Xiaomi Redmi S2 (Y2) review

GSMArena team, 22 June 2018.

Dual camera on the budget

The Xiaomi Redmi S2 rear camera has a 12MP sensor with f/2.2 lens and 1.25µm big pixels. There is another snapper nearby - a 5MP one, whose sole job is to provide scene depth information. Phase-detection autofocus, and a LED flash complete the camera specs.

Xiaomi Redmi S2 review

The camera app puts toggles for HDR, filters, and the flash toggle on the left. The app also offers quite a few different shooting modes - Panorama, Timer, Straighten, Manual, Beautify, Tilt Shift, and Night (HHT) as well as the camera settings. Unfortunately, the Manual mode lets you tweak only ISO (100-3200), and white balance, but not the shutter speed or focus.

Camera app - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Camera app - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Camera app - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Camera app - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Camera app - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review
Camera app

Image quality

The image quality is very good in broad daylight - photos are sharp and detailed, and noise is kept reasonably low considering the f/2.2 aperture. We would have liked to see some more contrast, as the images are a bit flat. Some of the samples came out with a bit washed out colors, but nothing that extreme. Overall, we are happy with those photos.

Xiaomi Redmi S2 12MP camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/1989s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Xiaomi Redmi S2 12MP camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/1263s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Xiaomi Redmi S2 12MP camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/1870s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Xiaomi Redmi S2 12MP camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/2174s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review
Xiaomi Redmi S2 12MP camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/835s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Xiaomi Redmi S2 12MP camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/2174s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Xiaomi Redmi S2 12MP camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/944s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Xiaomi Redmi S2 12MP camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/1764s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review
Xiaomi Redmi S2 12MP camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/1700s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Xiaomi Redmi S2 12MP camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/1870s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Xiaomi Redmi S2 12MP camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/1230s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Xiaomi Redmi S2 12MP camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/1298s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review
Xiaomi Redmi S2 12MP camera samples

The dynamic range is rather limited, but that's where the HDR mode will come in handy.

HDR off - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/1263s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review HDR on - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/1263s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review
HDR off • HDR on

The Redmi S2 low-light shots came out soft in a variety of scenes. You can see what's in the picture, just don't expect much detail when you zoom in. There is a lot of noise, sometimes we also got blurry images due to the lack of stabilization, but those still would do for the social networks.

Normal - f/2.2, ISO 3200, 1/14s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review HHT - f/2.2, ISO 3200, 1/14s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Normal - f/2.2, ISO 1250, 1/14s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review HHT - f/2.2, ISO 1250, 1/14s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review
Normal • HHT • Normal • HHT

If you leave the automatic HHT mode enabled - it enhances the low-light samples - you will get less noise in the images but most of the samples won't benefit from much more detail or higher contrast. Still, we prefer the less noise and we suggest keeping this option on.

Xiaomi Redmi S2 12MP low-light samples - f/2.2, ISO 2000, 1/14s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Xiaomi Redmi S2 12MP low-light samples - f/2.2, ISO 1600, 1/14s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Xiaomi Redmi S2 12MP low-light samples - f/2.2, ISO 6400, 1/14s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Xiaomi Redmi S2 12MP low-light samples - f/2.2, ISO 6400, 1/14s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review
Xiaomi Redmi S2 12MP low-light samples

You should check how the Xiaomi Redmi S2 (Y2) does against the Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Y1 in our Photo Compare Tool. We've pre-selected these two, but you are free to pick any other phone to compare it against.

Photo Compare Tool Photo Compare Tool Photo Compare Tool
Redmi S2 vs. Redmi Note 5 vs. Redmi Y1 in our Photo compare tool

Portrait Mode

The Redmi S2 uses the combination of the two cameras to shoot the trendy Portrait shots. It's a process of mapping the distance to all objects of the scene and attempting to isolate the subject in front by defocusing the background gradually in accordance with its distance to the subject. This works best when you're shooting a well-lit person or an object which stands out against the backdrop.

Shooting a portrait is easy, but it takes a while for the camera to read the scene and apply the depth effect. All samples max out at around 6MP and most of them turned out pleasant with mostly accurate shapes and blur effects. There are occasions where wrong details get blurred - like hair or parts of the face, but that's probably because of the busy scenes. As we mentioned above - it's better to have a background which is not so busy and a well-lit environment.

Xiaomi Redmi S2 portrait samples - f/2.2, ISO 125, 1/50s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Xiaomi Redmi S2 portrait samples - f/2.2, ISO 400, 1/33s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Xiaomi Redmi S2 portrait samples - f/2.2, ISO 640, 1/25s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review
Xiaomi Redmi S2 portrait samples - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/2116s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Xiaomi Redmi S2 portrait samples - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/656s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review
Xiaomi Redmi S2 portrait samples

Selfies

The Redmi S2 has a 16 MP sensor for selfies with 4-in-1 pixel binning, f/2.0 lens, and has some AI abilities. The machine learning comes handy when the phone is in Beautify mode or Portrait Selfie mode. There is an LED flash in the top bezel to assist in low-light conditions for photos and videos.

Xiaomi brags that the AI allows for much more accurate subject separation than the competition. And indeed, we found the Portrait shots taken with the selfie camera very impressive. The person is almost perfectly mapped, as is the background brilliantly blurred. Messy hair or not - the camera does an excellent job in recognizing it, while in the meantime even the tiniest of background spots visible between the hair and the arms are nicely blurred.

Selfie - f/2.0, ISO 100, 1/217s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Portrait selfie - f/2.0, ISO 100, 1/217s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Selfie - f/2.0, ISO 148, 1/25s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Portrait selfie - f/2.0, ISO 100, 1/33s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review
Selfie • Portrait selfie • Selfie • Portrait selfie

Those are definitely some flagship-grade portrait shots, and yet they are possible on one of the cheapest phones on the market. And that's amazing!

Selfie - f/2.0, ISO 340, 1/33s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Portrait selfie - f/2.0, ISO 400, 1/33s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Selfie - f/2.0, ISO 568, 1/25s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review Portrait selfie - f/2.0, ISO 640, 1/25s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review
Selfie • Portrait selfie • Selfie • Portrait selfie

The regular selfies are rich in detail, have good contrast and colors, and while the dynamic range is limited, you can use the auto HDR option as it does a very good job in using HDR when it's needed. The samples are a bit noisy, but still - quite pleasant.

Selfie - f/2.0, ISO 117, 1/25s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review HDR selfie - f/2.0, ISO 100, 1/161s - Xiaomi Redmi S2 review
Selfie • HDR selfie

Video camera

The Redmi S2 video recording maxes out at 1080p@30fps mode. Those are captured at a bitrate of 20Mbps and have rock solid 30fps. The audio is stereo captured at 96KBps bitrate.

The video quality is very good - the resolved detail is enough, the dynamic range is about the average, the colors and contrast are very good. The noise is kept quite low, too. The audio sounds good, unlike on the Y1, and even though the bitrate is the same.

The Redmi S2 also offers gyro-based video stabilization - you just have to enabled it from settings (it should be ON by default). It does an excellent job stabilizing the videos at the minor expense of detail and field of view. The viewfinder won't show you the stabilized video, but we are still very happy with what we got in the end.

You can also download the 1080p@30fps (9s, 24MB) video sample taken straight off the Xiaomi Redmi S2.

Finally, you can use our Video Compare Tool to see how the Redmi S2 (Y2) stacks against the Redmi Y1 and Redmi Note 5 AI Dual Camera when it comes to video capture.

Video Compare Tool Video Compare Tool Video Compare Tool
1080p: Redmi S2 (Y2) against the Redmi Y1 and the Redmi Note 5 AI Dual Camera in our Video compare tool

It turns out we are not finished with the camera. The Snapdragon 625's DSP supports 4K video recording, which is currently not available on the Redmi S2. The only thing standing in their way is market segmentation. Well, this trick is definitely not universal, but it turns our Xiaomi is using a standard camera APIs. So, we just downloaded the OpenCamera app from the PlayStore and bingo! 4K@30fps. And even EIS is working, too!

Despite the hack, the MP4 video has no issues, and runs very smooth, with a rock-solid frame rate of 30 and over 40 Mb/s bit rate on the AVC video stream. Resolved detail is clearly better.

And as we said, EIS is working as well. Once again, you won't see the result until after you've shot the video, but we'd call that greedy on a $150 phone.

You can download this untouched 4K video sample (10s, 54MB). And here is the 4K videos from the Redmi S2 in our video compare tool.

Video Compare Tool Video Compare Tool Video Compare Tool
2160p: Redmi S2 (Y2) against the Redmi Note 5 and the Mi A1 in our Video compare tool

Reader comments

A mobile phone, is less of a luxury and more of a necessity (Common Knowledge). Having used 3 Samsung, 1 Microsoft phone, switched on to Redmi Y2 in 2018, have been using it and have been to the workshop only once. This is the best phone so far, valu...

  • Uzair Khan
  • 27 Feb 2021
  • PGh

S2

  • Ashok choksi
  • 25 Nov 2020
  • Dkb

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