In Depth Comparison Xiaomi MI 2 & MI 2S

Jan 16, 2013
First of all, English is not my mother tongue, so I will ask for some leeway.
I have tested the new (well, newest if not new) the Mi 2S (about 1 month) while still having the Mi 2. I wanted to get back to the community in case some were wondering if it was worth a new purchase.
In case, people would ask as to where I bought the phone, I prefer to clear this point at once. My brother in law wanted to buy a Mi 2A for his wife but he only speaks French, so he tried to contact some websites and one held his attention due to some fast replies :
I wasn't confident at first knowing some websites where a trust relationship were already built.
Well, since they were using Paypal as a way to pay and he could finalize his payment via phone (they got a French and a UK number) and he got a good price, so...
I had my Mi 2S in his cart and I got it in about 10 days (in Paris, France). Everything went well at the end. For people who would want to buy through this website, I would gladly give my brother in law's email for sponsorship.
Anyway, now this is out of the way, I can begin my In Depth Comparison between the 2 smartphones.
The 2 devices : Xiaomi Mi 2S 32 GB (available since this Spring) and Xiaomi Mi 2 32 GB (available since December 2012).
At first glance, we could say that Xiaomi only changed the SoC (System On Chip), we got the S4 Pro then the S600. Secondly, the Camera got upgraded too, from 8MP to 13 MP (only on the 32 GB version though).
Well, it's not entirely true. Let's go see that.

1) What didn't change
The design of the phone, the vibrator and... that's all. Some photos of the exterior aspect of the two mobiles (we just can't tell the difference) taken from my Canon EOS 350 (a few years old Reflex).
The Mi 2S is on the left here.

2) The Screen
We can't see it cleary on the photos but the difference is quite clear on the naked eye. The Mi 2S' screen is brighter but it's as if it was 2 totally different screens, it's still globally the same screen quality speaking but the difference is there.
Here is the whole screen on screen comparison : Dropbox
The Mi 2S is on the left and the Mi 2 is on the right.
Here is some shots that I selected where I think it would show the difference at its best.

I think the last one with the Miuiandroid website is the clearer. When you zoom we can see the difference of levels about the white color.

3) Loudspeaker
I don't have yet any device that can measure the sound level (decibels) but it's very easy to tell which one is has the better loudspeaker.
I played a couple of songs while syncing them on both devices and we could clearly hear louder the the Mi 2S.
The downside is that I don't a very good ear, so I couldn't tell which displayed the better sound quality wise.

4) GPS
This is the main change to me. The old Mi 2 (and I tested 3 different ones (my brother in law's, my mother's and mine) had a crappy GPS to say the least. Sometimes it took several minutes, like FIVE which is eternity when you need it. I installed GPS Status, GPS fix but it only worked at first and only sometimes. It wasn't reliable. You can also find some of my posts in this forum in the dedicated topic named "GPS issues" (I think or something like this).
With the Mi 2S, it was like a entire different world, it was like Disney Land. The GPS fixes very quicky like any other smartphone on the market since 2009 - 2010 (my first Android phone was the Motorola Milestone, late 2009 and I never had any GPS issue). Google Maps got a fix and was guiding me within 10 secs. It is really is amazing comparing to what I had before.

5) Benchmarks
Well, I noticed a differential about 10 to 20% in favor of the Mi 2S depending on the used Benchmark. The Mi 2 is displayed on the left and the Mi 2S on the right.
First one : Quadrant Standard
I immediately ruled out that one because of the too great differential which is about 40%. Anyway, here are the results.

Epic Citadel : the difference was nonexistent. I think we got the same results because the GPU is strictly the same, the Adreno 320.

Vellamo : 10 to 20 % better in favor of the Mi 2S.

Vellamo also tests the precision and the latency of the Touchscreen. Let's see the results.

HTML5 test (no idea about the settings despite of the fact that is set on custom)

Next Bench is 3DMark Basic (Mi 2 is above and Mi 2S is below.

Now let's switch 3DMark to Extreme, there is difference of 5%.

Last Bench... Antutu !

The full results (some more details) are available here : Dropbox

6) Battery Life
Well, after 1 month of use, I really can't tell if the battery life is better or not. It seems to be, but it's very hard to tell on the day to day basis since it could seems better because I wanted to believe that and it depends a lot of the usage which is not linear for me. Some days, I would have plenty of work by mid day, the battery would be quite drained and for good reason. Others days, like my days off, I'm hardly touching my phone, and I would have plenty of remaning battery life (about 60%+) to last a second day.
But, I noticed the effect of the new SoC, the S600, the smartphone is not so keen to overheat as the Mi 2 while I'm using it not even intensively but, let's say moderately (emails + Chrome with 10 tabs + Tapatalk + looking at pictures). The Mi 2 isn't overheating but it is warm, at least warm enough to feel it (not hot, not at all, but warm).

7) Photos
Let's turn our interest on the Cameras performance.
Mi 2's shots on the left and Mi 2S on the right. First round of photos in normal mode, second one with HDR. I took the first photos indoor.

The colors taken by the Mi 2S are closer to real life colors. Details wise, I can't really tell the difference yet. The HDR mode on the Mi 2 seems to over saturate the colors a bit.
Anyway, what about outdoors, right ? The shots were taken during a cloudy day, so the lights weren't ideal.

I noticed 2 things :
- the Mi 2S did a better job while lights weren't ideal
- again, oversaturation in HDR mode by the Mi 2. But, overall, in both devices, the HDR made quite a good job. Just look at the sky, we can clearly see the clouds and the sky while in normal mode, everything is "greyish".

2nd day outdoor, cloudy again (it's Paris, what do you expect ?)

These shots were taken while the range of colors was greater than before. In normal mode, I can hardly tell that the new camera is an improvement, to me it's quite similar. Maybe someone with more photo experience can tell us more stuff about that.
The downside is that I'm not a photographer and I didn't respect some strict rule while taking photos.
Still, I think the Mi 2S did a better job with the Tree shots.

Let's en this photo shoot by test the cameras in very low lights environment :

The flash is clearly better on the Mi 2S.

The entire photoshoot is available there : Mi 2 Photos and Mi 2S Photos
Some people might draw way better observations than I did.

To conclude this long post :
What didn't change => the global design.
Otherwise, every piece of hardware changed : screen, GPS (!!!), loudspeaker, SoC, Camera and flash.
Overall, the user experience has been quite the same, the Mi 2 is really speedy enough to perform as well as the Mi 2S. But the GPS is a real big improvement to me because I really need it. The other notable advantage, I really felt like the phone isn't getting that warm, at least not as quickly as the Mi 2.
To me, if you got the Mi 2, it's not worth upgrading the Mi 2S unless you're an ultra geek (which I am) and you need the latest stuff out there.

Now, I guess it's time to say good bye and I want to thanks my mom and dad, my family, my friends for supporting me everyday... wait, wait, I think I'm writing, somehow the wrong speech here. I just want to thank you for reading my long post and I hope some of you would have found this one useful enough in their future purchased.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask me here or via PM.
Jan 16, 2013
Another thing that I think hasn't changed. The Wi-Fi chip seems to be the same. Orignally, on the Mi 2, I was losing the Wi-Fi signal quite quickly as I was getting away from the signal but still remaining in my house or in my office. With my others devices at the time (Galaxy S2, Nexus 7), I was able to rettain the signal from almost everywhere indoors wise.

It seems to me that the chip is quite the same since I'm losing the Wi-Fi signal in the same areas. It's not like it's a real problem since if you are in an area where the strengh of the signal is strong, you will hardly notice any issue. But as the signal weakens, my Mi 2S loses the signal quicker than what I had.
Jan 16, 2013
Yes, it is hardly noticeable on the photos. Maybe in the full gallery (on my Dropbox link), it would be clearer.
I met a Mi 2 fellow just yersterday. The difference is really there but it's not huge and we can easily see it with the naked eye.
Jul 17, 2013
Hi Kyogiro, just wanna ask does the home,back & option button below lights up for M2s , or still the same with M2 where it doesnt lights up when in dark area.
Jul 17, 2013
oh,thats too bad, thanks for the reply guys, currently im using samsung galaxy S2 i9100 on MIUI rom, it is running very nice, im in the middle of making decision whether upgrade to M2s or M2. And theres another choice is M2A.
Jan 16, 2013
Well, I originally came from the same phone as you. It was running smoothly overall but I have a fewer bugs (close to none) and it is obviously smoother and it handles multitasking way better.

I don't know about your phone but mine (S2) could hardly handle a full day, battery life wise.

If you can wait, may be you should since the Mi 3 might come out soon but nothing is sure about that.

Sent from my MI 2S using Tapatalk 2
Jul 20, 2013
What surprised me in the reviews of the Mi 2S that I had read, it's the fact that the phone seems to delivers what was promised. It's smooth, not a lot of bugs and quality hardware overall (screen, SoC Snadragon S600, etc...) and... it's not too big !
I do have small hands.
Jul 19, 2013
Good comparison, well made and well written.

I also went from a Nexus S to the M2S. It'll blow your mind, seriously. Just make sure to flash the rom from :D

Apparently there are so many people buying M2S coming from the good old Nexus S, me too. ;)
Jul 17, 2013
Yeah, M2s & M2 is actually a suitable phone to carry around and keep in pocket,since the screen size is not large. Not to mention the MIUI rom is really practical for daily use,compares to Touchwiz.
Have been checking the pricing on www.*******.com for the M2. Whether the price will drops, since on official Xiaomi website ,the M2 is no longer on the product list,suppose it is End of Line.