Hands-On, Smartphone

Realme 2 Pro Hands-On: The New Disruptor

In the mid-range segment of smartphones, value for money is one of the most important things consumer look out for. For a device to succeed in this crowded segment, it will have to offer competent hardware at a competitive price point.

And that’s exactly what the Realme 2 Pro offers. It’s priced aggressively, it has great hardware for the money, and it’s a pretty sleek-looking device. Realme was only officially established earlier this year, but this sub-brand of Oppo may very well be onto something big here with the Realme 2 Pro.

Let’s cut to the chase and get to the most exciting part of the Realme 2 Pro first: price. For the Malaysian market, the base model with 64GB of storage and 4GB RAM retails at RM849. Another 64GB variant with more RAM at 6GB, on the other hand, goes for RM949.

But the most exciting variant of the Realme 2 Pro is the 128GB model with 8GB of RAM, which retails at RM1,099. Not only is this the only mid-range phone in the Malaysian market to offer this much RAM, it’s unheard of in this price point. Of course, you probably don’t need that much RAM anyway, but it’s certainly nice to have.

So how are these retail prices competitive? For a couple of good reasons. For one, the Realme 2 Pro is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 chipset. It’s considered to be one of the chipmaker’s best mid-range SoCs to date (it’s a step below the Snapdragon 710), and it’s fast enough to provide a pleasant user experience.

Besides that, the Realme 2 Pro also comes with a 6.3-inch 2340 x 1080 IPS display, and it’s surprisingly bright and vibrant. Considering its affordable price tag, the panel quality really exceed my expectations. It’s a really nice display to look at. Colours pop, texts and images look sharp, and viewing angles are great.

Design is also another strong point of the Realme 2 Pro. I love how minimal the bottom bezel is, and while I’m not thrilled about the notch (Realme calls it a “Dewdrop” notch), it’s not as intrusive as wider notches found on other devices.

On the back, the Realme 2 Pro features a glossy polycarbonate back with a “15-layer laminated technology.” To be honest, I initially thought the back panel was made of glass, especially with the way it shimmers. It’s unmistakably plastic, but it’s nice to the touch.

Speaking of which, the matte frame of the Realme 2 Pro is also made out of polycarbonate, but it feels reassuring and solid. I really appreciate the extra thickness of the frame too; measuring 8.5mm thick, I can get a good grip on the phone easily. Despite the thicker than usual chassis, however, the Realme 2 Pro only comes with a 3,500mAh battery – pretty average capacity.

I really dig the Realme 2 Pro’s overall design, but I was a little underwhelmed when I saw that it still uses a microUSB port instead of a USB-C connector. But on the bright side, it has a 3.5mm headphone jack – an increasingly rare port in today’s smartphones.

Running on ColorOS 5.2 based on Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box, the Realme 2 Pro’s software experience…is relatively good. Given the choice, I’d much rather use a phone that runs on stock Android, but ColorOS isn’t bad by any means. While there are some bloatware here and there (the app drawer is nowhere to be found either), the software experience still feels lightweight and fast.

Last but certainly not least is the Realme 2 Pro’s camera performance. Featuring a 16MP f/1.7 + 2MP f/2.4 dual camera system on the back, it can capture pretty good-looking shots. There’s minimal shutter delay, detail preservation is decent, and the final images look flattering. That being said, I’ve only taken shots in broad daylight – I haven’t had the chance to try out the camera’s low light performance yet.

I’ll definitely put the Realme 2 Pro’s camera through its paces once I’ve spent more time with the phone in a full review. Of course, I’ll test out the phone’s 16MP f/2.0 front-facing shooter too.

The Realme 2 Pro is an interesting mid-ranger, and its competitive price tag makes it that much more compelling. In the past, it’s usually Xiaomi devices that disrupt the market with their low price tags, but Realme takes that up a notch with this phone right here – it’s the new disruptor.

Then again, until I’ve used the Realme 2 Pro for a longer period of time, I can’t say with confidence if it’s the best mid-range phone you can buy right now. It is, however, a very, very promising smartphone with great value for money.