Like many of its competitors, Xiaomi outsourced the Poco sub-brand to its own company just in time for the introduction of the Poco X2. The brand is of course known for the legendary Poco F1, but more than a year has passed since the introduction of this model. Poco is now on its own, although it will likely share a lot of resources with Xiaomi in the foreseeable future. The new Poco X2 will certainly stand out, but fans should be aware that this is not the next version of the Poco F1 and that it doesn't follow the same formula at all. The Poco X2 is much more conventional and a little less groundbreaking than its famous predecessor.
This phone is not made of simple plastic and does not try to prioritize core specifications and raw performance over anything else. Of course, people still expect Poco to be ahead in terms of price, and to some extent. From Rs only. The Poco X2 picks up the Realme X2 (review) and overshadows the Redmi K20 (review) and the Redmi Note 8 Pro (review).
Will Poco trigger another firestorm on the Indian market, and does this mark the beginning of a new era of competitiveness? We can't wait to start our review to find out.
Poco X2 design
While the Poco F1 (review) looks nondescript and is made of simple plastic to remain affordable, Poco tries a different approach here. What we have is a bright, colorful glass back with a gradient and an unusual circular design around the vertical camera strip. Our Atlantis Blue unit was lighter at the top and darker at the bottom, but you can also choose Phoenix Red or Matrix Purple. Below is a Poco logo and no "by Xiaomi" tag like the F1. The frame of the phone corresponds to the color of the lower third of the back.
The main feature of the design flair is the round patch. You may think at first that Poco has a raised camera module like we saw on the OnePlus 7T (test) and Nokia 7.2 (test), but it's just a stain with a smooth surface while the glass looks matt on top of it. Despite the fact that it's pretty flat, Poco managed to make this stain reflective like a convex mirror, and we were able to frame a selfie that was taken with the rear camera. The vertical stripe in which the four cameras are located is fairly highlighted and has slightly rough edges.
With a 6.67-inch screen, this is undoubtedly a great phone. The high aspect ratio of 20: 9 contributes to the accessibility and the non-slip rear ensures a good grip. However, it is still difficult to get to all areas of the screen with one thumb, which may make it difficult to use with one hand. Your gaze is drawn to the wide dual camera cutout in the upper right corner of the screen – it is not too noticeable in normal use, but it is definitely a distraction when watching full-screen videos.
The power button on the right also serves as a fingerprint sensor, but is long and thin, which is not ideal. The fingerprint enrollment process took longer than usual because the Poco X2 needs to make sure that it only works with a narrow part of your fingerprint. Lefties find this placement awkward. You need to register at least two or three fingers so that you can unlock the phone when it is in your hand and on a table. The sensor is flush with the side of the phone, which also meant that we didn't always align our fingers perfectly with it.
The volume buttons are located above the on / off switch, making them easily out of reach. There is an infrared heater on the top, as with many Xiaomi phones. Unfortunately, the compartment is on the left of the Hybrid type, so you'll have to sacrifice a second SIM card if you need a microSD card, and vice versa. There is a 3.5mm audio jack, a USB Type-C port and a speaker on the bottom.
According to Poco, Gorilla Glass 5 was used for both the front and back of the X2. This phone comes with a clear case and we're happy that there is no pre-installed screen protector. You also get a SIM eject pin, a 27W charger, and a USB Type-C cable. The charger is one of the bulkiest we have ever seen.
Overall, it seems that Poco wants to give the X2 and itself a brand its own identity. We're not sure if all of the designs offered here are the best, but this phone is at least unique and recognizable from both the front and the back. However, we would have liked a neutral color option.
Poco X2 specifications and software
As already mentioned, the Poco X2 should not be seen as the successor to the Poco F1, and therefore no attempt is being made to offer a flagship SoC at medium prices. You get the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G, which is pretty much the second best. This is the same chip that powers the phone's main competitor, the Realme X2. So we can assume that gaming and general purpose performance will be solid.
You can buy the Poco X2 with 6 GB RAM and 64 GB storage for Rs. 15.999; 6 GB RAM and 128 GB storage for Rs. 16,999; or 8 GB of RAM and a whopping 256 GB of storage for Rs. 19,999. We have the top-end variant for testing with us, and if you choose this, the hybrid dual SIM slot won't be a big problem.
The 6.67-inch display with 2340 x 1080 pixels offers an outstanding function with a refresh rate of 120 Hz. This is a subtle function, but it significantly improves the quality of the user experience, so that the Android user interface feels smooth and appealing. Poco calls this feature "RealityFlow" and it's not difficult to understand why. Games will benefit the most, but they have to explicitly support it and don't do much yet. HDR-10 is also on the data sheet.
There is also a 4500 mAh battery, dual VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5, GPS, FM radio and all standard sensors. Interestingly, the design and specifications of the Poco X2 are practically identical to those of the Redmi K30, which is sold in China. It will be interesting to see how the two brands differ from each other when the Redmi K30 is introduced here.
The Poco user interface is referred to as Poco Launcher and MIUI 11.0.3 in various parts of the user interface. It looks and feels the way we saw it recently on the Redmi K20 (Review) and Redmi K20 Pro (Review). It is based on Android 10 and we have the security update for December 2019 that is easy to see.
Xiaomi's software strategy has always been controversial, and now Poco has inherited the same problems. There is a lot of pre-installed bloatware and we have received several annoying notifications every day asking us to download more through the company's GetApps store or watch random celebrity videos. There are also promotional messages on the lock screen that you can disable. Many standard apps display ads and advertised content. Overall, however, we have found that all of this appears to be somewhat weakened compared to what we have dealt with in the past.
Among the many pre-installed apps you will find Mi Pay and Mi Credit, Xiaomi's apps for UPI transactions and personal loans. There are of course several redundant Mi apps, including a web browser, photo gallery and calendar, but a few others like Mi Remote, Themes and Screen Recorder are useful. Third party selections including Helo, Gaana, Amazon Shopping, Dailyhunt, Opera and more can be removed. The GetApps store will try to get you to download a lot more. Therefore, make sure to activate the "Skip" option.
There are many customization options for the user interface. There is now not only an app drawer, but also tabs that filter different categories of apps for easy access. The nice details include a search bar at the bottom of the drawer so that you don't have to stretch, and a clear grouping of the "special functions" in the Settings app. These features include Game Turbo optimization mode, quick response fields for messaging apps and second space for data protection.
Poco X2 performance and battery life
The Snapdragon 730G is no child's play, and the Poco X2 has mastered all of our apps and usage scenarios. We saw a very slight stutter in the user interface once or twice, but it was only temporary. Multitasking was not a problem at all. This experience naturally applies to the top-end variant with 8 GB RAM that we tested. The only problem we had was stretching our thumbs to reach all parts of the screen. The phone did not get too hot during operation, and we only felt a little heat when playing games or working with the cameras for a while.
The screen isn't particularly vivid or sharp, but it's fairly bright and appealing, and the viewing angles are great. Whether the big hole with two cameras bothers you or not is a subjective matter. We noticed that it was largely forgotten when watching videos, but was suddenly distracted from it when a bright scene appeared. We also noticed a slight unevenness in the backlight around the neckline.
There is only a single speaker on the bottom of the phone, but it is very loud and delivers an impressively deep and rich sound. Music distorts when the volume level is over 60 percent, but everything else is fine for personal listening.
Some of our benchmark tests could not be run on our test device prior to release, but we need to share some numbers. AnTuTu gave us a score of 2.80.912, which is very good. The Geekbench 5 single-core and multi-core scores were 548 and 1,759. 3DMark and GFXBench both couldn't run, so we don't have graphics results, but we ran some of today's more demanding games and gained some hands-on experience with the Poco X2.
PUBG Mobile is set to the default setting High by default. The game was fun and ran without delay. Asphalt 9: Legends also worked very well and doesn't stutter even when we hit other cars upside down, which is usually a stressful visual effect.
We found the Poco X2's battery life to be adequate, and we weren't afraid to go through a whole day from morning to night. During that time, we used the cameras quite often, played a few rounds with PUBG Mobile, streamed videos for about an hour, and spent some time with social media apps. Our HD video loop test lasted 13 hours and 43 minutes. This is not a particularly good result, but it can depend on the screen size.
Poco X2 cameras
The Poco X2 has four rear and two front cameras. The primary 64 megapixel rear camera has an aperture of 1: 1.89 and uses the Sony IMX686 sensor, which replaces the widely used IMX586 camera. There's also an 8-megapixel 1: 2.2 ultra-wide camera, a 2-megapixel macro camera with a focal length range of 2 to 10 cm, as well as an auto focus and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. The primary selfie camera has a resolution of 20 megapixels and is accompanied by a 2 megapixel depth sensor.
The Poco camera app takes some time to get used to. You need to use the zoom control to switch to the wide-angle camera (only marked as 0.6x). However, if you switch to 2x, a digital zoom will be performed because no optical zoom is available. At the top there is a separate shift key for the macro camera. It is a bit of a hassle to swipe through the mode dial, which offers numerous options, including 64 megapixels, Pro, Portait, night, short video and slow motion. Unfortunately, photos are Poco watermarked by default, and we hope that all manufacturers would stop doing so.
We have had occasional problems adjusting the primary camera to keep focus perfectly, and stepping back from our subject has often helped us. Photos were exposed very well with bright colors. If the composition allowed it, the depth of field was very natural. Fine details on objects like petals came out well as long as there was good natural light and they were in the middle of the frame. In shady areas and on the edges of daylight shots, details were lost and we saw some grain.
As expected, the wide-angle camera takes pictures with poorer quality, but was happy to see that the distortions on the sides are minimal. Macros were completely washed out and it was often difficult to take a picture without the phone itself casting a shadow over our subjects.
Shooting in low light was also quite impressive, although the details are of course not as well defined as during the day. You can take useful pictures as long as there is a little light around, whether indoors or outdoors. Night mode makes a significant difference and you don't have to stand still for too long. This option lightens frames and displays details that would have been lost in the shadows.
You can take portrait selfies and adjust a virtual aperture to vary the depth of depth. Edge detection is also pretty good. However, the overall quality of the photos taken with the front camera is not as impressive as we would have liked. The backgrounds were crowded during the day and details looked a bit artificial. In addition, too many clicks and swipes are required to disable the standard embellishment.
As for the video, we liked what the Poco X2 recorded at 1920×1080 during the day. The video was crisp with smooth motion tracking and adequate stabilization. When we switched to 4K, the colors were unfortunately exaggerated and the recorded clips showed a warm color cast. At night even a slight movement caused a strong shimmer and the movement was rather jerky. Objects were not clearly visible and bright light caused problems with exposure. 4K video recorded at night was hardly usable.
Offering high-end specs at rock-bottom prices is the easiest way to succeed in the Indian market, and Xiaomi has been one of the greatest forces here for years. The Chinese giant is constantly launching new models that raise the bar in terms of value, whether it's style, battery life, cameras, specifications, or attention-grabbing features.
While the Poco X2 doesn't quite have the effect the Poco F1 had, it still does everything it needs, and pricing is its main benefit. The Realme X2 (review) and the Redmi K20 (review) dominated the sub-Rs. In the last 20,000 stores and many newer models, such as the Oppo F15 (review) and the Vivo S1 Pro (review), they simply couldn't keep up with performance and features. With the Poco X2, they all look a little worse in comparison.
The processor, memory, memory, battery and cameras are all strong and there is nothing to complain about in terms of build quality or the accessories supplied. However, we hope that the user interface will simplify bloatware and grouse notifications much more, and frankly, the back of the Poco X2 is a little too bright for our liking. Some people will also struggle with the size of this device.
If cost is your main motive, then the Poco X2 is the new obvious choice in its segment. However, that doesn't mean it's a clear winner of the Realme X2, especially if you can find it at a discount or if the Poco X2 is hard to buy from flash sales. If you can't decide between these two models, you can expect Gadgets 360 to offer a direct comparison soon.