The Redmi Y2 is Xiaomi's second attempt at a selfie smartphone and aims to compete against the the offerings from Honor, Vivo and Oppo. With its good looks, portrait selfies and dual camera setup at the rear, the Redmi Y2 does not disappoint.
Portrait Selfie: The Redmi Y2 captures some great bokeh selfies. Even though equipped with a single 16-megapixel camera, it uses artificial intelligence to identify the face and blurs the background. But there isn't a dedicated Portrait Mode for selfies. I had to switch to the front camera and then select the Portrait icon from the top (which turned blue). What I liked the most was the beauty and advanced settings, within the bokeh mode that allowed to smooth the skin, adjust the skin tone while capturing the selfie bokeh. The front camera did a pretty good job at identifying the face, hair and blurring the background. Using the soft selfie light, it captured some good bokeh-selfies in low-light and indoors. I was also able to apply filters to bokeh-selfies.
Rear camera: Not just the selfie camera but even the rear camera setup of the smartphone is impressive. Redmi Y2 houses a dual camera setup (5-megapixel and 12-megapixel camera) that can also capture depth images. Accessible through the Portrait mode, the camera was quick to focus on the subject and blurred the background in the real time. But there isn't any option to adjust the depth effect. However, the addition of filters- sunny, pink, memory, strong, warm, romantic, mono, retro, and more - resulted in some nice, creative bokeh images. Other camera modes include a short video, video, square, panorama, photo and manual. Overall, the images captured using the rear camera came out well - vibrant colours and fine details. But low-light photography isn't Redmi Y2's forte as there was a lot of noise.
Gesture Navigation: With phone's display getting taller, gesture navigation is a welcome addition. Instead of stretching the hand to access navigation buttons placed towards the bottom of the screen, swiping finger across the screen felt intuitive. The navigation buttons were turned on by default. I was able to switch to gesture interface from the 'full-screen display' under settings. Once done, navigation buttons disappeared and gesture control took over -- swiping up from the bottom of the screen took me to home screen, swiping up from the bottom and pause showed the recent apps, and swiping left or right from the edges of the screen works as the back key for taking to the previous page within the app.
IR sensor & Mi Remote: One of my favourite features on the Redmi smartphones is the IR blaster and Mi Remote. The Y2 also has one. Using this app, I was able to configure remotes for various gadgets and home appliances within the app and save shortcuts on the homescreen. Instead of looking for the remote to turn on the air conditioner or switching off the TV, I often ended up using the Mi Remote. This app supports a huge database of appliances across various brands, which is constantly updated.
Display: The Redmi Y2 is a tall device featuring a 5.99-inch 18:9 full-screen display with 1440 x 720p resolution. Display settings included options to choose the colour (warm, standard, cool), contrast (automatic contrast, increased contrast, standard) and readingmode. Offering decent viewing angles, the screen is legible in bright sunlight too. However, instead of auto-brightness, I preferred using it at full brightness.
Design: The smartphone has a plastic body with metallic finish and not a metallic unibody as on the elder sibling Redmi Note 5. The distinct lines towards the top and the bottom of the rear look good. There is a vertical camera setup towards the top left rear and a circular fingerprint sensor at the rear. Power key, volume button are on the right edge, 3.5mm port on the top, SIM tray on the left and speaker grills along with micro USB port at the bottom. Holding a long phone for capturing selfies can be challenging but the curved sides on the rear make it comfortable to hold.
Performance: Just like it's elder sibling Redmi Note 5, Y2 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor and paired with 3GB RAM. Yes, the processor is a bit old but does the job perfectly. Navigating through multiple social media accounts, capturing videos and posting them on social media accounts, streaming videos on YouTube and even basic gaming (not meant for heavy graphics games though) - it handled everything smoothly. Not even a single app crashed while testing. Our review unit had 32GB of onboard storage of which close to 21GB was user accessible. Another good thing about the Redmi Y2 is the dedicated memory card slot (support up to 256GB) along with two nano SIM slots.
Battery: With an average use, including a couple of hours of camera usage along with calls, push notifications for two email accounts along with constant access to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the 3080mAh battery lasted me a day with ease.
Verdict: If you are looking for a budget selfie smartphone, look no further. For the price (Rs 9,999), Redmi Y2 does an impressive job.