A solid performer with a few chinks in its armour- Tech Reviews, FirstpostJune 23, 2021
The Realme X7 Max 5G finds itself positioned at the higher end of Realme’s line-up. The smartphone is equipped with a handful of premium features such as an AMOLED display, fast charging, 5G compatibility and a stylish design to go toe-to-toe with the big boys. Despite loading it with features, the X7 Max 5G is priced well to maintain a cost advantage over its rivals, which is a delicate balance to achieve. Let’s find out if Realme has managed to successfully deliver a value-for-money, feature-rich package that’s appealing overall.
The Realme X7 Max 5G has a plastic body and frame. While that’s disappointing on paper, the device is quite a looker in person. I have seen manufacturers lend plastic a glass-like look. It all started with Samsung’s ‘glastic’ finish on its budget M series phones. However, the X7 Max 5G features the most refined implementation of this idea. The frosted glass-like finish on the plastic back is quite convincing. Sure, it doesn’t look as fancy as real glass, but it doesn’t crack like one, either.
Like recent Realme phones, the X7 Max 5G features a glossy stripe on a matte black body. I find it all right, but the reasoning behind it is quite odd. As per the brand, “Some like glossy textures. Some prefer matte. Well, we got both on one surface”.
I have to ask – is it not a better idea to release variants in different finishes? Fortunately, Realme hasn’t mixed Mercury Silver, Asteroid Black, and Milky Way just because people also prefer different colours.
On the bright side, the Chinese company has finally ditched the obnoxiously large branding seen on the Realme 8 Pro. Instead, you get a small logo and a tagline. Realme usually gets ergonomics right and the X7 Max 5G is no exception. Despite packing in a large 6.4-inch screen, the phone feels quite compact. It is also just 8.4 mm-thick and has curves in all the right places. Thanks to the plastic body, the phone weighs in at under 180 grams.
The X7 Max 5G features a 6.4-inch AMOLED screen with Full HD+ resolution. Due to its emissive characteristics, OLED has inherent advantages over LCD tech. Owing to its ability to selectively switch off pixels, the X7 Max 5G’s screen delivers an excellent contrast ratio. You get deep blacks and vibrant colours that cannot be achieved with an LCD.
Realme has tuned the display for a 120 Hz refresh rate, which is complemented by the UI to offer a smooth experience. On top of that, the screen supports a 360 Hz touch-sampling rate to give you an edge in competitive gaming. The phone has an under-display fingerprint scanner that works very well. For scratch resistance, Realme has opted for Dragontrail Glass.
Getting straight to the point, Realme’s Android customisation is great. It offers a truckload of personalisation options – you can pick your theme, tailor icons, select app layout, fine-tune the notification drawer and even alter text size and fonts.
Despite being packed to the gills with features, the Realme UI 2.0 is light on resources. Compared to other Android customisations, it is lighter and flies on the X7 Max 5G’s hardware. It is aesthetically pleasing, too – the UI elements, transparency, and transition effects are all slick.
However, not everything is fine and dandy. Some pre-installed apps – especially the default browser – nag you with an ungodly number of notifications.
As per Realme, the X7 Max 5G is India’s first Dimensity 1200-powered smartphone. Based on 6 nm fabrication, this chipset is said to be Taiwanese semiconductor company MediaTek’s flagship SoC (System on Chip). In terms of power, the Dimensity 1200 lives up to the hype. It delivers solid performance in regular use as well as with gaming.
I have been using this handset for a couple of weeks and have yet to come across any noticeable stutter or lag. Even games such as Genshin Impact and Call of Duty: Mobile run smoothly. However, you don’t get access to the highest possible settings in some games. It is an irony that a phone with Max in its name doesn’t let you play games at ‘Max’ settings. To put things in perspective, the Dimensity 1200’s rival, Snapdragon’s 870, has no issues running most of these games with the graphics maxed out.
If synthetic benchmark scores are anything to go by, the X7 Max 5G packs quite a punch. I guess it can’t handle max settings simply because these games aren’t optimised for the Dimensity 1200 yet. There’s a good chance that MediaTek will soon work out a solution.
5G is one of the highlights of this handset. However, since commercial 5G network is yet to be introduced in India, commenting on its performance is out of the question. At this moment, I can only read out the information provided by the manufacturer. The Realme X7 Max 5G supports several bands including N1/N28A/N40/N41/N77/N78/N79. That makes it a good option if you are looking for a future-proof device.
The X7 Max 5G sports a 64 MP main camera, accompanied by an 8 MP wide-angle lens and a 2 MP macro. Like almost every recent smartphone, the X7 Max 5G comes with several photography modes. If you can’t be bothered to select the right one for each scenario, you can switch to AI mode and let the phone take care of the settings for you.
The phone features Sony’s IMX682 image sensor, which is also found on the recently-reviewed Realme 8. The main camera pulls off good results in brightly lit environments. The post-processing seems fine for most shots save for ones depicting greenery, which often appears smeared. For a phone with a base price of Rs 27,000, the X7 Max 5G’s low-light performance is quite disappointing. Sure, the camera’s dynamic range is fine, but the noise is unmanageable.
Click here to see the camera samples:
The 8 MP wide-angle camera is nothing to write home about. It barely captures any detail, and the barrel distortion is quite noticeable around the edges. In low-light conditions, excessive noise joins forces with lack of detail to spoil picture quality.
The 16 MP selfie camera – placed inside a punch-hole – delivers good results. In addition to portrait mode, the camera offers Panoramic view, Face Distortion Correction and Passport photo modes. The latter is quite useful and can save you a trip to a photo studio.
The X7 Max 5G’s main camera records 4K videos at 60 fps. The resulting clips deliver rich colours and a good amount of detail. The camera lacks Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), but Realme’s Electronic Image Stabilisation (EIS) gets the job done, albeit by heavily cropping the frame.
The phone houses a 4,500 mAh battery, which lasts a day on a single charge. Realme claims the bundled 50 W SuperDart charger can top up the phone from zero to 50 percent in 16 minutes flat. However, I found it to reach the 40 percent mark in that amount of time, which is still impressive.
The Realme X7 Max 5G is a powerful handset wrapped in a sleek body. The phone packs in a brilliant AMOLED screen, an optimised OS and impressively quick charging times.
It’s in the camera department where this handset is lacking. Had the company fitted the Realme 8 Pro’s 108 MP camera to the X7 Max 5G, it would have been one hell of a device. I know the phone’s cost would have gone up, but I think it would have been worth it. Maybe Realme could have offset that cost by choosing a non-5G chipset.
That said, the Realme X Max 5G is still a good sub-Rs 30,000 option. The phone’s 8 GB + 128 GB variant is priced at Rs 27,000, whereas the 12 GB + 256 GB model we reviewed costs Rs 30,000. Its closest competitor is Xiaomi’s Mi 11X 5G, with its 6 GB + 128 GB model priced at Rs 30,000 and the 8 GB + 128 GB variant going all the way up to Rs 32,000.
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