India smartphone shipments in the $300-500 price segment fell by 48.4% year-on-year in the June quarter, according to a recent IDC report. The segment accounts for 4.8% of the smartphone market. Despite the limited market share, this segment has been generating a lot of interest lately with two new handsets, the Realme X3 SuperZoom which offers a camera with 60x zoom and the OnePlus Nord which is one of the few phones in this range to offer 5G compatibility.
The Realme X3 SuperZoom costs ₹25,999, while the OnePlus Nord starts at ₹24,999.
The X3 SuperZoom has a very similar design as the OnePlus Nord. Both have vertical quad camera setup on the left side of the back panel and a horizontal dual camera setup on the front panel. In terms of look and feel, the non glossy Arctic white finish on the X3 SuperZoom looks quite exquisite and doesn’t catch smudges either. However, it feels a tad heavy at 202g. Though Nord has a glossy finish it weighs just 184g.
The X3 SuperZoom has a headphone jack, unlike the Nord which like many of the new phones have let go of it and relies on USB type-C to connect to headphones.
The X3 SuperZoom has a single speaker at the base, but it’s surprisingly loud and clear. The side facing fingerprint sensor is wide and accurate too.
Overall, the X3 SuperZoom looks a lot more premium, but the lighter form factor makes Nord a better bet for users who prefer convenience over looks.
Realme has made huge strides in terms of UI. The X3 SuperZoom has one of the best looking UIs running on top of Android 10. It offers the familiarity of stock Android yet has lots of practical customisation options. OnePlus’ Oxygen OS is designed on the same principles and looks a lot cleaner and bloatware free in comparison. The X3 SuperZoom is more viable for users who like to fiddle with the interface more and like to apply cool themes and all, but those who prefer cleaner interface with slightly more customisation than stock Android then Nord is the phone to go for.
The X3 SuperZoom has a 6.6-inch Full HD+ 120Hz LCD display. Technically, it is bigger in size and offers more refresh rate over Nord’s 6.4-inch 90Hz AMOLED screen. This means slightly more legroom for gaming, working and watching videos. Also higher refresh rate means smoother gaming experience. In terms of visual experience, the X3 SuperZoom is right up there with Nord or any other handset in this price segment. Colours in games and videos look vivid.
Another key point of differentiation between the X3 SuperZoom and the Nord is the performance. While the former runs on a more formidable Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ as compared to the latter’s Snapdragon 765G, it doesn’t support 5G, which means when the technology rolls out in India, users will have to switch to a new phone. However, there is still no clear timeline for when 5G will be available to general public. It can be sometime in 2021 or a year later.
In terms of gaming performance, the X3 SuperZoom has an upper hand. So users who are into high end mobile games it is a more dependable option than Nord.
Powering the X3 SuperZoom is a 4,200mAh battery that lasts a workday with ease and also supports 30W fast charging.
For the camera buffs, the X3 SuperZoom has got some cool features. A case in point is the 8MP periscope camera with 5x optical zoom and 60x digital zoom backed by optical image stabilization. Though the detailing is average with 60x zoom, the camera can still capture some fine looking shots of far away objects. The phone has a 64MP high resolution camera that takes well lit photos with ample amount of detail. Colours look a bit suppressed, though. The 2MP macro camera is average and its output mostly looks noisy. The dual front camera setup includes a 32MP lens which captures sharp and well lit selfies. The secondary 8MP ultra wide angle camera offers more room for people and objects in background in selfies.
The rival OnePlus Nord has a quad camera setup too on back with 48MP camera and 8MP ultra wide, but misses out on zoom lens.
The OnePlus Nord has a lot going for it like the cleaner interface, compact form factor and the 5G support. However, Realme X3 SuperZoom has a lot more to offer to design conscious, camera buffs and gaming enthusiasts.