The realme XT is one of the four mid-to-budget range smartphones being launched in Australia by Chinese company realme this year. Alongside the realme 5, 5 Pro and C2, the XT is looking to make a significant dent in the Australian smartphone market with affordable pricing and great features. After taking the realme XT on the road, I was certainly impressed by what it had to offer.
So, what is it?
The realme XT is a mid-range smartphone that boasts a solid camera, great battery life and fast performance. It's also got a very striking booty that's available in both pearl white chrome and purple chrome.
The realme XT is shiny and gorgeous, but it's more than just a pretty face. Beyond the chrome exterior and super AMOLED screen, the realme XT rocks a killer 64MP main camera alongside dedicated macro, portrait and wide angle lenses that are truly impressive. At $499, it's well priced, and a fantastic new entry in the smartphone race.
Just give me the specs
- Screen: 6.4-inch Super AMOLED Dewdrop
- Processor: Snapdragon 712 Mobile platform
- Operating System: ColorOS V6.0.1 based on Android 9.0
- RAM: 8GB
- Front Camera: 16MP
- Rear Cameras: Main 64MP, Wide angle 8MP, Portrait 2MP, Macro 2MP
- Battery: 4000mAh, VOOC flash charge 3.0
- Other Features: In-display fingerprint scanner, Bluetooth 5.0,
What's good about it?
The realme XT's camera really is the centrepiece of the entire phone. With a 64MP backing up the rear, camera quality is consistently crisp, bright and focused. Dedicated wide angle, macro and portrait lenses (as well as a neat 16MP front facing camera) mean that you can use the XT's camera diversely, and capture any setting you need with an artsy flair.
While it has a tendency to saturate colours beyond their natural appearance, the lenses make scenes pop, and it's easy enough to adjust colour balances when needed because the phone's internal photo editor is very extensive. Ironically, I was using it mostly for readjusting the native over-saturation of the camera. This is a feature that's fairly common for Chinese smartphones, and you'll find similarly saturated colours in photos from OPPO and Huawei devices.
Here are some of the unedited photographs I took while on holiday in Auckland, New Zealand.
It performs fairly well in nightscape mode too, with the camera's AI making it easy to switch between modes according to available lighting and needs.
The front facing camera performs just as well, and is easily able to balance brightness, tones and colour. There's also an uncanny beauty mode attached to this, which stretches eyes, thins faces and recolours your skin, but it's easy enough to turn this off.
As is now standard, both cameras offer a range of great settings that include slow motion, time lapse photography, panoramas and even a crisp "ultra macro" mode.
The range of options that the realme XT's camera offers, paired with the mid-range price point is fantastic, and those with a keen interest in good quality smartphone photography should definitely consider the XT as a well-worthy option.
The realme XT contains a 4,000mAh battery, and it sure does go. At 5% battery, it had done 38 hours, 22 minutes on battery with 6 hours and 2 minutes of screen time. This amounted to two full days of work in active use, including several hours of scrolling Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, as well as being frequently checked for messages.
I'm the kind of person that likes to charge my phone every day, but I'm also prone to forgetfulness. I felt comfortable leaving my phone off charge for a single day and still using it actively the following today. There's enough of a buffer in battery life here that you can rely on the realme XT to retain a charge even if you don't charge it every day. When you do, the fast charging feature means you won't be waiting any longer than 1.5 to 2 hours for a full battery.
The Snapdragon 712 processor, paired with the streamlined ColorOS operating system means that the realme XT is a zippy little zoomer, and it loads multiple apps at once and on demand with zero lag. Mario Kart Tour, a game that requires a chunk of memory, loaded completely in under 5 seconds. Switching between apps is also seamless, making for a very pleasant mobile experience. The XT is quick and responsive, and that's all you can really ask for from a phone.
In a sea of same-same smart phone competitors, phone designers are looking for ways to make their phones stand out. The realme XT sure does stand out, with a shiny chrome back that comes in pearl white, or a shiny blue-purple edition. Both stand out in the crowd, and look gorgeous to boot. When the sun hits the realme XT just right, it's a sight to see.
What's not so good about it?
The realme XT runs off ColorOS, OPPO's Android-based operating system. While it might be a matter of personal taste, I'm not particularly enamoured by ColorOS. The icons are blocky and child-like, and each app comes with its own frequent push notifications. Themes will often pop up with new suggestions, and the app store also offers recommendations every few days. These can be turned off easily enough, but it doesn't make the operating system any more appealing for me. With a focus on minimalism and efficiency, it all just comes off a bit cheap in my eyes.
The chrome back hydroplanes
Now, this one is a minor and very weird complaint. The chrome back of the realme XT is so smooth that it has next to no friction. While it sure looks pretty, this means that no matter what surface it sits on (sans-case), it slides like it's on a slippery dip.
I stored the XT on my bedside table most nights, wedged between two other electronic devices, because I was woken up twice in the night by the XT slowly sliding off my bedside table with a massive thump. This problem has a simple solution — use a case, but I still feel resentful about the hours of sleep it stole from me — enough to include it in this review.
Should you buy the realme XT?
As we use our photography skills more and more for journaling, communication and sharing experiences online, having a phone with a decent camera is becoming more important. Moments are what makes life special, and if you're looking at using a phone to capture your best side, the realme XT does a stellar job, particularly for a $499 phone.
With minimal sacrifices, it manages to make great photography affordable, plus it's a great phone to boot! If you're looking for your next mid-range phone purchase, the realme XT is a fantastic and well-designed option.