Realme X2 Pro review: The best value smartphone of 2019
The Realme X, introduced in July, was a great take on a mid-range smartphone with features like a bezel-less display, super-fast charging, and an elegant design. It certainly helped bridge the gap between affordable smartphones and flagship killers thanks to the gorgeous design and competitive pricing. The company has taken a rather different approach with the Realme X2 Pro, opting to step up to top-tier hardware in an affordable package. But has Realme pulled it off, or has this new strategy failed to compete? In Android Authority’s Realme X2 Pro review, you’re about to find out!
Realme X2 Pro review: The big picture
The Realme X2 Pro balances a packed-out spec sheet with a competitive price and an improved user experience. The charging capabilities of the X2 Pro are outstanding, enabling a class-leading 0-to-100 top-up time. Forget a flagship-killer, this is a flagship.
What’s in the box
- Realme X2 Pro
- 50W Super VOOC charger
- USB-C to USB-A cable
- TPU case
- SIM ejector tool
- Quick start guide
Realme’s packaging hasn’t changed in a while now, and you get what you expect with the X2 Pro. Inside you’ll find the device, a translucent case, a USB-C to USB-A cable, a 50W charging brick, printed documentation, and the SIM eject tool.
- 161 x 75.7mm x 8.7mm
- Metal and glass build
- In-display fingerprint scanner
- USB-C, headphone port
- Water-drop notch
It’s easy to see where the Realme X2 Pro gets its looks from — the rear and sides of the device remind me a lot of the Realme X. From the Lunar White color used on the back, to the centrally-placed camera housing, to the aluminum rail that lines the sides of the device, the two definitely share some DNA. The main difference here is that the X2 Pro’s back is now glass over the plastic used last time around, leading to a much more premium-feeling device.
The curved rear glass creates an ergonomic feel in the hand, and thanks to the flat front glass, accidental touches are minimal. The phone itself is very easy to grip thanks to its slightly tapered sides, and doesn’t feel like it’s going to fall out of the hand in a hurry. On a similar note, the right-side mounted power button and left-mounted volume buttons are very tactile and crisp feeling, with no wobble or lateral movement.
I’ve found in-display fingerprint scanners to be very hit and miss on mid-range smartphones. Thankfully with the Realme X2 Pro, it’s a hit. The speed of registering a fingerprint wasn’t exceptional, but unlocking the device was up there with the fastest that I’ve experienced. Furthermore, the phone was able to recognize my print nine times out of ten, a far better result than previous experiences, too.
Realme decided to revert to the water-drop notch style with the X2 Pro, and I happen to agree with this decision. The bezels are still rather thin, with a significantly smaller chin, and more tightly rounded corners, making for a much more premium feeling phone. By comparison, the Realme X’s rather extremely rounded corners made it feel cheap.
All round, the Realme X2 Pro feels like a significant improvement on the Realme X’s already great design and build quality. The haptics feel much tighter and more precise, and the switch to glass was a brilliant decision because this thing feels much more special.
- 6.5-inch display
- 2,400 x 1,080 resolution
- Super AMOLED panel
- 90Hz refresh rate
- Gorilla Glass 5
High refresh rate displays are in right now, and Realme has capitalized on this, giving the X2 Pro a silky-smooth 90Hz Super AMOLED panel. The 6.5-inch Full HD+ screen, topped with Gorilla Glass 5, is impressive to say the least.
At over 480 nits, the Realme X2 Pro’s display gets surprisingly bright, making outdoor viewing easy as pie, even on the rare sunny days here in England! As for sharpness, I found the X2 Pro to perform admirably, providing more than adequate detail in all scenarios tested, including reading fine text from a zoomed-out article.
Like its predecessor, the Realme X2 Pro’s screen isn’t incredibly color accurate — thankfully the blue shift has been minimized in all but extreme off-axis viewing angles. There is still a color-temperature issue, however. Our testing shows the display sitting a very cool 7700 kelvin in both Vivid and Gentle modes. For reference, a well-calibrated display will sit at around 7000 kelvin.
Like its predecessor, the screen isn't incredibly accurate.
In the display settings, you can move the temperature slider to better fit your preference, and so I have set mine to be warmer than default to combat this issue. That said, the screen is very fun to consume media with — its colors pop, its size is great for watching videos, and its 90Hz refresh rate makes for a super-smooth gaming experience (as long as your game supports it!).
- Snapdragon 855 Plus
- 1 x 2.96GHz Kryo 485 + 3 x 2.42GHz Kryo 845 + 4 x 1.78GHz Kryo 485
- Adreno 640 GPU
- 6/8/12GB LPDDR4X RAM
- 64 UFS 2.1, 128GB/256GB UFS 3.0 ROM
- No microSD card
In performance, the Realme X2 Pro doesn’t disappoint. The use of the top-of-the-line processor and RAM configurations means this device will do anything and everything that you ask it to do. I tested a plethora of games, including PUBG Mobile, Fortnite Mobile, Super Mario Run, Minecraft Pocket Edition, Call of Duty Mobile, and Project: Off Road to great success. I’ve yet to experience any lag or frame drops whilst gaming with the Realme X2 Pro.
You need to buy the 128 or 256GB model to get UFS 3.0 storage.
There is one caveat with the X2 Pro’s spec sheet: You need to purchase the 128GB or 256GB model to get UFS 3.0 storage. Because of this, I’d avoid the base model Realme X2 Pro due to potential performance issues in the long term.
Zipping around the OS, switching between apps, and taking photos and video never felt slow with this device. During this Realme X2 Pro review, I started to notice how much faster this phone is compared to the Realme X that I’d got out for reference. In fact, the X2 Pro feels faster than my personal iPhone 11 and the Mate 30 Pro that I’d been using for a short while, too. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t on OnePlus’ level, but that doesn’t take away from its impressive rapidity.
- 50W SuperVOOC Flash Charge
With 4,000mAh being the standard for smartphone batteries these days, the Realme X2 Pro is pretty average in that department. Nevertheless, our testing showed impressive results, and I was easily able to go a full day without needing to top up, even with lots of LTE usage.
And that’s not even the best bit. SuperVOOC Flash Charge is the Realme X2 Pro’s charging tech of choice, and it’s unbelievably fast. The whopping 50W charger, included in the box, takes the device from dead to full in just 30 minutes. In that time, the Galaxy Note 10 doesn’t even hit 50%. Wireless charging, unfortunately, isn’t an option on the X2 Pro, however.
- Android 9 Pie
- Color OS 6.1
Previous versions of Color OS have had many scratching their head, due to the software’s toy-like aesthetic, and heavy-feeling collection of bloatware. Realme has made some significant changes to the look of Color OS with version 6.1, including a tidier notification shade and a reduction in bloat applications. These changes, on top of the 90Hz display, make the experience feel leaps ahead of what it once was.
The infamous App Market, the Hot Apps suggested apps folder, and many other preinstalled apps have been removed, making for a much more appealing software experience. There are still a few preloaded apps here, including Phone Manager, Game Space and Clone Phone, but I can forgive those when the rest of the software has seen this much improvement.
Gestures are here, and they very much follow the same layout as iOS’ and OnePlus’ implementation — I mean that as a compliment, these are great examples. They feel intuitive and natural if you’re used to, or at least familiar with, iOS gestures, and I switched to them from my previously favored three-button layout as soon as I realized they were available.
- 64MP ISOCELL GW1 sensor, f/1.8
- 8MP ultra-wide, 115 degrees, f/2.2
- 13MP 2x zoom, f/2.5
- 2MP depth camera at f/2.4
- 16MP at f/2.0
- Waterdrop notch
I wasn’t so impressed with the Realme X’s camera earlier this year due to its heavy processing and lack of realism in its photo results. This time around, the X2 Pro really impressed me — Realme has taken this phone’s camera to the next level. With a 64MP main camera, 8MP ultra-wide camera, 13MP telephoto camera, and 2MP depth camera, Realme has really packed a lot of versatility into this quad-camera setup.
Colors look pretty close to real-life while retaining a fun-to-look-at aesthetic, and this photo of an autumn tree is a great example of that. The leaves at the top really did look that orange, yet the contrast with the blue of the sky makes the leaves pop from the background. In shadows, colors don’t seem to break down, either, as illustrated by the darker area to the right of the image.
This photo of a Cornish town shows off the dynamic range and detail the Realme X2 Pro is capable of capturing. The back of the bench in the center of the scene is still fairly visible, with clearly defined slats of wood with metal poles; and the clouds are still well exposed without clipping. You can also still make out the individual slats on the wooden siding of the Wilko building, and the windows of the houses behind it.
Low light is the the Realme X2 Pro’s Achilles’ heel, as presented here in the image of the train station. The no-entry sign and railings that accompany it are horribly over-sharpened, with a halo-like artifact around them that looks both unnatural and ugly. Despite this over-processing, you can’t read what the text below the no-entry signs says, due Realme’s noise-reduction. I’ve not seen low-light performance this bad from a smartphone in a long time.
Selfies turn out pretty good thanks to the 16MP selfie camera, but selfie portrait does a sub-par job of edge detecion. Here, you can see that my hair is cut off and mistaken for something on the wall behund me, and the focus roll-off from the chain on the left to the staircase on the right is non-existent. This is one crucial area that Realme is going to need to improve on if they want their camera system to stand out from other budget flagships’.
If you want to have a deeper look at what the Realme X2 Pro’s camera system is capable of, please click here to view our full range of test media from the device.
- 3.5mm audio jack
- Dolby Atmos virtualization
Our testing shows the 3.5mm audio jack, found at the bottom of the Realme X2 Pro, to be more than good enough. There does seem to be more bass than a flat response, so if you’re into that, you’ll be made up. Dolby Atmos virtualization provides four modes that simulate the sound that you’d expect from the technology. It’s not a true replacement for the real thing, but it’s a cool feature if you like that effect.
This time round, Realme improved the speakers massively. There seems to be more frequencies present — more bass, clearer mids, and a more immersive audio experience. The phone still feels rumbly when you really crank up the volume, and distortion is certainly present at such volumes, but it’s a significant improvement over previous Realme phones.
Realme X2 Pro specifications
|Realme X2 Pro|
|Display||6.5-inch, FHD+ SuperAMOLED
2,400 x 1,080 resolution
20:9 aspect ratio
91.7% screen-to-body ratio
Gorilla Glass 5
|Chipset||Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus
Up to 2.96GHz
|Storage||64GB UFS 2.1
128/256GB UFS 3.0
SuperVOOC Flash Charge (50W)
64MP main at f/1.8
8MP ultra-wide at f/2.2
13MP 2x telephoto at f/2.5
2MP depth at f/2.4
16MP at f/2.0
UHD4K at 60fps
Full HD at 240fps
HD at 960fps
|Connectivity||Dual nano-SIM slots
Dual SIMs dual VoLTE 4G
Wi-Fi: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4/5Ghz
Positioning system: GPS, aGPS, GLONASS, Beidou navigation system
Supports Bluetooth 5.0 connections
Supports aptX, aptX HD, and LDAC
|Security||In-display fingerprint scanner
|Colors||Lunar White, Neptune Blue|
|Dimensions||161 x 75.7 x 8.7mm|
Starting at €399 in Europe, this phone is competing with the Pixel 3a, Xiaomi Mi 9T, and the Redmi K20 Pro. The Redmi K20 Pro is probably the closest to this phone in areas other than just the price, yet I still don’t think it’s on the level of the Realme X2 Pro.
On a specification level, this phone is competing with the OnePlus 7T. However, at €600, that phone is much more expensive than the Realme X2 Pro. The advantages to the OnePlus are limited, realistically, to the software. OnePlus is known to create and maintain Android software the best of any Android OEM, and the Realme will likely not be able to compete with that, given the company’s track record.
Given the 90Hz display, Snapdragon 855 Plus, 12GB RAM, and 50W charging, there is no doubt in my mind that this is the best value smartphone of 2019, period.
Realme X2 Pro review: The verdict
The Realme X2 Pro represents a change in Realme’s focus in the smartphone market, and is proof that the previously budget-focused brand needs to be taken seriously in all areas. It packs some serious hardware into a device priced far lower than its competition, and shows Realme’s determination to further improve its software with Color OS 6.1.
Thanks for reading Android Authority’s Realme X2 Pro review. We’d love to hear your thoughts on the Realme X2 Pro in the comments! Does beat out the Redmi K20 Pro or even the OnePlus 7T for you?