India

Realme X review: Bang for the buck

Very little compromises

Published

on

Realme X is the phone that half of India has been talking about. The other half? They’re preoccupied with its competitor, Xiaomi’s Redmi K20, but that’s a topic for another day.

This phone from Realme is a lot of things. It’s the most premium smartphone they’ve made so far. There’s an OLED notchless 6.53” FullHD+ display, with a popup selfie cam tucked into the top frame. There’s also an in-display fingerprint sensor, a 48MP camera on the back, and more premium specs that are usually well out of this price range.

Gorgeous design

Despite its plastic back and frame, the Realme X is gorgeous. It’s not a small phone but it’s still pretty compact and comfortable enough to hold, though there’s no way you’ll be able to reach all corners of that gorgeous screen one-handed.

It comes also in two colors: Space Blue and Polar White, which is the same color as the limited Spider-Man edition we unboxed.

It’s one of the nicest displays in this price range, both outdoors and indoors. Because it’s an OLED screen, it boasts deep blacks with punchy saturated colors and as you’d expect, you can tweak it to be warmer or colder in the settings menu.

There is a bit of a chin but it’s not something that would bother anyone. It does help with an area to rest your thumb, with a slightly higher point to initiate those navigation gestures. So while it’s not truly bezel-less, it is still pretty darn gorgeous.

The back panel makes an S-shape reflection depending on how light hits it, similar to what we’ve seen on higher-end OPPO phones. This little detail helps it look way more expensive a device than it actually is.

High end features for not much money

The Realme X an under-display optical fingerprint scanner. It works and it’s fast. The scanner is placed a comfortable distance above the bottom of the display, and there’s a “lift to activate” feature that works well enough that the sensor is always ready for you when you pick up the phone. The phone unlocks quick enough, so no complaints here.

It’s worth mentioning that you can also set up face unlock instead of the fingerprint scanning, but I would advise against this. It’s fast but that would mean the pop-up selfie camera will have to keep popping up. The screen lights up to help in dim conditions, and you can set it to require your eyes to be open for the phone to unlock.

The pop-up camera module used to be exclusive to more expensive smartphones so it’s refreshing to see this feature in a phone of this price range. The module pops up whenever you open the camera app or trigger face unlock, and it is promised to be good for at least 200,000 actuation. Realme says the selfie camera is covered with sapphire glass as well for better durability.

The entire module will automatically retract when a fall is detected or if it senses you’re trying to manually push it in. 

The Realme X has a much-appreciated headphone jack, next to a USB-C port, a speaker grill for the loudspeaker, and a microphone. The down-firing speaker sounds decent but just as any phone with a similar placement you have to be careful not to block it when holding the phone. Sound output out of the headphone jack is also actually really, really good.

The Realme X is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, and comes in either 4GB, 6GB, or 8GB RAM variants, with either 64GB or 128GB of storage. For those who need more than that, there is, unfortunately, no microSD card slot.

The Realme X runs OPPO’s latest ColorOS 6.0 on top of Android 9.0 Pie. There are a few pre-installed apps out of the box, but you can uninstall them all if you don’t need them.

ColorOS 6.0 is similar to a lot of other skins we’ve seen, with an ever-changing magazine-type lock screen, that you can disable to a normal lock screen instead. Unlike previous versions, it also has a much-appreciated app drawer. The split-screen multitasking also gets an update: you can now swipe in from the side, and hold to switch between your two recently opened apps, which is a cool new gesture.

Realme X’s 3765 mAh battery can survive a day’s worth of medium-to-heavy usage. It also supports 20W VOOC 3.0, which charges the phone up to 50 percent in 30 minutes, or full in about an hour and 20.

Pretty good cameras

The main camera of the Realme X gives you a bunch of shooting modes to choose from. There’s an expert mode which consists of manual settings, as well as slo-mo, nightscape for low light shots, timelapse, and pano, for panoramic shots.

Nightscape works pretty well and is a long-exposure handheld mode for night photos, similar to Pixel’s Night Sight. 

The phone shoots photos at 12MP by default, but you can switch to 48MP in the settings menu. This will give you finer details, but I’d only advise doing this in good lighting.

There’s also AI scene recognition, which adjusts camera settings depending on what you’re taking a photo of — blue skies get bluer, plants and trees get greener.

Realme also gives you the option to toggle 2x zoom, but this essentially crops your photo since there’s no telephoto lens on the phone.

Another thing to note is the Chroma Boost toggle on one end of the viewfinder, next to flash and HDR settings. It’s an advanced HDR mode that takes a combination of images and offers further improvements in dynamic range and color reproduction.

Daytime photos taken with the Realme X can do no wrong, with a nice wide dynamic range, vivid colors, and high contrasts as well. Images retain a lot of detail, but I mostly left Chroma Boost and HDR modes switched off. The AI mode also does a good job detecting scenes and adjusting settings.

Take a look at these samples:

I wish I could say the same thing when it comes to low light performance. The phone tends to underexpose images every so often, but with nightscape, highlights and shadows become more manageable. This is, of course, understandable for a phone in this price range.

Portrait mode, however, is a different story. Realme X takes excellent portraits. Subject detection is one of the best in the price range, with subjects isolated with great precision, for very pleasing and impressive results overall.

Selfies taken on the Realme X are pretty good, although dimmer lighting results to a drop in sharpness and aggressive noise reduction. Even though the selfie camera has no depth sensor like the rear setup, it still does a good job isolating the subject and blurring the background. 

Is this your GadgetMatch?

Its competition includes the Vivo V15 Pro which has an ultrawide angle camera but costs more. And then there’s Xiaomi’s Redmi K20, but that phone has pros and cons of its own and is also priced a little higher than the Realme X. Realme also recently announced the Realme XT, which is equally equipped at the same price. 

There are a lot of reasons the Realme X is one of the most talked-about phones this year — a really nice notch-less display, solid battery life, and good cameras. The USB-C and audio ports are definitely a plus, too. With very little compromises starting at INR 16,999, this is simply one of the best value-for-money phones you can buy today. 

India

Redmi Note 8 Pro intends to be the best at gaming and photography

It’s powered by an Helio G90T processor

Published

on

It has pretty much become a routine now. Xiaomi is known for its aggressive push in the developing markets of India and the brand has been on a spree launching new products every month. Today, it launched the Redmi Note 8 and Note 8 Pro in India, alongside an affordable air purifier.

The Redmi Note series has received a phenomenal response and the brand wants to continue this legacy. Taking quite a few stabs at Realme, the brand is confident its products can outperform the competition and continue leading the smartphone segment.

To start with, the Note 8 Pro gets an improvised design that Xiaomi is calling Aura Design and feature Gamma Green, Halo White, and Shadow Black color options. The rear gets a 3D curved glass and IP52 rating for water and dust resistance.

On the front is a 6.5-inch Full HD+ display with a dot-notch that provides a better screen-to-body ratio. Protecting the screen is a Gorilla Glass 5 panel and chin has been further reduced.

This is the first phone to be powered by a gaming-centric MediaTek Helio G90T processor along with 6GB RAM in the base variant. Xiaomi has also incorporated LiquidCool technology to enhance the processor’s performance over extended durations. The phone also gets dual SIM support along with a dedicated microSD card slot for storage expansion.

The rear gets a quad-camera setup that consists of a 64-megapixel primary sensor, an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, a 2-megapixel macro sensor, and a 2-megapixel portrait camera. On the front is a 20-megapixel selfie camera. Xiaomi is confident this phone can fulfill the requirements of every type of user.

Backing these internals is a 4500mAh battery that supports 18W fast charging. This time, the brand is also bundling along a fast-charge adapter with the phone. Xiaomi claimed it can last up to two days on a single charge, though we’ll be able to confirm this only after an extended review.

Lastly, the phone is available in three configurations. The starting option comes with 6GB+64GB configuration and costs INR 14,999 (US$ 210), followed by 6GB+128GB for INR 15,999 (US$ 223), and 8GB+128GB at INR 17,999 (US$ 250). It’ll be up for sale from October 21 via Mi.com, Amazon, and Mi Home stores.

Xiaomi also announced the release of MIUI 11 and it’ll be available to previous devices in a phased manner.

Continue Reading

India

Google Pixel 4 won’t be coming to India

Google failed to secure permission from local authorities

Published

on

Bad news for Pixel fans in India — shortly after the global launch of the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4XL today, Google announced that they would not be bringing the new Pixels to the sub-continent.

A Google spokesperson stated that the company, “has a wide range of products that we make available in different regions around the world. We determine availability based on a variety of factors, including local trends, and product features. We decided not to make Pixel 4 available in India. We remain committed to our current Pixel phones and look forward to bringing future Pixel devices to India.”

While Google has not explicitly given a reason, the decision is rumored to be due to the Pixel 4’s headline feature, Project Soli, which is a radar-based motion-sensing chip that depends on using the 60GHz mmWave frequency band. This frequency band is not open for unlicensed civilian usage in India, and the company has seemingly not been able to secure permission from Indian authorities to use it.

In the US, the FCC approved Project Soli earlier this year, and the 60GHz frequency is unlicensed and usable, so Pixel 4 is already up for pre-order.

In India, the local TRAI recommendation in 2014 was to allow for opening up the 60GHz frequency band but it still remains locked and only permitted for military projects. As a result, Google is unable to sell the phone in the country. Disabling the Soli chip won’t be enough either as the mere presence of the 60GHz radar hardware itself is not allowed under current Indian laws.

An alternative available to Google would be to create a different variant of the Pixel 4 without the Soli hardware, but that would have further complicated the entire Pixel experience just for one market.

The Project Soli chip in the Pixel 4 allows for some cool features on the phone, such as the ability to detect human interactions, and recognize gestures, so you could wave your hand to silence a call or skip a song.

At the event today, VP of Product Management at Google Sabrina Ellis even claimed that this allows Pixel 4 to have “the fastest secure face unlock on a smartphone, because the process starts before you have even picked up the smartphone.”

According to research firm Counterpoint, over 99 percent of smartphones shipped in India last year were powered by Android. India is the second largest smartphone market in the world, so Google would be missing out for opting to not sell the Pixel 4. Here’s to hoping Google manages to get permission from the local Indian authorities, because there’s a lot to love about the kind of innovation that the Pixel 4 brings along.

Source: TechCrunch

Continue Reading

India

Motorola One Macro is an affordable phone with triple-rear cameras

Also sports a 5000mAh battery

Published

on

While Xiaomi was launching the Redmi 8 today in India, Motorola was busy showing-off its new offering. Called the One Macro, it’s an affordable phone that’s packed to the brim with features. This segment is very crowded with multiple offerings from Xiaomi, Realme, and Nokia. How is One Macro different?

For starters, it has a triple-rear camera setup that consists of a 13-megapixel primary sensor, a 2-megapixel macro lens, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. Yes, the phone is named after its macro lens and Motorola is hoping this will be enough to sell the phone in such a competitive market.

Motorola claims it can focus from as close as 2cm and the macro shot automatically generates a natural bokeh effect in the background.

On the front is a 6.2-inch HD+ display. A small notch is located on the top that houses an 8-megapixel selfie camera. Powering the phone is a MediaTek Helio P70 processor, paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. You can expand storage via a hybrid card slot — you’ll have to choose between two nano-SIMs or nano-SIM + microSD.

For authentication, a fingerprint scanner is located on the rear along with face unlock support. The One Macro is backed by a 4000mAh battery with support for 10W fast charging. The fast charger is included in the box and connects to the phone via USB-C. Lastly, the phone ships with Android 9 Pie out-of-the-box.

The phone is available in one configuration only and the 4GB+64GB combo costs INR 9,999 (US$ 140). Even color option has been restricted to Space Blue. Sale starts from October 12 via Flipkart.

Continue Reading

Trending