India

POCO X2 review: One step down, two steps up

The best midrange phone money can buy

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POCO made its debut in the second half of 2018 with the POCO F1. It was the first phone to house a flagship-grade processor at half the cost. Back then, POCO was a sub-brand of Xiaomi and sales were off the roof. Marketing revolved completely around how fast the phone was. In fact, the POCO F1 created a niche segment for itself and continues to remain unchallenged.

However, the brand was dormant throughout 2019. No new phone was launched, which is surprising considering Xiaomi’s track record of flooding the market with options. Fans asked every day, when will the next phone come? Their demands were finally met a month ago with the launch of the POCO X2.

This time, POCO has been spun-off as an independent brand of Xiaomi. And, the POCO X2 isn’t a successor of the POCO F1. It’s a different lineup, targeting a new price segment.

It doesn’t have an infamous flagship-grade processor. But, it has a lot of nifty tricks up its sleeve. I’ve been using the phone for a couple of weeks and my verdict may surprise many of you. With a starting price of INR 15,999, it’s lighter on the pocket, but what about features? Let’s test it out!

The design has improved leaps and bounds

I have the Atlantis Blue variant and it looks stunning at first sight. The POCO F1 had a polycarbonate body and build quality was surprisingly cheap. Thankfully, the POCO X2 doesn’t carry forward that legacy and comes with an all-metal body. The back has a glass covering that gives it a premium as well as a flashy look. The glass also adds up to give a holographic design, slightly changing color depending on the angle you look at.

The camera array is surrounded by a circular optical illusion that’ll make you believe it’s a bump. But it isn’t. Seems like POCO took some inspiration from OnePlus 7T’s “manhole”.

In their defense though, it looks strikingly different and has a design language of its own. The glass on the front as well as the back is Gorilla Glass 5. I’ve never used a case on phones I review to judge their susceptibility to regular wear and tear. The POCO X2 has survived with flying colors.

The power button and volume rockers are on the right side of the phone and the power button doubles up as a fingerprint scanner. I remember the Nextbit Robin had a similar setup and it was extremely convenient. The same goes for this one. However, the power button is located slightly inward, forcing you to push it with a little more effort.

The POCO F1 had an IR blaster for faster and more accurate facial detection. The POCO X2 skips this feature but the default Face Unlock is fast enough. I used a combination of the two authentication systems and it worked seamlessly.

Lastly, on the bottom is a USB-C charging port, a headphone jack, and the speaker grill. The speaker is loud enough and clear, just like you’d expect it to be.

It has an LCD display and that’s fine

On the front is a 6.7-inch LCD display with Full HD+ resolution and 120Hz refresh rate. This is the first phone in this price segment to have a 120Hz refresh rate and you can feel the difference instantaneously. The smoothness while scrolling is extremely satisfying and delivers an overall premium experience. Although, POCO needs to optimize its software (MIUI 11) to fully leverage the hardware.

Even though it has a higher refresh rate, the UI often tends to stutter while scrolling on apps like Twitter or WhatsApp. I’m sure this can be further refined via an OTA update.

Playing games that support a higher refresh rate like Alto’s Adventure tends to get addictive. The refresh rate automatically falls back to 60Hz in the battery saver mode. When you switch to 60Hz, the change is immediately felt, but you’ll get used to it within a few minutes.

The inclusion of this display completely fills up the gap of not having a flagship-grade processor. You use the display every second you power on the phone, how often do you leverage 100 percent of a flagship processor? At the end of the day, this setup is actually able to provide better user experience, without cutting back on any other functionality.

Lastly, it may not be an AMOLED panel, but LCD surely doesn’t translate to “bad”. This phone has a top-notch panel that can produce perfectly saturated colors, has great viewing angles, and deep enough contrast. There’s also a punch-hole setup on top right and it houses the front camera.

Is it as fast as the POCO F1?

We at GadgetMatch don’t believe in judging a phone by benchmark numbers. Powering the phone is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G processor and my unit has 8GB RAM and 256GB internal storage. It’s clear that POCO X2 isn’t built to be a hardware beast and is a budget contender. Considering the price, the Snapdragon 730G is one of the best midrange SoC options available in the market.

It’s able to handle day-to-day tasks with ease and challenging games like PUBG, Mobile Legends, and even Rortos Flight Simulator are playable smoothly. Additionally, games like Alto’s Odyssey support a higher refresh rate and are extremely intuitive to play. The POCO X2 comes with a liquid-cooled vapor chamber which helps heat dissipation and ensures a seamless experience over an extended duration of heavy usage.

Stunning cameras that’ll get better over time

The quad-camera setup on the back includes a 64-megapixel Sony IMX686 sensor, a 2-megapixel depth sensor, an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera and a 2-megapixel macro camera for taking close-up shots. The 64-megapixel isn’t enabled by default and has to be switched on manually.

The camera interface is neat and easy to navigate. The macro mode shows on the main screen and is quickly accessible. It also lets users tap to focus. The close-up shots look really impressive and are great for taking shots of drops or items that are too small. The AI mode livens up photos that might have looked a bit dull otherwise.

We expect the IMX686 sensor to be Xiaomi’s favorite choice of camera this year and could be found onboard many more upcoming phones. This means the company will have a huge data set of test images coming in, in turn, fine-tuning the algorithm.

Though, don’t get me wrong. The sensor is also up to the mark and delivers stunning photos. The Night Mode needs some enhancement, but it’s nothing major.

Lastly, for selfies, the POCO X2 features a 20-megapixel primary camera and a 2-megapixel depth sensor for more accurate edge detection. The primary selfie camera captures clear facial details in selfies, but there is a slight bit of skin smoothening even when the beautification mode is turned off.

How long can it last?

The POCO X2 is equipped with a 4500mAh battery which can easily last through a day with moderately demanding use. Locked to 120Hz, I was easily able to get a full day of use from the hardware. Drop it down to 60Hz and you should make the phone last a whole lot longer.

The POCO X2 comes with a 27W charger which is rated for Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0. While recharging, the POCO X2 takes slightly more than an hour to go from nada to 100 percent.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

In one sentence, I’d say this is the best phone you can get under INR 20,000 (US$ 275). Actually, I’d even say this is the best phone under INR 30,000 (US$ 410) in India. It gets everything right and is a perfect midrange phone.

The design has improved radically, the performance is top-notch, cameras are exceptionally capable, and the battery will easily get you through a day of heavy usage.

From a usage point of view, this phone is ideal for gamers since the chipset is powerful enough and the software is well optimized. In case you’re looking for a work phone, MIUI 11 has a host of unique features that often come very handy. This includes a high level of customization and power tools.

Lastly, there’s no other phone that’ll offer a 120Hz display at this price point. It’s safe to say, POCO X2 is a breath of fresh air that delivers an experience, and not just on-paper “first” features.

India

Mi 10T series launches in the Philippines

Xiaomi’s best right now?

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Mi 10T

After launching globally two weeks ago, Xiaomi’s Mi 10T series is now making its way to other markets.

The Mi 10T series has comprises of three phones: Mi 10T Pro, Mi 10T, and Mi 10T Lite. However, availability of the models vary from country to country. Most other countries are only getting, for now at least, the Mi 10T Pro and the Mi 10 T.

Mi 10T Pro

the Mi 10T Pro, it has a 6.7-inch Full HD+ display with a 144Hz refresh rate. Powering the phone is a Snapdragon 865 processor with 5G connectivity and 8GB RAM. The phone is wrapped in Gorilla Glass 5, has splash resistance, and a side-mounted fingerprint scanner.

On the rear is a triple camera setup consisting of a 108-megapixel primary sensor, a 13-megapixel wide-angle lens, and a 5-megapixel macro lens. For selfies, a 20-megapixel front camera is located in a punch-hole cut-out. The 108-megapixel sensor is known for long exposure pictures, time burst, as well as dual-mode.

Watch our Unboxing and Review for more. 

Mi 10T

The Mi 10T gets the same display and processor as the Mi 10T Pro. However, it has a 6GB RAM option. On the rear is a triple camera setup that includes a 64-megapixel primary sensor, a 13-megapixel wide-angle lens, and a 5-megapixel macro lens. On the front is the same 20-megapixel selfie camera.

The design is also similar and houses a 5000mAh battery. Clearly, the Mi 10T is an ideal phone according to the specifications and users have the option to go for the Mi 10T Pro if they’re looking for a better and more powerful camera. It’ll be available in Cosmic Black and Lunar Silver color options.

Pricing and availability

Mi 10T — Lunar Silver and Cosmic Black

  • 6GB+128GB — PhP 19,990
  • 8GB + 128GB — PhP 20,990

Mi 10T Pro — Aurora Blue, Lunar Silver, and Cosmic Black

  • 8GB+256GB — PhP 24,990

Pre-order period is from October 16 to 22.

Lazada Flash Sale starting 12MN of Oct 16.

Mi 10T  6GB+128GB — PhP 17,990

Mi 10T Pro 8GB+256GB — PhP 24,990

  • Each buyer will receive a FREE set of Premium Speaker Gift* worth PhP 1,399.
  • Additional vouchers of PP h1,000 in limited quantity will also be given to consumers of Mi 10T and Mi 10T Pro.

Offline Platforms promo

Mi 10T Pro at Authorized Mi Stores freebies:

  • Mi Electric Scooter Essential (PhP14,990)
  • OR Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 Basic + Premium Speaker Gift Set (PhP 5,000)

Mi 10T and Mi 10T Pro at Authorized Mi Zones freebies:

  • Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 Basic + Premium Speaker Gift Set (PhP 5,000)

Extras

  • 6-month Netflix mobile subscription
  • Premium Services which include a 24-month local warranty plus a single accidental damage coverage on the screen within 6 months of purchase from October 16, 2020 to December 31, 2021. Standard terms and conditions apply.

 

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India

vivo V20 launches with Snapdragon 720G, triple rear cameras

A very colorful design scheme

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Going after the midrange segment, vivo announced the V20 today in India. The phone aims to offer a balance of everything so that every type of user is covered. The phone will be going up against the Samsung Galaxy M51.

On the front is a 6.4-inch AMOLED display with Full HD+ resolution and a tiny water-drop style notch. Unlike the usual solid or reflective surface, the V20 fuses two shades and offers a very premium look.

However, the bright color scheme may not be everyone’s taste. It’ll be available in Midnight Jazz, Moonlight Sonata, and Sunset Melody color options.

Under the hood is an octa-core Snapdragon 720G processor with 8GB RAM. The phone ships with Funtouch OS out-of-the-box and sports an in-display fingerprint scanner for authentication.

The V20 has a triple camera setup consisting of a 64-megapixel primary sensor, an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, and a 2-megapixel monochrome camera.

For selfies, a 44-megapixel sensor is located on the front. On the software side, the phone incorporates 4K Selfie Video, Steadiface Selfie Video, Super Night Selfie 2.0, Dual-View Video, Slo-Mo Selfie Video, and Multi-Style Portrait.

Lastly, backing these internals is a 4000mAh battery with support for 33W fast charging.

The phone is priced at INR 24,990 for 8GB+128GB and INR 27,990 for 8GB+256GB. It’ll go on sale from October 20 via all major online as well as offline sellers.

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India

realme smart TV 55-inch with bezel-less design goes official

Launched along with a soundbar

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Alongside the realme Buds, the brand announced its expansion in the smart TV segment with a new 55-inch offering. Officially called the realme smart TV SLED 55-inch, its unique selling point is its bezel-less screen and metal design that provide a premium experience.

realme says this is the world’s first TV with SLED 4K support that can deliver a cinematic experience at home. The SLED panel uses Spectral Power Distribution (SPD) technology for the backlighting which should optimally result in a wide color gamut range and protection against blue light.

Under the hood, it runs on Android 9 Pie thanks to a quad-core MediaTek processor and 16GB internal storage. The TV also includes a 24W quad stereo speaker system along with Dolby Audio technology.

realme has also shipped along built-in Chroma Boost Picture Engine that offers seven modes — Standard, Sport, Game, Vivid, Energy Saving, User, and Movie.

It supports Google Assistant and all popular apps can be downloaded via the Play Store. In terms of connectivity, the TV has the usual HDMI, USB, and ethernet ports along with WiFi and Bluetooth 5.0.

The realme smart TV SLED 55-inch is priced at INR 42,999 (US$ 586), but it’ll be available for INR 39,999 (US$ 545) during its first sale as an introductory offer. Pre-orders start from October 16 and bookings can be made via realme store and Flipkart.

The company also launched a soundbar that’s officially called the realme 100W Soundbar. It’s equipped with two 2.25-inch 15W speakers and two 15W tweeters that provide a total output of 60W. The 40W subwoofer has a 50Hz to 24KHz enhancement and realme says it is capable of increasing the TV volume by 200 percent.

It’s priced at INR 6,999 (US$ 96) and sales start from October 16 via realme store, Flipkart, and Amazon.

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