Following the steps of its more expensive sibling, the Realme X2 also features a quad-camera setup. However, the setup here is quite different from the X2 Pro - it swaps the telephoto camera for a dedicated macro one, and the ultra-wide unit uses a different sensor too. But if you look at it from an upgrade standpoint, the X2 adds an ultra-wide and a dedicated macro lens as both weren't on board of the first Realme X.
The main camera is shared between the X2 and X2 Pro - it's a 64MP cam with f/1.8 aperture, 0.8µm pixels and the sensor itself is one of the biggest in the smartphone industry - 1/1.7". The ultra-wide is 8MP with f/2.3 aperture and 1.12µm pixels, the macro camera is 2MP with f/2.4 with relatively large 1.75µm pixels, and the last one is a 2MP depth sensor.
Now let's take a look at the menus.
The default camera app is identical to the other ColorOS-powered devices. Swiping left and right switches between the camera modes and there's also a small hamburger menu that shows the rest of the modes that don't fit the screen. The additional settings menu is in the upper right corner giving you control over video resolution and frame rates.
The Expert mode (Pro mode) gives you the usual settings to tinker with - ISO, shutter speed, white balance, manual focus, and exposure.
The main 64MP camera outputs lovely 16MP photos with natural-looking colors, wide dynamic range, and generally nice detail. We can say that the overall rendering is similar to the X2 Pro.
Unfortunately, though, we found the noise a bit too much, and there's a prominent corner softness (in the lower-right corner).
The 64MP mode is just as grainy, introduces a tad more detail to the image, but the corner softness from the lens is still present. Overall rendition is identical to the 16MP mode, which means that dynamic range is wide here too.
Zoom photos aren't impressive - they don't hold up against proper 2x optical zoom cameras. You can still get some usable images for social media posting if there's enough light in the scene, though.
The ultra-wide camera has largely different processing compared to the main camera. The 8MP ultra-wide camera has punchier colors, higher contrast in general and narrow dynamic range that tends to produce underdeveloped shadows.
Additionally, we've noticed super soft corners, color fringing towards the edge of the pictures and there's plenty of noise too. The images are soft, too.
Then again, we can't think of an ultra-wide unit that's doing well in this price range anyway.
Now off to the macro shots, we see entirely different processing - a bit washed out colors, darker images in general and not the best level of detail too. That's what you'd get from a 2MP camera, after all. Yes, you can focus on the subjects from really close (up to 2.5cm), but you can also crop out the center of the main sensor and get better results. So once again, we are not sure the dedicated macro camera is worth using at all.
The main camera produces punchy colors at night thanks to the somehow higher contrast and pictures look a little bit darker than you'd expect. The punchier colors come with a price, though - there's a tad more grain. It's an expected trade-off. However, dynamic range is pretty nice, and there's an HDR algorithm working here judging by the well-preserved highlights and light sources. And that's without even resorting to the night mode.
Speaking of, the Nightscape's performance is a mixed bag. It produces generally brighter images and extracts plenty of information from the shadows, but it tends to make images softer, and there's that image stacking issue that we've noticed with the X2 Pro.
It looks as if the night mode algorithm sometimes chooses a blurry image to include in the final image and that jittery effect can be observed as a result. And it can be seen only in certain parts of the image. The Nightscape-produced photos look better on the small smartphone screen but upon closer inspection drag behind the normal ones in terms of overall quality.
The ultra-wide camera struggles to produce good low-light images as images are really soft, noisy. They are just subpar. Colors do look nice, though.
Unfortunately, the night mode doesn't do much for it too - images do get brighter yet, even softer too.
Portraits have that natural look to them with nice bokeh, accurate skin tone, punchy colors without going overboard and plenty of detail. The edge detection is impressive and works best at the default 60%. You can adjust the slider for a more dramatic bokeh effect (the second photo is at 100%), but the software will make more mistakes. The overall quality and processing looks strikingly similar to the portraits taken with the X2 Pro, which is a good thing.
Selfies, on the other hand, aren't all that impressive. The dynamic range is narrow, colors look dull, and there's some beauty effect going on there (notice the eyes of the subject) that can't be turned off for some reason. The detail is rather nice, though, and the Nigthscape helps a lot in poorly-lit environments. Also, keep in mind that the portrait selfies are cropped out to 8MP while the standard ones come out in the native 32MP resolution. And HDR doesn't apply to portrait selfies, as you can see for yourself.
And here's the Nightscape selfie mode in action.
Now let's take the time to compare the phone to some of its competitors in a more controlled environment.
And here's how it stacks against other 64MP-capable smartphones.
The Realme X2 supports video recording in 2160p@30fps and 1080p up to 120fps. It also supports ultra slow-motion at 960fps at 720p video resolution, which is rather impressive given its price tag. Of course, this doesn't mean that this is native 960fps recording - there's some interpolation going on there for sure.
Anyway, here's how the 4K@30fps mode looks - with nice natural-looking colors but clipped highlights due to overexposing. We think the dynamic range looks okay. You also get plenty of detail in 4K resolution except for the lower-left corner of the frame - we've already established that the lens introduces some corner softness.
Naturally, 1080p videos don't look as good due to the lower resolution, but we've seen better Full HD videos, nonetheless. The trees look "blocky," and detail is lacking. The processing is the same as in 4K mode, though.
Full HD video recording is also possible using the ultra wide-angle camera, but the results are underwhelming, to say the least. The dynamic range is an issue, and it's soft.
Stabilization is available only in 1080p resolution and you can't turn it off - it's always there. It does the job pretty well. If you need the wider field of view, you have to resort to 4K as it doesn't use EIS in that mode and doesn't crop.
There's also the Ultra Steady mode, which is capped at 1080p (even flagship phones with equivalent features are capped at 1080p), which looks to be doing a pretty nice job smoothing out pretty much everything. The footage looks like it's taken from an action cam,, and the 60fps recording help with that. Interestingly, we didn't see any substantial loss of detail in 60fps, and as opposed to other phones with the feature, this one uses its main camera and not the ultra-wide unit. Perhaps the big 64MP sensor gives enough headroom for the software to crop out the excess around the frame and stabilize the image.
And here's a nifty comparison for the pixel-peepers.