The Realme X50 Pro 5G sets the bar for affordable flagships in 2020

Take a good look at the Realme X50 Pro 5G, as it’s representative of what we really wanted to see at MWC 2020, should it have gone ahead. It’s a reasonably priced smartphone with 5G, but crucially it’s not a midrange, reasonably priced 5G phone, it’s a high-spec, practically flagship level, reasonably priced 5G phone.

How much? It’s 600 euros, or about $650, which makes it just a little more than the 4G OnePlus 7T. Realme is a relative newcomer to the smartphone world, yet has matured very quickly. The X50 Pro 5G is its most impressive phone yet, and we’ve given it a try.

Design

The Realme X50 Pro 5G steals a lot of its good looks from the Huawei P30 Pro. The quad-lens camera sits in the top left of the glass rear panel, which is neatly curved at the sides, leading into the rounded metal chassis’s edges. There is a slightly sharp joint where the two sections meet, which I tended to rub with my finger after I’d noticed. You don’t feel it against your palm though. I love the smooth, matte finish of the phone as it provides a degree of grip without sacrificing the cool, pleasing feel of glass.

My review model came in a color Realme calls rust red, and it’s very attractive. When it catches the light, the matte finish takes on a deep, vibrant red shine. A pretty green version is also available. On the front of the phone is a 6.44-inch Super AMOLED screen from Samsung, with a 20:9 aspect ratio, much like the OnePlus 7T. This makes the phone easy to hold, despite the size of the screen and device; I can almost wrap my hand all the way round.

The screen is broken up only by a dual-lens selfie camera set in a punch-hole in the top left. It’s also used for the super fast face unlock system; surrounding the lens is a glowing light to let you know it’s working, just like we saw on the Galaxy S10 Plus. The screen looks great. It supports HDR 10, has DCI-P3 color tuning for a cinematic look, and an above-standard 90Hz refresh rate. Scrolling through Twitter shows this off very well, with no jerkiness and less blurring than most phones. Watching a 1080p YouTube video and comparing it to the iPhone 11 Pro, showed a cooler color palette, but plenty of detail and brightness.

Like the Realme X2 Pro, the X50 Pro 5G isn’t especially thin or light. It’s also not groundbreaking in terms of how it looks, and doesn’t have a standout design feature aside from the color. However, it’s certainly not ugly, it’s well-built, and the screen itself is enviably attractive.

Software

Realme is a smartphone company from China and comes from the same stable as Oppo, Vivo, and OnePlus. Realme previously used ColorOS from Oppo as its software, and this was one of the biggest downsides of its phones. For the X50 Pro 5G, it introduces Realme UI, built around Android 10, and it’s a serious improvement. It’s reminds me of Asus’s ZenUI on the Zenfone 6, as it takes most of what we like about Android — the app drawer, the notification alerts, the settings menu, and the gesture controls — then adds in a few visual design tweaks to make it Realme’s own. Gone is the frustration that comes with Oppo’s ColorOS, as everything feels quite familiar, and operates smoothly.

I haven’t had a chance to try the 5G connection on the X50 Pro yet, but it has connected without issue to a 4G LTE signal in the U.K., and I’ve experienced no problems with installing or setting up apps. As for the downsides, the swipe gestures for navigation are a little slow to react, and the swipe in Smart Assistant — to the left of the home screen — doesn’t do much yet. Plus some of the icons are messy when adapted from square to round to fit in with Realme UI’s style. This aside, the Realme UI software on the X50 Pro 5G should be seen as a big step forward for the brand, and no longer a reason to approach its phones with caution.

Camera

There are four cameras on the back of the Realme X50 Pro — a 64-megapixel main camera, an 8-megapixel ultra wide-angle lens, a 12-megapixel telephoto lens, and a monochrome portrait lens. Realme is so proud it’s given the camera system a powerful name: Hawk Eye. On the front is a 32-megapixel selfie camera and an 8-megapixel ultra-wide lens.

You get plenty of features here, including 3x optical zoom and 5x hybrid zoom, image stablization, a night mode, a macro mode, artificial intelligence enhancements and scene recognition, plus a full 64-megapixel photo mode too. The camera app is logically laid out and reacted quickly in my early tests, with the HDR mode kicking in when I wanted it to. The photos it took looked good, but terrible weather has made it hard to assess quality or overall performance yet, particularly with dynamic lighting.


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realme x50 pro 5g hands on features price photos release date tree

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realme x50 pro 5g hands on features price photos release date portraitRealme X50 Pro 5G Portrait Mode

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The wide-angle selfie camera performs well indoors, with great white balance and detail in challenging conditions. Blur application along the subject is adept but it’s a shame portrait mode isn’t operational in wide-angle selfie shots. I really liked the photos taken with the Realme X2 Pro, and expect the X50 Pro 5G to impress more when I get out and use it in better conditions.

Performance and specifications

You may be expecting a mid-range Qualcomm processor inside the Realme X50 Pro 5G, given the price, but it’s a top-spec Snapdragon 865 chip, the same one you’ll find in the new Samsung Galaxy S20 5G phones which cost up to twice as much as the X50 Pro. The cheapest X50 Pro 5G version comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, while a more expensive model has 256GB of storage and 12GB of RAM.

The 4,200mAh battery is another reason for the phone’s size and weight, but it comes with 65W fast charging, which Realme says takes just 35 minutes to go from empty to full. This puts it around the same speed as the Oppo Reno Ace, the fastest charging phone we’ve ever tested. I’ll be trying out the fast charging system for our full review.

Other Realme X50 Pro 5G features include an in-display fingerprint sensor, which I barely get the chance to use because the face unlock’s so quick, NFC for contactless payments, dual speakers, a vapor cooling system, and 180Hz touch sampling for more accurate touchscreen performance.

Price, availability, and conclusion

Sadly, at this time the Realme X50 Pro 5G has not been announced for release in the U.S., however it will be out in Europe this April, and in India too. The price for the 8GB/128GB version is 600 euros ($650), and 750 euros ($815) for the 12GB/256GB version.

There’s almost nothing that’s missing from the Realme X50 Pro 5G, outside of wireless charging, and that’s easy to forgive at this price. No, the design isn’t groundbreaking, but the colors are pretty and still make it desirable. The software was Realme’s Achilles heel before, but this has changed. All this means it’s extremely hard to find major downsides with the X50 Pro 5G, and I highly recommend taking a good look at this phone if you’re in the market for a high-spec, future-proofed phone but have no wish to pay $1,000 or more. Realme is setting the standard for 5G phones available at a reasonable price this year.