Realme is stepping up its game with its latest offering, the Realme X2 Pro. With a starting price of Rs. 29,999, the Realme X2 Pro offers many of the features found in higher-priced mid-range flagships, which automatically boosts its value proposition. This is also the company's first ‘true' flagship offering, and is the first time that Realme is venturing above the over-Rs. 20,000 price segment in India. So far, the company has earned a reputation for making budget-friendly phones, but with the X2 Pro, can it convince its fanbase and new potential buyers to spend this much money for its top-end offering? We've been testing the X2 Pro for about a week, and it's now time to see if this premium smartphone has managed to pull it off.
We've covered most of the design and usability aspects of the Realme X2 Pro in our first impressions of it, so we'll be brief here. Realme has finally moved beyond the polycarbonate bodies we've seen so far on its phones, for an aluminium body with Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back. This makes the X2 Pro feel very good to hold. Everything is put together nicely. The device can be a little slippery and the glass back attracts smudges easily, but the bundled case should help with both these minor issues.
The new Neptune Blue colour looks great in our opinion and helps this phone stand out. The X2 Pro is also available as a Master Edition, in ‘Red Brick' and ‘Concrete' finishes. The new prominent placement of the Realme logo, adjacent to the camera module, is a bold choice, but helps this phone stand out from the rest of Realme's offerings, in a way. Button placement is good, and you'll find the headphone socket, a USB Type-C port, and a speaker on the bottom. The earpiece also doubles as a second speaker for stereo sound, which is a welcome feature.
Realme phones have traditionally had good displays, and it's the same story with the Realme X2 Pro. This phone has a 6.5-inch full-HD+ AMOLED panel with a claimed 500nits of sustained brightness and 1000nits of peak brightness. The display is sharp, viewing angles are good, and colours have good saturation. What's special though, is that this display can run at 90Hz instead of the usual 60Hz. This higher refresh rate offers a more fluid feel when scrolling through content, whether in Android's UI or in apps. The X2 Pro has slim borders around the display (including the bottom chin) and a relatively shallow notch — all of which reminds us lot of the OnePlus 7T (Review).
The vertically arranged rear camera module creates a bit of bump on the back of this phone, but that can be evened out with the use of a case. The Realme X2 Pro is a bit on the thicker side at 8.7mm but the curved back tries to compensate for this. It's also quite heavy at nearly 200g but the weight is distributed well so the phone doesn't feel too unbalanced.
The retail box of the Realme X2 Pro contains a 50W SuperVOOC wall charger plus the usual accessories such as a data cable, a SIM eject tool, a case, a warranty leaflet, and a quick start guide. The phone ships with a screen guard pre-applied but you still don't get any earphones or a headset in the box.
As we stated before, the Realme X2 Pro is a proper flagship which means it uses Qualcomm's top-end processor — the Snapdragon 855+ SoC. This is the same chip used in several recent mid-range flagships such as the Asus ROG Phone 2 (Review) and the OnePlus 7T. It's a slightly souped-up revision of the original Snapdragon 855, with higher clock speeds for the single fast CPU core and the GPU.
The Realme X2 Pro is available in two variants in India; one with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage priced at Rs. 29,999, and the second with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage priced at Rs. 33,999. We're reviewing the lower-priced option today. Both variants use the newer UFS 3.0 storage standard. Realme also says it has used a new tactile linear vibration motor for more nuanced haptic feedback, and a vapour chamber cooling system for the CPU. Other specifications include dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5, support for three satellite navigation systems, and all the expected sensors.
The Realme X2 Pro lacks expandable storage, just like the Realme X (Review). The phone can accommodate two Nano-SIMs, and dual 4G VoLTE is supported. You also get an optical in-display fingerprint sensor and customisable unlock animations. Face unlock is supported, and works well even in low light. The X2 Pro offers NFC and contactless payment options, although the latter isn't of much use here in India since services such as Google Pay don't use it.
The Realme X2 Pro ships with ColorOS 6.1, based on Android 9. This version has some new features such as a dark mode and Google's Digital Wellbeing app. Our unit had the November security patch preinstalled, which is good. The look and feel of the interface is the same as what we've seen on other recent Realme phones. You get the same customisation options, gestures, and shortcuts, and even the same preinstalled apps such as Game Space and ORoaming. Realme's App Market has the tendency to spam your notifications with promotions, but this can be turned off in the app's settings. There are also still plenty of preinstalled third-party apps, and you can uninstall all of them.
The X2 Pro has Widevine L1 DRM certification which means there are no restrictions on the streaming resolution in apps such as Netflix. Dark Mode is still a “labs” feature but it worked well in our experience. It's enabled for all installed apps by default, but you can manually disable it if needed. There's also support for Dolby Atmos, which works when playing audio through the speakers as well as wired or wireless headphones.
We didn't have any major complaints with the Realme X2 Pro for daily usage. We got accustomed to its heft and weight after a while, so they weren't big deals. We found the display to have very good sunlight legibility and the speakers get really loud, so alerts are easily audible even in noisy public spaces. We didn't face any issues with call quality either. The fingerprint sensor and face recognition did their jobs reliably in our tests. The AMOLED panel lets you take advantage of an always-on-display mode, but its use is limited as it only shows notifications from certain default apps.
The phone ran cool in general but the sides and back got quite warm when gaming and even with heavy camera usage. This was noticeable especially on hot days, but we did also feel it when testing the phone indoors, in an air-conditioned office. A case should dampen this effect a little bit but it's still something to be aware of.
The stereo speakers on the Realme X2 Pro sound great. The bottom one is little louder than the earpiece but you still get a decent stereo effect. In videos with Dolby Atmos-encoded audio, the surround effect is somewhat perceptible. Full-HD and higher-resolution videos look sharp, and colours have good saturation.
ColorOS has a video enhancer called ‘OSIE Vision' which offers a slight boost in brightness and contrast, so video looks a bit more vivid. We've seen before as an option on the Realme XT, but it never really worked there. On the X2 Pro, it is functional and can be enabled for a handful of apps such as MXPlayer, TikTok, and Amazon Prime Video. You can toggle this effect on or off via a slide-out menu.
The powerful processor in the Realme X2 Pro allows it to handle heavy games and multitasking. We tried heavy titles such as PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty: Mobile, both of which ran just fine with the visuals cranked up. Games such as Rayman: Adventures can also take advantage of the 90Hz display. The phone did get warm when we were playing games, but not to an uncomfortable extent. Benchmark numbers were pretty solid too. We got a score of 4,59,562 points in AnTuTu, while the T-Rex test in GFXbench returned 60fps.
The X2 Pro has a 4000mAh battery, which was dependable. On average, we easily got about a day and a half of runtime on a single charge. This would dip when we were testing the camera heavily or playing a lot of games, and even then we got through a full day comfortably. In our battery loop test, the Realme X2 Pro ran for a total of 14 hours and 49 minutes, with the screen set to 90Hz.
Charging is particularly impressive. With the bundled SuperVOOC charger, we managed to fully charge the battery from zero in only about 31 minutes. The good news is that you're not just limited to Realme's proprietary charging standard, as the X2 Pro also supports Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.0 and USB Power Delivery for relatively fast charging.
The Realme X2 Pro uses the same 64-megapixel f/1.8 primary camera as the Realme XT, but with different companion sensors. The 2-megapixel macro camera has been ditched for a more useful 13-megapixel telephoto camera. This is capable of 2X optical zoom, 5X hybrid zoom, and a total of 20X digital zoom. There's also an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera with an f/2.2 aperture and a 115-degree field of view, and finally a 2-megapixel depth sensor. There's no optical stabilisation on any of the cameras, but your do get electronic stabilisation for video.
The camera app in ColorOS 6.1 has some new features. Nightscape now works for the selfie camera; you can finally adjust the level of background blur in Portrait mode; and the wide-angle camera can be used to shoot video. Realme has also added an ‘Ultra Steady' shooting mode, much like what we saw on the Oppo Reno 2 (Review), for enhanced stabilisation.
The primary sensor captures 16-megapixel oversampled photos by default. Under good light, our samples looked detailed. Colours were vivid and HDR did a good job of balancing the exposures of light and dark areas. Objects to the sides of the frame exhibited noticeable grain but objects in the focus area didn't have this issue. You can shoot at the full 64-megapixel resolution if you need a higher degree of zoom later on. Portrait mode worked well too, with good edge detection.
The telephoto camera captured good details and colours in daylight. The 5x hybrid zoom worked well and managed decent levels of detail under good light. Finer text and smaller objects appeared a little blurry when we really zoomed into an image shot at this (5x) magnification level, but it looked good as is. Using the full 20x zoom range, the level of detail dropped significantly, but largish text and bigger objects were still recognisable so it was somewhat useful. At the highest zoom level, the camera app helped us keep the image in the viewfinder steady, but you'll need be very still to avoid motion blur.
The wide-angle camera kept barrel distortion around the sides of frames to a minimum, but details and colour accuracy were noticeably weaker compared to shots taken with the telephoto or the primary cameras. Colours looked a bit paler and objects weren't as sharp. This sensor is used when shooting Ultra Macro photos. Once again, you'll need steady hands, as shooting from very close to your subject is tricky. Image quality is good though, if you have sufficient light around.
In low light, photos captured by the primary camera looked good. There was good detail, colours were punchy, and noise was under control. Dark regions tended to look a little hazy but this was fixable using the Nightscape shooting mode. This also took care of minor light metering issues which we detected when shooting in Auto mode. Nightscape was the most effective when there were decent light sources around. However, it tended to make dark scenes artificially bright and details were often worse than when shooting in the Auto mode.
The wide-angle camera was understandably weaker in low-light shots due to its narrow f/2.2 aperture. You can use Nightscape for this sensor too, which helped us get more usable photos. In weak lighting conditions, the X2 Pro doesn't switch to the telephoto camera when you try to zoom in, instead simply using 2x or 5x digital zoom. However, if try to zoom in all the way to 20x, it will actually switch to the telephoto camera irrespective of light conditions.
The 16-megapixel selfie camera wasn't too impressive. Exposures were a bit of a hit-or-miss and when shooting against the light, and HDR wasn't handled very effectively. Switching to Portrait mode, the camera saved 8-megapixel images, but bright areas were always blown out and edge detection was quite poor. In low light, details were a little mushy, but the new Nightscape mode helped fix the colour accuracy and light metering a bit. The screen flash is fairly powerful but image quality was once again quite average.
Thanks to the powerful SoC, the Realme X2 Pro can shoot up to 4K 60fps videos. Video quality was good in daylight, and image stabilisation worked decently well, even at 4K. With Ultra Steady enabled, the view from the primary camera is cropped heavily, and it shoots at 1080p 60fps by default. The stabilisation was once again decent but not great, as minor jerkiness was still noticeable. Videos shots using the wide-angle camera had decent detail and was also stabilised.
Slow-motion video is available at 480fps and 960fps, besides the standard 240fps. Higher frame-rate videos are recorded at 720p, so image quality was quite average. The phone can only shoot short bursts at 960fps.
The X2 Pro needs a lot of improvement when it comes to video recording in low light. Whether at 1080p or 4K, there was lots of noise and artefacting in dark areas. We also noticed some unnatural artefacting around light sources, and the stabilisation caused very evident shimmer when we walked. The wide-angle camera shot considerably darker footage, due to its narrower aperture.
The Realme X2 Pro is a great offering at Rs. 29,999. You essentially get most of the features of the OnePlus 7T, barring the leaner software, at a much more affordable price. The higher-end variant is still good value, as even at Rs. 33,999 for the 12GB RAM version, it's still better priced than the cheapest OnePlus 7T.
Of course, this phone isn't without its shortcomings. It does heat up quite a bit when playing heavy games and with extensive camera use. We didn't find the selfie camera to be particularly impressive, and low-light video performance in general could be better. Apart from these issues, there's a lot to like about the X2 Pro. You get excellent build quality, a vivid 90Hz display, a top-of-the-line processor, and a versatile set of cameras with a useful zoom function, in favourable lighting of course. Let's not forget the very good speakers, super-fast charging, and the fact that you still get a headphone jack.
Overall, the Realme X2 Pro makes an excellent alternative to the OnePlus 7T, if you're looking for that level of design and performance but didn't want to spend so much.
Is Realme X2 Pro the OnePlus 7T killer you've been waiting for? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.