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Talking about optimizations, the Realme XT runs on ColorOS 6.0.1 built atop Android 9 Pie. For the uninitiated, ColorOS is a pretty heavy skin and is far from stock Android. It comes with close to 15 apps that I'd term as bloatware and unnecessary. The quick toggles in the notification shade implement big colourful icons, and their order can be customised. Apart from that, customisation capabilities are few.
You can switch to gestures for navigation which work pretty well and are quite responsive. Realme's implementation takes you home with a swipe up from the bottom, back from the left and right, and recent apps from a swipe and a hold. There's an additional quick-switch gesture from the centre to the side, and adds another level of snappiness in switching apps.
On the left-most home screen, there's a smart assistant page that shows information such as your schedule, pedometer, sports scores and most-used apps. Could be useful for some, but I didn't push myself to feed info into Realme's proprietary apps instead of Google's.
Needless to say, it's not my favourite software skin, but at least the battery optimizations it brings are legit.
Battery and Charging
A 4,000 mAh battery keeps the Realme XT running, which is about average. However, I would always get through the day on a single charge easily, with typical usage involving WiFi or LTE on all day, loads of push notifications, about an hour of calls, a couple hours of social media and YouTube and some PUBG to top it all off.
Adding to that, VOOC 3.0 Flash Charge is also present here to refill the XT at 20W over USB Type-C. It takes just a little over an hour to reach 100% which is impressive.
Realme is underplaying all of the aforementioned good stuff and wants everyone’s focus to be on the 64MP quad-camera setup, and rightly so; it’s the start of a whole new trend that is sure to get common in the coming months. This is Samsung’s ISOCELL GW1 image sensor which has a 0.8μm pixel size by nature, but combines four adjacent pixels to create a 16MP image with large 1.6μm pixel size. Adding the f/1.8 lens to it makes this a complete package that is theoretically great at low-light while retaining details.
By default, the primary camera shoots at 16MP and the results were pretty great with ample dynamic range and contrast. The colour reproduction may seem a little overpowering but some may prefer that. The shutter was always very responsive and had virtually no lag, in the auto mode.
Moving to 64MP would often be accompanied with slightly higher ISO levels and a longer shutter speed, presumably to compensate for the smaller pixel size. But the differences were definitely existent. You will get a lot more detail and zooming capability (provided you are in the right lighting conditions) bringing a lot more legroom while editing. You will probably be better off without ever toggling it on, but the option exists if you need.
The other three cameras are similar to the Realme 5 Pro, with an 8MP ultra-wide, a 2MP macro and a depth sensor. The ultra-wide shooter obviously brings a lot more in the frame and the distortion was minimal. The dynamic range and contrast take a slight hit when compared side-by-side, but nothing too bad.
The macro lens is probably not going to be used a lot, as it is rather difficult to get a reliable shot from it. The fixed focus distance, low resolution and a small aperture make getting a usable shot very difficult. Sure, if you take your time to get them right, you will get some interesting perspectives.
Overall, this is a very dependable camera package that is also versatile. There's little more you can expect at this price, especially when taking the competition into consideration.
You must have noticed a trend my Realme XT experience— there's a lot to like over here, some of which is unmatched by the competition. Most of the important things such as performance, cameras, design and battery life are almost flagship-grade, and is best in class for some of them. That's a distinction not a lot of budget phones can brag about…
Though, I need to add a disclaimer that the Realme XT is likely to be out-specced and out-priced pretty soon, just owing to how hot the competition has gotten. And it's not just the competition, but also Realme itself who might have a new phone that could be a better value offering.
Don't get me wrong, the Realme XT is one of the best phones in this price class, but if you can wait, you should wait. If you need a phone urgently, this one will not disappoint.
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Aakash is the engine that keeps TechRadar India running, using his experience and ideas to help consumers get to the right products via reviews, buying guides and explainers. Apart from phones, computers and cameras, he is obsessed with electric vehicles.