Realme X2 hit Indian shores earlier this week, and we’ve reviewed the latest mid-range smartphone from the Chinese brand. We’ve known since September that Realme would be launching the Realme XT 730G this month, and that time has finally come. Now known as the Realme X2, this is the company’s answer to Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 8 Pro, which is one of the most powerful current-gen smartphones that you can buy for less than Rs. 20,000.
The Realme X2 comes in at roughly the same price points as the Realme XT (Review), but features a much more powerful processor, quicker charging, and a higher-resolution front camera. All in all, it seems to be a pretty decent upgrade on paper. The main attraction here though is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G SoC, which is targeted at gamers. This SoC is said to offer better graphics performance than its counterpart, the Snapdragon 730, as well as better overall performance compared to the Snapdragon 710 and 712. The Realme X2 is also the first phone in this segment to be built around this chip, thanks to aggressive pricing from Realme.
If you’re one of the many people always looking out for a good smartphone priced under Rs. 20,000, you’ll be wondering whether the Realme X2 is the best offering right now. Let’s have a look.
Realme X2 design
The Realme X2 carries the same design DNA as the Realme XT, rather than the X2 Pro (Review) as its name would lead you to believe. Physically, it’s hard to tell the two phones apart, unless you get the new Pearl Green colour which is only available for the X2 right now. This colour trim has a glossy frame, instead of the matte finish on the other colour options. Build quality and finish are both good, and this phone is not terribly slippery. The back also has the same ‘hyperbolic’ pattern that the XT had, which means it will glisten when light hits it as it moves.
The screen is still relatively large, so using this phone comfortably with one hand can be challenging at times. Button placement is good and the layout of the ports is also the same as on previous Realme phones, with the speaker, USB Type-C port, and headphone socket all placed at the bottom. The X2 supports expandable storage and has a dedicated slot for a microSD card, in addition to the slots for two Nano-SIMs.
The 6.4-inch full-HD+ (1080×2340) display is the same as what we saw on the Realme XT. It’s a Super AMOLED panel with an in-display fingerprint sensor. The display also uses Gorilla Glass 5 for scratch protection, and Realme has gone with the same glass for the back panel too. The Realme X2 has the same camera layout as the XT, which protrudes quite a bit, but the bundled case evens this out.
The box content is similar too, consisting of a SIM eject tool, a USB Type-C cable, a case, and a fast charger. The latter is new as this is the first Realme phone to come with VOOC Flash Charge 4.0, which supports 30W fast charging. Essentially, it’s the same Warp Charge 30T charger that’s bundled with the newer OnePlus 7T series. We verified this by plugging the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition into Realme’s charger, and it detected it as a Warp charger.
Realme X2 specifications and software
The star of the Realme X2 is its processor. This is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G SoC, which we’ve seen before in phones such as the Samsung Galaxy A80 and the Oppo Reno 2 (Review). Notably, both these phones cost more than Rs. 30,000, so to offer the same SoC for under Rs. 20,000 is quite an achievement for Realme. The Snapdragon 730G features eight Kryo 470 cores and an Adreno 618 GPU, both of which are superior to those found in the Snapdragon 710 and 712 SoCs. It’s also built on the smaller 8nm fabrication process, which should make it more power efficient.
The Realme X2 has been launched in three variants in India — one with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage (Rs. 16,999); one with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage (Rs. 18,999); and finally 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage (Rs. 19,999). All variants use LPDDR4X RAM and the UFS 2.1 flash storage standard. Other connectivity features include dual-band Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5, support for three satellite navigation systems, and the usual suite of sensors.
This phone also supports Google’s Widevine L1 DRM certification, so videos from apps such as Netflix can be streamed at higher-than-SD resolutions. The Realme X2 doesn’t support FM radio though, which the XT did. The Indian version also lacks NFC, but this shouldn’t be a big deal for most.
The Realme X2 ships with ColorOS 6.1, just like the X2 Pro. The security patch was a little dated on our unit (October 2019), but hopefully, this should be fixed soon. The software features are very similar to what we recently saw in the Realme X2 Pro. There’s Google’s Digital Wellbeing, a system-wide dark mode, and plenty of gestures and shortcuts to play around with. You also get lots of preinstalled apps, and only the third-party ones can uninstalled. We’ve covered all the features before, so don’t forget to check out the Realme X2 Pro, Realme 5 Pro, and Realme XT reviews for all the details.
Realme X2 performance and battery life
We had the top-end 8GB model of the Realme X2 with us, and as expected, Android ran pretty smoothly. The in-display fingerprint sensor was quick at authentication and we didn’t encounter any mis-reads or failed attempts. You even get a bunch of different animation styles for the fingerprint position indicator to choose from. Face recognition works very well too and you can use it even in very dimly lit environments. There’s no notification LED, but you can enable a rudimentary always-on-display mode which shows you basic information such as the time and alerts from certain apps such as messages or missed calls.
We didn’t face any issues with heating. Even with heavy camera use outdoors, the back and sides of the phone barely got warm, which is a good sign. The Realme X2 also delivered solid performance in games. We played PUBG Mobile, Asphalt 9: Legends, and Arena of Valour — all graphically intensive titles — and they ran very well without causing any excessive heating to the X2. Gameplay was smooth even with the graphics settings in Asphalt 9: Legends and PUBG Mobile cranked all the way up. The phone performed well in benchmarks too. We got 267,419 points in AnTuTu and and 59fps in GFXbench’s T-Rex test.
Audio quality is another area in which the Realme X2 fared well. It only has a single speaker but there’s Dolby Atmos enhancement that’s on by default, and this helps boost the mid-range and lower frequencies. The large display is great for watching videos, thanks to its punchy colours, good viewing angles, and more than satisfactory brightness.
Even with heavy usage, we were easily able to use the Realme X2 for a full day, if not more. The 4,000mAh battery, coupled with the 8nm SoC will easily give you about a day and a half of runtime with medium to light usage. Surprisingly, we didn’t get a very impressive runtime in our HD video battery loop test. The Realme X2 ran for just 13 hours and 11 minutes, which was lower than expected.
Charging speed was also impressive. We were able to charge the Realme X2 from zero all the way to about 60 percent in half an hour, and up to 95 percent in an hour. This is thanks to the VOOC Flash Charge 4.0 feature and bundled 30W charger.
Realme X2 cameras
In terms of cameras, the only thing that’s new here compared to the Realme XT is the front camera. The XT uses a 32-megapixel front-facing camera, which has an f/2.0 aperture. For normal selfies, the camera shoots images at the native resolution, but in Portrait mode, the images are pixel-binned down to 8-megapixels.
Using the front camera under good light, we found image quality to be quite impressive. Details were solid, colours were accurate, and exposure was generally well balanced. Even when shooting against the light, we found the HDR to work very well, exposing our face and the background equally well. Selfies in low-light looked quite average, though. There was visible noise in photos, and details weren’t great.
The Realme X2 lets you use Nightscape for the selfie camera, which improved the exposure a bit even in dimly lit areas. However, this still needs more work, as at times, we ended up with some heavy pixel distortion in the final shots. The screen flash was bright and very effective in lighting up our face, even in very dark scenarios.
The Realme X2 can shoot 1080p selfie videos, and under good light, details were good and colours looked natural. Videos are stabilised, but the electronic stabilisation caused some mild distortion when we moved about, and there’s no way to turn this off. There’s a new bokeh mode for selfie videos, which actually worked pretty well even when we had two faces in the frame. It even shows you the background blur effect in real-time, as you’re recording. Low-light selfie videos aren’t the best, but are passable provided there’s good artificial lighting around.
The rear cameras are essentially the same setup as the Realme XT. We have a primary 64-megapixel sensor with an f/1.8 aperture; an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera; a 2-megapixel depth sensor; and a 2-megapixel macro camera. The camera app offers the same features found in the Realme X2 Pro. You can shoot videos using the wide-angle camera; there’s an ‘Ultra Steady’ shooting mode; and you can adjust the level of blur when shooting Portrait stills and video.
Realme has promised a ‘Super Nightscape Portrait’ shooting mode, which should arrive with a future software update. It sounds as though this will allow Nightscape to be used for Portrait shots too, which should be interesting.
The primary 64-megapixel camera captures oversampled 16-megapixel photos by default. In daylight, we found image quality to be very good. Objects had sharp, well-defined edges, details were good, and HDR worked well. The sides of each frame had a mild sprinkling of noise, but this was only noticeable once we zoomed in all the way. We had some intermittent autofocus issues, especially with close-up objects, but this wasn’t persistent. Close-ups also looked good, with good colour saturation and a pleasing natural depth effect.
We were happy with the Portrait mode results too. The dedicated depth camera managed to detect edges very well and our subject’s face had good sharpness and detail. The macro camera is useful, but details weren’t always the best. Plus, you’ll need ample light to get good shots. The wide-angle camera was useful too, and barrel distortion wasn’t too noticeable, if at all. Details and colours were good, but not on the same level as what the primary camera captured. In low light, this sensor isn’t of much use, as details were very weak and exposure was poor, even with Nightscape.
We found the video quality to best at 1080p 30fps, when using the primary camera. Electronic stabilisation worked well and didn’t cause any shimmer when walking about in daylight. The X2 can shoot at 4K too, but without any stabilisation. The ‘Ultra Steady’ mode showed us extremely smooth video in the viewfinder, but the recorded video still had some noticeable jerkiness. In low light, there was noticeable grain in dark areas, and some noticeable distortion due to the electronic stabilisation when we moved around.
The Realme X2 builds on the success of the Realme XT (Review), and is yet another superb all-rounder priced below Rs. 20,000. It just makes sense to pick this over the Realme XT or even the Realme X (Review) at the moment, since for a bit more money, you get the same software as the X2 Pro plus some nice hardware upgrades. The X2 is still using a dewdrop notch though so if it’s style you’re after, then the Realme X with its notchless screen and pop-up front camera is still the better bet.
Low-light video quality could be refined a bit, and FM radio is missing, which was available with the XT. Other than this, it offers a good display, strong battery life with very fast charging, a capable set of cameras, and very good gaming performance. Even if you aren’t a gamer, the Realme X2 is currently the best Realme phone you should consider under Rs. 20,000.
Is Realme X2 better than Redmi Note 8 Pro, Redmi K20? 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.