Review

Realme X: Pop-Up Camera & AMOLED Display for $224.83

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With the Realme 3 Pro, Oppo’s subsidiary has proven that they are able to build very good smartphones. The Realme X, which could almost compete with the Xiaomi Mi 9T with a pop-up cam, also has a similar score.

Realme X Smartphone Display in Hand

Technical data of the Realme X

Display 6.53 inch 19.5:9 Full HD+ (2340 x 1080 pixels) AMOLED display (394 PPI)
Processor Snapdragon 710 @ 2.2 GHz & 1.7 GHz
Graphic chip Qualcomm Adreno 616
RAM 4/6/8 GB
Internal memory 64/128 GB (not expandable)
Camera 48 Megapixel SONY IMX586 with ƒ/1.79 aperture + 5 Megapixel ƒ/2.4
Front camera 16 megapixels with ƒ/2.0
Battery 3.765 mAh
Connectivity AC WLAN, Bluetooth 5.0, USB Type C, GPS/GLONASS/BDS, Dual SIM
Features Fingerprint sensor in display, 3.5 mm jack
Operating system Color OS 6.0 based on Android 9
Dimensions / Weight 161.2 x 76 x 8.6 mm / 191 g

The most rimless Realme

The topic of “borderless” is also written in capital letters in the Realme X, because you deliberately do without a notch or thick screen edges. In contrast to the just mentioned 3 Pro, the X is a bit bigger, we measure 6.53 inches in the screen diagonal. The space between display and housing frame is minimal and just leaves room for the receiver shell, which is significantly wider than the competition. The lower screen edge of 5.5 mm is slightly thicker than on comparable devices, but still narrow enough to look aesthetic.

Realme X Power Button

The design language that we already noticed in the Realme 3 Pro will be continued in the Realme X as well. As usual, the power button is also located on the right side and has a yellow accent. Above it is the dual SIM slot. The opposite placement of the volume keys, as known from iPhones, is also unusual here. The module for the pop-up camera is located on the upper side of the housing frame, which was placed centrally. On the underside of the frame is the headphone socket, the USB type C port and the speaker.

Realme X Pop-Up Camera

The back is slightly rounded on the long sides and shines in our test device in the Colorway “Space Blue“. We like this one so far, but the color combination of blue and purple has established Huawei on the market two generations ago. China versions have the optical advantage that no CE mark disturbs the otherwise clean back. Here only the Realme logo is emblazoned, which is on the same level as the dual camera, which is also centrally but vertically arranged.

Realme X back logo lettering

Handling & Processing

Even if Realme is still very fresh on the market, you can feel Oppos’ experience in smartphone production in every nanometer. The Realme X is almost flawlessly crafted, the port cut-outs are very neatly milled and the gaps are as small as possible. The pressure points of the physical keys are also pleasant, the SIM slot goes smoothly into its slot and the dual camera module on the back protrudes relatively little out of the case. The surrounding ring is reminiscent of the ring around a fingerprint sensor, so Xiaomi could take a look at it.

I could only criticize the pop-up camera on the top. If you take a very, very, very closer look, you can see that the left side of our test device is not completely flat with the housing frame. Here the gap dimension is slightly larger, which is 0.5% more exactly solved with the Xiaomi Mi 9T.

Realme X Smartphone backside

The ergonomics are given despite the larger design. The Realme X lies well in the hand, which is also due to the rounded sides, so that the housing frame protrudes slightly further than the front and back. In contrast to the Realme 3 Pro, the manufacturer has moved the power button down a few millimetres so that it is easily accessible. This is a good way to reach the fingerprint sensor in the display, but the “Volume Plus” button can only be reached with a little more dislocation.

AMOLED > IPS?

In contrast to the 3 Pro, Realme’s X has an AMOLED display, which offers a display diagonal of 6.53 inches. The display has a Full HD+ resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels in a 19.5:9 aspect ratio. With this screen size, this results in a pixel density of 394 ppi, which in theory is smaller than that of the 3 Pro, but in practice you won’t notice anything of it. Thanks to the AMOLED panel we have a contrast ratio of 60,000:1 and the brightness is stated by the manufacturer as 430 nits. The panel is protected by gorilla glass 5.

Realme X Display

In a direct comparison, the Realme X actually reveals weaknesses in brightness, the IPS panel of the 3 Pro is brighter. Due to the different panel types, a different color profile becomes recognizable, the Realme X is somewhat cooler, relies on strong contrast and strong colors, but lacks brightness. The 3 Pro scores, but the image is a bit flatter and the color temperature a bit warmer. In the sharpness, both displays don’t take anything, despite different pixel densities.

Realme X fingerprint sensor in the display

The Realme X has the advantage of a higher functionality, because of the AMOLED panel the fingerprint sensor in the display is possible. This works quickly and reliably, in fact it is almost on a par with the OnePlus 7 Pro. This is not a matter of course for this price class. In the settings there is also an Always-On mode disguised as “Off-Screen Clock”, which only worked with us after an update. Here you can only set the time, unfortunately not the design of the AOD display.

There are only a few default settings in the operating system. The adjustment of the color temperature is still quite useful, the “OSIE Vision Effect” rather less. Of course, automatic brightness, night mode and the full screen settings are also given.

Realme relies on qualitative hardware

The Realme X features the Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 processor, which we also know from the Realme 3 Pro or the Lenovo Z6 Lite. The eight-core processor with a 2.2 GHz clock frequency isn’t entirely new, but a high-performance processor that delivers a lot of performance for this money. In addition there is a choice of 4 or 8 GB RAM, the internal UFS 2.1 memory lies between 64 GB and 128 GB. There is just as little RAM in the weaker and cheaper Realme 3 Pro, and we would have liked to see a clear differentiation here.

Nevertheless, here we are absolutely at the level of a Xiaomi Mi 9 SE, which is equipped with the Snapdragon 712 from Qualcomm. The Realme X is fast, but not faster than the Realme 3 Pro, because it uses the same processor. Still, apps open and close quickly, gaming and multitasking are no problem, even the camera release or unlocking is fast. Realme has optimized the OS well, so you can expect a constant good performance.

Realme X Benchmarks

This is also confirmed by the benchmark results, which are all good, but just like the 3 Pro. We have to draw the comparison again at this point because the hardware is identical. Only the AnTuTu score is 40,000 points higher than that of the 3 Pro, but unfortunately we can’t give a reason for that.

Realme X with 48 megapixel sensor

The dual camera module on the back looks familiar to us, but the composition is different from the cheaper 3 Pro. The main sensor is the currently still very popular Sony IMX586 sensor with a resolution of 48 megapixels. We know it for example from the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro. The secondary sensor is a 5 megapixel depth sensor with a ƒ/2.4 aperture. Where Realme 3 Pro with a resolution of 16 megapixels could really get us off the stool, we are so unimpressed by the camera of Realme X. The photos are okay, the full potential of the sensor doesn’t seem to be there.

Realme X test photo main camera error
You see that bright glow around Julian’s face?

In some situations the camera shows what it can do, but the sharpness is never as impressive as with the 3 Pro. In addition, there are minimal artifacts in strong sunlight, skin tones are well hit. I also like the color profile very much, especially richer colors like plant green look impressive. At least Realme gets the white balance a bit better than Xiaomi.

Realme X test photo main camera person

Realme X main camera test photo white balance

Realme X main camera test photo plant

I like the camera app as well as the other Oppo devices, also the selection of modes covers all important standards. Especially the Portrait mode should be mentioned, which achieves good results especially with objects, because the edge detection is on top level. The beauty filter for the Portrait mode seems to have been significantly reduced here, the 3 Pro didn’t like that at all. Unfortunately, there is no ultra wide angle and the zoom is limited to digital zoom.

Redmi X Testfoto Portrait
The edge detection is really excellent, especially for objects.

Video mode

The Realme X also supports 4K resolution recording in video mode, but is limited to 30 fps. The timelapse function or slow-motion recording is also integrated. With the latter you even get 960 fps recordings, but the 720p resolution is already borderline. Here we would rather recommend the 240 fps Slow-Mo, which finally still produces an eightfold slow motion in beautiful Full HD resolution.

Pop-up front camera

The pop-up front camera takes about one second to fully extend for a selfie. The speed is a bit slower than with the Oppo Reno 10X Zoom, which has to cover a little less “distance” due to the wedge-shaped fin.

Realme X test photo front camera person

The 16 megapixel resolution is somewhat lower than with the Realme 3 Pro, but the sharpness of the results is really strong. Sometimes you can zoom in down to the pores, even if you certainly don’t want to. So the Selfies are fun, also the edge detection in portrait mode is good again. Despite the different sensors there are no big differences to the in-house competition.

Realme X Testfoto Front Camera Portrait
The edge detection is also strong for self portraits.

Same battery life despite small battery size

The battery capacity of 3,765 mAh is almost below average compared to other current smartphones. It can be observed that a capacity of at least 4,000 mAh continues to manifest itself. Accordingly, the battery life is only average, interestingly enough just as average as with the 3 Pro despite the lower capacity. Here, the X benefits from the somewhat more energy-efficient AMOLED display.

In the benchmark it was nine hours, in practice I easily managed one day with it. In the course of the following morning, however, the mobile phone had to be connected to the charger.

Realme X battery benchmark

This is also a VOOC USB charger with 20W. The in-house Oppo fast charging standard brings the Realme X back to the full 100% in just over an hour and 15 minutes, a very good charging speed. For comparison: a Xiaomi Mi 9 with 27W Charger needs about one hour with a smaller battery.

Color OS 6 here only in English

The Color OS 6 operating system also finds its place on the Realme X. Based on Android 9 you get a visually appealing user interface with some smart functions. The Realme X has unfortunately not (yet) been released as a global version, so the phone is only usable in English or Chinese. The Realme 3 Pro, which we also tested, is available as Global Version.

Realme X security patch

That’s why Realme X is not equipped with Google services at the time of release, and the Google Play Store is also missing. But: it is easy to install and certified, because Google Play Protect is pre-installed. So you can simply download the Play Store .apk in your browser and install it. If there are any problems, please write them in the comments.

Realme X Optics Control Center
Optically the ColorOS operating system reminds a bit of iOS

The security patch is from August 2019, so very current. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to gain any long-term experience with Realme yet, but we are optimistic that the update policy is appropriate. Functionally, I find features like the smart sidebar practical, which allows app shortcuts when needed. The Breeno Language Assistant, on the other hand, is a bit annoying, but you can deactivate it for the most part. In contrast to MIUI, however, the Color OS lets you choose between App-Drawer or no App-Drawer, for example, but reminds you of a mix of MIUI and iOS due to its many own services.

Realme X App Drawer
The App-Drawer can also be easily deactivated.

The first realme with USB type C

Realme has finally heralded the USB Type C era with their X. The Realme 3 Pro had to listen to some criticism because of the Micro-USB port. The USB-C port is located on the underside next to the 3.5 mm jack connector, which is also retained by the more expensive X. The USB-C port is also located on the bottom side next to the 3.5 mm jack connector. But there is a little disillusionment with the SIM slot, which “only” offers space for two nano SIM cards, but not for a microSD card. Memory expansion thus falls flat.

Realme has finally heralded the USB Type C era with their X. The Realme 3 Pro had to listen to some criticism because of the Micro-USB port. The USB-C port is located on the underside next to the 3.5 mm jack connector, which is also retained by the more expensive X. The USB-C port is also located on the bottom side next to the 3.5 mm jack connector. But there is a little disillusionment with the SIM slot, which “only” offers space for two nano SIM cards, but not for a microSD card. Memory expansion thus falls flat.

Since this is a China version, we only find the LTE bands 1/3/5/7 and 8, so that LTE is no problem in metropolitan areas like our office. During the test we always had an LTE network, but the speed in our test tends to be sufficient only for music streaming and somewhat sluggish video streaming, downloading test files takes too much time. In this case we refer to the O2 network. LTE and even VoLTE are supported on both SIM slots.

Realme X USB Type-C Port
Finally USB-C!

Local Internet can be reached via 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4/5GHz Dual-Band WiFi, which didn’t cause any problems in our test. We got along well with the speed and accessibility. The Realme X uses Bluetooth 5 for the connection with peripheral devices, aptX is also supported in this respect. The location is determined via GPS, A-GPS and GLONASS.

For the Realme X with a price of over $200 I would have wished for NFC for contactless payment, but you don’t even get that with the Realme 5 Pro.

Conclusion: Buy Realme X?

In the test the Realme X didn’t surprise me as much as the Realme 3 Pro did. Why? It’s very similar to the 3 Pro, but the small changes hardly make a difference. It’s slightly bigger, has an AMOLED display, a 48 megapixel camera, a smaller battery and a USB type C. It’s a bit like the 3 Pro, but it doesn’t make much difference.

The difference in size is too small to be decisive, the AMOLED display is not as bright as the screen of the 3 Pro and has no Always-On mode, the 48 MP photos don’t look any better than the 3 Pro and the battery life is exactly the same overall. Visually, the USB-C port (yeah!) and the well-constructed pop-up camera are a noticeable difference.

That doesn’t mean that the Realme X is bad, not at all, it’s basically just as good as the Realme 3 Pro, which we really liked. Since the 3 Pro is available as a global version and it is cheaper, I would definitely recommend the Realme 3 Pro, unless you absolutely want a pop-up camera. Then you should take a look at the Xiaomi Mi 9T in the price range.

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Profile picture from Thorben

Thorben

My special interests are smartphones from China and I am always keen to discover new smartphone accessories like smartwatches and headphones. 

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Comments (2)

  • Profile picture from saintdavid
    05.12.19 um 15:59

    saintdavid

    Hmm I might get one…my granddaughter has taken my mi9t pro

  • Profile picture from Ryan Bboylan
    31.01.20 um 04:02

    Ryan Bboylan

    This sounds amazing… I want one… please email me as soon as they are available… I have no problem ordering from China so that I can be one of the 1st in the usa to have one… this phone sounds absolutely amazing…

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