Tuesday, 30 June 2020 08:00

Review: realme's X3 SuperZoom is focused on camera nerds

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Review: realme's X3 SuperZoom is focused on camera nerds Supplied

Chinese smartphone maker realme's new X3 SuperZoom is, like many other smartphones emerging on the market these days, aimed at a particular group of enthusiasts. As the name indicates, the targeted group is those who are big on photography, with some unusual features available for experimentation.

The device will go on sale on 2 July at a price that some may consider dear: one model, which is exclusive to JB Hi-Fi and has 12Gb of RAM and 256Gb of storage, will sell for $799; a second, which has 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, is priced at $699.

That price would seem even more than it should be, considering that the model with more grunt will sell for the equivalent of about A$635 in India. But then every vendor tries to set prices which a particular market will bear and Australian prices are known to be much higher than in the US as well. That is the fate one has to accept for living Down Under.

selfieselfie2

The two selfie modes were tested out by my mate Andrew Leo.

Given that many features which were once considered high-end are now available on all smartphones, companies are looking to distinguish themselves by providing functionality that appeals to a select group.

With that in mind, let's look at the cameras on the X3 SuperZoom first. For one, there are 32MP+8MP dual front-facing camera, something that is distinctly unusual. One can be used to take regular selfies and the second gives shots that have a bit more depth.

There are four rear cameras and they make quite a bump at the back. One needs a case to level the rear surface but that is supplied with the phone.

There is a Samsung GW1 wide-angle main sensor 64MP, f/1.8, 26mm, a telephoto periscopic lens 8 MP, f/3.4, 124mm, 5x optical zoom, an ultra-wide angle sensor 8MP, f/2.3, FOV 119˚, 16mm and a macro lens 2MP, f/2.4.

super zoom

SuperZoom: somewhat disappointing to put it mildly.

All these combine to produce excellent pictures in most modes as is evident from the samples in this article.

But the 64X zoom pictures are not as great as claimed; as soon as 10X is crossed, the camera switches to hybrid digital zoom which produces images that are not as clear as they should be.

The SuperZoom has an LCD display that stretches to 6.6 inches and has a screen resolution of 2400×1080. It is sharp and the realme UI, which is overlaid on Android 10, is beginning to show its own character as opposed to its ColorOS heritage which it borrowed from stablemate OPPO to start with.

shades of colour

There are numerous shades of colour in this picture but the X3 SuperZoom gets them all.

The 4200mAh battery is adequate for a phone of these specs, but running at the higher 120Hz refresh rate will mean a daily charge if not more. The Qualcomm 855 SoC and 12Gb of RAM provide plenty of grunt for gaming at an acceptable level.

Charging is more or less as per the company's claims and an hour will see the charge fully restored after the device is fully drained.

Security features are standard; realme has apparently decided to retain the fingerprint sensor on the power button as in a previous model which I reviewed. Logically, it could be argued that this is the correct place for this as 98% of the world is right-handed and people tend to hold the phone with the thumb over the power button.

But some of us are used to the index finger being used instead and I fall into this class. To be clear, this is a personal preference; the realme's implementation works perfectly well.

evening sky

This long shot is again one to be admired.

The X3 SuperZoom has no headphone jack. It means that one has to use Bluetooth phones or else depend on USB-C headphones and risk the chance of having the charge run down while one is the middle of watching a film or listening to music

And for all the good things said about it, Bluetooh is a particularly flaky protocol for reasons that are well known. There are no USB-C headphones supplied with the phone. The sound is surprisingly good for a smartphone with a single speaker.

One update came through during the period of testing: version number RMX2081_11_A.31 which was about 195MB. It added the June security patch. In India, realme has added a pay facility through this update.

The SuperZoom has two SIM slots, but no expansion slot for a SD card. Not that one needs it given the available 256GB storage.

flowers

Once again, the colours are captured perfectly.

If I had the money (which I don't) I would buy this as a second phone: it excels in certain fucntions but is overkill for making calls and sending texts.

Sales commence on 2 July and the 12GB/256GB model will be sold exclusively by JB Hi-Fi.

The other model, the 8GB/128Gb SuperZoom, can be bought from the company's e-store, Officeworks, Bing Lee, Make it Mine, mobileciti, 5GWORLD, Essential Appliance Rentals, Amazon, Kogan, eBay and Catch.com from 2 July.

Specs

System
Product name realme X3 SuperZoom
Product model RMX2086
Android version 10
ColorOS version 7
Game acceleration Yes

long imageDisplay
Screen size 6.57"
Touch screen Capacitive touch
Touch panel technology in-cell
Screen texture LCD
Screen resolution FHD+ 2400×1080
Screen PPI 400
Screen ratio 90.50%
Screen contrast 1500:1 type/ 1000:1 min
Screen refresh rate 120 Hz Max
Screen colours 16.7M
Colour saturation NTSC 81.5% typ
Maximum brightness 400 nits min,480 nits typ
Touch screen glass material GG5,2.5D
Touch points 10
Oleophpbic coating Yes

Appearance
Size length length 163.8 mm, width:75.8 mm, thickness:8.9 mm - 9.3 mm"
Weight ~202g
Body colour "Arctic White, Glacier Blue
Middle frame texture PC
Back cover material glass GG5

CPU
CPU core 8
CPU platform SDM 855+
CPU frequency 1* Kryo 485 Gold +3*Kryo485 Gold +4 *485 Silver
GPU model Adreno 640 GPU
CPU technology 7nm EUV

Memory
RAM 8GB/12GB
RAM technology LPDDR4X
Flash specification UFS 3.0
ROM 128GB/256GB
External memory No
Standard SD card equipped No

Front camera
PPI 32M+8M
Sensor Sizes/pixel data 1/2.74 0.8um+1/4 1.12um
Photo size Main 6560*4928、4928*4928、6560*2960、6560*3692 Wide 3264*2448 2448*2448 3200*1440 3264*1836
Sensor type COB+COB
Sensor manufacturer and model Sony IMX616 GC8054
Wide angle of front camera 80.4°+105°
Aperture Fno2.45+Fno2.2
Lens number 5P + 5P
Characteristic function for photograph Wide Angle Mode, Time-lapse Photography, Front Panorama, Beauty, Face Recognition, Front Shot Flip, Super Nightscape, Blurring Adjustable
Ways of taking photos Touch, Volume Button, Timer, Gesture
Supported resolution and frame rate in video 720P @ 30fps、1080P @30fps
Slow motion YES

Rear camera
Number of rear cameras 4
PPI Main Camera64M+Zoom 8M+Wide Angle 8M+Macro 2M
Sensor Sizes/pixel data Main Camera 1/1.72 0.8um Zoom 1/4.4 1.008um Wide angle 1/4 1.12um Macro 1/5 1.75um
Photo size Main camera 9280*6944 4608*3456 3456*3456 4608*2080 4608*2592 Wide angle 3264*2448 2448*2448 3200*1440 3264*1836 Zoom 3264*2448 2448*2448 3200*1440 3264*1836 Macro 1600*1200
Sensor type COB+COB+COB+CSP
Sensor manufacturer and model Main Camera S5KGW1SP Zoom OV08A10 Wide angle Hi846 Macro GC2375H
Focusing method PDAF
Optical focusing 5X optical zoom
Maximum Zoom multiples 60x DIGITAL zoom
Aperture Main camera Fno1.8 Zoom no3.4 Wide angle Fno2.25 Macro Fno2.4
Focal length Main Camera 26.0mm Zoom 124mm Wide angle 16mm Macro 21.8mm
Wide Angle of rear camera 119°
Flashlight Yes
Rear camera lens material GG5
Lens number Main camera 6P Zoom 4P Wide angle 5P Macro 3P
Macro Lens 2M Macro 4cm
Slow motion Yes
Characteristic function for photograph Super Nightscape, Panorama, Expert Mode, Portrait Mode, Time-lapse Photography, HDR, Ultra Wide, Ultra Macro, AI Scene Recognition, AI Beauty, Filter, Chroma Boost
Continuous Capture modes Yes 20
Image Format jpeg dng
Supported resolution and frame rate in video 1080P @ 30fps 4K @ 60fps 4K @ 30fps 1080P @ 60fp 1080P @ 30fps 720P @ 60fps 720P @ 30fps
Video storage format mp4
Image stabiliser EIS video

oranges

Battery
Full charge time (0-100%) 1%-100% 54 mins 12s (55 mins) 1%-full 59 mins 12s (60 mins)
Battery capacity 4200mAh (typical value) 41000mAh (rated value)
VOOC flash charge Dart, 30W
Theoretical Calling duration 27.26H
Theoretical standby duration 350H
Energy density 685.9Wh/L
Simulated duration 14H13min
Theoretical Audio playing time 17.49H
Charging speed/power 5V6A,30W
Theoretical Video playing time 7.11H

Others
Headset jack type-C
USB jack type-C
USB transmission standard USB2.0
Flashlight Yes
Double mic noise suppression yes
Fingerprint Yes
Linear Motor yes
Vibrating motor linear
Super linear speaker yes
OTG Yes
SIM card slot Dual Nano
NFC Yes

superzoom

Connectivity
Bluetooth version Bluetooth 5.0
Bluetooth Shared network Yes
Bluetooth support protocol A2DP、AVRCP、HFP、HSP,MAP,PABP,HID,PAN
Wi-Fi band 2.4GHz/5GHz
WLAN protocol 802.11b/g/n/a/ac
Maximum number of connected devices at a hotspot 10
WLAN Display Yes
Wi-Fi antenna technology 2*2
GPS navigation GPS, GLONSS, BEIDOU, GALILEO, QZSS
Dual frequency GPS Yes

Entertainment
Image format JPG, BMP, PNG, GIF
Record format MP3
Vdeo record format MP4
Ringtone format OGG
HD format Yes
Web page video play Yes
Sound effect type Dolby Atmos

Other basic functions
Text input Yes
Call records (how many can be stored) 3000
Upper limit for mass text messaging 200
Data backup Yes
Office tools Yes
File compression and decompression Yes
World time Yes
Import and export contacts Yes
Contacts capacity Depends on storage


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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