Just roll back 3 years, for around $300, these were the phones we used to get, the Samsung Galaxy J7, the OPPO F1s, and the Vivo V5. And back then buying a high-end phone meant you are getting AMOLED displays, powerful processors and top of the line cameras. But today, things are totally different. You don’t need a high-end device to click good pictures and you don’t need a high-end phone in order to play high-end games. Because mid-range smartphones have come a long way. And let’s face it, everyone may aspire of getting a high-end device, but we can barely manage to pay for it. So, what people like us do is find the best of specs in a mid-range phone.
So, here, I will be talking about one such phone, the Realme X. I have been using it since its launch and, here, I will be sharing my experiences with it. So, Let’s get started!
Realme X Specifications
- Display: 6.53-inches AMOLED, Full HD+, 19.5:9 aspect ratio
- CPU: Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 710
- GPU: Adreno 616
- OS: Android 9.0 Pie with Colors OS 6 on top
- RAM: 4 GB / 8 GB
- Storage: 128 GB
- Rear camera: Dual 48 MP, f/1.7 (primary) + 5MP, f/2.4 (depth sensor)
- Front Camera: 16 MP pop-up, f/2.0
- Battery: 3,765 mAh non-removable Li-Po battery
- SIM(s): Dual SIM
- Sensors: Fingerprint (under-display), Accelerometer, Gyro, Proximity, and Compass
- Price: INR 17,499 (~ NPR 28,000) for 4/128GB | INR 19,999 (~ NPR 32,000) for 8/128GB
So, starting off with the design, Realme seems to have worked on it and worked very well. I have to say that I love this off-white color.
The build is plastic all over with metal looking frames, but that is plastic too! But still, it does not miss that heft in it. It looks premium and the feel on hands is surprisingly good.
The back has this minimal approach with just the cameras and the Realme branding elegantly arranged in a vertical order. The power button resides on the right and the volume buttons are placed on the left. They are easily reachable and fairly tactile, so, things are good on that part.
The phone does not miss a headphone jack so no complaints on that part either. Just beside the headphone jack, you get the USB-C port and a single-firing bottom speaker, which I will talk about later.
Up top, you have a motorized pop-up selfie camera. And as far as the durability of it goes, Realme has assured that it comes with fall detection and protection features.
And I tried dropping it intentionally to test it and upon detecting a fall, the camera retracted in. Also, it’s made of sapphire glass that helps prevent scratches. And in my use, there’s been nothing to worry.
The only downside to this design is that the phone is huge and I am a person who is into compact phones, so I’ve had to adjust a little. It might not be the same for you though. Also, I have this white color which makes smudges look less prominent, so I’ve not had to spend much time cleaning it.
Now, the display is one of the best things about it. It’s a Super AMOLED panel, measuring at 6.53 inches and damn it looks good. There are very less bezels surrounding the display which add to great multimedia and gaming experience. And thanks to the pop-up camera, you get a clean screen with nothing hindering the looks of it.
It is also sufficiently bright outdoors. However, you can’t expect crystal clear vision under direct sunlight though.
The display also accommodates what’s called the in-display fingerprint sensor. It is an optical one not like the ultrasonic one, which you’ll find in the Galaxy S10 Plus. It works fine, it’s fast and accurate and gets it correct all the times. I even tried unlocking it with wet hands, and it did unlock, so this was my go-to unlocking method always.
Talking of unlocking, there is Face Unlock feature too here done through the pop-up selfie camera. It’s fast enough but it feels annoying to me when the camera pops up every time, so I didn’t turn it on altogether. But this a matter of personal preference.
There is also an Always-on display feature here but it only shows you the clock, date and battery percentage on the lock screen. I find it useful but not useful at the same time.
Other things about the display include a flicker-free mode which helps reduce eye fatigue caused by AMOLED displays. It’s also HDR10 compliant which means you can watch HDR videos on this one! And adding to the good side of things is the fact that the display is protected by Gorilla Glass 5.
So overall, I must say that the display did well on my tests. It’s a solid thumbs up in this department.
On the performance side, what we get with the Realme X is the Snapdragon 710 chipset. Now there have been a lot of comparisons of the Realme X with the Redmi K20, that, as we know features a more powerful Snapdragon 730.
SD 710 is a step below the 730, but in real life usage, honestly, there is not a table-turning difference. Yes, the 730 is more energy-efficient, utilizes better kryo cores, and offers a faster GPU, but again if you consider the prices of these phones and compare the difference in performance, you will realize that the Realme X is actually not a bad deal.
I played PUBG in high settings with almost stutter-free experience. I didn’t face any heating issues after gaming or doing intensive tasks either. Multitasking was fine, app opening and transitions are smooth too. My everyday tasks ran pretty well and I am pretty happy with the price to the performance from the Realme X.
But yes, if Realme had included the Snapdragon 730 in here, the price would be gone higher for sure.
As even Manu Jain in his statement to NDTV Gadgets clarified that the Redmi K20 is priced higher because of the inclusion of the 730.
“Snapdragon 730 is not a cheap chipset — it’s fairly expensive if you can go and ask Qualcomm,” Jain continued. “It’s the third-fastest chipset from Qualcomm, it’s the latest one — if I’m not wrong, there was one device announced on [Snapdragon] 730G, but I don’t know if it’s been commercially launched our not in the entire world — that would probably make [Redmi] K20 the first phone to be commercially launched with [Snapdragon] 730.”
“When you buy a chip early on, something like this, it’s a lot more costly. If you go to buy [Snapdragon] 730 two years down the line, it would, of course, be much cheaper.”
Talking about the memory options, you get two memory variants One with 4 GB RAM. 128GB storage and the other with 8GB of RAM 128 GB storage. No matter which variant you choose, you get flagship-grade DDR4X RAM and UFS 2.1 storage.
And if you are confused which variant to choose, I think the 4 GB variant is a better value proposition. Also, 128 GB is the max storage you can get as there is no microSD card slot on this phone. But like I always say, 128 GB is good enough space, at least for me!
Realme X Benchmark scores
- AnTuTu v7: 155,120
- Sequential Read: 464.21 MB/s, Sequential Write: 185.98 MB/s
- Geekbench 4
- Single-core: 1440, Multi-core: 5902, RenderScript Score: 6487
- PC Mark
- Work 2.0: 6482
- 3D Mark
- Slingshot Extreme OpenGL ES 3.1: 1826
- Slingshot Extreme Vulkan: 1752
Now let’s talk about the software side of things. The Realme X comes bearing Android 9 Pie with Color OS 6 on top. Now, Color OS 6 has gone through some improvements from the past but still, I think it’s not refined enough.
For example, it always confuses me which side to clear notifications from. Also, you cannot shut down all the apps running in the background by clicking the clear button, whose sole purpose is to do just that.
Also, you will get a considerable amount of bloatware in here, some can be uninstalled and some just have to be there, for eternity!
Having said that, the software does have many things to cheer for. It looks colorful, you get a lot of customizations which can come really handy like you can make the power button trigger Google assistant on pressing it long, and there are so many screen-off gestures which you might like.
But still, I think the Software could be one area where the Realme team needs to continue working on to make it better.
Now, let’s talk cameras. There are dual cameras at the back, first one is a 48 MP SONY IMX 586 sensor, seen on a more expensive Oneplus 7 Pro and Asus Zenfone 6 and the second one is a 5 MP depth sensor.
The pictures from the primary sensor are very good. The details on them are on point, the colors look good as hell and impressively, the HDR function works very well. Even in the harsh sunlight, the phone did surprisingly well.
Also, the macro shots are just great! What you can notice in all these images is the saturation is a little bit more, which might not be natural, but I found many including my friends to like them.
There is also a chroma boost option, which enhances the colors but I preferred the normal images more.
By the way, you can shoot 48 MP images as well but by default, you get 12 MP images via pixel binning. So, if you want a high-resolution picture, you can go with 48 MP otherwise 12 MP works just fine. Just looking at them, you are not going to get a lot of differences.
The secondary depth sensor works well, if not great, for portraits. It does find it difficult to manage itself in hard areas like the hair. And blurring sometimes does not look very natural. So, the portrait images are not exceptional but good enough to not look bad.
Now talking about night time images, we know almost all midrange cameras struggle to give good pictures in a low lit environment. The night time images from this one, I would rate 7 out of 10. Grains are visible here and there as you can see in these images. You have a nightscape feature though, which balances the exposure and improves details by a lot.
Now, one thing I found majorly missing is a wide-angle camera. While taking samples, I dearly missed taking wide-angle shots. For example, the picture of this Bouddha Stupa here, it would have looked so good if it was a wide-angle shot.
So, this is a dear request to Realme, please put up a wide-angle camera in your next product offering because I feel like the cameras are the stand out feature of the Realme X.
Okay, selfies now. It’s got a 16 MP shooter. And the normal images look good to me although not very natural. The selfies are good looking. I clicked all the images in auto HDR that seems to have managed the exposure levels well. You also have a portrait mode for selfies, which is of course done by a software and they are surprisingly good.
Also, you have a beauty mode here and you can choose how aggressively you want to get beautified. I usually took normal selfies but here some samples of beautified selfies for you to judge.
Now, videos! There is 4k video recording with 30fps in here, you have two options in 1080p, 30 and 60 fps and you can also record videos on 720p. My tests showed the 1080p at 30 fps yielded in the best results in terms of stabilization. Colors are good in all three resolution though. So, if you are using your hands to record videos, go for the 1080p 30 fps option.
There’s also slo-mo feature, 960fps at 720P, which for the price, I would say is decent.
So, overall, I think cameras on the Realme X is one of the strongest parts about the phone. This is a perfect point to shoot camera phone for the price, where you don’t have to tweak many settings to get a good picture.
Now about the battery, you get a good enough 3765 mAh battery in here with a 20-watt VOOC 3.0 fast charging.
And the battery, for me, has endured pretty well. Now do consider that I am a pretty heavy user, I hang around YouTube a lot, and while I am not on YouTube, I am either playing games or making calls and chatting and stuff. So, with this pattern of usage, I got a strict one-day use with some juice left.
About the charging speeds, well, it can go from 0 to 55% in half an hour and to get fully juiced up, it takes around 1 hour and 10 minutes. That is fast, isn’t it?
Talking about the extras, the phone has a single firing speaker at the bottom which is well loud but lacks dynamic range and richness. And if you are into rock and roll music like I do, you will understand what I am saying.
And even though it has Dolby Atmos support for headphones, in my tests, the output from headphones was just average.
To sum things up, Realme X is an excellent phone for the price. You get top of the line camera performance, one of the best-looking designs, a fancy pop-up camera, and good performance. And I think comparing it with the Redmi K20 is kind of unfair because the prices don’t match. I think a costlier phone is bound to pack better specs.
Having said that I have two things bugging me about the Realme X. First is that the device does not have a wide-angle camera which has become a trend in mid-range and even some budget phones these days. Another is the software. And because the software is what the user is interacting with every time, it needs to be very refined and that is where Realme needs to do better in the future. And I seriously do hope the company takes these into account for its next offering.
That being said, if I were you and if I had like $250 right now, I would not think twice to get the Realme X as my daily driver.
Realme X Pros and Cons
- Excellent Display
- Good Performance
- Great Cameras
- Fast in-display fingerprint scanner
- No wide-angle lens
- Software needs improvements