Poco X2 review: The best smartphone in India under Rs 20,000?
Poco X2 review: Can the Poco X2 have a similar impact on the smartphone industry as the Poco F1? Is it better than the Realme X2? And, most importantly, is this smartphone made for you? Let’s find out in our Poco X2 review.
Poco X2 review: Most smartphone enthusiasts would agree that the Poco F1, launched in 2018, was a path-breaking device – setting new standards in the affordable premium segment or, entirely revamping the category with its offerings. The smartphone introduced powerful hardware at a highly attractive price forcing the competitors to follow the same route. A Snapdragon 8 series processor was unheard of at that price before the first Poco smartphone arrived in the country. The device was so good that it is still in demand and can’t be called outdated.
The success of Poco F1 meant that a successor was inevitable. While we are yet to see a Poco F2, Xiaomi spun-off its sub-brand last month, finally allowing it to launch a new smartphone – Poco X2, this time trying to disrupt the mid-range segment. For those unaware, the Poco X or Poco X1 was never launched in India. The company tells us the they named the new smartphone ‘X2’ because they wanted to have same names across series but their launch presentation suggests that it was probably because they wanted to position is right against the Realme X2.
Nomenclature aside, Poco didn’t bet big on just performance with the Poco X2 but has tried to come up with an all-rounder that has something to offer on every front. The biggest highlight of the device is undoubtedly a display that boasts of 120Hz refresh rate, making Poco X2 the most affordable smartphone to offer the same. It also exceeded expectations with a highly aggressive pricing.
WATCH | Poco X2 First Look
But, can the Poco X2 have a similar impact on the smartphone industry as the Poco F1? Is it better than the Realme X2? And, most importantly, is this smartphone made for you? Let’s find out in our Poco X2 review.
Poco X2 review: Design
Poco X2 is essentially a re-branded version of the 4G model of Redmi K30 launched in China earlier. If you are a smartphone enthusiast and follow regular updates, chances are you must have seen enough images of the smartphone even before its India launch. Unlike the Poco F1, the new smartphone has been pampered a lot when it comes to design. It gets a glass back instead of the plastic used on the Poco F1.
The rear panel is bright and colourful and the gradient tone only adds to the charm. Poco has gone with new colour options on the phone, all of which look stunning. The smartphone has been launched in Atlantis Blue, Phoenix Red and Matrix Purple variants. We had the Atlantis Blue colour model for review purposes but the Matrix Purple surely stands out from the lot.
Personally, I think there should have been an universal option like black or white for those who are not fans of fancy colours.
The most striking design element of the Poco X2 is its camera module or, rather the circular design around it. The quad-camera setup is vertically aligned at the back but is surrounded by the legend ‘Designed by Poco’ in a circular design. Interestingly, this circular patch is not like the raised module that we saw on the OnePlus 7T last year. It blends into the body of the device but feels like a mirror. There is no ‘By Xiaomi’ tag on this smartphone like the Poco F1.
On the front, you get a tall 6.67-inch screen with 20:9 aspect ratio, a feature Poco highlighted multiple times. On the top right corner of the screen, you get a dual punch hole camera which isn’t that noticeable, till you start streaming content. That’s where it cuts into your media and can be a bit distracting.
The power button is on the right and doubles up as the fingerprint scanner. However, it doesn’t scan your thumb or fingers as you place them over it – a mechanism we saw on last year’s Honor 20. Instead, you need to press the button to register the fingerprint and unlock the smartphone.
I have the habit of using my thumb to press the power button and this poses another challenge. When lying on a table or any other surface, you can’t use the thumb to unlock the smartphone. So, you either need to lift the phone each time to unlock it or, map multiple fingers for scanning.
The volume buttons are right above the power button and the SIM tray is on the left panel. Sadly, you need to sacrifice one SIM if you want to place microSD card to expand onboard storage. At the bottom of the device, you get the a second SIM if you need a microSD card, and vice versa. There's a 3.5mm audio jack, a USB Type-C charging port and a speaker. The smartphone is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on either sides.
An important thing to keep in mind is that this is a tall phone which makes it difficult for one hand use. Also, there is no pre-applied screen protector so make sure you get one as soon as you get the smartphone delivered, to keep it safe.
Poco X2 review: Display
About 12 months back, even the flagship level smartphones were running on 60Hz displays in India. That is when OnePlus created a lot of buzz around the OnePlus 7 Pro, which was one of the first mainstream smartphones to offer a 90Hz screen refresh rate. Later, it equipped the 7T series with the same display and Realme X2 Pro also used the panel. Even then, there are only a few devices offering 90Hz or more in India. In fact, only two smartphones (Razer phone and Asus ROG Phone II) offered a 120Hz refresh rate before the Poco X2 – both priced almost double.
At the start of the year, we predicted that refresh rate would be a big buying factor going into 2020 and the process should start with the Poco X2. The screen is designed to give you a smoother experience but gaming is where you can spot the biggest difference.
If you have been using a smartphone that runs on 60Hz refresh rate (as I am), the difference is noticeable. The apps open a lot faster on the Poco X2 and the transition between tabs is smoother as well.
The smartphone features a 6.67-inch 2340x1080-pixel display which comes with HRD10 support. The Widevine L1 certification means that you can stream HD content from various platforms. The screen is bright and comes with decent viewing angles, if not the best. However, it’s not the sharpest.
Even though I believe that punch-hole cameras are a lot better than pop-up cameras and waterdrop notch, the implementation has to be better. As I said before, the dual punch hole camera of the Poco X2 is a distraction in your streaming process. It’s tough not to have frequent glances at the cut out because of its unusual placing.
Poco X2 review: Performance and Battery
Now, while the 120Hz display is a big selling point, you ideally need a powerful processor to make the best use of it – which is missing in case of the Poco X2. The smartphone comes with Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G chipset which was also used on its competitor – Realme X2. However, Poco has tried to compensate for that with higher RAM and storage configurations.
The Poco X2 comes in three variants – 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage priced at Rs 15,999; 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage priced at Rs 16,999 and, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage priced at Rs 19,999. The price itself makes the Poco X2 a compelling package. To put things into perspective, the Realme X2 is priced at Rs 16,999 for its 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage model.
We had the top-end model of the Poco X2 for review, which certainly helped in extracting the best possible performance. Opening apps was a piece of cake. The transition was as smooth as it gets.
For now, at least, Poco will continue to use Xiaomi’s services. This is why you get the MIUI 11.0.3 based on Android 10 on this smartphone. The software has always been a matter of debate and comes with several pre-installed apps such GetApps, Mi Video, Mi Pay, Mi Credit, Mi Remote, among others.
The third-party apps on the phone include Helo, Gaana, Amazon Shopping, Dailyhunt and more. You will also be asked to opt for more apps when you setup the smartphone. However, that can be skipped.
One flip side of the 120Hz display is that it sucks a lot of power out of the device. So, you need a bigger battery and that's why Poco has gone with a 4500 mAh battery on the Poco X2. The battery lasts for almost an entire day which is quite impressive. In case you are running out of it, there is always an option to switch to 60Hz refresh rate in settings.
You get a 27W fast charger inside the box which can juice up the device from 0 to 100 per cent in just 75 minutes. However, it is one of the biggest and bulkiest chargers I have ever seen. It will be tough to carry around and you will probably be better served with a powerbank, that is if you need to charge the phone while travelling.
Poco X2 review: Cameras
Over the last six months, almost all the smartphones launched in this segment were equipped with quad camera setups at the back, a feature that Poco X2 also offers. But, number of cameras are not enough to sell any smartphone now. It is the image processing and the overall quality of your shots that should form the buying decision.
On the Poco X2, you get a 64MP primary sensor with f/1.9 aperture, an 8MP ultra-wide sensor with an f/2.2 aperture, a 2MP macro camera with f/2.4 aperture and a 2MP depth sensor. We saw exactly the same camera setup on both Realme X2 and the Redmi Note 8 Pro -- launched last year.
The only difference here, albeit a big one, is that the Poco X2 uses Sony’s IMX686 sensor as its primary camera instead of the other two smartphones that were fitted with Samsung's ISOCELL GW1 64MP sensor. In fact, the Poco X2 is the first smartphone to arrive in India with Sony’s IMX686 sensor.
The camera app is cleaner than what I have seen on some of the other recently launched smartphones. You get multiple options like 'Slow Motion', 'Short Video', 'Video', 'Photo', '64MP', 'Portrait' and 'Night', among others within the app UI. So, you don't really need to go to the menu, unless you want to change settings or frame size.
Coming to the quality of the images, you get really impressive shots in normal daylight with good saturation and warmth. The images clicked by the main lens are sharp and have more natural looking colours. Even in the normal 'Photo' mode, blur is added to the background which will be appreciated by a lot of users. In the Portrait Mode, the amount of blur is more than usual.
The depth between subject and background is impressive.
You get the macro mode on top in the camera app. It has autofocus capabilities, allowing you to take good shots from real close. But, steady hands and ideal light conditions will play an important role in the quality of images here.
On the front, you get a 20MP f/2.2 camera assisted by a 2MP depth sensor. The selfies taken on Poco X2 are quite sharp and look less artificial than on most mid-range smartphones. In the beauty mode, you get several options that can make you look better. Eh, who doesn't want to!
The portrait mode on the front camera is impressive, mainly because of an additional depth sensor.
Poco X2 review: Final Verdict
Even after separating from Xiaomi, Poco continues to follow its principal. That is - offer more for less. The strategy has worked for Xioami in India, making it the market leader in the country and can help Poco achieve similar heights, going by what the Poco X2 has to offer. At Rs 15,999, the smartphone comes with a trendy design, quad rear camera setup and headline-making features such as a smoother display and faster charging.
It competes against the Realme X2, Samsung Galaxy A51, Oppo F15 and Vivo S1 Pro, to name a few smartphones. A reason to worry for Xiaomi is that the Poco X2 will also eat up into Redmi Note 8 Pro and Redmi K20's market share with its highly-aggressive pricing.
While it doesn't look like a outright segment disruptor like the Poco F1, the Poco X2 is certainly one of the best smartphones in India in the under Rs 20,000 segment. The size of the smartphone, not-so-powerful processor and an okay-ish display are few areas of concern.
But, if the discussion comes down to pricing, which it does in case of most Indians, the Poco X2 is likely to emerge as a clear winner.
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