Poco X2 Camera Review: Best Sub-20K Smartphone For Shutterbugs

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The Poco X2 might have disappointed you if you were expecting it to be an upgrade to the legendary Poco F1; however, it is still an incredible value for money smartphone. At a starting price of Rs. 15,999, the Poco X2 offers a 120Hz refresh rate display and a 64MP quad-lens camera setup. The primary sensor works on the all-new Sony IMX686 sensor. This makes the Poco X2 the first handset in the Indian market to work on Sony's latest mobile camera sensor. Today, we are going to discuss the Poco X2's camera performance in detail. So let's get started.

Poco X2 Camera Specifications
 

Poco X2 Camera Specifications

Starting with the camera specs, the smartphone flaunts a quad-lens rear camera setup featuring a 64MP Sony IMX686 primary sensor with a resolution of 9248 x 6944 pixels. The 26mm wide sensor measures 1/1.7-inch in size and has an f-number of 1.9. The pixel size is quite small and measures just 0.8µm. The 16MP pixel-binned shots have an effective pixel-size of 1.6 microns. The new Sony mobile sensor supports phase detection autofocus.

It is accompanied by an 8MP ultra-wide angle lens. This wide-angle lens has a focal length of 13mm and works on f/2.2 aperture. The third lens in the configuration is a 2MP macro lens working on a narrow f/2.4 aperture. The fourth lens in the setup is a2 MP depth sensor which also has a narrower f/2.4 aperture. For selfies, the Poco X2 flaunts a 20MP + 2MP front-facing camera setup.

Poco X2 Camera App And Modes

The Poco X2 has a feature-packed camera application. You can capture 64MP shots, 16MP pixel-binned images, RAW images, portraits, panorama shots and macro images. You can enable HDR, apply beautify modes, apply portrait lighting effects, filters and can activate AI mode to let the camera apply quick settings depending upon the shooting conditions.

The camera app also has a Pro mode and a dedicated Night mode. Some new interesting additions are Movie mode for 21:9 aspect ratio portraits and a Vlog mode to let you create some interesting video footages. For videos, you can capture short videos, standard videos in 4k @ 30fps, 1080p videos @30/120fps, slow-motion videos (120fps, 240fps and 960fps) and time-lapse videos.

Camera Autofocus And Speed

Camera Autofocus And Speed

The Poco X2's camera is fast and offers quick autofocus. We only noticed shutter lag while taking 64MP shots. You need to be slightly patient while capturing high-resolution images on the Poco X2 as the camera takes a while to process the 64MP images. Otherwise, you will end up clicking unusable shaky pictures.

Picture Quality

Picture Quality

Coming onto the picture quality, the Poco X2's camera captures images with incredible details. The images show a good dynamic range and colors do not appear overly saturated. The pictures look very natural and balanced; thanks to the well-optimized post-processing algorithm. The daylight shots come out well-exposed and show vibrant colors. Check out these sample shots. The colors on the petals pop out well and the images also have realistic depth of field. The Poco X2 captures 16MP pixel-binned shots by default and images are very well-exposed.

64MP Shots With 100% Crop
 

64MP Shots With 100% Crop

And while the 64MP shots look highly detailed, the images are marred by the same old small pixel size issues. The 64MP shots look detailed as long as you are not cropping the images to 100%. If you zoom in the 64MP shots to 100%, you will be disappointed to see the noise and the color smearing issues. These issues kick in when the camera algorithm tries to de-noise the fine textures. Also, notice the trees and cars on the road.

You will notice blurred details and an oil-painting effect which makes cropped images mostly unusable. Overall, the smallest of the details are not effectively resolved by the 64MP Sony sensor leaving the loss in quality noticeable. A quick tip- the camera disables the HDR mode when you shoot in 64MP mode and you cannot enable it.

Enable HDR Mode For Some Extra Dynamic Range

Enable HDR Mode For Some Extra Dynamic Range

The HDR works very well on the Poco X2 and allows you to capture some additional dynamic range in the 16MP pixel-binned shots. The HDR mode cannot be enabled in 64MP mode, which is disappointing. We recommend you to shoot in 16MP mode with HDR mode enabled while capturing outdoor shots in harsh lighting. You will see some irregularities in white balance but it's something you can easily address in post-processing if you have a knack for photo editing.

Portrait Sensor Performance

Portrait Sensor Performance

The Poco X2 has a 2MP depth sensor which does a wonderful job. There are some irregularities but overall the Poco X2 is still the best budget device for clicking portraits. The images mostly show realistic blur, natural colors and fine textures. The background separation looks quite natural in the shots captured on the Poco X2.

The studio lighting effects within the portrait mode let you compose some interesting shots. Check out these sample images captured with different studio lighting effects. The Holi effect within studio lighting looks cool. You can also capture portraits in 21:9 aspect ratio by enabling the Movie mode toggle in the camera app. The mode clicks portraits with cinematic effect.

Macro Sensor Performance

Macro Sensor Performance

The 2MP macro camera can give some good pictures if there's ample light to compose the shot. The autofocus enabled macro sensor makes it easy to quickly lock the subject within a focal range of 2cm-10cm. You need to be careful while taking macros as the phone can cast a shadow on the subject. We also noticed major changes in white balance with macro shots. The images have a red and pinkish tint to them even in good lighting conditions.

Wide-Angle Shots

Wide-Angle Shots

As far as wide-angle camera performance is concerned, the Poco X2's 8MP wide-angle lens does a decent job outdoors. The wide-angle shots have decent amount of details, acceptable dynamic range and vibrant colors. The Poco X2 can take some impressive and dramatic landscape shots if the camera is subjected to good lighting conditions. The indoor shots with the 8MP wide-angle lens are not much use as details and sharpness take a hit.

Low-Light Camera Performance

Low-Light Camera Performance

The Poco X2 features a dedicated night mode which offers good output only when there's decent amount of light available. The images show unrealistic sharpness and blurred out details, something we have also noticed with other budget devices. If you are shooting outdoors with some level of artificial lighting, the night mode will offer usable pictures otherwise the results are disappointing. Overall, the low-light camera performance on the Poco X2 is mostly underwhelming and not something you would prefer as a night photographer.

Video Performance

Video Performance

The Poco X2 can record crisp video footage. The 4K and 1080p videos recorded at 30fps show excellent details and a good dynamic range. The output is pretty stable as the EIS does a good job. You can also record 1080p 60fps videos but the EIS won't work. We also recorded some slow-motion and time-lapse videos on the Poco X2 which came out good.

 

 

Vlog Feature

Vlog Feature

The newly added Vlog feature deserves a special mention. The mode allows you to shoot interesting short videos for social media platforms. You can choose from seven predefined templates. The individual modes edit the footage with cool effects and also add some nice background audio. Check out these vlogs we shot on the Poco X2.

 

 

Selfie Camera Performance

Selfie Camera Performance

Last but not the least, the Poco X2 also captures crisp selfies with accurate white balance and good exposure. The portrait selfies show natural bokeh effect and will please selfie enthusiasts. The beautify mode is enabled by default that softens the facial features. We recommend you to disable it for natural image output.

Verdict

Verdict

The Poco X2 offers a feature-packed camera application. It makes for an excellent affordable camera for still shots and videos, thanks to the newly introduced 64MP Sony sensor and well-optimized camera software. The 64MP shots look impressive as long as you are not cropping them to 100%. The 16MP pixel-binned shots are equally good and will work well for most of your requirements. Also, features like vlog mode and movie mode for portraits are nice touches to the camera application.

The smartphone could use some improvements in the macro and wide-angle photography. And the low-light camera performance is poor. However, despite these shortcomings, the Poco X2 is better than the rivals and is our top pick in the sub 20K price-segment for photography enthusiasts. It is available in three configurations. The 6GB RAM + 64GB ROM variant is aggressively priced at Rs. 15,999. The 6GB RAM + 128GB ROM variant is available at Rs. 16,999, while the 8GB RAM + 256GB RPM variant costs Rs. 19,999.

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