Realme has been hailed for its offerings within the reasonable smartphone phase and currently with the Realme X, it takes an extended stride towards the premium phase. The smartphone adorns an intriguingly premium design which has a notchless AMOLED display with an in-display fingerprint scanner, a pop-up selfie camera, and then far more, creating a powerful case against different sub-flagship segment smartphones offered to the consumers. Further, Realme has once again struck the right chords with its pricing. The Realme X appears to be a lucrative package from the first look even with a certain amount of skepticism for an older processor.Design and Display
The Realme X
has a gorgeous back panel, which is deceptive – but in a good way. It is made out of polycarbonate but you’re likely to err at identifying the material like glass. The slick and guileful back not only offers the impression of glass but also reflects light back within the structure of race tracks – almost like the Realme 3 Pro – even without the implanted ridges below the lamination. Realme asserts that it's chosen polycarbonate rather than glass with an eye fixed towards utility, as polycarbonate is more durable than glass. Even if you get many careless drops in, the smartphone has a higher probability of survival and a lesser chance of permanent damage.
The Realme X has two color variants – Space Blue and Polar White – and we have the former. The Space Blue color reminds me of the back on the Realme 3, Apart from these two, Realme has also launched the Realme X’s Master Edition variants, which are inspired by the bulbs of onion and garlic. The Japanese designer, Naoto Fukasawa, has taken a curious look into the common things that surround us to require inspiration for these variants design. Further, there’s a special Spider-Man edition of the Realme X, which is essentially the Polar White variant but comes with a special protective case and theme, the latter of which might hopefully be available for other Realme devices via the Theme Store at a later time.
On the rear of the Realme X, you see the dual-camera setup, which is raised and has a chrome rim surrounding the pill-shaped design of the module. The primary 48MP Sony camera on the rear is highlighted by a yellow ring. Additionally, there’s a Realme logo, with a particular placement in case of the special variants. The metal frame, which packs the edges of the non-glass back of the Realme X, also lends to its premium design. The color of the frame is blue for the area Blue, chrome for the Polar White and the Garlic variants, and golden for the Onion-inspired Master Edition model. The frame, however, will feel additional susceptible to scratches compared to the plastic rim on different Realme smartphone however that's a healthy trade favor of cosmetics.
The delight is vulnerable to keep intact once you flip the smartphone over to probe the front for the 1st time. The front of the Realme X features a 6.53-inch AMOLED display which is surrounded by thin bezels on all the sides nd no hints of any notch. The chin is visibly thicker than the bezels around the alternative 3 edges however since there’s no notch to rob the symmetry, this could not concern plenty of users. Since this can be an AMOLED display, Realme has taken the course of adding an in-display optical-type fingerprint scanner on the Realme X. Above the display, there's slender yet wide slit for the earphone.
A good display is central to a pleasurable experience on a smartphone and during this area too, Realme is taking an approach exotic to its usual preference for devices. The Realme X is the first smartphone from the company to feature an AMOLED display. This display is dressed to exude panache, due to its full-screen notch-less design with thin bezels around all sides save the chin. The display is just meagerly rounded on the edges rather than a brandishing curve and this sets it aside from the AMOLED displays on pricier smartphones like the OPPO Reno or the OnePlus 7 Pro. At this price, this not extremely a gripe and Realme has ensured that the edges don’t feel sharp, particularly since the navigation gestures require swiping inwards from the edge.
The ease of use with this display is matched by the putting color reproduction. This display on the Realme X does not exhibit the usual yellowing witnessed on OLED or AMOLED display in the past whilst producing rich contrast and vibrant colors. In terms of brightness, the display is clean even below direct sunlight. There is a good little bit of reflection to counter the brightness however aside from the reflective end, there’s nearly nothing to complain about the quality of this display. On top that, it feels terribly responsive with no lag in typing, swiping or scrolling whatever.Camera
The company’s choice of the camera on the Realme appears to be in tandem with its intent to craft a premium device. On the rear, the Realme X includes a 48MP primary camera with an f/1.7 aperture. This is a Sony IMX586 sensor, that has graced several of the leading smartphones launched this year and names within the long list include the OnePlus 7 pro and OnePlus 7, the Honor 20 and the 20 Pro, the ASUS ZenFone 6, the Redmi K20 Pro, Note 7 Pro, the Mi CC9, the OPPO Reno series, and many more. With 4-in-1 pixel binning technology, the Sony sensor produces 12MP images to amplify the ambient light in the images. If you would like full-blown 48MP images, the top choice within the settings allows you to change the default resolution to 48MP. Along with the primary camera, the Realme X get a 5MP depth sensor with an f/2.4 aperture lens and this is similar to what we see on the Realme 3 Pro.
The elevating selfie camera homes a 16MP setup with an f/2.0 aperture. The front camera also supports 4-in-1 pixel binning however rather than 4MP, it produces 8MP pictures. The math behind this is perplexing and I hope Realme’s product team can clarify this for us.
The image capturing algorithmic rule on the Realme X is similar to Google’s HDR+ during which the camera captures many totally different pictures and binds them together for well-contrasted pictures with a decent dynamic range. On top of that, Realme claims to possess done many software optimizations to maximize the output of the exceptional camera hardware. These include a Chroma Boost mode, which is limited to the rear camera and automatically pumps up the vibrancy in the images. Further, the camera features Nightscape mode and also supports slow-motion video at the rates of 120, 240, and 960 frames per second. Additionally, the Realme X comes with Camera2 API support, thanks to which you should be able to use most of the features in unofficial Google Camera ports if they come into existence in the future.
The Realme X
comes with the same camera app that we’ve seen on previous Realme devices. The various choices during this app are neatly shelved into 3 major clusters – image, Video, and Portrait. All of the other options such as Nightscape, Panorama, Expert (Pro mode), Time-lapse, and Slo-mo are accessible by a tap on the hamburger button on the side. The major choices within the app are simply accessible with the toggles for flash, HDR, chroma Boost, many color filters, and finally Settings.
The 48MP Sony sensor has been hallowed as perhaps the most pragmatic and utilitarian choice for the camera, being used on smartphones across different leagues. So, we don’t expect it to be a disappointing choice. I’ve only taken a handful of images with the Realme X but these should attest for its dependable performance.
Between the 12MP and therefore the 48MP images, there's a comprehensible degree of difference, mostly within the terms of exposure and saturation. The 12MP images have more warmth than the 48MP shots because of pixel binning. Naturally, the 48MP images occupy more storage. The advantage of the 48MP images is that they'll be zoomed into way more, however, the difference in terms of the details is smallest. The images in both the cases are vibrant with colors and mind you, these have been clicked with the Chroma Boost mode turned off. The f/1.7 aperture lens ensures that you just get an ample amount of sunshine within the pictures.
Selfies clicked with the Realme X are delightful. You might realize the AI beautification mode, that is turned on by default, a bit upsetting. The images clicked with Realme X’s front camera have an appreciable amount of sharpness. Realme has improved the portrait mode compared to earlier devices with a lesser aggressive background bokeh, which gives the portrait shots a more realistic impression.
The rear camera is capable of capturing up to 4K video and although the Sony IMX586 supports UHD recording at 60fps, only 30fps is supported on the Realme X, probably owing to the processor. You can record 60fps videos in Full HD on the Realme X. For helpful videos, the smartphone gets an AI-backed EIS. As mentioned previously, the smartphone does get slo-mo support at up to 960fps however the option to trim the delayed a part of the video is just available at 120fps.Operating System
The software on the Realme X
has to be its weakest link. Built on top of Android 9 Pie, Color OS version 6.0 makes some questionable design choices that take away from the user experience. The entire interface comes across as a mish-mash of iOS-style elements. I liked some of the usability enhancements, such as pull-down to search, but Realme needs to overhaul its skin. Simple things such as the notification shade have been given an unnecessary makeover with gigantic toggle tiles. Coupled with the huge amounts of white space, this leads to really low information density for no obvious gain.Storage and RamRealme X
comes with up to 8GB of RAM and with a UFS 2.1 storage, which results in a perceivably smoother experience. The unit Realme has loaned to us for review comes with 128GB of storage and 8GB of RAM, so performance can be expected to be better than the 4GB variant. Interestingly, the transfer speeds on the Realme X are too slow for a UFS 2.1 storage and in line with the older UFS 2.0.Conclusion
The Realme X
represents a coming of age for the brand. The phone is well-built, polished, and rather good to look at. The hardware is paired with a well-optimized build of software that, despite some questionable design choices, manages to offer excellent usability enhancements. Add to that an excellent camera and it leaves little to complain about. This time, the main target continues to be on young users however the company is increasing its reach and targeting not just teenagers but also young adults. Meanwhile, the classy design of the Master Edition ought to attract users from a lot of mature age groups.