Looking at the Indian smartphone market today, I get flashbacks of Mobile World Congress 2019, where major brands were all announcing their first 5G-enabled smartphones to the world. Fast-forward two years and phonemakers like Realme, Xiaomi, OnePlus and others are in a rat race to launch 5G-enabled devices in India. This, despite the fact that the commercial availability of 5G networks in India is still a year or two away. The newest dog in the fight is the X7 Max 5G from Realme.
Not only is the latest launch the first Dimensity 1200-powered smartphone in India, but it also comes with support for the most number of SA and NSA 5G bands (N1/N28A/N40/N41/N77/N78/N79) under Rs 30,000. But is that enough for it to compete with heavyweights like Snapdragon 870-powered Xiaomi Mi 11X (review) and iQOO 7 (review)? This is what I intend to find out in this review, so read on.
Design and display
- 158.5 x 73.3 x 8.4mm, 179g
- 6.43-inch Super AMOLED, FHD+, 120Hz refresh rate, up to 360Hz touch sampling rate, 100% DCI-P3 wide colour gambit, Dual Ambient Light Sensors, In-display Fingerprint Sensor
When I first saw the Realme X7 Max 5G in official renders, I was pretty stoked about the way it looked with the dual-tone back panel. However, I was a tad disappointed when I got the phone in hand. Don’t get me wrong, the Asteroid Black variant I received looks stunning with the combination of a matte and glossy finish on the back. But the in-hand feel doesn’t feel as premium as the glass-clad Mi 11X or iQOO 7.
In fact, I felt that the Realme X7 Max 5G feels more like a sub-Rs 20,000 device than a premium sub-Rs 30,000 offering. On the bright side, the plastic build of the handset means it’s quite lightweight at just 179g and combined with a compact form factor, it’s quite ergonomic.
Realme has also done away with the garish, bold Dare to Leap branding, which is now fairly small and sits inside a small rectangle on the glossy strip on the back. It’s still quite prominent though, and I feel Realme should do away with it altogether on phones. The same glossy strip also houses the rectangular triple camera module.
The hybrid SIM tray and volume rocker sit on the left edge, whereas the power button is on the right. The top edge is bare except for a single noise-cancelling mic and the bottom edge is home to a 3.5mm audio jack, a noise-cancelling mic, USB Type-C port, and speaker grille. The earpiece on top of the display doubles up as a second speaker for stereo effect.
The front panel of the device houses a compact 6.43-inch Super AMOLED panel with FHD+ resolution, 120Hz refresh rate and 360Hz touch sampling rate. Realme has loaded the X7 Max 5G’s display with features like 100 percent DCIP3 colour gamut coverage, OSIE visual effect, HDR10+ certification, and Widevine L1. Needless to say, the visuals are as fluid as I was expecting them to be. The Super AMOLED panel offers vibrant colours with deep blacks, and the 1,000nits peak brightness means it has very good sunlight legibility as well.
The screen also features an embedded fingerprint scanner. Setting up the sensor was a breeze and it was very fast and accurate in my experience. There’s also a facial unlock option, which works equally fast.
- Rear: 64-megapixel primary sensor, 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera, 2-megapixel macro lens
- Front: 16-megapixel sensor
As for the shooters, the Realme X7 Max 5G is equipped with a triple camera setup on the back and a single 16-megapixel lens on the front. Realme has opted for the trusted 64-megapixel Sony IMX682 sensor as the primary lens on the back. The main camera is assisted by an 8-megapixel ultra-wide lens and a 2-megapixel macro camera.
The camera app is packed with features like 64MP Mode, Super Night Mode, AI Ultra Clear mode, Ultra Macro, and Pro mode, to name a few. In terms of video, you can record up to 4K resolution at 60fps and up to 1080p resolution in 480fps slow motion. The front camera also supports video recording up to 1080p at 30fps.
I found the daylight images to be full of details and good dynamic range. However, the camera does oversaturate images a bit, which might appeal to some but will irk purists. The ultra-wide lens also performs commendably with not much warping around the edges. However, it does display slightly muted colours compared to the main sensor, which is expected. The 2-megapixel macro shooter also captures crisp close-ups during the daytime. The portrait mode leaves a lot to be desired though, aggressively smoothening details in both skin tones and hair.
The low-light performance of the rear camera setup is also pretty impressive. In the regular mode, the camera clicks passable images with decent details but with a slightly cooler colour temperature. Turn on the dedicated Super Night Mode and the colour temperature shifts to a warmer hue. The night mode captures pictures with a good amount of details, balanced exposure, and reduced noise. The glare around light sources (moon in the above image) is tamed quite impressively as well.
Coming to the selfies, the 16-megapixel shooter offers sharp images with good exposure. The selfie portrait mode also works well with good edge detection and a pleasing bokeh effect in the background.
Performance, software, and battery
- Android 11 with Realme UI 2.0
- MediaTek Dimensity 1200 with ARM G77 MC9
- 8GB + 128GB, 12GB + 256GB
- 4,500mAh battery, 50W fast charging
The Realme X7 Max 5G is India’s first Dimensity 1200 smartphone and thus my first tryst with the chipset. This is a 6nm octa-core processor clocked at 3GHz. The smartphone is offered in 8GB + 128GB and 12GB + 256GB configurations. I received the latter and it flies through everything you throw at it, from multi-tasking to gaming. In our speed test with the Mi 11X, the Dimensity 1200 was on par with the Snapdragon 870 and in some instances even faster, which is commendable.
During my stint with the phone, I have been editing my personal social media posts, browsing the web, watching high-resolution videos, and gaming a fair bit on this device. The app switching as well as opening time is super fast, even with 10+ apps running in the background. Moreover, thanks to the UFS 3.1 storage and 120Hz refresh rate, the overall experience feels extremely smooth.
Coming to the gaming performance, I gave my favourites – Alto’s Odyssey, Genshin Impact, Forza Street, and Badlands a spin on this smartphone. And the Realme X7 Max 5G handled every single one of these games brilliantly. More importantly, the stainless steel vapour cooling seems to be working as advertised because the Realme X7 Max 5G was able to remain quite cool even after 40-50 minutes of intense gaming.
The Realme X7 Max 5G boots Android 11 out of the box with the Realme UI 2.0 interface on top. The UI does have some bloatware including Soloop, FinShell Pay, Facebook, Flipkart, Amazon, and Snapchat, among others. Thankfully most of these can be uninstalled. The brand has loaded the interface with tons of useful features like Edge Lighting for notifications, Always-on display, System Colours, Smooth Scrolling, and Sleep Capsule, to name a few. In short, the Realme UI interface is extremely fluid and quite clean, offering a great user experience.
The Realme X7 Max 5G features a 4,500mAh battery with support for 50W SuperDart charging technology. I had the screen brightness set to auto and refresh rate locked at 120Hz during my stint. With continuous instant messaging, social media, YouTube, and a bit of gaming, the battery easily lasted me a full day. When you run out of charge, the 50W fast charging juices up the battery to 100 percent in just under an hour.
To answer the question at the beginning of this review, the Realme X7 Max does have what it takes to compete with the likes of Mi 11X and iQOO 7. At Rs 26,999, the smartphone offers a great display, powerful performance, good cameras, clean software, 5G support and long battery backup. The only drawback, in my opinion, is the tacky plastic build and Dare to Leap branding.
The Xiaomi Mi 11X starting at Rs 29,999 is a good choice for those who are looking for a premium design and superior display. The smartphone comes with a 6.67-inch Samsung E4 AMOLED display with MEMC and Gorilla Glass 5 protection on the front and back. On the flip side, the current MIUI 12 software has some bloatware and annoying notifications.
The iQOO 7 will be ideal for gaming enthusiasts with its dedicated display chip, Snapdragon 870 SoC, a graphite layer full-coverage liquid cooling system, and 4D Game Vibration with a linear motor. It also features a 48-megapixel customised Sony IMX598 primary sensor and 66W fast charging. The iQOO 7 is a lot more expensive with the base variant starting at Rs 31,990.
To sum it up, while the Relame X7 Max 5G gets double thumbs up from me for its price to value proposition, and should be on your list if you’re looking for a sub-Rs 30k smartphone.
Pricebaba’s rating: 8 / 10
- Clean software
- Stunning display
- Powerful performance
- Good rear cameras
- No expandable storage
- Tacky build