Hands-on with the world’s first 64MP smartphone

X Scalper

Realme XT showing back gradient in hand

As the spat between Xiaomi and Realme continues, things have never been so good for smartphone buyers. Top-notch specs, near flagship-grade cameras and excellent design is now available at mid-range prices. Earlier, Xiaomi announced that it planned to launch the Redmi Note 8 Pro with a 64MP camera. Realme has decided to rain on their parade by launching the Realme XT, the world’s first 64MP smartphone.

It’s all about the cameras

The Realme XT puts focus on the cameras. Built for photography enthusiasts, you will find a quad camera setup at the back. There’s the primary 64MP sensor, of course, but this has been paired with an ultra-wide camera module as well as a depth sensor and ultra-macro camera sensor.

Realme XT camera modules

We’ve been suitably impressed by Realme’s imaging efforts and the XT continues to build on it. The images have a distinct Google Pixel-like imaging signature that doesn’t come as a surprise. The company has been using Google’s flagship as a benchmark to tune their smartphone cameras as we found out in our visit to Realme’s camera lab earlier in the year.

Standard camera 64MP imageStandard camera 16MP image Standard camera 64MP image

Standard camera 16MP image

Images shot using the high-resolution sensor don’t show an obvious benefit when scrolling on the Realme XT’s display. The extra level of detail is, however, fairly evident when blowing up the images on a large screen.

Realme XT shot of a pool using standard camera

Out and about in bright sunlight, switching over to the 64MP mode lets you capture an astounding amount of detail. I’m pleased to see that Realme has taken a light-handed approach to camera tuning and noise-reduction has been handled tastefully. The phone manages to retain low-level detail a lot better than most smartphones in the mid-range segment.

The Realme XT isn’t the best at retaining detail in the shadows and opts for a slightly under-exposed look to retain highlights instead. I think it looks great and won’t be an obvious issue for most users.

Nightscape shotLow light standard mode Nightscape shot

Low light standard mode

Realme has been doing a rather good job with low-light imaging using their Nightscape mode. Using a series of exposures and the enhanced sensitivity of the pixel-binned sensor, the phone captures bright-looking shots. Processing takes just a smidgen too long though, and you will need steady hands to capture a blur-free image.

Realme XT ultra macro mode shot

Ultra Macro Mode

Of the remaining cameras, I am not convinced by the macro mode. It is a bit too fiddly and requires too much user-action to get a sharp, focused image. I wish Realme had opted for a standard telephoto lens instead. The ultra-wide angle camera, however, delivers the goods and take contrast-rich images ready to go up on your social media platform of choice.

Placed next to the Realme X, there are some obvious differences in design. In our conversation with Realme, the company confirmed that the XT is not quite a replacement for the X. Consider it more as a bit more upmarket, camera-focused piece of kit.

Design: The Realme XT wins some and loses some compared to the Realme X

The most obvious change here is the lack of a pop-up selfie camera in lieu of a standard water drop notch. The phone ships with a 6.4-inch AMOLED panel and an in-display fingerprint sensor. In my brief time with the phone, the display looked plenty good for the price, though I still have an issue with the default white point.

Realme XT back gradient

The switch over to a Gorilla Glass 5 back has drastically elevated the build quality. The Realme XT looks and feels like a premium piece of kit. The all-new Pearl White color, in particular, makes the phone look like the Huawei P30 Pro. We’ve got the Pearl Blue variant with us.

  Realme XT
Display 6.4-inch, Super AMOLED
1080 x 2340 resolution
Gorilla Glass 5
Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 712
GPU Adreno 616
RAM 4/6/8GB
Storage 64/128GB
MicroSD Yes (dedicated slot alongside two dedicated SIM slots)
Battery 4,000mAh
20W charging
Cameras Rear:
64MP at f/1.8
8MP Ultra-wide camera (119 degrees)
2MP macro camera
2MP depth sensor

Front: 16MP

IP Rating N/A
Headphone jack Yes
Security In-display fingerprint sensor
Software ColorOS 6.0.1
Android 9 Pie
Dimensions 158.7 x 75.16 x 8.55mm
Weight 183g

Processing power has got a modest boost over the Realme X. The Snapdragon 712 chipset paired with up to 8GB of RAM is generally good enough, although zooming-in to a full-resolution image still takes a second or two. Like other Realme hardware, the XT runs Color OS 6 based on Android Pie. The operating system is well mated to the hardware and delivers one of the smoothest experiences south of $400 hardware.

Realme XT: Should I upgrade from the Realme X?

The Realme XT isn’t a massive step forward from the X. Sure, it has a 64MP camera module, but the camera on the Realme X is no slouch either. Differences in performance are minimal at best and if you want that gorgeous, all-screen design, the Realme X is your only option.

Realme XT in hand

It is hard not to be impressed by what Realme has achieved in such a short span of time. The Realme XT is shaping up to be yet another stellar piece of kit. The phone should launch in India some time in September and while we don’t have an idea of pricing yet, we’re told that we should expect it to be highly competitive.

What do you think about the Realme XT? Let us know in the comments below.

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