The Xiaomi Redmi Note 2's retail box is business as usual. It's made of recycled paper that's said to withstand about 130kg of weight for all that's worth. Inside we found the Redmi Note 2 unit, a 2amp A/C adapter and a microUSB cable.
The new Redmi Note 2 stands at 152 x 76 x 8.3mm, which makes it 2mm shorter, 3mm narrower and a millimeter thinner than its predecessor. Note that both use equally big 5.5" displays. The Redmi Note 2 is also 25g lighter at 160g, which is a nice surprise.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 looks like the recently released Mi 4i for the most part. It isn't shining with any premium materials, but makes one important change over the first edition - the glossy plastic is gone in favor of matte finish.
The entire front is covered by a black piece of glass, no matter the device color, but there is no mention of any special protection coating. The Redmi Note 2 keeps the red accent on its capacitive keys, a signature feature of the Redmi series.
The entire rear cover is removable and made of matte plastic. Its design is very similar to the first Redmi Note and the Mi 4i, and the Xiaomi fans will surely approve. The matte touch has definitely improved both handling and looks, as the Redmi Note 2 isn't prone to smudges and fingerprints.
The thinner and lighter design, plus the smaller footprint are warmly welcome, and we are happy this didn't cost us some screen estate.
The 5.5" Redmi Note 2 surely isn't the best size to handle with just one hand, but thanks to the refined design the phone is a real pleasure to handle and most of the time it's very easy to operate with single-handed. The matte cover and rigid sides definitely add up to a pleasurable and secure handling.
The controls arrangement on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 is pretty much standard. The front is mostly occupied by the 5.5" IPS display, flanked by the earpiece on top and the red capacitive key around the bottom. The 5MP selfie snapper and a bunch of sensors are nested round the earpiece as well.
There is nothing on the left, while on the right we find the silver volume rocker and the power/lock key.
The top of the Redmi Note 2 houses the audio jack, the secondary mic and the IR blaster. The bottom of the smartphone is where the microUSB port and the primary mic are.
The new 13MP camera with phase-detection AF and a LED flash is on the back, as is the loudspeaker grille. Underneath the cover there are the two SIM beds, the microSD slot and the removable 3,060mAh battery.