Micromax IN Note 2 review: Makes Redmi, Realme, Moto take "note"

    The Micromax IN Note 2 surprised us for a phone costing less than Rs. 15,000. Should you choose it over the Redmi Note 10, Realme 9i and Moto G31?
    By AMRITANSHU MUKHERJEE
    | Updated on Feb 02 2022, 08:55 AM IST
    The Micromax IN Note 2 costs Rs. 13,499 and comes in a single 4GB/64GB variant. 
    The Micromax IN Note 2 costs Rs. 13,499 and comes in a single 4GB/64GB variant.  (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
    The Micromax IN Note 2 costs Rs. 13,499 and comes in a single 4GB/64GB variant. 
    The Micromax IN Note 2 costs Rs. 13,499 and comes in a single 4GB/64GB variant.  (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

    A resurgent Micromax showed its aggression on marketing pamphlets in 2021 for its IN Note 1, and despite offering a decent entry-level phone, it could not stand out when compared to its “cheeni” rivals. This year, Micromax is back with a phone that shows more of that aggression instead of its marketing materials. The IN Note 2 succeeds its predecessors with a long list of upgrades and ends up making it the best Micromax phone we have seen in a while. Yes, we aren’t exaggerating – this is the best phone it has made ever since Xiaomi arrived in India.

    The IN Note 2 is good enough that it makes us wonder what happened to the rest of the industry stalwarts. A comparative phone from Redmi, Realme and Motorola seem like artifacts from the past! As long as Micromax manages to keep good hold over its stocks, we believe this is the best smartphone you can buy right now for less than Rs. 15,000.

    Wonder why? Join me in my account of using the Micromax IN Note 2 for almost a fortnight to see how it sidelines its rivals like a pro!

    Micromax IN Note 2 Design

    Micromax IN Note 2
    Micromax IN Note 2 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
    Micromax IN Note 2
    Micromax IN Note 2 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

    Which phones are currently the most striking looking for the masses? iPhone 13 and Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, right? Micromax takes inspiration from these two make the IN Note 2 the prettiest phone we have seen in this price segment in a long time. It has got the boxy flat-sided design of the iPhone 13, and the petal-shaped camera hump design of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. Clubbed together in a beautiful Oak colour (read brown), the IN Note 2 looks unlike any other phone in its price segment!

    It even feels unlike anything else in the price segment! Micromax has used an actual glass rear panel on the IN Note 2, which not only looks high-end but imparts a heft only associated with expensive “flagships” these days. Glass on the rear and front (Gorilla Glass protection) makes it heavy at 205 grams but this isn’t new for affordable phones these days. The glass rear has resisted scratches despite going in and out multiple times from my trouser pockets.

    Micromax IN Note 2 Display

    Micromax IN Note 2
    Micromax IN Note 2 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
    Micromax IN Note 2
    Micromax IN Note 2 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

    Going on the lines of the Moto G31 and Infinix Note 11, the IN Note 2 offers a 6.43-inch AMOLED display with FHD+ resolution. No fancy high refresh rate here, as is the norm with affordable AMOLED-equipped phones, but there's support for Widevine L1. The display quality, however, is among the best in the class. Whether it is the Android interface or my Instagram feed, everything appears vibrant and lively. The trademark AMOLED contrasts make for a great video watching experiences. Viewing angles are pretty wide and it goes decently bright under the sun.

    Micromax IN Note 2 Performance

    With the MediaTek Helio G95 chip, Micromax gives the IN Note 2 a colossal performance advantage over the Moto G31’s Helio G85 and Infinix Note 11’s Helio G88. Paired with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage, this has got enough firepower to hold its might when it comes to gaming. Lighter games such as Shadow Fight 4 Arena and F1 Clash run just fine, whereas demanding multiplayer titles keep chugging fine in low graphics. BGMI and Call of Duty: Mobile run well in low-medium graphics settings with “smooth” frame rates.

    Micromax IN Note 2
    Micromax IN Note 2 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
    Micromax IN Note 2
    Micromax IN Note 2 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

    However, despite the liquid cooling solution present, the IN Note 2 heats up just after 40 minutes of gameplay on an average. Frame drops are visible in such scenarios and the phone becomes warm to touch.

    When gaming goes out of the equation, the IN Note 2 is a pleasant phone to use. Micromax offers a near-stock Android 11 experience that is clean that Motorola’s MyUX “near-stock” Android. The phone boots up with no third-party apps, other than the Google suite and FM radio apps. I did not witness any advertisements throughout the UI. A light user interface also translates to slick performance, whether I am scrolling through social media feeds, or switching between a couple of Chrome tabs, or texting. Micromax does offer a few gesture-based features of its own to make life easier on the IN Note 2, and I can confirm that they aren’t just gimmicks! You can find them under the Intelligent Assistance option under Settings menu.

    Micromax IN Note 2
    Micromax IN Note 2 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
    Micromax IN Note 2
    Micromax IN Note 2 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

    Sadly, it is still on Android 11 and there’s no news on when an Android 12 update is heading here. Another disappointment is the loudspeaker quality, which while being loud, lacks the audio quality of some of its rivals. The 3.5mm headphone jack is present though.

    Network reception has been good so far on the Jio network, with the IN Note supporting Carrier Aggregation (LTE+). I haven’t faced issues with slow internet speeds either on mobile data or Wi-Fi. The phone held on to a phone call even while in the basement.

    Micromax IN Note 2 Cameras

    Micromax IN Note 2
    Micromax IN Note 2 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
    Micromax IN Note 2
    Micromax IN Note 2 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

    The IN Note 2 is up there with the Infinix Note 11 and Moto G31 when it comes to the camera performance. Photos taken via the 48MP main camera looks good with a warm tone but there’s a certain amount of over-sharpening going on. It struggles with details as soon as the ambient light levels drop but you can still have useable photos.

    For sample images, click here.

    The ultrawide camera takes good pictures in daylight, despite its oversaturated tones and lack of details; it is barely useable in low light and at night. The macro camera is serviceable during the day only. The portrait mode makes good use of the depth camera but it shows blurred edges on human subjects occasionally. Selfies via the 16MP front camera are good enough with decent skin tones and details, although it struggles slightly with low light.

    Micromax IN Note 2 Battery life

    Micromax IN Note 2
    Micromax IN Note 2 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
    Micromax IN Note 2
    Micromax IN Note 2 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

    With moderate usage involving no gaming, the IN Note 2 can easily last a full day on a single charge, even spare some for the next day. My usage mostly involved social media browsing, taking 2-3 hours of calls, streaming music, occasional photography, and 30-minute sessions of gaming; all that made the phone show battery levels of 30-40 percent on an average. The 30W wired charging solution takes just over an hour to recharge the battery from 15 percent to 100 percent.

    Verdict

    Micromax IN Note 2
    Micromax IN Note 2 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
    Micromax IN Note 2
    Micromax IN Note 2 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

    With the IN Note 2, Micromax is back to its winning ways of its “pre-Xiaomi” glory years. The IN Note 2 properly marks the brand’s comeback to this space, by being a smartphone that offers more than expectations. It is built supremely, has a great display, gets decent cameras, and offers a reliable battery life. Those looking for a clean Android experience can consider this, if you don’t want to go for the Moto G31.

    It is not flawless though. It lacks a high refresh feature for the display, which some of its rivals offer. The cameras lack the polish that a Redmi Note 10 offers. Micromax also does not clarify when and whether an Android 12 update is on the way. Plus, it lacks 5G connectivity. Additionally, the upcoming Redmi Note 11 could match, or even outdo, the IN Note 2, if Xiaomi prices it right.

    That said, when compared to the competition, the Micromax IN Note 2 definitely comes across as the best one we have seen so far in the sub- 15,000 segment. If you do not care for 5G connectivity, we recommend the IN Note 2 for its great overall user experience.

    Rating
    4 out of 5
    Price
    INR 13,499/-
    Product Name
    IN Note 2
    Brand Name
    Micromax
    Pros
    • Pretty Design
    • Nice Display
    • Good Performance
    • Great Battery Life
    Cons
    • No promise of updates
    • Cameras could be better
    Specifications
    • Display
      6.4-inch FHD+ AMOLED 60Hz
    • Chipset
      MediaTek Helio G95
    • Battery
      5000mAh, 30W wired charging
    • Rear Cameras
      48MP + 5MP + 2MP + 2MP
    • OS
      Android 11
    • Front Camera
      16MP single

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    First Published Date: 02 Feb, 08:41 AM IST
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