With its October 2019 launch event, Chinese phone maker Realme fully entered into the European market – launching three phones simultaneously to mark the occasion: the 5 Pro and the X2 and the new flagship Realme X2 Pro.
All three new devices boast a quad-camera system and have been designed to reflect the company’s commitment to offering powerful hardware and premium design (by way of using high-quality components) while maintaining competitive pricing.
The Realme X2 Pro demonstrates this approach perfectly, by offering some of the latest hardware on the market at an impressively aggressive price point.
Prices and availability
The Realme X2 Pro combines speed, power and performance while maintaining a design that you’d usually only find amidst far more expansive smartphones.
The phone comes in two different finishes: Neptune Blue and Lunar White, but also three different storage/RAM configurations, with three discreet price points.
At the ground floor, the X2 Pro comes with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage for the price of €399 (this SKU doesn’t appear to be coming to the UK). Next up is the 8GB RAM/128GB storage variant, which costs €449 (approximately £390). While at the top end, the most powerful X2 Pro possesses no less than 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, all for €499 (roughly £430).
At the phone’s launch, all three configurations were confirmed to be arriving in November, available from PC Components, AliExpress and Amazon, as well as Realme’s own online store in Spain, with availability in the UK falling to only the latter two sources.
Showing its confidence in the X2 Pro, Realme even drew comparisons with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro, across areas like photography, autonomy, charging speed or screen quality.
Features and design
There’s a lot on offer from the X2 Pro that helps it make a good first impression, but aesthetically, it should be noted that this is a large device thanks to the phone’s expansive 6.5-inch screen. This does make it a touch unwieldy but despite its size, it’s still relatively light, at 182 grams.
The X2 Pro looks the part with its metal and glass body, chrome accenting around its quad-camera and its eye-catching finish but opting for polished in place of frosted rear glass, as we’re starting to see with flagship phones from the likes of OnePlus, Apple and Google, means fingerprints are still going to be a frequent bother. Its curved form does, at least, sit will in the hand.
As for the cameras themselves, they protrude by quite a bit from the phone’s back. Fortunately, if you use the included silicone case they sit far closer to flush, meaning the phone will lie better on flat surfaces.
Flip the phone over and you’ll spot a dewdrop notch protruding from the top bezel around that large display. It hosts the phone’s 16-megapixel front-facing camera, while further down lies a concealed in-display fingerprint sensor that, after an initial testing session, seems both surprisingly snappy and consistently reliable – even when actively trying to throw it off.
Display and refresh rate
Placed alongside its sibling, the standard Realme X2, it’s not immediately apparent that the Pro packs a larger screen (6.5in compared to the base X2’s 6.4in panel). Like the X2, however, the Pro does share in Super AMOLED display technology, promising punchy colours and great contrast, with a 2400×1080 extended Full HD+ resolution and HDR10+ support.
Beyond that in-display fingerprint sensor, the party piece of the X2 Pro’s screen has to be its 90Hz refresh rate – making this the most affordable phone out there to boast such a feature. You have control over it from within the phone’s settings (see below) but when left on you’re treated to super-smooth visuals.
Pushing for higher refresh rates (beyond the conventional 60Hz) on displays isn’t all that new but still isn’t widely available, especially on devices using AMOLED screens. The Realme X2 Pro joins the likes of the Asus ROG Phone 2, Google Pixel 4 series, the OnePlus 7 Pro and the OnePlus 7T family.
It enhances even basic experiences, like swiping around the phone’s UI, as well of delivering smoother gameplay and granting the ability to enjoy other compatible media natively, too.
Features and specifications
When it comes to performance, Realme hasn’t skimped either, with Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 855+ chipset, which features a 2.96GHz clock speed, an octa-core structure and a greater focus on gaming by way of its integrated Adreno 640 GPU.
The chip is compatible with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Elite Gaming standards too – an enhanced gaming experience thanks to the hardware at play that promises smoother gameplay, better visual and audio fidelity, more reliable connectivity and tighter support for graphical standards and popular game engines.
No less important is the inclusion of the UFS 3.0 storage, which as first enjoyed by the OnePlus 7 Pro (following the Samsung Galaxy Fold’s botched release) promises read and write speeds that are up to 80% faster than on previous storage standards. This means your apps should load faster and files should transfer quicker too.
The phone’s distinctive quad-camera setup comes fronted by a main 64MP sensor which lets you shoot photos at up to 9280×6944 or the equivalent of a 3.6-meter poster.
Next up is a 13MP telephoto sensor that grants the phone up 5x ‘hybrid’ optical zoom. There’s an 8MP ultrawide-angle sensor, with a 115-degree field of view, while the fourth and final camera module is actually a ToF sensor that allows for depth measurements.
Thanks to the hardware at play, the X2 Pro can shoot up to 4K video and up to 960fps slow motion, while the front-facing snapper also benefits from some more advanced shooting modes, such as Beauty, Nightscape and Chroma Boost. Both the front and rear cameras also come with the EIS (electronic image stabilisation).
Autonomy and fast charging
In order to compensate for the energy consumption of the X2 Pro’s screen when operating at 90Hz, Realme has chosen to integrate a generously-sized 4000mAh battery complete with exceptional 50W SuperVOOC Flash Charge fast charging.
This technology should sound familiar to users of Oppo’s smartphones and in this instance promises up to 75% charge in just 30 minutes flat.
If real-world testing lives up to Realme’s hype, the X2 Pro should be able to be fully charged in well under an hour and a half, or four times faster than it would take without such fast-charging. This tech can’t make the jump to laptops soon enough.
Both the Realme 5 Pro and the X2 Pro employ a new heat dissipation mechanism that combines a vapour chamber with a gel which comes into play when temperatures rise during intensive tasks, such as gaming.
Realme’s also leaning on some of VOOC Flash Charging’s more advanced thermal management abilities letting heat spread more evenly to avoid hotspots.
Android and ColorOS 6.1
Running atop Android Pie, the X2 Pro employs Oppo’s fresh ColorOS 6.1 user experience, which places a greater focus on energy efficiency and ease-of-use
Version 6 makes better use of extended displays, as on the X2 Pro, with easier navigation, a new, cleaner visual style and faster access to important features (all compared to previous generations of ColorOS).
Hyper Boost is on-hand to automatically balance performance and power consumption as needed based on the task at hand, while the included Game Space feature collates all the games installed on your device into one place and adds a bunch of gaming-specific enhancements, like notification management, easy screenshot access and more.
It’s too early to pass judgement on the Realme X2 Pro but based on the spec sheet and the pricing, the company isn’t making it easy for the competition.
By offering (up to) three different SKUs, starting at just €399, Realme has made flagship features – like that standout 90Hz display and 50W fast charging – accessible to a far larger pool of potential customers than would otherwise be able to consider such technologies in their next smartphone purchase.
Despite the obvious benefits, the X2 Pro isn’t quite the perfect budget flagship it may, at first, appear to be. There’s no wireless charging, for one – a staple among most high-end devices, nor is there any form of IP-certified water or dust resistance. That said, these are small misgivings in the bigger picture of the Realme X2 Pro’s makeup.
The biggest challenge right now is convincing customers in new regions, like Europe, to buy into what they will likely consider a completely unknown brand. Offering up a Snapdragon 855-powered phone with 12GB of RAM for under €500 is an unquestionably strong start that’ll no doubt turn heads, but despite all that it offers the X2 Pro will more likely get the ball rolling, rather than pull people away from their Samsung Galaxys, iPhones and Pixels in droves.
Note: This story was originally published in Spanish on our sister site, PC World Spain.