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Realme X2 review: the Realme XT gets a performance boost

On: December 17, 2019

The rivalry between Realme and Xiaomi is not a secret anymore, and these two brands have been in a race to outbid each other in India’s budget smartphone segment. Xiaomi’s sub-brand, Redmi recently announced the Redmi K30 in China in two variants – a 4G model with Snapdragon 730G, and 5G version with the latest Snapdragon 765G chipset. Ahead of the Redmi K30 launch in India, Realme has brought the Snapdragon 730G variant of the Realme XT to the country, which is called the Realme X2. While the nomenclature suggests it is the successor to the Realme X, the Realme X2 is more of an iterative upgrade to the Realme XT (review). I received the Realme X2 ahead of the launch, and here’s my take on it.

Design and display

The Realme X2 looks exactly the same as the Realme XT, with a Corning Gorilla Glass 5 back panel featuring a simple gradient finish. This time, apart from the usual Pearl White and Pearl Blue hues, Realme has also launched a Pearl Green colour variant. I have the green unit with me and it’s stunning, to say the least.

The positioning of quad cameras, ports and buttons are all identical to the Realme XT, so I won’t go into much detail on that front. However, the glossy back of the phone is prone to smudges, and I had to resort to putting on the transparent protective case that came with the phone.

Display-wise, the Realme X2 comes with a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED panel featuring a Corning Gorilla Glass 5 layer on top for protection. The screen offers a resolution of 2,340 x 1,080 pixels and also supports Widevine L1 certification, which means you can stream content from apps like Netflix and Prime Video in HD resolution. Further, the waterdrop notch enables a good screen-to-body ratio of 91.9 percent, resulting in an immersive viewing experience. Thanks to the AMOLED panel, the blacks are darker and the colours are richer.

The Realme X2 also borrows the in-display fingerprint scanner from its sibling. There are a bunch of animations setting for the scanner in settings, which you can change as per your preference. The fingerprint scanner is fast and accurate. The face unlock feature is pretty snappy too, but doesn’t work in the dark.

Cameras

The Realme X2 features an identical rear camera setup to the Realme XT. You get a 64MP Samsung ISOCELL GW1 Bright sensor, accompanied by an 8MP 119-degree wide-angle camera, 2MP macro camera and 2MP depth sensor. The camera app is loaded with the usual set of features like Chroma Boost, HDR, Portrait, Nightscape, Expert and more. The primary camera captures 16MP pixel-binned photos in the regular mode, but you can turn on the Ultra 64MP mode for full resolution images. For selfies and video calling, the phone features a 32MP front camera with 4-in-1 pixel binning tech, which is a big upgrade over the 16MP snapper on the Realme XT.

The primary camera takes detailed and punchy colours in daylight. I was particularly impressed by the dynamic range in pictures shot during the day. It also does a good job of detecting the edges when clicking in portrait mode. Moreover, if you like images to have an aesthetic saturation boost, I would suggest turning on the Chroma Boost mode. Pictures shot using the 64MP mode look the same as regular mode if viewed on the phone, but have noticeably more details when you view them in full resolution on a laptop. However, since most users click pictures for social media, and the fact that 64MP images are at least 25MB in size, I would suggest sticking to the regular mode for standard photos.

You can switch to the wide-angle lens by tapping on the toggle at top of the viewfinder, and macro lens by activating the Ultra Macro mode. The wide-angle shots have a noticeable fish-eye effect with barrel distortion when shooting indoors, but it is not so prominent when you are using it outdoors to capture a landscape. The Ultra Macro mode, on the other hand, is the chink in the armour as it struggles to lock focus, often resulting in blurry images. Additionally, the lower resolution of the lens means the images are quite noisy. The low-light shots are decent when you use the dedicated Nightscape mode, but details are on the lower side.

As for selfies, the 32MP shooter on the front does a good job of capturing details and natural skin tones. However, it’s advisable to turn off the beauty mode if you like realistic looking selfies. The front camera also gets a portrait mode, but I would advise against using it as it results in soft edges and a halo effect.

Performance, software and battery

Speaking of performance, the Realme X2 ships with an 8nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G chipset backed by an Adreno 618 GPU and Snapdragon Elite Gaming features. This is the same processor that powers the OPPO Reno 2 and Samsung Galaxy A80, which are priced much higher. Realme is offering the phone in three variants – 4GB + 64GB, 6GB + 128GB and 8GB + 128GB. I received the top-end variant of the Realme X2 and it offered close to 108GB storage out of the box.

The phone handles day to day tasks like a champ and gaming is impressive too, thanks to the Snapdragon Elite Gaming and a dedicated game mode. There’s also a Hyper Boost mode and Performance mode, which throttles the overall performance of the device. I played PUBG and Call of Duty: Mobile during my testing period, and am yet to run into any instances of hanging or lags.

The Realme X2 runs the Android 9 Pie-based ColorOS 6.1. The software is cluttered and has a ton of pre-installed bloatware, some of which cannot be removed. The omnipresent Hot Apps and Hot Games folders are still there and keep refreshing content when opened. However, I did like the presence of Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls, as well as the system-wide dark mode. Since the dark mode is designed to overlay forcefully on third-party apps, the option to turn it off for individual apps comes in handy as well.

Coming to the battery, the Realme X2 comes with a 4,000mAh cell, which supports 30W VOOC Flash Charge 4.0. This is an upgrade from the 20W fast charging that was present on the Realme XT. The smartphone charged fully from zero to 100 percent in just over one hour, which is impressive. And with my usage (Whatsapp, Facebook, YouTube and couple hours of Call of Duty), I usually went to bed with a little over 10 percent left and that is again commendable.

The competition

Starting at Rs 16,999, the Realme X2’s main competitior is the Redmi K20, which comes with the Snapdragon 730 SoC, 48MP triple rear cameras, a pop-up selfie camera and a similar 4,000mAh battery. While the K20 offers a better design than the Realme X2, the latter’s trump card is the 30W fast charging tech, which is capped to 18W on the K20. The Redmi Note 8 Pro is another contender if you’re looking for a gaming phone, thanks to its Helio G90T chipset and bigger battery, clubbed with a price tag that’s considerably cheaper.

Bottomline

Realme has positioned the X2 smack in the middle of the Realme XT and X2 Pro with its pricing. While it doesn’t offer a major spec boost as compared to the Realme XT, it’s currently the cheapest Snapdragon 730G offering in India, and the added fast charging is a bonus too. Therefore, if you’re looking for a gaming smartphone that won’t break the bank, the Realme X2 should be among your top choices.

Pricebaba’s rating: 8.5 / 10

What works:

  • Sharp, vivid display
  • Powerful performance
  • Good cameras
  • Fast charging

What doesn’t:

  • Macro camera needs work
  • Cluttered OS

Photos by Raj Rout

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Abhiman Biswas

Abhiman is obsessed with all things tech. His hobbies include reading on his Kindle and clicking random pictures on his phone. His secret superpowers happen to be mixing great cocktails and lip reading. In his spare time, you are likely to find him cleaning his aquascape, researching new species of aquatic fishes and planning which aquatic plants to buy next.