For some people, the very idea of this comparison might seem odd. For, we are comparing devices that are more than six months apart – that’s almost a lifetime in the highly competitive mid-segment of the Indian smartphone market, where it rains phones almost every other week. Indeed, in the time since Xiaomi launched the Redmi Note 7 Pro, the phone has seen a number of contenders, from the likes of OPPO, Vivo, Samsung and Realme. But the fact that it still is considered by many to be the benchmark for a mid-segment device just tells you how formidable the Redmi Note 7 Pro is. It remains one of the highest-selling smartphones in the country, which is why when Realme released its latest mid-segment star, the Realme XT (review), one of the first questions many asked was: how does it compare with the Redmi Note 7 Pro?
Well, here is our attempt at an answer:
Which one looks better?
Appearance is always a matter of personal taste. And well, when it comes to it, the Redmi Note 7 Pro and the Realme XT are very closely matched. Both have a glass front and backs (the first time Realme has got into the all-glass zone) and both have drop notch displays. And at a time when some phones are getting very flashy, both are on the classy and understated side. The Realme XT is slightly shorter in spite of having a larger display, but the Redmi Note 7 is slimmer. We also felt that the flatter back of the Note 7 Pro had a slightly better look to it, even though it had a fingerprint scanner on it (that four-camera capsule at the back of the Realme XT is not the greatest sight). The 7 Pro’s having four colour variants (blue, red, black and white) also trumps the two the Realme XT has (blue, white) at the time of writing. It is very opinionated, but we are going with the Note 7 Pro for this, especially the red edition!
Which has the better hardware?
From skin-deep beauty to spec deep innards. And here things are a lot clearer. No matter how you see it, there is just no doubting that the Realme XT brings a whole lot more to the hardware table than the Redmi Note 7 Pro does. This is not to run down the Note 7 Pro. It had and still has pretty good hardware for its time – a very good 6.3 inch full HD+ LCD display, a 48- and 5-megapixel rear camera combination, a 13-megapixel selfie camera, and a large 4000mAh battery. All powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 processor with 4GB + 64GB, 6GB + 64GB and 6GB + 128GB variants. However, this is more than matched by what the XT has – a larger 6.4 inch full HD+ AMOLED display with an in-display fingerprint scanner, four rear cameras (64 + 8 + 2 + 2-megapixels), a 16-megapixel front camera, a 4000mAh battery, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 712 turning on the power with 4GB + 64GB, 6GB + 64GB and 8GB + 128GB RAM and storage configurations. Both phones have expandable memory, but the XT has a dedicated microSD card slot, while the Redmi Note 7 Pro makes you sacrifice one of your SIM slots for it. If it is hardware excellence that you seek, the XT is the one for you.
48 megapixels versus 64 megapixels; two versus four – which has the better cameras?
Both phones hit the market with super-hyped cameras. The Redmi Note 7 Pro was the first to bring a 48-megapixel camera to the mid-segment. The Realme XT, on the other hand, is the first phone in India with a 64-megapixel camera. They are both camera powerhouses in their own right. On paper, you would think that the Realme XT would boss this round with its array of four cameras – a 64 megapixel main sensor, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide lens, a 2 megapixel portrait lens, and a 2 megapixel macro sensor; against the more modest 48-megapixel main sensor and 5-megapixel depth sensor of the Redmi Note 7 Pro. In truth, however, the battle turns out to be a very close one. In fact, we actually sometimes felt that the Note 7 Pro was delivering slightly better details than the Realme XT. The XT does score over the 7 Pro with its array of multiple cameras, but their performance is a little iffy – the ultra-wide loses out on details and the macro lens is awesome when it does work but at times seems to have no idea on what to focus on. And well, both phones match each other in the selfie department. All of which makes the choice a very difficult one. We are going to go with the Realme XT just because it is potentially more versatile than the Note 7 Pro, but in a simple point and shoot terms, there is not much between the two.
675 or 712 – which Snapdragon is more game for gaming, multimedia and multi-tasking?
This is a very very close battle. Both phones come with processors that are supposed to be very adept at not just routine tasks but even relatively high-end gaming and multitasking. And to be brutally honest, we could not really spot a discernible difference between the performance of the two phones, be it in PUBG and Asphalt (they both drop a few frames and lag just a little at maxed-out settings, but are very good otherwise) or handling multiple tasks and tabs, with messaging, mail and social networks running. Some might like the slightly bigger display of the Realme XT and its slightly more poppy colours (that AMOLED effect) for watching films and videos but the Redmi Note 7 Pro hits back with some very good sound. We are calling this one a tie.
Which one’s got the better battery?
Both phones come with 4000mAh batteries and both support quick charging systems – the Redmi Note 7 Pro has support for Qualcomm’s QuickCharge 4, while the Realme XT has support for VOOC Flash Charge 3.0. Both have USB Type-C ports for charging. However, while the Note 7 Pro comes with a standard 10W charger, the Realme XT has a 20W one, allowing for fast charging right out of the box. Both batteries will see off more than a day of normal usage easily, although the Redmi Note 7 Pro just seemed to last a little bit longer. That said, the presence of the fast charger makes a big difference and wins this round for the Realme device.
Which one is easier to use in terms of software and UI?
If the hardware round was a clear win for the Realme XT, this one is just as comprehensive a win for the Redmi device. Both phones run Android 9, but with the manufacturer’s UI on top. And it is here that Redmi’s MIUI 10 scores heavily over the Color OS 6 (Realme edition) that is found on the Realme XT. We found Xiaomi’s UI to be smoother and more intuitive than Color OS. Realme says it is working on a more plain version for its own devices (the rumoured Realme OS) and that might start winning software wars for it. Right now, the force is very much with MIUI, which also has a better UI update record, although some might get irritated by the ads that accompany it.
Well, which one should I buy?
In terms of sheer pricing, the force is very much with the Redmi Note 7 Pro, which starts at Rs 13,999 for the 4GB +64GB edition, as compared to Rs 15,999 for the Realme XT for a similar variant. In fact, you can get the highest Redmi Note 7 Pro variant ( 6GB + 128GB) at the same price as the 6GB + 64GB variant of the Realme XT – Rs 16,999. That said, the Realme XT does have an 8GB + 128GB variant, which the Redmi Note 7 Pro does not – but it is priced at Rs 18,999. So if budget is an issue, well, the Redmi Note 7 Pro is a no-brainer. However, if you are looking for the better overall hardware, then the Realme XT’s quad cameras, AMOLED display with in-display fingerprint scanner (which for the record works slower than the one on the back of the Redmi Note 7 Pro, but does seem more modern) and battery with fast charging out of the box, win the battle.
We can, however, see a lot of people being swayed by the more intuitive UI (ads notwithstanding) of the Redmi Note 7 Pro, and of course, the immense goodwill enjoyed by the series. Either way, you are unlikely to be disappointed. These are two very evenly matched devices, which is a surprise when you consider just how far apart they are in terms of launch dates. If that does not tell you something about how ahead of its time the Redmi Note 7 Pro was, perhaps nothing will. That said, the Realme XT is one of the few in the market to really go toe to toe against it. If you have a budget of around Rs 16,000, these two are about as good as it gets.