[review] Realme 2 – Affordably real

[review] Realme 2 – Affordably real

Realme 2
  • Design
  • Performance
  • Display
  • Battery Life
  • Camera
  • Value

Realme 2 review

If you are on a tight budget, the 3GB RAM/32GB variant of the Realme 2 is one of the best options available with its large display and excellent battery life though if you have a bit more cash to spare, the 4GB RAM/64GB variant of the Realme 2 is a more desirable option.

We unboxed the Realme 2 earlier on and discovered that it was surprisingly well made for what you pay for. The polycarbonate casing has reflective geometric accents emblazoned across the backplate and boasts of a semi-reflective glossy finish that makes it look and feel classier than what its price tag indicates. Where it gives away its plebeian roots is the inclusion of an increasingly dated microUSB port at the base of the phone.

In its favour though is the fact that its side bezels of its 720P fullscreen display are extremely slim save for the modestly sized chin at the base of the display. The phone also has quite a bit of heft on account of its large 4,230mAh battery which lends it a slightly more premium feel akin to pricier phones hewn of metal and glass.

The extras bundled in the box are also fairly generous indeed as they have tossed in a free soft TPU casing and applied a free screen protector beforehand onto the phone though they have omitted a pair of headphones which means you’ll have to source your own. On the bright side, at least they’ve retained the 3.5mm audio jack which is something that’s become an increasingly rarer sight these days.

Minor design niggles aside, the Realme 2 aesthetically punches above its weight class which is quite an achievement for a brand that is just a few months old in Malaysia.

Realme 2 Performance and Specifications

For Malaysia, the Realme 2 comes in two different storage configurations with your choice of 3GB RAM/32GB storage and a better specced 4GB RAM/ 64GB storage though they are otherwise identical in terms of the display, cameras and processor. Our test unit was the former configuration .

Under the hood, the Realme 2 comes with an entry-level Snapdragon 450 1.8GHz octacore processor that runs Android Oreo 8.1 overlaid with ColorOS 5.1. The configuration of our test unit, which has 3GB RAM and 32GB of expandable storage is still a notch above the entry level Realme C1 and pales to its better specced 4GB RAM /64GB sibling which offers better performance on paper.

The Realme 2 has a dual screen mode that lets you run two apps onscreen from a selected pool of options.

The Realme 2 has a dual screen mode that lets you run two apps onscreen from a selected pool of options.

In terms of security, the phone offers a rear-mounted fingerprint reader and face unlock, which is a pleasant surprise at this price point. The fingerprint reader proved gratifyingly swift and unlocked the phone in seconds along with the face unlock though it does not work well under dim lighting conditions.

Firing up the phone took a few minutes and getting about is fairly fast though the phone is chock full of bloatware of dubious utility. Installed by default is a shortcut to Lazada, two additional browsers on top of the obligatory Chrome in the form of Opera and the UC browser app, the bizarre KwaiGo vlogging app and a video streaming app called Babe.

Bloatware aside, Color OS 5.1 is relatively navigable and has a few interesting features that include the ability to run two unique but separate copies of selected apps like Facebook, Wechat and Whatsapp via their Clone Apps function and a Split screen mode that lets you run two apps simultaneously onscreen by swiping three fingers up at the same time onscreen.Split Screen works with a selected number apps but there’s a lag of a second or two for apps to load up.

In terms of synthetic benchmarks, the phone ekes out results typical of devices packing a Snapdragon 450 processor like the HTC Desire 12+ and older Vivo V7+ though at a significantly lower price point. In Geekbench 4.0 it had a single-core score of 741 points and a multi-core score of 3,604. In Antutu 3D, it got a score of 75,064. Under PCMark, which tests a device under conditions resembling a work-style scenario, it got a very modest score of 4,991. Under 3DMark, it got a score of 447 in Sling Shot Extreme – OpenGL ES 3.1 and 391 points in Sling Shot Extreme – Vulkan.

Under practical conditions, the Realme 2 worked in a relatively smooth fashion with apps opening up and running without significant lag. The phone was able to handle the vast majority of utility and social media apps and less strenuous games like Clash Royale with undue trouble. More resource heavy games like PUBG were able to run at low settings. To mitigate this, the phone has a Game Mode that prioritises resources towards running the game and it manages to do so in a smooth fashion though this tends to tax the phone and make it run warmer than usual.

Where the Realme 2 impresses is its large 6.3-inch notched HD display that managed to serve up a visual treat with good colour rendition and a fair amount of detail. Streamed movies are a treat and gaming too though the notch occasionally gets in the way when running certain games. You can however selectively disable the notch on a per app basis if necessary. The sole mono speaker at the base of the phone proved to be loud if somewhat flat with a lack of detail but for general listening and the odd game or two, it’s more than sufficient.

Realme 2 camera

The Realme 2 has a rear dual camera array that consists of a primary 13-MP F/2.2 camera equipped with phase detection autofocus and an LED flash A secondary 2-MP sensor perches alongside it for depth detail.

The UI itself is essentially unaltered from an OPPO-issued ColorOS phone and has a slider that lets you capture videos, snaps, timelapse shots, panoramic shots and there’s also a rudimentary portrait mode.

Unfortunately, it lacks a manual mode though the stock auto mode has the ability to turn HDR on auto or off, dial in beauty mode and throws in some basic filters too.

Shots under good lighting are decent for a budget camphone with fair amounts of detail and surprisingly good colour rendition. Unfortunately low light shots are poorly handled, with a soft look about it and a lack of detail that relegates it primarily to daytime use.

The front 8-MP selfie camera is slightly more fully featured with the option to turn HDR on or off, activate a fake bokeh effect, dial in a beauty mode or use a set of filters.

Selfie shots are decent affairs with fairly good skin tone rendition though the fake bokeh mode tends to get fudge fine details like hair while the beautification mode tends to be a bit on the aggressive side.

When dialled to maximum, you get, regardless of the gender of the subject, rosy white cheeks and snow white skin which leads to somewhat unnatural results especially if you use it on male subjects. Front and rear video is capped at 1080P and offered fair, if unremarkable results for casual use.

Realme 2 Price, Battery Life and Conclusion

The Realme 2 truly excels in one area – battery life. The efficient Snapdragon 450 processor, the 720P display and the massive 4,230mAh battery all work together to offer exceptional endurance. With moderate use in the form of a combination of WiFi and data for most of the working day, a constant use of social media use and a bit of light gaming via a couple of PUBG matches and some Netflix video streaming, it was easily able to last shy of two days.

Compared to phones with similar processors and approximate specifications like the HTC Desire 12+ launched earlier this year, the Realme 2 wins out as it has similar hardware to offer while being cheaper to boot.

As it stands, the Realme 2 is an excellent phone with a large display and excellent battery life that is one of the most affordable and capable offerings in its price range. if you are on a tight budget the Realme 2 is one of the best options available though if you have a bit more cash to spare, the 4GB RAM/ 64GB Realme 2 is a more desirable option.

What we liked Large display, generously sized battery, very affordably priced
What we didn’t Display is only 720p, lack of manual camera modes, middling low light camera performance
We say The entry-level 3GB RAM/32GB storage variant of the Realme 2 is ideal for those on a tight budget as it covers the essentials with a large 720P display and extensive battery life for just under RM600.

Price RM599
Display 6.2-inch IPS LCD, 720 x 1,520 pixels
Processor Snapdragon 450 1.8GHz octacore
OS Android 8.1 Oreo
Memory 3GB RAM/32GB storage + microSD card
Camera 13-MP F/2.2  + 2-MP depth sensor (rear) / 8-MP F/2.2 (front)
Battery 4,230mAh
Size/Weight 156.2 x 75.6 x 8.2mm / 168g
Review unit courtesy of Realme Malaysia


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