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Strong contender

Pauline Wong
Pauline Wong • 4 min read
Strong contender
The new smartphone realme XT has just entered the market, and its aim is to win over the younger set
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The new smartphone realme XT has just entered the market, and its aim is to win over the younger set

SINGAPORE (Dec 13): When Chinese phonemaker Oppo knocked Apple out of the third spot among the world’s largest smartphone makers, few were surprised. The increasingly crowded smartphone market has seen the US tech giant falling behind in sales of its flagship iPhone — Apple shipped 35.3 million units in the second quarter of 2019, whereas Oppo shipped 36.2 million — and Chinese smartphone makers such as Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo are taking over with their wide range of Android-powered smartphones to suit various budgets.

Today, the battle seems to be raging between the Chinese smartphone makers, and a relatively new player has entered the ring: realme, which was once a part of the Oppo stable, has come out on its own, aiming for the younger set of users with high-end specifications. It recently launched its latest offering, the realme XT, in Singapore and is certainly hoping to capture the market for mid-range phones.

From the get-go, the Pearl Blue (also available in Pearl White) Gorilla glass back of the realme XT feels premium. It is one of the better-looking phones out there, with barely perceptible bezels and a 1,080 x 2,340 pixel super AMOLED screen.

Inside, there is a Qualcomm SDM712 Snapdragon 712 chipset powering the realme ColorOS UI based on Android 9 (Android 10 will arrive early next year) and it feels snappy, buttery smooth (at least for the three weeks that I tested it for this review) and the battery lasts a good 24 hours on medium-to-heavy usage on a normal day as a secondary phone (for comparison, I use the Google Pixel 3 as my main device).

The realme is marketed as a photography-lovers phone, boasting 64 megapixels in its back camera. Over the three weeks, pictures taken with the realme XT proved to be of excellent quality, even though most of the pictures had an over-saturated appearance, perhaps more aimed at the Instagram generation.

Pictures taken with the realme XT are of excellent quality, even though most of them had an oversaturated appearance

Pictures taken on the realme XT compared side by side with the Pixel 3 (widely agreed to be the best camera on a phone when it was released in 2018) were comparable in size, clarity and sharpness. The XT loses out, however, to the power of Google’s machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities to learn what the photo is, and adapt to bring out the most balanced, clear and natural-looking photo. Nevertheless, the experience of taking pictures and the quality is on a par with some of the more premium models in the market, surpassing expectations for its price point.

Everything else being equal, the realme XT is the best bang for your buck you can get for a phone that will fit easily into the lifestyle of today’s selfie-obsessed Instagram generation.

Oddly enough, I do feel that this phone could be underestimating its appeal to older users. It is easy enough to use, with ColorOS being fairly intuitive, and relatively close-to-stock Android. It has a great camera to capture family moments and, most importantly, for sending the daily “good morning and blessings for the day” family group WhatsApp message.

Overall, for a relatively low price of $469, the realme XT is a premium-feel phone for a mid-range price, with a great screen, snappy UI and an outstanding camera. You really cannot go wrong with it, especially if one balks at the idea of paying a hefty premium for the social and status symbol of a high-end Apple or Samsung.



Height: 158.7mm
Width: 75.2mm
Thickness: 8.6mm
Weight: ≈183g (with battery)


6.4in (16.2cm) dew-drop full-screen
Super AMOLED screen texture
91.9% screen-to-body ratio
2,340-by-1,080-pixel resolution at 402 ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass 5 Night mode for eye care


64MP main camera Samsung GW1 Sensor
f/1.8 aperture with 1/1.72 sensor size
6P lens and 8MP wide-angle lens
119°±1.5° angle f/2.25 aperture
5P lens
Support super nightscape
2MP Portrait lens with six portrait styles
2MP Macro lens 4cm shooting distance
16MP Front Camera Sony IMX471
4K video recording at 30fps
1080p HD video recording at 30fps/60fps
Slow motion up to 960fps
Electric image stabilisation for front and rear camera

Chip and capacity

Qualcomm Snapdragon 712 AIE
Octa-core CPU
10nm process technology
Up to 2.3GHz clock speed
UFS 2.1 ROM (128GB)
Up to 256GB external memory
Power and battery 4000mAh
VOOC charging power (5V, 4A inbox)

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