Realme has made a name for itself by selling smartphones with powerful hardware at prices aggressive enough to go up against Xiaomi. The company recently launched the Realme 3 Pro (Review) to compete with the Redmi Note 7 Pro (Review), and it did manage to shake the industry up. Now, the company is looking at the lower end of the market by bringing in the successor to the Realme C1 (Review), aptly named the Realme C2. The Realme C2 starts at Rs. 5,999 and sports decent specifications on paper. Will that translate into good enough real-world performance? We put it to the test to find out.
Realme C2 design
Most budget smartphones are boring to look at. In order to keep prices down and still offer good performance, manufacturers usually don’t prioritise design. The Realme C2 seems like an exception here, as it is quite a looker. Just like other smartphones in the budget segment, the Realme C2 is built out of plastic but the finish on the back panel is unique and will grab eyeballs.
Realme has opted for a geometric diamond-cut pattern on the back, which popped on our Diamond Blue review unit. Patterns emerge when light hits the back of this phone, giving it a premium look. Thanks to this finish, the device does not pick up fingerprints.
There’s a dual camera setup at the back along with a single-LED flash. The Realme logo is near the bottom of the rear, aligned in landscape orientation.
The Realme C2 sports a big display with a waterdrop notch for the selfie camera at the top. Our review unit came with a pre-applied screen protector. We found the Realme C2 to be comfortable to hold in the hand thanks to its rounded frame.
The power button is well positioned on the right, and is easy to reach. The volume buttons are on the opposite side, and all buttons offer good clicky feedback. The SIM tray is positioned just above the volume buttons.
The Realme C2 sports a Micro-USB port, loudspeaker, and primary microphone at the bottom, while the top is completely blank. Just like the Realme C1, this phone also misses out on a fingerprint scanner to keep costs down.
We found the build quality of the Realme C2 to be good, and it did not pick up scratches during our time with it.
Realme C2 specifications and software
The Realme C2 is a budget offering, and its specifications are quite modest. It is powered by the MediaTek Helio P22 SoC, which is an octa-core processor with Cortex-A53 cores, and is built using a 12nm manufacturing process. Also included in the base variant are 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage.
There’s also an option with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. Our review unit was the higher-priced variant which retails for Rs. 7,999 (compared to the Rs 5,999 price of the base variant).
The Realme C2 sports a 6.1-inch HD+ (720×1560 pixels) display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for protection. It has good viewing angles and does gets bright enough when outdoors. There is also the option to change the colour temperature of the display to suit your liking.
Realme has managed to pack a 4000mAh battery inside the C2, and this phone ships with a 10W charger in the box. It is a dual-SIM device and has two Nano-SIM slots. There is support for 4G as well as VoLTE on both SIMs.
Realme also offers a dedicated microSD card slot that lets you expand storage. Other connectivity options on the Realme C2 include FM Radio, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, A-GPS, and GLONASS.
The Realme C2 runs ColorOS 6 on top of Android 9 Pie, which is the latest version of Android. There are customisations made to the software, and a few features are added on top. Our review unit was running the March 2019 security patch.
A few apps such as Realme Community, Dailyhunt, Facebook, NewsPoint, UC Browser, Amazon Shopping, ShareChat, and PayTM come preinstalled on the Realme C2. You can go ahead and uninstall these to free up space on the device.
There’s support for themes and you can download more using the Theme Store app. App Market is an alternative to the Google Play Store, and also comes preinstalled, but we found it to be spammy as it kept pushing notifications throughout the day. The Realme C2 also has a Game Center app which is a store just for games.
Like other Realme smartphones, the C2 has Driving and Riding modes which can automatically put the phone into DND mode when it is paired with a car’s Bluetooth head unit. It can also auto-send SMS messages when you reject an incoming call. Gesture navigation is available, and lets you swipe to navigate rather than using on-screen buttons.
Realme C2 performance, battery life, and cameras
The Realme C2 offers acceptable performance for its price thanks to the MediaTek Helio P22 processor powering it. While we did not notice any issues while launching apps and scrolling through the menu, there was a hint of lag when we pulled the notification shade down. Since we perform this action quite often, it did get a little annoying. We should also note that this was on the higher-priced variant of the Realme C2 which has more RAM.
We could multitask on this phone, but occasionally had to wait for heavier apps to load. There’s no fingerprint scanner but face recognition is available. It is quick to unlock the smartphone and is a good alternative to punching in the passcode all the time.
Our benchmark tests gave us a clear idea of how the Helio P22 in the Realme C2 performs. In AnTuTu, the C2 managed 77,595 points. It also scored 822 and 3,326 in Geekbench’s single-core and multi-core tests respectively. The Redmi 7, which costs as much as the higher variant of the Realme C2, scored 103,574 in AnTuTu and 1,247 and 4,333 respectively in Geekbench. The Realme C2 also managed 25fps and 11fps in GFXBench T-Rex and Manhattan 3.1 respectively.
PUBG Mobile ran at low settings with the graphics set to Smooth and frame rate set to Medium. Gameplay wasn’t smooth and we did face stutters. We changed the frame rate to Low which made a slight difference to the gameplay, but it still did not run smoothly.
The 4000mAh battery in the Realme C2 offers good battery life. In our HD video loop test, the phone managed to clock 20 hours and 29 minutes which is very good. With our use, which consisted of WhatsApp, using the phone for navigation with Google Maps for two hours, and running a few benchmarks, the phone went on for about a day and a half. The supplied charger takes over 2 hours to top the battery up.
Realme has opted for a dual camera setup on the Realme C2, consisting of a 13-megapixel primary sensor with an f/2.2 aperture and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. At the front, this phone has a 5-megapixel camera.
The camera app is similar to what we have seen on Realme smartphones before. It has quick toggles for HDR, Chroma Boost, Filters, and Flash. It also has Pano, Expert, Time-lapse, and Slo-Mo modes. The app offers a 2x digital zoom toggle. A Beautification toggle helps set the amount of beautification you need.
We liked the photos we took with the Realme C2, in daylight, this phone managed to capture well-focused shots with good amounts of detail on objects nearby, but objects at a distance were not as good. We also found that the Realme C2 wasn’t consistent with getting the exposure right.
Tap to see full-sized Realme C2 camera samples
Macros turned out better than we expected, and the phone managed good separation between subjects and their backgrounds. The phone could lock focus quickly and had no issues with exposure when shooting macros.
Portrait shots had good detail and the secondary camera did help with edge detection. In low light, the phone struggled to deliver usable results. The photos weren’t sharp and they appeared grainy when zooming in.
Selfies had good details and the quality is decent for the price. The Realme C2 also has HDR for the front camera which is handy when shooting against the light.
Video recording maxes out at 1080p for the rear camera and 720p for the selfie shooter. There is no video stabilisation and you will have to deal with shaky recordings. The Realme C2 offers 80fps slow-motion recording at 480p but we observed intermittent freezes in recordings.
At a starting price of Rs 5,999, the Realme C2 offers powerful enough hardware and good battery life, as well as up-to-date software. We usually see smartphones with weaker processors and outdated software at this price point, but Realme has fixed that with the C2. The camera is one aspect of this phone that needs improvement but we can excuse its quality at this price.
If you manage to get your hands on the base variant of the Realme C2, go for it, because it offers good value. However, if you are looking at the higher variant of the Realme C2 and your budget stretches that far, you should consider the Redmi 7 (Review) or Nokia 5.1 Plus (Review) instead. These smartphones are available at the same price but offer better hardware in comparison.