Realme X2 Review: Best mid-range phone under Rs. 20000?


realme launched the X2 smartphone, which is actually a successor to the realme XT instead of the realme X. Even though this has the same display, rear camera setup, design and battery capacity as the realme XT, the X2 is powered by a faster Snapdragon 730G SoC, 32-megapixel front camera and VOOC 4.0 fast charging tech. Specs look good on paper, how good is this compared to the realme XT? Let us dive into the review to find out.

Box Contents

  • realme X2 smartphone in Pearl Green color
  • 2-pin 30W VOOC 4.0 charger (5V-6A)
  • USB Type C Cable
  • SIM Ejector tool
  • Clear protective case
  • User Guide and Warranty information

Display, Hardware and Design

The realme X2 has a 6.4-inch Full HD+ Super AMOLED dew-drop screen with a pixel resolution of 2340 × 1080 pixels, 19.5:9 aspect ratio 2.5D curved glass screen with gentle rounded corners and pixel density of about 402PPI, same as the XT. The display is bright, thanks to 400 nits brightness and the colors are vibrant. Sunlight legibility is good as well. The phone as ultra-narrow border and the narrow bottom bar design of 4.3 mm so it has high screen-to-body ratio of about 84%, even though the company says it is 91.9%. It also has HDR support, which works for supported YouTube videos, but you can’t control it manually. The phone has Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection.

Since this has a 19.5:9 aspect ratio screen, you can pinch to zoom to fill the screen when you use video apps, but the content is cropped. Under the display options there are two options to adjust colors and contrast based on your preference. There is also night shield mode that lets you reduce the display’s blue light emission so it doesn’t cause eye strain when you are reading at night. There is Dark mode, similar to other latest realme phones, but it is hidden under the realme Labs option. You can also choose dark theme for third-party apps that lack the feature, but it is not perfect to view the content.

Above the display there is an earpiece on the top edge. The ambient light sensor is present under the screen. It also has a gyroscope and a magnetic sensor, otherwise known as a magnetometer. There is also a 32-megapixel camera on the front with f/2.0 aperture.

The power button is present on the right, volume rockers and SIM + microSD slot are present on the left and the loudspeaker grill, USB Type-C port, microphone and the 3.5mm audio jack are present on the bottom. On the top there is a secondary microphone.

It has dedicated dual SIM slot, similar to the realme XT so that you can use dual SIMs and a microSD at the same time.

On the back there is a 64-megapixel camera along with an 8-megapixel 120-degree wide-angle lens, 2-megapixel depth sensor and a 2-megapixel macro camera, same as the XT.  This has slight camera bump due to the large sensor, but the camera lens is protected by a scratch-resistant glass. Even though the phone has a large screen, it is compact to hold. This has a 3D glass design that has been applied to the back cover, and the hot bending process has brought realme X2 elegant curves, says the company. It has unique hyperbolic pattern and spectral gradient design, so the back cover reflects different colors as the light changes. It also has Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection. This definitely looks premium to look and hold.

The phone comes bundled with a clear protective case in the box which is good. Since it has a glass back, it is recommended to use a case.

Camera

The phone packs quad rear cameras, that includes a main 64-megapixel primary rear camera with single LED Flash, 1/1.72″ Samsung GW1 ISOCELL sensor with Smart ISO and ISOCELL Plus technology, 0.8μm pixel size, f/1.8 aperture, has support for PDAF, EIS along with a secondary 8-megapixel camera with 120° ultra-wide angle lens, Skhynix Hi-846 sensor with f/2.2 aperture, 1.12μm pixel size and a 2-megapixel GalaxyCore GC2375 depth sensor for portrait as well as 2-megapixel camera with OmniVision OV02a1b for 4cm macro with 1.75μm pixel size and f/2.4 aperture. It has a 32-megapixel front-facing camera with f/2.0 aperture.

The camera UI is familiar with other realme smartphones running ColorOS 6 with flash, HDR, Ultrawide, Chromaboost, Filters  and settings on the top. Pressing the menu option shows Ultra 64MP, Nightscape, Pano, Expert, Timelapse, Slo-Mo and Ultra Macro. You can switch from photo to video and portrait. Beautify option for the front camera lets you adjust several features, in addition to smoothness. realme has enabled Cam2API by default so you can side-load ported Google Camera APKs for advanced editing including RAW capture.

Coming to the image quality, daylight shots came out well with good dynamic range, thanks to the large sensor. HDR shots are better with improved dynamic range and the Chromaboost uses AI to boost the colors those who like it. The dedicated 2MP macro sensor is just average since it can only shoot from 4cm distance and the colors in the mode are muted. It is better to use the 2x option in the main camera for better closeup shots. Wide-angle shots are decent, and the portrait shots have good edge detection. 64MP mode that offers a lot of details, but some images are huge.  Even though there is no telephoto lens, it uses the software for offering 2x zoom, which might be handy sometimes, but the 5x mode doesn’t have any details since it is digital zoom.

Low-light shots are good, thanks to pixel binning that lets the camera’s sensor hardware combine 4 pixels into a single 1.6μm large pixel, and the nightscape mode is even better making the images brighter offering more details. Images with flash are good and the flash is not overpowering. Daylight front camera shots are good, and low-light shots are good. The output is 32MP in resolution, but the image size is big. Portrait shots doesn’t have that good edge detection since it uses software.

Check out the camera samples (Click the image to view the full resolution sample.).

Macro Chroma Boost enabled
Dual Camera Portrait
Low-light
Low-light

It can record videos at 4k resolution at 30 fps, 1080p at up to 60 fps, and it also has slow motion 720p resolution video recording at up to 960fps, but this should be 240fps converted into 960fps since the Snapdragon 730G officially supports only up to 240fps slow motion recording. You can also shoot 1080p 30 fps videos using the ultra-wide camera. Check out the video samples below.

Software, UI and Apps

It runs Android 9.0 (Pie) out of the box with ColorOS 6.1 top with Android security update for October, 2019. It has a lot of features such as One-handed mode, Driving mode, Riding mode, Focus mode, Grayscale, Digital Wellbeing and more, and the ColorOS 7.0 update based on Android 10 that is coming in March 2020 should bring dark mode improvements, and lots more features.

Out of 8GB RAM, you get 7.69GB of usable RAM, and about 5.1GB of RAM is free when default apps are running in the background. Out of 128GB internal storage, you get about 116GB of free storage. Since this has UFS 2.1 storage, we got sequential read speeds of about 494MB/s. Apart from the usual set of utility apps, Google apps and realme’s own set of apps, it comes pre-loaded with Helo, WPS Office, UC Browser, and Hot apps and Hot games tab. You can easily uninstall these apps.

Fingerprint sensor and Face unlock

The phone has an in-display fingerprint sensor on the back, and the company is using GOODIX G3.0 sensor same as the XT. It immediately unlocks phone just by keeping your finger so that you don’t have to press it. You can add up to 5 fingerprints. You can also use the fingerprint for app local and payments in apps. The phone also has face unlock, but it is not as secure as fingerprint since it can be unlocked with a photo, but there are some additional options so that it doesn’t detect when you close your eyes.

Music Player and Multimedia

The realme Music Player is the default music player with usual Dolby audio effects and equalizer. It doesn’t have FM Radio, which was actually present in the XT. Audio through the speaker is loud. Since the speaker is present on the bottom, audio doesn’t get muffled when the phone is on a flat surface. Audio through earphones is good as well.

It also has Widevine L1 support, and can play HD content on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, but HDR doesn’t work even though it shows the option in the DRM Info app.

Dual SIM and Connectivity

It supports 4G VoLTE for Reliance Jio and Airtel as well as support Dual 4G VoLTE that offers 4G in both the SIM cards at a time. There is Snapdragon X15  Cat-15 LTE modem. Other connectivity options include Dual-Band Wi-Fi 802.11 ac with dual network acceleration, Bluetooth 5.0 LE and GPS, which is present in the Chinese version. It also has USB OTG support that lets you connect USB drives. Since this is a dual SIM phone, you get the option to select either SIMs when calling or sending a text message. Moving on, the call quality is good, and we did not face any call drops and the earpiece volume was loud.

We don’t really mention SAR values for phones in our reviews since most are below 1W/kg, even though the limit in India is 1.6W/kg (over 1 g). Even though the body SAR is 0.521 W/Kg, head SAR is at 1.160W/Kg which is slightly more compared to other realme phones, and is also slightly more than the realme XT, which is 1.14W/Kg. We would recommend to use a headset or a Bluetooth headset if you are making long calls.

Performance and Benchmarks

Coming to the performance, this is one of the first phones to be powered by an Octa-Core Snapdragon 730G 8nm Mobile Platform, which has 2 x Kryo 470 Performance CPUs (A76-based) clocked at up to 2.2GHz and 6x Kryo 470 Efficiency CPUs (A55-based) at up to 1.8GHz. It has Adreno 618 GPU with support for Open GL ES 3.2, Open CL 2.0, as well as Vulkan 1.1 graphics, 8GB LPDDR4x RAM and 128GB UFS 2.1 storage.

Thanks to the larger Kryo 470 cores based on new Cortex A76, this is faster than the Snapdragon 710/712 that uses Kryo 360 larger cores based on Cortex A75, promising a 35% performance uplift. The slightly overclocked Adreno 618 GPU promises 15% increased performance compared to the Snapdragon 730.

We did not face any issues or frame drops in the graphic-intensive games, and PUBG works in full graphics. It gets a bit warm on intensive gaming and 4G data use since it has a glass back, but it doesn’t get too hot to handle. That said, check out some synthetic benchmark scores below.

Battery life

Coming to the battery life, the 4000mAh built-in battery offers good battery life. It lasts for a day even with heavy use and a bit more with average use, and I got about 6 hours and 45 minutes of screen on time (SOT) during my use. Since the phone has support VOOC 3.0, it takes just 1 hour and 15 minutes to charge it from 0 to 100%, and 0 to 50% takes 23 minutes with the bundled 30W VOOC 4.0 charger. With the 20W VOOC 3.0 charger it takes 1 and half hours for 0 to 100% and about 30 minutes for 0 to 50%, which is a huge difference.

It achieved One Charge Rating of 18 hours and 14 minutes in our battery test, which is good for a phone with a 4000mAh battery. This is almost same as the realme XT.

Conclusion

realme has started releasing more value-for-money (VFM) devices in recent times. Even though the X2 shares a lot of different things with the XT such as design, display, in-display fingerprint scanner, rear cameras, battery and more, this comes with a faster Snapdragon 730G, improved 32-megapixel front camera and 30W charger in the box, which is a good deal for a starting price of Rs. 16999. Of course, it could have offered a better rear camera setup, and we still have to wait for 3 more months for the ColorOS 7.0 but for the price this is a good deal.

Competition

No other phone offers Snapdragon 730G for this price, but the Redmi Note 8 Pro with the MediaTek Helio G90T is on par with the chip when it comes to gaming performance, however it has an LCD screen, rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and the front camera is not impressive. If you spend a bit more there is Redmi K20 with the Snapdragon 730, telephoto lens for 2x zoom and a no-notch display.  There are some of last year’s models such as POCO F1 and ASUS 5Z that have received a price cut, if you are looking for a phone specifically for gaming.

Availability

In addition to Pearl Green, it also comes in Pearl White and Pearl Blue colors, is priced at Rs. 16999 for the 4GB RAM with 64GB storage version, Rs. 18,999 for the 6GB RAM with 128GB storage version and the 8GB RAM with 128GB storage version costs Rs. 19,999.  It is available from Flipkart and realme.com online and is also available through offline stores, says  the company.

Pros

  • Large AMOLED display is good with minimal bezels
  • 64MP camera is good
  • Smooth performance and good gaming performance
  • Premium glass body
  • Dedicated Dual SIM and microSD slots
  • Good battery life with 30W VOOC 4.0 fast charging

Cons

  • ColorOS still needs some work
  • Low-light camera performance could be better
  • Macro camera is not impressive

Author: Srivatsan Sridhar

Srivatsan Sridhar is a Mobile Technology Enthusiast who is passionate about Mobile phones and Mobile apps. He uses the phones he reviews as his main phone. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram