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Realme X2 Pro review: The best flagship killer of the year

THE ASIAN AGE. | CHETAN NAYAK
Published : Nov 29, 2019, 1:51 pm IST
Updated : Nov 29, 2019, 1:51 pm IST

The X2 Pro competes with some of the best phones in the 35K and above segment and is cheaper than all of them.

Speaking of aesthetics, the message from Realme here is pretty clear. minimal style, maximum substance.
 Speaking of aesthetics, the message from Realme here is pretty clear. minimal style, maximum substance.

Just a year into the smartphone game, Realme is one of those brands that needs no introduction. The Oppo sub-brand made a name by launching unbeatable value-for-money devices in price-sensitive markets like India. Now, the fastest-growing smartphone brand expands boldly into a market it hasn’t ventured in—the premium flagship segment.

After killing it in the budget and mid-range segments, Realme has launched the X2 Pro, their first try at the higher-end smartphone game. The smartphone starts at 30K and brings some neat features like 90Hz refresh rate, a Snapdragon 855+ SoC, Dolby Atmos stereo speakers, a 64MP quad-camera setup on the back, NFC, insanely fast 50W charging support and more. The device almost sounds too good to be true, but that’s on paper, let’s see how the phone fairs in real-life scenarios.

Design, Build

Speaking of aesthetics, the message from Realme here is pretty clear. Minimal style, maximum substance. The phone features a decent matte finish body on the back with no radical design elements like geometric shapes and gradient colours. The vertical quad-camera setup lies in the centre. The overall look of the phone is simple, but the rich colour pulls it off without appearing boring.

Realme X2 Pro shotsRealme X2 Pro shots

The back is made up of hard plastic though and fans of the glass sandwich design might not find this part very appealing. There is still a metal frame on the sides. The left edge of the frame holds the volume rockers and the right has the power button and SIM slot, which can take two Nano SIMs but no SD card.

The bottom edge of the phone has the 3.5mm headphone jack, a primary microphone, a USB-C slot, and the main speaker grille. The top edge goes clean except for just the secondary noise cancellation microphones.

Realme X2 Pro shots  Realme X2 Pro shots  Realme X2 Pro shots

Despite the hard plastic back on the Realme X2 Pro, the build quality of the phone is pretty good. There are no creaky edges, wobbly buttons or cheap looking elements throughout the phone. There is even Gorilla Glass 5 protection on the front and the back. There’s even a snug transparent case bundled that’s tougher than most regular free transparent cases. Despite any shortcomings, which really is just us nitpicking, the phone feels very premium in the hand.

Display

The smartphone features a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED screen with a 1080x2400 resolution, which is just simply put — amazing. The 20:9 panel has a density of 402 PPI. The bezels on the phone are not the slimmest, but not too big either, bring the screen-to-body ratio of the phone to roughly 84.9 per cent.

Realme X2 Pro shots

The phone features a notch on the front, but the water drop-style notch is small enough to be negligible when you’re immersed in gaming or media. Above the notch lies the earpiece which doubles up as the second speaker Dolby Atmos stereo setup.

The display can provide deep punchy colours with the Super-AMOLED screen and this also means the viewing angles on the device are just amazing. The brightness can go up to 1000 nits making the smartphone easily visible under direct sunlight as well. HDR10+ support is just icing on the cake.

Realme X2 Pro shotsThe Realme X2 Pro outperforms most smartphones even in something as simple as outdoor visibility.

The great display of the Realme X2 Pro betters itself with 90Hz refresh rate support. This makes Realme only the second brand (that doesn’t make gaming devices) to provide a high refresh rate screen on their phones. Thanks to this, everything from animations and transitions on the phone look super smooth and feel even faster. The feature is especially a delight when playing supported games. Note that if you do not need 90Hz goodness, you can always go back to the settings and switch to 60Hz. But you really needn’t go that far since the 90Hz was on throughout pour testing and the battery life didn’t really take a hit because of it.

The screen of the Realme X2 Pro is the first of many elements of the phone that will literally make you go ‘Wow!’.

Software

Being a sub-brand of Oppo means Realme devices stick to the ColorOS Android skin. Running ColorOS 6.1 on top of Android 9.0 Pie, the X2 Pro has the same colourful UI found on other Realme and Oppo phones.

While ColorOS 6.1 is great with features, the look of the skin doesn’t appeal to fans of a cleaner, closer-to-stock Android experience, like us. There isn’t a lot of customisation in terms of theme-support either, the themes being very basic and not changing much besides colours and smaller elements. This, however, is a matter of perspective, and you may even end up liking the company’s approach. But you still deal with a decent amount of bloat, most of which can be removed. Most, not all!

Realme X2 Pro ScreenshotsRealme X2 Pro ScreenshotsRealme X2 Pro ScreenshotsRealme X2 Pro Screenshots

But for us, the somewhat childish looking interface of ColorOS ends up being the Achilles’ heel of an otherwise great device. But here’s where things get interesting — Realme realises this too!

The brand recently decided to branch off on their own path for the upcoming Android 10-based ColorOS 7, a decision the company took due to differences in opinion for the design language of the UI. Hence, the update will look very different on Realme phones compared to the recently launched ColorOS 7 for Oppo phones. A more stock like approach, or at least a choice for the user to opt for the same would be key in making the Realme X2 Pro one step closer to perfection.

Camera

The Realme X2 Pro is armed in the camera department. It has a quad-camera setup on the back comprising a 64MP main sensor, a 13MP 2x telephoto lens, an 8MP ultra-wide-angle lens and a 2MP depth sensor. All three main lenses of the four, support Phase Detection Auto Focus (PDAF). There’s a 16MP front-facing camera as well.

Realme X2 Pro shots

Like other 64MP sensor-phones, The f/1.8 Samsung GW1 sensor on the X2 Pro also combines the light of four pixels into one and takes 16MP shots by default that look great, in terms of both colours and dynamic range. Taking full 64MP shots would require you to go into the dedicated 64MP mode. The 64MP shots taken by the phone look really good and obviously capture more details than regular shots.

Realme X2 Pro Camera Samples

However, like on all 48MP and 64MP sensors, we suggest you stick to the default mode unless you really need the deep details. We say this as the default mode can take in more light, hence slightly edging out the overall picture quality of dedicated 64MP shots.

Realme X2 Pro Camera Samples

The f/2.2 ultra-wide lens on the phone takes really wide shots and gets a lot more into the frame. There is no observable warping on the edges thanks to some really good software optimisation.  The pictures are not as detailed as the main lens, but then again, that is the case with all ultra-wide-angle lenses we’ve seen so far.

Realme X2 Pro Camera SamplesRealme X2 Pro Camera SamplesA picture taken with the normal lens vs a picture taken with the ultra-wide-angle lens.

The 2x telephoto lens is better than what we expected and pictures taken with this lens maintain a great amount of detail, which is usually not the case with most phones. The depth sensor too aids the other lenses pretty well to create good depth shots where the background blur looks natural.

Realme X2 Pro Camera SamplesRealme X2 Pro Portrait Mode sample

Realme X2 Pro Camera SamplesRealme X2 Pro Camera SamplesRealme X2 Pro Macro lens samples

The 16MP front camera isn’t amongst the absolute best out there, but is good enough for decent selfies and video calling. Shots produce a decent amount of detail and colours are accurate.

Realme X2 Pro Camera SamplesRealme X2 Pro Camera SamplesRealme X2 Pro Front camera samples taken indoors and in low-light.

The rear camera can shoot videos in HDR now, in 4K at 60fps and includes a new super-steady mode that drastically minimises shake during recording. There are further dedicated modes for time-lapse and slow-motion recording which can be shot at 240, 480 and 960fps, if the lighting is good enough. Videos taken by the front camera are capped at 1080p and 30fps, but the HDR videos feature is there.

Performance

The Realme X2 Pro’s Snapdragon 855+ SoC, 8GB LPDDR4X RAM, Adreno 640 GPU and UFS 3.0 storage give the phone exactly the kind of performance you would expect it to deliver. The phone flies through multiple apps open together, and the 90Hz display ensures it looks even smoother. Multitasking even with many heavy apps and games open simultaneously isn’t an issue, as the generous amounts of RAM allow the device to retain many apps in the background without refreshing them from memory.

Realme X2 Pro ScreenshotsRealme X2 Pro ScreenshotsRealme X2 Pro performance benchmarks (Antutu and Geekbench 5).

The performance scores of the device speak for themselves. Do note that if these figures of the 8GB variant we have are still less by your standards, there’s a higher 12GB RAM variant out there!

Talking about other aspects like the sound quality on the Dolby Stereo speakers or the speed and accuracy of the in-built fingerprint sensor, the Realme X2 Pro doesn’t leave the user wanting more in any department.

Realme X2 Pro shotsThe Realme X2 Pro also features a very fast and accurate fingerprint sensor on the front, under the display.

Gaming

With all that performance, the X2 Pro is a hard device to have, and not game on. We tried heavy titles like PUBG Mobile right away and as expected, the device is a monster in the gaming department. Every game you play can be maxed out in the settings, and the phone will still run them with ease. There are no lags or frame-drops anywhere.

Realme X2 Pro ScreenshotsRealme X2 Pro ScreenshotsGaming on the Realme X2 Pro is made easier by the quick shortcuts available during gaming by swiping down from the top-left edge. Also, notice the maxed-out settings for PUBG Mobile.

Realme X2 Pro ScreenshotsRealme X2 Pro ScreenshotsThe Realme X2 Pro is hands down a gaming beast!

The phone does get warm but doesn’t heat up a lot during gaming, even with the settings maxed out. This is due to the 'Vapour Cooling' setup inside. The stereo speakers make your gaming experience enjoyable even without headphones. The 4000mAh battery allows longer gaming hours too. And when you finally do run out of juice, well, that brings us to our final point…

Battery Life

Battery life on the Realme X2 Pro is excellent, but then there are a lot of phones out there offering a 4000mAh battery, and all of them offering good to great battery life. So we’ll jump straight to what sets this phone apart—the mind-boggling charging speeds.

The first step towards understanding the X2 Pro’s charging speeds is easy. Forget everything you know about any other form of fast charging. Realme/Oppo’s 50W SuperVOOC charging at 50W is much faster than any other form of charging out there, even making the OnePlus Warp charge 30T look weak.

Realme X2 Pro chargingRealme X2 Pro chargingThe second picture was taken just 30 seconds after the first, notice the difference in battery percentage.

You can get a full charge on the phone in 30 to 35 minutes, even if there is Wi-Fi connectivity or a SIM inserted. The charging appears even faster with a minute percentage display on the lock screen which allows you to see fractional charging between two percentages.

This gives you a more accurate indication of how much the phone is charged and also generates a visual illusion to make the process look faster. Well played, Realme!

Verdict

Any way you look at it, the Realme X2 Pro is an absolute steal for the price. This goes for both variants of the phone. The device isn’t magical; you know that the cost-cutting lays in elements like the plastic back. But the phone hasn’t eliminated or even compromised on any of the important stuff. This results in a phone that excels in pretty much every department, from the camera to the gaming performance, from audio output to battery life, and everything in between. The only thing that can possibly drive you away from this phone is the software, which again is soon set to get much better with Realme’s own version of ColorOS 7 based on Android 10 lurking just around the corner.

Realme X2 Pro shots

At Rs 29,999 for the 8/128GB variant and Rs 33,999 for the 12GB RAM, the Realme X2 Pro provides a deal that’s impossible to beat in the segment right now. It competes with some of the best phones in the 35K and above segment and is cheaper than all of them. This is the only flagship killer of this decade that you need to remember!

Tags: realme, realme x2 pro, smartphone reveiws, review