We have been at war, and we haven’t realized it all these years. The Android flagship smartphones are at war, with Android superphones and with a second layer of flagship phones which play the price tag card very smartly while being there or thereabouts with the flagship specs and experience. The return of the flagship killers, with a vengeance? As low as you can go with the price, while maintaining the spec sheet baseline. That’s what we have seen with the OnePlus 9R and the OnePlus Nord for instance, or the Xiaomi Mi 11X series, with varying degrees of effectiveness. A flagship experience, or at least very close to one, for someone who may not always have the budget to stretch the expense. Compromises? No sir, that’s not something to worry about. That war continues, with the arrival of the Realme X7 Max 5G.
The Realme X7 Max 5G is available in two variants, at least at this time. There will be the 8GB RAM and 128GB storage option that is priced at Rs 26,999 while there is a higher spec 12GB RAM and 256GB storage variant that will have a sticker price of Rs 29,999. Competition check leads us to the Xiaomi Mi 11X 5G with prices starting around Rs 29,999 before you can snare any deals. Then there is the Samsung Galaxy F62 with prices starting Rs 23,999. Last but not least is the OnePlus Nord, at least till the next generation comes along and those prices start Rs 24,999. Among the options available, as a customer, you’ll have your pick from a variety of processor options, with a medley of Qualcomm, Exynos and now MediaTek, all trying to play a tune better than the other. A quick look at the specs reaffirms the flagship-esque credentials, the foundations so to say. This is powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 1200 processor, and you’ll get the option of 8GB RAM and 12GB RAM to go along. Storage choices, depending on which spec you pick, will be 128GB and 256GB. A 6.43-inch display with 120Hz refresh rate makes this one in the ever-lessening breed of relatively more compact phones while the triple camera system at the back is led by a 64-megapixel Sony IMX682 sensor. Battery stats, you ask. That’ll be a 4500mAh battery pack with 50W SuperDart charge for a full discharge to 50% charge in around 16 minutes only.
If you aren’t a fan of phones that barely fit in your trouser pocket and you’ve to stretch your thumb more than you ever bargained for to reach the far corners of the screen, then you should stick on and continue reading. The 6.43-inch display size of the Realme X7 Max 5G makes this a relatively more compact phone, compared with a lot of larger flagships doing rounds more regularly now. For perspective, most phones stay around the 6.67-inch and the 6.7-inch mark, which adds those extra millimeters to the overall footprint. In comparison, even those few mm shaved off makes the Realme X7 Max 5G look really compact as it sits on the desk alongside some of the current Android flagship phone options. Tipping the weighing scales at 179 grams makes it 17 grams lighter than the Mi 11X Pro and 20 grams lighter than the OnePlus 9R, for perspective. It is not any compromise with build quality, mind you, because the Realme X7 Max 5G is put together well. Mind you, it is plastic though, but then again, so was the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE, and I had pointed it out then that it is in no way indicating towards inferiority. Neither is the Realme X7 Max 5G.
While costs may have been more controlled with plastic compared with metal and glass at the back, Realme hasn’t cut any corners on how the phone feels in hand. There is a definite lightness about it, but that isn’t to be mistaken with lack of reassuring heft. In fact, and I’m not exactly sure why this is—the Realme X7 Max 5G feels a tad heavier towards the top (because of the camera module, understandably) and also near the base. Just an observation, and I’d expect your hands to get used to this weight distribution in a matter of days, if not hours. It is quite cool how Realme have gotten matte finish and glossy finish going on the same back panel. There doesn’t seem to be any melding together of a different material. The Realme X7 Max 5G that we have here as the review device is the Asteroid Black colour option—your other two choices would be Mercury Silver and Milky Way. For a matte black finish otherwise, there is the stripe running down from the camera, as wide as the camera module, and this is glossy in finish. This is also where the Realme logo sits somewhere along the way. That logo has a party piece of neon light effect when you look at it from different angles as light falls on it. On a more personal note, I’m a fan of more subtle branding on phones and gadgets in general. Seen similar logo style on Poco phones recently, so clearly this is in vogue—the less said about my sense of style, the better.
This is my first tryst with the MediaTek Dimensity 1200, and I have to say that this seems to be right up there competing against the higher echelons of the current Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 series of chips for smartphones. The 12GB RAM helps too. In fact, this sits somewhere around the Snapdragon 865+ and the Snapdragon 870 chips, on the spec sheet and for the sort of performance that you’d get. MediaTek isn’t messing around and Realme may have just taken a smart bet with the Dimensity 1200. It is a big bet, and from what I have been able to understand with the Realme X7 Max 5G, it has paid off handsomely. Experiencing this phone as a phone, the checklist is being ticked off. There is no perceptible heating on the back panel even if you are careless with leaving apps running in the background and still push it with 4K video recording. I didn’t notice stutters or slowdowns, and chances are, you wouldn’t either. Realme UI, which is the Realme UI 2.0 to be precise, does have the finer controls and options that you’d like. But, and it is hard to run away from this—there are a lot of preloaded apps on the Realme X7 Max 5G, and I fear that may take away a bit from the premium positioning. At least for some users.
The Realme X7 Max 5G gets 50-watt fast charging for the 4500mAh battery, and this should juice up a fully discharged battery to 50% in around 16 minutes. That being said, generally, you need to be careful with fast charging phones about the ambient temperature. If the phone isn’t cooled enough, the charging speed will reduce accordingly so as to not damage the battery. You fast charging experience will depend a lot on those factors. In general, when used a phone primarily for web browsing, emails, WhatsApp chats, wasting some hours on Twitter and Instagram and watching some YouTube videos, the Realme X7 Max 5G gets from 8am to 8pm with still 46% battery remaining. That is indicative that it’ll get you through a day effortlessly and it won’t still be a rush to plug it in before you turn off the lights for the night. Be a bit careful with display brightness and keeping unused apps closed, and you’ll eke out a few minutes more either way. No wireless charging, of course, but I wouldn’t categorise it as anywhere close to being a deal-breaker.
I had mentioned earlier that the 6.43-inch display makes it one of the rarer more compact display smartphone options. This is a Super AMOLED screen with the 120Hz refresh rate and claimed brightness of 1000 nits. My experience with the canvas on the Realme X7 Max 5G is one of consistency. This display does not stand out in any specific way, but then again, it does not need to. It stays out of the way in the respect that you do not notice any flaws with it either. Bright, sharp enough, colours look good, night mode makes it even more gorgeous and contrast more than does its job for media consumption as well. What I like is that in Settings > Display > Dark Mode Settings, you get three step settings for how dark you want the dark mode to be. It is always Enhanced for me, but you can choose the less aggressive Medium or Gentle modes too.
Cameras is where the Realme X7 Max 5G holds a lot of promise. There is a 64-megapixel wide camera leading the way—this is the Sony IMX682 sensor. Then there is an 8-megapixel ultrawide camera and a 2-megapixel macro camera. A case of two halves, it has to be said. Daytime and good light photos look rich and the lack of any forced noise reduction is very apparent, which means details come through nicely and the edges of the frame are crisp too. Colours are dialed up a bit more than what I’d prefer, but that is subjective at best. Dynamic range and the distinction between different colours do not elicit any complaints in my mind or my notes. That being said, switch to low light scenarios with this camera and the night mode doesn’t always work as well as I’d hoped. The exposure isn’t as much as I had expected and that means details are often lost. Colours are dialed up a notch higher than they need to be. Yet, all this is something that can be fixed with software updates and algorithm tweaks. There are times when I strongly believe that if the second and third cameras in this troika were a tad more capable in terms of megapixels, things could have been better out of the box itself. The Realme X7 Max 5G can do 4K videos at 60fps, but the default setting is at 1080p videos at 30fps—do keep that in mind and change in the camera settings before you start recording videos.
THE LAST WORD: THE REALME X7 MAX 5G PLAYS THE RISKY CARDS, AND PLAYS THEM WELL
There is absolutely no doubt that the Realme X7 Max 5G is attracting exactly the demographic of users that it set out to reach out to, in the first place. Competition is tough in the alternate Android flagship or Android flagship killer space, yet Realme hasn’t been shy of trying out something different with this phone. The MediaTek Dimensity 1200 chip and the more compact display do add a different element, and in my honest option, these things have worked. The Realme X7 Max 5G is a consistent performer which is sitting in the higher echelons of the performance charts for smartphones that have a flagship inspiration. The design also has a youthful touch to it, which should also work well for a lot of users.