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Realme X3 SuperZoom First Impressions: Pros, Cons And The X Factor
Realme X3 product line-up is touted as the best 4G flagship smartphone series in the sub-35K price segment. Both Realme X3 and the Realme X3 SuperZoom handsets are priced quite aggressively and focus on delivering the best-in-class hardware and camera performance. Both smartphones are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ chipset and boast solid camera specs with far-field zoom capabilities.
Realme X3-Series Pricing & Variants
The Realme X3 will be available in two variants- 6GB + 128GB at Rs. 24,999 and 8GB + 128GB at Rs. 25,999. The Realme X3 Pro with periscope camera hardware capable of zooming up to 60x digital zoom starts at Rs. 27,999. The top-end variant with 12GB + 256GB configuration is also priced quite aggressively at Rs. 32,999.
These are good prices for SD855+ powered handsets in 2020 that offer solid on-paper camera specifications. We spent some time with the flagship variant Realme X3 SuperZoom. Here's what we think.
X-Factor- 64MP Quad-Lens Rear Camera With 60x Digital Zoom and 5x Optical Zoom
Let's start with the highlight feature of the Realme X3 Superzoom. The smartphone boasts a quad-lens rear camera setup featuring a 64MP primary sensor paired with an 8MP telephoto sensor with 5x optical zoom and 60x digital zoom capability. The third lens in the configuration is again an 8MP sensor but it's a wide-angle lens with 119° field-of-view.
The camera setup also features the familiar 2MP macro lens, which has become a synonym for Realme smartphones across the price ranges. This is an impressive spec-sheet for a mid-range camera-centric smartphone. Below are some samples shot during the initial testing of the handset.
Crisp 64MP Shots And Promising 5X Optical Zoom Results
The images captured with the 64MP high-resolution mode and the default 16MP mode (pixel-binned) show crisp details and punchy colors. Like previous Realme devices, the new X3 SuperZoom also nails the dynamic range, contrast and sharpness. To my surprise, the 5x optical zoom also ensures the same level of color vividness and sharpness.
The above camera sample gives a good idea of the 5x image output. This is easily the best 5x optical zoom implementation at this price-point. If you feed ample lighting to the 124mm equivalent stabilize 8MP periscope lens, it delivers bright images with no visual noise despite a narrow f/3.4 aperture.
120Hz Refresh Rate Panel For Fluid User-Experience
The Realme X3-series boasts a 6.6-inch FHD+ display with 120Hz refresh rate. This is the highest refresh rate available on a smartphone display in the market and you can get it at a starting price of just Rs. 24,999 on the entry-level variant of the regular Realme X3.
The UI is optimized for the higher refresh rate to ensure fluid user-experience; however, I experienced a drop in the refresh rate while navigating throughout the UI even when the refresh rate was set to 120Hz and not on the Auto mode.
The FHD+ screen comes with 20:9 ratio to offer 90.5% screen-to-body ratio. The display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5 for protection against scratches and damages.
We are testing the top-end variant of the Realme X3 SuperZoom. It offers 12GB of LPDDR4x RAM and 256GB of UFS 3.0 storage. Add to it the 120H refresh rate screen and Qualcomm SD855+ and you get the best-in-class speed and user-experience from an Android device in this price category. The top-end variant of the X3 SuperZoom feels as fast as the SD865-powered iQOO 3 which is now selling at Rs. 34,990.
We will run benchmarks and test the gaming performance of the handset in our detailed review of the X3 SuperZoom.
Feature-Rich Camera Setup
The quad-lens camera setup on the Realme X3 Super Zoom offers a lot to explore. The camera allows you to capture crisp 64MP high-resolution shots, impressive 5x optical images and good wide-angle images. You can zoom up to 60x and can record 4K videos @ 60fps. Also, the Realme X3 SuperZoom brings two new night mode implementations- the Ultra NightScape and the Nightscape Pro Mode. Realme claimed that the Ultra Nightscape mode can capture bright and high-quality night pictures even in 1 Lux low light environment.
Last but not the least; the camera app also introduces ‘Starry Mode' for astrophotography which mimics Google Pixel's Astrophotography mode to click bright pictures of night skies. We will talk about the real-life performance of these modes in our detailed review of the handset.
LCD Display Fails To Match AMOLED Standards
Realme has offered the best-in-class refresh rate at a very affordable price-point but at the cost of an AMOLED panel. The Realme X3 SuperZoom flaunts an IPS LCD panel which has a rather low peak brightness of 480nits. The LCD screen works well for indoor use but it feels rather dull under direct sunlight. Moreover, it also fails to match the AMOLED standards in terms of color reproduction, color accuracy and viewing angles.
Overall, the IPC LCD panel on the X3 SuperZoom does not seem like the best display for multimedia consumption. There are better displays available on smartphones in similar price-point.
They don't offer the higher 120Hz refresh rate panels but the AMOLED screen makes up for the loss. I would recommend you to check out Redmi K20/K20 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite, iQOO 3 and OnePlus 7/7T before making a final decision because a better AMOLED panel with a lower refresh rate is any day better than a mediocre IPS LCD with the higher refresh rate.
No microSD Card Slot, No 3.5mm Headphone Jack
The Realme X3 SuperZoom skips on some basic features as well. The smartphone does not offer storage expansion as there's no microSD card slot. Make sure you buy the right variant depending upon your storage needs. Moreover, there's no 3.5mm headphone jack on the X3-series devices and the company do not bundle any connector in the box.
Gimmicky 60x Digital Zoom
The 60x zoom sounds impressive on papers and is a flaunt-worthy feature but the real-life results are barely usable. Check out the above sample. The excessive noise and pixelation make it impossible to use images on any possible platform.
And its not just with the Realme x3 SuperZoom, the digital zoom implementation works in similar fashion even with smartphone priced much higher. You can't expect much from digital zoom.
In case of the Realme X3 SuperZoom, the far-field zoom only delivers decent results till 10x limit when the light conditions are favorable.
Should You Buy The Realme X3 SuperZoom?
The new Realme X3-series brings promising new mid-range flagship devices in the Indian market. At Rs. 24,999, the entry-level Realme X3 is a great deal for consumers looking for an affordable flagship smartphone with a high-end processor, higher refresh rate display and solid camera specifications. The IPS LCD panels seem to be the only pain point in the overall good package. We will spend some more time with the Realme X3 SuperZoom to test its real-life performance in detail.