Realme’s been dropping phones like they’re hot lately. There was the Realme 6, 6i, 6 Pro, X50 and the phone we’re reviewing today - the Realme X50 Pro 5G, a 5G phone that costs under 600 euros (from £460 if you import it) despite being loaded up with flagship specs.
How ‘flagship’ can the specs really be at that price? We’re talking Samsung Galaxy S20-matching Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 internals, a Huawei P40 Pro-matching 90Hz screen tech, and iPhone 11 Pro matching camera versatility, with a wide, ultrawide and zoom combo around the back.
Respectable for the price on paper, the Realme X50 Pro 5G is also nicely futureproofed with sweet 5G goodness and includes the fastest charging speeds currently available - 65W. The catch, however, is that it’s not being ranged by any networks at the time this review’s being written; so you’ll have to buy it outright.
Are you better off sticking with a more established brand and 5G device like the OnePlus 8, which costs a similar price - £599, or even going for a last-gen 5G phone like the Samsung Galaxy A90 5G (£399), or should you take a punt and buy an X50 Pro 5G?
There’s very little small about the Realme X50 Pro; its specs are big, its screen is big, and its heft is big too. Weighing 205g, it makes the elegant OnePlus 8 (180g) feel like a featherweight, and at 8.9mm, the X50 Pro it’s relatively girthy.
Realme’s 5G flagship isn’t without its charms. The rounded glass back has a semi-matte, frosty finish which is satisfyingly (and dangerously) slippery. It also combines front and rear glass with curved metal corners, which soften the in-hand impression.
Colour choices are also a point of differentiation. Almost going for a camo-chic aesthetic, there’s no mega-traditional black or white here. Instead, the X50 Pro 5G comes in either Moss Green or Rust Red.
Button and port placement is predictable, and there’s a pre-fitted screen protector loaded atop a Gorilla Glass 5 display, though no IP67 water or dust resistance, unlike the new iPhone SE
Screen: Flat, fluid and fabulous
side from Motorola, most flagship phone makers are flattening out their screens for 2020 - the Samsung Galaxy S20 and Huawei P40 are prime examples of the trend. In light of this, the flatness of the Realme X50 Pro 5G feels like less of a compromise compared to the big hitters out now.
In fact, with a 90Hz screen refresh rate, Realme’s a smooth operator, matching the OnePlus 8 and 7T Pro’s Fluid AMOLED. The phone’s 1080 x 2400 resolution is identical to both OnePlus and Samsung’s most affordable 5G phones, and the X50 Pro 5G also delivers HDR 10+ support too.
Bright outdoors, punchy and deep at the same time, the X50 Pro 5G has a good looking screen, and with added features like an always-on display (AOD) - missing from the OnePlus 8, you’re definitely getting good value on the display-front. We did have one niggle - every now and then when typing, we encountered some touch sensitivity issues - misregistered presses more specifically. Not deal-breaking, but noticeable, and with any luck, these will be addressed in a software update.
Camera: OnePlus 8 beater
Remember the excellent Realme X2 Pro? It was the first phone to drop with a 64MP camera. Well, that camera’s back, along with its compadres: ultra-wide, telephoto and depth sensor for round two in the X50 Pro.
To recap on specifics, the X2 Pro and X50 Pro feature a 64MP primary sensor with an f/1.8 aperture and a 26mm wide-angle lens. The X50 Pro 5G doesn’t feature OIS, but does pack phase detection autofocus.
The other snappers are slightly different, with the X50’s 12MP telephoto camera clocking in with a 54mm focal length (2x zoom), and an f/2.3 aperture. Next up, the 8MP ultra-wide-angle camera lens has a 13mm focal length (0.5x zoom).
There’s a fourth 2MP monochrome depth sensor as well, and on the front is a dual camera, spearheaded by a pore-tastically high-resolution 32MP module, accompanied by an ultra-wide 17mm, 8MP camera.
Shots taken on the X50 Pro 5G are not going to topple the best out there, especially in low light, but for the price, they’re competitive, and better than those taken on the OnePlus 8. Specifically, the X50 Pro packs a telephoto shooter, which the OnePlus 8 doesn’t, and the main camera is sharper in well-lit conditions.
The X50 Pro 5G shoots video at up to 4K resolution (30fps), there’s an ultra-stable mode for GoPro-esque action cam-style capture and video quality is once again, solid for the price. Meanwhile, shots taken on the 32MP front camera are a touch soft (not always a bad thing). Having an accompanying ultra-wide selfie cam is ace if you’re popular.
Other specs: Value-tastic
Additional specs speak for themselves. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 is top-tier and flies. With a starting capacity of 128GB storage and 8GB RAM, the lack of microSD card will unlikely be an issue.
As for the 5G speeds, in self-isolation on EE in zone three, we were hitting speeds up to 250Mbps, which was about 50Mbps behind our best 5G performer, the P40 Pro.
Unlike the P40 Pro though, the X50 Pro 5G runs Google certified version of Android 10, complete with Play Store access and Realme’s custom UI over the top. It’s not too heavy, and is a marked improvement over that of the X2 Pro, functioning virtually identically to Color OS on the Find X2 Pro.
There’s no headphone jack here, but there are stereo speakers, and they sound really good - tuned almost exactly like those of the OnePlus 8. Additionally, the under-display fingerprint scanner works in tandem with the face unlocking to get you into your phone securely and quickly.
There are areas the X50 Pro 5G feels a touch unrefined. The vibration engine, for example is a little coarse, so when you type, it rumbles like a midrange phone. That said, one thing that is undeniably impressive is the fact that the 4200mAh battery powers up faster than any cell on the scene with 65W fast charging. That means it takes less than 40 minutes to go from 0-100%, which is stupendous.
Realme X50 Pro 5G verdict
A UK price for the Realme X50 Pro 5G is yet to be confirmed, and that will dictate just how good it really is from a value point of view.
As it stands, it stacks up very favourably when set aside another five-star device, the OnePlus 8. Realme delivers a better camera combination, not to mention much faster charging. Meanwhile, OnePlus’s hardware is more elegant, and its screen is bigger and better.
If you want the most affordable 5G phone around, then the Samsung Galaxy A90 5G is a great shout now that it’s getting a little longer in the tooth. That said, if you’re after more power, better cameras, and faster charging and don’t mind taking a punt on a relative unknown, the gamble on Realme could well pay off.