The megapixel camera race is well and truly back on smartphones. But this time, it’s nice to see mid-range phones drive it rather than the top-end ones, putting better cameras in the hands of the masses.

If Xiaomi brought the 48 MP camera first to the country with the Redmi Note 7 Pro, Realme has decided to be first-past-the-post this time around, bringing a whopping 64 MP lens to its quad-camera set on the new Realme XT. The quad camera set was just seen on the Realme 5 and 5 Pro. That’s quite a slew of devices and lenses from the Chinese brand, which has stepped out from under the Oppo shadow.

While the XT’s nomenclature is like Realme’s ‘flagship’ X, it is much closer in look, feel, specs and operation to the Realme 5 Pro, with the big difference being a 64 MP lens instead of a 48 MP. The drop notch, quad camera strip on the back, lovely patterns and gradients, are very similar to the 5 Pro.

Special mention for the XT’s back, however. The Pearl White review unit was a thing of beauty, with light bouncing off and also giving shape to gorgeous patterns on the phone’s back. The way it looks belies its price point and to the uninitiated, this could well look like a phone that is at flagship-level prices. The camera assembly juts out, but there’s a case in the box to do away with that awkwardness. However, the case robs the back of some of its sheen, which is a pity. If you are not butter-fingers, try doing without one if you want to flaunt it.

The front is pretty much the same fare from Realme. I personally feel its time for smartphone-makers to ditch the weird-looking drop notch. Maybe a slight bump-up in price and a pop-up selfie camera could have worked better for the Realme XT.

The phone also uses the Snapdragon 712 chipset, a la Realme 5 Pro. The version we reviewed had a massive 8 GB RAM and 128 GB+ storage. The 712 is a very capable performer and seems perfect for phones in this range, given that they may find a diverse target audience. Gamers or those watching movies/videos will not face glitches. There is some warming up of the back panel on prolonged gaming, however. For regular users, it is smooth sailing and the 4,000 mAh battery also keeps up with the day. Realme’s VOOC fast charging ensures quick juicing-up. The phone gets USB Type C connectivity, like the 5 Pro.

The Color OS based on Android 9 is pretty much the same and the bloatware apps can be uninstalled. You are also not bombarded with notifications, which is always great.

Now for the cameras. Apart from the 64 MP primary sensor, the other three lens are the same as that on the 5 Pro — for wide-angle, macro, and depth. This means that camera features stay more or less the same — no wide angle video, good macro given the price point, and portrait shots that are functional. The difference is when you shoot at the full 64 MP.

The bump-up in the sensor gives you better clarity on zooming, more detail in the picture, and sharper-looking landscape shots. Switch HDR on and shoot at 64 MP and you get huge image sizes, but useful ones in case you want to zoom-in post shooting and get into the details and crop stuff out. It also makes low-light photography slightly better and the Nightscape helps you shoot in the dark and the results are decent, like they were on the 5 Pro.

The 16 MP front camera is also similar fare, and Realme says that it will get the Nightscape soon too, via an OTA update. This is good news.

Is the Realme XT worth the few thousands more you would shell out, compared to the Realme 5 Pro? Well, depends on how serious you are about your social media photography cred. 64 is larger than 48, after all. And the megapixel race is heating up again. Your move, Xiaomi.

Price: ₹15,999 onwards

Pros: Consistent performer, looks great, camera is fun to use

Cons: Too similar to the cheaper Realme 5 Pro, camera features could have seen upgrades

social-fb COMMENT NOW