It was with some trepidation that we agreed to include the X3 SuperZoom from the young brand Realme in our test panel for our traditional top 10 photo smartphones. Little-known smartphone brand, launch price at 469.90 euros, we weren’t expecting much from this device – was it even going to make it into the top 10?
Great good has taken us: ninth in the standings, Realme’s device may not have threatened the top players in the segment, but has proven that it can be a formidable opponent in terms of equipment-pallet quality ratio. optics-price. Not bad for an outsider and especially interesting for those who want to enjoy a zoom and an ultra wide angle without selling a kidney.
Poor but useful ultra wide-angle
Equivalent to a 16mm f / 2.3, the X3 SuperZoom’s ultra-wide-angle module is quite mediocre (which means average in French, not completely bad, please note). In addition to a small sensor which suffers in low light, the module lacks sharpness and has slightly degraded image edges. In the trash can the ultra wide-angle?
Never mind, at least in broad daylight. When Helios floods Gaia with its fiery rays, the deluge of photons allows this module to produce images with colors that hold up. And the angular coverage – as well as the strong vignetting of the optics – do the rest, which is to produce some pretty nice images.
In landscape or architecture mode, the ultra wide angle offers excellent immersion and the images are quite suitable when they are enjoyed on smartphones and tablets – which is the bulk of current photographic “consumption”. For any prints, you will have to be content with small formats or be indulgent.
But the presence of such a module is a real game-changer for the traveler who has paid for a trip to Machu Picchu. For better quality images, however, return to the main camera module.
Solid main module
For its main module, the X3 SuperZoom has a 64 Mpix Samsung (GW1) sensor coupled with an optical equivalent to a 26 mm f / 1.8. Producing 16 Mpix images, this rather high-end sensor from the Korean electronics engineer is known for its good dynamic range, thanks to its structure where four photodiodes code for one pixel.
Logically, it is this sensor that offers the best overall image quality in all situations – the sensors in the ultra-wide-angle and telephoto modules suffer in low light. It is also he who offers the most accurate colors.
Without being a jewel, its optics are fairly well made and its flaws are fairly well corrected in software – although in some situations the corners can be a bit degraded. Another good point is that the device is quite responsive to triggering, even if it does not necessarily catch its target when it moves too much.
Without being an absolute reference, this main module is more than adequate. And leans on a good telephoto lens.
Powerful and clean telephoto lens
A “low cost” brand of the BBK Group, of which Oppo is the spearhead, Realme does not logically benefit from all the technological innovations of the second – logical, this is called the range effect. But if Oppo reserves its super telephoto lenses for its own terminals, Realme and this X3 SuperZoom still benefit from the group’s R&D.
And on the telephoto side, the optical partition (with its software fixes) is on a different level from that of the ultra wide-angle. In broad daylight, in native definition – that is, without digital zoom – the images produced by this 123mm f / 3.4 equivalent are highly detailed, with no visible distortions or flaws. The edges of the image are clean, although, due to the small sensor, the shots lack depth.
The smoothing of details is not a problem when consuming on screen. And the good power of the telephoto lens effectively isolates scenes, elements of landscapes. Enough to produce images beyond the reach of any “blocked” wide-angle terminal.
Calling “SuperZoom” requires, Realme has integrated algorithms to push further the zoom in digital mode and display an “x60” on the box. Unless you have a special need – like reading a sign in the distance because you’re eating your pizza and REALLY need to know if the trail is going left or right – we strongly advise against pushing the zoom in its entrenchments. But a little boost, why not.
Pathetic macro module
The X3 SuperZoom incorporates a fourth camera module pompously titled macro – no, not the fish. A true ode to technological mediocrity and bullshit marketing, this module is as much “macro” as the French population is virologist – that is to say not at all. We had to prove our point by the image, it is done above: definition of miserable image (1.92 Mpix), terrible colors, sharpness of the deplorable image. This macro module is a dung planted there by a data sheet enthusiast who absolutely wanted to add a 4e module for the “photo” model of the young Chinese brand.
Fortunately for lovers of proxiphotography (we can’t talk about macro anyway), the main camera module – series of images above – has a minimum focusing distance sufficient to offer, for a slight cropping, better defined and much better quality images.
Next time, Mr. Realme, put the money in the 4e module in something else. Thank you.
Unlike the Pixel 4a, which plays perfection on a single sensor, the realme X3 SuperZoom prefers to offer a wide optical range, even if it means sacrificing average image quality. An interesting positioning, especially for those who want to have a travel device, capable of immortalizing the entire facade of the Sacred Heart as well as the peak of Mont-Blanc.
With a perfectly decent main sensor, the X3 SuperZoom offers a decent photo partition and its companion modules – ultra wide-angle and telephoto – make it possible to capture those moments of travel where their presence is mandatory. And with its Snapdragon 855+, 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage, the smartphone is both fast and pleasant to use. For a price running around 469 euros, this level of equipment and the optical palette make it a must for anyone who wants a device to do everything without breaking the PEL. There are better elsewhere, but at least twice the price.