Xiaomi spin-off brand Poco has launched its second phone, the Poco X2. It’s another attempt from the company to produce a high-performance, low-cost phone for the extremely competitive Indian market.
Back in the summer of 2018, Xiaomi launched a new brand called Poco with the aim of providing flagship-level specs at the lowest possible price. The India-first Poco F1 wasn’t the prettiest phone in the world, but it turned heads by including a Snapdragon 845 for under $300 — then the brand largely went dark. Poco now markets its phones independently from Xiaomi, and the X2 is the first product since that operational change.
That said, it’s basically identical to a Xiaomi phone that was recently announced for China, the Redmi K30. Which makes sense — the excellent Redmi K20 Pro (or Mi 9T Pro in Europe) was widely viewed as a spiritual successor to the Poco F1, even though its somewhat higher price disappointed some Indian consumers. The K30 and the X2, though, don’t have bleeding-edge specs across the board.
The X2 has a Snapdragon 730G processor, a 6.67-inch 20:9 1080p LCD screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, and a 4,500mAh battery with 27W fast charging. The phone charges over USB-C, includes a headphone jack, and has a fingerprint sensor integrated into the power button.
It’s the first phone in India to feature Sony’s new 64-megapixel IMX686 sensor, the successor to the 48-megapixel IMX586 that dominated the phone landscape in 2019, and that part is backed by an 8-megapixel ultrawide camera, a 2-megapixel macro module, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. There’s also a 20-megapixel selfie camera with a 2-megapixel depth sensor housed in a hole-punch display cutout.
Xiaomi remains the leading smartphone vendor in India, but its newest and most dangerous competitor in India of late has been Realme, which grew 255 percent year-on-year to capture fourth place in the market in 2019 (according to data from Counterpoint Research). Considering the name of the latest Poco phone, then, it’s perhaps not surprising that Poco is attempting to draw a direct comparison between its X2 and the Realme X2.
Both phones have Snapdragon 730G processors, but Poco’s X2 has a slightly bigger (albeit not OLED) screen, a slightly bigger battery, a primary camera sensor from Sony rather than Samsung, dual selfie cameras in a hole punch rather than a (higher-resolution) single unit in a notch, and 27W charging that the company claims is faster than Realme’s 30W solution.
There are pros and cons to each device, but Poco is certainly charging lower prices than Realme. The Poco X2 costs Rs. 15,999 ($225) for a model with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, compared to Realme’s Rs. 16,999 ($239) 4GB/64GB entry-level model. Both companies sell a 6GB/128GB mid-range variant, but Poco’s is 2,000 rupees cheaper at Rs. 16,999. And both high-end models with 8GB of RAM cost Rs. 19,999 ($281), but Poco’s has double the storage with 256GB.
That doesn’t mean the Poco X2 is the natural successor to the F1, however, nor that it’ll necessarily tempt away Indian customers who want the best performance. Realme’s excellent X2 Pro has a Snapdragon 855 Plus processor and a 90Hz display, and it starts at Rs. 27,999 ($393) — the same price as the K20 Pro from last year. So while the Poco X2 sounds like it’ll be good value for money, it doesn’t really have the same ethos as the F1, which was about cramming the best specs possible into a functional plastic shell.
The Poco X2 will be available in India on Flipkart from noon on February 11th. It’s not clear whether the phone will be released elsewhere.