Realme caused the smartphone world to rethink what is considered a good price-to-performance ratio with the X2 Pro last year. Now, with the Reame X50 Pro 5G, the brand is upping the stakes once again. The hardware here is, on paper at least, breathtakingly good. Here's my full review.
- Killer specs for the money
- Top finish and colors
- 65W SuperDart charging
- High-end performance
- Chunky compared to true flagships
- Camera software could be better
- Limited availability
Realme X50 Pro release date and price
Realme has been pricing its phones ultra competitively up until this point - the Realme X2 Pro launched at just €399 in Europe - but given that the X50 Pro comes with a Snapdragon 865 SoC and X55 5G modem, it's not surprising to see the price rise a little.
In Europe, the Relame X50 Pro 5G starts at €599 (8GB/128GB). An 8GB/256GB version is available for €669 and a top-end 12GB/256GB version costs €749. This is one of the most affordable 5G smartphones you can buy today. The phone is still not officially out in The UK, but shipping has started for Belgium, France, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, and Portugal.
Modern, matte design
Realme believes that low-saturation colors have become very popular with young people. Apparently, these kinds of colors are low-key and make people feel more secure. As a result, the X50 Pro comes in two low-saturation colors named Moss Green and Rust Red, and is quite understated. The Rust Red version I orignally tested, however, does look brown in most lighting, but it's kind of cool to have a brown smartphone. I have since received the Moss green variant, and I have to admit I prefer it.
The surface of the glass is processed by AG technology, providing a matte texture. Realme went with considerable haze with this glass to reduce the emission of light to less than one percent of ordinary glass. Personally, I like the roughness of the surface and the matte finish provides a comfortable and warm feel. It almost feels soft at times and is essentially fingerprint-proof like the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
Other than the feel, the Realme X50 Pro looks like any other current flagship smartphone. There are a couple of buttons on the sides, a raised camera module on the back, a USB-C port on the bottom and a pill-shaped, hole-punched display much like we saw on the Samsung Galaxy S10+, only this one is on the other side of the display.
If there is one thing I can criticize about the design of the Relame X50 Pro 5G, it's that it does feel rather chunky for a 'flagship' smartphone in 2020. In between going hands-on with the phone in February and doing this full review, I have used the Google Pixel 4, Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, OnePlus 8, and most recently the Samsung Galaxy S20 as my daily driver. All of these feel 'feel' more premium in your hand. It's not something I can explain very easily, but the feel of a smartphone is something that the flagship killers never really quite nail like the real thing.
A high quality 90Hz Super AMOLED display
The Realme X50 Pro features a 6.44-inch Samsung Super AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate and 180Hz sampling rate. The resolution comes in at 2400 x 1080, or FHD+. This may be a Samsung display, but don't expect something on a par with the kind of Quad HD+ Dynamic, 120Hz stuff you see on the Galaxy S20 series, for example.
In fact, the display is one of the few areas where you do have to compromise a little bit with the X50 Pro. It's not bad by any means, but whereas the X50 Pro can compete with almost anything out there in terms of performance, the display is one area where its difficult to do some serious flagship killing these days. The maximum brightness is also a bit of an issue during particularly sunny days. The X50 Pro is smooth, no doubt, but it's not as sharp as those at the top end of the market.
The X50 Pro is also equipped with Realme's latest G3.0 fingerprint recognition and unlocking solution, which the Chinese brand says has doubled the touch-sensitive area and increased signal intensity by 40 percent. Boasting an average unlocking speed of only 0.27 seconds, it is one of the fastest fingerprint unlocking solutions currently available on the market, and it worked well during my testing period, comfortably on a par with an S20 in terms of unlocking speed and reliability.
5G smartphones are becoming cheaper
Realme has targeted India and Spain as two markets where it thinks it can really move some X50 Pro's. The device became the first 5G smartphone available in India , which is apparently a big deal even though there is no 5G network there yet.
To achieve this, Realme has used the Snapdragon 865 and X55 5G modem from Qualcomm. The X50 Pro features an advanced antenna layout design it is calling "360° surround antenna". Realme designed 13 antennas for X50 Pro to ensure a strong 5G network connection. Of these 13 antennas, three are for GPS, one is for Wi-Fi, one is for NFC, one is for Bluetooth, and eight are for 4G and 5G.
The Realme X50 Pro covers all of the world's mainstream 5G bands, including n1, n41, n78, and n79. The idea here is that the system will be able to call upon the antenna with the strongest signal to keep the network stable no matter how you hold the phone. Using 'Smart 5G', it can intelligently perceive the surrounding signal environment and user operation, then switch from 4G to 5G. Realme says this reduces power consumption by 30 percent.
Regular readers will know that we are based in Berlin, Germany, and therefore do not have a 5G network with which we can test smartphones yet.
Realme UI and Android 10
Realme UI, which is based on Android 10, is what you are getting out of the box here. It's kind of like a re-designed and rebranded ColorOS, and tailored to young consumers. There's also a Dual Mode Music Share feature, a Focus Mode, Personal Information Protection, and a dark mode built into the OS.
Realme UI is simple, but not boring, and you can see how the designers have been inspired by the everyday lifestyle of the younger user. The system colors, icons, wallpapers, and animations scream "TikTok generation" to me, but I do like the system animation, which uses a quantum animation engine to improve screen fluency.
ColorOS has come a long way in the last two years, and I have particularly enjoyed the UI on the last couple of Oppo smartphones I have tested. With Realme UI, the BBK Electronics brand has been able to fly a little further from the nest and add some creative tweaks for a younger audience. The software optimization is not as strong as it is over at the other big BBK brand, OnePlus, where OxygenOS is - for me, at least - the single best Android customization on the market, but it's nice to see Realme heading in that direction. It's a win-win for customers of the brand, who can benefit from the advancements made in ColorOS with a little extra Reamle flair, such as new icon packs, added to the mix.
One new feature that I enjoyed was the new Smart Sidebar. It's basically a copy of Samsung's Edge Panels, and allows you to have a mini app drawer at the side of your display for apps, smart select features or things like frequently used contacts. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, as they say, but I am all for feature-stealing when it benefits the user experience.
A top-level performance machine
The 7nm Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 with A77 performance cores in the Realme X50 Pro, can reach clock speeds of up to 2.84GHz. This marks a 25 percent overall performance and efficiency improvement over the previous generation. Graphics rendering speeds have increased by 25 percent too, and energy efficiency by 30 percent. Realme says that AI performance has doubled.
In terms of RAM, the Realme X50 Pro is equipped with LPDDR5 storage. Theoretically, LPDDR5 is 2x faster than the first version of LPDDR4, and nearly 50 percent faster than the high-frequency version of LPDDR4. You'll get 12 juicy GBs of it if you buy this smartphone. As for internal storage, Realme gives you 256GB of dual-channel UFS 3.0.
The also a new upgraded five-dimensional Vapor Cooling System, which includes a Vapor Chamber and Multilayer Solid Graphite, enabling higher heat dissipation performance. The cooling system ensures high performance all the time, even while heavy gaming, and during my testing, I didn't notice any problems with the phone getting warm.
Realme X50 Pro 5G benchmark results comparison
|Samsung Galaxy S20||OnePlus 8 Pro||Realme X50 Pro 5G|
|3D Mark Sling Shot Extreme ES 3.1||6187||7122||7133|
|3D Mark Sling Shot Volcano||5285||6613||6553|
|3D Mark Sling Shot ES 3.0||7462||8864||8806|
|Geekbench 5 (Single / Multi)||896 / 2737||887 / 3313||909 / 3378|
As you can see from the benchmark scores above, the X50 Pro 5G can easily keep up with smartphones more than double the price in terms of raw benchmark numbers. Naturally, numbers only tell half of the story but that LPDDR5 RAM and dual-channel UFS 3.0 really make a difference in daily usage too. The X50 Pro 5G feels like a high-end smartphone in daily use.
A 64MP quad camera with 20x hybrid zoom
The Realme X50 Pro has a quad-camera set-up , comprised of a 64-megapixel main camera, a 12-megapixel telephoto lens, an 8-megapixel ultra wide-angle macro lens, and a B&W portrait lens. The main camera shooter is a 1/1.72-inch Samsung GW1 64MP sensor, and we know all about its Quad Bayer pixel binning mechanism by now! The 119° ultrawide-angle lens (f/2.3), has PDAF support so you don’t need to lean back to capture the shot. The same lens also supports super macro shots of as close as 3cm.
There's up to 20x hybrid zoom on here (sound's like nothing after all of the 100x shots we've seen from the Galaxy S20 Ultra) with 2x hybrid optical zoom, 5x optical hybrid zoom, and 20x hybrid zoom. In the process of zooming, Realme’s Smooth Zoom Technology simulates the zoom feeling of the camera lens.
The B&W Portrait lens has a new color filter system to create retro-style images, and add texture to portraits. Based on Nightscape 2.0, Nightscape 3.0 has also improved with tripods mode and Ultra Nightscape Mode.
Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed this is essentially the same main camera from the impressive Reamle X2 Pro. The main shooter performs really well, and the AI Color feature delivers bright, rich photos without too much effort. Complex scenes featuring trees or fine hair can often get a bit smudged by the algorithm, but the price you are paying here you will be more than satisfied with overall results. The zoom is digital from 2x onwards, and thus gets typically weaker the further you try to look.
For selfies, the Realme X50 Pro comes with a dual-camera comprised of 32-megapixel Sony IMX616 wide-angle main camera and an 8-megapixel 105° super wide-angle camera. The software can recognize faces and automatically optimize the face contours when you capture on the edge of the photo. Given that the X50 Pro 5G, and the Relame brand in general, is aimed at a younger audience, it's no surprise that selfies perform well here. Even on the 8-megapixel wide-angle selfie camera, the quality is good enough for Instagram or Facebook. The 32-megapixel selfie camera will be a joy for anyone from the selfie-obsessed generation.
In terms of video, the dual cameras support ultra-wide-angle video shooting and UIS Video Stabilization. You can also shoot video in portrait mode and get a real-time portrait bokeh effect.
4,200mAh and lots of fast-charging options
With 65W SuperDart fast-charging, the Realme's 4,200mAh dual-cell battery can be fully charged within 35 minutes. In 20 minutes, it can take on nearly 60 percent of its capacity. The X50 Pro also supports 18W QC/PD charging and 30W VOOC 4.0 Flash Charge from OPPO, too.
The fast-charging technologies of the BBK group are one of the best in the business. The fact that you get a 65W charger in the box for the relatively low purchase price is a huge plus. Charging the Realme X50 Pro 5G is a breeze. I often just threw the charger on for an hour in the morning whilst I was showering and getting dressed, and you are set up for a full day and all evening from just this short time connected to the power outlet. Again, this shows Realme's commitment to a young audience that tends to spend a lot of time on their smartphones, and is relatively impatient when it comes to wanting to get the battery indicator back up to 100 percent.
Realme X50 Pro technical specifications
I really like what Realme is doing in the smartphone market right now. By focusing on the key areas for its targeted demographic it is able to build something that can compete with the very best in terms of camera, battery life, fast-charging, and performance. For the money, it easy to see why young consumers are flocking to this brand.
The X50 Pro 5G offers everything a teenager could want for 400 bucks, including fast performance, even faster charging, a camera packed with creative options and a top-notch selfie camera for capturing those pouting Instagram photos. The new Realme UI is also cleaner, more practical, and there is plenty of scope for customization. The only criticism I can really throw at the X50 Pro 5G is that is a little chunky for my tastes, doesn't really 'feel flagship' on your hands, and has limited availability in Europe and North Amerca.
If you can get your hands on one of these this year though, you won't be disappointed.