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

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 …

  1. Spoonsinger

    The thing about a 1995 Nissan Micra is...

    it's still usable after 25 years and is easily reparable.

    1. juice Silver badge

      Re: The thing about a 1995 Nissan Micra is...

      > it's still usable after 25 years and is easily reparable.

      ... unless it mysteriously vanishes.

      At one point, I had a 1.4l Nissan Micra - the four door model and of a 1997/1998 vintage. Purchased for £400 as a learner car for my partner, but it turned out to be a fun little go-kart - nippy, able to turn on a penny /and/ it sailed through it's MOT without a hitch, despite being comfortably over a decade old at the time.

      As such, when the time came to get rid of my main car, the Micra was doing a good enough job that I didn't feel the need to rush out and find a replacement. Even if a few friends derived quite a bit of amusement from seeing my 6"2 frame unfolding from the front seat ;)

      Alas, I was commuting to work via train at the time, and there was some on-street parking close to the station. And one day I came back to discover a Micra-shaped gap where my car used to be...

      Never even had a whisper as to what happened with it, though a friend who's into tinkering with cars later told me that the 1.4l models are popular for banger racing and the like, so the odds are good that it got taken to a garage and stripped for parts.

      It's a shame, as it was a fun little drive - and the lowest "total cost of ownership" car I've ever owned, despite the fact that it disappeared in a puff of smoke before it's time!

      1. DRue2514

        Re: The thing about a 1995 Nissan Micra is...

        We had a company Micra. Would have prefered to take out the front seat and just sit in the back for legroom.

        I think my old Civic met the same fate. Apparently they were popular for banger racing as well.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The thing about a 1995 Nissan Micra is...

        My equivalent was a Rover 25, which I got it for a pittance from somebody I did a computer repair job for as my first car. It was as I later discovered hideously uncool (and therefore utterly thief proof) because Rovers had a reputation as being an "old mans car" and any thief would lose street cred by breaking into it and no self respecting boy racer would be seen dead driving it so the chances of it getting stolen were around zero.

        The joke was that it had the same engine minus the turbocharger as used in a Lotus Elise, with the addition of a bit of plastic on the throttle to limit it to half power to give old dears a nice sedate driving experience. If this old brittle bit of plastic were to snap and fall off then the car was literally a wolf in sheeps clothing. The only problem was having something like three quarters of the acceleration ability of a lotus elise, and brakes that were specced with an old dear driving it to do her weekly shop in mind...

        Mine also vanished before it's time in a puff of debris when a delivery driver driving on the wrong side of the road and doing six times the posted speed limit in the office car park drove into my stationary vehicle and shortened it by two feet. I'm still a bit put out by this for pretty much the same reasons as you!

        1. aje21

          Re: The thing about a 1995 Nissan Micra is...

          Not saying they didn't do sporty Rover 25 models, but I'm pretty sure the forced induction Elise (supercharged rather than turbocharged) was using a Toyota engine...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The thing about a 1995 Nissan Micra is...

            Ok.

        2. IGotOut Silver badge

          Re: The thing about a 1995 Nissan Micra is...

          "The joke was that it had the same engine minus the turbocharger as used in a Lotus Elise"

          The 25 didn't have that engine. Thr Lotus used a 1.8 VVC engine, same as the Tomcat and later "Z" series engines, and the VVC was far more complex than your bog standard K series.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The thing about a 1995 Nissan Micra is...

            The Lotus had the 1.8 K series VVC engine developing 160PS. Yes, the variable valve control bits made the engine more complex and it differed by having different size cylinders etc etc etc. Exactly the same engine went into the MG ZR 160 (Rover 25 with different branding) developing 160PS.

            I said the 1.4 K series 103PS engine developed two thirds of the performance of the 160PS engine. This is as you note incorrect; two thirds of 160 is 106.66PS and the 25 only generates 103PS so my claim of two thirds of the performance is in fact a small fraction out.

      3. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        Re: The thing about a 1995 Nissan Micra is...

        I recently managed to get my Granddads old micra (a hand-me-down for the wife to learn in) that sat on our drive for 3 years working again. Only 3 things wrong with it, fogged headlights, worn track rod end and the clutch is starting to go.

        It is the 1ltr model though so needs to be driven with a certain amount of enthusiasm to keep up with local traffic, though as K12 its still apparently worth about as much as an iPhone 11 256gb... I think I'd rather keep the car to be honest.

        On the flip side my last car didn't get nicked (handbrake failed violently resulting in it rolling into a wall) as it was an estate but had the tuners choice engine in.... I was gutted when I found out I could have pulled the engine, scraped the rest and still made 5 times what I got in scrap as complete car (Toyota corolla estate 1.6vvti for the bored).

      4. Sampler

        Re: The thing about a 1995 Nissan Micra is...

        I had the "not quite but we'll round it up to 1l" Micra "Tempest" edition as my first car (14year old when I got the keys) and that was still fun nippy little go-kart so can't imagine the pick up you'd get on a 1.4l

        Couldn't give mine away though, on at least three occasions I left the key in the lock, twice drivers door, once in the boot - that latter one we'd been in Whitby shooting a music video all day, must've left it in the Abbey car park for a good ten hours, wasn't until I was walking back up to it that I put my hand in my pocket and panicked, thought it must've fallen out whilst I was rolling around on the floor with the camera trying to get a good angle, at which point the car in front of mine pulled away, leaving the visage of the keys dangling from the boot for all to see.

        It lived on the street too as my house had no driveway and parking wasn't available directly out front, had the window smashed once, don't know how long it was like that, I'd parked her up late Friday night after a gig and didn't emerge again until late Sunday to find the window through, thankfully hadn't rained in the interim. (I'm guessing it was kids, was parked next to a bit of a green).

        Best memory was a gig we'd done in Batley (wait, I'm getting to the good bit, where we leave Batley), hadn't checked the forecast but it'd been clear skies going in, came out of the gig to a fair covering of snow, we all loaded up and headed home, I picked the lead singer up not four minutes later at the edge of town as she'd given up trying to get her Mazda M5 to go in the right direction (fun fact, she was a psychologist by day, not a hairdresser), lead guitarist with the bass player in tow made it half way up the hill out of the ditch (sorry, Batley) and picked up the support act singer at the top of the hill.

        I'd learned to drive in the snow so was fairly comfortable in it to start with, but the thin tyres on the Micra just cut right through and, now fully laden (fortunately both singers were quite small) had no trouble cutting through the snow to drop everyone home to get taxi's back to their abandoned cars the next day. Had so much fun I even nipped up to the 24hr maccas to get a late night snack, pretty much had the roads to myself, weaving around laid up Taxis that thought they could make it, but found out they couldn't..

    2. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: The thing about a 1995 Nissan Micra is...

      I want a late 80s/early 90s Fiat Panda 4x4. Those things are practically indestructible and weigh almost nothing so despite their small amount of poke they are still great at climbing hills.

      Only problem is, so does everyone else so they cost a bomb.

      1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

        Re: The thing about a 1995 Nissan Micra is...

        @Tom 38 "90s Fiat Panda 4x4" Still see those up in various ski resorts when I go Snowboarding, rocking a set of chains. But cripes, that price! I thought people were buying them as cheap 4x4s, but it appears they are hipster fashion accessories ; -)

    3. Annihilator Silver badge

      Re: The thing about a 1995 Nissan Micra is...

      and surprisingly more expensive than you might think...

      https://www.aandareliablecars.co.uk/used-cars/nissan-micra-1-3-16v-slx-cvt-5dr-bedford-202003068114832

      1. juice Silver badge

        Re: The thing about a 1995 Nissan Micra is...

        Yeah - a quick glance at autotrader shows the 1.4 model goes for similar prices. E.g.

        https://www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/202004178979873

        Not bad for a twenty-year old car :) It's rare to own a car that actually increases in value over time :)

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: The thing about a 1995 Nissan Micra is...

          Two cars I almost bought back then - the Panda 4x4 and the Lada Niva - have held or appreciated their value. Whilst I loved the cars I got instead (Volvo 240GLE and Audi 90 quattro, respectively), I still wonder whether I made the wrong decisions. It wouldn't be surprising, given that my first four cars are now very collectable (Vauxhall Viva SL90, two Hillman Imps, and a Vauxhall Magnum), and I treated them as disposable items. I also have no idea what happened to my Atari ST 1040!!

    4. The Other Carl

      Re: The thing about a 1995 Nissan Micra is...

      That really got my attention as well, since we owned a 95 Nissan Micra when it was new. Ah, the memories! Had to give it up a couple of years when we left the country, but it was a great car for us.

    5. Robert Grant Silver badge

      Re: The thing about a 1995 Nissan Micra is...

      Also if you're in an accident you die outright. No pesky recuperation period!

      1. drand
        Go

        Re: The thing about a 1995 Nissan Micra is...

        This is sadly true, and the only real negative about them other than front crossmembers rusting! The ones that get taken banger racing are the 1-litre cars (the thing to have now that 998 A-series minis are super-rare). There are not many 1.3 cars left either as they sold less when new. I love mine. It does the occasional commute when I'm not cycling, takes the kids to extra-curricular activities, and I go rallying with it at weekends and it's bloody competitive in the 1400cc class, 25 years old or not.

    6. RyokuMas Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: The thing about a 1995 Nissan Micra is...

      ... and it doesn't upload everything you do with it back to Nissan HQ for profiling.

  2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Marketing

    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.

    The marketing departments demanded the new name. In fact, in many situations people won't notice the difference. Good 4G networks won't have contention problems and shitty 5G ones will. On a good 4G network you can already stream video even in reasonably crowded places and on a shitty one you'll be twiddling your thumbs all the time as the connection drops.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Marketing

      Indeed, nothing I have read had convinced me if any tangible benefits to me of 5G right now. I'm open to hearing a case if I've missed something.

      That's not to say that I don't appreciate there may be benefits down the line in some cases (congested urban areas, broadband to villages without digging up last mile of road for fibre etc) but currently nothing is making think I need a new handset.

    2. Mark192 Bronze badge

      "Good 4G networks won't have contention problems and shitty 5G ones will"

      What about average but crowded 4G networks vs average 5G networks?

    3. Mark192 Bronze badge

      Re: Marketing

      Charlie Clark said: "The marketing departments demanded the new name"

      What was the original name?

      1. MrMerrymaker Bronze badge

        Re: Marketing

        4G

  3. juice Silver badge

    Not sure how much a bargain this would be...

    ... given that the £230 price is for China.

    TBH, I haven't a clue what the markup would be once you throw UK/EU tariffs, localisation and certification costs atop, but I'm guessing it'll be similar to the old UK/USA pricing delta, where something which cost $100 in the USA would cost £100 in the UK...

    Beyond that, given that the mobile phone market is suffering the same shrinkage as everything else, I'm wondering if this is being pushed out as a loss leader or similar - something just to keep the factory ticking over and use up stockpiles which were previously earmarked for higher-margin phones which are now effectively unsellable!

    1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: Not sure how much a bargain this would be...

      Banggood will charge you £230 + around a tenner for shipping. You take a gamble on the import tariffs; HMRC stop about 1 in 5 of my packages and I have to pay duty on them; but it's still way cheaper than buying anything here.

      1. juice Silver badge

        Re: Not sure how much a bargain this would be...

        > Banggood will charge you £230 + around a tenner for shipping. You take a gamble on the import tariffs; HMRC stop about 1 in 5 of my packages and I have to pay duty on them; but it's still way cheaper than buying anything here.

        True, but there's a big difference between taking a gamble on the grey market and buying something that's going to come with a proper warranty, EU/UK certification and regional customer support/localisation.

        Not that that's stopped me in the past :)

        1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

          Re: Not sure how much a bargain this would be...

          "...a proper warranty, EU/UK certification and regional customer support/localisation."

          Chinese manufacturers and retailers are starting to take client satisfaction seriously; I've had generally good experiences with Banggood; sending stuff back is a crapshoot but if the value is less than $100 they'll often just send out a new product as long as you can demonstrate it's properly defective.. EU/UK certification is good at the level of this handset, but for some of the ultra cheap stuff you can forget it - they're generically compatible and will work on UK networks but things like localisation, standards compliance and component quality eg chargers leave a lot to be desired.

          The biggest issue here isn't the quality of the handset per se - that will be fine. It's the fact that it, the firmware, the OS and/or the apps will try everything possible to scrape every bit of data they can to subsidise the below-cost sticker price.

          1. juice Silver badge

            Re: Not sure how much a bargain this would be...

            Yeah - we've come a long way from the days of Lik Sang and their ilk :)

            Still, with Moore's law having dropped off a cliff, these days it's usually easier to just pick up something from a generation or two ago, at a fraction of the current-gen prices.

            E.g. I used to use an iPod classic for music - great battery life, a headphone socket and the only thing worse for managing large music collections than iTunes is everything else on the market.

            (Plus, Android phones generally don't support song rating, which is something I use to purge songs which have outstayed their welcome)

            Alas, the hard drive is starting to sound like a metronome, and buying a straight replacement is surprisingly expensive, as they're old enough to have become favored by hipsters.

            So instead, I picked up a 128gb iPhone SE for £115, from CEX.

            Not only did it come with a 1-year hardware warranty, but it's less than half the price of a new 128gb iPod Touch and more double the battery capacity (probably - Apple don't like quoting battery capacities, but ebay suggests the iPod has a 650mah battery vs the ~1600mah battery of the SE).

            (and a better camera and a slightly faster CPU. Not particularly fussed about either, since I've just stuck it into airplane mode and use it just for music!)

            Win all round :) And similar will probably apply as and when my Galaxy S10 bites the dust...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not sure how much a bargain this would be...

      Not quite, because unlike the US, because China uses all-tax-included prices, and their VAT is 17%.

      I worked in IT in China 10 years ago, I had to buy Dell server equipment, so spent a while comparing prices. Back then, the public price in .cn and .eu was about the same. It was 20% less in .us, and 30% more in .au.

      I remember IT in corporate HQ in Australia told me they had some great discounts with Dell, which ended up being more expensive than the local public price.

    3. Persona Silver badge

      Re: Not sure how much a bargain this would be...

      How can it be a "future proof" bargain at any price given .........

      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.

  4. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    If it comes to the UK at under £400, I could be tempted. Currently running a 22 month old Honor 9 and so far can't think of a single reason for replacing it. 5G is not a motivator for me as I'm not a big data user. I would imagine your average social media junkies will love it though.

    1. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

      As a fellow Honor 9 owner, I thought the same. I keep thinking I should replace my phone, but it does everything I want and more and still works perfectly. The RealMe looks tempting so I ran them both through GSMArena:

      Honor 9 vs Realme X50M 5G

      Short version, the RealMe has a bigger screen and better battery, but the pixel density of the screen is lower than the Honor (428ppi to 399ppi). Also the RealMe has a better camera cluster. The only other difficult comparison is the processor because the Honor uses Huawei's Kirin chipset. I found a website which claims to be able to compare the two:

      Kirin 960 vs Snapdragon 765 - On paper, the Kirin looks faster. I think I'll keep the Honor!

    2. Stuart 22

      I'm on a 35 month old Lenovo P2. Still with brilliant battery life. Why change? In self- isolationist mode I'm reduced to using it - AS A PHONE*

      Proper camera for photos, tablet for a more decent sized screen and a PC for real work. Mobility and size count for nothing at home. Looks like for me it's going to be at least a 12 month episode so I'll be thinking of replacing my 48/60 month old P2 with a neat 6G jobby if I'm ever allowed out again. Not that anyone wants to talk to me nowadays ...

      * Mobile calls are cheaper than landline on my tariff.

  5. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

    It might retail for £230, but with those specs that's nowhere near what it costs to build. Not a word on how Android 10+RealMe UI will enable vendors to - ahem - 'top up' the difference, eh Reg?

    Obviously perfectly happy to knock seven bells out of Apple and insult their customers for paying premium prices, but when it comes to Google/China 'You are the Product' dataslurp... nothing but tumbleweed. What a shame.

  6. JDX Gold badge

    What does 5G on a phone let you do?

    (Other than give you a Chinese virus of course, ba-dum.)

    I can see ultra-fast wireless networking is great in many cases but given 4G is often already faster than home internet, what is the use-case especially on a small screen where, for instance, 4k video is not a huge gain?

    Is there more to it than just pure speed?

    1. ivan5

      Re: What does 5G on a phone let you do?

      Agreed, if it doesn't improve the quality of the phone call what is the point if it. Maybe they should remove the phone part and just produce data devices since few people use them for making phone calls.

    2. Mark192 Bronze badge

      JDX asked:

      JDX asked:

      "given 4G is often already faster than home internet, what is the use-case"

      Use case is where your assumption that 4G gives good speeds falls down.

      In many areas, 4G can't cope with the number of people using each cell.

      Multiple new technologies in 5G enable massively more people to connect while also giving each of them greater bandwidth.

      Households or businesses may also be able to provide more effective WiFi access to devices without needing the router plugged into a phone line... ideal for places where getting landline internet is not possible, slow or unreliable and the existing 4G network won't provide sufficient bandwidth.

      Basically, for many people, 5G may give a usable connection when previously they had a slow and unreliable one (or no connection at all).

      The other side of 5G is the low power IoT stuff that it'll enable. Use cases are legion, though most of it will be about saving costs and increasing flexibility (eg no connecting to mains needed, or lower maintenance compared to existing battery powered stuff... think car park machines, weather stations).

      Think of it as mainly an evolutionary, not revolutionary, technology.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: JDX asked:

        Speed and bandwidth are different.

        My question said 4G is fast enough, are there other advantages? Your answer said yes: more people can GET high-speed SIMULTANEOUSLY. That is clearly a big deal in crowded areas so makes sense.

  7. Dave 126 Silver badge

    > 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.

    Actually the test will be if it the phone can dynamically vary the refresh rate as needed. I believe there's traces of such code in the latest Samsung phones, though it isn't used - perhaps it was a work in progress when it hit the release deadline.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. KBeee

      From the article update, it seems your wish has been granted.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020