We've known since September that Realme will launch the Realme XT 730G this month, and that time has finally come. Now known as Realme X2, this is the company's answer to Xiaomi's Redmi Note 8 Pro, one of the most powerful smartphones of the current generation that you can buy for less than Rs. 20,000.
The Realme X2 offers roughly the same price as the Realme XT (Review), but has a much more powerful processor, faster charging and a higher resolution front camera. All in all, it seems like a pretty decent upgrade on paper. However, the main attraction here is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G SoC, which is aimed at gamers. This SoC is said to offer better graphics performance than its counterpart, the Snapdragon 730, and better overall performance compared to the Snapdragon 710 and 712. The Realme X2 is also the first phone in this segment to be based on this chip at Realme's aggressive prices.
If you are one of the many people who are always looking for a good smartphone that is under Rs. 20,000, you will be wondering if the Realme X2 is currently the best deal. Let's have a look.
Realme X2 design
The Realme X2 has the same design DNA as the Realme XT and not the X2 Pro (Review), as the name suggests. It's physically difficult to tell the two phones apart unless you get the new pearl green color, which is currently only available for the X2. This color bar has a glossy frame instead of the matte surface of the other color options. The build quality and finish are both good, and this phone isn't particularly slippery. The back also has the same "hyperbolic" pattern as the XT, which means that it glistens when light hits it as it moves.
The screen is still relatively large, so it can sometimes be difficult to operate the phone comfortably with one hand. The buttons are well placed and the ports are arranged like previous Realme phones. The speaker, USB Type-C connector and headphone jack are located below. The X2 supports expandable memory and, in addition to the slots for two nano SIMs, has its own slot for a microSD card.
The 6.4-inch full HD + display (1080 x 2340) corresponds to that of the Realme XT. It is a super AMOLED panel with a built-in fingerprint sensor. The display also uses Gorilla Glass 5 to protect it from scratches, and Realme used the same glass for the back. The Realme X2 has the same camera layout as the XT, which protrudes quite a bit, but the included case compensates for this.
The scope of delivery is similar, consisting of a SIM ejection tool, a USB-C cable, a bag and a quick charger. The latter is new, as this is the first Realme phone that is equipped with VOOC Flash Charge 4.0, which supports fast charging with 30 W. It is essentially the same Warp Charge 30T charger that came with the newer OnePlus 7T series. We checked this by plugging the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition into the Realme charger and recognizing 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 have already seen in phones like the Samsung Galaxy A80 and the Oppo Reno 2 (review). Remarkably, both phones cost more than Rs. 30,000 to offer the same SoC for under Rs. 20,000 are quite a success for Realme. The Snapdragon 730G has eight Kryo 470 cores and an Adreno 618 GPU. Both are superior to the Snapdragon 710 and 712 SoCs. It is also based on the smaller 8nm manufacturing process, which should increase energy efficiency.
The Realme X2 was launched in India in three variants – one with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB memory (16,999 rupees); one with 6 GB RAM and 128 GB memory (case 18,999); and finally 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage (Rs. 19,999). All variants use LPDDR4X RAM and the flash memory standard UFS 2.1. Other connectivity features include dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth 5, support for three satellite navigation systems and the usual range of sensors.
This phone also supports Google's Widevine L1 DRM certification, so videos from apps like Netflix can be streamed with resolutions over SD. However, the Realme X2 does not support FM radio like the XT. The Indian version also lacks NFC, but this shouldn't be a big deal for most.
Like the X2 Pro, the Realme X2 is delivered with ColorOS 6.1. The security patch on our device was a bit dated (October 2019), but hopefully this should be fixed soon. The software features are similar to those we saw recently in the Realme X2 Pro. There's Google's digital wellbeing, a system-wide dark mode, and lots of gestures and shortcuts to play around with. You also get lots of pre-installed apps, and only third-party apps can be uninstalled. We have already covered all functions. So don't forget to read the Realme X2 Pro, Realme 5 Pro and Realme XT reviews to get all the details.
Real 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 built-in fingerprint sensor was quick to authenticate and there were no wrong reads or failed attempts. You even get a number of different animation styles for the fingerprint position indicator. Face detection also works very well and you can use it even in very dimly lit environments. There is no notification LED, but you can enable a rudimentary always-on-display mode that shows basic information like the time and warnings of certain apps like messages or missed calls.
We had no problems with the heating. Even with heavy use of the camera outdoors, the back and sides of the phone hardly 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 Valor – all graphically intense titles – and they went very well without overheating the X2. Gameplay was also smooth with the graphics settings in Asphalt 9: Legends and PUBG Mobile. The phone also did well in benchmarks. We achieved 267,419 points and 59 fps in AnTuTu and in the GFXbench T-Rex test.
Audio quality is another area in which the Realme X2 has held up well. There is only one speaker, but by default Dolby Atmos enhancement is enabled. This increases the middle and lower frequencies. The large display is ideal for watching videos, as it has strong colors, good viewing angles and a more than satisfactory brightness.
Even under heavy use, we were able to use the Realme X2 without problems for a whole day, if not longer. With the 4,000 mAh battery and the 8 nm SoC, you can easily achieve a one and a half day runtime with medium to low loads. Surprisingly, we did not achieve a very impressive runtime in our HD video battery loop test. The Realme X2 only ran 13 hours and 11 minutes, which was lower than expected.
The loading speed was also impressive. We were able to charge the Realme X2 from zero to 60 percent in half an hour and up to 95 percent in an hour. This is thanks to the VOOC Flash Charge 4.0 function and the supplied 30 W charger.
Realme X2 cameras
As for the cameras, the only thing that's new compared to the Realme XT is the front camera. The XT uses a 32-megapixel front camera with an aperture of 1: 2.0. With normal selfies, the camera takes pictures with the native resolution, but in portrait mode the pictures are reduced to 8 megapixels pixel by pixel.
When the front camera was well lit, the picture quality was impressive. Details were solid, colors were accurate, and the exposure was generally well balanced. Even with backlight shots, the HDR worked very well, so that face and background are equally well exposed. However, selfies in low light conditions looked pretty average. There was visible noise in the photos and the details weren't particularly good.
With the Realme X2 you can use Nightscape for the selfie camera, which improves the exposure even in poorly lit areas. However, this requires even more work, as there were sometimes severe pixel distortions in the last few shots. The screen flash was bright and lit up our face very effectively even in very dark scenarios.
The Realme X2 can record 1080p selfie videos. In good light, the details were good and the colors look natural. Videos are stabilized, but electronic stabilization caused slight distortion when we moved, and there's no way to turn it off. There's a new bokeh mode for selfie video that 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 shoot. Selfie videos in low light are not the best, but acceptable in good artificial lighting.
The reversing cameras essentially correspond to the Realme XT. We have a primary 64 megapixel sensor with an aperture of 1: 1.8; an 8 megapixel wide-angle camera; a 2 megapixel depth sensor; and a 2 megapixel macro camera. The camera app offers the same functions as the Realme X2 Pro. You can record videos with the wide-angle camera. There is an ultra steady recording mode. and you can adjust the degree of blur when shooting still pictures and videos in portrait orientation.
Realme has promised a "Super Nightscape Portrait" recording mode, which will arrive with a future software update. It sounds like Nightscape could also be used for portraits, which should be interesting.
By default, the primary 64 megapixel camera captures oversampled 16 megapixel photos. In daylight we found the image quality to be very good. Objects had sharp, well-defined edges, details were good, and HDR worked well. The sides of each frame were slightly sprinkled with noise, but this only became apparent when we zoomed in all the way. We had some intermittent autofocus issues, especially close-ups, but this didn't last. Close-ups looked good too, with good color saturation and a pleasant natural depth effect.
We were also happy with the results of portrait mode. The special depth camera recognized edges very well and the face of our subject had good sharpness and attention to detail. The macro camera is useful, but details weren't always the best. You also need a lot of light to take good pictures. The wide-angle camera was also useful, and the distortion of the barrel was not noticeable, if at all. Details and colors were good, but not at the level of the primary camera. This sensor is not particularly useful in low light conditions because the details were very poor and the exposure was poor, even with Nightscape.
We found that video quality at 1080p 30fps is best when using the primary camera. The electronic stabilization worked well and caused no shimmer in daylight. The X2 can also shoot with 4K, but without stabilization. The "Ultra Steady" mode showed an extremely smooth video in the viewfinder, but still showed a noticeable jerky. In poor lighting conditions, grain was found in dark areas and due to the electronic stabilization when moving around there was noticeable distortion.
The Realme X2 builds on the success of the Realme XT (Review) and is another excellent all-rounder, the price of which is below US dollars. 20,000. It only makes sense to choose this at the moment via the Realme XT or even the Realme X (Review), as you can get the same software as the X2 Pro and some nice hardware upgrades for a little more money. The X2 still uses a dew drop notch. So if you prefer the style you're looking for, the Realme X with its notchless screen and pop-up front camera is still the better choice.
The video quality in low light conditions could be improved a little, and the FM radio that was available with the XT is missing. Apart from that, it offers a good display, a long battery life with very fast charging, a powerful camera set and very good gaming performance. Even if you are not a player, 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 click the play button below.