The Realme X2 Pro ticks most boxes in the ‘affordable flagship’ smartphone segment

Realme’s latest sub-Rs 30,000 device may give OnePlus 7T and Redmi K20 Pro a run for their money. But, the X2 Pro could do better on two key areas. Read on...

Realme has seen phenomenal growth in 2019. It started by catering to the budget phone segment, but is now a full-blown threat for the likes of Oppo, Xiaomi, Vivo and even Samsung.

Last month, Realme stepped into the “flagship” territory with the Realme X2 Pro. Priced at Rs 29,999, the device could potentially emerge as a challenger to current top “affordable flagships” - Redmi K20 Pro (Rs 27,999) and OnePlus 7T (Rs 34,999).

Let’s find out if it lives up to the promise.

Specifications: tailored for tech nerds

The Realme X2 Pro comes with a 6.5-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED 90Hz display, and is powered by Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 855+ processor. It boasts of 8GB RAM and 128GB storage, along with a 4,000mAh battery.

There is also support for the 50W Super VOOC Flash Charge.

On the back is a quad-camera setup: a 64-megapixel primary lens, a 13-megapixel telephoto shooter, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide sensor, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. On the front is a 16-megapixel selfie camera.

The X2 Pro runs ColorOS 6.1 that is based on Android 9 Pie.

Best-in-class design and display

The X2 Pro comes in two eye-catching colours - Lunar White and Neptune Blue. It has an aluminium body with Gorilla Glass 5 on the back and the front. At just 199 grams, the device is easy to grip and can be used for long periods of time.

The front has a gorgeous 6.5-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED display (offering a 20:9 aspect ratio) with a water-drop notch on the top. In this regard, you could easily mistake the X2 Pro for the OnePlus 7T.

But Realme has added a curved rear glass - instead of the usual polycarbonate backs - to the X2 Pro. This gives it an ergonomic touch. Also, a flat-front glass means accidental touches are kept to a minimum.

There is a power button on the right, and a volume rocker on the left. They are very tactile and feel solid upon pressing. The SIM card slot is in the top-right, while the speaker grill, the Type-C port, and headphone jack are placed at the bottom. The X2 Pro is one of the few devices to still sport the much-loved headphone jack.

At the back, the placement of the logo is a departure from earlier handsets. It is situated right below the camera module, which might take some getting used to.

The switch to a glass back is possibly one of the best decisions made by Realme, giving the device a premium feel. The haptics also feel much better.

The X2 Pro has a vibrant and fluid display, with 90Hz offering superb viewing angles. The device clocks over 480 nits (a unit of brightness), so outdoor views are never a problem. The text is adequately sharp too. Watching videos on the X2 Pro is a delight. The colours pop and the large display makes for a great viewing experience.

Performance: as smooth as butter

The X2 Pro performs admirably in all conditions. It is never sluggish, and there are almost no frame drops while gaming (from Call of Duty to PUBG Mobile). Multitasking is a breeze too. The device has a winning combination of a strong processor and ample RAM that makes its performance super smooth.

It isn’t at OnePlus 7T-level yet, and that is because it lacks a bit on the software optimisation department. But the Realme X2 Pro could rank an undisputed second.

UI: ColorOS needs a rehaul

There’s no easy way to put this: ColorOS is one of the weakest mobile operating systems out there. It has a lot of bloatware, the animations feel sluggish, and the OS just feels dated.

The bloatware sends out unwanted notifications and ads. Realme should have gone with a ‘clean’ look, but instead, it is far behind OnePlus’s OxygenOS and Samsung’s One UI. The icons need a design rehaul too.

Additionally, ColorOS still operates its own ‘app store’. It is annoying because the recommendation algorithm isn’t strong, and apps update without user permission.

Battery and charging: fastest in the business

It’s hard to believe but Realme’s 50W Super VOOC Flash Charge is in a class of its own. Going from 0-100 in just under 40 minutes is incredible. The 4,000mAh battery lasts for a day and a half, with medium-to-heavy usage, which is pretty impressive.

There is no option for wireless charging, but a small dose of the VOOC Flash Charge is enough for long periods!

Camera: good but not great

The X2 Pro has a comprehensive quad-camera setup.

Colours come close to what the naked eye can see. HDR also does a good job of balancing the lighter and darker areas. The dynamic range of the camera is impressive too. Portrait shots have good edge detection.

However, the camera is found lacking in low-light conditions. There just aren’t enough details left in the image after the software’s over-processing is done.

The camera performance of the X2 Pro will not match up to that of the OnePus 7T the or Redmi K20 Pro, but the average consumer might still come out impressed.

Final verdict

Realme has now officially joined the affordable flagship territory with the X2 Pro. Can it deliver a knockout punch to other devices in the segment?

The answer would have been a resounding yes… only IF the software was better or as good as the OxygenOS, and the camera performance was more up to the mark.

But, the X2 Pro still has a lot going for it: a premium design, top-of-the-line specifications, and a class-leading VOOC Flash Charge feature. You get a large and vibrant screen with a high refresh rate. There are some powerful speakers that make gaming and entertainment a fun experience.

Besides the OS and camera, there is not much you can fault the X2 Pro for. It is one of the best value-for-money flagship devices out there.

Watch out Samsung, Motorola, LG, and others!

(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)