In a market already highly saturated with smartphones, Realme, a former sub-brand of OPPO now forming its own identity, has just recently released the Realme 2. The company’s primary initiative is to provide affordable smartphones with high performance while maintaining a stylish aesthetic, and the Realme 2 does just that.
Starting at the modest price of only MYR 599, the Realme 2 comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon octa-core processor, 3 or 4 GB RAM and 32 or 64 GB Internal Storage, depending on the variant. Moreover, it has an incredible battery life, especially for the price, as it comes with a 4230 mAh battery. The 6.2 inch screen has an aspect ratio of 19:9 and boasts a 88% screen to body ratio, complete with the common but divisive notch design. It even includes features such as fingerprint and facial unlock, which is impressive for the low price. So on paper, it seems like a no-brainer, but does it deliver?
After taking the phone out of the box, the design already makes an impression. The glass back with a plastic frame makes the phone very light but keeps the look and feel very premium. On top of that, there is a nice design on the glass back which makes the phone look even prettier, albeit it does double as a fingerprint magnet. For a phone that is as cheap as it is, it does not feel or look cheap at all. However, one odd design decision was to not include a charging indicator i.e. that small light that lights up when the phone is connected to a charger. Without the indicator, you’d have to unlock the screen to check whether the phone is charging or fully charged. In terms of durability, It does not feel fragile but we’re not keen on doing drop tests on a review unit, so we cannot be sure about how much punishment it can survive.
Performance seems to be sufficient to provide the essential Android phone experience, although there are moments when it feels sluggish. The phone is capable of running games decently enough but nothing too heavy. PUBG Mobile, a pretty demanding game, ran smoothly albeit only at low settings. With the exception of heavy gaming, the phone seems to be capable of handling anything you may need from a smartphone. However, performance does drop when multitasking too much.
The display is one of the components where Realme cut costs as it does not offer Full HD resolution, rather opting for 1520x720 pixels. Despite this, images and videos in the phone look impressively sharp with great color depth and viewing angles, so the lower resolution is hardly a deal breaker.
The Fingerprint Reader felt a bit hit or miss as there have been instances of it failing to recognize the right fingerprint. There is only vibrational feedback from the phone when the fingerprint unlock is unsuccessful but nothing when it succeeds, which honestly feels a bit jarring. The facial unlock seemed to have a higher success rate, but as the disclaimer for the feature already mentions, using the feature comes with the risk of the phone unlocking if it scans anything that is visually similar to the reference image.
The 13+2MP rear dual camera is pretty standard but nothing groundbreaking. Thanks to the dual camera, you can use effects like Bokeh however, the execution of the effects are hit and miss. The 8MP front camera also performs pretty well, but again, it is nothing particularly outstanding. For video, both front and rear cameras support 1080p recording, but locked to only 30fps. The major lacking for the cameras overall, is that the colors look a bit washed out so don’t expect dynamic colors from your photos and videos. All in all, the camera performance is sufficient considering the price of the phone.
The speakers for the phone are not the best, as at times the bass feels completely absent, while the treble is significantly more prominent as if to compensate for the volume. But audiophiles can rest easy as between the Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity and the 3.5mm jack that many phones seem to neglect, you can use your speaker, headphone or earphone of choice. The phone itself, however, does not seem to include a pair of earphones with the package.
The Realme 2, along with the rest of Realme’s line, is meant to appeal to younger audiences who would look for more bang for the buck and the phone does deliver on that. While the phone cannot compete with the high end choices in the market, one should not expect it to. Despite some shortcomings, the phone offers a lot of value for the money.
The Realme 2 will be available soon on 24th November in retail outlets such as Vivid, Mobile to go, Seven Mobile, DirectD and many more.