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realme XT can help explain the brand’s emergence

realme XT is priced at P16,990 (8GB + 128GB), which is around P3,000 more expensive from the realme 5 Pro (also 8GB + 128GB). The add ons for this price hike include: Super AMOLED screen, Gorilla Glass 5, an in-display fingerprint scanner, a 64MP main rear camera, and a longer battery life.

Yes, realme – that newbie smartphone company – is really making a lot of noise, e.g. in Q4 2019, it was 4th among Canalys’ Top 5 Smartphone Brands in the Philippines (with 9% unit share, the same as Samsung’s; and following Oppo at 27% and Vivo at 25%).

The growing popularity may just be dismissed with marketing (yeah, the likes of Apple and Samsung know how to do this really, really well). Fortunately (for realme and for its buyers), the company’s products aren’t all that bad (much like Apple and Samsung, too).

And here, realme XT easily comes to mind…

FIRST LOOK

Bearing a lot of similarities to realme 5 Pro, this mid-range smartphone has a 6.4-inch screen with that notch (no thanks to Apple’s still followed design). The screen is protected with Gorilla Glass 5 (instead of Gorilla Glass 3), and upon buying, is already with a screen protector pre-installed. realme XT’s screen has Full HD+ resolution (that’s equal to 403ppi), and instead of an IPS screen, it uses Super AMOLED.

This one sells for just over P15,000 – akin to the likes of Samsung Galaxy A50; and yet this one doesn’t feel… cheap. This ought to be a pleasing trait particularly for the brand conscious, since even if this isn’t as popular as the others (yet), at least it doesn’t look cheap at all…

The screen doubles as a fingerprint scanner, BTW. Quite responsive, I prefer this set-up versus the other (even cheaper) models that still has the scanner at the back.

On the left of the unit is the triple card tray (two SIMs plus memory card), as well as the volume buttons. The power/lock button is on the right.

At the bottom is the speaker, USB Type-C port, the primary microphone, and the 3.5mm audio port. There is a secondary microphone up top.

Turning the phone around, at the back, there is a protruding quad-camera setup (annoying if you want your phone to lay flat on a surface). 

It comes in two colors: Pearl White and Pearl Blue (really, that’s just white and blue, LOL).

INSIDE SPECS

realme XT is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 712 chipset, Adreno 616 GPU, and 8GB of RAM. Now, this is worth stressing: these specs are the same hardware configuration as the realme 5 Pro. This is good news for gamers (think CoD: Mobile, PUGB: Mobile, and Mobile Legends).

The unit runs ColorOS 6.0.1 (version RMX1921EX_11_A.10) based on Android 9 Pie. If you’re familiar with Android already, this shouldn’t be an ish, since the UI works… generally in the same manner anyway – e.g. swipe up to launch the app drawer, swipe to the left to surface Smart Assistant, swipe down to reveal the shortcut keys and notifications center, and long press an empty part of the screen to bring up the options re what to put on screen or how you want your screen to look like (widgets, wallpapers, settings, et cetera).

There are pre-installed apps (e.g. Lazada, Opera browser, and Webnovel), though you can just dump them anyway.

A 4,000mAh battery gives you juice to last you a day of extensive use; and more if you’re just using it for calling/texting.

WHEN PERFORMING

The 6.4-inch screen is at par with the “acceptable” size of phones now – e.g. you have enough space to watch flicks, play games, et cetera. The notch isn’t pretty; but it’s generally negligible, particularly since the screen’s resolution is crips anyway. 

The quad cam has a 64MP Samsung GW1 primary sensor, and includes the 8MP ultrawide, 2MP portrait, and 2MP macro. It has AI scene recognition, HDR, portrait mode, Beautify, Ultra 64MP mode, Panorama, manual, time-lapse, slow-motion, and Nightscape.

Let this be emphasized: In bright conditions, the shots are good, with colors coming out accurately. This is also true when the ultrawide and macro cameras are used (ideal ONLY in bright conditions).

In low light, though, the images become noisy. The Nighscape mode helps (it better do so!), though at times the shots still appear shaky.

Now – for someone like me who, on numerous occasions, use my phone for shooting (e.g. when I don’t have my cams with me) – video recording is now a necessity when using smartphones. Here, how does realme XT perform? Well, it can shoot at up to 4K resolution at 30fps – and this is a good thing. Shakes can be visible; but – really – that’s what tripods/stands are for.

Lastly, the speaker’s audio quality is more than acceptable. When set too low, it’s hardly discernible; but the mids and highs are just fine.

IN THE END

realme XT is priced at P16,990 (8GB + 128GB), which is around P3,000 more expensive from the realme 5 Pro (also 8GB + 128GB). The add ons for this price hike include: Super AMOLED screen, Gorilla Glass 5, an in-display fingerprint scanner, a 64MP main rear camera, and a longer battery life.

Meaning, if you’re not looking for an upgrade just yet, then the realme 5 Pro will be just fine. But if you have money to spare anyway, and you want to follow realme just as you did Apple and Samsung before, then the realme XT is a good buy. So yeah… grab it.

REALME XT SPECS:

  • 6.4-inch FHD+ (2340 x 1080) Super AMOLED display, 403ppi
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 5 (front and back)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 712 (10nm) 2.3GHz octa-core CPU
  • Adreno 616 GPU
  • 4GB, 6GB, 8GB RAM
  • 64GB, 128GB UFS 2.1
  • microSD up to 256GB (dedicated slot)
  • 64MP Samsung GW1 F1.8 (main) + 8MP F2.2 (ultrawide) + 2MP (macro) + 2MP (depth) rear cameras, EIS
  • 16MP Sony IMX471 F2.0 front camera, EIS
  • Dual-SIM
  • 4G LTE
  • WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • GPS, A-GPS, BDS, Galileo
  • 3.5mm audio port
  • Dolby Atmos
  • USB Type-C
  • Fingerprint scanner (in-display)
  • ColorOS 6 (Android 9 Pie) w/ HyperBoost 2.0
  • 4,000mAh battery w/ VOOC 3.0 Flash Charge
  • Pearl White, Pearl Blue
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