Don't you just love a phone with a notchless, near-frameless display? We know we do, and the Realme X is one of those. Removing the selfie camera means no unsightly cutouts and brings us one step closer to the bezelless look manufacturers were aiming for lately.
We're not there yet, however, and the X does have a bit more substantial chin than the rest of the screen's surrounds. It's by no means what you'd call thick, and a case could be made that it actually helps by providing an area to rest your thumb and a slightly higher point to initiate the navigation gestures. Just make sure you don't interpret this as us being against truly bezelless phones.
Another area where the Realme X is staying on top of trends is biometric security. Thanks to having an OLED display, the handset's fingerprint sensor can be placed underneath it. It's the more common optical variety, as opposed to the ultrasonic type used on the Galaxy S10s.
The sensor is positioned a comfortable distance above the bottom edge of the display - not too low, not too high. It can be set to activate when the phone senses movement, or it can be kept off until you wake up the phone, but it can't be 'always-on', strictly speaking. The lift-to-activate works reliably though, so by the time you do actually press the sensor, it's ready for you. The unlocking happens quickly - not as fast as, say, the OnePlus 7 Pro, but certainly a lot more quickly than early iterations.
So the fingerprint reader is underneath the display, but where's the selfie camera? It rises from within, on a small motorized platform, much like the vivo NEX S, only here the module is centered as opposed to being to one side.
Realme promises the mechanism is good for at least 200,000 actuations and you can do the math just how many selfies a day that gives you over a 2-year period - it's a lot. They also say it's covered with sapphire glass, but we spared it the Mohs picks test. Part of the reason being that we don't own Mohs picks.
The pop-up module has the usual smarts we've come to expect from such units - it will automatically retract when a fall is detected and when it senses you're trying to manually push it in.
The camera and fingerprint reader already accounted for, the only other bit that can potentially ruin a phone's face is earpiece. Realme managed to find room for a slit above the display, where the glass meets the frame. Oddly enough, it's two separate drivers on either side of the camera - it may be out of sight, but that's exactly where its silo is and it needs to be straddled for earpiece purposes. This implementation doesn't have a detrimental effect on usability, mind you, nor does it spill sound every which way like the piezo speakers we've seen on other phones.
The ambient light and proximity sensors are underneath the display too. There's no status/notification LED.
Flipping the phone over to have a look a the back, we're seeing a centered camera assembly - that makes this the first Realme where the camera isn't in the top left corner. Other family traits have been kept, however - the gold ring accent around one of the modules has been a signature since the Realme 3.
The two cameras and the flash share a common bump, same as on the Realme 3 Pro and the 3 before that. We say bump, but in fact it's raised only ever so slightly - barely half a millimeter. And, being centered, it means that the X doesn't have a tendency to wobble on a table.
The Realme X will be available in two color schemes - Steam white and Punk blue. Our review unit is the latter and the Punk goes to indicate a blue-to-purple gradient. We've grown accustomed to gradients, and this one isn't anything groundbreaking, but it's pretty nonetheless. The frame also has the gradient applied to it to match the back, which is a nice touch.
The controls layout is the same as on all other Realmes and that's a good thing. A large power button is on the right, a bit above the midpoint. The volume buttons are on the left, the volume down directly opposite the power button.
One thing that's unlike any other Realme, and that's a bad thing, is the absence of a microSD slot. The card tray has cutouts for just two nanoSIMs, when every other Realme to date has had a third one dedicated to storage expansion. Let's hope that's not an indication of an upcoming trend.
The 3.5mm jack is here, fret not. Other niceties await on the bottom too - the Realme X has a USB-C port and that's a welcome change from the rest of the lineup's microUSBs. The loudspeaker and the primary mic are also in this vicinity, while a secondary mic sits up top.
Thea Realme X measures 161.3x76.1x8.6mm and weighs in at 191g. It's not a small phone by any stretch, but for a 6.53-inch device it's about as compact as you can expect. The 6.53-inch stablemate Oppo F11 Pro is a gram lighter, and 0.2mm thicker, but those are hardly differences.
The Galaxy A50 shaves a few millimeters in all directions, but its display is smaller at 6.4 inches, plus it's notched. The Galaxy is noticeably lighter, however, at just 166g. The Redmi Note 7 is marginally smaller too, but it's also packing a smaller 6.3-inch display. The Honor 8X's 6.5-inch notched screen comes closest to the Realme X, and the two phones are similarly sized, though the 8X is 0.8mm thinner and 16g lighter.