Recently, Realme officially launched in the EU, as part of the launch they announced the new, possibly one of the best phones of the year, Realme X2 Pro.

Along with that, they brought the X2 and Realme 5 Pro which has previously been announced in their native countries.

With the launch of these three phones, in my eyes, Realme is one of the best brands on the market for big specs at affordable prices and a serious challenger for the current budget king Xiaomi.

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Specification

  • Chipset: Snapdragon 730G
  • Display: 6.4 inches, 1080 x 2340 pixels
  • Rear Camera: 64MP / 8MP ultra-wide / 2MP macro / 2MP depth sensor
  • Front Camera: 16MP
  • RAM: 6GB/8GB/12GB (my sample is 12GB) upgradable via microSD
  • Storage:  128GB/256GB
  • Battery: 4000 mAh battery with 50W SuperVOOC charging. No wireless charging
  • Other: NFC & 3.5mm headphone jack

This phone is a modest upgrade from the Realme XT which was launched in India a couple of months ago, it is also the same as the rumoured Realme XT 730G.

The key difference is the inclusion of the powerful Snapdragon 730G chipset which offers almost flagship performance at a much more affordable price. Looking at benchmarks you get a very similar performance as last years flagship, the Snapdragon 845.

The camera configuration sits somewhere between the 5 Pro and the X2 Pro. You get the same 64 MP lens as the X2 Pro, but the rest of the spec matches up with the budget Realme 5 Pro. This does, however, have the largest megapixel count for the selfie camera of all three phones at 32MP.

The base config in the EU is a very generous 8GB and 128GB which makes the base configuration of this larger than the 6GB/64GB of the Realme X2 Pro and is something to remember if you get tempted to move up a model.

With this, you can also upgrade your storage via microSD so you should never have any issue with storage. It also includes a 3.5mm jack giving you more flexibility with your audio.

While the battery is a touch smaller than the Realme 5 Pro, it matches the X2, and it uses the 30W VOOC Flash Charge 4.0, which is good for 67% in 30 min.

This phone does have NFC, which is a crucial feature for myself. Just like the other phones, there is no IP rating, but it is stated that this is splash resistant.

Design & Build

In hand, and face on you won’t tell the difference between this and the budget Realme 5 Pro. It looks good, but the plastic frame gives it a bit of a budget quality to it. It does, however, have a Gorilla Glass 5 front and back, though the glass back doesn’t really feel any different than the plastic back of the Realme 5 Pro.

The rear is almost identical too, the camera, overall dimensions, and logos all look the same. This, however, does not have a fingerprint sensor on the back as it is located in the display. The colour is different too, my model is Pearl Blue, whereas the Realme 5 Pro is Crystal Blue. Apart from the hue difference there isn’t the crystal texture on this. I actually prefer the colour of the Realme 5 Pro, but it is a negligible difference.

Just like its cheaper brother, there is the massive camera bump making it sit awkwardly on a table, but the included transparent case eliminates this issue.

Display

The X2 bumps up the screen to an AMOLED display giving it superior colour accuracy than the Realme 5. It runs at the same 1080 x 2340 resolution which therefore gives it a slightly lower pixel density, but still above 400. The small notch is about the same size and it is small enough not to be intrusive; however, ColorOS does not appear to have an option to hide this with a black notification bar.

One issue I have with this display is that it is noticeably dimmer than the Realme 5 Pro, it should be the other way around really. Both phones suffer in bright light, but this phone performs worse. When looking into the specs, this should perform better than I have experienced so it could be a device issue, or maybe a firmware issue as this is quite a new phone.

Camera

The camera on this phone uses the same 64MP lens as the premium X2 Pro, but then matches the rest of the spec with the 5 Pro. The end result is something closer to the 5 Pro in terms of performance compared to the X2 Pro. Under ideal conditions, both the X2 and 5 Pro can achieve superb shots.

Zoom

Just like the 5 Pro there is no optical zoom here so you are reliant on digital zoom. This is one area the X2 should have a significant advantage over the 5 Pro, the 64MP lens will give you more room to work with.

Macro

Almost identical in performance with the Realme 5 Pro as it is the same lens. Because it is fixed it can be tricky to get a shot in proper focus, but it can produce some nice artistic shots.

Low Light and Nightscape

Low light performance is adequate, this can be improved with the nightscape mode which I have found to be a little hit and miss. The long exposure makes it very prone to motion blur, so in the busy streets of Rome I found ti quite hard to get a good night shot. However, with a steady camera it is cable of producing some excellent night shots.

Sample Photos

Video

With video, you get electronic stabilisation on the front camera, and also rear camera up to 1080p, however, this is not available for 4K.

Performance and Benchmarks

  • Realme X2 Pro – 391274
  • Blackshark 2 – 367354
  • Huawei P30 Pro -311912
  • Realme X2 – 215655
  • Realme 5 Pro –177312

Geekbench

  • Realme X2 Pro – 622 Single Core – 2660 Multi-core
  • Huawei P30 Pro – 670 Single Core – 2370 Multi-core
  • Blackshark 2 – 670 Single Core – 2370 Multi-core
  • Realme X2 – 546 Single Core – 1655 Multi-core
  • Realme 5 Pro – 321 Single Core – 1481 Multi-core

Day to day performance is superb for your normal apps like social media etc I struggle to notice much difference between the performance of all three phones, but with this, you have a good balance of price and power.

The SD730G will be particularly useful for people that like to game, and this should give you a significant performance boost for any particularly demanding games. During my testing, I played Asphalt 8, Evoland 2 and Grand Theft Auto III all played without any noticeable issues.

As far as gaming benchmarks go, this scores 2405 in Sling Shot Extreme OpenGL and 2270 in Vulkan. In comparison, the Realme 5 Pro gets 2091/1979 and then the Realme X2 Pro shows off the performance of the Snapdragon 855+ with a score of 5761/4921.

Battery

This easily gets well over one day worth of uses, and low to medium use you could probably squeeze two days out of it.

The charging capabilities get an upgrade over the Realme 5, going from 20W to 30W VOOC Flash Charge 4.0, this is claimed to give you 67% in 30 min and from my testing, this is about correct.

Software

This uses ColorOS just like the other two phones and the overall software experience is exactly the same, I have grown to like it, and I find ColorOS to be extremely snappy in terms of performance. It doesn’t have the experimental dark mode that the X2 Pro has, but I assume that will come soon.

As with the other devices, this is due for a ColorOS 7 upgrade which will run Android 10. There is no official announcement on this, but the Realme 5 Pro is expected in Q1 2020, and the Realme XT is expected in Q1 2020, so I would expect the same here.

Price and Competition

The immediate comparison would be the Xiaomi Redmi K20 / Xiaomi Mi 9T which is an identical price on Amazon.es and a very similar specification overall. Its primary camera is perhaps not as good, but it has a better ultra-wide. It also has a pop-up selfie meaning the screen is not interrupted by a notch. Charge times will be slower due to the 18W charger vs 30W, so overall they are both evenly trading blows.

There is newly launched Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro, and is available on Amazon for about £250. The Mediatek Helio G90T will offer almost identical performance to the SD730G, it has an identical camera setup on the rear but the base memory is lower at 6GB. The charge speed is also lower at 18W but you do get a much larger battery at 4500mAh. So I would say the two phones are almost even in terms of value for money.

If you are on a budget and don’t care for NFC, I would be tempted to just get the Realme 5 Pro, it is a big saving and very similar camera performance, and I am not sure most people would notice the overall performance difference between the Snapdragon 712 and the Snapdragon 730G. For gamers, you would be better with the SD730G.

It is still very impressive that there is only a couple of phones at this price point that can compete properly with Realme.

Conclusions

Just like the other Realme reviews, the Realme X2 offers tremendous value for money offering almost flagship performance at a sub £300 price point.

While it is a superb choice, the price, specification, and performance perhaps don’t make it quite the stand out device as the other models. The Xiaomi Mi 9T and Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro are both similar in terms of pricing and specification. In my comparison of the three phones, based on specification and price only (I haven’t used all three) I would give the Realme the slight edge, but it is not a clear winner in its class, unlike the X2 Pro.

It is perhaps the Realme X2 Pro that ruins the appeal of the X2 for me. It is just 100-euros more for the base model, or 150-euros for the 8GB/128GB model and you get so much more phone for the money, if it is possible to increase your budget you will reap the benefits. That being said, in percentage terms that is a 33% and 50% increase, and if your budget is strictly under £300 then this is still one of the two best phones on the market in my opinion.  

Overall though, there is not much to criticise here considering the price, screen brightness is perhaps the biggest issue I face but the inclusion of NFC means this is a phone I would happily use for my daily device, overall performance and battery life are superb, and it makes you wonder if you really need to spend almost £1k on a phone.

Realme X2 Review Score
  • 88%
    Overall - 88%
88%

Summary

One of the best phones on the market for under £300 but with other phones coming in close it doesn't have quite the wow factor of the X2 Pro which has no equivalent phone at its price point.