In just a matter of months, the smartphone market has seen an influx of so many different brands and models that customers are spoiled for choice. But what if your budget for purchasing a new phone isn’t as embiggened as you would hope for it to be? No matter, we’ve got you covered. Or, rather, Motorola and Xiaomi have you covered.
Xiaomi Redmi 2 The recently launched Redmi 2 is the spiritual successor to Xiaomi’s Redmi 1S. It packs the same basic specifications with a few modifications; a slightly larger battery and a better secondary camera.
So what’s so great about the new Redmi 2? Well, it’s got a new look too. With the Redmi 1S originally available in black, it’s successor comes with a matte coated back in various colours. The shell has also been redesigned to make the Redmi 2 thinner and lighter; just 133g. It does feel amazing (if not slightly unnerving) to hold a featherlight phone in your hand, but you’ve got to wonder if that’s a good thing. Sure, it’ll be easier to hold up during extended gaming sessions, but will I feel a thief lift it out of my pocket? Ok, that last one may err slightly on the side of paranoia, but safe is safe.
The phone also features dual sim capability and is 4G enabled. This is another addition to the Redmi 1S bag of tricks, one that is sure to go down well with customers who expect to still own the same Xiaomi phone when 4G networks truly take off in India. (And who knows how long that could be?) And to round up that package is MIUI 6, Xiaomi’s latest version of their proprietary UI. It’s colourful, animated, simple, and a whole lot of fun to use. One thing’s for sure, MIUI 6 definitely makes up for at least some of the limitations of the Redmi 2.
Moto E 2nd Gen Moving on to Motorola’s second generation of the Moto E, another budget phone in the fray. The Moto E packs a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 200 processor, as well as, like the Redmi 2, 1GB RAM and 8GB internal storage, expandable to 32GB. The Moto E however, is powered by a 2390mAh battery, and the difference shows. While the Redmi looks great and feels great to use, it does tend to be a bit of a battery hog. The Moto E outclasses it in staying power.
The build is standard fare, with a hard plastic body covering a non-removable battery. However, one blessing is the ring around the circumference of the phone, which you can remove to access the dual sim ports as well as the SD card slot. You can be sure you won’t have pieces of your phone all over the floor the next time you want to put your SD card back in. The display is smaller than the Redmi 2; just 4.5” and only has a 960x540p resolution. You can read your texts and your mails and type just fine, but everything just feels cramped. Perhaps we’ve just been spoiled by smartphone companies, aiming for the biggest and clearest display, but we’re not feeling the Moto E’s screen. It’s a dinky little thing, and that’s not how you want to feel about your lifeline do you?
The front-facing camera (0.3MP) is so pointless it may as well have been excluded, the sound is just about average in power, and below average in clarity, on the speakers. The Moto E runs stock Android Lollipop and also has 4G capabilities.
So with both phones pitted against each other, who wins? The Redmi 2 or the Moto E? Thankfully, we can ignore price point completely here; both phones will cost you exactly Rs 6,999 and are trying to be your budget friend. But there’s still a clear winner in this particular bout, and that’s the Redmi 2. While it still has a bit of heating issues, and we’re unsure how the battery will last in a few months, it’s still the better day-to-day use. MIUI 6 makes even mundane tasks look so much better, and the 2MP front camera is a big kicker. Not to mention, it stands out from a sea of generic-looking smartphones these days. As for the Moto E, it’s not your phone to show off with, but it’ll get the job done. It has the battery advantage and is (for some users) more pocket-friendly than the Redmi 2. However, it manages this by utilising a sub par screen. When I look at the home page on my phone, and wonder if the text is blurry because I need glasses, then it’s clearly not a display I’m going to enjoy using all day.