Realme has given the Indian smartphone market a hit after hit. The Realme XT was launched last month with an aim to strengthen its position in the competitive smartphone market and it has managed to do so with the right recipe of carefully chosen features and served it with attractive pricing.
Realme XT is now pitted against Xiaomi's Redmi Note 8 Pro, which is a tough one to crack. Both phones engage in a fierce battle to win over consumers looking for a worthy purchase. Realme XT is great in its own ways, also better than the Redmi Note 8 Pro in certain scenarios. So, the question is whether Realme XT is worth spending anywhere between Rs 15,000 and Rs 20,000 depending on the model you choose. Let's find out.
Price: Rs 15,999/Rs 16,999/Rs 18,999
CPU: Snapdragon 712
Display: 6.4-inch Super AMOLED Full HD+
Primary camera: 64MP+8MP+2MP+2MP
Battery: 4,000mAh with 20W VOOC Flash Charge 3.0
Add-ons: In-display fingerprint scanner, dual SIM + microSD slots, 4G VoLTE, Face Unlock
Software: Android Pie-based ColorOS 6
Colours: Pearl White, Pearl Blue
Let's see how this configuration pans out in the real world.
Design and Display
Realme XT gets a traditional design, akin to the Realme's signature, which isn't hard to guess. It takes huge inspiration from Realme X but skips the pop-up selfie camera. While we tested the blue colour, the white looks more appealing as the gradient finish is eye-catching. The glass sandwich design gives the phone a premium finish. Surprisingly, the back of the phone isn't prone to smudges as much as other glass back phones we've tested in the past.
Realme XT is quite light to carry and perfect for single-hand use. The notch on the top of the display is tiny and takes minimal space, giving a large screen real estate. The 6.4-inch Super AMOLED Full HD+ display is bright enough for all use cases, from watching movies to playing games without missing out on many details.
The quad-camera setup at the back of the phone is hard to miss. But the cameras are protruding a lot more than usual, which doesn't allow for the phone to sit flat on the desk. There's a Type-C port alongside a 3.5mm jack and speaker at the bottom. The power button is on the right and the volume controls on the left. I like the attention to detail, such as the yellow line on the power button, minimalistic branding and matte finish on the sides.
Realme XT has a practical and safe design, which is appealing and not boring in any way.
Realme XT's USP is its 64MP quad-camera setup. And it contributes heavily to the phone's appeal. The primary camera is obviously the showstopper, capable of taking some impressive, detailed shots with balanced colours and contrast. The other sensors participate when called for and do a decent job in cases like Portrait, Ultra Macro and Ultra 64MP.
Realme XT's camera performs really well in well-lit areas, but that doesn't mean it is an underperformer in low-light. With the help of night mode, capturing the cityscape can be brighter than the normal shot.
The ultra-macro mode works extremely well. I could capture the subject from 4cm distance, which is not possible in the normal mode. This came in handy in capturing the details without having to struggle with focus.
In low light, there's a loss of details and dynamic range, but the handset saturates colours to give a pleasing photo. The colours appear normal in natural light, not so much in dim areas. Although there's a single tap option to zoom 2x and 5x levels, I wouldn't recommend it in low light. The 5x zoom in low is awful, even while shooting landscapes. Finally, selfies came out a bit more saturated and unnatural. But you can fix that by turning off the AI effect. However, if you like beautification, it might work well for you.
Overall, I didn't have major complaints with the camera. In fact, for a smartphone that's priced under 20K, I was impressed by the results. Take a look at some camera shots straight out of Realme XT:
But there's a lot of room for improvement in the camera UI. Realme XT has one of the most confusing camera UIs, and I wish Realme simplified it. All the camera modes, such as Nightscape, Ultra 64MP, Pano, Time-Lapse, and Ultra Macro, are buried in a hamburger menu on the left. This leaves only photo, portrait and video modes in the main screen. Of course, the wide-angle can be activated with a tap to the icon on the top, which is simple but unfamiliar.
It's worth noting that I was testing the 8GB RAM model, which comes paired with Snapdragon 712 processor. The chipset remains the same in all models, only the RAM configuration changes, which makes a lot of difference if you do a lot of multi-tasking.
In my case, I could work with multiple apps without any lags. Streaming shows on Amazon Prime Video and playing games like PUBG Mobile did not hinder the performance. For day to day tasks, I feel the entry-level model would suffice, but the 8GB model is recommended for those who play a lot of games or want a smooth experience.
I did experience mild heating while using the phone for long hours, but this was usually the case while playing games.
Realme XT's in-display fingerprint scanner works flawlessly, but the speedy face unlock would rarely give the chance to use it. The Wi-Fi range is pretty decent and mobile data streaming on 4G works just like any other mid-range premium phone.
In terms of performance, Realme XT certainly has an edge. But the flooded bloatware is irritating. You can uninstall some apps if you don't like, but the fact that users have to go through that extra step is uncalled for. What could otherwise be a great performance phone is hindered by ColorOS 6. Hopefully, things will change with Android 10, which is expected in Q1 2020.
Realme XT has a 4,000mAh battery, which is sizable enough to get you through the day. With normal use, I would get by a full day and still be left with 30 percent juice. On a busy day with the phone, where I would play games, watch some TV shows on top of the regular use of social media, calls and constantly using IM apps, I get about 8-9 hours of usage. This is still good.
But what I loved the most is the inclusion of 20W fast charging. This is seriously a boon as it can save a lot of time juicing up that massive 4,000mAh battery.
Realme XT has some strong points like the camera, battery and performance. If you could live with a ColorOS, Realme XT is sure to be considered. The design isn't extraordinary, but not boring at all. I would still go for the Pearl White and that's what you should too. It's going to be a tough call between Realme XT and Redmi Note 8 Pro, and that's where your brand loyalty could do the trick.