Poco X2 Review: The Rise or Fall of Poco?

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eSewa

POCO is finally back after more than a year with the POCO X2, the rebranded version of Redmi K30. But the fans have been a little disappointed to know that it isn’t a flagship killer like the highly popular POCO F1. So, who’s this phone for and what other smartphone options will the Nepalese consumers be able to neglect and get this instead in 2020?

Here’s an honest review of the POCO X2 after using it for a week.

Poco X2 Review

Specs:

  • Body: 6.51 x 3.02 x 0.35 inches; 208 gm; P2i coating
  • Display: 6.67-inches “RealityFlow” IPS LCD panel with HDR10 support; 386 PPI and up to 500 nits of brightness
  • Resolution: FHD+ (2400 x 1800 pixels); 20:9 aspect ratio
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G; 8nm Mobile Platform
  • CPU: Octa-core (2x Gold @ 2.2GHz + 6x Silver @ 1.8GHz)
  • GPU: Adreno 618
  • RAM: 6 / 8GB LPDDR4X dual-channel memory
  • Storage: 64 / 128 / 256GB UFS 2.1 (expandable via a microSD card)
  • Software & UI: Android 10 with MIUI 11 on top
  • Rear Camera: Quad-camera;
    – 64 MP f/1.89 Sony IMX686 sensor, PDAF support
    – 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide sensor with 120º FOV
    – 2MP f/2.4 macro lens
    – 2MP f/2.4 depth sensor
    – Dual LED flash
  • Front Camera: Dual-camera;
    – 20MP f/2.2 primary sensor
    – 2MP f/2.4 depth sensor
  • Security: Side-mounted fingerprint scanner
  • Audio: 3.5mm headphone jack, Qualcomm Hi-Fi DAC support
  • Connectivity: Hybrid dual-SIM (Nano), microSD card, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS/AGPS/GLONASS/Beidou, USB Type-C
  • Battery: 4500 mAh with 27W fast charging
  • Colors: Atlantis Blue, Matrix Purple, Phoenix Red

Poco X2 Pricing and Color Options:

Specs, POCO X2

Despite not being a flagship killer, the pricing of this phone in India has upped the competition for market-dominating mid-range smartphones like the Redmi Note 8 Pro and Realme X2. Here’s the expected pricing of the three variants of this phone in Nepal as compared to the pricing in India as per the company’s trend of jumping the price in Nepal by NRs.1000 to 3000.

  • POCO X2 (6/64GB) – INR. 15,999 (~NRs. 26500 | $225)
  • POCO X2 (6/128GB) – INR. 16,999 (~NRs. 29200 | $240)
  • POCO X2 (8/256GB) – INR. 19,999 (~NRs. 33,800 | $280)

The phone was launched in three color variants: Atlantis Blue, Matrix Purple, and Phoenix Red but we aren’t sure which ones will be available in Nepal yet. Also, I am highly hoping for the launch to be Daraz Exclusive as we have seen phones launching at prices lower than the international one in Daraz.

Build and Design:

Unlike the POCO F1 with a totally plastic build, mid-range smartphones these days are far more premium just like the POCO X2 with Corning Gorilla Glass Protection on both the front and back with an aluminum frame on the sides. Due to the smooth curved back edges, the phone feels solid on the hand but is a fingerprint magnet so I would recommend you use a case or skin. The phone has a pretty unique look with a circular shiny design around the vertical quad-camera module on the back. I actually liked its design but my brother hated it so, I guess it depends on your personal preference. There’s no IP rating but has P2i coating to protect from minor splashes of water.

Talking more about the design, the phone has volume buttons and a power button on the right that doubles as a physical fingerprint sensor just like on the Huawei Nova 5T that we reviewed before.   There’s an IR blaster on the top just like on all other Xiaomi phones. Sadly, the tray on the left is hybrid, so you’ll need to sacrifice a second SIM for a microSD card, and vice versa. The 3.5mm audio socket, USB-type-C port, and single-downward firing speaker grill are on the bottom.

Display:

I think one of the most disputable things about this device is its display. Half the consumers wanted a 90HZ AMOLED panel while the other half are pretty satisfied with the 120Hz 1080P IPS LCD display of the POCO X2. Personally, I think that the 120Hz is worth it for a smartphone at this price and challenges other smartphone companies to do better. The large 6.67-inch screen with a tall 20:9 aspect ratio gives us a very good viewing experience from various angles but lacks in the blacks, unlike the AMOLED displays. Also, the dual-camera cutout on the upper corner of the screen can be a bit distracting at first, but you will soon get used to it.

Performance, Software, and Security:

The phone is powered by Snapdragon 730G which is also found in Realme X2 which costs about Rs. 35000 on Daraz right now. The variant that we have has 8GB RAM and 256GB Storage with UFS2.1 and coupled with the latest MIUI 11 based on Android 10, multi-tasking and gaming on this phone is a breeze due to the gaming-focused processor from Snapdragon and best RAM management from the OS. We are able to run all graphic-hungry popular games like PUBG, Call of Duty and Asphalt 9 at their highest settings.

I also didn’t find the device overheating or causing frame drops during my extended hours of usage. Along with smooth OS transitions, the 120Hz refresh rate is also supported in various games but you have to keep in mind that the system decides for itself when the 120Hz refresh rate is required to prevent battery life. Poco X2 does come with some third-party apps pre-installed, but you can easily uninstall them.  Overall, the user experience is very good without any ads. Well, at least I didn’t find any.

Talking about security, the phone has very quick face-unlock but it isn’t as secure as the 3D-face unlock on the iPhones. The side-mounted fingerprint sensor is also pretty fast but you can accidentally unlock your phone when you don’t want to if your normal thumb-resting position while holding a phone is on the power button. You can avoid that by toggling the ‘unlock by press’ option in the Settings.

Camera:

POCO X2 has a quad-camera setup on the back and dual-camera on the front screen. The quad cameras include 64MP Sony IMX686 f/1.89 primary, 8MP 120-degree ultra-wide, 2MP depth and 2MP macro sensor with 2cm of minimum focusing distance making you camera-ready for every situation. Just below the cameras is the dual-LED flash. The front camera module consists of a 20MP f/2.2 and a 2MP depth sensor.

The details and color reproduction from the primary sensor are impressive in good lighting conditions but the dynamic range is inferior as compared to the Realme X2. Turning on HDR greatly improves the dynamic range. The pictures from the 120-degree ultra-wide and macro sensor follow the same trend as the primary except for the lack of details. Although there is the support of beauty mode, I prefer not to use them and as you can see the portraits have natural skin tone with great details but there is still the problem of washed out background blur. The good part is that the phone can capture unprocessed RAW images in Pro mode which can be a great deal for post-editors. Pro mode is supported by all three sensors. The 64MP mode picture has great details but it takes some time to capture or process the image and if you shake your camera out of frame during those few seconds, the picture comes outstretched. It would have been appreciated if the company put up a ‘capturing’ or ‘processing’ sign during those few seconds to avoid or prevent the user from quickly removing the camera out of frame. 

The night mode helps bring out highlights and boosts the sharpness and contrast a bit. After observing a lot of night-samples, I found them to be average at best and you are better off with a good GCAM mod.

Here are sample Night Shots:

Night Selfie

The selfie and selfie-portraits come out with great clarity and natural skin tone with no-beauty mode. I hope that the 2MP depth sensors are not gimmicks but actually assist in edge-detection and blur intensity.

In the video segment, all three sensors can shoot video with the primary sensor being able to shoot up to 4k at 30fps. Personally, I found the video quality to be better than the picture quality but it was confusing how the stabilization was better while shooting 4k rather than in 1080p.

Overall, the default camera app is very easy to navigate through and has a lot more options like Slo-Motion up to 960fps at 720p, Time-Lapse, Panorama, Pro Mode and VLOG mode making it an ideal choice as your daily camera driver.

Here are more camera samples :

Macro Shots

Battery Life:

The battery capacity is rated at 4,500mAh with support for 27W fast charging, and Poco claims the 27W fast-charger provided in-the-box can refuel the phone fully in 68 minutes. And well, it is true. In our test with the phone switched off, the battery went from 0 to 100 in exactly 71 minutes and few seconds without any heating issue. In our battery drain test of mixed usage, the phone lasted around 13 hours and 15 minutes. So, normally you can expect a day of battery life and with continuous high-end. That’s quite impressive for a phone of this price range.

Verdict: Should you buy the POCO X2?

Finally, I think that with the right pricing, this phone will dominate the Nepalese mid-range market, at least for those who are able to sacrifice an AMOLED panel for better refresh rate like me. Unique design, premium build, big display, enough processing power, all-round camera package and awesome battery life. What else do you need? Well, I know what you’re gonna say. We need a POCO F2. Yeah, I totally agree with that.

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