Forgive the joint review of the realme XT and realme 5 Pro –
they are brothers from the same mother. For the most part, the only significant
difference is that the XT has an AMOLED screen and 64MP quad-camera and the 5 Pro
has an IPS screen and a 48MP quad-camera.
And this is perhaps a good time to talk about the phone,
err, clone wars. The realme XT and realme 5 Pro come from OPPO (BBK). The brand
is a spin-off with marketing aimed at the youth segment and sold only on-line.
Two other models, the realme C2 and realme 5 are also in the Australian line-up.
Yes, realme is all lower case!
And in a few days, I will have finished the reviews on another OPPO sibling, vivo (also lower case) with its value Y12 and Y17 sporting huge 5000mAh batteries. I expect these will offer a slightly different slant to the youth-focused realme XT and realme 5 Pro
When will we see the last OPPO sibling, OnePlus here? Soon I trust as its phones tend to push tech boundaries.
Why the sudden sibling rivalry?
Not to rain on any other Chinese maker that may have fallen foul of US President Donald Trump’s spite list, but that action left a massive gap in the $199-599-799 value/mass/mid-market to be filled. Combined, the four BBK companies are now either the world’s second or third-largest smartphone maker, and they are picking up the lion’s share outside China (where Google Android services are not available).
It is an excellent strategy as you cannot go wrong with any of the BBK siblings – it is all about the features you want for the price you can afford. And build quality, reliability and support are uniformly excellent.
But to a reviewer, it’s a case of more of the same. Whack an OPPO Reno2 Z camera in a different painted body, use a Qualcomm processor and that is realme! I know even before I test them that they are going to rate very well.
I know that the XT uses Gorilla Glass 5 (on both sides) over a polycarbonate frame. In Pearl White and Pearl Blue, it uses a similar ink deposition process under Gorilla glass to the Reno2 Z. Elegant.
The 5 Pro uses a diamond-patterned painted (for want of a
better word) polycarbonate back over a polycarbonate frame. In Sparkling Blue
and Crystal Green (because it can be vacuum deposited onto the poly back) – the
Pro 5 looks more ‘out-there’.
Both have grippy frame edges but use the clear bumper cases provided. The polycarbonate frame is one reason realme can offer better value. It is as strong as OPPO’s alloy frame but far lower cost to make.
Both have the camera bump on the top left, and it does make it ‘wobble’ when used on a desk. The bumper case fixes that.
But at this time, I started to wonder if there were other differences.
For example, and it is a small thing, the 3.5mm jack on the XT is bottom right,
and the 5 Pro is bottom left. Let’s discover what $100 more gets (or $100 less loses).
Spoiler Alert: In a nutshell, the XT and the OPPO Reno2 seem
to have the same mother (build and quality), and the 5 Pro is closer to the new
Screen – you want AMOLED, get the XT
6.4-inch, 19.5:9, Super AMOLED
2340 x 1080m 402ppi
430 nits infinite contrast
95% sRGB delta E 4.9
Gorilla Glass 5
Small teardrop notch
Under- glass fingerprint sensor
6.3-inch, 19.5:9 IPS, 2340 x 1080, 409ppi 90.6% STBR 450 nits, 1100:1 81.5% sRGB delta E 6 Gorilla Glass 3 Same Rear fingerprint sensor No
XT: The Samsung sourced AMOLED is the same as the OPPO Reno. AMOLED’s significant advantages are lower power requirements and black blacks (infinite contrast). It is daylight readable and has an always-on display.
5 Pro: This IPS screen is generic and used by several smartphone makers.
Side-by-side, the XT AMOLED is much brighter and crisper (despite
what the ‘nits’ say), and that is part of the price difference – but the 5 Pro
IPS screen is also good value and quite acceptable for the price.
Both use the latest 2019, 10nm, Qualcomm SD712, AIE, an eight-core (2 x 2.3GHz and 6 x 1.78GHz). It is an updated SD710 with full 4K video support and improved AI.
As far as we can tell, BBK has almost cornered the market as this processor appears in many OPPO, realme and vivo devices.
From our tests, the XT is closer to a Qualcomm reference design.
The 5 Pro may use the same processor, but it is using some non-Qualcomm tech in
its antenna and sound areas to shave a few shekels off.
Both devices have 8GB LPDDRX4 and 128GB UFS 2.1 (104GB free)
storage with micro-SD support to 256GB and OTG to 2TB.
Summary: The best 7-series processor to date leveraging 2019
Performance-wise the Big/Little design (2+6) offers flexible horsepower and low energy use. In raw speed, it is slightly faster than the 2018 flagship processor – the SD845. In overall capability, it is a smidgeon behind as its Adreno 616 GPU is not quite as powerful.
Both score single/multi 326/1500 in Geekbench 5 which puts it on a par with the Pixel 3/XL.
What a difference a year makes in tech!
CPU Throttling – none
Neither had any throttling after 15 minutes of full load. We
expect that from OPPO design (proper heat management using a copper foil, a
graphite sheet, and aluminium to lead the heat away from the SoC) and second
this is a more power-efficient 10nm SoC.
Both have a 4000mAh battery and OPPO VOOC 3 charging. This is identical to the Reno2 Z (Review here), and it charges ‘linearly’ at 33% per 30 minutes – 1.5 hours to full. VOOC is far gentler to batteries than flood charging methods.
Not surprisingly our tests were the same although in every case
the XT’s AMOLED screen lasted a tad longer
Video loop: about 16hours
100% load: 4 hours
Typical load: 13-16 hours
We expect both to last at least 24+ hours between charges.
Both have LTE bands 1/3/5/7/8/20/28/38/40/41 – dual active sim,
One difference is that the XT has a -101dBm LTE signal and
the 5 Pro has -89dBm (lower is better). The XT detects the next nearest tower
at -102 and the 5 Pro at -93.
Summary: The 5 Pro should be better in rural areas, but both
Both have Wi-Fi 5 (AC). This time the XT has -13dBM (866Mbps)
and the 5 Pro has -19 (433Mbps).
The 5 Pro has a 1×1 SISO (single input/single output), and the XT uses 2×2 MU-MIMO (multiple input multiple output) with VHT80 support for up to 1.8Gbps. If you rely on Wi-Fi for large file transfers, the XT wins here.
A major omission in the Australian market is lack of NFC for Google Pay.
Sound (XT/5 Pro)
Here is another subtle difference. The XT is capable of Dolby Atmos (like the Reno2 Z).
The 5 Pro has ‘Real Original Sound Technology’ – the bottom
speaker is mono.
Both technologies only work with 3.5mm and BT headphones. No
buds come in the box to save some money.
As for sound signature – neither speaker setup is great for
music – both focus on mid for clear voice.
The XT has the same under-glass sensor as the Reno2 Z – its fast
and efficient. The 5 Pro has a rear fast and reliable fingerprint sensor.
Both have 2D face unlock.
A subtle difference is that the XT has dual-frequency and the
5 Pro has single-frequency GPS. Practically that only means something if you
need 4m accuracy. Both passed our GPS navigation test well.
Both are splash-proof – not an IP rating as such but better
Neither has a notification LED, but the XT has an AOD AMOLED
64MP (bins to 16MP)
Sensor: Samsung GW1
Pixel Size: .8um
Focus type: PDAF
Zoom: Digital 10x
AI: scene recognition
Flash type: dual temperature LED
Images: RAW or JPEG
Video:[email protected] (no stabilisation), [email protected] (EIS up to [email protected]), HDR10
with stereo recording and mic
Google Lens: Yes
48MP (bins to 12MP)
FF to 4cm
AI Beauty and HDR
Dog, portrait, baby, fireworks beach, landscape, documents,
cat, dancing light, multiple portraits, macro, against light, moire pattern, pure
colour, green plant, flower
Just when you thought 16 or 20MP was safe along comes a slew
of 48MP and now 64MP quad-cameras.
As you can see from the table above the only difference is
XT: 64MP binned to 16MP, and 48MP binned to 12MP. Binning is what Google Pixel uses
and means instantaneously shooting a bracket of shots and letting AI select the
best pixels. Realme (well OPPO) has nailed this producing some of the best binned
and RAW 64/48MP shots as well.
Both perform admirably – the 64MP having a very slight edge
in detail and zoom.
It would be trite to state that this is as good as it gets
but in comparing realme and OPPO Reno2 Z shots with everything reviewed this
year they stand out as the best all-rounders. Terrific daylight and office
shots, and almost perfect dark and NightScape.
The 8MP ultrawide lens is great for ‘Grand Canyon’ holiday vistas but does need good light.
Outdoors (XT/5 Pro binned and 64MP5/48MP)
[email protected] – good detail, accurate colours, low noise, and good
dynamic range but no EIS means use a tripod.
[email protected] or 60fps – as above but with EIS. You get the option
to choose between the H.264 and H.265 codecs.
The Sony IMX471 is one of the most used selfie sensors and
scores 86/100 (Stils: 90 and video:81) in the DxOMark review.
The lens has 79° FOV so you can do small group selfie, but
with Fixed Focus, you need to huddle. Our only comment here is that 1.0um
pixels are not large and f/2.0 is not overly bright, so you do need daylight or
office light for best results. There is no screen fill light.
OPPO has one of the best Bokeh algorithms and lenses to produce bokeh as it should be. A blurred background that still shows some structure.
OPPO leads in AI in this class.
GadgetGuy’s take: realme XT and realme 5 Pro are standout
While I have uncovered subtle differences in the design pedigree, both these are standout value. If you have $499, then the XT is it! If you have $399, then the sacrifices are minor, and the 5 Pro is it. Both have impressive cameras, SoC, ram/storage, and build. You cannot go wrong.
While the XT offers a little more it costs $100 more than the 5 Pro so these phones both rate similarly.
But remember this is an online sales model where super aggressive pricing is the trade-off for no personal service. While OPPO is there to provide Australian service and pickup points, there is really no-one to speak to at realme.
realme has sold an impressive number of phones in its short
life – being BBK pays off in spades. So, remember
realme is online, and marketing to the hip/trendy youth segment. Old farts probably won’t even be aware of the brand, but that should not stop tech-savvy one’s buying it
OPPO offers terrific personal service and in-store sales via JB Hi-Fi, Good Guys and more – you pay for that. The closest value to the XT is somewhere between the Reno ($499) or Reno2 Z ($599). OPPO’s new A-series at $299/399 is competitive with the 5 Pro.
Vivo is the workers’ phone – rock-solid, reliable, and that 5000mAh battery on the Y12 ($249) and Y17 ($329) and 4500mAh on the S1 ($399) is hard to beat if that is what you need.
realme’s online pure model is not the first – Mintt introduced that a few months ago. The question is whether Australian’s will be happy with that model.
In fact, I am now confusing myself – and perhaps that is what
BBK wants. It has three brands and dozens of models to win your business – watch
out Nokia, Motorola and Samsung.