in Ireland (same as Meteor for Irish readers). The signal strength is excellent. Often the HSDP strength on 3G is stronger than my home broadband, reaching up to 12MB/s. The clarity of voice on the phone is also a good deal better than the Jiayu G2 I had been using. WiFi strength has not fully been tested but so far I have better signal strength from the WiFi radio than a 3 year old laptop (high end spec).
Moderate use will allow for a full two days of power before a plug is needed, though heavier users (media; video, music always on) will most likely need to re-charge the 2,000 mAh battery each evening. I mostly use the phone for calls (2/3 5-10 minute calls per day), texts (20-30 per day) and browsing/emailing (40/50 Mbs per day if that helps estimates?) and having only had the phone for one week so far I am having to charge it every second night. The battery does seem to keep improving and giving me more and more time incrementally as each day passes, so maybe after settling down time this battery life will increase.
Before I jump into some benchmark scores, let me talk a little about the everyday speed of the phone. It is like lightening. The Quad Core Qualcomm APQ8064T Snapdragon 600 is clocked at 1.7 GHZ, as opposed to 1.6 GHZ on the Galaxy S4. I don’t use it much for media, but the internet and general phone usage (scrolling through menus etc) happens faster than any phone I have ever experienced. To highlight this for readers, a colleague who uses a 64G i-Phone 5 picked it up the other day and his immediate reaction was: “Wow, this is really really fast!!”
Some screenshots of benchmarks below, as you can see it is beaten only by the Galaxy S4 with the Octa core chipset (the UK and European version of 4 is beaten by the Xiaomi).
I am a first time user of the Miui ROM. What I can say about it, is that it is extremely well polished, the look and feel of it are better than any android ROM or skin I have ever used. It oozes the same sort of quality feel users would have using IOS for the first time ever. That said there are some things that I felt could be improved upon, some basics that you need to download apps to improve upon. For example the dial pad does not have any speed dial options so I downloaded ExDialer from the market. In fact even downloading this from the play market was not easy, as the phone comes only with Miui market , not preloaded with Google play (although it is easy to load onto the phone). There are a huge amount of themes for the ROM, both preloaded and online. You can play around, and really have one of the most attractive interfaces of any mobile device.
The rear camera is 13 megapixel (as this review is the 32G model) and the front 2 mp. The camera is the only area of this phone that I feel slightly disappointed with. This may not really be the fault of the phone itself though and rather a product of my very high hopes. My previous phone was a Jiayu G2 and the 8 mp camera on there was not great, so I was expecting a huge leap forward. Indeed in low light with or without flash (the flash is REALLY powerful) the quality was excellent and there was a noticeable difference between the two phones, most likely due to the fact that the Xiaomi aperture is 2.2 as opposed to the Jiayu abysmal 2.8. However, in good light outdoors, the pictures the Xiaomi took were not AS much of a step forward from my old phone as I had expected. It is quite possible I will see improvement here as I have yet to fully understand and configure the settings, everything is on auto and set to resolution of 13mp. I will update if I notice significant improvement but for now below are some images taken with both phones.
Photos taken with Xiaomi M2S - 32G (settings all at auto and 13MP resolution):
Outdoor Evening Close
Outdoor Evening Close
Indoor Well Lit
Indoor Not well lit
Indoor Not well lit and close with flash
Indoor Complete Darkness Flash
For comparison; Photos taken with 12MP Point and Shoot Nikon set also to auto:
Not much to say here, I feel this was expensive as far as Chinese androids go, costing €370 to Ireland from China. However, the combination of polished ROM with weekly updates, quality hardware and the fact that the phone is basically the second fastest in the world, paints a different picture to my feelings. I could only have purchased a mid-range sim free phone for this price in UK or Ireland, and to purchase a branded phone with similar specs (Galaxy S4, HTC One etc) would have cost me nearly €600 instead.
Brief Author Bio:
30 something year old Irish guy working in the eCommerce sector for a large multinational, who has been into phones long enough to remember being the first in College to even have a mobile. I also remember how the introduction of text messaging (no pictures yet lol) changed my life!
I have had the following history with phones: Old brick Siemens, Motorola's and Nokia's (8320 to this day is one of my favourite ever phones), first touch screen was the Palm Pre2 and then I moved onto Nokia touchscreens followed by Xperia Arc, Samsung Wave I, Jiayu G2 and now Xiaomi (rapidly becoming my favourite).