When it comes to the Indian smartphone market, Realme has been a star performer over the past year, growing at an impressive rate and becoming one of the top five brands in this period. This growth has been fuelled by some excellent value for money devices in the lower and mid-segment of the market. And just like its similar-sounding rival brand earlier this year, Realme has now decided to take a plunge in the higher end of the business and has launched what we can safely call its first real flagship device. The Realme X2 Pro sees the brand throw the spec kitchen sink at a phone while still managing to keep its price relatively affordable. It has just about everything – and a bit more – that you would expect from a budget flagship: the display, the chip, the cameras, the connectivity, et al. But we are going to start with something else entirely!
Realme X2 Pro: When the battery leads the charge
When was the last time that the first thing you noticed about a flagship phone was how fast its battery charged? Well, perhaps in the early days of OnePlus and its much talked about Dash Charge. But even then, there was a lot to talk about and the battery was just one of the topics that caught one’s attention. Well, that’s not quite the case with the Realme X2 Pro. It’s not as if there is not enough to talk about. Oh, there is, there definitely is – the phone packs in the best processor in mobile town, a formidable array of cameras and a very good display, apart from stacks of memory and storage.
But the jaw-dropper remains the battery.
Which is why we are going to start with it. The Realme X2 Pro comes with a 4000 mAh battery. Which is impressive in itself (although not as rare as it once was). And it lasts about a day, which is a tad under par but is decent enough in itself, when you consider the display it is powering (more of that later) and the fact that it comes hardware that you will love to push (yes, yes, we will talk of it, bear with us).
No, what makes the battery the stand-out feature of the Realme X2 Pro is the fact that thanks to some Super VOOC charging magic and a 50W charger (which comes in the pack), the phone actually can get charged in about half an hour. And we are talking of going from zero to hundred in that period of time. And so far the phone has not heated up abnormally or anything. It just is the fastest charging flagship ever, by some distance. And perhaps the first one that we ended up taking around half-charged just to show our stunned friends how fast it got topped up!
When was the last time we did that with a phone? We never had. Period. The Realme X2 Pro has many gifts, but its battery leads the charge. And never was a pun more intended!
Realme X2 Pro: Dat rapidly refreshing display, dat processor
That battery powers some hardware that is equally speedy. The X2 Pro is the first phone to offer a display with a 90 Hz refresh rate at this price point. And it is a very good display too – a 6.5-inch full HD+ Super AMOLED one with a refresh rate of 90 Hz and support for HDR 10+, an in-display fingerprint scanner and notch. Under the hood lies a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ processor with some RAM and storage options that are right out of spec worshipper territory – 8 GB/ 128 GB and 12 GB/ 256 GB (UFS 3.0), although there is no expandable memory.
There are four cameras at the back – a 64-megapixel sensor similar to the one on the XT (a huge Samsung sensor), a 16-megapixel ultra-wide sensor, a 13-megapixel telephoto sensor and a 2 megapixel “rear portrait” sensor (no dedicated macro sensor, note). Rounding off the camera array is a 16-megapixel selfie snapper. Connectivity-wise, the Realme X2 Pro ticks the 4G, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, and even NFC, although some might have asked for an IR port. The 3.5 mm audio jack is very much in place and for the first time in India, a Realme device comes with two speakers with support for Dolby Atmos as well.
There is the battery we have already talked about and we are tempted to tell you again that it is a 4000 mAh one with the fastest charging we have ever seen on a smartphone in India, but we will resist the temptation. And rounding off matters is an updated version of Color OS (6.1) on top of Android Pie (a little bit of a let down, considering Android 10 has been around for a while, but not really a deal-breaker).
Realme X2 Pro: Dat Wow Performance
With hardware like that, it is hardly surprising that the phone flies through most tasks at the rate of knots. No, you will not be able to tell the difference that a display with a 90 Hz refresh rate makes right away but switch immediately to a more torn 60 Hz rate (you can do so from the settings) and you will notice a slight decrease in the smoothness. It is not a killer difference as of now, but it exists and definitely gives the X2 Pro a huge edge over most of the competition. The display itself is a very good one, if slightly oversaturated at times. We have been told that it can go up to 1000 nits of brightness and well, it certainly is very visible even in bright sunlight. No, it will not hit the Galaxy Note and iPhone 11 Pro out of the park but it more than matches the OnePlus 7T and that is not a bad place to be, believe you us. Combined with those two speakers (one at the base and one as the earpiece) that deliver very good sound, the display makes the Realme X2 Pro a great device for viewing videos and playing games.
And of course, that processor and RAM ensure that the Realme X2 Pro can handle every game out there. And not just handle it but play it maxed out without any lags. Whether it was Call of Duty, PUBG or Asphalt, the Realme X2 Pro handled them all like the Pro it calls itself. And rarely got too hot to handle. There are some special gaming tweaks for the more serious gamers out there but even if you use the device normally, you can be assured of a very high standard of gaming. The fact that you can recharge the phone’s battery in a jiffy even after a lot of gaming just makes this perhaps one of the best devices around for anyone who loves a lot of gaming on their phone.
Needless to say, multi-tasking is effortless too, with the phone never ever slowing down. Yes, the UI is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea (Color OS 7 is on the horizon and we hear it is much cleaner) and some might find it a little too complex at places while others might sniff at the preinstalled apps and scream “bloatware” but at the end of the day, things sail along very smoothly once you get the hang of them. And believe us, it does not take too long to do so, although we still find the fact that Google Assistant pops up whenever we press the power button to switch off the phone (keeping it pressed does let you switch off the phone).
Realme X2 Pro: Dem cameras rock (well, mostly)
The Realme X2 Pro comes with four cameras at the back, and one at the front, and packs in a lot of megapixel muscle – as we said earlier, the main camera is a 64-megapixel one. And in best Realme tradition, you get some very good photographs from the phone’s cameras. The main sensor shoots 16-megapixel images by default but you can also shoot 64-megapixel ones (that take a little time in processing and eat up a fair amount of storage, be warned). It is also here that the quality of the processor makes itself evident as does the use of UFS 3.0 memory – the phone fairly flies along even when you are shooting or viewing 4K video. By and large, image quality is very good in daylight. Some might complain of the browns and reds getting a little too warm at times, but those who love detail will be more often than not delighted with the results. However, when the lights get a little dim, the performance of the camera tends to fade a little – the Nightscape mode does help in getting decent colors even in the dark, but perhaps the absence of optical image stabilization does make a difference. But if most of your shooting is going to be in decent light conditions, these cameras deliver – even the portrait mode often did a decent job.
They also have some neat tricks up their sleeves. The telephoto can deliver 2x optical zoom, 5x lossless zoom and sometimes even a reasonably usable image at 20x digital zoom. No, the zoom’s implementation is not quite in the class of the Oppo Reno and the Huawei P30 Pro (both of which are also more expensive), but its presence does give the user a handy option, one which we hope they will use with due care. The ultra-wide lens’ relatively low megapixel count means that there is a loss of some detail, but once again, it is great to have the option to get a much wider perspective. There is also a macro mode that lets you shoot from as close as 2.5 centimeters. It is a little erratic, though, and sometimes focusing becomes a bit of an issue, but it is magical when it works. Speaking of the modes, we really wish Realme would make them more easily accessible on the camera UI – having to tap an icon and then scroll through a list seems odd in an otherwise very fluid camera interface. Video quality is decent as well, especially in 4K. Selfies, however, are a slight letdown – they are all right for social media and in good light conditions deliver decent detail (although they insist on making our skin smoother), but there is nothing truly exceptional here. We had expected a little more.
And our expectation is perhaps the biggest problem with the Realme X2 Pro’s cameras. Truth be told, they are very good indeed and downright brilliant at times. However, they do not represent a massive step forward from what we had already seen in the Realme X and XT earlier this year. That is not necessarily a bad thing, as those cameras were superb, but we did expect a bit more as the brand moved up the spec ladder. The cameras on the Realme X2 are very good, but while they would have been outstanding at a slightly lower price level, they are not the stuff to push the likes of OnePlus. Not yet. Mind you, be a little patient with them and be ready to take multiple shots and you will come out with some amazing results. We would advise sticking to shooting in default mode and in good light, though.
Realme X2 Pro: Dat design… that logo stands out (but not much else does)
Notice why we have not spoken much of the design of the device? Well, because we think it is actually its greatest Achilles Heel. And no, we are not just talking about the placement of the logo at the back, right next to the camera unit, inclined very much to the right. It is definitely a very different logo placement and although not everyone will like it (we are very divided about it out here), it will grab some attention. Which in a way is a good thing, because the rest of the design is standard rather than spectacular, routine rather than remarkable.
We got the Emerald Blue variant and yes, it does the glass front and back and gradient finish thing that almost all phones above Rs 10,000 these days do, and it has a metal frame too, but at the end of the day, we have to say it – the Realme X2 Pro does not really stand out in the budget flagship crowd, where both the OnePlus 7T and the Redmi K20 Pro score with more distinct and frankly classy finishes. The Realme X2 Pro does not look bad, but its gradient finish and jutting out camera capsule on the back with a metal outline do seem a little routine and predictable. Realme’s own X outclasses it in the looks department, to be very honest. And while we do not consider the lack of an IP rating to be a deal-breaker, we really think the device would have been better with one, especially as this is a box its opposition is ticking regularly.
Realme X2 Pro: Do we buy?
At Rs 29,999 for the 8 GB/ 128 GB variant and Rs 33,999 for the 12 GB/ 256 GB variant, the Realme X2 Pro offers staggering good value for money for anyone in the market for a budget flagship. Yes, it does face competition from the likes of the Redmi K20 Pro and the OnePlus 7T (we are working on detailed comparisons, rest assured), but it does bring a blend of features to the table that not many out there can match, most notably that display with a 90 Hz refresh rate and well, that stunningly fast-charging battery (we still cannot quite believe that we have a flagship we can recharge from scratch in almost half an hour). The design might be a little routine and the cameras might need more work and well, the UI is just a little rough around the edges, but this niggles fade into relative insignificance when you consider just what you are getting – a blisteringly fast device with a very good display that can handle anything you throw at it and well, (here we go again but we HAVE to say it), can be recharged in minutes!
All of which makes the Realme X2 Pro perhaps one of the best – if not THE best – options for anyone looking for a high-end Android experience without getting into the premium expenditure zone.
All right, we will say it: OnePlus has serious competition.
And if that does not tell you how good the Realme X2 Pro is, well, nothing will!
- Fantastic fast charging
- Very good hardware
- Very smooth performance
- Super price
- Relatively routine design (the logo will divide opinion)
- UI remains cluttered
- Not the greatest selfie camera
- No expandable memory
|Build & Design|
After making a name for itself in the lower and mid-segment of the Indian smartphone market, Realme has now set its sight on the slightly higher end budget flagship segment. And its first real flagship is the Realme X2 Pro. It has the specs. The price. And one feature that frankly stunned us all.