realme X3 SuperZoom review: Zooming in on special features

realme X3 SuperZoom review: Zooming in on special features

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The company’s latest flagship device has officially been announced in the Philippines and we have spent a good amount of time with it. Priced at just PhP 24,990, this phone offers a 120Hz refresh rate, a camera setup that can zoom up to 60x, and a capable processor to handle your daily tasks.

Is this the budget flagship phone you’re looking for? This is our realme X3 SuperZoom review.

RELATED: 1-minute unboxing — realme X3 SuperZoom 

Design

The realme X3 SuperZoom is on the chunky side of things when talking about its physique. We see right on its back the quad-camera module stacked on the upper left side just like we’ve seen in the realme 6 Pro. Our device comes in Arctic White color so we have a white back panel with color streaks of what appears to be inspired by the Aurora Borealis.

It’s also nice to note that unlike other phones with glossy back panels, the X3 SuperZoom sports an anti-fingerprint coating for its cover so wiping down smudge marks every so often won’t be necessary.

Additionally, you have a sturdy frame for the device and running on its right side is a lone power button that doubles as a fingerprint scanner. Yup, there is no in-display fingerprint sensor here. On the opposite side are volume buttons ergonomically placed for your finger.

Look at the bottom and we have the USB-C port for charging and transferring files. Do take note that it will also be where you plug in compatible earphones as the X3 SuperZoom doesn’t come with a 3.5mm audio jack. Also seen here are the down-firing speakers and compartment for a single SIM.

The device comes with dual punch-holes for your selfie needs. One is a 32-megapixel Sony sensor, and the second a wide-angle lens. At its rear, a quad-camera setup is available for your varying needs while shooting.

Display

Now onto its display where things get a bit more interesting. It comes with a 6.6-inch Full HD+ screen which fits a 2400 x 1080 resolution. The panel is reinforced with Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 for protection against scratches and the display’s entirety has a 90.5% screen to body ratio.

But what sets this display apart from other phones in its range is that it features a 120Hz refresh rate. And for gamers out there, you know that it comes in handy when playing compatible games as well as making the phone feel snappier. Realme has been enthusiastic to claim that it’s the only phone in its class that offers this feature.

We were able to fully appreciate its 120Hz feature for gaming. I really enjoyed having more fluid gameplay, especially when playing Pokémon Go as it adds to the ‘real-life’ aspect of the game by making movements more life-like.

Cameras

Now we go to the rear cameras which is what the SuperZoom in its name is all about. The quad-camera setup here is comprised of a 64-megapixel main camera, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide sensor, a 2-megapixel macro camera, and an 8-megapixel Periscope (or telephoto) lens with OIS.

That last one is pretty special in a sense that it can zoom in to subjects up to 60x magnification — whereas most phones today max out at 5x or 10x and that’s just using digital zoom.

For this phone, its 1x, 2x, and 5x zoom are all done in-lens meaning this isn’t simply ‘zooming’ in on the image but the lens itself has a focal length for long-distance shooting. Going beyond 10x all the way to 60x, however, will make use of hybrid zoom.

And here’s my personal take on hybrid zoom in general. While the technology used is indeed impressive (imagine magnifying an image so far you get to see it better), image quality suffers big time. Yes, you are able to see some details on a far-away building but for me, it’s not a photo I’d post on social media because it’s simply not a good-enough photo.

Here are some sample shots. Be sure to check out that comparison of different zoom options from 1x, 5x, 10x, 60x, and then back to wide-angle.

Again, the tech is great but I wouldn’t say its 60x zoom is its camera’s main selling point. If I’d highlight something for its camera, its 10x zoom is A LOT better for me since it effectively magnifies the subject but still retains a good amount of detail worthy of posting online — the best of both worlds so to speak.

Its Night Mode also comes with a nifty feature. Called the Starry Mode, it’s made to keep the camera’s shutter open for extended periods of time and together with software algorithm, attempt to capture the light emitted by the stars in the sky normally too dark for phone cameras to see. It does the job and could potentially capture even the Milky Way Galaxy as long as you’re in the right place and know where to look.

Unfortunately, it’s been cloudy and even raining the past weeks where we live so we still didn’t get the chance to capture it. We will still try, though, and we’ll be posting it on our Facebook page once we finally get it!

Additionally, it can also shoot up to 4K video at 60fps and supports UIS Max Video Stabilization which we enjoyed using during our realme 6 Pro review.

As mentioned earlier, it has dual selfie cameras comprising of a 32-megapixel main front shooter and a secondary ultra-wide lens for group selfies or if you just want to show more of the place you’re in. It also has your standard beautification filters.

Performance

Carrying on with the rest of its specs, it has a Snapdragon 855+ CPU in its core so it can take on heavy processes. Plus, together with its 12GB RAM, and 256GB storage, you’ve got enough muscle power to run a bunch of popular game titles and productivity apps on this device.

Day-to-day tasks like web browsing and running productivity apps have been handled without hiccups while gaming and media consumption were a joy after all our work has been done. It also had its sound performance tweaked by Dolby Atmos so plugging a pair of headphones in will deliver a better-than-usual and personalized sound quality.

In short, whether for productivity or leisure, the X3 SuperZoom has enough processing power to crunch these tasks.

Speaking of RAM and storage configurations, realme PH says only the 12GB/256GB variant (top-spec) will be sold in the country. The company says this move is for users to have a more powerful gaming and entertainment experience.

The phone runs on Android 10 with realme’s UI overlayed on top. This will give you a few random software that you can uninstall but overall offers close to stock Android experience. Customization of widgets and app aesthetics, plus the option for Dark Mode are still present.

Battery Life

The device is powered by a 4200mAh battery and comes with 30W Dart Charge. This capacity, together with how its processor conserves power, was able to make the device last for more than a day with casual usage — basically checking social media and using its camera. But even when gaming comes into play, it could easily last an entire day on a single charge. We didn’t experience having to stop what we’re doing in the middle of the day just to charge it even under constant usage. And that is a really good thing.

With its 30W Dart Charge, realme claims that it will be able to fully charge the phone from 0-100% in just 55 minutes. Well, we tried it a couple of times and it needed around an hour and four minutes to be able to charge fully. It’s not 55 minutes as advertised, but it’s actually pretty close.

RELATED: realme 6 vs realme 6 Pro – Which phone should you buy?

Creature Feature

In our reviews, The Modern Creatures aims to find special features in a device that make it worth having – things that give it a slight edge from among its peers. For the realme X3 SuperZoom, it’s a tie between the 120Hz refresh rate for gaming, and the 10x zoom — not the 60x — since having it offers great flexibility when shooting.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, you wouldn’t have any major gripes with this phone. Yes, the body is a little bit thick, you have protruding rear cameras, and its 60x digital zoom is still a debate when it comes to usefulness. But in general, the X3 SuperZoom is packed with features (like its 120Hz display) commonly found on higher-end devices. Plus, you get bells-and-whistles like Gorilla Glass 5 protection, 30W Dart Charge for just an hour of charging, and Night Mode that produces clean and impressive night shots.

As a bundle, the realme X3 SuperZoom is what you’ll look for when you want to upgrade your phone to better specs and features without breaking the bank. With its PhP 24,990 price tag, it offers value for money without skipping on important features and with very little tradeoffs.

Pre-orders for the X3 SuperZoom start today, July 9, to July 17 in realme concept stores, kiosks, and select stores nationwide. Doing so will also get you a free realme Buds Air Black worth PhP 3,990.

realme X3 SuperZoom specs:

6.6-inch FullHD+ display, 2400 x 1080 resolution
120Hz refresh rate
Corning Gorilla Glass 5
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ octa-core CPU
Adreno 640 GPU
12GB RAM
256GB internal storage
64MP main, 8MP Periscope with 60x SuperZoom, 8MP ultra-wide, 2MP macro
32MP main, 8MP ultra-wide selfie cameras
up to 4K @ 60fps video recording, UIS Max Video Stabilization
Dual-SIM
4G LTE
USB Type-C
speakers by Dolby Atmos
Fingerprint scanner
Android 10 with realme UI
4,200mAh battery w/ 30W Dart Charge
Arctic White, Glacier Blue colors