Realme X2 Review: The Realme XT Pro, Actually
Putting some performance punch into a familiar frame
Names can be a little deceiving. On paper, you would be forgiven for thinking that the Realme X2 is actually a slightly watered-down version of Realme’s budget flagship, the Realme X2 Pro. However, it is actually an upgrade to the Realme XT, which had made waves a few months ago with its quad-camera arrangement and a 64-megapixel camera. Those worthies are still in place, but what has come to the XT party is a new processor and a more powerful selfie camera.
Realme X2: Looks like the Realme XT, although with a green touch
The Realme X2’s similarity to the XT becomes apparent from the moment you clap eyes on it. For, the Realme X2 is an almost exact copy of the Realme XT, with exactly the same proportions – 158.7 mm x 75.2 mm x 8.6 mm- and almost the same weight (it is a gram lighter at 182 grams). Realme has brought a new color to the range, which it calls Pearl Green, and while it does add a bit of a flourish to the range, we must confess that we had expected a little more innovation. The Realme X2 does cut a very smart figure with its (Gorilla Glass protected) front and back, and we love the arc-like patterns that the light makes on the back of the phone.
However, we must confess that we had expected some innovation on the design front, where Realme has been a little on the predictable side since the sublime Realme X. The Realme X2 is a good looking phone, albeit a slightly tall one, but we do not see it standing out in an increasingly predictable crowd.
Chipping in with some new hardware
The hardware too remains largely similar to what we saw on the Realme XT. Which is not a bad thing really – the phone comes with a very good 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display with an in-display fingerprint scanner, and the camera arrangement on the back features a 64-megapixel main camera (with a Samsung GW1 sensor), an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera, a 2-megapixel super macro camera, and a 2-megapixel “portrait” rear camera (a depth sensor, we think). The battery also remains at a very respectable 4000 mAh. Connectivity options include 4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS, and the phone comes in three RAM and storage variants – 4 GB/ 64 GB, 6 GB/ 128 GB and 8 GB / 128 GB, with storage being expandable to 256 GB using a memory card.
There are changes, though. The most significant one is the processor. The Realme X2 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G processor, which is considered by many people to be one of the most powerful in the mid-segment, and just below the flagship 845 and 855/855+ chips. The front-facing camera has also got a boost – it is 32 megapixels now. And while the battery size remains the same, the charger has gone up to 30W with support for VOOC Charge 4.0 through the USB Type-C port at the base. It also comes with Color OS 6.1 out of the box, instead of Color OS 6 (as on the XT), although it too runs on top of Android 9, which is now beginning to seem a little, well, old.
Realme X2: XTending the performance of the XT
The big question, of course, is just how much difference does this beefed up spec sheet make to the performance of the Realme X2, as compared to the XT (we are not bringing the X2 Pro into the equation, as it is a very different beast)? The answer depends really on what you are doing with the device. Yes, there does seem a clear improvement in the gaming experience – games like Call of Duty and PUBG played more smoothly than on the XT, although the odd lag did creep in from time to time. The phone also seemed to process images and videos just a fraction faster than the XT did – this is especially noticeable when you take a 64-megapixel snap (it takes 16-megapixel images by default). However, in all other respects, it pretty much was on the same level as the XT – multitasking was generally smooth and we rarely saw any performance blips.
This feeling of same-ness extends to the cameras as well. The selfies have got a boost with the more powerful 32-megapixel snapper capturing more detail than the 16-megapixel snappers seen on the XT, although the aggressive skin smoothing remains in place. When it comes to the rear camera set up, image and video quality are largely in line with what we got on the Realme XT. And that is actually a very good thing because those cameras delivered some very good results. Realme has also added a few new software touches such as video bokeh and ultra steady mode, and they work very well, although the video quality is not the real strong point of this phone. In best Realme tradition, the rear cameras deliver colorful – sometimes a tad too colorful – images and a decent amount of detail, making them among the best in their segment.
Purists might hem and haw at saturation levels but most consumers will just love the fact that the camera takes very eye-pleasing shots. Incidentally, the focusing issues on the macro camera remain – the focus seems to actually wander in this mode, although being patient will reward you with some terrific snaps. All in all, we still think that the Sony IMX586 48-megapixel sensor (seen on the Realme X) takes slightly better pictures in terms of colors than the 64-megapixel Samsung GW1, but the difference is not mind-boggling.
The 4000 mAh battery will comfortably see off a day of heavy use and can go to even two days if used carefully. And thanks to the more powerful charger, gets charged very quickly indeed – you can go from 0 to about seventy percent in half an hour. Sound is decent over headphones (the 3.5 mm audio jack is very much present), but not the greatest on the loudspeaker (no stereo speakers as on the X2 Pro, alas) and call quality is overall steady rather than spectacular. As far as interface is concerned, those who like ColorOS will have nothing to complain about – we still think it is a tad below MIUI and EMUI in terms of polish, although ColorOS 7 is expected to change that. More seriously, we really do think that it is about time we started seeing more phones on Android 10.
Realme X2: A contender in the sub-Rs 20,000 range
It is more of the Realme XT with a new chip and selfie camera, but that said, at its starting price of Rs 16,999 for the 4 GB/ 64 GB variant, there can be no doubt that the Realme X2 offers staggering value for money. It combines generally smooth performance with very good hardware and a killer price, making it a great option for those looking for a mid-segment device with just a little more punch in performance terms – we can see gamers liking the extra processor muscle it delivers, although they are likely to be more attracted to the 6 GB/ 128 GB (Rs 18,999) and the 8 GB/ 128 GB variants (Rs 19,999). Truth be told, we suspect the 4 GB/ 64 GB variant exists just to make sure the X2 has an impressive starting price. Which it has!
On paper, it might seem like a rival to the Redmi K20, which has a similar chip, but its biggest challenge is not the spec sheet but the fact that it does not seem a big step ahead of its own siblings, the Realme X and the Realme XT (the Realme X2 Pro is, of course, at another level). So much so that we are not sure whether it makes a compelling case for those seeking an upgrade from those two devices. That said, if you are looking for a very good phone below Rs 20,000, this has got to be one of the frontrunners.
- Great hardware for the price
- Smooth performance
- Good cameras
- Predictable design
- Closer to the XT than the 2 Pro
- Still on Android 9
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It comes with a great spec sheet and a great price tag, in best Realme tradition. But does the Realme X2 deliver enough to be considered a killer proposition, and indeed an upgrade to the very popular Realme XT?