‘Tis the season for AMOLED budget smartphones and pop-up cameras! With the Redmi K20 joining the party, the budget smartphone war in the 15000-20000 INR space has really heated up. With the launch of the Realme X, Redmi K20, and the Oppo K3, most of the budget offerings launched just a few months prior (such as the Redmi Note 7 Pro) can’t quite keep up.
So, the real dilemma for an Indian smartphone buyer now lies in choosing between the Redmi K20 and the Realme X (I’m leaving the Oppo K3 out of this considering I haven’t tested it personally). Hopefully, we can make your decision slightly less confusing by giving you the objective strengths of these phones so you know which one suits you the best.
Xiaomi Redmi K20
The Redmi K20 is definitely the outlier amongst the two. It is the only phone here with a Snapdragon 730 under the hood. In terms of daily use and gaming, you aren’t going to see a significant improvement when compared side by side with the other phones here. However, in the long run, you might be able to appreciate the subtle superiority in performance and software compatibility with the 8nm silicon.
The Redmi also gets the most versatile camera set up here with a tertiary wide-angle sensor for those quirky shots. Camera performance is good all-round for the Redmi, however, the snail-paced motorized mechanism and pictures from the pop-up selfie camera dampen the towel in comparison to the Realme X. Add to that the 22,000 INR price tag for the base variant and the Redmi seems to be quite the precarious buy. Sure, the design is quite premium with glass and metal all around, but does that justify the 5000 INR disparity in pricing? Well, that’s for you to judge.
Fun story. The pricing for the Realme X was somewhat of an accident that worked in our favor. When the Redmi K20 launched in China as the Mi9T it was priced at around 18k when converted to INR. To remain competitive in the Indian market, Realme decided to launch this phone early and undercut the Chinese price of the K20. Ironically, the Redmi K20 ended up launching at a price of 22,000 INR making the Realme X an instant value proposition.
The Snapdragon 710 is by no means a slouch and handles whatever you throw at it with ease. As of now, there isn’t a significant difference in performance when compared to the Redmi K20 albeit the latter’s higher synthetic benchmark scores. ColorOS has improved by leaps and bounds and is almost as feature-rich as MIUI.
With an AMOLED display of its own, the Realme doesn’t make many tradeoffs aside from the plastic gradient. Again, I wouldn’t exactly call this a tradeoff. The backing looks exactly like glass with a gradient finish that looks quite attractive, especially the white variant. Using plastic makes the phone instantly more durable compared to the K20 and hence confuses me as to whether this is an actual trade-off.
But, where the phone really blows the Redmi K20 out of the water is in the camera performance. Pictures taken with the Realme X have a better dynamic range, detail, and color reproduction. The selfie camera on the Realme is just plain BETTER. Selfies taken on the K20 look very artificial and overexposed, almost cartoonish.
Even in terms of battery life the X snips at the heels of the K20. Though the K20 lasts a bit longer on a full charge, the VOOC adaptor (included in the Realme’s box) charges the phone significantly faster than the K20. Though a fast charger is included in the K20’s box too, it doesn’t push as much rapid current as the Realme’s VOOC solution. This is something you have to thank Oppo (Realme’s parent company) for!
Let me make this very clear. Though the K20 seems to be a superior phone spec for spec when compared to the Realme X, during real-world usage, I found the user experience equally matched (and at times better) than the Redmi K20. With a price tag of 17,000 INR for the base variant that significantly undercuts the K20’s price, the Realme X is a complete no-brainer. It is my budget phone recommendation as of July 2019! However, if having a wide-angle sensor is an absolute MUST and you’re okay with shelling out the extra cash, the Redmi K20 will, by no means, disappoint you!