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POCO X2 Review Not the Flagship Killer
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POCO X2 Review: Not the Flagship Killer

When the POCO X2 was launched there was a misconception that it was the next flagship killer and the successor to the F1. The X2 is not a flagship killer in any regards and neither was it intended to be. The X2 in fact is aimed at a totally different audience. After more than a year after the launch of the legendary F1, POCO is officially a separate brand and the X2 is the first device from POCO as a brand of it’s own. Even though POCO is a separate brand it will most likely be associated with Xiaomi and will share resources. In fact, the X2 is actually the re-branded version of the Redmi K30 4G launched in China a few months back. This time around POCO aims to dominate the mid-range sector. The POCO X2 might not have the flagship specs of it’s bigger brother but it sure packs a punch. Value for money has always been one of the features that differentiated POCO and this can be seen through the X2 as well.

The X2 is available for just Rs.17,499 for 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage and Rs.18,499 for 128GB storage variants. The X2 even has an 8GB RAM and 256 GB storage variants for Rs.20,999. The X2 comes in three colors options-Matrix Purple, Phoenix Red, and Atlantis Blue. Without further ado let’s dive into the review.

Specifications Overview:

  • Snapdragon 730G (octa core-8nm)
  • 67 inch IPS LCD display with 120hz refresh rate
  • 6/8 GB RAM
  • 64/128/256 GB GB storage(expandable up to 512GB)
  • 45000mah battery with 27W fast charging
  • 64MP+8MP+2MP+2MP quad cameras
  • 20MP+2MP selfie cameras
  • MIUI 11 (Android 10)
  • Starting at Rs.17,499

POCO X2 Review: In the box

POCO X2 Review Not the Flagship Killer

The presentation of the box was rather pleased with the black and yellow accent on the box. Inside the box, we get the phone itself along with the 27W fast charger, USB type C cable, a sim ejector, and the user manual. Also, you get a decent transparent silicon case that will keep your device safe from unwanted scratches. It is great to see that even budget devices now come with fast chargers in the box itself.

POCO X2 Review: Design

The POCO X2 has sure nailed the design department. The glass sandwich design makes the X2 feel like a sturdy and premium device. Corning Gorilla Glass on both the front and back of the device ensures that the device can take a hit or two. The 6.67 inch device is no way a small device but the curved back makes it very comfortable to hold. Being a glass back means the X2 is a  fingerprint magnet and hence a case might be needed. The camera layout in the back and the dual punch-hole cameras in the front makes the X2 stand out from the rest of the phones in the same price range.

POCO X2 Review Not the Flagship Killer

Thankfully the X2 features the headphone jack, a feature that has gone extinct on many devices. The IR blaster may come in handy as a remote control, glad they included it. As far as security is concerned the X2 comes with a side-mounted fingerprint sensor that doubles as the power button. It is insanely fast and accurate but may take time to get used to the position. The power button and volume rockers can be found on the left side of the device and the tactility of the buttons is fine for the price point. The sim tray can be found in the left side of the device and provides a hybrid sim slot setup. The cellular reception is really great in this device and the earpiece to is really good. And it supports dual VoLTE too. The bottom-firing speakers are just fine, nothing impressive. The voices are crisp and clear. It can get really loud but will start losing quality over 75% volume. The vibration motors are really bad and might be quite annoying. And the device is not on the light side and weighs 208gms but the weight distribution is even throughout and makes it comfortable to hold with it’s the weight.

POCO X2 Review: Performance

Under the hood, the X2 packs the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G processor with an Adreno 618 GPU. The base variant comes with 6GB of RAM and 8GB for the top variant along with 64, 128, and 256 GB storage options. The 730G is a great mid-range chipset that prioritizes more on gaming. Not as powerful as the 800 series chipsets but still capable of breezing through anything thrown at it.

POCO X2 Review Not the Flagship Killer

The 730G excels in AI, photography, and gaming. Check out the full gaming review of the POCO X2. The 730G is powerful enough to play all the major titles without any lags or stutters and can breeze through tasks during normal usage. Keep in mind that the phone tends to heat up a bit around the camera region while playing heavy games and using the camera for too long. It will cool down within minutes after the respective tasks are closed thanks to the liquid cooling technology.

POCO X2 Review: Display

The 120hz display was the most overrated part of the POCO X2. It is the first-ever phone to feature a 120hz display at it’s segment. The utility of this technology is questionable. POCO has named this high refresh rate display “Reality Flow” display and is a joy to use when it works. As of right now, it is unfortunate that the high refresh rate display is not utilized by most of the third-party apps. Only the system UI and a few other apps support the 120hz display. Even most games like PUBG Mobile are still capped at 60fps. Hopefully, more apps might start utilizing the high refresh rates in the future. Under the scenarios where it does work, it is truly a sight to behold. But do keep in mind that this varies from person to person. I’ve shown the phone to a few friends and some of them didn’t even notice any difference between 60hz and 120hz. Others who did notice the difference said that the device was more responsive and fluid while in 120hz. And that is the truth, a high refresh rate indeed does make the phone feel much more snappy and responsive and the animations are much more satisfactory.

POCO X2 Review Not the Flagship Killer

The biggest caveat to having a high refresh rate is higher battery consumption. Higher refresh rates will have to refresh it’s screening much more often than regular displays. That is, a 120hz display will refresh the screen to display animations and pictures 120 times per second. This will drain the battery quicker and will increase CPU usage. The X2 consumes approximately 15% more battery while in 120hz mode. POCO does give us the option to switch between 60 and 120hz but an option to switch to 90hz would have been nice.

The POCO X2 comes with a tall 6.67inch Full HD+ IPS LCD display with 2400 x 1080 resolution. The 20:9 aspect ratio is excellent for gaming and media consumption. The display of the X2 is decent. There weren’t any issues as for viewing from any angle and the same can be said while outdoors too. It does get bright enough to be visible under direct sunlight. The color tones can be set to either warm or cool apart from the default settings. The dual punch hole camera cutouts aren’t as annoying as I expected them to be and got used to it fairly quickly. There seems to be an odd discoloration around the punch hole. You won’t probably even notice as it is barely visible most of the time, nothing to be worried about. Also, the display cutout may seem like the pill style cutout like we’ve seen on the Samsung Galaxy S10 plus, but it is actually two punch holes with software blacking out the center. Streaming won’t be an issue as the display comes with HDR-10 and WideVine L1 support.

POCO X2 Review: Cameras

POCO X2 Review Not the Flagship Killer

Rear:

  • 64MP Sony IMX686 primary sensor(f/1.89 aperture).
  • 8MP ultra wide sensor(f/2.2 aperture).
  • 2MP macro camera(2-10cm focal range).
  • 2MP depth sensor.

Front:

  • 20MP primary sensor.
  • 2MP depth sensor.

Photography is one of the areas the X2 really shines. It is the first device in India featuring the SONY IMX686 sensor. This 64 MP beast is no joke as it is capable of shooting amazing pictures. Thanks to the processing power of the 730G, 64MP ultra HD shots can be taken without any pixel binning. The photos were taken usually come out very well exposed with almost no noise but the photos are a tad saturated and make the colors stand out. The dynamic range is also great in the X2. As with all phones nowadays, the POCO to has a dedicated bokeh mode. This is where the 2MP depth sensor comes in. It can easily identify objects and keep focus only on the subject. Overall it does a fine job and we can adjust the blur intensity before and after taking the shot has been taken. But sometimes it does struggle around hair and leaves it distorted. This is most likely to be fixed with a software update. The night mode is not the best but does take decent pictures in low light conditions. At this price point, the IMX686 is the best sensor yet.

The ultra wide camera does a decent job. It isn’t that impressive but not bad either. Pictures taken may contain noise and soft corners but the end result will most likely be satisfactory. The 2MP macro camera is a nice addition but it would have been better if the went for a telephoto lens instead as I don’t see a scenario where the macro lens would be that useful in real life. It does take better macros under this price range if good lighting is provided.

The X2 is very much capable of recording up to 4k videos at 30fps and super slow-motion videos at 960fps. The lack of Optical Image Stabilization is disappointing but the Electronic Image Stabilization in fact does a pretty good job. Most shakes are negated and the end video is indeed smooth and satisfactory. At night though the videos are not that great especially if in low lighted conditions. The videos are jerky and not so smooth. The X2 also comes with dedicated VLOG mode that is sure to help vloggers make fun videos with cool visual effects.

The 20+2 MP cameras on the front are capable of taking decent selfies as well as face unlock. The 2MP depth sensor allows portrait selfies and adjusts the blur intensity. Just like the rear cameras the edge detection is great except for the hair. This doesn’t happen always either. The beauty filters are turned on by default. Make sure to disable them for more realistic selfies. The videos recorded using the front camera are just OK. The color reproduction is not always accurate but the camera does a good job keeping the subject in focus.

Camera Samples

POCO X2 Review: Software

The POCO X2 comes with stock android running pure Android 10 without any bloatware or ads. That would be a dream come true, wouldn’t it? In the real world, however, the POCO X2 comes with MIUI 11 running on Android 10. MIUI is infamous for its inappropriate ads and tonnes of bloatware. Luckily enough MIUI for POCO is free from those to a certain extent. The ads were seen only while using Mi apps like mi browser, Mi videos etc. Disable notifications for these apps and use Google apps instead. This will ensure an ad-free experience. As for the bloatware, we can either opt-out of installing them when we set the device up for the first time or they can just be uninstalled like any other apps.

As for the usability MIUI for POCO is pretty decent with features like dark mode, app drawer, app lock, and many other features. It has received multiple updates after in the past two weeks and the experience has considered to a large extent. There were many bugs and issues like idle battery drain, stutters in 120hz mode etc but they all have been fixed through software updates. It would have been great if POCO had a stock android variant too.

Verdict:

If the POCO f1 was supposed to be a flagship killer there is nothing wrong in saying that the legacy flows through the family. The X2 has sure dominated the sub 20k category mainly due to its pricing. The value for money this device comes with is incredible. In no way is the X2 the perfect phone. But features like an amazing camera, a powerful processor, a high refresh rate display, a great battery and a 27W fast charger in the box all at an affordable price range outweighs the cons and make it the best phone under Rs.20,000 as of right now.

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POCO X2 Review

₹17,499
8.8

Build & Design

9.0/10

Display

8.5/10

Performance

9.0/10

Camera

8.5/10

Battery

9.0/10

Pros

  • Awesome battery
  • Great performance
  • Decent display

Cons

  • Bulky design
  • Lack of OIS

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