In its short existence, Realme has grown by leaps and bounds and has managed to capture a market that’s ripe for the taking. It has managed to create a substantial niche for itself where rival brands such as Xiaomi is running rampant. While newish brands like Honor and Xiaomi are currently dominating in the sub Rs 20K price bracket, Realme has steadily posed a substantial threat to their dominance and even though they are just nine smartphones in, their sales record speaks volumes about their commitment to the discerning Indian consumer.
With its 10th smartphone, Realme has upped the ante and have decided to target big-name players such as OnePlus and the yet-to-be-announced Redmi K20 Pro aka the flagship killer. The Realme X is the company’s tenth smartphone and boy does it come packing some insane features. Realme is no longer just content with the midrange segment, they are now thinking big and since bigger is always better; they have added a huge, beautiful 6.53-inch FHD+ OLED screen on the Realme X; which is, of course, the main highlight here. If you think that’s it’ then you are surely mistaken as they have added a massive 48MP primary sensor to add to its premium attributes. And you know what? That’s not it either. There’s also a zippy in-display fingerprint scanner sitting under this beautiful OLED screen which makes it a tantalizing option is given the amazing price it sells at.
Rarely has a smartphone at this cost managed to garner such excitement and the Realme X is proving that you don’t need to shell out the big bucks to get flagship features. Having spent a few days with the Realme X, here are our unbiased thoughts on it.
Realme X is a stunner! We absolutely love the design here. Being 2019, a lot of smartphones nowadays come with a notch-less, no punch-hole and no almost bezel-less design. Leading the way with this design is the OnePlus 7 Pro, followed by the OPPO Reno 10x Zoom and trailing by not much in third place — the ASUS 6Z. Coming with a similar design trend is the Realme X and the only difference here is that this smartphone boasts a way more competitive price tag than the other three smartphones just mentioned. By negating any blemishes on the display such as a punch-hole or a notch, Realme has been able to achieve a near-bezel-less design that’s grabbing all the attention these days.
While three sides of the Realme X come with almost no frame, the chin found here is a bit on the thicker side. However, no points docked off Realme for adding this thick bottom bezel as some compromises need to be made in order to achieve this competitive pricing.
Another exciting feature of the Realme X is the inclusion of an in-display fingerprint scanner and this is made possible because of the OLED display used here. The poisoning is absolutely perfect which allows for easy single-handed biometric authentication. Do note that this is of the optical variety and not like the ultrasonic type used on the Samsung Galaxy S10 smartphones. While it may not be as secure as Samsung’s option; it is a speedy customer and manages to unlock the Realme X a lot faster in comparison to unlocking the Galaxy S10 — which is painfully slow.
Realme has added a neat feature here which allows you to unlock the X when it detects any movement; also, it can be activated whenever you wake the device. We found the raise to wake a more convenient option than keeping it turned off till the X is woken with the power button. The Goodix G2.4 in-display scanner is really fast; maybe not the fastest out there but definitely faster than earlier renditions of in-display scanners.
Since the Realme X doesn’t come with a notch or punch-hole cut-out, the front-facing camera is hidden in the body and uses a pop-up style elevated selfie camera to get the job done. This selfie camera is located bang in the centre and not to the side like some of its rivals. This motorized pop-up camera takes a mere 0.74 seconds to extend and rides out at over 2,00,000 times allowing you to activate it up to 50 times a day, every day for a span of 10 years. If that’s not an assurance of the highest order then we don’t know what is. Additionally, like OnePlus’ option, the pop-up camera retracts when it detects that it has been dropped which helps in keeping it safe from any accidental spills.
Realme has added a slit on the top of the display to house the earpiece and we find this design absolutely clean. Unfortunately, the only feature lacking here is a notification LED. Several brands have managed to fit this feature in the earpiece; but with the Realme X, we find no such luck. The top of the device also features the secondary microphone which assists with clearer sound.
Moving on to the rear, the Realme X comes with a centre-aligned dual-camera setup that sits almost flush with the body. Both cameras and flash are located in this minimal hump and when kept flat on a table, there is hardly any wobble whatsoever.
Available in two colour options — Punk Blue and Steam White, the Realme X is a classy handset whichever way you look at it. In for testing we received the former model and we fell in love with it as soon as we unboxed it. The Punk Blue variant has a gradient design that shifts aesthetically from Purple to Blue and even though gradient designs are nothing new, adding it on a flagship handset has its own charm which is well appreciated. Interestingly, Realme has added the gradient design on the frame as well which is not a common sight as it adds to the smartphone’s appeal.
The button positioning is similar to other Realme handsets with the power button located on the left and the volume rockers on the right. The SIM tray is located above the power button and a notable absentee here is the lack of a micro SD car slot. While it can use up to two nano-SIM cards, not having a microSD card is quite a miss.
Realme has added the unicorn feature — the 3.5mm audio jack which is rapidly getting displaced on flagship smartphones. Having a 3.5mm audio jack in 2019 is quite a big feature as brands such as OnePlus, Google and others have no place for it on their smartphones. The bottom also plays home to the USB Type-C port which is quite refreshing since it's now in the flagship segment and cannot get away with it since all their budget smartphones come with a micro USB port. In this area, we also find the speaker grille and microphone which rounds up all the essential features of any smartphone.
Although it may look it, the Realme X’s rear is made out of plastic and not glass. This helps in keeping its weight down and more importantly to keep its price down.
Being a flagship device, the Realme X is built with one of the best displays used in this price point. Coming with a 6.53-inch OLED display, this is the brand’s first implementation of this premium technology. It has a 1080 x 2340 FHD+ resolution and a 19:5:9 ratio that’s devoid of any notch. Realme has rated its brightness at 450 nits which is pretty spectacular and way ahead of the LCD displays that boast a less than stellar output. With it, content on the screen is viewable in most lighting conditions and even when used in direct sunlight there are no problems in deciphering anything on the display.
Coming with an OLED display, you get some of the deepest blacks there are which aid with the insane contrast levels — a good feature by any stretch. Out of the box, colours are great and have a punch that’s found only on displays of this variety. Viewing videos and images on the Realme X are great and since it is slightly over saturated, it makes for a more enjoyable experience. Overall, the display is pretty great and gets full points across the board. However, when compared with the OnePlus 7 Pro, it does take a beating; but you have to keep in mind that the OnePlus flagship costs nearly Rs 50K which is in a category by itself.
Coming with Color OS 6 that’s based on Android Pie, this is the same OS used on other Realme handsets such as the Realme 3 and 3 Pro. There is the standard bloatware and a start-up pane offers you the choice to add some useful apps. These include Amazon, UC Browser, NewsPoint, WhatsApp, ShareChat, TikTok and more. You have a choice of not installing these apps and saving on space. However, these are pretty common apps which you will download sooner or later so it’s best to add them while setting up the phone.
A beautiful feature of Color OS 6 is that it gives you the option to delete some of the preinstalled apps which you don’t fancy. These apps are mostly similar to Google’s apps and choosing to keep just Google’s options will give you a rounded smartphone experience.
On the Realme X, there is an app drawer which you can quickly use to access apps according to alphabetical order. Also, you get an iOS-like interface with apps loaded across the different home screens which is also a comfortable way for accessing apps. The pull-down pane can be used to access notifications, quick settings, and brightness adjustment. In this page, you are greeted with options for Night Shield, Boost, Realme Share, Power Saver, Google Assistant and others.
Overall, Color OS 6 is very intuitive and way more refined than previous builds which make the learning curve negligible.
Probably the only things lacking on the Realme X is a flagship processor such as a Snapdragon 855 SoC. Realme has added an octa-core Snapdragon 710 chipset here which is quite confusing since they are gunning for flagships with the X. This chipset comes with either 4GB, 6GB or 8GB of RAM and paired with either 64GB or 128GB of RAM. The review unit we received is the 8GB/128GB variant and even though it comes with a less than spectacular chipset, it still gave off decent performances.
Together, both the CPU and RAM manage to excel where performances are concerned. In gaming as well as multitasking, the Realme X is a strong performer and to enhance your gaming experience, you can switch on Game Space which will offer you uninterrupted gameplay. While testing, we did not notice any overheating or rapid battery drain.
While running benchmarks such as Geekbench, the Realme X performed as expected from a handset running a Snapdragon 710 SoC. The single-core score recorded was 1459 points while the multi-core score was 5868 points.
When it came to consuming multimedia, the bright and punch colours of the OLED display proved to be the deciding factor here; however, you are restricted to the standard definition here and not HD content as the Realme X is not Widevine L1 certified. However, this by no means takes away your enjoyable video streaming experience.
The Realme X comes with a 48MP (f/1.7) Sony IMX586 primary sensor on the rear which is arguably the best out there. Assisting it is a 5MP depth sensor that aids with portrait shots. In order to achieve the best possible images in low-light environments, Realme has utilized pixel-binning technology that combines four pixels to one thereby effectively raising the pixel size to 1.6um that vastly enhances sensitivity.
The app for the camera is fast as it is intuitive and getting used to the different options takes a matter of seconds. The Expert Mode is essentially Realme’s manual mode that allows you to adjust everything from exposure to white balance and so on. Other interesting modes found in the app include Nightscape, Slo-mo and Pano. In the main Photo mode, you can choose to have Chroma Boost on as well as HDR to always-on which will enhance the overall image quality. Additionally, like most smartphones out there, the Realme X comes with Beauty Mode, AI, filters and so on. The AI scene recognition is quick and is able to identify the various images on the viewfinder instantly.
While capturing images with the Realme X, pictures appeared almost natural with some over-saturation present giving your photos a nice pop of colour. In well-lit environments, colours were vivid and contrast levels were somewhat high. Details are present throughout and sharpness is preserved. Chroma Boost plays its part in enhancing the overall image quality and contributes to the overall colour pop. As a default, we opted for 12MP shooting and refrained from using the 48MP camera for most of our test shots as this is what will give you the best possible captures.
In low-light photography, images from the Realme X packed in a lot of detail with only some noise creeping in. During our testing, we observed colours appearing natural with the right amount of exposure. Throw in the Nightscape mode and you get images which are otherwise bright and enhanced due to the long exposure. This tool is great but doesn’t expect Google Pixel level night shots here.
Realme uses a 16MP IMX471 sensor with an aperture of F/2.0 for its front-facing the camera. Images captured with this snapper are one of the best you get on a smartphone at this price. Skin tones appear natural and we really appreciate the overall performance here. The edge-detection is great in portrait shots and overall, it gets a big thumbs up from us.
The Realme X comes with a 3765mAh battery that’s not the biggest out there and in terms of capacity, it gets beaten by its competitors. However, it does come with VOOC (20W) flash charging support which will allow you to go from 0 to 55 per cent in a span of just 30 minutes and this is possible even while playing high-end games. The Realme X gets you a day and a half worth of use under heavy usage. We noticed that even while gaming, streaming videos and accessing Instagram, the battery still had enough in the tank to take you over to half of the next day.
The Realme X is priced at Rs 19,999 for the 8GB/128GB while the lower-end variant, the 4GB/128GB costs Rs 16,999 in India. It is designed to perfection even though it isn’t built with the most premium materials. With this handset, Realme is proving that it is time for them to step up from dominating the middling Rs 20K segment and tackle the premium mid-range. The Realme X is the ideal handset that can blow this segment wide open as it comes with high-end features such as notch-less OLED display with a wonderful pop-up camera, a beastly 48MP rear snapper and a very capable battery.
Overall, the Realme X is a handset that’s a flagship killer’s killer and this is looking at you Redmi K20 Pro.