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Realme X7 Pro review: Boring on the outside, brilliant on the inside
Realme X7 Pro 5G
What we like
What we don't like
From budget phones to value flagships, Realme has been stepping on the shoes of existing stalwarts. A steady spate of hardware releases and a generally consistent experience has been key in helping the brand cut out a piece of the pie for itself. Now, the Realme X7 Pro 5G is the company’s latest entry in the upper mid-range segment to come to India. In doing so for the price of Rs. 29,999, it’s going head-on against the popular OnePlus Nord.
The X7 Pro seeks to one-up the Nord with key hardware enhancements like faster charging and a higher refresh rate panel. But is that enough? Find out if the experience matches the sum of its parts in the Android Authority Realme X7 Pro review.
How’s the design of the Realme X7 Pro?
For a brand that has experimented with rather bold designs, the Realme X7 Pro plays it exceptionally safe. That’s not to say it’s a bad-looking phone — it’s not.
Some might call the gloss black design tepid and boring, but if you’re in the market for something unobtrusive, it works. That said, if you still want something a bit more in-your-face, the phone is available in an alternate colorway called Fantasy with Realme’s comically large “Dare to Leap” branding emblazoned on it in huge letters. It’s horrible.
If you don’t have the garish Fantasy version, all you get is a subtle Realme logo and a camera island at the top-left corner. Standard stuff.
For a bold brand like Realme, the X7 Pro plays it exceptionally safe.
Realme has been upping its game with respect to in-hand feel, and the X7 Pro is no exception. There are no sharp edges here and the glass back flows seamlessly into the polycarbonate frame.
I particularly enjoyed the tactile feedback offered by the buttons. The power button on the right, segmented volume rockers press down with a reassuring click. Elsewhere, there’s a USB-C port along the bottom edge, but no headphone jack.
Switching over to the front, Realme has done a brilliant job with the display. The 6.55-inch Super AMOLED panel has all the bells and whistles you could hope for, including HDR support and a 120Hz refresh rate. The higher refresh rate display gives the phone a leg up over the OnePlus Nord (which maxes out at 90Hz) and adds an extra layer of fluidity to the experience.
The display used here is generally excellent. The default color calibration errs towards neutral with a slight boost in contrast levels for a punchier image. The software allows you to further tune it to your liking.
I had no trouble viewing the display outdoors either, and the deep black levels afforded by the AMOLED panel make watching media a very enjoyable affair. This is further aided by the stereo speakers that pipe out a rich and full sound.
Elsewhere, I found the in-display fingerprint scanner to be reasonably fast as well, though there were a few cases of missed activations. The Nord does slightly better here.
Finally, keeping with the theme of value, you won’t find premium features like waterproofing or wireless charging. The phone is, however, future-proofed with 5G support.
How powerful is the Realme X7 Pro?
The Realme X7 Pro is the second phone to launch in India with Mediatek’s Dimensity 1000 Plus chipset, and I’m all for it. We saw it first on the Oppo Reno 5 Pro, and here too, the phone delivers excellent performance.
Mediatek’s 7nm chipset brings four Cortex A77 cores and pairs it up with four A55 cores, all of which combine to deliver excellent CPU performance. The Mali G77 GPU holds up too, and I had no trouble running popular games including Call of Duty Mobile. There were no frame drops in games, and the phone maintained a silky smooth 120Hz refresh rate in the interface.
Mediatek's chipset holds up just fine, and there are no frame drops or slowdowns anywhere.
Elsewhere, Realme UI is well optimized for the hardware with no glaring bugs. However, the fact that the phone is still running Android 10 is a big red flag. Sure, the company has promised that the phone will get an update to Android 11 sometime in the second quarter of 2021, but coming over six months after the stable release of the Android 11 is not a very good showing.
The phone ships with a fair few pre-loaded apps, but most of these can be removed. Additionally, notification spam continues to be a real issue with the built-in browser as the primary culprit.
Look past the bloat and spam, and you’ll find a generally well-performing phone with all the hardware trimmings you could want for the money. The performance is more than satisfactory and I found nothing to complain about on that front.
Does the Realme X7 Pro have good battery life?
The Realme X7 Pro sports a 4,500mAh battery which is about 400mAh larger than the one on the Nord. Despite that, I found battery life to be about on par between the two phones with the Qualcomm chipset on the Nord offering a bit more efficiency. I handily managed about a day and a half between charges.
You don't know what you're missing till you've experienced 65W charging.
Charging is extremely quick too. Realme has been democratizing ultra-fast charging by bringing it down to affordable price points, and it is no surprise that the X7 Pro also includes support for it. The included 65W charger goes from zero to a little over 90% in just about thirty minutes, and a full charge takes just a few more minutes.
What about the cameras?
The Realme X7 Pro’s camera setup is pretty straightforward with a 64MP primary sensor paired up with an 8MP ultra-wide shooter, as well as 2MP depth and macro cameras. Where the phone shines, however, is in the camera tuning. Most buyers will be pitting the phone against the OnePlus Nord and the cameras here are hands-down better than what OnePlus offers.
Read more: The best budget camera phones you can buy
I was able to get well-exposed, natural-looking images in practically all lighting conditions. Realme has struck an excellent balance between noise-reduction and detail here. Zooming into the image, you can observe some signs of noise reduction but it isn’t bad enough to take away from the shot. The 8MP wide-angle camera captures quality images with consistent exposure and white balance, though it could do with a higher resolution sensor for more detail.
Indoors and in less than perfect lighting too, the phone did an admirable job. However, the night mode could be a bit better and takes just a bit too long to capture the image. I struggled with capturing a sharp image, though your mileage may vary.
Switching to the macro mode, it’s the same old story. The 2MP camera offers too low a resolution for anything but off-hand social sharing.
I wasn’t too impressed by the portrait mode on the Realme X7 Pro, and this includes both the front 32MP sensor, as well as the rear camera. Edge detection was less than perfect, and the camera has a tendency to aggressively blur out edges. With the portrait mode switched off, the front-facing camera does a perfectly good job of capturing well-balanced images.
Finally, video quality tops off at 4K resolution and 60FPS recording. The phone captures a good amount of detail in broad daylight, but video quality suffers in dim lighting, just like the image quality and if that’s a use case for you, you might want to look elsewhere.
What I like about the Realme X7 Pro
- The design. Sure, it’s a bit boring, but after a slew of gradient-heavy phones, I’m okay with a more straightforward glass back design. Just don’t get the Fantasy variant.
- The cameras. From broad daylight to less than perfect conditions, the Realme X7 Pro consistently outperforms the competition. It’s not a nighttime champion, but daylight images make up for that.
- The fast charging. 65W charging is no joke, and the phone can be comfortably topped off in a little over 30 minutes.
What I dislike
- The polycarbonate mid-frame. It’s not bad, but you definitely expect better for the money.
- The macro camera. 2MP is simply too low a resolution to get usable results, and Realme should have included a higher resolution sensor.
- The bloatware. Third party apps are part and parcel of driving down hardware costs, but it should be possible to remove all third party apps. Additionally, the browser is notorious for notification spam.
Realme X7 Pro specs
|Realme X7 Pro 5G|
Super AMOLED, 120Hz
Gorilla Glass 5
Mediatek Dimensity 1000 Plus
Mali G77 MC9
64MP standard at f/1.8
8MP Ultra-wide at f/2.3
2MP depth sensor
Video: 4K at 30/60fps, 1080p at 120fps, EIS
32MP at f/2.5
Dual nano-SIM slots
Dual SIMs dual VoLTE 4G
Wi-Fi: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4/5Ghz
Positioning system: GPS, aGPS, GLONASS, Beidou navigation system
Supports Bluetooth 5.0 connections
Supports aptX, aptX HD, and LDAC
Realme UI, Android 10
Iridescent, Aerolite Black, Skyline White
160.8 x 75.1 x 8.5 mm
Realme X7 Pro review: The verdict
The Realme X7 Pro is an excellent device that offers formidable competition to the previous category standout — the OnePlus Nord. The X7 Pro one-ups the Nord with faster charging, a higher refresh rate display, a much better primary camera, as well as better performance. At least until the OnePlus Nord 2 arrives, the X7 Pro is a more enticing prospect, especially when rivals like the Oppo Reno 5 Pro are a little more expensive.
It doesn’t break the mold, nor does it offer something drastically unique, but the devil is in the details and the X7 Pro goes a step ahead with its focus on refinement. Be it the external hardware that is finished to an excellent degree of polish, or the specs that do not disappoint. Even the camera tuning is very good for the majority of use cases.
The Realme X7 Pro doesn't break the mold, but it brings enough to the table to be an easy recommendation.
Add to that a fluid user experience, good battery life, and even better charging, and you have a phone that is easy enough to recommend to most buyers. It’s not the most exciting phone on the market, but it doesn’t need to be. While the aging software and bloatware are lamentable, priced at Rs. 29,999 (~$413), the Realme X7 Pro 5G is a safe bet for most users.