Updated: November 29, 2021 4:31:35 pm
Realme is a brand best known for its budget (Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000) and mid-range phones (Rs 20,000-Rs 30,000) smartphones. But now it is gearing up for something more ambitious: the ultra-premium segment with a new flagship of around $800, according to the company’s founder and CEO Sky Li.
However, for Realme, convincing users that they should shell out more for its device could prove to be a tough challenge to solve, and here’s why we think so.
First, Realme will have to compete against the likes of Apple and Samsung which currently dominate the premium smartphone market. Realme’s siblings Oppo and OnePlus have already made their debut in the high-end market and are giving users a variety of options. But only OnePlus has done well in the ultra-premium segment and managed to make a dent in the Apple and Samsung monopoly, especially in a market like India.
Second, convincing users to pay the premium is easier said than done. The established Samsung Galaxy S series or even Apple’s iPhones offer way more in terms of flagship experience. In fact, Realme’s rival Xiaomi has tried to make inroads in the premium segment but has not tasted much success. Both Xiaomi and Realme are seen as value-based budget phone sellers, so convincing users into buying their flagship phones will be a big challenge for the company.
As Xiaomi’s example shows, especially in India, breaking the of perception being a budget-focused brand is not an easy task.
Third, I would argue that if it wants to seriously compete in the premium segment, Realme needs to up its camera game. People buy flagship phones to get powerful performance and a great photography experience. While many users get fast performance with affordable premium devices, cameras on budget phones still lack the polished experience of their premium counterparts. Realme will have to improve the camera quality of its phones if the company wants to take on Apple, OnePlus, and Samsung in a serious manner.
In my experience, Realme’s phones which are priced in the Rs 35,000 to Rs 40,000 price bracket still need improvement on the camera front. I’ve seen that wide-angle shots, in particular, have a lot of noise, and often appear washed out. Perhaps Realme could follow OnePlus’ strategy and partner with a tech company to improve its camera results, but that’s all speculation at this point.
Fourth, the software game needs to improve as well, even though Realme has made strides in this area. Still one will find a lot of bloatware on affordable Realme smartphones, which is not expected on flagship devices. Users also expect to get security and Android updates on time and for a longer period with a flagship phone.
When Realme started its journey back in May 2018, the budget smartphone market was mostly dominated by Xiaomi. In just a few years, the company has successfully established itself in the budget and mid-range smartphone market by offering value for money phones and increasing the volume of device launches across price points. But Realme can’t apply its volume strategy in the high-end segment too as it won’t work. Overall, it will need to focus on improving one phone’s experience, especially in terms of camera and software if it wants to be taken seriously in the premium segment.
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