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Realme X2 review: Spruced up Realme XT with the right upgrades: Price, Camere And More

Realme came up with the Realme XT in September and it had announced back then that a more powerful version of the phone with the Snapdragon 730G chip will be coming by December. The phone is finally here but not as the Realme XT730G- it comes in as the Realme X2. The X2 branding frames it as the generic variant of the Realme X2 Pro, which earned mixed impressions from India Today Tech.

On paper, the Realme X2 is mostly the Realme XT but with some notable upgrades in key areas that could keep it relevant until the Realme X50 drops in next year. It starts at Rs 16,999, and it seems like it has the Redmi K20 and the Redmi Note 8 Pro in its sights, looking to brush aside the competition with what Indians love- better specs for lesser price.

But is worth buying as 2019 ends? A question worth keeping the country awake for nights? Just kidding. But if you are looking for an affordable phone with some bells and whistles, the Realme X2 has a lot to offer and I think most of you will be happy with what Madhav Sheth and his team have in store.

Since the Realme X2 is technically a mid-life upgrade to the Realme XT, I am going to focus on the things that make it worthwhile and things that should make you take 'Note' of its competition.

Realme X2 has a great display:
Realme has consistently impressed with the Realme X series when it comes to the display. Instead of using a bog-standard LCD panel, Realme sticks to AMOLED panels for the X2 and that's good news if your phone is your sole source of entertainment. There's a 6.4-inch AMOLED display with a dewdrop notch on the top for housing the camera. Yes, the notch is there but it's relatively small. It doesn't hinder the viewing experience though.
The Full HD+ resolutions makes for sharp images while the AMOLED panel brings extremely vibrant colours and high contrasts while maintaining good brightness levels. Viewing angles are decent too and sunlight legibility is good enough to help you with texts. The in-display fingerprint sensor is fast and it's easy to reach from all sides. It's still an optical sensor and hence, you need to have dry fingers for it to work.

Eager performance puts a smile on the face:
The whole point of the Realme X2 is the Snapdragon 730G chip and honestly, you can see that gain in performance while playing games. The Realme XT with the Snapdragon 712 chip was fast enough for daily tasks and did some impressive gaming too. The Snapdragon 730G only improves the peak performance and that means your PUBG or Call of Duty sessions won't be affected by issues such as thermal throttling. Sadly, despite being a chip for gaming, the Snapdragon 730G cannot support high frame rates in PUBG MOBILE and that hurts me as a gamer.

Otherwise, the phone is as fast as Realme phones are known to in 2019. Opening apps or juggling between a few of them is not an issue for the Realme X2. Part of the effortless performance has to do with ColorOS 6.1 and while I am not a fan of its aesthetics, the OS is optimised extremely well and it makes the most out of the resources. There's no lag or stutter, which is impressive for an interface that's overhauled with a chunky skin.
While the performance is fast, the interface has a lot of catching up to do, even when compared to Xiaomi's MIUI. ColorOS 6.1 is bland and has no aesthetic appeal, whether its the fonts or menu designs. It's the most shabby interface I have seen on a phone in 2019. And then you are greeted with dollops of ads from system apps, which is annoying while on the move. The Themes app keeps on throwing up notifications about new themes while the web browser will keep on disturbing with weird ads. There's a lot of unnecessary pre-loaded stuff that you might never need. The OS is also based on Android 9 Pie, which in late 2019 is just unacceptable. Realme should have launched it with the Android 10 based ColorOS 7.

Honestly, I don't understand why Realme keeps on saying it's going closer to a stock Android interface when the UI it offers is exactly the opposite. ColorOS might be the only thing that could put off geeks from getting this phone.

Battery life is good for an entire day:
Realme is using a regular-sized 4000mAh battery to keep the phone alive and in my usage, which involved web browsing, texting, social media hunting, some light camera work and music streaming over Bluetooth earbuds, the Realme X2 went on for an entire day with close 30 per cent juice to spare.
Realme has given the X2 its 30W VOOC 4.0 charging system and it can refill from dead to 70 per cent in 30 minutes. That's not as fast as the 50W charging system but it's still fast enough to get you going for a few hours with a few minutes of charging.

Cameras are nice but numbers aren't everything:
Realme was the first phone maker in India to make the quad-camera more accessible. The X2 is part of that effort and it essentially lifts off the same rear cameras from the XT. The main camera is a 64-megapixel camera using a Samsung sensor that paired with an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera, a 2-megapixel macro camera and a 2-megapixel depth camera. The upgrade happens in the front camera where the X2 gets a 32-megapixel camera.
The camera performance is mostly similar to what the Realme XT offered. Daylight photos look good with lots of vivid colours and a decent amount of details. You can always switch on the Chroma Boost mode to liven up the photos with higher saturation but the regular photos are closer to natural tones. At night, the main camera does an impressive job with the colours, sharpness and noise suppression. The Nightscape mode results aren't that different from regular mode photos and that's a good thing. Hence, if you do lots of late-night parties, the Realme X2 camera will keep you happy. The portrait mode is also quite good with good subject separation.

The wide-angle camera isn't as good as the main camera. It's an inferior sensor and you can only get good photos in daylight. The colour vibrancy isn't as good as the main camera and noise creeps up in low light conditions. The macro camera is mostly useless as it takes grainy photos and the 4cm focal length is no good over taking the same shot with the main camera.

And the conclusion is:
For a phone that starts at Rs 17,000, the Realme X2 has a lot of features to offer. The upgrades that Realme has introduced over the Realme XT make sense, and they make a great phone even better. The Snapdragon 730G chip is now more accessible than ever and for those who do a lot of gaming, this is a good phone to go for. The 30W fast charging system is a blessing for those on the move 24x7, topping up the battery from dead under an hour. The cameras are quite good too, especially in low light.

That said, I would have liked to see Realme do a more premium (and most importantly, a new) design with the Realme X2. The reflective gradient on the green variant isn't for everybody- the white is still the best colour to go for. On top of that, ColorOS still has a lot of catching up to do in terms of refinement. However, these issues aren't severe enough to ruin the experience and the rest of the package makes up it.

On the whole, the Realme X2 is a complete package and under Rs 20,000, it's one of the best deals you can find today. Barring the minor niggles, it's got performance, good cameras and fast charging- what else is there to ask for?