I’ve written my fair-share of mid-ranged phone reviews in recent times, with the market becoming saturated with phones that promise to give you great performance at affordable prices.
As I’ve said before, the mid-range priced segment is slowly becoming the most competitive segment in the market. With prices steadily increasing for flagship devices and performance requirements for most users becoming more demanding, smartphone manufacturers have put a lot more focus into delivering in the mid-range in recent times.
I recently got my hands on the latest offering from Realme—the Realme 2 Pro. With November 7 being set as the launch date, the smartphone is set to be priced below RM1000, but with some pretty eye-catching internal specs.
A Peek Under The Hood
The Realme 2 Pro comes with the latest SoC from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 660. The review unit I received had 128GB onboard storage, and a whopping 8GB of RAM.
For some context, the recent Huawei Mate 20 Pro was released with 8GB of RAM as well.
In actual use, this translated to a snappy experience when navigating through menus, loading up apps, or even multitasking with multiple apps. That comes as no surprise, given that the Snapdragon 660 is reported to be the most efficient version in the Snapdragon 6xx series so far.
I booted up a quick game of PUBG Mobile over the weekend, and the game ran smoothly without any hitches, so long as you keep it at “medium” settings under the graphics tab. Strangely, the settings for graphics also couldn’t be set to “HDR”.
The Realme 2 Pro comes with a 3,500 MaH battery, which is sufficient for a full day’s usage. As someone that uses my mobile for a variety of reason including work, pictures, social media, and Waze on a daily basis, the battery managed to last me one full day, but only just.
However, the phone doesn’t support QC Quick Charge, with a standard 5V/2A adaptor and micro USB cable bundled in the box. From personal anecdotal usage, it takes about half an hour to charge the phone up to 30%.
Display, Camera, And The Infamous Notch
Ever since a certain phone came out with it, the notch (or absence of it) on many phones have become one of the most hotly-discussed topics when it comes to any newly-released smartphone.
A pleasant surprise was the fact that the Realme 2 Pro actually comes with a dewdrop (or teardrop) notch, which I personally find to be more aesthetically pleasing.
The bottom chin, an Achilles heel for many mid-range smartphone manufacturers, is relatively thin, especially comparing it with some of the leading mid-range smartphones.
None of that would matter much if the smartphone had a subpar display but that isn’t the case here. Measuring at 6.3”, the IPS display has a resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels, which place it under the Full HD+ category.
It has a 409 ppi pixel density count—this means at full brightness, the display has good viewability under sunlight. I found that walking out for lunch in the (extremely) hot sun didn’t cause me too many problems when replying emails and messages.
When it comes to smartphones in this range, its point-and-shoot capability is arguably one of the camera’s defining qualities. Having all the bells, whistles, and megapixels in the world isn’t going to mean much if the camera can’t be versatile enough in differing real-world situations.
Its 16MP+2MP dual lens shooter captures some vivid shots in well-lit situations, and even takes satisfactory low-light scenes, due to the 16MP Sony IMX398 lens that the smartphone utilises. Here’re a few point-and-click shots that were taken on the smartphone:
The portrait mode also comes with fairly accurate edge detection. Of course, once there starts to be multiple subjects in the photo, the “bokeh effect” starts to go a little haywire. But all in all, it’s good enough for what an average user would desire.
The AI-enabled mode was a little too saturated/artificial for my liking, but then again, I’m the sort of person who likes my photos to look very, very natural. Fortunately for me, the expert mode on the camera app does allow for shutter speed adjustment, manual focus, and ISO adjustments.
As for the front-facing camera, the resulting photos are vivid and selfies are captured with enough detail and colour, but the “beauty mode” on the app does feel a little forced. It’s adjustable, though—I ended up using the front-facing camera mode with beauty mode disabled most of the time.
All in all, the images captured with the Realme 2 Pro were solid, vibrant photos. Most of the photos taken captured plenty of detail, with vivid colours and decent dynamic range. For the most part, images captured in well-lit situations were noise-free.
So, What’s The Catch?
Everyone knows that if something’s too good to be true, then it probably is, right? In this case, the drawbacks of the phone aren’t exactly pronounced, especially when you take into account the price point the Realme 2 Pro sits at.
Firstly, the back of the phone is made out of plastic, although Realme has done a good job at making it look similar to glass. However, this also has the side-effect of becoming a fingerprint magnet due to its glossy nature.
Other features missing such as fast-charging, USB type-C or even wireless charging are usually reserved for phones that cost north of RM2,000.
To unlock the phone, the Realme 2 Pro does come with a conventional fingerprint scanner that is located behind the phone which works without any issues. Over the period of a few days, I found the fingerprint scanner to be the most convenient method to unlock the phone, despite the ultra-fast facial recognition unlock method. Do note that the facial unlock doesn’t work as quickly in low-light situations.
When it comes to picking which phone you’re going to go for next, most people consider several important factors—price, power, camera, or design.
However, when shopping in the mid-range segment, sometimes you have to pick one or two of these features, while suffering an offset in quality for the other features.
You’d think that the Realme 2 Pro, priced significantly below RM1,000 in India, would have had to compromise on certain features in order to keep the price that competitive. But, I’d have to say that Realme has succeeded in creating a phone that is not only value for its price, but is ultimately more than the sum of its parts.
The Realme 2 Pro will be launched on the 7th of November.To find out more, you can visit their Facebook page.
This article is written in collaboration with Realme.
VP Verdict is a series where we personally try and test out products, services, fads, and apps. Want to suggest something else for us to try? Leave a comment here or send the suggestion into our Facebook page.