ABOUT US Realme
The Realme X has incredible features and a mid-range price. This smartphone is the first in its price category to have a pop-up selfie camera. The smartphone has excellent specifications, including a robust setup, excellent camera resolution, a sizable battery with quick charging, and enough storage. The smartphone’s storage, however, is quite constrained.
Realme has been tasting the success in India since the moment it stepped its foot in the market. With popular launches such as Realme 1 and Realme 3 Pro, the smartphone maker fearlessly competed with the Xiaomi’s Redmi lineup. With attractive design, powerful hardware and crazier prices, Realme managed to share a good chunk of the market in India.
The brand has now launched its most powerful device called Realme X. It seems like the smartphone maker is following the footsteps of Poco. Realme X is the company’s first smartphone in the new lineup of the sub-20k flagship device. Excited to read the on-paper specification of the device, we decided to bring the smartphone to our testing room.
We’ve been using the Realme X for over a week now and here is everything you need to know about it. Read on our comprehensive review of Realme X to find more about this smartphone.
Price in India, Variants, Availability
Realme X comes in two storage variant featuring 4GB and 8GB of RAM along with a 128GB of internal memory. Speaking of colours, the smartphone is available in two different options namely Polar White and Space Blue. The base variant of the device is priced at INR 16,999 while the top-end will cost you INR 19,999.
You can exclusively buy the smartphone from the Flipkart and Realme’s official website. At the time of writing this review, Realme is offering Jio benefits worth INR 7,000. Realme has also partnered with MobiKwik to offer 10% SuperCash worth INR 1500 with the device.
Realme X ships in a minimal yet premium grey coloured box with the Yellow accent as expected. Opening the lid, you will come across with a rectangular section consisting of SIM ejector tool, TPU back case and some documentation. The bundled soft back case is of high quality and can easily withstand a few accidental drops.
Keeping this stuff aside, you will now find the device itself laying there nicely covered in a protective film. Ignoring that for a while, there is a 20W VOOC fast charger adapter and a USB Type-C cable. There are no bundled earphones with this device and frankly, expecting one at this price would be unfair.
Here is a quick overview of what you’ll be getting inside the box:
- 20W VOOC Flash charge adapter
- USB Type-C cable
- TPU phone protection case
- SIM card needle
- Manuals and documentation
- Specs at a glance
Before we jump right into our detailed review, let’s have a quick glance of the specifications which Realme X brings up to the table.
Display: 6.53-inch AMOLED panel, 1080×2340 pixels, 394ppi, Gorilla Glass 5
- Processor: Snapdragon 710 chipset, 10nm
- RAM & ROM: 4GB/128GB & 8GB/128GB
- Rear cameras: 48MP+5MP
- Selfie camera: 16MP pop-up mechanism, f/2.0
- Battery: 3,765mAh capacity, 20W VOOC fast charging support
- Software: Android 9.0 Pie, ColorOS 6
- Weight: 191g
- Dimensions: 161.2x76x8.6mm
With key specifications cleared out of the way, let’s talk about the very first aspect of any device review.
Design and Build Quality
Realme X is one of those smartphones which looks and feels premium even though it is made up of plastic. The way the back melds with the metal frame is mere perfection. Personally, I am in love with the Space Blue colour which has a gradient texture at the back. The smartphone is also available in a simple yet elegant white colour. The phone has a little bit of weight to it but thanks to the proper weight distribution, you will not find it too hefty. The curved edges on the back add up to the additional comfort.
At the back, there is a vertically-aligned dual-camera module positioned centrally to give symmetric appeal. At the lower back, you will find the company’s branding in a vertical position as per the previous trends. That’s it. Apart from all these, the only thing which you’re going to see at the back is the mesmerizing gradient pattern. The camera module is surrounded by a metal ring that is a nifty addition in terms of aesthetic.
The front is dominated by a big AMOLED display with thin bezels on the sides and no notch or cutout. Instead, Realme has opted for the pop-up selfie camera mechanism located centrally to generate natural selfies. The pop-up mechanism takes around 0.7 seconds to lift up completely which is very impressive. Realme has tested the mechanism over 200,000 times. The mechanism auto retracts if you accidentally drop the phone. Thanks to the pop-up camera mechanism and thin bezels, Realme X managed to score a massive 91.2% in screen-to-body-ratio.
Moving to the buttons, you can find the power button with Yellow accent and SIM-card tray on the right while the volume rocker is located on the left. Realme X is the company’s first smartphone to come with USB Type-C port which you can find at the bottom along with a primary microphone, speaker grille and a headphone jack. At the top, there is a pop-up camera mechanism accompanied by a secondary microphone.
Overall, Realme X checks almost all the things which a premium device flaunts. If not for the price, you’ll definitely mistake it for a premium and expensive smartphone. What surprises me the most is the fact that Realme manages to kill the design aspect even though the smartphone has a polycarbonate body. In short, Realme X is one of the good-looking smartphones which you’ll love holding on to. The cheaper pricing, on the other hand, is going to be the icing on the cake for the consumer.
Realme X features a big 6.53-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 2340×1080 pixels and an aspect ratio of 19.5:9. Except for Samsung, Realme is the only brand that is offering an AMOLED panel at this price tag. For an added protection, the display is covered by the layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 5. With the brightness level of 400 nits, Realme X works pretty well under the direct sunlight with no issues whatsoever. Thanks to the impressive 91.2% screen-to-body-ratio, watching movies or consuming content on this device is an immersive experience.
With 394ppi pixel density, the display is pretty sharp, accurate and has an adequate resolution. As expected from an OLED panel, the blacks are deeper and you will love using the dark mode on the device. By default, the colors on this device are tweaked towards the cooler side which you can easily change from the settings menu. Besides, the display has in-display fingerprint sensor which we will talk about in detail further in the article.
Realme X comes with the Widevine L1 certifications support so that you can stream HD quality content on your favourite streaming apps such as Netflix and Prime Video. Overall, the display of Realme X is not the best-in-class but for the asking price, it sure manages to live up to our expectation. The overall viewing angles are very impressive and the display output is quite punchy all of which results in an immersive experience while playing games or consuming content.
Under the hood, Realme X is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 chipset paired with up to 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. For graphics, the device makes use of Adreno 616 GPU. The Snapdragon 710 chipset is manufactured over the 10nm fabrication process consisting of eight cores. Out of these eight cores, there are two Kryo 360 Gold clocked at 2.2GHz and six Kryo 360 Silver clocked at 1.7GHz. The SD710 chipset sits at the sweet place between an expensive flagship and the budget chipset. The processor was designed to deliver a great price to performance value in the mid-range smartphone segment.
Coming to the performance, Realme X manages to perform consistently and was able to handle every apps and game which I tend to use on a daily basis. With the addition of LPDDR4X RAM and USF 2.1 storage, the multitasking experience is pretty impressive. Apps tend to open up quickly and the same remains in the memory for a longer time. The overall performance on this device was pretty smooth with no stutter or lag.
Speaking of gaming, that’s where the Adreno 616 GPU comes into the play. We tried playing Pubg Mobile on the device for a couple of gaming sessions. The graphics were rendering properly with no occasional frame drops in my usage. Realme X comes with Hyperboost 2.0 and Gameboost 2.0 engine to optimize the gaming experience. I don’t know whether these engines works or not but the overall gaming experience was smooth and stutter-free.
Realme X runs on the latest version of Android operating system i.e. Android 9.0 Pie based on the company’s custom ColorOS 6 skin. Personally, I am not a big fan of ColorOS but it is also not that bad. To me, the only weakest point of this device is its software user experience which is something Realme needs to focus more on. Like any other custom skin, ColorOS has a pull-down notification centre, home screen setups and Assistant centre.
One thing which bugs me the most is the pre-installed bloatware that in a way reduced the user experience. You can uninstall most of the apps, fortunately, to free up some space but it should not be there in the first place. Smart Folders are something which the company should get rid off it completely. Every time I open up my folder it shows me the fresh app recommendation which is very annoying. ColorOS has received a lot of criticism and backlash because of its iOS-like appearance. On the other hand, it seems like the company has focussed on some aspect of the software a little bit more resulting in inconsistent experience.
Realme has overhauled the notification centre and it now consists of square pieces with rounded corners which again I am not a big fan of. Although there are few useful features that are embedded in the software. For instance, swipe-in sidebar feature shows you app shortcuts allowing you to effectively switch between apps or open the new one. You can customize the shortcuts easily as per your preference. Smart Assistant can be accessed via swiping towards the left-most home screen. As usual, it shows the app shortcuts, weather info, calendar details and various other information. Game Space is also an interesting addition which acts like a front-end showing you all the games installed and some other useful details.
Overall, Realme desperately needs to figure out its software part since the ColorOS needs a major overhaul in my opinion. Instead of overly decorating the software, Realme needs to work on the rich user experience. In the end, it all boils down to personal preference. ColorOS 6 definitely needs various improvement but it is still far above the worst user experience.
In terms of imaging, Realme X is equipped by a dual camera module at the back consisting of a 48MP primary sensor and a 5MP depth-sensing lens accompanied by an LED flash. The primary lens has an aperture of f/1.7 while the secondary lens has an f/2.4 aperture.
For selfies, there is a 16MP IMX471 sensor housed in the motorized pop-up mechanism having an aperture of f/2.0. In the year 2019, we have specifically seen lots of smartphones featuring a massive 48MP IMX586 sensor and this device is no exception here.
Coming to the image quality. Realme X managed to impress us with its ability to click good looking shots consistently. The smartphone is capable of capturing images with a good level of details, accurate colours and decent dynamic range. Above all, the clicked images turn out to be well-saturated. If you’re looking for more details, you can toggle on the HDR model which seems to work exceptionally well on this device. Additionally, you can also use the Chromaboost mode which can deliver better contrast levels. Realme X has an impressive rear camera and the only thing which I misses is the wide-angle or telephoto less making it less versatile.
The low-light performance is something in which almost every other budget or mid-range tends to struggle. Fortunately, that’s not the case with the Realme X. Even in low-light conditions, the smartphone was able to capture crisp images having decent sharpness and a very minimum amount of noise. You can also enable the night mode to click images with more brightness but keep in mind that you’ll have to compromise with the increased level of noise in this scenario.
The front selfie camera clicks images with a decent level of details but it tends to blow out highlights. Even though Beauty mode was turned off completely, the resulted images turn out to be quite soft. Selfie portrait mode works pretty well the good level of edge detection although it could have been better. In short, there is nothing to write home about in terms of selfie cameras of Realme X. With Realme X, you can record 4K videos at 30 fps but due to the lack of any stabilization, the resulted video turns out to be very shaky and distorted. If you’re planning to use a gimbal or have steady hands, then you might be able to get a stable video output from the device.
While most of the budget now comes with at least 4000mAh battery, Realme X decided to settle with the lesser 3,750mAh capacity with the support of 20W VOOC fast charging. Trading few mAh for the super-fast charging speed is an insane bargain in my opinion. With that said, Realme X can still manage to last you for an entire day on a single charge. Even if you’re a heavy user, you don’t have to worry about the battery level.
In our video playback test, Realme X managed to last for more than 14 hours which is pretty impressive considering the battery capacity it is backed by. For an average user, Realme X comes with a sufficient battery life that can last for an entire day. Even if you’re short on battery, you can always charge your phone quickly thanks to the addition of 20W VOOC charging. Within just 30 minutes of charging, the device can charge up to 50 percent which comes in very handy especially when you’re in a hurry. Realme X takes around 90 minutes to charge completely from zero to 100%.
Audio, Biometrics, Connectivity
For audio, Realme X has bottom-mounted loudspeaker with nothing to write home about. The speakers can deliver loud output but it misses that spark. There is no resemblance of bass and at max volume, you might start to notice a few levels of distortions. On the other hand, the 3.5-mm headphone jack seems to work pretty well with decent audio output. The phone comes with the support of Dolby Atmos which definitely enhances the overall audio experience and we would definitely recommend turning it on. During various calls, I never faced any issue with the connectivity or audio output from earpiece or even microphone. Apart from the loudspeaker, everything else is pretty good in terms of audio.
Coming to the biometrics, Realme X is equipped with an in-display fingerprint sensor that seems to work pretty well. Although the entire setup process is a little tiring, the end result is definitely impressive. The fingerprint reader opens up the device very quickly which I was not expecting at all at this price range. Apart from the speed, the reader is excellent in terms of reliability and accuracy. You do get an option to unlock your device using Face Unlock feature which again is good but is not that reliable.
When it comes to connectivity, Realme X packs in almost all the standard features which anyone would expect from a mid-tier flagship smartphone. The device comes with dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX HD, GPS, FM Radio and a USB Type-C port for charging. Sadly, there is no NFC for mobile payments and one-tap pairing request but that would not be a deal-breaker for the brand especially at this much price.
Pros & Cons
- AMOLED display panel
- Impressive screen-to-body ratio
- Pop-up camera mechanism
- In-display fingerprint sensor
- 20W VOOC fast charging
- Long-lasting battery
- Attractive design
- Value for money
- Software desperately needs a major overhaul
- The front selfie camera is not that appealing
- No support for NFC
Realme X manages to be that sweet smartphone in the mid-tier segment that manages to offer good from all the aspects. The smartphone has an AMOLED display, well built with attractive design, 48MP camera, in-display fingerprint sensor and a pop-up camera mechanism. It’s got almost all the bells and whistles which an expensive flagship smartphone comes these days. Even though the software is not that great in terms of the design aspect, Realme surprisingly did an amazing job in optimizing it which only adds up to the user experience.
Realme X directly competes with the top-end variant of Redmi Note 7 Pro, Redmi K20 and Samsung Galaxy M40. In terms of value for money, Realme X manages to throw the competitors out of the water in an instant. Even the low-light camera performance on the device is quite impressive. The only complaint from my end is going to the front-facing camera which could have been a little better. But, considering the price for which the device retails at, the cons might not matter to the consumer.
In the end, Realme did a fantastic job with its latest smartphone and manages to outlive our expectations. It would be interesting to see what more Realme will be coming up in future. One thing is for sure, Realme needs to overhaul its entire software in order to create an all-rounder smartphone.