Realme has shown the world that more bang for the buck isn’t a game only some companies can play. As a result, even as the overall smartphone shipments declined across the world, Realme registered solid growth in Q2 2019, according to data from Counterpoint. Over a year-old, the brand is also among the top five smartphone vendors in India now and competes directly with Xiaomi. Coming soon after the Realme X and Realme 3i, the company now has come out with the Realme 5, successor to Realme 3 launched earlier this year.
Realme 5 has gone on sale from August 27 with a price that starts at Rs 9,999 for the base storage variant with 3GB RAM and 32GB ROM.
But the highlight of Realme 5 is quad-camera setup at the back in the under Rs 10,000 price range. The phone has also been upgraded to pack a big 5,000mAh battery from 4,230mAh in Realme 3 and a Snapdragon 665 processor. But how does the phone really perform? We spent around a week with Realme 5 and here is our review:
Realme 5 specifications: 6.5-inches HD+ | Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 | 4GB+128GB, expandable up to 256GB | 12MP+8MP ultra-wide angle+ 2MP ultra macro+ 2MP portrait | 13MP front camera | 5,000mAh battery
Realme 5 price: Rs 9,999 for 3GB RAM+32GB ROM, Rs 10,999 for 4GB RAM+64GB ROM, Rs 11,999 for 4GB RAM+128GB ROM
Realme 5 review: Design and display
Realme 5 is quite heavy at around 185g, which is the first thing that I noticed when I first held the phone in my hand. And this is something that takes time getting used to. The phone continues with a polycarbonate back design, but I felt the phone was not compact and poorly built as the plastic on the sides were loose and made a sound when I tried pressing the sides back inside.
For the back cover, Realme has gone for a slightly changed holographic colour and texture design, which definitely looks more neat and subtle than the diamond cut design. The rest of the design is fairly neat as well with quad-camera setup placed on the top left vertically and Realme branding in golden colour right below. A circular fingerprint sensor is placed in the centre and it works quite accurately.
Realme 5 also has a splash-proof coating, which is said to offer protection against humidity, rain, and other daily splashes, which is good to see on a budget device.
The display is 6.5-inches HD+ with Corning Gorilla Glass 3+ coating on top. The display is quite tall and one-handed usage for me was difficult with the weight of the phone also contributing to the problem. However, a larger screen for me meant more viewing space for videos, which is good.
The screen has a dewdrop notch at the top, though barely noticeable since it is very small. The HD+ screen is good to look at with decent viewing angles and colours. Reading under direct sunlight was a bit of an issue as I had to turn the brightness up to maximum.
Realme 5 review: Camera
Realme 5 uses four cameras at the back, where the primary camera is 12MP along with an ultra-wide sensor, ultra macro sensor and a Portrait camera. In bright outdoors, the phone can click very good photos with details intact. The colours pop out well and do not look dull, which I liked. For the macro photos, you will need to keep your hand really steady, but I was impressed with the results given under Rs 10,000 phone. I got some good photos using the macro camera. I liked the Portrait again since it does a very good job of blurring out the background while keeping the subject in sharp focus.
The ChromaBoost and Nightscape features are also there for those who care. The ChromaBoost is definitely a good feature to have as it instantly makes the photos brighter and sharper. The Nightscape really improves the image quality in low-light. The ultra wide-angle lens is useful when you want to capture more elements of a landscape, but the fish-eye effect is hard to miss.
Realme 5 struggles in low-light as I did not find the details to be sufficient. The Nightscape is recommended to get clearer pictures but still, the photos miss detailing. Still, given this is a budget phone, it would be unfair to expect much.
With the front camera, too much artificial smoothening remains an issue. Even with beautification mode turned off, I got extra-fair, flawless skin in photos, which seemed unnatural. Apart from the colour reproduction, the camera works fine in places with ample light. The Portrait shots were impressive as well. However, low-light photos were a miss as they lacked details.
Realme 5 review: Processor and battery
Realme 5 is powered by a Snapdragon 665 processor and the battery is a 5,000mAh one. On the performance front, I did not experience any lag during my daily usage such as opening multiple tabs, switching between apps, watching videos for long hours or clicking photos. Daily usage was smooth and I have no complaints.
Graphics-heavy games like Asphalt-9 also work well on the phone, though I did notice a slight lag. The phone also starts to get warm from the top within around two minutes into such games. The fingerprint sensor works quite quickly and accurately just like the face unlock, which is great.
The extra large battery, which explains the weight of the phone, easily lasted a day and a half with light to moderate usage such as streaming music, watching videos online, playing games occasionally, browsing social media and making calls. With light usage, it can easily be stretched to two days. However, there is no fast charging so be prepared to plug your phone for around three hours to get it fully charged.
Realme 5 review: Verdict
Overall, Realme 5 is a good option to consider for under Rs 10,000, thanks to good cameras, long battery life and a stylish design. But the phone faces some tough competition from Xiaomi’s Redmi 7S, which has a 48MP rear camera sensor and an FHD+ resolution display for a similar price. The choice really comes down to what features you are ready to compromise on. If the screen resolution does not bother you and you are happy with quad-cameras, then Realme 5 is a good choice. The cameras and performance are comparable as well.