Previously, we could only select two items in the list of «fast, high quality and inexpensive», but now we can select all three. The Realme brand, which very cheerfully entered the Russian market this summer, continues to amaze. This time, the reason for our surprise was Realme XT — a smartphone that is fast, exceptionally high-quality and extremely inexpensive.
When you thought that the megapixel race among smartphones was over, new products with extremely high resolution began to enter the market, even by the standards of SLR and mirrorless cameras. One of these new products was Realme XT, which we are getting acquainted with today, and immediately after it, Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro appeared with a similar 64 megapixel camera. Rather, in both cases we are talking about complex multi-camera solutions, but the central place is occupied by the 64-megapixel module manufactured by Samsung. Something similar, only with even higher resolution, according to rumors, Samsung will apply in its next flagship Galaxy S11. However, we all remember very well that there have already been such attempts (hello to 23-megapixel cameras in Sony Xperia smartphones) and they did not end in anything good. However, perhaps the whole point is in the algorithms of computational photography, which a few years ago were not yet sufficiently developed?
One way or another, the next increase in resolution raises a lot of questions for me. The main one of which sounds like this: why do we need such large images when the smartphone screen has long been the main source for viewing them? And in the case of Realme XT, we also see a wild imbalance in resolution: here a 64-megapixel main camera is adjacent to a 2-megapixel macro module. Isn’t all this too complicated? Let’s figure it out.
|Realme XT||realme 3 pro||Realme 3||Honor 8X||Nokia 7.1|
|Display||6.4 inches, Super AMOLED, 1080 × 2340 (19.5:9), 402 ppi; capacitive multi-touch||6.3 inches, IPS, 1080 × 2340 (19.5:9), 409 ppi; capacitive multi-touch||6.22 inches, IPS, 720 × 1520, 270 ppi; capacitive multi-touch||6.5 inches, IPS, 2340 × 1080 pixels, 396 ppi; capacitive, multi-touch||5.84 inches, IPS, 2280 × 1080 pixels, 432 ppi; capacitive, multi-touch|
|Protective glass||Corning Gorilla Glass 5||Corning Gorilla Glass 5||Corning Gorilla Glass 3||there is no data||Corning Gorilla Glass 3|
|CPU||Qualcomm Snapdragon 712: eight cores (2 × Kryo 360 Gold, 2.3 GHz and 6 × Kryo 360 Silver, 1.7 GHz)||Qualcomm Snapdragon 710: eight cores (2 × Kryo 360 Gold, 2.2 GHz and 6 × Kryo 360 Silver, 1.7 GHz)||Mediatek MT6771 Helio P60: eight cores (4 × Cortex-A73, 2.0 GHz and 4 × Cortex-A53, 2.0 GHz)||HiSilicon Kirin 710: eight cores (4 × Cortex A73, 2.2GHz + 4 × Cortex A53, 1.7GHz)||Qualcomm Snapdragon 636: eight cores (8 × Kryo 260, 2.2 GHz)|
|Graphics controller||Adreno 616||Adreno 616||Mali-G72 MP3||Mali-G51 MP4||Adreno 509|
|RAM||4/6/8 GB||4/6 GB||3/4 GB||4/6 GB||3/4 GB|
|Flash memory||64/128 GB||64/128 GB||32/64 GB||64/128 GB||32/64 GB|
|Memory card support||microSD||microSD||microSD||microSD||microSD|
|Connectors||USB Type-C, mini-jack 3.5 mm||microUSB 2.0, mini-jack 3.5 mm||microUSB 2.0, mini-jack 3.5 mm||USB Type-C, mini-jack 3.5 mm||USB Type-C|
|SIM cards||Two nano-SIMs||Two nano-SIMs||Two nano-SIMs||Two nano-SIMs||Two nano-SIMs|
|Cellular 2G||GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz||GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz||GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz||GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz||GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz|
|Cellular 3G||HSDPA 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 MHz||HSDPA 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 MHz||HSDPA 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 MHz||HSDPA 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 MHz||HSDPA 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 MHz|
|Cellular 4G||LTE Cat. 12 (600/50 Mbps), bands 1, 3, 5, 8, 38, 40, 41||LTE Cat. 6 (300/75 Mbps), bands 1, 3, 5, 8, 38, 40, 41||LTE Cat. 12 (600/50 Mbps), bands 1, 3, 5, 8, 38, 40, 41||LTE Cat. 4 (150/50 Mbps), bands 1, 3, 7, 8, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41||LTE Cat. 6 (300/75 Mbps), bands 1, 3, 5, 8, 38, 40, 41|
|WiFi||802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2.4/5 GHz||802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2.4/5 GHz||802.11a/b/g/n 2.4/5 GHz||802.11a/b/g/n 2.4/5 GHz||802.11a/b/g/n/ac|
|NFC||There is||Not||Not||There is||There is|
|Navigation||GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS||GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS||GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS||GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS||GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS|
|Sensors||Illumination, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass)||Illumination, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass)||Illumination, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass)||Illumination, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass)||Light, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass), barometer|
|The fingerprint scanner||Yes, built into the screen||Yes, behind||Yes, behind||Yes, behind||Yes, behind|
|Main camera||Quad module: 64 MP, ƒ/1.8 + 8 MP, ƒ/2.3 + 2 MP, ƒ/2.4 + 2 MP, ƒ/2.4, phase detection autofocus, LED flash||Dual module: 25 MP, ƒ / 1.7 + 5 MP, ƒ / 2.4, phase detection autofocus, LED flash||Dual module: 48 MP, ƒ / 1.8 + 5 MP, ƒ / 2.2, phase detection autofocus, dual LED flash||Dual module: 20 MP, ƒ / 1.8 + 2 MP, ƒ / 2.2, phase detection autofocus, LED flash||Dual module: 12 MP, ƒ / 1.8 + 5 MP, ƒ / 2.4, phase detection autofocus, dual LED flash|
|Front-camera||16 MP, ƒ/2.0, no autofocus, no flash||25 MP, ƒ/2.0, no autofocus, no flash||13 MP, ƒ/2.0, no autofocus, no flash||16 MP, ƒ/2.0, autofocus, no flash||8 MP, ƒ/2.0, no autofocus, with flash|
|Nutrition||Non-removable battery: 15.2 Wh (4000 mAh, 3.8 V)||Non-removable battery: 15.39 Wh (4045 mAh, 3.8 V)||Non-removable battery: 16 Wh (4230 mAh, 3.8 V)||Non-removable battery: 14.25 Wh (3750 mAh, 3.8 V)||Non-removable battery: 11.63 Wh (3060 mAh, 3.8 V)|
|The size||158.7×75.2×8.6mm||156.8×74.2×8.3mm||156.1 × 75.6 × 8.3 mm||160.4×76.6×7.8mm||149.7×71.2×7.99mm|
|Weight||183 g||172 g||175 g||175 g||160 g|
|Operating system||Android 9.0 Pie, ColorOS 6 shell||Android 9.0 Pie, ColorOS 6 shell||Android 9.0 Pie, ColorOS 6 shell||Android 8.1 Oreo, EMUI shell||Android 8.1.0 Oreo|
|Current price||220$||15 990 / 120$||10 990 / 120$||from 120$||from 120$|
⇡#Design, ergonomics, software
The appearance of Realme XT makes an ambivalent impression. In general, it is quite nice, neat, follows the fashion for non-uniform body coloring and generally tries to look more expensive than its cost. However, the sophisticated look of the author of the reviews sees in it a typical Chinese mid-range smartphone. From the front, it looks like Oppo, Vivo, or even its brothers Realme 3 and Realme 3 Pro, and from the back it looks like some kind of Huawei or Honor. This is what the average Chinese smartphone looks like in 2019. A flagship with such a design would probably not interest anyone today, but in the price range up to $200 it looks just right.
Actually, the ratio of price, performance, screen and quality of built-in cameras is the main trump card of Realme smartphones in general and the Realme XT model in particular. Everything else (including design) is secondary. And in this respect, they are in many ways reminiscent of Xiaomi two or three years ago or Meizu of the same time.
The case is quite compact for a device with a screen of 6.4 inches — the comparison with the iPhone in this regard will not be in favor of the latter — thanks to the thin bezels, the difference is very well felt. The frame around the perimeter is made of plastic, but its density and texture are very reminiscent of metal. However, the metal is more resistant to mechanical damage. The front and back panels are completely covered with tempered glass Gorilla Glass 5.
The arrangement of the elements is absolutely familiar. On the right is the power button, on the left is the SIM card tray and two volume buttons. The top is empty, the bottom is a system speaker, a mini-jack and a USS-C connector for a data cable and a charger.
There is no fingerprint scanner on the case — neither in front, nor behind, nor on the side. It is built into the screen and works quite clearly. I’m still a little unaccustomed to the fact that low-cost smartphones so quickly borrowed this seemingly purely flagship feature. Not to say that the module works downright perfect — sometimes you need to put your finger on again, but in combination with the face recognition function, Realme XT unlocks instantly in the vast majority of cases.
In Russia, Realme XT is available in only two colors, which are called «white pearl» and «blue pearl». We are dealing with the latter — it is visible in the photos, and the white version very much resembles the mother-of-pearl Samsung Galaxy S10. It is possible that Realme designers were inspired by this particular example — it is painfully similar.
The operating system does not present any surprises — the smartphone runs on Android 9.0 Pie with a proprietary Color OS 6 shell. The same one was installed on the previous Realme smartphones that we met: Realme 3 and Realme 3 Pro.
In principle, the shell is pretty, does not cause obvious rejection, the total number of pre-installed applications and services is on the verge. But you need to keep in mind that a model not for the Russian market came to the review, so, perhaps, for real buyers, the software package out of the box will be different — for example, it will be replenished with the ubiquitous Yandex or «Mail »or something else.
⇡ # Display and sound
As expected, there are more and more AMOLED screens in smartphones of the middle price segment. Moreover, in most cases, the actual manufacturer and supplier of matrices is Samsung. Realme XT was no exception, it is immediately clear that the matrix in it is exceptionally solid.
It has a diagonal of 6.4 inches and a resolution of Full HD+ (2340 × 1080 pixels) with an aspect ratio of 19.5:9. This ratio gives us a pixel density of 402 ppi. The frames on the side are very thin, almost invisible, and the screen itself occupies 84.7% of the front panel area. The designers failed to completely abandon the cutout for the front camera, but they managed to make it as compact and inconspicuous as possible — it does not irritate. The viewing angles are maximum, the colors are not distorted when the viewing angle is changed, the contrast is very high, however, all this is quite typical for AMOLED displays. It is also typical that in our laboratory tests we cannot determine the value of the contrast, it actually turns out to be infinite.
But the brightness is traditionally low even by the standards of AMOLED matrices — 452 cd / m2you can compare the Realme XT screen in this parameter with IPS screens, but this will not tell us anything about readability in the sun — in any case, it will be higher for AMOLED.
The color reproduction of the Realme XT display is quite normal, although there are small flaws. The color gamut, as you can see in the graph, is slightly wider than sRGB, but at the same time, it is noticeably shifted relative to the reference color space. The average gamma is 2.27, which is within the normal range, and the color temperature is traditionally overestimated, albeit not much — its value averages 7500 K with a reference value of 6500 K.
The average DeltaE deviation for the extended Color Checker palette, which will include different gray options, as well as an extended set of color shades, was 4.70 according to the results of measurements. And this indicator is already noticeably beyond the norm. Let me remind you that the reference is 2, and the normal is 3.
In terms of sound, the Realme XT is doing just fine. The system speaker is quite loud, and there is a traditional 3.5mm audio jack for connecting headphones. I think that the controversial fashion to abandon the mini-jack to the budget and middle classes will not come soon, and that’s good.
⇡ # Hardware and performance
The Realme XT is based on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 712 system-on-a-chip, made using a 10-nanometer process technology. The central processor has eight cores, two of which operate at up to 2.3 GHz, and the remaining six at up to 1.7 GHz. The Adreno 616 accelerator is responsible for working with graphics. In general, as you can see, the Realme XT hardware platform is very similar to the Realme 3 Pro stuffing, which we met a little earlier this year. The amount of RAM can be 4, 6 or 8 GB, we are just dealing with the older modification. The availability of a particular configuration will greatly depend on the specific market — in Russia, apparently, they will just sell Realme XT at maximum speeds.
Our standard testing program does not present any surprises — the smartphone demonstrates the usual performance for Snapdragon 700-series platforms. Its level will allow you to use any application and play absolutely all games with high graphics quality settings. Perhaps the only difference from the flagship devices will be a little less performance headroom for the future, but seriously, who among us usually cares about this?
It is nice to note that the CPU does not overheat under load and does not limit the maximum frequency. So Realme XT has become one of the few devices with zero throttling. At least in our test, it didn’t show any drop in frequency, keeping the average performance at 147,124 GIPS.
Don’t be fooled by the unusually low Geekbench score — this package has recently been updated (we are now testing smartphones in its fifth version), and the rating scale has changed in it. Comparison with past testers in Geekbench 4 does not make sense, and for Geekbench 5 we do not yet have a sufficient basis for comparison.
Well, it remains to add that the smartphone supports microSD cards up to 256 GB. The slot is separate, which means you don’t have to choose between a second SIM card and memory expansion.
⇡#Communication and wireless communications
The good news is that a model with a built-in NFC module will be sold in Russia. True, a model not for Russia came to the test — in any case, this was indicated by the power adapter connector in the American style.
Otherwise, the switching capabilities of Realme XT look standard. The smartphone supports two SIM-cards, and both slots work with LTE networks in Dual Standby mode (only one card can be active in talk mode or when using an Internet connection). The smartphone supports LTE Cat. 12 with maximum download speed up to 600Mbps and upload speed up to 50Mbps. The reception quality is quite high, the connection is stable, there are no questions to the smartphone here and cannot be. Navigation works as expected, and the antennas of the built-in Wi-Fi module cope even with a weak signal.
The more complex and functional cameras become, the more problems Chinese developers face with the interface. It so happened that before getting to know Realme XT, I tested the iPhone 11 Pro Max, which at the moment can be taken as a reference. I’m not talking about the quality of shooting now — this is an open question and requires separate testing, I’m talking about the balance of the technical characteristics of the cameras (a logical step in the viewing angle, the same sensor resolution in all cameras), as well as a simple and understandable interface for shooting and switching cameras. We switch with one strip, the switching is smooth and clear, the night mode turns on automatically, as indicated by a special indicator. Pure enjoyment for both beginner and professional. You need to carefully understand the Realme XT cameras — well, we seem to be in no hurry.
So, there are four cameras here (three for shooting + one as a depth sensor): the main one has a defiantly high resolution — 64 megapixels, a standard viewing angle (about 26 mm) and phase detection autofocus, but at the same time does without optical stabilization. Moreover, by default, it does not shoot at full resolution, but at 16 megapixels. The maximum resolution shooting mode is turned on separately in the auxiliary menu, and turns off automatically whenever you close the camera application. By the way, I have no questions about the quality of shooting on this camera — in the default resolution, the picture is very juicy, sharp and saturated. And even the lack of optical stabilization has practically no effect.
In the shooting mode with the maximum resolution, the image is not saved instantly, but with a noticeable delay, but the result is generally not bad. However, it seems to me that the sharpness and detail are slightly reduced, the picture becomes more “soft” — see for yourself.
The question “Do we need such permission?” remains open — in theory you can print such photos in a large format, but honestly, when was the last time you printed photos?
There is no portrait camera (or rather, a lens with an equivalent focal length) in the smartphone. Two and five times digital zoom is implemented in software, and portrait mode is also implemented through the main camera, which is assisted by a fourth camera that acts as a depth sensor. Not the best solution, but let’s digress for a second and evaluate the difference in single, double and five-fold zoom mode.
Portrait mode is activated by selecting the appropriate item in the lower horizontal menu — there you also switch between taking photos and videos. But the 64-megapixel shooting mode mentioned above is turned on from the hamburger menu on the side. Why is that? What is the logic? Unclear. Are there any questions about the quality of portrait photography? I think no. Separately, I would note that the image processing algorithms after shooting do not make a difference between a living person and a sculpture.
The second camera is an ultra wide-angle camera, with a lens that is roughly the size of a 16mm lens on a 35mm camera. There is no autofocus here, and the resolution is only 8 megapixels. Not a weak contrast after the main camera, right? To activate this camera, you will already have to use a separate icon in the upper horizontal menu — who would have thought! It shoots quite well, but the difference in quality with the main camera is visible to the naked eye.
The third camera on the back is responsible for macro photography. It has about the same field of view as the main camera, but it is sharpened for shooting from very close distances — literally a couple of centimeters from the outer lens. It can be enabled from the same slide-out menu as the maximum resolution shooting mode. Here, too, there is no autofocus, so it will no longer be possible to shoot anything on it even from an arm’s length. The resolution is again 2 megapixels, and the difference in quality, as well as in color reproduction, with the main camera is very noticeable.
The front camera is characterized by a resolution of 16 megapixels, aperture ƒ / 2.0, as well as the lack of autofocus, stabilization and LED flash. The latter, however, is replaced by a screen — highlighting the face in white at maximum brightness. The traditional misfortune of Chinese smartphones is the hard to turn off (and sometimes not turn off at all) “do it beautifully” mode. The skin is washed out, its texture disappears, and potential couples on Tinder are thus initially misled. However, I will not prevaricate — the camera copes with its main task quite well.
And now back to the main camera and additional modes. In the same menu where you can select the maximum resolution or macro mode, there is a separate item for night shooting. And at the same time, the camera itself recognizes the night and makes some adjustments to the image processing. In principle, in both cases, the shooting quality remains quite high — another plus in the treasury of the advantages of the main module.
Video is recorded in 4K resolution at 30 frames per second — stabilization works in software mode, apparently. Optical stabilization, as I said, no. But, oddly enough, its absence does not spoil the overall impression of the main photomodule — yes, the video is recorded just on it.
In general, it turned out that it is not so difficult to deal with the interface. Do I need a separate macro camera? In my opinion, no, the main modules on most modern smartphones do this quite well. Do I need a separate camera with an ultra-wide angle of view? Definitely yes! But it would be nice if it had at least 12 megapixels, not two. In general, the manufacturer overdid it with cameras for Realme XT, but the main module allows you to close your eyes to the ridiculous interface and some oddities in the logic of switching between different cameras and shooting modes.
The battery capacity in Realme XT can be called average by the standards of Android smartphones, although it is more likely even “slightly above average” — 15.2 Wh (4000 mAh, 3.8 V). Exactly the same battery is in the larger and heavier Huawei P smart Z — it will be interesting to compare the final battery life, which will clearly show the difference between the power consumption of an IPS and AMOLED screen. In our standard test, which involves looping video at maximum brightness and active Wi-Fi, the Realme XT lasted just over 16 hours. But it is worth making a reservation that the diagram shows data from an old test video, which abuses dark colors and, accordingly, gives some advantage to AMOLED screens. In the new video, brighter and more colorful, the result is slightly worse, but still not bad — 13 hours with a little.
Like other BBK-owned smartphones, the Realme XT supports Vooc fast charging and comes with a matching adapter and a reinforced cable. Fully charging the battery (from 1 to 100%) takes exactly one and a half hours, which is also very good. And with a slightly more powerful adapter (for example, from some Oppo smartphone), this result can be even better — up to 1 hour and 15 minutes.
In general, one can find fault with the fact that Realme XT has a too complicated and illogical interface for controlling cameras, that the camera set itself is not ideal, that the icons in the main menu could have been drawn prettier, but we must pay tribute — for your money, this is if not the best choice now, but definitely one of the best. Need a quality AMOLED display? Please. A capacious battery with the ability to quickly charge is not a question. High-quality shooting both day and night — is. And so that all this also looks pretty, and besides, it’s not expensive — please, here’s Realme XT for you.
Obviously, devices of this kind are bought by people who are highly rational and picky, and something tells us that for such people, shortcomings like “here the font is somehow not very good” will not matter at all. So, again, Realme XT is an excellent choice for your money. First of all, it will compete with Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro, which was recently introduced in Russia, as well as several other devices (mainly, of course, Chinese) that will appear towards the end of the year. Well, since this is the case, then we probably have to update the material on the best cameras in inexpensive smartphones.
Well, as for the question posed in the title of the review, I still believe that such a high resolution is inappropriate. Firstly, the camera shoots at a resolution of 16 megapixels by default, and turning on the maximum mode every time is at least inconvenient. Secondly, in this particular case there is no noticeable increase in detail. And finally, thirdly, 64-megapixel images take up much more space, which again creates unnecessary inconvenience.
- gorgeous AMOLED screen,
- good quality main camera
- impressive battery life,
- separate expansion slot and mini-jack,
- NFC module,
- surprisingly reasonable price.
- camera quality imbalance,
- regional differences in configuration.