It’s getting hard to keep up with the flurry of smartphone launches in 2023; but hey, it’s my job and I immensely enjoy it. Now, Realme has added another couple of devices to this flurry of launches; hot on the heels of the Realme 11 Pro (review) and Realme 11 Pro+ (review) launch. The latest smartphones in Realme’s vast portfolio are the Realme 11 5G and its toned-down sibling – the Realme 11x 5G. I’m reviewing the latter, and while this phone looks pretty basic at first glance, there are some things that set it apart from the competition. For instance, you’ve got Realme’s 2x in-sensor zoom, which was popularised on the Realme 11 Pro series, and a rather polarising design. The phone is situated in the ₹14-16K price bracket in India where Realme doesn’t have an overbearing presence, so let’s see if it can make enough of an impact to take on the likes of the Samsung Galaxy M34 5G (review), and iQOO Z7 5G (review). Read on for my detailed review of the latest Realme 11x 5G.
Realme 11x 5G Review: Build and Design
The Realme 11x 5G comes in two colourways – Purple Dawn and Midnight Black. I got the former for review and I’d definitely say that the design language is polarising. You either love it or hate it. The back panel is a shimmery Purple-Blue colour that shines bright under direct light. It also creates this illuminated S-shaped design when the light hits it at a certain angle. Now, if you’re a fan of subtle and classy designs, you may want to give this one a miss because it looks slightly garish in person. However, the Midnight Black version may still be your cup of tea since it is slightly more muted.
The shimmery back panel is made of glossy plastic and it attracts a fair amount of fingerprints and smudges; although not as much as plain ol’ glossy backs. The Realme branding doesn’t take up too much space, but the same cannot be said for the camera module. You’ve got a large circular camera module on the top left corner of the back panel that houses dual cameras and a flash module. The words “64 MP AI Camera” are also etched above the flash.
Given the substantial size of the camera module and its placement, the phone rocks considerably when placed on a flat surface. Realme has also adopted a flat-edged design with the Realme 11x 5G, so the metallic-looking sides are completely flat with no curves at all. The same goes for the rear panel and the display; no curves here as well. I personally found the phone to be slightly uncomfortable to hold for long periods because of this design trait.
Moving on to buttons and ports, the Realme 11x 5G features volume rockers and a power button on the right side. The buttons are tactile and the power button doubles as a fingerprint sensor. It is accurate and speedy, so props to Realme here. The bottom of the phone houses a USB Type C charging port, a 3.5 mm audio jack, and a single mono speaker. The left side features the SIM tray with slots for two SIM cards and a microSD card.
Realme 11x 5G Review: Display
The Realme 11x 5G has a pretty basic display for the display. The bezels are uneven – especially the bottom chin bezel which is disproportionately thick. It is a 6.72-inch Full HD+ IPS LCD display with 120 Hz refresh rate support.
I was disappointed to see that Realme hasn’t gone for an OLED display here since similarly priced competitors like the iQOO Z7, Samsung Galaxy M34, and Moto G52 all sport AMOLED displays. Add to that, a single mono speaker, and this is definitely not a device I’d recommend for content consumption at this price point. You’d be better off going for any of the devices I mentioned before.
That being said, the display is not bad for an LCD panel. The detail is good enough and it is bright enough at 518 nits of peak brightness, according to our tests. However, the colours lack punch, they feel pretty muted compared to the competition. Additionally, the viewing angles are mediocre, at best. There is no HDR certification, but you do get Widevine L1 support, which means you can watch HD content on OTT platforms.
Realme 11x 5G Review: Performance
The Realme 11x 5G sports MediaTek’s new Dimensity 6100+ 5G SoC, just like its more expensive sibling, the Realme 11 5G. It boasts a maximum clock speed of 2.2 GHz and is manufactured on the 6 nm process. The phone comes with 6 or 8 GB of LPDDR4X RAM, with Dynamic RAM Expansion up to 8 GB. However, virtual RAM (dubbed Dynamic RAM by Realme) isn’t as powerful as actual RAM. You also get 128 GB of UFS 2.2 storage, alongside the option to expand the memory via microSD card.
The Dimensity 6100+ does a pretty decent job at keeping up with its competitors on phones such as the Samsung Galaxy M34 and iQOO Z7, however, it did come up short in a couple of benchmarks. Starting with AnTuTu and GeekBench, the performance is competitive, but it falls behind in both tests. However, it does pull ahead of the iQOO Z7 in PCMark Work, which means it should be able to handle productivity-based tasks slightly better.
In GPU benchmarks though, the gap is substantial. In both 3D Mark Wild Life and GFXBench tests, the Realme 11x 5G scores almost half as much as the iQOO Z7 and Samsung Galaxy M34. I felt the difference in real-world gaming performance as well, where I could easily play Call of Duty: Mobile on the Samsung Galaxy M34 on High Graphics but the Realme 11x struggled to handle it with consistent frame rates. The Realme 11x performed decently well when gaming on Medium graphics, but go any higher and you’ll face some stutters.
I faced a similar issue when it came to multitasking. Despite having 8 GB RAM, plus the option to expand it via virtual RAM, the phone seemed laggy at times – which is bewildering. Especially when booting up and clicking pictures. My bet would be that the phone’s processor isn’t well-tuned enough so far since it is quite new and Realme’s array of third-party apps and bloatware don’t really help.
Nevertheless, the performance is adequate for day-to-day tasks; scrolling feels smooth with 120 Hz active minus the occasional stutters we spoke about. We really feel that there are better phones at the same price for gaming enthusiasts though.
Moving on to software, the Realme 11x 5G will get 2 years of OS updates and 3 years of security updates, which is standard for the company. As usual, Realme UI 4.0 is still brimming with bloatware and preinstalled third-party applications. Many of these can be uninstalled, but many can’t. The UI has a lot of features, but it is let down by the excessive bloatware.
Realme 11x 5G Review: Cameras
According to me, the camera is the highlight of the Realme 11x 5G. Everything so far, including the performance, display, and build, has been pretty average, but the primary camera is where Realme has put in that extra work. The Realme 11x 5G comes packing a 64 MP primary camera with f/1.79 aperture and a nominal 2 MP portrait lens. The 2 MP lens isn’t worthy of a lot of acclaim since its function could be achieved by software as well, but the 64 MP primary camera stands out.
At this price, you get some crisp and detailed shots with good dynamic range and colour. There’s very little softness in the pictures and even close-up pictures look brilliant with great natural depth of field. The 64 MP lens manages to capture most scenes accurately, without blowing out the colours out of proportion by excessively saturating them. Here are some camera samples, but note that they’ve been compressed for the web:
Portrait images look decent as well. I did find a bit of softness creep in here on subjects’ faces, but the edge detection is decent and colours look good in ideal lighting.
What’s the most impressive is the 2x in-sensor zoom (or near lossless zoom). It gives users the benefit of having telephoto-like functionality without actually having a physical telephoto sensor. The 2x zoomed shots are taken by cropping into the 64 MP shots – since it has a lot of pixels, it can crop in safely without sacrificing much detail. The resulting images look sharp, detailed, and crisp.
Photo taken with the 2x in-sensor zoom mode
The 8 MP selfie camera performs as expected; the colours look nice – a tad saturated, but the detail is a bit washed out. Portrait selfies are usable if clicked in good lighting as well.
Low-light images from the main camera have some noise, but the detail is well-retained for the price. The colours are slightly washed out though. Selfie photos have a lot of noise in low light.
Realme 11x 5G Review: Battery Life
The Realme 11x 5G houses a 5,000 mAh battery which keeps the lights on. However, it doesn’t do so for as long as I expected. The battery life of the Realme 11x 5G is strictly mediocre. In our routine 4K video loop test, where we play a video at full brightness on VLC, the phone lasted merely 9 hours and 6 minutes, which is much lower than the competition.
For example, the Samsung Galaxy M34 5G lasted a whopping 21.5 hours in the same test. So, if battery life is your main concern, give this one a skip since it doesn’t match its competitors. Even when playing COD: Mobile, the phone drained a lot of battery than others at the same price. It lost 7 per cent of its battery in just 15 minutes (from 80 to 73 per cent), which is disappointing.
Charging speeds are quite decent though. You get 33 W SUPERVOOC wired charging which topped up our review unit from zero to full in just 1 hour and 14 minutes.
Realme 11x 5G Review: Verdict
Buy the Realme 11x 5G for its impressive and reliable camera. The 64 MP camera outshines most of its similarly-priced competitors, and the 2x in-sensor, near-lossless zoom opens up avenues for some great shots. However, if you value battery life or display, I would recommend other options instead. For great battery life and display, my primary recommendation would be the Samsung Galaxy M34 instead, since it lasts twice as long and has a solid Super AMOLED display. And for faster gaming performance, the iQOO Z7 5G would be your best bet. The Realme 11x 5G shines in one area – the camera. However, given the more well-rounded phones in this price range, it would not be my number one choice. Still, if cameras are your only concern, this is one of the best, if not the best.