Xiaomi Redmi S2 (Y2) review

GSMArena team, 22 June 2018.

MIUI 9.5 with Android 8.1

Xiaomi's Android skin has seen a lot of popularity over the years, particularly in European and Chinese markets. MIUI is one of the more heavily modified OEM skins, and that's why it's enjoying more polarized opinion.

Despite its big difference to vanilla Android, MIUI 9.5 runs smooth and looks nice. Starting off, there is no app drawer, and there's never really been one in MIUI except for a few custom themes that offer the shortcut. Of course, you can always install a third-party launcher if you really miss the app drawer.

Xiaomi Redmi S2 review

Here are the default home screens on the Redmi S2. There's a weather widget in the upper right corner across from a large clock widget. There is a Quick Card pane, the leftmost one. It's quite similar to Today's page in iOS. It contains different cards with relevant information - recent apps, step counter, notes, calendar events, the weather, and favorites, among others. You can configure what shows up here, or you can disable this altogether.

Lockscreen - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Home - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review notification - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review toggles - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review quick card - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review
Lockscreen • Home • notification • toggles • quick card

The app switcher feels like it came out of iOS - apps are represented by appropriate thumbnails in the same manner, but there is an additional key for the Split Screen mode. MIUI 9 adds native support for multi-tasking via the new Split Screen feature. It allows you to launch two apps side-by-side. All native apps support it and, luckily, all third-party apps with support for any kind of split screen mode work flawlessly on MIUI 9 side-by-side view.

App switch - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review multi-window - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review multi-window - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review
App switch • multi-window • multi-window

Oddly, our Xiaomi Redmi S2 came without themes support, but that might be a market-dependent thing.

MIUI v9 also offers a Security app. It can scan your phone for malware, manage your blacklist, manage or restrict your data usage, configure battery behavior, and free up some RAM. It can also manage the permissions of your installed apps and allows you to define the battery behavior of selected apps and applies restrictions only to the apps you choose.

Security app - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Cleaner - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Battery management - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Managing a single app - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Battery Saver - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review
Security app • Cleaner • Battery management • Managing a single app • Battery Saver

MIUI also offers proprietary Gallery, Music, and Video player. If you are running on a Chinese ROM, then the Music and Video app will also allow access to local (paid) streaming services.

Multimedia - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Multimedia - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Multimedia - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Multimedia - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Multimedia - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review
Multimedia

Benchmarks and performance

The Xiaomi Redmi S2 (Y2) is powered by the Snapdragon 625 chipset, not the most recent iteration in Qualcomm's popular 600 series. But until recently the chip was the most popular choice for the mid-range series and now we have it employed by a budget smartphone with a 720p display. And that's a big deal.

Xiaomi Redmi S2 review

The Snapdragon 625 has a rather classic setup found in many mid-rangers in terms of CPU configuration - eight Cortex-A53 cores clocked at up to 2.0GHz. There is also a capable Adreno 506 GPU, which should thrive on a 720p screen.

Finally, you can get the Redmi S2 with either 3 or 4 gigs of RAM (depending on the storage configuration).

We'll kick off the performance measurement with GeekBench. As usual, we got some decent numbers - the Redmi S2 processor is doing a good job for the class outperforming every other device but the Realme 1 with its A73 cores.

GeekBench 4.1 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Oppo Realme 1
    5741
  • Xiaomi Redmi S2 (Y2)
    4313
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus
    4309
  • Xiaomi Mi A1
    4292
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5
    4018
  • Motorola Moto G6
    3972
  • vivo V7
    3935
  • Huawei P20 Lite
    3756
  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017)
    3667
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A (Y1)
    2610
  • Motorola Moto G6 Play
    2328

On its own, the A53 core is still a good performer.

GeekBench 4.1 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Oppo Realme 1
    1511
  • Huawei P20 Lite
    938
  • Xiaomi Mi A1
    877
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus
    874
  • Xiaomi Redmi S2 (Y2)
    848
  • vivo V7
    775
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5
    766
  • Motorola Moto G6
    754
  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017)
    731
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A (Y1)
    678
  • Motorola Moto G6 Play
    639

The Adreno 506 is still a very decent GPU for 1080p gaming more than 2 years since its introduction. But having it handle 720p graphics should be an easy-peasy task for it. Indeed, the Redmi S2 scored the best results in its class on the onscreen tests and completed everything hassle-free.

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Oppo Realme 1
    20
  • Xiaomi Redmi S2 (Y2)
    18
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5
    18
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A (Y1)
    15
  • vivo V7
    14
  • Motorola Moto G6 Play
    13
  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017)
    10
  • Xiaomi Mi A1
    9.7
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus
    9.4
  • Huawei P20 Lite
    8.1
  • Motorola Moto G6
    5.8

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Redmi S2 (Y2)
    14
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5
    13
  • vivo V7
    13
  • Oppo Realme 1
    12
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A (Y1)
    11
  • Motorola Moto G6 Play
    10
  • Motorola Moto G6
    8.8
  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017)
    7.4
  • Xiaomi Mi A1
    6.3
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus
    6.2
  • Huawei P20 Lite
    4.9

Finally, we ran our usual compound benchmarks. The Redmi S2 did good, but nothing impressive here. Its scores fell around the middle of the charts, but they are still more than decent for an entry-level-priced device.

AnTuTu 7

Higher is better

  • Oppo Realme 1
    138524
  • Huawei P20 Lite
    87431
  • Xiaomi Redmi S2 (Y2)
    77488
  • vivo V7
    71167
  • Motorola Moto G6
    70845
  • Motorola Moto G6 Play
    58757

Basemark OS 2.0

Higher is better

  • Oppo Realme 1
    1940
  • Huawei P20 Lite
    1455
  • vivo V7
    1310
  • Xiaomi Mi A1
    1262
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus
    1226
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5
    1222
  • Xiaomi Redmi S2 (Y2)
    1186
  • Motorola Moto G6
    1136
  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017)
    1038
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A (Y1)
    942
  • Motorola Moto G6 Play
    922

The Snapdragon 625 has found a new home in the budget market. Its processor is more than enough for the class, while the once-balanced Adreno 506 seems like a beast when living under a 720p screen. Other benefits are the high-end 14nm manufacturing process, which makes the S625 silicon quite power-efficient and keep it cool under peak load.

So, as far as the Redmi S2 performance is concerned - it's just brilliant and offers a lot more punch than many competitors.

Reader comments

  • Ashok choksi

After Updation, my phone is getting very slow. Pl suggest.

  • Sree

Best phone.. Using it for 2 and half years.. latest miui 12 get some problems.. Contact names cant type in regional language.. Others are good.. Music quality is amazing.. only second to my Sony Walkman W995 ,W200, C902..

  • Sk

Same issue with mine