Xiaomi Redmi K20 vs Realme X: A battle of the two mid-range flagshipshttps://indianexpress.com/article/technology/techook/redmi-k20-vs-realme-x-the-inevitable-comparison-of-two-mid-range-flagships-5882867/

Xiaomi Redmi K20 vs Realme X: A battle of the two mid-range flagships

Redmi K20 vs Realme X: Here is a comparison between the Realme X and the Redmi K20, the two mid-range flagships of this year.

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Redmi K20 vs Realme X: Comparing the two mid-range flagship devices. (Express Photo: Mohammad Faisal)

Realme has been quite open about its comparison with Redmi smartphones in the budget and mid-range segment of the Indian market. But when Realme launched the Realme X in India, it steered away from pitching itself against the Redmi K20.

While both phones have different specifications and price points, a comparison between the two phones is inevitable. One reason is that the Redmi K20 is the ‘more affordable’ flagship from Xiaomi’s sub-brand and is still close to a price point of Rs 20,000. Then Realme X is being touted as the current flagship by the brand, which also claimed the phone has no real competitor.

Given the kind of claims and specifications both phones offer, Redmi K20 and Realme X are definitely worth comparing. We used the Redmi K20 with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage, and the Realme X with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage for this. Here’s what we thought after using both Realme X and the Redmi K20

Redmi K20 vs Realme X: Price difference

Realme X clearly costs less than the Redmi K20 as the Realme phone starts at Rs 16,999 whereas the Redmi device has a starting price of Rs 21,999. The base version of the Realme X has 4GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, whereas the Redmi K20’s base model has 6GB RAM and 64GB of internal storage.

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Redmi K20 vs Realme X: Both phones carry full-screen display. (Express Photo: Mohammad Faisal)

The 8GB RAM + 128GB model of Realme X is priced at Rs 19,999 and the Onion and Garlic editions of the phone (8GB RAM + 128GB storage) also cost the same. Redmi K20’s 6GB RAM + 128GB storage variant costs Rs 23,999. With Redmi K20, you need to be willing to pay that extra price for the brand, though the fact that the base variant has 6GB RAM is good to see.

Redmi K20 vs Realme X: Looks matter

When I compared the Redmi Note 7 Pro and the Realme 3 Pro, I found that the Realme 3 Pro more comfortable in terms of design, and the Redmi phone was not as compact. But Xiaomi appears to have improved drastically as the Redmi K20 takes a lead over Realme X in terms of design and visual appeal.

The Redmi K20 has a more compact build, the chin is almost non-existent and the back design is the best implementation of gradient pattern I’ve seen on a smartphone.

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Redmi K20 vs Realme X: Both phones have a highlighted power button. (Express Photo: Mohammad Faisal)

This does not mean that Realme X is bad. It is also compact and looks premium but it feels similar to previous Realme designs. But I would say that the white colour of Realme X as well as the Onion and Garlic editions are a breath of fresh air for the brand.

Redmi K20 vs Realme X: Performance and gaming

Both the Redmi K20 and Realme X perform really well on all fronts. But with the latest Snapdragon 730 processor, the Redmi phone is better than the Realme X and its Snapdragon 710 processor at least in the objective tests.

On AnTuTu Redmi K20 registers a score of 2,12,741, whereas the Realme X registers a score of 1,58,437. On Geekbench, Redmi K20 registers a single-core score of 2,524 and multi-core score of 6,749 while the Realme X manages to get a single-core score of 1,512 and a multi-core score of 5,881.

In day-to-day usage, the difference in the performance of two phones is hardly noticeable. But the power of Redmi K20’s Snapdragon 730 is obvious in certain areas which include app loading speeds and gaming.

Redmi K20 vs Realme X: Redmi K20 has 20MP selfie shooter, Realme X has 16MP front camera. (Express Photo: Mohammad Faisal)

When it comes to gaming, Redmi K20 with Snapdragon 730 processor and Adreno 618 GPU feels almost like a device with Snapdragon 845 processor. While Realme X with Snapdragon 710 processor and Adreno 616 GPU work well while running graphics-heavy games, a detailed analysis of PUBG gameplay on both the devices show a smoother gameplay experience on the Redmi phone.

The frame drops during PUBG Mobile gameplay, though negligible and very hard to notice, are present on Realme X. I could not notice frame drops or stutters on the Redmi K20, which puts the phone ahead in the gaming department. The temperature did not rise on both the devices even after playing PUBG for one hour straight, which is what you ideally want on such phones.

But the screen of the Redmi device without a screen protector had a pretty good grip on my fingertips and that hindered gameplay a bit in case of PUBG Mobile.

Redmi K20 vs Realme X: Camera

Redmi K20 sports a triple rear camera setup of 48MP primary Sony IMX586 sensor clubbed with a 13MP ultra-wide angle shooter and an 8MP telephoto lens. Realme X sports a dual-camera with a primary 48MP Sony IMX586 sensor clubbed with a depth sensor of 5MP.

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Redmi K20 vs Realme X: Redmi K20 has triple rear cameras, Realme X has dual rear cameras. (Express Photo: Mohammad Faisal)

Redmi K20 has a clear advantage thanks to the ultra-wide lens, which does give the advantage of adding a wider view, but don’t expect miracles here as details are missing. Still, I would say that the ultra-wide lens is a blessing when you are travelling.

The camera comparison between the two phones was quite difficult as both the devices are capable of clicking really good pictures. For the sake of comparison, I had to nitpick every minor detail. One noticeable difference though is that the Realme X takes pictures on the cooler side, while the Redmi K20 images are on the warmer side.

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Left: Realme X | Right: Redmi K20 (Express Photo: Mohammad Faisal)

I turned on the Chroma Boost mode on the Realme X as it gives better results on all parameters and kept the AI mode on for the Redmi K20 pictures as it identifies scenes and produces the best possible result. The details retained by both the Realme X and Redmi K20 in a picture are commendable. The dynamic range is nice and the exposure levels are also good.

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Left: Realme X | Right: Redmi K20 (Express Photo: Mohammad Faisal)

But when you zoom in on the images, you can see the noise in the shadow regions of photos taken by Realme X. Redmi K20 tries to minimise the noise in the shadow area and surprisingly it manages to do it without smudging too much details in the process.

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Left: Realme X (zoomed) | Right: Redmi K20 (zoomed) (Express Photo: Mohammad Faisal)

The colour reproduction on the two phones is almost identical in normal mode and you will not see much difference in pictures. However, if you turn on the AI mode, Redmi K20 produces better results and you must turn on the Chroma Boost on the Realme X to match the results.

But the problem with Chroma Boost is oversaturation in certain environments. Some pictures turn out really good with better colours and appeal than the Redmi K20, but some pictures start to look artificial. That is why I preferred the Redmi K20 more in daylight conditions.

Coming to the selfie camera, it is tough to say which phone takes better selfies as both devices have some positive and negative aspect in this area. The selfies taken from the 20MP front camera of the Redmi K20 have better details, the skin tone is on the pleasant side. The exposure levels aren’t good and Realme X does better here, though the colour reproduction is not great in selfies. Finally, Realme X kept smudging a portion of my beard even when I turned off the beauty mode.

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Left: Realme X | Right: Redmi K20 (Express Photo: Mohammad Faisal)

Both the devices performed quite well under low light conditions, but the Realme X takes the lead here. While Redmi K20 kept on smudging the details in order to minimise the noise, Realme X did a pretty good job at producing a picture with ample details. Both the phones come with a dedicated night mode and Realme X outperforms Redmi K20 here.

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Left: Realme X (top-normal, bottom-night mode) | Right: Redmi K20 (top-normal, bottom-night mode) (Express Photo: Mohammad Faisal)

A number of Realme devices this year came with the Nightscape mode, but Realme X utilises the feature best. The visibility in a picture is increased, the light signs are clearer, and the colour reproduction is also improved.  Redmi K20 is also not bad with its Night mode. It minimises the softness and increases the details. The visibility is also increased. Still, the camera performance under such conditions could be much better.

Redmi K20 vs Realme X: Face unlock and fingerprint unlock

Redmi K20 and Realme X come with an in-display fingerprint sensor and a pop-up selfie camera. While I thought the face unlock and fingerprint unlock comparison will be a close call, Realme X completely trumps the Redmi K20.

Redmi K20 vs Realme X: Both phones carry the USB Type-C port. (Express Photo: Mohammad Faisal)

The in-display fingerprint sensor on the Realme X is almost as fast a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor. You just need to “touch” the spot for fingerprint scanning on the display and the phone is unlocked in an instant, whereas the in-display fingerprint sensor on the Redmi K20 is not as fast. Sometimes, you need to wait for a second to unlock the device.

I never wanted to use the face-unlock on the Redmi K20 as it takes a good amount of time. When you swipe up on the lock screen, the camera will pop-up and then recognise your face to unlock the device, and then go back inside. Whereas on the Realme X, the face-unlock starts the moment you swipe up the screen. The front camera pops up just to take a peek at your face and goes back instantly, unlocking the device much faster.

Redmi K20 vs Realme X: Display and battery

The Realme X features a 6.53-inch AMOLED display, whereas the Redmi K20 sports a 6.39-inch Super AMOLED display. Samsung makes both the screens and it defines SAMOLED as the more advanced version of AMOLED display. The Redmi K20 produces better colours, feels brighter and more vibrant.

Redmi K20 features a 4,000mAh battery with support for 18W fast charging but it ships with only 10W fast charger in the box. The Realme X, on the other hand, comes with a 3,765mAh battery with support for 20W VOOC Flash Charge 3.0 and it ships with the charger in the box.

Both the devices give almost similar battery backup with Redmi K20 lasting for few hours extra. Realme X takes around 80 minutes to fully charge the device. Redmi K20 takes around two hours to fully charge the battery, but you can always buy an 18W fast charger for the phone.

Redmi K20 vs Realme X: Verdict

Apart from night-time camera performance, face unlock, and fingerprint unlock, Redmi K20 outperforms Realme X at every other aspect. Of course, Realme X is the more affordable option out here, and it does cut costs to stay under Rs 20,000 which is a very good price point.

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Still Redmi K20 does not compromise, especially when it comes to performance thanks to the 730 chipset. Yes, it is above Rs 20,000 in price, but the performance ends up justifying it. Considering how both performed in my testing, I would say both the smartphones are good deals at their respective prices. In the end, your budget will ultimately define the choice, as both give a premium feel.