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Xiaomi's budget-friendly Redmi 2 appears at MWC

Xiaomi's lowest-end smartphone may be cheap, but it offers plenty of features that make it stand out.

Xiaomi's Redmi 2 was announced earlier this year in January, but hasn't yet made its way outside of China. Aloysius Low/CNET

BARCELONA -- While not available for sale just yet outside of China, the wallet-friendly Xiaomi Redmi 2 made a brief appearance on the Mobile World Congress show floor. However, you won't be able to find it at the stands. I was lucky to be handed one for a quick hands-on, and I came away impressed.

While the name suggests that this phone is the second version of the Redmi, it's actually the third phone in the line. The Redmi had a follow-up last year with the Redmi 1S, which sported a faster processor and more storage than its predecessor. The Redmi 2 obviously improves on the 1S, with a newer 64-bit processor from Qualcomm, a slightly larger 2,200mAh battery and dual-SIM 4G with support for both TDD and FDD bands.

The Redmi 2 has already launched in China for 699 yuan, which converts to around $110, £75 or AU$140. It's on sale in other Chinese markets too, such as Hong Kong and Taiwan, and is likely to be rolled out soon to the other countries in which Xiaomi currently sells its products: Singapore, Malaysia, India, Indonesia and the Philippines.

That said, don't expect to see Xiaomi launch the sub-$120 Redmi 2 in the US. Xiaomi's Hugo Barra has said earlier in an event in the US that while the company will be opening a version of its Mi Store, it won't be selling its phones there just yet.

But if you're keen, there are online third-party sites that you can order the phone from, but bear in mind these devices will likely not support Google Play services, and you'll have to pay a slight premium that will bump up the cost of the phone from its super-cheap price.