Realme is the fastest-growing smartphone company in the world right now, and it doesn’t seem to have any intentions of losing pace in 2021. The Realme X7 Pro 5G is the latest smartphone to roll off the company’s production line, and at INR 29,999 (~$413), it's an exciting proposition for anyone looking to get a premium smartphone experience without breaking the bank.

It has some of the bells and whistles more commonly associated with flagship devices — a 120Hz AMOLED display, 65W fast charging, and dual standby 5G. But how does it fare when we look beyond the bling? Does it manage to deliver the well-rounded experience that it promises? Well, almost.

Specs

Processor MediaTek Dimensity 1000+
RAM 8GB LPDDR4x
Display 6.5-inch OLED panel, FHD+ (2400 x 1080), 120Hz refresh rate, 240Hz touch-sampling rate, hole-punch display, Corning Gorilla Glass 5
Battery 4,500mAh, 65W charging
Front camera 32MP f/2.45
Rear cameras 64MP wide f/1.7 + 8MP ultrawide f/2.25; FOV 119° + 2MP macro f/2.4 + 2MP B&W f/2.4
Connectivity Dual-SIM 5G, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC
OS Android 10-based Realme UI
Dimensions 160.8mm x 75.2mm x 8.5mm, 184g
Ports USB Type-C
Colors Fantasy, Mystic Black
Biometrics In-display optical fingerprint scanner
Price INR 29,999 (~$413)

The Good

120Hz OLED Display The first 120Hz OLED panel in the price segment and it doesn't disappoint.
Performance The MediaTek Dimensity 1000+ SoC is a capable chipset and handles almost everything you throw at it.
Battery & 65W Charging The 4,500mAh unit should last you a full day. But if you ever find the phone out of battery, the bundled 65W charger will replenish it in no time.

The Not So Good

Poor low-light camera performance Apart from the primary camera sensor, the rest of the sensors offer a mediocre experience. Night performance is poor across the stack.
Non-expandable storage Realme only offers a 128GB variant and there's no support for microSD cards.
Android 10 The phone ships with Android 10 and it will only ever be updated to Android 12. Not a good look for a premium midranger.

Design, hardware, what's in the box

Realme phones across price segments have similar design elements, relying on the material and the finish of the back to differentiate them. The same is the case with the Realme X7 Pro, but I'm not quite sure how I feel about the chrome-ish Fantasy colorway. The matte glass is smooth to the touch and does a great job of repelling fingerprints, but the "Dare to Leap" brand mantra on the back is divisive — you'll either hate it or love it. Irrespective of how I feel about the design, the phone’s slim profile, and its relatively-light weight are impressive. It's also reassuring to know that both the front and the back are protected by Gorilla Glass 5, which should resist scratches.

The 6.5-inch OLED display is one of the strongest selling points of the device, and it's the only one to boast a 120Hz refresh rate at such a low price. It's sharp, viewing angles are great, and the high refresh rate makes scrolling and animations buttery-smooth. It also gets plenty bright — bright enough to not worry about sunlight legibility in a tropical country. The choice of panel allows for an optical in-display fingerprint sensor that works almost as well as traditional capacitive sensors. Though, it does fumble when dealing with oily or wet fingers.

The power button sits on the right side, and the volume rocker finds a home on the left. The bottom side features the USB Type-C port, a speaker grille, and the dual-SIM slot tray — unfortunately, no support for a microSD card or a 3.5mm jack. The earpiece at the top doubles-up as the second speaker for stereo sound, and while it doesn’t offer rich audio (especially at higher volume levels), the setup offers a satisfactory experience. This time around, Realme has bundled a great haptic feedback motor, and while it may not be as refined as the ones found in flagships, it’s among the best in its segment.

At a time when smartphone companies are shipping lean boxes, Realme is still being pretty generous with accessories. The phone ships with a 65W fast charger, a USB Type-A to Type-C cable, a transparent protective case, and a USB Type-C to 3.5mm adapter. The phone also comes with a pre-applied screen protector.

Software, performance, battery

The X7 Pro ships with Android 10-based Realme UI, which is inapt given that Android 11 has been out for almost five months. The company says the update will arrive sometime in Q2 2021, and further confirms that the phone will only ever get updated to Android 12 — bummer!

This doesn’t change the fact that Realme UI is one of the most customizable Android skins out there. It’s filled to the brim with features that introduce functionality that’s still missing on stock Android. Some of my favorites include screen-off gestures, smart sidebar, partial/scrolling screenshots, and game space.

This is not to say that Realme UI is perfect. It has its fair share of bloatware and spam notifications from system apps (they can be disabled). But, all in all, it's well-optimized and won’t get in your way after a few tweaks.

Moving on to performance, the phone is powered by the 7nm Dimensity 1000+ SoC, which is coupled with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of UFS 2.1 storage. Since MediaTek hasn't really catered to the premium midrange segment before in recent times, I wasn't sure about what I was getting into when I started using the phone.

The Realme X7 Pro 5G performs admirably — I noticed almost zero stuttering or lag during everyday usage. Opening apps is quick, memory management is not too aggressive, and jumping between apps is seamless. Games like Asphalt 9 and Call of Duty Mobile also performed well at maxed-out graphic settings. It was only while playing Genshin Impact that I saw occasional stutters. But even then, the game was playable. The phone also employs a vapor cooling system that Realme claims can reduce the core temperature by up to 10°C. The company even okays charging while gaming.

You won’t have to worry about battery life as the phone. With its 4,500mAh unit, the X7 almost always lasts me an entire day. This is not to say that it’s exceptional. In fact, an hour-long gaming session and a photo walk may require you to hug a wall before the end of the day. But this isn't a deal-breaker because the proprietary 65W adapter the X7 Pro ships with is insanely quick at replenishing the battery. The battery goes from nada to full in about 40 minutes! Without the proprietary plug, the device maxes out at 18W over USB-PD.

Camera samples

The Realme X7 Pro 5G is equipped with a quad-camera setup, but not all cameras are equal. The setup is headlined by a Sony IMX 686 64MP f/1.7 wide and an 8MP f/2.4 ultrawide. There are also a pair of 2MP sensors, one for monochrome and the other for macro shots, but they’re just spec-sheet fillers that don’t help much.

The primary camera is the only one that's suitable for shooting in challenging lighting conditions. The images have good dynamic range, not-so-exaggerated colors, and plenty of details.

The night shots, however, don't seem to fare as well. The dedicated night mode makes things worse, and while it does crank up exposure for a more comprehensible image, it introduces a lot of noise that makes dark areas look patchy. This could improve with a software update, but the way it is now, you'll need sufficient artificial light to take social media-worthy images.

Auto mode vs Nightscape: The Realme X7 Pro's cameras don't fare well in low-light conditions.

The macro lens is abysmal — you're much better off taking images with the primary camera and then cropping in. The 8MP ultrawide lens is nothing to write home about, but it takes usable images unlike the macro and monochrome cams. It’s best in broad daylight, but the images don't offer much detail, and there is little color parity with the primary camera. The 32MP selfie camera can take good shots, however, and portraits look clean.

As for videos, the primary lens can shoot up to [email protected], but the output is just as disappointing as images in low-light scenarios. There is a dedicated night video mode that cranks up ISO at the cost of details, though. Further limiting the videography appeal is the lack of EIS support for 4K videos and the [email protected] limitation for the selfie camera.

Should you buy it?

Realme X7 Pro 5G
7.5/10

Yes, if great cameras aren't your top priority. The Realme X7 Pro is a well-balanced smartphone, and it offers some flagship bling at a much more palatable price. The OLED display is a treat to look at, and its support for a 120Hz refresh rate is something no other similarly-priced phone with an OLED panel can boast of. The Dimensity 1000+ chip may not give the Snapdragon 865 a run for its money, but it’s definitely a worthy contender that won’t let you down — unless you decide to play resource-intensive games like Genshin Impact or render complex, layered videos.

As for the design, it boils down to your preference. While I may not dig the printed brand mantra, I'm a fan of the matte finish and the slim build. Battery performance was satisfactory too, and the 65W charging keeps battery anxiety at bay.

For me, the only real let-downs were the mediocre performance of three out of the four cameras, and the fact that it ships with Android 10. Mind you, camera performance isn't terrible, but it’s a constant reminder you’re not using a flagship phone.

All in all, if you're looking for a premium midranger that doesn’t sacrifice functionality, the Realme X7 Pro is surely a phone you should consider. Depending on your software preferences and the need for a better camera setup, you may want to look at alternatives such as the OnePlus Nord and the Samsung Galaxy M51.

Buy it

  • If you’re looking for a midranger that offers some flagship features.
  • If you want a high refresh-rate AMOLED display without breaking the bank.

Don’t buy it

  • If you want a versatile camera setup that performs well under all lighting conditions.
  • If you’re looking for an upgrade to Android 13.

Buy