Poco created quite a name for itself when it launched the Poco F1 in August 2018. But then things went silent, for nearly one and a half years and many wondered if the brand was dead. But 2020 appears to be a fresh start for Poco and it is kicking off the year with Poco X2.
Poco General Manager C Manmohan told the audience at the Poco launch event that the Poco X2 is not a successor to the Poco F1, but the first phone in its new X-series. It also looks like a re-branded version of the Redmi K30 4G that launched in China last December.
But one thing was clear in the launch presentation: Poco X2 is competing with Realme X2– another phone that comes with the same Snapdragon 730G processor as the Poco device. In our first impressions of the Poco X2, we concluded that the phone is not meant for Poco F1 users. The Poco GM also told the indianexpress.com in an interview that another Poco phone is scheduled to arrive this year in India. So, while the F1 users may have to wait a bit longer, the Poco X2 is here to appeal to those who want a mid-range smartphone. On the specifications sheet, the Poco X2 looks promising and here is our review.
Poco X2 review
Poco X2 specifications: 6.67-inch FHD+ display with 120Hz refresh rate and 20:9 aspect ratio | Snapdragon 730G processor + Adreno 618 GPU | 64MP+8MP(ultrawide)+2MP(macro)+2MP(depth) quad-rear camera setup | 20MP+2MP dual punch-hole front cameras | 4,500mah battery + 27W fast charger in the box | MIUI 11 based on Android 10 | Side-mounted fingerprint sensor
Poco X2 Price: Rs 15,999 for 6/64GB storage model | Rs 16,999 for 6/128GB model | Rs 19,999 for 8/256GB model
Poco X2 review: Stunning design
The Poco X2 takes things right where Poco F1 left. The plastic back is replaced with a glass back with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection, the dual-rear camera setup is replaced by a quad-camera setup, the fingerprint sensor has been moved to the side and the notch is replaced by a punch-hole screen. The minimalistic design of the Poco X2 is a beauty to hold. I had the Atlantis Blue unit that features a gradient tone, where the blue at the top gets darker towards the bottom.
The back of the Poco X2 has a reflective circular rim at the back around the vertical camera module. The camera array bulges out a bit too much but since it is aligned to the centre, the phone does not wobble when you place it on a surface. The size of the phone is big, but the aspect ratio and curved edges at the back ensure a comfortable fit in the hands.
The side-mounted fingerprint sensor is at the right edge, which doubles as the power button below the volume rockers. I found the side-mounted solution to be the best implication of the fingerprint unlock. You will need to set up the thumb and index fingers of both the hands to use the fingerprint sensor to its full potential. It will allow you to unlock your phone no matter in which position it is lying. You can either set the phone to get unlocked by pressing the power button or just by touching the scanner.
Poco X2 review: The LCD screen is really good
The Poco X2 features a large 6.67-inch Full HD+ display with slim bezels and a chin that has got thinner compared to the Poco F1. The LCD-IPS screen is very bright and has good contrast. The viewing angles are quite good and I could enjoy YouTube videos under direct sunlight. The colour reproduction is on point and the blacks are deep. In fact, I almost mistook it for an OLED panel. The Poco X2 has adopted a punch-hole screen and while the hole doesn’t bother during normal usage, you will only notice it while watching full-screen videos or playing games.
The screen of Poco X2 supports 120Hz refresh rate and you feel the difference from the time you pick up the phone. Whether it is navigating through the user interface, scrolling Instagram or Twitter news feed, or playing games, the experience is super smooth or as Poco likes to call it Smooth AF– where AF stands for ‘And Fast’ (we see what they did there). Users can also select 60Hz refresh rate from the Settings to save up battery.
Poco X2 Performance: A gamer’s delight
The Poco X2 is powered by the Snapdragon 730G processor paired with Adreno 618 GPU. In day-to-day usage, the performance of Poco X2 is almost indistinguishable from the Snapdragon 845-powered Poco F1, which was my primary phone for more than a year.
I’ve been using the 8GB RAM + 256GB model of Poco X2 for about two weeks now and the phone did not freeze. My usage involved dozens of pages opened in Chrome tabs all the time, while I continuously switched between YouTube, Music player, and multiple photo-editing apps like Lightroom, Photoshop, and Snapseed.
But the difference in the performance of Snapdragon 845 and Snapdragon 730G is most visible when you play graphics-heavy games like PUBG Mobile. You cannot push the game beyond HD graphics at High frame rates, whereas the Poco F1 lets you play PUBG Mobile at HDR and UltraHD graphics.
Still thanks to the 120Hz refresh rate on the Poco X2, the gameplay experience is on par with the F1. The game does not stutter or lag and while frame drops are bound to happen on every smartphone, I could not notice frame drops while I was playing the game. The phone does not heat up even after one hour of gameplay.
Poco X2 review: Camera performance
Poco X2 features a quad-rear camera setup carrying a 64MP primary camera that clicks 16MP pictures via pixel-binning. The primary sensor is capable of clicking vibrant pictures that carry good amount of details. The dynamic range on the Poco X2 pictures is on par with the pictures taken from flagship phones like the OnePlus 7T and Realme X2 Pro. It turns up even the pale looking scenes into a masterpiece shot. The only drawback of the primary camera sensor is its inability to capture details in the shadow region.
There is a 64MP mode as well but it doesn’t make a difference, at least if you do not want to print your photos. The 64MP shots allow you to zoom in more but the outcome is a bit shaky, especially if you are capturing text from far away.
When it comes to colour reproduction, images captured from the Poco X2 stay on the saturated side. These pictures are social media ready and do not need colour enhancement before uploading to Instagram. However, the phone tends to oversaturate the greens.
If you are clicking the grass or a tree, you would wish you could turn off the colour enhancement. In theory, the AI button on the camera interface is there to do just that, but it is not working. Poco should fix this issue with a software update in the future.
The 8MP ultrawide lens on the Poco has a true 120-degree field of view, meaning there is no fish-eye lens but a proper ultrawide-angle camera sensor. Even though I did not expect the wide shots to be any good, it actually managed to pull in good details and great dynamic range while keeping the exposure levels balanced.
But the ultrawide-angle lens also fails to carry details in shadow regions and its performance in low light situations is also not good. The night mode works only for the shots taken from the primary camera.
I liked the macro lens on the Redmi Note 8 and was hoping the same kind of performance on the Poco X2. However, it looks like there is a disconnect between the macro lens and the Poco’s camera software. The colour enhancement is completely absent on the pictures taken from the macro lens. The photos look like they are taken from a different phone altogether.
The main problem with the macro shots is that they have too much noise, especially at the edges of the subject. While the pictures taken from the other lenses look refined, the macro shots look shabby.
The front camera on the Poco X2 is a bit disappointing when you compare it to the Poco F1’s performance. In bright daylight, the 20MP+2MP dual front camera setup captures proper skin tone but the details are too sharpen and the background is completely washed out. The blurs on the Portrait mode look natural but the edge detection is a hit and miss.
Battery and audio
The Poco X2 is backed by the 4,500mAh battery that lasts a full day with moderate usage even when you keep the refresh rate set to 120Hz. I used the phone as my daily driver for social media browsing and daily multimedia consumption along with calling and messaging needs and it still delivered 24 hours of battery life.
The charging speed of Poco X2 with its 27W fast charger (comes in the box) is really impressive. One hour of charge fills 90 per cent battery and if you are running low and need a quick charge, 20 minutes of charge can fill up around 40 per cent battery to help you get going for the day.
The Poco X2 comes with a single bottom-firing speaker powered by Qualcomm’s Hi-Fi DAC. While I would have preferred a stereo setup, the sound quality on the phone is satisfying. The speaker is loud enough to watch YouTube videos, stream Netflix, or play games without the need for a pair of earphones. The audio is also rich and does not sound like noise even when boosted to full.
Poco X2 review: Verdict
The Poco X2 comes with top of the line specifications for a mid-range smartphone and delivers a power-packed performance on all fronts. The phone needs a little tweaking on the camera software, and apart from that, it doesn’t leave much to complain about. That being said, Poco X2 is not meant for the Poco F1 users but it is a budget-friendly option for those who want premium features in a smartphone.
At its starting price of Rs 15,999, the Poco X2 outshines its own family’s Redmi Note 8 Pro and Redmi K20 smartphone and may very well give the Realme X2 a run for its money.
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