​Xiaomi unveils $124 Redmi Note 2 phablet

Xiaomi has taken the wraps off its new Redmi Note 2, offering consumers in Asia a solidly specced out phone from just $124.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer
Image: Xiaomi

Chinese handset maker Xiaomi has added the Redmi Note 2 to its lineup of price-busting smartphones.

True to form, Xiaomi has packed a lot into the Redmi Note 2 given the starting price of RMB 799 ($124) for the 16GB edition and RMB 899 ($140) for the 32GB model.

The Redmi Note 2 is the successor to the Redmi Note, which launched in Asia last June, with a midrange 5.5 inch display and slightly better specs than the cheaper Redmi.

Like its predecessor, the Redmi Note 2 is a 4G dual SIM device. However, the newer handset has far better specs, including a sharper display, double the RAM and double the baseline storage.

The Redmi Note 2 has a full HD display at 1920 x 1080 resolution (440 pixels per inch), 2GB RAM, and a sizeable 3060 mAh removable battery.

For the cameras, Xiaomi has opted for a Samsung 13-megapixel rear camera and five-megapixel front shooter. The phone is powered by Android 5.0 Lollipop-based MIUI 7, the company's latest edition of its UI, and runs on a 2GHz Mediatek Helio X10 processor.

The company has also announced a slightly higher-end version, the Redmi Note 2 Prime, which is available with 32GB storage and a 2.2GHz processor and costs RMB 999 ($156).

The devices will be available in white, black, pink, brown, and light blue.

The launch of the Redmi Note 2 follows the arrival of Xiaomi's first smartphone to be assembled in India, the Redmi 2 Prime, which debuted in the country this week.

The handset offers the country's growing but budget-focused smartphone market a new challenger to Google's reset of its Android One strategy in India. Under the revamped program, the company plans to release handsets under $50.

For INR 7000 ($110), the Redmi 2 Prime offers buyers 2GB RAM and 16GB storage with a 4.7-inch IPS HD display at 1280 x 780 pixels. Similarly, it's a dual SIM device but also supports LTE.

The phone marks a new stage in Xiaomi's approach to India. It's teamed up Foxconn to manufacture the device there, a move likely to warm local consumers to the brand.

While Xiaomi leads Samsung and Apple in its home market, in India, its Samsung that leads, according to analyst firm IDC. The company reported Samsung had a 23 percent share of the Indian market in the second quarter of this year.

IDC said 26.5 million smartphones were shipped to India in the second quarter, up from 18.4 million units in the corresponding quarter last year. Lenovo, Xiaomi, and Huawei devices accounted for 12 percent of total shipments to India, up from 6 percent last year.

While Google was criticised for initially only releasing its Android One smartphones via online channels in India, IDC noted that Lenovo and Xiaomi have had some success with online sales.

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