Goondu review: Realme 2

November 27th, 2018 | by Wilson Wong
Goondu review: Realme 2

The Realme 2 budget phone. PHOTO: Handout

As if you are not already spoilt for choice for budget phones today, you now have a new player, the Realme 2, to compete with options from Xiaomi, Asus, Samsung, Vivo, Honor and Huawei. 

Well, choice is a good thing for a consumer. Especially so, when the Realme 2 is so easy to like when it comes to looks.

It is covered in a piece of glass that comes with a nice “diamond cut” pattern at the back. The frame has a metallic feel and the buttons are very responsive.

Just to be clear, Realme was first launched as a sub-brand of Oppo from China, much like Honor is from Huawei. In August, Realme was touted as an independent brand altogether.

Looks-wise, Realme seems to have got things right. Placed next to more expensive models, like Oppo’s own R17 Pro and Huawei’s P20 Pro, the Realme 2 doesn’t look out of place at all.

It has the same bulk and feel that make it feel premium instead of budget. In terms of looks, it’s a well-finished product.

The 6.3-inch IPS LCD screen is not the best in the market but is definitely good enough for my daily commute. PHOTO: Wilson Wong

Glass back with Diamond Cut design shouts premium rather than budget. PHOTO: Wilson Wong

However, for a budget smartphone, the internals are definitely not going to be top of the line. Running on a modest Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 chip, the Realme 2 has 3GB of memory and 32GB of storage space.

It will definitely not win any speed contest with more expensive rivals. Switching between apps and navigating around Oppo’s Color OS, I sensed a bit of lag.

To be fair, the Realme 2 should get the job done most of the time. If you using it to catch up on social media and watch some YouTube videos, there isn’t a worry.

That being said, the audio performance will not blow you away. The smartphone relies on a down-firing speaker at the base on the phone to provide sound and music. Just make sure you don’t cover it with your finger.

Fortunately, a 3.5mm headphone jack is available. So, best to plug in your favourite earbuds for a more enjoyable aural experience.

The 6.2-inch Full HD screen is certainly huge and the colours from the IPS LCD screen are likeable too. It does seem to wash out a bit in bright sunlight though it should not be a huge hindrance if you are using it mostly indoors.

I would use the Realme 2 more as a travel phone as it can support two SIM cards along with a microSD card. That’s a rarity now.

Two SIM cards and a microSD card. That’s something we don’t see on flagship phones now. PHOTO: Wilson Wong

What caught me by the surprise was the speed of unlocking the phone whether I was using my face or fingerprint. You can say that for all phones.

Like most flagship phones of late, the Realme 2 also has a notch that holds a 8-megapixel f2.2 front-facing camera but it can’t be “switched off” like on Huawei phones.

Although there are two cameras, one is used for depth sensing to help with the bokeh effect. PHOTO: Wilson Wong

In good light, the Realme 2’s camera does pretty well but on closer inspection, some details are lost, especially in the grassy areas. PHOTO: Wilson Wong

I switched on the HDR mode to capture some details outside the mall. Didn’t do particularly well here with quite bad ISO noise in the shadows. PHOTO: Wilson Wong

Shot with interior lights, the food is definitely well lit but it is not as sharp as I want it to be. PHOTO: Wilson Wong

The bokeh and subject extraction are acceptable. I just feel the image can be sharper. PHOTO: Wilson Wong

At the back, a 13-megapixel, f2.2 camera takes on imaging duties with a secondary 2-megapixel f2.4 sensor providing depth information for a bokeh effect.

The images from the phone are passable at best so this isn’t one for folks looking for a serious imaging tool like the Google Pixel 3 XL or Huawei Mate 20 Pro.

Then again, the Realme 2 costs only about S$190. At that price, it’s hard to be too critical.

There are pluses like a handy 4,230mAh battery and minuses like a micro USB port instead of a newer USB-C port common today. So, you can argue it’s a mixed bag for the Realme 2.

However, it does have a couple of strong selling points that make a real difference to budget-conscious buyers – low price and premium finish. That alone is a strong combo, despite the other pros and cons.


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