Realme Philippines has just launched the Realme C2, a successor to its last year’s entry-level smartphone, the C1. Once a sub-brand of OPPO, Realme is now making its own mark in the industry with its solid, yet affordable smartphones. See how the Realme C2 fares and if this device can zoom past its peers in the entry-level segment.
Table of Contents
Design and Construction
Holding the Realme C2 in the hands, it doesn’t even feel like a budget smartphone even though it’s tagged as one. Made of unibody plastic, the Realme C2 feels solid and sturdy when gripped and rests comfortably against the palm. On the rear, it has a diamond-cut design with a matte-like finish to it, with micro-patterns and a bit of sparkle showing up when the light hits it. I am incredibly fond of this design; it makes me feel like there’s a case attached to the phone even when there’s not. An additional point goes to the fact that it’s matte and therefore, you don’t end up wiping it every now and then as you’ll only leave minimal fingerprints and smudges on it.
Up front, the smartphone has a sizeable screen with a dewdrop notch at the top, containing the front camera in it. It has a pretty thick chin, although that’s probably a given as most phones in the budget range have stand-out lower bezels.
Apart from the diamond-cut design that we’ve already mentioned, a dual camera setup plus an LED flash occupies the upper left corner of the rear. They’re arranged neatly together in a horizontal position.
Located on the left are the SIM tray and the dedicated micro SD slot, while a few spaces below that are the volume buttons. On the right side sits the power button. I don’t mind it when the power button and the volume rocker are positioned opposite each other but others who aren’t quite used to it might find a slight issue with that. Both are pretty easy to reach and are clicky as well.
There’s nothing up top while at the bottom, one will find a lone speaker grill, the micro USB port, microphone, and the 3.5mm headphone jack.
For biometrics, the Realme C2 doesn’t have fingerprint-scanning capabilities but it does give a face unlocking feature, apart from the usual passcode unlock feature. It’s pretty fast, especially upon lifting the device right in front of your face however, it can slow down in situations where there isn’t much light.
Display and Multimedia
The Realme C2 is equipped with a 6.1-inch HD+ display, protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 3. Instead of looking like an iPhone clone with the previous Realme C1’s notch being similar to the aforementioned device, the C2 has reduced that into a water drop one. The color reproduction on the C2 is pretty great, the blacks come out deep while other colors are rich and vibrant.
One thing about it though is that while the panel does get bright as you adjust the brightness in the settings, we found it difficult to use under direct sunlight. Even with the brightness bar already at maximum, the phone’s panel was dark and we really couldn’t make out the details.
As for audio, this device has a single downward-firing speaker at the bottom. Audio is good for a budget smartphone; it doesn’t have an ear-splitting tinny sound as you can hear the highs and lows even at maximum volume.
When it comes to cameras, the C2 is equipped with a 5MP front camera residing in the notch, while there’s a 13MP + 2MP dual camera setup on the rear. Let’s take a more in-depth look into them.
Selfies captured by the C2 look overly sharpened when taken using the standard photo mode. It’s not that bad but also, it could sharpen really small details that some individuals wouldn’t probably want others to notice. Background blurring isn’t that good when taking selfies with the Portrait mode, as it tends to have the edges look jagged instead of looking smooth to seamlessly separate the subject from the background.
Turning the AI beauty mode on, the skin looks pretty natural when it’s at the recommended setting. Going past that and putting the AI beauty mode at maximum however will make selfies look overly-processed, and it still misses out on certain blemishes that should’ve been flattened out as well.
Turning it over to the rear cameras, we find that the C2 takes pretty attractive daylight shots. The colors are vibrant even without the Chroma Boost feature switched on. Still, the photos produced by the C2 have detail and punchy colors, especially when the HDR setting is enabled.
The 2MP depth sensor also does a decent job as well; although in my experience, it sometimes wouldn’t focus on the subject that I wanted to capture and it took me a couple of taps for the C2 to adjust to that. Low light photography with the C2 is rather disappointing though, with its muddy details, noise, and tendency to overblow lights.
Video-wise, the C2 can shoot up to 1080p and it comes with Slow-Mo and Time Lapse modes. Video stabilization isn’t present, so recordings will end up looking shaky. Similar to daylight shots, the C2’s recorded videos also offer vibrant colors. It only has up to 2x zoom, however, so anything past that will have the details look muddled up.
OS, UI, and Apps
Android 9 Pie acts as the C2’s operating system, with ColorOS 6 skinned on top of it. Aside from the usual Google apps, pre-loaded apps in the C2 include Game Space, Phone Manager, Game Center, and third-party apps such as Webnovel and Lazada. There’s an option in the settings to toggle the home screen app arrangement from the standard to a drawer-style one.
There’s also a Smart Sidebar which can be enabled through the Convenience Aid menu in the settings. Once enabled, there’s a slim, white bar on the side that reveals apps and tools frequently used. Users can customize the apps and tools in the sidebar to their liking. As for navigations, it defaults to a three-button navigation but users may select their preferred button layout. There’s also an option to switch to gesture-based navigation instead.
Storage-wise, the C2 we have on hand holds 32GB, with 23GB of it usable. Expanding the storage is more than welcome as the C2 has its dedicated micro SD card slot.
Performance and Benchmarks
MediaTek Helio P22 powers up the C2, alongside a PowerVR GE8320 GPU. It has options of 2GB or 3GB RAM, with our unit on hand having the 3GB option. We tried playing graphics-heavy games such as PUBG and Asphalt 9 on it and while there were minor hiccups, it wasn’t entirely disappointing. Frame drops did happen, particularly when we were playing Asphalt 9, but we somewhat expected that already.
When it comes to doing tasks, the C2 didn’t give us too many issues. Multitasking is possible, although, do note that heavier apps will take a slight toll on the device and therefore load slower than lighter apps. Still, browsing the web, navigating around social media, and the like is decent.
Here are its benchmarks:
- AnTuTu – 76,984
- Geekbench – 818 (Single-core), 3,319 (Multi-core)
- 3D Mark – 457 (SSE – OpenGL ES 3.1)
- PC Mark – 5,134 (Work 2.0)
- AndroBench – 287.01 MB/s (Sequential Read), 119.03 MB/s (Sequential Write)
Connectivity and Battery Life
The C2 has the usual connectivity feature such as WiFi, Bluetooth, LTE, and GPS. Accuracy of the GPS is correct and pins locations rather quickly as well. Gyroscope is also present in the C2, making it possible to play AR games such as Pokemon Go. The smartphone also has a dual SIM card slot; network switching won’t be a hurdle for those who have two functional numbers.
A hefty 4,000mAh battery capacity juices up the Realme C2. We ran it through the PC Mark battery test, then gaining the score of 12 hours and 28 minutes. The usual video loop test of a 1080p movie at 50% volume, 50% brightness, and on airplane mode, yielded us 14 hours and 45 minutes. From a flat zero battery to a full 100%, the C2 took about 2 hours to charge.
Compared to last year’s Realme C1, the C2 is definitely an upgrade. Although the battery capacity is lower than the C1’s, the C2 still has the upper hand with its smaller notch, up-to-date software, good performance, and most especially, its diamond-cut design. A couple of things though, such as the dim panel, lack of fingerprint security, and needing improvement when it comes to edge detection in portrait selfie shots will probably be a drawback for some.
Still, if you’re a consumer looking for a decent enough entry-level smartphone with a strict budget, I’d recommend that you go for the Realme C2 with its base variant of 2GB/16GB. Otherwise, if you’re opting for the 3GB/32GB device, it might be a bit better to look at other options with the same price tag.
The Realme C2’s variants are priced as follows:
- 2GB + 16GB – PHP 5,490
- 3GB + 32GB – PHP 6,490
Realme C2 specs:
- 6.1-inch 19.5:9 HD+ dewdrop display, 89.35% screen-to-body ratio
- Corning Gorilla Glass 3
- 2GB/3GB RAM
- Helio P22 12nm 2.0GHz octa-core
- PowerVR GE8320 GPU
- 13MP f/2.2 + 2MP dual rear camera
- 80fps/480p slow motion
- 5MP front camera
- Dual-SIM card slot
- Dedicated microSD card slot
- Dual VoLTE
- AI Face Unlock
- ColorOS 6.0 (Android 9 Pie)
- 4,000mAh battery
- Diamond Blue, Diamond Black
What we liked:
- Nice design
- Affordable pricing
- Color vibrancy in daylight shots
- Audio quality even at maximum
- Large battery capacity
What we didn’t:
- Dim display even at maximum brightness
- Edge detection in portrait selfies
- Lack of fingerprint scanner
- A few lags during gameplay