The smartphone market has taken many unexpected turns in 2020 – and that’s without getting into any of the ramifications of the currently-ongoing worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve seen the advent of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 and the adoption of 5G drive flagship smartphone prices sky-high, with the most recent additions to the OnePlus lineup continuing the trend of an upwardly increasing starting price. On top of that, we’ve seen rumors that the Google Pixel 5 may be the first in the company’s lineup to not feature the latest flagship chipset from Qualcomm.
The higher cost of flagship smartphones in 2020 and an aversion to using the Snapdragon 865 may come as a result of an increased price by Qualcomm, as the Snapdragon 865 is a 5G-ready chipset. As a result, there are very few proper budget-oriented flagship smartphones on the market. The Realme X50 Pro 5G is one such device, though it’s incredibly hard to track down. I’ve had the pleasure of using it for the past month, though issues with my handset meant that I needed a replacement and this review ended up delayed. Pretty much everything that I found in my hands-on with the device has remained the same, with other aspects getting even better.
About this review: I received the Realme X50 Pro 5G in Rust Red in January 2020, though I waited to receive another unit as my initial one had problems. Realme did not have any input on the content of this review.
Realme X50 Pro 5G Specifications
Realme X50 Pro 5G Device Specifications
|Specifications||Realme X50 Pro 5G|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 5G
|Storage & RAM||
|Charging & Battery||
Dual In-display Selfie cameras
|Cellular & Wireless||5G Network
|Size & Weight||
Realme X50 Pro 5G Design
The Realme X50 Pro 5G features a rather typical smartphone design – the bezel-less display, curved glass back, no headphone jack… it’s a 2020 smartphone through and through. Its uniqueness lies in the front-facing camera, a dual-camera setup that results in a longer-than-usual cut-out on the top left of the display. It takes some getting used to, but it doesn’t really impede device usage too much. It’s quite a thick phone and has a lot of weight in it as well – both of which are thanks to the phone’s 5G capabilities. 5G phones are typically thicker, as they require both a bigger battery and more antennae for greater cell reception. It comes in at 205 grams, with much of the weight centered towards the bottom half.
The Realme X50 Pro 5G has a single bottom-firing speaker at the bottom, alongside a front-facing speaker at the top of the display which also acts as the call speaker. Our unit is the Rust Red variant, though there is a Moss Green one too. It’s a frosted glass on the back, though there is no wireless charging. In other words, be careful not to drop it as the back is just as fragile as the front. The cameras on the back exponentially distance themselves from each other vertically, and in line with the camera sensor further down the body of the phone is a “realme” logo.
Realme X50 Pro 5G Display
The display on the Realme X50 Pro 5G is one of its primary selling points. A 1080p 90Hz Super AMOLED panel at a 20:9 aspect ratio makes this device a decent contender against the best. Sure the OPPO Find X2 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S20 series, and the OnePlus 8 series sport 120Hz panels, but the difference from 90Hz to 120Hz is a lot less pronounced than the jump from 60Hz to 90Hz. It’s still noticeable, but the fluidity of 90Hz is a fairly decent compromise when considering that you are spending lesser. To put it in perspective – the time between each frame on a 90Hz screen is 11.1ms. On a 120Hz display, it’s 8.3 ms. With a 60Hz display, the time between each frame is 16.67 ms. There are hugely diminishing returns with the more frames you push on a display, and there comes a point where it may be worth spending significantly less for a rather insignificant difference in refresh rate.
Aside from that, the Realme X50 Pro 5G has a pretty standard display. The screen comes in at 6.44-inches, and as already mentioned, is full HD in resolution. It’s a 100% DCI-P3 compliant, though there’s no support for HDR or content interpolation up to 90FPS (unlike in the case of the OPPO Find X2 Pro or the OnePlus 8 Pro). It can get up to 1000 nits in brightness and looks good outdoors – even when it’s sunny. There’s a pre-applied screen protector too, and it’s definitely not the worst I’ve seen. I’ve left it on my device.
My only criticism of the display is that the camera cut-out can be annoying when playing games. In the case of the OnePlus 8 Pro or the OPPO Find X2 Pro, the small camera cutout is easy to glide over with your thumb when playing games. Because of the size of the Realme X50 Pro’s cutout, however, I found it interfering with touch input at times. It is also a lot more noticeable while consuming full-screen content. The cut-out camera does make the status bar quite big as well, though not much bigger than I’m used to having come from the OnePlus 8 Pro and the OPPO Find X2 Pro.
Realme X50 Pro 5G: Performance
The Realme X50 Pro 5G packs the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 and was one of the first devices on the market to do so. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 is the current flagship chipset from Qualcomm, and as such, it’s pretty much at par with the best performance that you’ll get on any Android smartphone currently. Qualcomm says that the Snapdragon 865 offers 25% greater performance than the Snapdragon 855, or 25% greater power efficiency when offering the same performance as its predecessor. The Adreno 650 GPU follows a similar approach – 20% faster graphics rendering or 35% more efficient graphics rendering when compared to the Adreno 640. The Realme X50 Pro 5G was the first device I’ve found to be fully capable of emulating GameCube games to near perfection – The Simpsons: Hit & Run, a childhood favorite of mine, ran more or less without a hitch. As you may expect, pretty much any other game you can throw at the device from the Google Play Store will run perfectly as well.
Because it’s pretty much a given that the latest flagship chipset will easily handle the best the Google Play Store has to offer in games, I tend to try out emulation instead. GameCube and 3DS emulation are some of the most viable yet intensive use-cases at the moment, with some Wii Games playable as well. I decided to give titles a go from all three systems, and to say that I was impressed with the results is an understatement. I tried out Animal Crossing: City Folk (as I’ve been on that New Horizons grind like everyone else, recently), and it too ran without a hitch. I also gave Mario Kart 7 a try, which ran perfectly as well.
The Realme X50 Pro 5G is a flagship with the latest Qualcomm flagship chipset, so you get the idea. If it didn’t run pretty much everything on offer on the Google Play Store, that would have been a problem. It does, so emulation is really all that we can test in the hopes of putting it through its paces, and it handles a whole lot of what you can throw at it.
Realme X50 Pro 5G: Custom ROMs and Development
Realme has taken a rather unusual stance with the custom development community. The company has released the kernel sources for the Realme X50 Pro 5G and you can unlock the bootloader if you wish. However, development hasn’t been popular for every Realme device. The Realme XT is doing quite well for custom development, but the Realme X2 Pro is not doing so well. Not only that, but unlocking the bootloader on those devices would disable the fingerprint sensor too. Currently, there are a number of loopholes you can jump through in order to try and get the fingerprint sensor working, but the only surefire way to do so is to install a custom ROM. This same issue likely applies to the Realme X50 Pro 5G as it does to the company’s other devices, but I’ve not been able to unlock and test for sure. Definitely pay attention to the XDA forums for the Realme X50 Pro 5G to be sure.
Realme X50 Pro 5G: Charging speed and battery life
The Realme X50 Pro 5G boasts 65W charging, just like the OPPO Find X2 Pro. That’s already higher than pretty much any other competitor, and the device can charge from 0% to 100% in just 40 minutes with the proprietary charger. Back when I used the device in February, I found that the insanely fast charging speed more than made up for any battery shortcomings that I may have come across. Sadly, due to the ongoing lockdown in Ireland, I have been unable to leave my house to properly put the battery through its paces. I will reiterate what I said back in February, which is that I got around 4 hours of screen-on-time for a day’s usage which consists of Snapchat, Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, Discord, etc. The problem there is that I later learned the software I was using was incredibly early pre-release software.
While it does appear that my battery life is much better now, this is largely thanks to my current usage of Wi-Fi and the fact that I can use most social media on my computer, and hence, my use-case has changed in this time period. Snapchat is typically at the top of my battery statistics now, and I definitely don’t use Snapchat that much. While I’m pretty sure there is some improvement here, it’s impossible to directly compare my usage and my battery life in a way that both you, the reader, and I can understand. I can’t compare it against another device, as I’ve never had device usage conditions like these, where I’m locked indoors all day. It’s hard to quantify just how good (or bad) the battery life is, but the charging speed alone should alleviate most concerns.
I did some testing with PCMark’s Work 2.0 Battery life test, just to get a general idea of how the battery will fare. I tested on full brightness, and then again on the lowest brightness possible with airplane mode. The results were pretty impressive.
To contextualize the above result, a score of 5 hours and 46 minutes means that the bare minimum of screen on time that you should get with the Realme X50 Pro 5G is what is shown above. The Work 2.0 battery life test keeps the device awake and processing data continuously, and with the screen on maximum and the device out of airplane mode, it’s the closest way to mirror real-world usage.
The screenshots above, meanwhile, are a theoretical maximum of what can be achieved. That test was done on the lowest brightness possible, and with airplane mode enabled. Under those conditions, you can theoretically reach up to 11 hour screen on time. This gives us a range of minimum and maximum screen-on times possible on the device, and both of these are generous enough.
Realme UI in comparison with ColorOS 7
Realme UI is based on ColorOS 7, a much-improved ColorOS version that fixes many of the issues that I once had with it. No longer does it resemble a poorly-made iOS clone, but instead, it creates its own identity with a UI that is much closer to stock Android. Realme UI is pretty much exactly the same as ColorOS 7, with a couple of smaller changes that I actually really like too. The consensus among us at XDA-Developers is that ColorOS 6 is awful. ColorOS 7 looks a whole lot closer to stock Android. It does away with silly UI changes, introduces actually useful features, and makes the Realme X50 Pro a pleasure to use. Realme UI is already one of my favorite OEM skins on an Android smartphone, which means by extension, so is ColorOS. I still can’t really get over that.
ColorOS 7.1 Review: OPPO’s latest Android OS is its best yet
However, there are some differences. None too large though, and at a glance, you wouldn’t even be able to spot them. One major difference that I did notice was that there is a one-handed mode gesture on the Realme X50 Pro 5G, something that would be much appreciated on the OPPO Find X2 Pro. I’ve found it pretty easy to use and incorporated it into my normal usage of the device. Normally I neglect one-handed modes as it can be cumbersome to even enter them, but that is not the case here.
ColorOS 7 vs Realme UI
Left: OPPO Find X2 Pro // Right: Realme X50 Pro 5G
The Realme X50 Pro 5G boasts a stellar camera, and as I’ve already mentioned, any issues I had with the Realme X50 Pro 5G can already be explained away by the incredible early software that I was using before. No longer does night mode look a green, noisy mess for example. Photos are bright and true to life, and the camera application itself is rather easy to use. Let’s start off with the camera UI, before getting into the actual photos that it produces. It’s a pretty standard layout, and it’s easy to navigate. You can swipe between different options, with different parameters at the top.
The above Flickr album is filled with photos all taken with the Realme X50 Pro 5G. Some photos felt oversaturated, while others felt true to life with high levels of detail. When taking into account the price, the Realme X50 Pro 5G has an excellent camera, which is only made even better when considering that it costs a good bit less than the appropriate competition.
Night mode works great for darker photos (though don’t try it in pitch black), and the other cameras remain consistent too with the primary sensor. This is usually a problem on cheaper devices, where the camera processing between the wide-angle lens and the primary sensors differ so that the colors end up inconsistent. That isn’t the case here, as photos across all sensors appear to have the same processing and same color results on each.
The Realme X50 Pro 5G is probably the closest thing to a “flagship killer” we’ll get this year
Sadly with the advent of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, due to costs, it would appear the “flagship killer” moniker will not make a return this year. Having said that, the Realme X50 Pro 5G is probably the most bang for your buck that you’ll get so far and may end up being the case for the rest of the year. The only other device on the market that can even hold a flame to the Realme X50 Pro 5G is the Nubia Red Magic 5G, though it has a number of software issues from what I have seen, coupled with a much worse camera. The Realme X50 Pro 5G has insanely fast charging, a great camera, top performance, and a nice display with a wide-angle camera on the front too for taking group selfies with friends.
You can buy the 8GB RAM + 128GB storage Realme X50 Pro in Moss Green or Rust Red in Europe for €599.90. The 8GB RAM + 256GB storage model costs €669.90 while the 12GB RAM + 256GB storage model costs €749.90. At the time of publication, Realme currently ships the phone to Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Portugal. In India, the phone sells for as low as ₹39,999 for the 6GB RAM + 128GB storage model and goes up to ₹47,999 for the highest-end 12GB RAM + 256GB storage model.
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