RealMe XT (2019) review
Getting high on those sweet, sweet megapixels has never been cheaper
Should you buy the RealMe XT (2019)?
If you’re looking for a phone at the $500 price-point, you could do a lot worse than the RealMe XT. It ticks all the boxes and has more than enough megapixel for casual photography. Just don’t expect from the wide-angle lens.
Price when reviewed
In Australia, the RealMe XT comes with a recommended retail price of AU$499.
RealMe XT Full Review
You might have already seen a lot of what’s on offer through its competitors but the RealMe XT has what it takes to pleasantly surprise those willing to make friends with the new kid on the block.
The RealMe XT’s glass-sandwich design feels quality, with the flat back curving upwards to narrow at the edges. This makes the XT feel thinner than it actually is. The RealMe XT felt quality enough that it honestly felt like a shame when I made the choice to sheath the device in its handily-included plastic case.
The RealMe XT’s other major selling-point - a quad-lens camera - sits neatly in a vertical row mounted on the device’s shoulder. The exceptional main lens does the heavy lifting and produces great results but it’s only one of the four lenses on the device.
The wide-angle failed to capture detail and the mediocre functionality of the other cameras act as frequent reminders that you’re using a AU$500 phone. Despite a seemingly-decent spec, the RealMe XT’s selfie camera was also a let-down. It often delivered washed-out and poorly contrasted images, especially in low-light conditions.
Apart from some hiccups with Bluetooth headphones, the RealMe XT’s Color OS-based software experience was more-or-less functional. The new swipe-gesture navigation system generally works as intended but it can be finicky in certain situations.
Although the RealMe XT lacks proper wireless charging, it does integrate OPPO’s VOOC 3.0 fast charging tech - which allows for a half-charge of the device’s 4000mAh battery in just 30 minutes. In terms of everyday usage, the RealMe XT would consistently give me about two days on a full charge.
Although on paper, the RealMe XT experience might seem slanted towards the beefy camera hardware and fast-charging, the overall experience here is surprisingly cohesive and feels competitive for the price-point.
In Australia, the RealMe XT comes with a recommended retail price of AU$499. You can buy it through:
The RealMe XT is not available on any postpaid plans but you can pair it with a SIM-only plan. Check below for a round-up of the best SIM only plans:
Design - Look, Feel, Features and Camera
Our RealMe XT sample arrived in a bold ‘Pearl Blue’ color with a purple-to-blue gradient applied across the metal frame.
If you feel like you’ve seen this colour scheme before, you probably have. The RealMe XT flips the moody colors of the rival OPPO Reno Z from top-to-bottom to side-to-side. Similar to the OPPO R17 Pro, the most eye catching design quirk here is the ‘hyperbola’ effect found on the reverse side.
The aforementioned glass-sandwich design feels quality and utilises Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back, with the flat back curving upwards to narrow at the edges. This makes the XT feel thinner than it actually is. When I picked up my iPhone to compare, Apple’s flagship felt noticeably chunkier - though the difference wasn’t that great.
The device felt quality enough that it felt like a shame when I made the responsible choice of sheathing the RealMe XT in its handily-included plastic case. While this plastic case is thick enough to hide the XT’s noticeable camera bump, it does cheapen the pleasant feel factor of the naked metal and glass. It provides decent protection and covers up the noticeable seams in the phone’s design.
The front-facing camera is nestled away in a traditional dew-drop notch. This marks the only real infringement on the pretty FHD Super AMOLED screen, with an integrated fingerprint reader helping keep the front on the phone uncluttered. Coming from Apple’s FaceID, this biometric security feature felt a little slow by comparison but worked well enough to justify its inclusion.
On paper, one of the main drawcards of the RealMe XT is its 64-megapixel main camera lens - RealMe say it’s the first high-megapixel lens of its kind on a smartphone.
The RealMe XT’s quad-camera array sits neatly in a vertical row mounted on the device’s shoulder.
It’s worth saying that, out of the box, the RealMe XT won’t take 64-megapixel shots automatically. By default, the camera captures four 16-megapixel images and then synthesize them together.
Regardless, the image quality that I got out of the RealMe XT’s main camera lens was impressive in a way that the other cameras in the array couldn’t match.
While the bokeh produced by the RealMe XT’s portrait lens looked sharp, as did close-ups with the 12-megapixel macro lens.
Unfortunately, the wide-angle failed to capture detail and the mediocre functionality of the other cameras act as frequent reminders that you’re using a AU$500 phone.
The exceptional main lens does add weight to RealMe’s goal to redefine what a quality smartphone camera quality looks like at this price point - but it’s only one of the four lens.
Also left behind is the front-facing camera. Despite a seemingly-decent spec, this delivered washed-out and poorly contrasted images - especially in low-light conditions.
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 712
Operating System: Android 9.1 + ColorOS 6 (customised by RealMe)
MicroSD slot: Yes
Headphone Jack: Yes
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5, Wi-Fi, 4G
Rear Camera: 64 megapixel (f/1.8) primary lens + 8 megapixel (f/2.25) wide-angle lens + 12 megapixel macro lens + 2 megapixel portrait lens
Front-Facing Camera: 16-megapixel lens
Dimensions: 158.7 x 75.2 x 8.6 mm
Powered by OPPO’s iOS-inspired ColorOS Android skin, the RealMe XT handles multiple apps and app-switching comfortably. In addition to the classic Android navigation buttons, there are two kinds of swipe controls that can be enabled through the settings app. Once turned on, these gestures allow you to navigate quickly between pages and between apps with a swift hold-and-swipe from the edge of the screen.
Although swipe recognition generally functions as intended, it can be a little bit finicky in certain applications. Good luck trying to remove yourself from a Facebook video-page hole without swinging wildly up and down, trying to find the sweet spot and a ticket back to the land of productivity.
ColorOS 6’s new swipe-down notification/control center combo works a treat however, cramming all of the usual functionality of both into a nicely expandable design that looks good and gives you everything you need at a glance.
Pressing the side-mounted audio buttons adjust the volume level of the current sound playing, and, when unlocked, also brings up a menu to allow the user to adjust the levels of sound, notifications, and alarms, along with a one-touch silent mode. While it might leave you fumbling if you’ve gone into your meeting and forgotten to mute your phone, the core idea is executed well enough to provide on the fly adjustability for your different sound settings.
One strange inconsistency I found with the sound was a lack of volume unification with Bluetooth headphones. Although I tried using the RealMe XT with both the Sony WH1000-XM3 (review here) over-ear headphones and Boses’ SoundSport earbuds, the Bluetooth volume on the phone would not reflect the volume range of the headphones, leaving me constantly second-guessing about where I should be adjusting my volume from.
The RealMe XT falls a little flat on the benchmark front, coming in the middle of the pack in most of the tested areas while failing to distinguish itself in any particular category.
PCMark Work 2.0: 6773
3DMark Sling Shot Extreme OpenGL ES 3.1: 2086
3DMark Sling Shot Extreme Vulcan: 1990
Geekbench: 320 single-core, 1505 multi-core
While the RealMe XT may lack wireless charging, it follows in the footsteps of its relative OPPO Reno Z on the battery front. Integration of OPPO’s VOOC 3.0 fast charging tech works like a treat, providing a half-charge in just 30 minutes that easily carried me through the rest of the day.
Battery life in general was impressive from the 4000mAh battery, comfortably stretching up to two days following a full charge on ‘regular’ usage.
The Bottom Line
Representing RealMe’s top tier offering in the market, the XT bundles together a lot of solid features for its price point. It looks to leverage its brawny camera and fast charging to appeal to buyers looking to maximise value or find a point of difference in this competitive price point.
While buyers may have already seen a lot of what was on offer in its competitors, the RealMe XT ticks all the boxes and could pleasantly surprise users willing to make friends with the new kid on the block.
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