A primary difference in mid-range phones as compared to their flagship counterparts is the hardware under the hood. Over the span of the year though, that distinguishing factor is rapidly disappearing. Xiaomi started if off by launching the Redmi Note 5 Pro with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage, along with a new mid-range processor. Other manufacturers like Asus and Honor also followed suit with their own attempts at making powerful mid-rangers. But the Realme 2 Pro that launched today trumps all of them, at least on paper. The mid-ranger introduces the next-generation notched design along with packing the phone with a top-of-the-line mid-range chipset and offering up to 8GB of RAM and 128GB storage — That’s as much as what the OnePlus 6 offers which is priced in the premium-range.
The Realme 2 Pro claims to set a benchmark for the mid-range segment, and in a way, it does. Although, I can’t think of a scenario when you would really put all of 8GB of RAM in use, but I suppose it’s reassuring to know the phone will have extra resources available even under stress. What’s noteworthy is that the powerful hardware wrapped in a shiny new body is offered at an attractive price of Rs 17,999. The other 4GB and 6GB RAM variants are priced starting Rs 13,999, making the Realme 2 Pro the first phone under Rs 15,000 to be powered by the reliable and powerful Snapdragon 660.
A Snapdragon 660-powered phone for Rs 13,999
We have seen the chipset in action in phones like the Xiaomi Mi A2 (which also is incidentally priced at Rs 16,999) and the Nokia 7 Plus. Both devices run butter-smooth thanks to the semi-custom Kryo cores powering the chipset, the same found in older flagship Qualcomm offerings. We expect the performance of the Realme 2 Pro to be in the side league as the Mi A2 and the Nokia 7 Plus, if not better thanks to the extra memory. It also has a 3,500mAh battery that the company claims can last more than a day. But it doesn’t stop there.
The Realme 2 Pro takes the new notch design of the Oppo F9 Pro and brings it down to the mid-range segment. The Realme 2 Pro has an impressive 90.8 percent screen-to-body ratio with a 6.3-inch FHD+ panel. The new notched design, I had argued in my review of the Oppo F9 Pro, is the next logical step towards having a bezel-less, immersive display. The new notch shaped like a dewdrop (or a waterdrop) takes up much less space and allows more icons to fit in the status bar. However, while playing games that are not optimised for the new design, parts of the screen get cropped out. The same doesn’t happen in case of the regular notch which creates letterboxing to not let the notch come in the way.
AI-powered dual rear cameras
The Realme 2 Pro also makes full use of the AI Engine of the Snapdragon 660, especially in the camera. The smartphone touts a 16MP primary camera combined with a 2MP depth sensor. The primary Sony IMX 398 sensor has a f/1.7 aperture lens with a 1.12um pixel pitch. Up front is another 16MP sensor with f/2.0 aperture for selfies. There’s also EIS and dual-pixel autofocus to help with faster focus and stable videos. The front camera can recognise up to 298 identification points of your face that helps enhance the portrait shots better.
Realme claims to be an independent company, but it still relies on most things Oppo — The notched display, the Sony IMX 398 sensor (developed jointly by Oppo and Sony) and the UI. The Realme 2 Pro runs on ColorOS 5.2 that also powers the latest Oppo devices. The interface is much cleaned up and implements a little bit of Google’s Material Design. It’s still quite heavy (perhaps that’s where you’ll need the 8GB of RAM) but there are a lot of nifty features like an Edge Panel housing relevant shortcuts, a minus-one screen with a feed AI-powered feed that shows relevant information when you need it, and screen-off gestures. There’s a separate game-mode as well that can mute alerts and free up resources.
Overall, the Realme 2 Pro undercuts most of the competition and provides a good bang for the buck. It certainly feels more premium than the Redmi Note 5 Pro and the Mi A2 thanks to the laminated glass body and the rounded corners. It’s also quite fast and snappy thanks to the faster processor. It’s the first under-15K phone to sport the Snapdragon 660 chipset. We used the camera as well for a bit and it produced some impressive results, but we are testing it a lot more for a definitive verdict. Stay tuned for the in-depth review.