Realme's X50m is a decently specced 5G phone – for the price of a 1995 Nissan Micra

So future-proofing your handset might not have to break the bank


The prices of 5G handsets are plummeting as demonstrated by the Realme X50m 5G, announced earlier today. This blower, from the sister company of industry giants OPPO and OnePlus, retails at ¥1,999 — about £230 — and comes with a surprisingly decent array of specs.

Under the hood is Qualcomm's Snapdragon 765G SoC, which is a mid-range platform that has an integrated X52 modem capable of supporting mmWave and Sub-6 frequencies. The base variant has a respectable 6GB of RAM, as well as 128GB of internal memory using the (slightly older) UFS 2.1 standard.

Surprisingly, there are a few features on this phone that you'd only really expect from a high-end mobe. For starters, the 6.57-inch FHD display boasts a 120Hz refresh rate — which, to date, has only really been found on pricier phones, like the OnePlus 8 and the Samsung S20 series.

Higher refresh rates are arguably more noticeably beneficial to the user experience than higher pixel densities as it gives a more fluid experience. Games feel more responsive. Scrolling through menus feels less perceptibly juddery.

But there is a trade-off when it comes to battery life, with higher refresh rates being particularly juice-hungry. The Realme X50m comes with a reasonably capacious 4,200mAh battery, which supports 30W fast charging. But the real test will be whether Realme allows users to scale down their refresh rate to something more conventional, like 60Hz, in order to extend their phone's runtime.

The Register has asked Realme about this very point.*

On the optics front, the phone has a dual selfie camera setup in an oblong hole-punch cutout. The primary front-facing shooter is a 16MP affair, using a Sony IMX471 sensor, and is complemented by a 2MP secondary lens.

Turn the phone around and you'll see four lenses. No surprises here – Realme has chosen to use a 48MP sensor for its primary camera. Accompanying it is an 8MP wide-angle lens, a 2MP macro lens, and a 2MP monochrome sensor.

The Realme X50m runs on Android 10 with the firm's Realme UI. Of course, since Realme isn't a participant in the Android One programme, there's no cast-iron guarantee of an update to Android 11 and beyond.

On paper, this phone is surprisingly good value. Of course, the proof is in the pudding, and we've asked for a review unit. But beyond that, it's interesting to see a 5G phone that's priced below the £250 mark. Typically, 5G handsets have commanded something of a premium, thanks to the cost of the modems, plus the esteem of having perceptibly faster mobile internet.

So far, this handset appears to be a China exclusive, with the phone hitting shelves later this month. No doubt it'll also eventually appear on the usual bazaars of Middle Kingdom kit — like Gearbest, GeekBuying, and the hilariously named BangGood.

But it may eventually make its way to Blighty's shores. Realme entered the European market in May of last year, starting with the compelling Realme 3 Pro. With 5G already present in most major UK cities, there's probably a sizeable appetite for a device like the Realme X50m. ®

Updated at 13:59 on 23 April 2020 to add

Realme told The Reg: "There are three options that users can choose: 120Hz, 60Hz and Auto mode. If users choose Auto mode, the refresh rate will change according to consumptions."

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