Realme X box
Tushar Kanwar
Realme X box
17/07/2019 12:16 PM IST

Realme X Review: Does It Hold Its Own Against Formidable Foes?

Oppo sub-brand Realme just launched its tenth smartphone, the Realme X. It has flagship features at an un-flagship-like price, but the competition is stiff in the sub-Rs 20,000 segment.

It’s barely been around for a year, but Oppo sub-brand Realme has iterated rapidly and launched product after product, and today we have its tenth smartphone, the Realme X. With this phone, Realme makes its mid-range intentions clear and packs in quite a few flagship features at a very un-flagship-like price point, including a gorgeous OLED display, an in-display fingerprint scanner and a pop-up selfie camera, among others.

However, the Realme X lands in an incredibly competitive sub-20,000 segment, one that Xiaomi is aggressively trying to defend not only from the likes of Asus, Honor and Realme but also from a renewed blitzkrieg from Samsung, with its M-series and A-series phones. Does the Realme X hold its own against its formidable foes? Let’s find out!

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The Realme X will be available in 2 variants - 4GB/128GB of memory/storage at Rs 16,999 and 8GB/128GB at Rs 19,999 – and two colors Polar White and Space Blue when it goes on its first Hate-to-wait Sale on July 18, followed by Flipkart and on July 24. There are also two limited editions, a Spider Man edition (along with a gift box and a customized UI, Rs 20,999) and a Master Edition (inspired by Onion and Garlic textures, Rs 19,999) available later in July and August. 

Realme X – Pros

Build and Design: Notch-free, no punch-hole designs are becoming quite the norm in budget-premium flagships like the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom, the Asus 6z, or the OnePlus 7 Pro these days, but the Realme X has gone ahead and done this in the sub-20,000 segment.

Combined with the near bezel-less frame around the display, the effect is quite stunning and immersive, and the visibly thicker bottom bezel is easily overlooked considering the price point at which all this is delivered.

Keeping things clean around the rear is the inclusion of an in-display fingerprint scanner, which unlocks the phone in a jiffy and competes respectably against physical fingerprint scanners. And while it may look like glass, the rear is a glossy plastic that helps keep the weight down, but the purple-blue gradient finish is prone to smudges.

Tushar Kanwar
The Realme X is a good looking and light phone, but the rear-panel does get smudged easily.

Aside from the fingerprint unlock, there’s also face unlock via the pop-up style selfie camera which activates in 0.74 seconds (according to Realme), which was also a speedy experience. A USB Type-C makes a long overdue entry, and you still get a 3.5mm audio jack. The phone is a tad large for average sized hands, but the weight is evenly balanced. The only miss on this front is the lack of a microSD card slot, which is usually present on Realme’s phones. 

Display: Realme has gone all out on the display, kitting the Realme X with a 6.53-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display instead of the regular LCD displays that are the norm in this category. You get a bright display with punchy colors and high saturation levels which, if you’re not a display purist, you’ll enjoy when playing games or watching movies.  

Performance: Inside the Realme X beats the heart of a Realme 3 Pro, and both devices share the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 chip, which even a year down remains one of the best processors in this segment. There’s plenty of RAM (8GB), which allows for heavy multitasking!

Tushar Kanwar
The Realme X has an excellent AMOLED display, which is unusual for its price.

The Redmi Note 7 Pro edges ahead of the Realme X in pure CPU performance, but graphics performance on the Snapdragon 710 chip edges just ahead of Xiaomi’s offering. As a result, gaming benefits on the Realme X and the phone doesn’t heat up even after an extended 35-40-minute PUBG session.

Camera: The camera is the real surprise element on the Realme X, in that it takes well saturated images with plenty of detail from its primary Sony IMX 586 48-megapixel f/1.7 primary camera (there’s a 5MP depth-sensing sensor, but no telephoto or wide-angle shooter). HDR performance is pretty good across tricky lighting situations and the only thing you’ll notice is that images are a little brighter than what you see with your naked eye. The Sony sensor’s pixel binning tech (4 pixels in 1) allows sharp, noise-free images in low light, among the best I’ve seen in the sub 30,000 segment. Big wins for Realme in the camera department on the Realme X.

Tushar Kanwar
The Realme X delivered excellent pictures in very tricky lighting conditions.

Realme X – Cons 

Battery: Realme loses the pure numbers game here, kitting the Realme X with a 3765mAh battery in a segment where 4000mAh is the norm, but it’s competitive in actual use, as the phone lasts a full day of use. Redemption comes by way of the bundled VOOC 20W charger, which tops off the battery in under 90 minutes and delivers 50 percent of charge in 30 minutes.

Software: The Android 9.0 based ColorOS 6 is pretty much like any recent Realme or Oppo phone—software and hardware are well mated together, as shown by battery life and overall performance—an excess of bloatware and notifications takes the shine off the otherwise slick experience. Gamers will love the Game Space mode which shifts your phone into high-performance, no notification mode for uninterrupted gaming sessions. 

Tushar Kanwar
The Realme X has a bloatware problem—most of the apps on the screen above come preinstalled, and not all of them can be uninstalled.

Speakers: It’s a good thing that the Realme X still has a 3.5mm headphone jack—you’ll want to plug in a pair of headphones because the software equalization and Dolby Atmos effects are pretty good. What’s not good is the single speaker’s output—it’s loud but tinny and starts distorting at higher volume levels.