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Realme X3 SuperZoom Review

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Realme is quickly climbing up the ranks with the Realme X3 SuperZoom.

Being a brand for the masses, Realme Philippines was easing it up by initially bringing its entry-level smartphones in the local market. Then the sub-Php10k smartphones arrived, midrange phones a few months later, and now, the company has launched its first flagship phone in the country.

Staying true to their core, their first high-end offering in the Philippines wouldn’t give fans a price shock as it’s still aimed to be a bang-for-the-buck offering.

With that, here in our Realme X3 SuperZoom review, we’ll see what does this budget flagship has in store for us. Let’s begin.

Realme X3 SuperZoom Specs

  • Android 10, Realme UI
  • Dual SIM, Dual Standby
  • 6.6-inch FHD+ IPS display, 2400 x 1080 pixel resolution, ~398ppi
  • 120Hz refresh rate, 90.5% screen-to-body ratio, Corning Gorilla Glass 5
  • 2.96GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus octa-core processor
  • 12GB RAM LPDDR4x
  • Adreno 640 GPU
  • 256GB UFS 3.0 internal storage, non-expandable
  • 32-megapixel (f/2.5) + 8-megapixel (ultra-wide) front cameras
  • 64-megapixel (f/1.8, Samsung GW1) + 8-megapixel (ultra-wide, f/2.3) + 8-megapixel (Periscope, 5x optical, 60x digital, OIS) + 2-megapixel (macro) rear cameras, PDAF, LED flash
  • UIS Max Video stabilization
  • Side-mounted fingerprint scanner, Face unlock
  • Single super Linear Speaker, Dolby Atmos, Hi-Res Audio
  • HSPA+, 4G LTE
  • WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Dual-frequency GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO, QZSS
  • USB Type-C
  • Dimensions: 163.8 x 75.8 x 8.9mm
  • Weight: 202g
  • Colors: Arctic White, Glacier Blue
  • 4,200mAh non-removable battery, 30W Dart Charge

Design and Build Quality

We’ve always praised Realme for coming up with new designs in almost every of their releases. However, they set the bar too high that we feel a bit shortchanged on the Raelme X3 SuperZoom’s design.

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The look where the quad cameras are on a vertical orientation on the top left, with the Realme logo adjacent too it, is starting to feel old. It looks the same from the Realme XT from last year, and a couple of other Realme devices before and after that.

However, Realme is treating us with a matte finish on this Corning Gorilla Glass 5 back panel, which is the same glass found on the front for extra durability. Realme did a special treatment to make it fingerprint-proof and not prone to glares, and it works.

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I’ve never used a case on this thing and as you can see, it’s still squeaky clean. Despite the matte appearance, it has a reflective paint job that adds spice to the design. The review unit we got is the Arctic White variant, which looks really clean. But if you think it’s boring, you can get the Glacier Blue option.

The main chassis looks like metal, but feels plastic. You really can’t have it all, especially for an affordable flagship like this. There’s a pre-applied screen protector and a smoked clear case included on the box for extra protection.

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What you’d immediately notice upon holding the Realme X3 SuperZoom is how large it is. You can easily get used to this, but at 8.9mm thickness and weight of 202g, this is definitely not the most compact smartphone around.

On the upside, Realme did a great job of streamlining the design and make it cleaner. We have an all-screen look on the front, with the punch-hole on the top left securing the dual selfie camera. The bezels are as thin as they can be, so the large 6.6-inch screen can fully take advantage of the space.

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Since it uses an IPS panel, the Realme X3 SuperZoom can’t have an in-display fingerprint scanner. So instead of placing it in the back and be distracting, Realme opt for a side-mounted one and combines it with the lock/power button.

On the left side, we have the volume controls. All the physical buttons, especially the fingerprint scanner, feels a bit stiff when pressed.

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The top only has the noise-canceling microphone. While on the bottom, we have the loudspeaker, USB Type-C cable, and primary microphone. We also have the dual SIM tray down here but, disappointingly, it lacks a microSD card slot. It does come with 256GB of storage, which might be enough for some.

For some reason, the X3 SuperZoom also lacks a headphone jack and doesn’t come with a USB Type-C to 3.5mm adapter on the box. But if you pre-ordered the device, then you might have gotten a free Realme Buds Air anyway.

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All in all, we’re pretty satisfied with the Realme X3 SuperZoom’s design. It feels… practical. It may not be the most compact and imaginative design around, but it does a decent job of cramming all the power that’s inside this device.

Display and Audio Quality

The Realme X3 SuperZoom boasts a large 6.6-inch FHD+ IPS screen. Opting for an IPS screen, instead of OLED, is really disappointing for this price. However, Realme makes up for it by including a 120Hz refresh rate on this thing, a feature we only saw on really expensive devices like the Galaxy S20 Ultra.

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Overall, the display quality is pretty satisfactory. Although, the overall color quality and contrast, especially the black levels, isn’t as good as the OLED panels around. However, the smooth 120Hz refresh rate really makes for a stunning visual experience.

You can compare it with a regular 60Hz screen and it makes a ton of difference. However, only a select number of video streaming and game apps can support 120Hz. But when it kicks in, you’d really appreciate how smooth everything is.

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However, running at 120Hz all the time can easily drain the battery. In the display settings, you can opt to stay at 60Hz, beating the purpose of having a 120Hz. Or, set it to Auto, so it intelligently switches between 60Hz and 120Hz depending on what you’re doing to conserve battery.

Moreover, the single bottom-firing speaker provides a loud volume with a well-balanced sound. However, it would be nice to see a stereo speaker setup on this thing. The lack of a Type-C to headphone jack adapter, and a pair of earphones themselves, made lack of the headphone jack worse.

Hardware and Performance

It may not be the most powerful processor today, but the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus chipset on the Realme X3 SuperZoom is still one of the most capable chipset around. Realme aims to provide a flagship experience, without the high-end price that would’ve happened if they went with the Snapdragon 865.

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What’s more interesting is, the sole unit we’ll be getting in the Philippines comes with a generous 12GB of RAM, which is more than what other high-end phones offer. There’s also the 256GB of storage, although the lack of a micro SD card slot for future expandability can be a big bummer for power users.

Realme X3 SuperZoom Benchmark scores

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But nevertheless, the performance on this device is really fast and smooth, as you can see in the benchmark scores above. The Snapdragon 855 Plus is probably the second most powerful processor from Qualcomm, next to the Snapdragon 865, so we have no doubts about its performance.

Multitasking, taking pictures, social media browsing, video calls, and playing popular and demanding games like Mobile Legends and Call of Duty Mobile are really seamless on this thing.

Software and User Interface

The Realme X3 SuperZoom runs on the latest Android 10 operating system with the Realme UI on top. Realme’s interface are more straightforward and cleaner than what others have and is almost close to the stock Android look.

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The home screen looks really clean, you can easily swipe up to quickly reveal the app drawer — just like stock Android. Swiping down reveals a search tab that can easily do local search and launch apps.

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On the top, there’s the notifications tab and the control center which you can expand. You can also enable the system-wide dark mode from here, which also works in most apps. You can schedule when the dark mode will be automatically enabled and disabled.

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Just like most Android devices, the Realme X3 SuperZoom is also big in customization. You can opt to disable the app drawer and have all your apps laid out on the home screen. Adjust the home screen layout, add home screen widgets, use live wallpapers, adjust app icon styles, and choose different transition effects when you switch between home screens.

The Smart Sidebar feature is always on the side of the screen, even when you’re gaming. It lets you easily take a screenshot, screen record, and launch selected apps.

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A dedicated phone manager app does a quick scan of the entire system and lets you push a single Optimize button to speed things up. Moreover, the camera app is intuitive and easy to use. It also uses Google Keyboard, which is comfortable to type on, has a quick internet voice search, gif and emoji selection, and themes if you really want to personalize everything.

Overall, we’re really pleased with the Realme X3 SuperZoom’s interface. It’s clean and compliments the hardware. However, as future updates arrive, we expect Realme to make it more streamlined and efficient, just like stock-Android.

Camera Quality

As the name suggest, the main highlight of the Realme X3 SuperZoom is its cameras. Primarily, its periscope-style 8-megapixel sensor, which we only saw on more expensive flagships like the Huawei P40 Pro. This camera can provide 5x of optical zoom, with up to 60x of digital maginification.

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The periscope camera did deliver on our tests. It kicks in at the 5x toggle on the camera app, as the 2x zoom is only a crop from the 64-megpaixel main camera. At 5x, images look clean, with great details, colors, and contrast.

You can stretch it all the way to 60x, although more noises and grains are now more present. On the upside, it has an optical image stabilization to prevent the inevitable shakiness at zooming in this far.

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LF: 1x, 2x, 5x, 60x
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LF: 1x, 2x, 5x, 60x

As stated earlier, the main shooter uses a 64-megapixel Samsung GW1 sensor with a bright f/1.8 aperture. Unsurprisingly, it takes great images at good lighting. Details are sharp, exposure and contrast are good, colors are vibrant without looking too artificial, and the dynamic range is impressive.

The Dazzle Color feature can be enabled in the camera app. It analyzes the images and enhances the color appropriately, resulting in a more lively image that you can share directly to social media without having to edit anything. It also takes decent bokeh shots despite the lack of a dedicated depth sensor.

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64-megapixel | Dazzle Color: OFF
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64-megapixel | Dazzle Color: On
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64-megapixel | Indoors
64-megapixel | Portrait Mode

Images taken at low light are good, but definitely not the best. Compared to the competition, noise levels are much higher at night or indoors. The Super Nightscape feature can enhance the image, but we’ve seen other devices use the night mode feature better.

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Night Mode: OFF vs ON
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Night Mode: OFF vs ON

The 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera on the Realme X3 SuperZoom outputs identical images. It performs well during daylight, but do struggle at night.

Still, the wide field-of-view it provides allows you to take pictures in tight spaces easily. It’s also great for taking pictures of buildings, a group of people, and more. That’s all thanks to its 119-degree FOV with a 16mm equivalent lens.

8-megapixel ultra-wide | Outdoors
8-megapixel ultra-wide | Indoors

We also have the 2-megapixel macro camera that lets you get up close to the subject by up to 4cm. The image quality is decent for its use.

Besides the cameras on the back, the Realme X3 SuperZoom also has a well-equipped front-facing camera system. In fact, we have two of them here, starting with the 32-megapixel selfie camera that uses a Sony IMX 616 sensor.

Unsurprisingly, it takes really sharp selfies, with realistic skin tones and ample exposure, even in low-light. You can play with the AI Face Beauty if you’re into that sort of thing. The portrait mode also did a great job of isolating the foreground from any distraction on the background.

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32-megapixel | AI Face Beauty: OFF
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32-megapixel | AI Face Beauty: MAX
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32-megapixel | Outdoors
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32-megapixel | Portrait Mode: ON

Just like the Realme 6 Pro, this device also has a secondary 8-megapixel ultra-wide selfie camera. This should be great for taking group shots with friends or family, or taking pictures with your home setup while in quarantine, just like our sample photos below.

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The Realme X3 SuperZoom is also well-equipped with video recording features. It can shoot up to 4K videos at 60fps, slow motion, and has UIS Max Video software stabilization to prevent shakiness.

Overall, the flexible cameras on the Realme X3 SuperZoom makes it a great device for aspiring photographers who want to take different types of pictures.

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Security

It may be stiff, but you don’t actually have to press the side-mounted fingerprint scanner to unlock the Realme X3 SuperZoom. Simply place your finger and it would immediately unlock and wake up the screen in an instant.

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You can also use the face unlock for faster authentication. Partnered with “Raise to Wake’, the X3 SuperZoom will be ready for you the moment you pick it up. No need to press anything.

The Realme X3 SuperZoom also has other software-level security features like Find my Device, Payment Protection, Emergency SOS, block and filter numbers, pseudo base station blocking, kid space, app lock, and private safe.

Connectivity

Since it uses an older processor, the Realme X3 SuperZoom didn’t get to have the latest connectivity features like 5G, WiFi 6, and Bluetooth 5.1. Although, it has their predecessor versions, which is 4G LTE, dual-band WiFi ac, and Bluetooth 5.0. All of which worked well during our testing.

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It also has dual-frequency GPS for those who always use mapping apps like Waze. Also, USB Type-C lets you pair any compatible accessories and drives easily.

Call quality is also decent. The earpiece outputs clear audio, while the two microphones was able to pick-up my voice with little to no background noise.

Battery

We were curious how the 120Hz screen on the Realme X3 SuperZoom will affect the performance of its 4,200mAh battery. So, we ran our test in full 120Hz using PCMark battery test. It loops synthetic workload until the battery reaches 20%, with the WiFi and Bluetooth off, and the screen brightness and volume set to 50%.

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Under these circumstances, the Realme X3 SuperZoom was able to last for up to 14 hours and 12 minutes. It’s not that groundbreaking, but it should be reliable enough to last you for an entire day of light to moderate use. You can possibly stretch up to the next day if you set the refresh rate to Auto or 60Hz.

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Thanks to its 30W Dart Charge, charging this device is fast. Realme claims that it goes from 0% to 100% in only an hour, which is close to the result we got in our testing.

Verdict

Realme Philippines did a smart job of bringing the Realme X3 SuperZoom in the Philippines. We’re used in seeing Realme phones with reasonable prices, and that continues to this day that they already have a flagship offering.

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This flagship smartphone offers a large and fast display, powerful performance, generous 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, flexible cameras, and a reliable battery with fast charging — all of these impressive features while keeping the price below Php25,000.

Realme X3 pricing and availability in the Philippines

The Realme X3 SuperZoom is available in the Philippines for Php24,990. Those who will pre-order it until July 17 will take home a free Realme Buds Air. It’s also available for a 9-month 0% installment plan through Home Credit.

Pros

  • Smooth 120Hz display
  • Powerful performance
  • Generous 12GB of RAM
  • Flexible cameras with periscope lens
  • Reliable battery life with fast charging
  • Clean UI

Cons

  • Lacks microSD card
  • No headphone jack
  • Stereo speakers would be nice

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