Realme X Review: New Benchmark To Beat In Sub 20K Price-Point

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Realme is gradually becoming a household name in the Indian market. The brand has been giving a tough time to Xiaomi, the most popular Chinese brand in budget and mid-range smartphone segment from quite some time now. To make it even tougher for Xiaomi and to give consumers more choices in midrange price-bracket, Realme has today announced the company's most premium smartphone- Realme X.

Rating:
4.0/5

Realme X Review: New Benchmark To Beat In Sub 20K Price-Point

 

Launched in two variants- 4GB RAM+128GB ROM and 8GB RAM+128GB ROM at an aggressive price of Rs. 16,999 and Rs. 19,999 respectively, Realme X is the company's most technologically advanced smartphone to date. The handset features a pop-up selfie camera, in-screen fingerprint scanner, big AMOLED display and a 48MP+5MP dual-lens rear camera setup.

Realme X looks surprisingly premium, especially the White color standard variant we are using these days. We have been testing the Realme X for over a week now and here's what we think of the company's new product for Indian market.

Design- Best-looking Smartphone In Sub 20K Price

Design- Best-looking Smartphone In Sub 20K Price

The most expensive smartphone from Realme is a visual treat. The no-notch OLED panel at front with thin bezels (on three sides, except the thick chin), and a clean minimal design makes an instant impression. Even though Realme X is made out of Polycarbonate material, the handset manages to give a very premium device feel. It looks better than most of the sub 20K handsets we have tested in last few months. We showed the handset to a random set of people to take their views on design and price-point.

The premium look and feel of the device forced them to recognize Realme X as a 25K to 30K handset. If design tops your priority list, Realme X is the phone you should go for.

Ergonomics, Buttons And Ports Placement
 

Ergonomics, Buttons And Ports Placement

Functionality is not compromised over look and feel. Realme X feels quite comfortable to hold even though it weighs 191 grams. It s one-f-the most compact smartphone carrying a 6.53" display. The power button, in-screen fingerprint scanner and volume rockers are placed at convenient sports for a comfortable in-hand use. The phone snugly fits in the palm, thanks to the curved edges and rounded corners.

Importantly, Realme X is not slippery (like some metal-glass made devices) and does not slide out from hands even when you are using the phone without a case. The company does offer a hard TPU case in the box for some added protection. Basics and key trending features are taken care of as phone offers a Type-C port and also does not ditch the good-old 3.5 mm headphone jack.

6.53” No-Notch AMOLED Display

6.53” No-Notch AMOLED Display

The pop-up selfie camera made it possible for Realme to offer a notch-less AMOLED display with an impressive screen-to-body ratio of 91.2%. The OLED panel comes in 19.5:9 aspect ratio and delivers a decent pixel density of 394ppi. The AMOLED panel used on Realme X is of good quality but fails to match the liveliness and vibrant colors offered by Samsung's OLED panels.

Galaxy M40 and Galaxy A50 still manage to offer better overall OLED panels in mid-range price-point. This doesn't mean Realme X's AMOLED screen is bad. It is very vibrant and offers excellent contrast to make video playback and gameplay a delight. Games like Asphalt 9 and Modern Combat 5 are a visual treat on Realme X. As far as screen protection is concerned, Realme X gets Corning Gorilla glass 5 to protect the display from damages.

In-screen fingerprint scanner And Face Unlock

In-screen fingerprint scanner And Face Unlock

The OLED panel houses an in-screen fingerprint scanner, another first for Realme. The unlocking speed of in-screen fingerprint scanner is at par with OPPO and Vivo handsets. The sensor is very accurate and did not for once fail to recognize my thumbprint. The in-screen fingerprint scanner is not always visible; however, you can enable the lift and wake feature, which shows the scanner on the OLED panel as soon as you lift up the device.

You can also configure the face-unlock feature which makes pop-up camera module work over time. The facial recognition process is snappy and unlocks the phone in a jiffy.

16MP Pop-up selfie camera, F/2.0 Aperture, 5P Lens, 1080P @ 30fps

16MP Pop-up selfie camera, F/2.0 Aperture, 5P Lens, 1080P @ 30fps

The 16MP sensor on Realme X is integrated on a retractable camera module placed at the top edge of the handset that comes with a promise of 200,000 cycles, enough to last years even if you are addicted to selfies. The 16MP selfie camera works on f/2.0 aperture and works on Sony IMX471 sensor. The camera setup is covered under a Sapphire glass and uses a 5P lens. It pops out in less than a second, 0.74 seconds as claimed by the brand. Moreover, the camera sensor can also detect sudden height drop and pulls the pop-up camera module back in the housing to avoid any possible damage.

Selfie Camera Performance

Selfie Camera Performance

The 16MP camera captures excellent selfies in ample lighting. The images have good detailing but color accuracy is slightly off. The software-driven portraits show pleasing bokeh effect. You can also apply all sorts of Beautification filters and modes to fetch out a certain type of selfie output. Realme X's front camera can also shoot 1080p videos at 30fps that also look very crisp. Overall, Realme X's selfie camera get all the bells and whistles (backed by R&D done by OPPO) to please selfie lovers.

48MP+5MP Dual-Lens Rear Camera, Sony IMX Sensor, F/1.7 Aperture

48MP+5MP Dual-Lens Rear Camera, Sony IMX Sensor, F/1.7 Aperture

Realme X features a 48MP rear camera paired with a 5MP depth sensor. The good part, the 48MP primary camera works on the Sony IMX586 sensor and not on the Samsung's GM1 sensor which is slightly inferior in terms of image quality and color output. As we got to test the camera beforehand during the launch event, we managed to capture some stunning shots of Great Wall of China during the global launch event. Below are some shots captured on Realme X.

Punchy Colors And Good Dynamic Range

Punchy Colors And Good Dynamic Range

The camera output on Realme X's dual-lens camera is quite impressive. It can even give some premium handset a run for their money. Images look crisp and show excellent detailing and punchy colors. Dynamic range is also very impressive, even better than OnePlus 7 series devices. Contrast seems on point and detailing only takes a hit when you zoom in to 100% on a particular spot. However, that's where 48MP mode comes into play. The 48MP shots look more natural and show better details. Shots captured in 48MP mode can also be zoomed in more to focus on a particular spot in the frame. The camera's AI also works very well and effectively categories scenes to enhance the final image output.

Pleasing Portraits- 5MP Depth Sensor Does A Great Job Of Subject Detection

Pleasing Portraits- 5MP Depth Sensor Does A Great Job Of Subject Detection

Realme X can capture some really natural-looking portraits. The 5MP depth-sensor does an effective job in differentiating subject from background. The subject detection is on point most of the time and the end output shows a pleasing bokeh effect.

Realme X Low-Light Camera Performance

Realme X Low-Light Camera Performance

As far as low-light camera performance is concerned, Realme X does a better job than most of the phones we have tested in sub 20k price segment. During our visit to Realme's headquarter in May 2019, the company showed us what goes behind the camera testing phase on Realme devices. To improve the performance, the team behind the Realme X's camera evaluated the handset's low-light camera performance by analyzing camera samples shot on Pixel 3 phones, OPPO, Vivo and Huawei Mate series devices. Based on the comparisons and testing, the team made some important changes in exposure, ISO settings and sensors ability to draw in more light than the previous Realme handsets. Resultant, the camera on Realme X is more sensitive to light and also keeps noise in check.

Dedicated Nightscape Mode

Dedicated Nightscape Mode

There's a dedicated Nightscape mode that brings out more details in the darker areas of the frame. For instance, the tree's leaves look much brighter in images shot with Nightscape mode enabled. The sensor also tries to keep noise in check. Some shots came out quite animated but you can tweak them in post processing to fetch out great output.

Video Performance-4K @ 30fps, 960fps Slow-Motion

Video Performance-4K @ 30fps, 960fps Slow-Motion

The dual-lens camera setup on Realme X can shoot crisp 1080p videos, which are very much usable for social media platforms and even for YouTube. The camera is also capable of shooting 4K videos; however EIS is not supported in 4K mode. It only kicks in at 1080p @ 30fps.The camera can shoot slow-motion at 960fps/720p and 120fps/1080p. The 960fps slow-motion videos are also barely usable though. The regular 120fps slow-motion videos look good and are very much usable on social media platforms.

Overall, Realme X has set a new benchmark for photography in the sub 20K price-point. It is an excellent day-to-day camera smartphone that offers impressive performance and all possible features to please shutterbugs.

Snapdragon 710, 4GB/8GB RAM Variant

Snapdragon 710, 4GB/8GB RAM Variant

Realme X is backed by Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 chipset, which also supplied power to Realme 3 Pro. We got the higher variant to test- (8GB+128GB) and experienced flawless multitasking and overall computing performance in day-to-day routine. The phone is extremely snappy and can easily handle number crunching tasks without breaking up a sweat. The 8GB RAM and faster UFS 2.1 128GB internal memory ensured lag free multitasking even while running more than 18 apps at a time. We are quite positive that the 4GB RAM variant will also ensure smooth performance.

Besides, the Realme X handles heat very well. The phone felt surprisingly cool even after an intense session of Modern Combat 5 that stretched to almost 40 minutes. It seems that the Copper foil and graphite sheets placed inside the device are effectively working to maintain an optimal temperature during power-intensive tasks. It is worth mentioning that the recently launched Vivo Z1 Pro has an upper hand over Realme X due to its game-centric customizations and SD712 chipset. The 4D vibration, dedicated E-sports mode and better control over game controls make Vivo Z1 Pro a better choice for avid gamers.

Benchmarks Tests

Benchmarks Tests

While we had already tested the SD710 for synthetic benchmarks on Realme 3 Pro, we wanted to understand how the chipset is performing on Realme X. We ran our usual set of benchmarks and Realme X scored 1,54,086 in Antutu. The smartphone managed to touch 1,827 in 3D Mark Slingshot Extreme and 6,527 in PC Mark Work 2.0.

The latest SD712 powering the Vivo Z1 Pro scored 2,074 in Sling Shot Extreme- Open GL 3.1 and 1,982 in Sling Shot Extreme- Vulcan in 3D Mark. The smartphone touched a score of 18,2,421 in Antutu and 6,832 in PC Mark Work 2.0.

ColorOS 6.0 Based on Android Pie

ColorOS 6.0 Based on Android Pie

Realme X runs the latest ColorOS 6.0 based on Android Pie, which was offered on Realme 3 Pro. While I am not a very big fan of the company's ColorOS 6.0, the UI feels extremely snappy and gets most of the things done without any performance issues. For users who haven't used an OPPO or Realme handset in past, ColorOS might not feel like Android at first, but it packs in all the tricks of being a feature-rich Android UI with tons of customizations.

The notification and quick settings panel, which look overly animated, offer a good glimpse of the required information. Realme X comes with the newly added Theme store to allow you to download themes, wallpapers, ringtones, etc. The UI also offers some useful apps like Gamespace, Smart driving, App Clone, quick sidebar, Universal search etc.

In a nutshell, ColorOS 6.0 is very snappy and feature-packed but is not as user-friendly as a stock Android UI. There's a learning curve to this user-interface that you have to go through if you plan to purchase the new Realme X, in fact any Chinese-made smartphone.

No microSD card support, 128GB Internal Memory Standard On Both Variants

No microSD card support, 128GB Internal Memory Standard On Both Variants

Realme X is the first smartphone from the company without the microSD card support. Even the hybrid SIM card slot only takes in two active SIM cards and not a memory card. Honestly, I was expecting Realme to make some changes in the hybrid SIM-card structure to incorporate an external memory card for Indian audience. However, the company has chosen to ditch the microSD support for faster UFS2.1 internal storage. Thankfully the phone comes in two variants with 128GB internal memory as standard, which we believe will be more than enough for most of the users.

Battery Life, Call Quality And Audio Performance

Battery Life, Call Quality And Audio Performance

The battery life on Realme X is slightly lower than the company's recently launched Realme 3 Pro. The new Realme X is backed by a decently sized 3,765mAh battery cell, which can last a day if you don't stream videos on loop and carry out long gaming sessions. The battery cell recharges quickly as the 20W VOOC 3.0 fast charger is really effective. The fully depleted 3,765mAh battery cell refuels in less than 85 minutes which comes quite handy in day-to-day routine.

As far as audio performance is concerned, the single bottom-firing speaker on Realme X sounds very identical to Realme 3 Pro's mono speaker. The audio is clean but not very fulfilling, even though the phone gets Dolby Atmos support. We would recommend you to pair a Bluetooth speaker or headphones for a bettrr audio experience. Call quality is pretty solid on this device. The speaker grille mounted at the top of the screen produces clear in-all audio. We did not face any call-audio related issues on Airtel's 4G network in Delhi NCR.

Verdict

Verdict

Realme has managed to set new benchmarks in the sub 20K price segment. Realme X offers impressive camera performance and also packs in key trending mobile technologies, such as in-screen fingerprint scanner, Pop-up selfie camera, no-notch display at a starting price range of Rs. 16,999.

The Snapdragon 710 chipset coupled with 4GB and 8GB RAM + 128GB UFS 2.1 internal storage makes the handset snappy and well-suited for all light and power-intensive tasks. Additionally, Realme X also brings a very premium design and big AMOLED screen for users who love streaming multimedia content on their handsets.

It's very difficult to find a flaw in Realme X considering the fact that the handset brings so much to table at a starting price of just Rs. 16,999. It will be interesting to see how Xiaomi prices its upcoming Redmi K20 which is going to be the direct rival of Realme X.

If you want to explore the sub 20K market, you can also consider Vivo Z1 Pro that offers a slightly snappier SD712 CPU and nifty game-centric features. However, its camera performance is not at par with Realme 's camera. You can also give Redmi Note 7 Pro a try or the recently launched Moto One Vision that packs in an excellent 21:9 aspect ratio display, stock Android UI and decent set of cameras. However, Moto One Vision is marred by a less-powerful Exynos chipset. This again brings us to Realme X, which seems like a capable all-rounder in sub 20K price-bracket.

We would also recommend you to wait for the upcoming Xiaomi Redmi K20 series handsets. The Redmi K20 is further going to spice up things in sub 20K price-bracket. Stay tuned for an interesting battle between the new breed of premium smartphones in mid-range price-point.

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