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Realme XT review

The next round of Realme vs Redmi begins.

(Image: © Aakash Jhaveri)

Our Verdict

The Realme XT has it all— a reliable camera, more than adequate performance, an eye-catching design and a battery that keeps on going. The 64MP camera is a cool bragging right on top.

For

  • Versatile quad-camera setup
  • Smooth performance
  • Super AMOLED display
  • 20W fast charging

Against

  • ColorOS is a very heavy software skin
  • Likely to be out-specced in a few weeks

There aren’t enough adjectives for me to describe how competitive the Indian smartphone landscape is. Some 5 years ago, Xiaomi entered the subcontinent and managed to sell over 100 million units in the budget segment, sending a strong message to all the legacy phone makers. Just when it seemed like Xiaomi was invincible, we had a new young company called Realme throw in the towel and hope to shake things up in the budget segment.

Since its inception in May of 2018, Realme has brought value for money offerings in each price segment, even overthrowing Xiaomi in their home turf. The crazy spec race driven by razor-thin margins has created a barrage of wonderful offerings for the Indian consumer. More recently, this race was focussed on who would bring the first 64MP camera module to the market.

Realme was able to claim that honour by bringing the Realme XT to India. It isn’t supposed to be a successor to the Realme X, but a separate product lineup that marries Realme’s new quad-camera array to the X. The result is a phone that excels in a lot of aspects, and is thus one of the best offerings in the budget segment. 

However, even before the Realme XT came out, people already had their opinions formed, questioning the need and effectiveness of a 64MP image sensor on a smartphone, while others celebrated the technological marvel it was and what possibilities would open up when implemented correctly. Thankfully, Realme’s focus was not just on creating a good camera phone, but also on making an overall compelling device that will stand more than one blow from the competition.

Realme XT price in India

Realme XT will be available in three variants- with 4GB RAM + 64GB storage at Rs 15,999, 6GB RAM + 64GB storage at Rs 16,999 and the top-end variant with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage at Rs 18,999.

The phone will be available starting September 16 on Flipkart and Realme India online store.

Design

(Image credit: Future)

For these phones that aim to undercut the rest, one of the places where we usually see corners being cut is the design or the choice of materials, by going for plastic instead of glass for the back panel. It's usually an acceptable switch at this price point, but the Realme XT hit that expectation out of the park.

The entire back panel is made of Gorilla Glass 5 and has a subtle curve that helps with the handling. All colour variants shine with some curved lines, which Realme says has been inspired by a hyperbola, but are just concave lines. Nonetheless, they look cool. Our Pearl Blue variant has a slight gradient that goes from a deep blue to purple basis the angle of viewing.

It feels quite premium in the hand and isn't all that slippery either. My unit has had a couple of table-height drops and bounces and has managed to escape unhurt. 

The button placement and port placement on the Realme XT is also perfect, with the power button residing on the right and the volume rockers on the left. There's a USB Type-C port on the bottom with the 3.5mm headphone jack in the bottom right corner, which is the most ideal position in my opinion as the wire won't come in the way of your grip while gaming.

Display

(Image credit: Future)

The Realme XT is the company's second phone to bring a Super AMOLED display, which is another rare sighting in this price segment. This is a 6.4-inch panel with a resolution of 2340 x 1080. Yes, it still has a notch up top, but this is one of the smaller notches I've seen recently. This tall aspect ratio makes scrolling through web pages or gaming more convenient, and is the way to go for smartphones.

The bezels too are pretty slim, which adds to the viewing experience. Being an OLED panel, the colours are inherently very vibrant and punchy, and the 450 nits of max brightness makes it even better. Not just that, the minimum brightness levels are very comfortable too. There's a quick toggle to turn on Night Shield and cut down on the blue light emissions.  

Another small aspect that I came to love was the smooth texture of the glass, which made swipe typing and gaming really enjoyable and responsive.

The display is protected by Gorilla Glass 5 and also has an in-display fingerprint scanner under it. This optical scanner is pretty fast and accurate. Realme states that this is the largest scanner available from Goodix and the differences in unlocking speeds are evident. If that isn't enough for you, the face unlocking option is even faster.

Performance

(Image credit: Future)

Realme understands the Indian consumer psyche well, and knows that a phone is majorly judged based on the processor it houses. Just like the recently launched Realme 5 Pro, the Realme XT is powered by the 10nm Snapdragon 712 AIE chipset, which is the most powerful silicon available in this segment. That is paired with up to 8GB of RAM.

Interestingly, the performance and fluidity were visibly better than the Realme 5 Pro. The XT always seemed to be a lot smoother and the UI felt like it was running at close to 60fps for the most part, which is not something we see too often.

For day-to-day usage, the Realme XT always ran sufficiently smoothly even with a dozen apps open in the background and retained in memory. I can confidently say that is this the snappiest mid-range phone I have used.

And the performance shines in heavier tasks as well. PUBG Mobile, for example, could run on the highest settings with ease and provided a consistent frame-rate at all graphics settings. Add the big screen and the smooth input, and you are in for a gaming treat. Whatever optimizations Realme has done have definitely made a difference.