Realme is one of the newest Android manufacturers on the market, but it has already surpassed a number of veterans in sales and popularity. The company has grown explosively since launching as an Oppo offshoot, reaching the global top 10 of smartphone OEMs.
Realme has now made its way onto the European market, with the official launch of the Realme 5 Pro and Realme X2/X2 Pro at an event in Madrid last week. While there, we had the opportunity to speak with Levi Lee, Director of Realme Europe, and discussing the company’s secret to success and vision for the future.
When the X2 and X2 Pro were unveiled, the specs and look of the devices were in line with current flagship industry standards, even exceeding expectations in some areas. What was surprising, however, were the devices’ prices. The Realme X2 Pro, a handset with the latest Snapdragon 855 Plus, a 90Hz AMOLED display, and industry-leading 50W fast charging, starts at only €399. At a time when most flagships don’t drop below the €800 mark, it’s hard not to wonder what Realme’s secret is.
Levi Lee shared with Android Authority that there are a couple of specific factors that help Realme keep prices so affordable.
The secret to low prices
One of the biggest cost savers for Realme is marketing. Of course, any brand can claim its devices speak for themselves, but Realme targets younger users and communicates with them on their preferred channels. “We use the community, we use social media and digital tools to talk to consumers and to let consumers know the brand. That’s how we save money from marketing,” shared Levi Lee.
Distribution also cuts costs thanks to Realme’s decision to sell its devices online first and foremost, which is the case in Europe too. All three devices presented at the Madrid event can be bought through Realme’s official website or other popular online retailers such as Amazon and Ebay.
But Lee also didn’t hide the fact that the company has a strong supplier chain, which allows it to get better prices. Realme is technically no longer part of Oppo, but they still share the same parent company — BBK Electronics, from which they receive significant support.
However Lee was quick to point out that low prices are far from the only thing that makes Realme successful. “First, I think the product quality is great and second the specs are great, third the design is great. That is what we care about. If you sell a device to consumers at a very cheap price, but the device is not good, the quality is not good, it’s not sustainable.”
Yet, is Realme blindly jumping on popular trends to appeal to their young and trendy audience? The Chinese manufacturer recently made the jump from polycarbonate to glass and also followed in Samsung’s footsteps by equipping several of its devices with quad cameras. The Realme 5 Pro is, in fact, the first under-€200 device to sport the feature. But is it just a gimmick?
Lee told Android Authority that the decision was motivated by wanting to give consumers choice. Some prefer using a wide-angle lens, others take their best shots with the help of the telephoto lens. Having all of the options on one device just makes it appeal to a wider audience. According to Lee, the camera can be used in many different scenarios to produce multiple interesting results.
Realme has worked on improving both video and image quality, with some features that make it stand out from the crowd. The X2 Pro offers video stabilization, real time bokeh in both front and rear camera videos, as well as an AI beautification mode. Granted, in our Realme X2 Pro review we found that low-light image quality leaves a lot to be desired.
The true standout on the X2 Pro, however, is the new 50W charging — from 0% to 100% in just 35 minutes is more than impressive.
No Realme gaming phone in the near future
After the relative success of devices like the Asus ROG Phone 2 and the emphasis Realme put on its 90Hz display and cooling, it was a question we could not overlook. Is Realme planning a dedicated gaming phone in the future? Unfortunately, Levi Lee told us that it is not currently in the plans: “It is not for the common consumers, it’s not what we are after.” He did, however, say that the Realme X2 Pro is already an excellent gaming phone even if it’s not a dedicated gaming device.
On the Madrid stage, it was revealed that the X2 Pro sports gaming-oriented features such as a 4×4 MIMO antenna for steady connections and vapor cooling. So, while there might not be a Black Shark 2-like device with accessories and gamepads in the works, you can still pick up the X2 Pro and enjoy games like PUBG Mobile and others with no problems, as our colleague Ryan already pointed out in his review.
What do you think of Realme devices?