Realme. The first time I heard that name, I couldn’t help but let out a chuckle. It just seems like one of those things where companies try too hard to appeal to a specific target market, in this case, the edgy teenage and young adult market.
In just a span of seven months, this offshoot of OPPO has already released five devices and the Realme 2 Pro, is it’s highest-end offering to date. It comes in three variations, 4GB RAM + 64GB storage, 6GB RAM + 64GB storage and 8GB RAM + 128GB storage – with price tags running at RM849, RM949 and RM1,099 respectively.
So, is the Realme 2 Pro real good or real meh? Will it appeal to its target market? Here’s my take on the Realme 2 Pro.
Honestly speaking, when I first removed the device from the box, I was well underwhelmed as the device looks a tad boring. Yes, the dewdrop notch is interesting compared to the more typical rectangular notches but everything else about the Realme 2 Pro’s design just feels meh.
Like most of Realme’s other devices, this is also made entirely out of polycarbonate. Of course, it doesn’t feel as premium as phones made out of metal but it is still quite solid and sturdy. To add a little premiumness to the design, Realme have decided to emulate the glass back of more expensive devices. It doesn’t feel as good real glass but is grippier. However, it also scuffs and scratches easier, which is why I’d recommend using the bundled silicone TPU case.
Speaking of the bundled case, I’ve noticed that it is slightly harder compared to the average TPU case. I also like the fact that the ridges on the front are a lot more pronounced so that if the device display falls first on to the surface, there’s a higher chance the case will absorb the impact.
While I wasn’t truly blown away by the outside of the device, the insides actually impressed me quite a fair bit. All three variants of the Realme 2 Pro are powered by the octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 660AIE processor running at 1.95GHz complemented by the Adreno 512 GPU. This setup has been used by quite a few other mid-range devices and has proven to be snappy and power efficient.
If you’re a fairly heavy user, then it’s wise to opt for the 8GB RAM + 128GB storage variant as that will give you plenty of room to multitask and store all your multimedia content as you’d have about 106GB of usable storage. If by some miracle (or nightmare), you manage to use up all 106GB, the device comes with a triple card tray that supports dual nano-SIMs AND a microSD card of up to 256GB. So that’s always a plus.
As for connectivity, the Realme 2 Pro has all the standard fare such as Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0 and also GPS, aGPS and GLONASS.
Last but not least, this smartphone comes with a pretty sizeable 3,500mAh battery but lacks fast charging.
Seeing as this is essentially an OPPO device, the Realme 2 Pro runs ColorOS on top of Android 8.1 Oreo. Similar to most Chinese manufacturers, ColorOS is heavily themed and tries to do its best impression of iOS, which means a lot of what makes Android, Android, has been changed significantly.
While this may sound a little harsh, I feel ColorOS is quite half-baked. Even with its dewdrop notch, the device doesn’t show notification icons on the status bar and more of than not, that notch gets in the way of games’ heads-up display.
On top of that, throughout my experience with it besides the occasional stutter, there were times where the phone’s display would start going haywire when I rebooted the device. It was quite scary as it seemed like the LCD was broken, with weird colour bleeding and the appearance of strange lines. Upon locking and unlocking the device, they would disappear.
For me, this is one of the major downsides of the device and I would love to see an Android One version of it instead of using this nonsensical UI. Also, another thing that really irked me, bloatware. Why is this still a thing? Right from the get go, you get Chrome, Opera and UC Browser. Dear Realme, no one needs three internet browsers.
As mentioned in the software portion of the review, I experienced occasional stutters with the Realme 2 Pro but 80% of the time, the phone was fairly snappy. Quite frankly, I expected better from a device with the Snapdragon 660 and 8GB of RAM but I’m very sure this is due to the fact that ColorOS isn’t as polished as it can be.
Synthetic benchmark-wise, the device produced scores that were satisfactory and pretty much on the same level as phones with the same specs. It won’t blow the competition out of the water but it manages to hold its own.
If you’re a pretty light user like me, the Realme 2 Pro’s 3500mAh battery will be good enough to last you a full day and more. During the course of my time with it, I would usually end the day with about 35-40% of juice left in the tank.
My days would usually begin at about 8.30am where I take it off the charger and it will last to about 12.30am, which is really quite impressive. On most days, I’d use my phone mainly for instant messaging, light browsing, a little bit of gaming and one or two phone calls. The activities that would drain most of my battery would be streaming from Spotify via Bluetooth and watching YouTube videos.
When it comes to overall multimedia experience, I’d say the Realme 2 Pro is so-so. On the one hand, it has a very sharp display that produces very accurate colours and details but is marred by the single bottom firing speaker. Half the time, I found my index fingering covering up the speaker when I held the device in landscape mode. Then again, even without any obstructions, the speaker is hollow, tinny and soft.
To cap things off, let’s take look at the cameras. The Realme 2 Pro uses a Sony IMX398 sensor for the main 16MP rear camera and supports things like phase-detection autofocus and is bolstered by AI-assisted scene detection.
Initially, I expected the camera performance to be a mixed bag but it actually proved me wrong and performed a lot better. In daylight or well-lit environments, the phone is able to produce very nice images with accurate colours, great contrast and retains a good amount of details. Check out some sample photos here.
[twenty20 img1=”50082″ img2=”50081″ offset=”0.5″ before=”Expert: ISO 22, f/1.7, 1.0s” after=”Auto: ISO 777, f/1.7, 1/17s”]
Low-light performance on the other hand isn’t great but the f/1.7 aperture helps it produce decent photos. Details are still quite nicely retained and noise is minimal.
For those who like taking portrait photos, the secondary 2MP depth sensor does its job quite nicely. Edge and subject detection are accurate and the bokeh effect doesn’t look overly processed.
- Realme 2 Pro unit
- Micro-USB cable
- 5V/2A charger
- SIM card ejector tool
- Screen protector
- Clear TPU case
- Documentation (user guide, warranty card)
- Sturdy build
- Real bang for your buck
- Triple card slot
- Good battery life
- Good camera performance
- No fast-charging support
- Bloatware and half-baked OS
- Durability might be a problem
- Horrible speaker
For what it costs (which isn’t an arm, leg or kidney), I’d say the Realme 2 Pro is a really decent package especially for those looking for an inexpensive device that has the standard set of features and decent performance. It’s probably good choice for those who want to give their children or older parents an inexpensive device that is able to meet most of their daily needs.
With that said though, it faces a fair bit of stiff competition as there are other devices that offer more for about the same price or less. Take for example the Pocophone F1, which is about MYR200 more but packs the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845. Then, there’s of course the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2 and devices such as the Honor Play.
The Realme 2 Pro retails for MYR849 for the 4GB RAM + 64GB storage variant, MYR949 for the 6GB RAM +64GB storage variant and MYR1,099 for the 8GB RAM + 128GB storage variant. All three are available for purchase from Realme’s official Flagship Store on Shopee, DirectD and various retail partners.