The Realme 2 Pro, likes its predecessors from the brand, has its specification set as its USP.
It's the first phone in this price range to sport 8GB of RAM, a first for its segment.
The device is priced from Rs 13,990, and is available exclusively on Flipkart.
It wasn’t very long ago that Realme emerged onto the scene, promising to be like Oppo, without the typically high prices associated with the offline retail space. Marketing itself as a sub-brand of Oppo, Realme has pursued an online-only retail strategy that allows it to sell its phones are competitive prices to take on other online-first brands such as Xiaomi and Honor. And it’s a strategy that has largely worked for the brand.
The company, which has been in the market for about five months now, has four smartphones in its portfolio. The latest of these is the Realme 2 Pro, which is the most expensive device in the range from the company. Priced from Rs 13,990 onwards, it’s a device that uses its specification sheet to win over buyers, and indeed has a considerable advantage over the competition in this department. After all, it is the most affordable smartphone you can buy right now with 8GB of RAM. But is there more to this phone than just its specifications? We find out in our review.
WATCH: How Realme phones are made
Realme 2 Pro Design and Display
Before we get into these much-fabled specifications, lets tackle the aesthetics. The Realme 2 Pro goes with what is becoming a rather popular looking among mid-range smartphones these days: the faux-glass finish with bright, attractive colors. The back and sides are separate bits of plastic, and is available in three color variants: black, deep blue and light blue. The plastic at the back does a decent job of playing the role of glass, offering the same level of reflectiveness. At the bottom is the Realme logo, with the fingerprint sensor at dual-camera setup at the top.
The front of the phone sports what is likely to become common on smartphones going forward – the waterdrop notch. With a slim chin and notch that’s significantly smaller than we’re used to seeing, the Realme 2 Pro pulls off the all-screen look admirably with a large 6.3-inch display. It’s quite similar to what we saw on the Oppo F9 Pro, and indeed both these phones do seem to share a common lineage in terms of design.
Despite the lack of Oppo branding, it feels like an Oppo device as such. It’s built solidly for a smartphone priced at Rs 13,990, although its build materials may not be entirely convincing as compared to the more premium build materials on competing devices such as the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro or Nokia 6.1 Plus. There’s no glass or metal here, and indeed the Realme 2 Pro feels a bit functional in comparison. However, the Realme 2 Pro hopes to be more convincing through its specification sheet.
Realme 2 Pro Specifications and Software
The real deal is here, through the specifications. The Realme 2 Pro, like the other Realme devices before it ,goes a step further with the specifications, offering a set that is visibly superior to what others in the price segment are offering. Starting at Rs 13,990, you get the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 SoC on this device, which is the lowest we’ve seen this chipset at on a smartphone. While the Rs 13,990 variant comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, you also get a 6GB RAM / 64GB storage option at Rs 15,990 and an 8GB / 128GB variant at Rs 17,990. It’s the most RAM you can get on a phone priced at under Rs 20,000.
You also get a 3,500mAh battery, and charging is through a micro-USB port at the bottom. Unfortunately, there’s no fast charging on the device, and you get a standard 10W adapter in the box. Interestingly, you also get Wi-Fi ac connectivity, along with Bluetooth 5.0, suggesting that Realme hasn’t cut too many corners when it comes to this device. You also get dedicated slots for two SIM cards and a microSD card, and Android 8.1 Oreo running under ColorOS 5.2.
In terms of the ‘intensity’ of the skin, ColorOS is among the more aggressive Android-based options around. The resemblance to the core of Android (what you’d see on a Google Pixel or Android One smarthphone) is very little, given that Color OS adds a lot of its own elements to the software. For most users, these don’t tend to be problems at all; people tend to get used to how things are on their phones. And while advanced users may think differently, most buyers in this price range will be happy with how ColorOS operates.
While the settings tend to be a bit too different for the sake of it and the UI has its share of bloatware, in general the UI is functional. There are some good touches that will be useful to users, such as wake to lift which helps in making the process of using face unlock quicker. Apart from that, you get the iOS-style ‘shelf’ app for quick settings and information, ‘Quiet Time’ (essentially a do-not-disturb mode), the ability to ‘clone’ apps (two instances of the same app for different accounts), split-screen mode, game space and a smart sidebar for quick shortcuts, to name a few. Not everyone will likely use all of these features, but each of them will be useful to at least someone that buys the Realme 2 Pro.
Realme 2 Pro Performance and Battery Life
The Realme 2 Pro, thanks to its superior hardware, performs as well as you’d want from a sub Rs 20,000 smartphone. Despite the software not being the lightest, the sheer volume of RAM and power of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 SoC make this a capable mid-range device. It’s geared to comfortably run most apps and games without any trouble.
Even high-end games such as PUBG Mobile work acceptably enough, although you may have to set the graphics to medium or low for ideal performance. While its gaming prowess can be considered a bonus, the real value comes in its ability to handle multi-tasking, and the fact that having 6GB or 8GB of RAM will only help in the long run. Even if the phone receives no software support going forward (not an impossible expectation), the higher RAM and Android Oreo OS will keep the phone running smoothly for a while.
Battery life on the phone is decent enough as well, with the phone capable of giving you a full day’s usage with over three hours of screen-on time. Charging isn’t the fastest, with the bundled charger taking about two-and-a-half hours to fully charge the device. Given that Motorola devices in this price range come with fast charging, it’s a bit of a compromise in my opinion.
Realme 2 Pro Camera
Dual-camera setups in the sub-Rs 20,000 category are par for the course, and the Realme 2 Pro sports one of these at the back. The phone comes with a 16-megapixel + 2-megapixel rear camera setup, with the secondary sensor only present for depth-sensing. At the front, the Realme 2 Pro sports a 16-megapixel shooter, which will be useful for buyers looking for better selfies. It’s another aspect where the similarities with Oppo are highlighted.
And like on Oppo phones, the camera app is quite similar to what you’d see on iOS. A lot of these touches are built for the typical user base for a phone like this, and have features such as beautification, AI-based portrait mode for the front camera and AR stickers. Users will also appreciate the Apple-like simplification of the app, which makes it easy to simply capture pictures the way you want them. Video can be recorded at up to 4K resolution with the rear camera and full-HD resolution with the front camera.
Performance by the camera set on the Realme 2 Pro is fairly ordinary for a smartphone priced in this range. The device takes decent photos in proper light, along with acceptable shots in reduced light. Some grain is visible in low-light conditions, which is to be expected given that affordable smartphones are rarely ever fitted with high-end camera sensors and lenses. You’ll also see a bit of washing out of light in low-light and well-lit conditions, but as much detail as reasonably expected is maintained.
The portrait mode on the rear camera is fairly rudimentary and does a better job with people than objects. It does its job of detecting depth, but don’t expect very good results from this. As you can see in the sample above, edge detection is decent enough, but the bokeh effect isn’t very strong and the general image still tends to look a bit ordinary on the whole. The ‘drama’ and focus you’d expect from portrait shots is generally missing on the Realme 2 Pro. The front camera takes decent enough shots, taking advantage of the high-resolution sensor and AI-based effects that come as a part of ColorOS.
The Realme 2 Pro is very similar to the Oppo F9 Pro, but fundamental differences in the specification sheet and mode of sale are what differentiate these two phones. While the Oppo F9 Pro has a stronger focus on design, styling, fast charging and front camera, the Realme 2 Pro sheds some of these more lifestyle-centric features for raw specifications. Indeed, its specifications are unmatched in its price range, and it has the distinction of being the most affordable smartphone to sport 8GB of RAM.
Only for that, it’s worth considering for anyone shopping for a phone at under Rs 20,000. While build quality is decent enough, the materials aren’t quite as premium as they look, thanks to the use of plastic all around. And the software, while not bad, isn’t the best either. It can come across as fairly cluttered, and we’re unsure if this phone will see any major updates beyond basic security patches.
However, all things considered, the phone has the potential to succeed purely on the superiority of its specifications, and the promise of good performance as a product of those specifications. If that’s what matters, the Realme 2 Pro will work for you. However, if you’re looking at better performance from the camera, more user-friendly software or even better design, devices such as the recently-launched Honor 8X, Motorola One Power or Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro might be better picks.