The almost perfect experience is ruined by annoying advertising

If you’ve checked out Tech Twitter once in the last few months, you have a burning question: Where is the Poco F2? Was Poco launched after the launch of one of the cheapest flagship smartphones? As it turns out, there is no answer. We still don’t know where the Poco F2 is, but we do have a specific Poco X2 to talk about. This is the new smartphone that the now-independent brand launched earlier this month, and after a few weeks of using it, here’s our in-depth review –

Performance

As we said, it is not the successor to the Poco F1, and as a result, does not have a flagship chipset. Is that a compromise? It depends on your expectations. The phone is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G, a gaming-centric 7-Series SoC with up to 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 256GB of UFS 2.1 storage. Hardware good enough, but isn’t the Realme X2 the same? Not that we’re complaining (Poco X2 starts at Rs 15,999 more affordable than Realme X2), but it begs for comparison. Interestingly, only CPU benchmarks were allowed to run when locking down GPU testing apps like 3DMark and GFXBench. So our benchmark analysis would be incomplete.

With a limited number of benchmark apps that were unlocked, the Poco X2 seems to offer the best CPU performance in this segment, but only at short intervals. The Realme X2 and Redmi Note 8 Pro are not far behind, and it’s probably because of the optimization that the Poco X2 could post a higher score. Then again, the company decided to lock the GPU benchmarks, which did not build much confidence in devices that could be great at gaming. Without these numbers, it’s hard to say where the Poco X2’s GPU performance stands in this section.

Gaming

Gaming on the Poco X2 should have been much better than other smartphones in this segment, but it doesn’t seem to. It supports all the games on other phones in this segment and at the same graphics level, but instead of the Snapdragon 730G, we expected higher frame rates and better stability numbers (as seen in Realme X2), but the reality is far from over. It is

We’ve played some games alongside popular games like PUBG Mobile and COD: Mobile that Poco claims will support high-refresh rate displays. COD: Both mobile and PUBG mobile failed to hit even a maximum frame rate of 60fps. PUBG Mobile went up to 30 FPS while COD: Mobile hit 56 FPS However, while PUBG Mobile still runs at a high 90 percent stability, COD: Mobile’s stability was at an alarming 45 percent.

None of the games we played could go beyond 60 FPS, making the 120Hz refresh rate display meaningless for gaming. Poco has outlined about 35 games that typically support 120 fps, but we haven’t seen that simulation in the Poco X2 yet. In a statement on Digit.in, Poco said app developers need to enable support to display higher refresh rates. Even though almost a month has passed since the launch, no one seems to be interested in doing so.

That being said, gaming on the phone doesn’t really put as much pressure on the device. After gaming for a long time, we didn’t notice the phone getting uncomfortably hot or slow. Even the average CPU usage during gaming was around 11-12%, which makes it clear that the Poco X2 is not using as much resources as advertising when gaming.

Software

Software devices recommend a big red flag. Not that it’s fast and smooth and not easy to handle. But if you’re buying this device for kids and teens, keep in mind that the Poco UI (and MIUI in general) will bombard your notification panel with completely obscene and in some cases extremely orthodox and antisocial ads. There are a bunch of bloatware apps that send push notifications without having to log in to an account again, which adds a long list of apps to push ads into the UI. We have a video attached to the same.

Aside from that, the Poco UI supports minimal, fast and 120Hz refresh rate displays. Incidentally UI is the only place where high refresh has a positive effect. However, since I’ve been using the ROG Phone II as my primary for a while, there seems to be a small gap in the relatively higher refresh rate experience, which may be due to a slower processor in the Poco X2. Scrolling is not as smooth as the ROG Phone II in particular.

Battery life

The Poco X2 rocks a 4500mAh battery under the hood, the same size as the Redmi Note 8 Pro. Battery life, however, is slightly longer than the same battery. In our video loop test, the Poco X2 lasted a good 14 hours and 21 minutes, while the 15-minute COD: Mobile and 30-minute Netflix batteries emitted 4 percent and 5 percent, respectively.

The Poco X2 also comes out of the box with a 27W charger which is something rare to see in this segment. The charging adapter, though quite large, takes the battery to full power in a matter of hours.

The camera

The taste of the 64 megapixel season and quite expected, the Poco X2 quad packs a 64MP camera into the camera stack. Only, while everyone else is using the Samsung GW-1 sensor, the Poco X2 relies on the new Sony IMX686 sensor. Although the details of the new sensor are still unknown, we know that it measures 1/2 ”larger than the IMX586 sensor and measures at 1 / 1.7” when the lens has an aperture of f / 1.9. There is another 8MP ultraviolet lens with f / 2.2 aperture and two 2MP lenses for macro photo and depth sensing, respectively. And on the front, there are two punch-hole cameras with a 20MP selfie shooter and a companion 2MP depth sensor.

We pulled out the camera for a rotation where we tested daytime performance, low-light, indoor and macro. Here’s what we got –

16MP shot

The 64MP sensor, like previous high-race sensors, bins 4-in-1 pixels to reduce resolution and file size and improve sharpness and detail. The images we shoot show this effect in some cases, but in others, the results vary greatly. This is primarily because AI works in the background of visual recognition and enhances contrast and saturation. So in some cases such flower shots come out beautiful and crisp with a lot of details, but in the case of dilapidated buildings, everything seems to be too much processed. Over-processing becomes clearer when you look at the dense leaf of the third specimen in the upper right corner. Zoom in and you can see that the phone has artificial processing that doesn’t depend on everyone’s taste.

64MP shot

(100% cropped)

(100% cropped)

The good thing about the 64MP sensor is that now there is very little difference between a 16MP image and a 64MP image in terms of color reproduction, dynamic range and white balance. However, while 64MP shots carry more detail, it lacks the sharpness seen in 16MP photos. Having said that, you need a little more patience when shooting at 64MP. The camera takes 3-4 seconds to process the shot before taking another picture, so there is always some downtime when shooting in that mode. Also keep in mind that the 64MP sensor easily takes up about 35-40MB of space for each photo.

A little light

Dedicated night mode is pretty good. It follows the same principle of fusing multiple images together and is apparently faster than the previous generation’s night mode. One major downside is that you can only capture static objects using Night mode. Also, only primary sensors and telephoto cameras support NightMode. The resulting images show the right color and little sound. The dynamic range is not so good and you will have dark areas without any details.

Macro lens

The 2MP macro lens works the worst of the four lenses. The images look sharp, they rarely carry any details. It is also good to use if there is enough light. Aperture too small for use in low light. In addition, macro lenses show a large change in color from primary and wide-angle lenses. Watch the same video below –

Design and display

The design of the Poco X2 completely dispels the fact that it is indeed a rebranded Redmi K30. The design is exactly the same, but it shouldn’t be a problem for Indian buyers as the Redmi K30 won’t be launching here anytime soon. So you will still get a unique design that uses Gorilla Glass 5 with nicely curved edges on both sides and a rather large body. Yes, the Poco X2 is bigger than the Redmi Note 8 Pro and the Realme X2, and it’s going to be really hard to use with one hand without your unusually large hand.

The display on the other hand is quite unique. The Poco X2 has a 6.67-inch IPS LCD display with a 120Hz refresh rate. But other than the UI, you will have no other app that supports high refresh rates and is smooth. You can downgrade the panel to 60Hz but 120Hz mode does not consume too much battery. For panel brightness, we measured 576 lux under direct sunlight, while indoor brightness dropped to a minimum of 6 lux.

The last row

The Poco X2 feels more like a knee-jerk reaction to competition rather than a product imagined through a thought-provoking product plan. The 120Hz refresh rate display is something really nice to see in this section, but so far, you can’t do much with it. So the issue of buying this smartphone only for that display is controversial. That said, the Snapdragon 730G priced at Rs 15,999 is quite amazing. The performance chops it brings to the table can be used to support any game or app right now. The camera setup needs more polish, which we hope will improve with future updates, but it’s really the danger of software and unsolicited notifications that benefit the experience, to the extent that it makes it difficult for our readers to recommend this phone. The Poco X2 ticks all the boxes on the spec-sheet, but ultimately fails to provide a hassle-free experience.

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