the real flagship killer of early 2020?

Killer flagship“is a term that is used to indicate a smartphone with an aggressive price capable of put in serious difficulty the most equipped and expensive phones. It is clearly not a device that reaches smartphones from over 1000 euros in all contexts, but an excellent compromise that does not look bad in front of the most famous devices.
Coined, on a marketing level, by OnePlus, for years this term has been associated with the devices of the Pete Lau company, although in the past someone has described it as “killer flagship“several Xiaomi smartphones. In a complex period like the current one, in which companies like Huawei struggle to compete in this range, companies like Realme and POCO, brands born from the experience of companies of the caliber of OPPO and Xiaomi, wallow us.
In particular, the former is hitting hit after hit. In recent weeks we have had the opportunity to test properly the company’s most ambitious smartphone, Realme X2 Pro, sold to 449 euros on Amazon Italy (model 8 / 128GB). The price is close to that of the OnePlus devices of the golden age and already from the announcement of the technical characteristics there were all the prerequisites for talking about a killer flagship. Will the Chinese company have met expectations?

Design and unboxing

We note from the sales package that we are not dealing with a common smartphone. Nothing to do with the design, it is a normal white box with a render of the smartphone in the front, but the highlight is the content: a 10V / 5A SuperVOOC charger (50W), the USB Type-C cable for charging, the pin for extracting the dual nanoSIM compartment, various manuals and a comfortable transparent silicone cover. The equipment is excellent, only the headphones are missing (but you can definitely turn a blind eye).

Some top-of-the-range smartphones are still sold with 18W chargers, in this case we are talking about one of the fastest refills generally available on the market. Realme X2 Pro has dimensions equal to 161 x 75.7 x 8.7 mm, for a weight of 199 grams.

It is therefore not a “light” smartphone, but the device still maintains good values ​​and many users are now accustomed to solutions of this type. Sure, one-handed use can be difficult, but we never had any problems with ergonomics or grip during our test period. Not to mention that these dimensions give the smartphone a constructive solidity above the average of the price range, guaranteed by the Aluminium profile and the “premium” feeling generally offered by materials.

As for the backcover, we have had the opportunity to try the Neptune Blue coloring. The writer has always had a soft spot for solutions of this type, as they guarantee excellent light effects and make the back much more beautiful than an anonymous and classic black color. For us, the one made by Realme is one of the best backcover on the market. However, here we are clearly talking about tastes and you must know that the smartphone is also sold in the Lunar White color.

Staying at the rear of Realme X2 Pro, the design is classic: the quadruple camera with vertical development is located in the center, flanked on the right by the inevitable double LED flash. The only somewhat “strange” aspect is the positioning of the Realme logo, which is located at the bottom right of the camera. Usually these writings are placed at the bottom of the smartphone and this could displace the most attentive users to the design a little, but we are still talking about minutiae.

In the front of Realme X2 Pro there is instead a classic panel with “drop” notch, a solution that we have seen many times now. The fingerprint sensor is placed under the screen: it is not the fastest on the market, but we have never encountered problems regarding unlocking the smartphone during our test. In any case, obviously the usual Face Unlock is not missing, which we preferred for convenience to unlock by fingerprint.

For the rest, the speakers, the first microphone, the USB Type-C port and the 3.5 mm audio jack for headphones peep out at the bottom of the device, while at the top we only find the second microphone. On the right side there are the power button and the dual nanoSIM trolley, while the two buttons for raising / lowering are located on the left side. Ultimately, Realme X2 Pro has a pleasant design and good build quality, but it has dimensions that are not exactly contained.

Technical features

One of the major strengths of Realme X2 Pro is its data sheet. Indeed, we find a octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus processor operating at a maximum frequency of 2.96 GHz (1 x 2.96 GHz + 3 x 2.42 GHz + 4 x 1.8 GHz), flanked by an Adreno 640 GPU and 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM. A truly top-of-the-range configuration, which in terms of performance is able to outperform almost all smartphones on the market.
Excellent the fact that the 128GB internal memory is UFS 3.0, the fastest available today.
Too bad only that the ROM is not expandable and therefore someone may have to bet on the 256GB variant (the price, however, rises to 499 euros in this case).

Moving on to the screen, we find a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display with Full HD + resolution (2400 x 1080 pixels), 20: 9 aspect ratio, Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection and 90 Hz refresh rate. The contrast ratio is 2000000: 1 and the maximum brightness is 1000 nits. Our measurements showed slightly lower values, but we can all in all confirm what the Chinese company declared and we assure you that the panel is excellent from this point of view.
The screen is of high caliber in general and amazes from the first power on thanks to the well balanced colors. The automatic brightness adjustment works well, although we have noticed a slight tendency towards savings (but they are trifles). The support at 90 Hz, active by default and manageable in the individual apps through the option present in the smartphone settings, makes itself feel positive in terms of fluidity and the fact that the screen adheres to the HDR10 + standard is certainly a positive aspect.
Obviously, there is no shortage of all the features to which Realme has become accustomed to enthusiasts, from the adjustment of the color temperature to the mode for the protection of the eyes, passing through the “Full screen display” functionality and for the always-on. The only flaw is that the latter does not show the notifications of the applications and is therefore a bit limited compared to other solutions. However, in general Realme has done an excellent job.

Arriving at the photographic sector, we find a 16MP front camera (f / 2.0) and one quadruple rear camera 64MP (f / 1.8, main) + 8MP (f / 2.2, 115 degree wide angle) + 13MP (f / 2.5, telephoto, 2x optical zoom, digital zoom up to 20x) + 2MP (f / 2.5, for Portrait mode ). The four rear sensors can record videos in 4K at 60fps, while the front one reaches Full HD / 30fps.
The available functions are essentially the usual: Portrait, Night, Panoramic, Expert, Time-Lapse, HDR, Slow Motion and Ultra Macro. There is also the Ultra 64MP mode, which allows you to take advantage of the sensor at maximum resolution, but does not allow you to use the zoom and other features (such as HDR).
The photos taken by the rear module are excellent for the price range: the colors are well balanced and the final result does not disappoint, thanks also to the usual pixel binning technique and the good use of HDR and artificial intelligence. The shots are excellent in good light conditions and even at night they retain a certain charm, especially when the appropriate mode is activated.

Don’t expect cameraphone results, but in this price range the photographic sector of Realme X2 Pro is excellent. Not bad also the photos taken by the front camera, but here we are on normal levels. Too bad that the videos at maximum resolution are not properly stabilized: as often happens, you have to go down to Full HD to get a quality result. You can see some uncompressed photos by consulting our Drive folder dedicated to Realme X2 Pro.

As for autonomy, the device has a 4000 mAh battery. We often arrived in the evening with 25% of residual charge, a good result, although there are certainly solutions that offer more from this point of view. Not everyone will be able to do two consecutive days, but most users will have no problem arriving in the evening.

Exceptional instead the 50W SuperVOOC recharge: in about 35 minutes it goes from 0 to 100%. During our tests, we reached 60% in about 15 minutes. To give you a concrete example, one evening we put the Realme X2 Pro to charge with 3% at 23:39, we found it with 65% at 23:55 and at 00:13 it had already reached 100%. A result that has been achieved very rarely by competing smartphones.

Speaking of the connectivity sector, everything is in place, from 4G LTE to Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac, passing through NFC and Bluetooth 5.0. Instead, waterproofing and wireless charging are missing, but in this price range they are features that are difficult to find. The audio sector is excellent, which is stereo and has a good maximum volume (our tests showed 84 dBA, an excellent value) and support for Dolby Atmos.

Software

The operating system is Android 9 Pie with ColorOS 6.1 personalization and security patches updated in December 2019. It is the same software that we have come to know with other Realme smartphones.
Among the most interesting features we find the possibility to access Google Assistant by pressing the power button and the excellent gestures. In our view, the theme chosen by Realme for the graphic interface is more pleasing to the eye than that of OPPO. The design of the icons is also not bad (perhaps only that of the camera is a bit subdued). In general, we don’t mind personalization, although there is still a long way to go to reach the designs seen in competing smartphones. In fact, sometimes the menus appear “confusing” and the management of notifications continues to make us turn up a bit ‘nose (they do not always appear and you have to press the trash can icon to delete them).
For the rest, the software runs well and does not have too many setbacks, also thanks to the presence of the display’s 90 Hz refresh rate. The classic bugs scattered here and there remain, but we must say that the situation has improved compared to a few months ago. Realme is working well and this is noticeable. Recently it has been ColorOS 7 announced, version that seems to improve the software in several ways. The update to that effect, in an exclusive version called Realme UI, should arrive from March 2020, so probably several flaws will be resolved by the update. There are also those who have already had the opportunity to test the new interface.

Performance and benchmarks

Realme X2 Pro’s performance is exceptional for the price range to which it belongs. We have not had any kind of problem in any field and the hardware is among the best that can be found on the market.
For lovers of the benchmarks, the device has recorded a total of 484390 points on AnTuTu. On Geekbench, however, it reached 625 points in single-core and 2737 points in multi-core. Numbers decidedly above the average of the price range.
To give you some concrete examples, OPPO Reno2, smartphone sold at a price of around 500 euros, registered a total of 259375 points on AnTuTu during our tests. The gap is clear and we assure you that the difference is also noticeable in the device.
If we also count the fluidity guaranteed by the refresh rate, you understand well that Realme X2 Pro raises the bar from this point of view. In general, we are talking about results very close to those offered by gaming smartphones such as Nubia Red Magic 3S, which however focus everything on brute force and leave something to be desired in other respects in which this Realme X2 Pro manages to do well.

Gaming

To test the smartphone on a gaming level, we have chosen three titles: Call of Duty Mobile, ARK: Survival Evolved and Shadowgun Legends. All video games released recently and able to exploit properly the hardware compartment of a smartphone like Realme X2 Pro.
Call of Duty Mobile runs smoothly and without lag with details on “Very High” and FPS set on “Max”. You can even activate all the secondary options, from depth of field to real-time shadows, passing through anti-aliasing. Everything runs at its best, with nothing to envy from the services offered by the top of the range.

ARK: Survival Evolved, a title now famous for being expensive in terms of resources, turns as it should also to “Alto”, albeit with a few shots here and there and staying on the 30 FPS. In this case, however, it is the game that is not optimized to the best and in fact it is almost a miracle that Realme X2 Pro manages to achieve this result. As for Shadowgun Legends, the title of Madfinger Games is unfortunately not going to cover the spaces next to the notch, but also runs very well with details on “Very high”.

There is also the gaming mode called Space Game, which allows you to optimize performance and integrates some interesting additional features, such as estimating battery life, the FPS counter and the possibility of blocking notifications and calls during game sessions.
The user can set three presets (Low consumption, Balanced and Competition), according to his needs in terms of consumption and performance. All the tests described above were obviously carried out in Competition mode.
Do not underestimate the possibility of opening applications such as WhatsApp in Picture-in-picture while you are playing. Summing up, surely Realme X2 Pro is a great smartphone for gaming.

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