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Hands on: Poco X2 review

Killing the competition, this time in mid-range

What is a hands on review?
(Image: © Future)

Early Verdict

Poco X2 aims to put a dent in the mid-range smartphone market with a high refresh-rate screen, versatile cameras and swift performance that's been fine-tuned for gaming. All of this, packed in a neat package that starts at a mouth-watering price of Rs 15,999.

For

  • 120Hz refresh rate display
  • Sony IMX686 based 64MP camera
  • Powerful Snapdragon 730G chip
  • Sweet pricing

Against

  • No telephoto lens

Poco X2 is official in India, putting rest to all the rumors and leaks about the successor to the Poco F1. However, according to the now-independent Poco, the X2 isn’t a successor to the F1 and instead targets a different set of users and price segments, leaving doors open for a possible Poco F2 phone soon. 

For those aware of its uncanny resemblance to the Redmi K30 that was unveiled in 2019, it’s mostly the same phone but has been specially tuned for the Indian consumer. The Poco X2 also marks several firsts for the company (Poco and Xiaomi), featuring a 120Hz refresh rate screen, a side-mounted fingerprint reader, dual punch-hole cutout and Sony IMX686 64MP sensor.

We got to spend a brief time with the Poco X2, and here’s what we think about it.

Price and Availability

Poco X2 starts at Rs 15,999 in India for the base variant with 6GB RAM and 64GB storage and Rs 16,999 for the 128GB storage option. The maxed-out Poco X2 with 8GB RAM/256GB storage will be up for grabs at Rs 19,999, and the first sale is being held on Flipkart on February 11. Also, there’s a cashback of Rs 1,000 for ICICI bank debit/credit cardholders.

Poco X2 will be available in three colors from February 11-- Atlantis Blue, Matrix Purple, and Pheonix Red.

Design and Display

(Image credit: Future)

Poco X2 has a metal-glass sandwich design flanked by Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and the back. The phone is 8.8 mm at its thickest point and weighs 208 grams. It also uses nano-coating to protect itself against liquid and comes with the P2i splash-proof certification.

(Image credit: Future)

The X2 has a side-mounted fingerprint sensor as opposed to on-display readers that are becoming increasingly common. Having said that, not all OEMs have mastered the in-screen sensor yet, and therefore Poco’s implementation of a physical sensor is just as proper and also dependable.

(Image credit: Future)

The bottom edge is home to a USB Type-C port, a 3.5mm earphone jack, and speaker grille. There’s an IR blaster on the top edge and volume rockers on the right edge, above the power button that doubles up as a fingerprint sensor.

(Image credit: Future)

On the back, there’s a camera module surrounded by a reflective ring that highlights the quad-camera array. But otherwise, the entirety of the rear panel has a glossy finish.

(Image credit: Future)

Poco X2 features a 6.6-inch Full HD+ (2400 x 1080 pixels) resolution LCD screen with a dual punch-hole cutout in the top-right corner. It gives the display a 20:9 aspect ratio, which offers a wider screen estate for viewing videos or playing games. 

The highlight of the display on the Poco X2 is that it supports a 120Hz refresh rate, which offers smooth navigation and helps improve the gaming experience. Poco has built-in something called Intelligent Dynamic Refresh Rate, which manages the refresh rate of the screen based on the usage.

In our brief use, we found the Poco X2 to be well-built and quite handy. The display with a 120Hz refresh rate is a significant upgrade for phones in this price segment as it enhances the overall experience of using the phone. We think this democratization of high refresh rate screens by Poco is going to push other OEMs in a similar direction, and we expect to see high refresh rate displays cutting through different price segments this year.

Cameras

(Image credit: Future)

Poco X2 has a 64MP quad-camera setup that uses Sony IMX686 sensor for the primary camera with f/1.89 aperture and PDAF support. An 8MP ultra-wide lens follows this with a 120-degree field-of-view, a 2MP macro camera with a minimum focusing distance of 2 centimeters, and a 2MP depth sensor.

(Image credit: Future)

The phone has dual in-screen cameras on the front, a 20MP primary camera supported by a 2MP depth camera for selfies and face recognition.

The X2’s camera system can record at 4K and slow-motion videos at 960fps with Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) support. It also supports RAW image capture and a VLOG mode with seven styles. The VLOG mode essentially allows users to create a video with all the post-processing done by the phone automatically.

Poco X2 is the first phone in India to feature Sony IMX686 sensor as Xiaomi has earlier used Samsung’s ISOCELL GW1 64MP sensor on the Redmi Note 8 Pro. That said, we’ll reserve our judgment for when the Poco X2 comes in for a review.

Under the hood

(Image credit: Future)

Poco X2 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G chipset paired with an octa-core CPU and Adreno 618 GPU. This is a gaming-centric processor by Qualcomm as it brings some Snapdragon Elite gaming features to the table. It renders graphics 15% faster than the previous generation, supports True HDR gaming and cinematic quality processing.

The phone is fitted with LiquidCool technology that the company claims to be responsible for dissipating heat 300% faster than smartphones without such a solution. 

The X2 runs on MIUI 11, which is based on Android 10.0 with Poco Launcher as the default interface. MIUI 11 for Poco is minimalistic, has an app drawer and a system-wide dark mode. But the best part about it is that there are no advertisements in this version that’s specially designed for India.

The phone comes in three flavors of RAM and UFS 2.1 storage options-- 6GB/64GB, 6GB/128GB, and 8GB/256GB, with an option to increase the storage via microSD card.

As for the audio, the X2 features super linear speakers with high-res Qualcomm Aqstic WCD937x codecs tuned by Golden Ears audio experts. The X2 also doesn’t miss out on the 3.5mm jack that’s been disappearing from the latest phones.

The battery capacity is rated at 4,500mAh with support for 27W fast charging, and Poco claims the fast-charged provided in-the-box can refuel the phone fully in 68 minutes.

We’ll be testing out the Poco X2 in detail when it comes in for the full review.

Early Verdict

(Image credit: Future)

Poco X2 seems like a value-for-money offering with a high refresh rate screen, powerful chipset tuned for gaming, a versatile quad-camera array, and fast charging support. Leaving aside the fact that it’s a rebranded Redmi K30, the Poco X2 poses an immediate threat to the likes of Realme X2 as it is more affordable and the 120Hz refresh rate screen is life-altering.

We’re still miffed about certain things such as an unoriginal design, something which was at the front foot of the Poco F1. We’d have loved to see Poco make a comeback with an original phone.

That said, the company has nailed the pricing, in our opinion, and it’s an overall reliable phone to have, though we’ll reserve our judgment for the full review.

What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.