The budget segment of smartphones has become crowded in 2019. Consumers can now get value for money smartphones with best-in-class specifications all for under Rs 15,000. However, this hasn’t stopped smartphone manufacturers from launching mid-cycle upgrades to keep their smartphones relevant given the intense competition in this segment.
One such smartphone is the new Realme 5s with its 48MP camera and a new crystal red colour option. However, does the mid-cycle update of the Realme 5, which costs Rs 1,000 more stand a chance? Let’s find out.
Realme 5s specifications: 6.5-inch HD+ display | Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor | 4GB RAM | 64GB/128GB internal storage | 48MP primary camera + 8MP ultra-wide angle + 2MP ultra macro + 2MP depth | 13MP front camera | 5,000mAh battery, microUSB port
Realme 5s review: Design and build+ Display
The new Realme 5s is similar to the Realme 5, the earlier variant. The major differentiating factor in design is the new crystal red colour option, which I thought was tacky. I am not a fan of crystal design that Realme has been using since the Realme 1, and this phone in no way changed my opinion. The body is still built out of polycarbonate, and when held in hand, it feels as if the device was made out of very cheap plastic.
Coming to the front, the notch is not that prominent and flows a bit naturally.The device also has a huge chin on the bottom and comes with Gorilla Glass 3 protection
The Realme 5s has a 6.5-inch HD+ LCD display. The panel is not as bright and colour accurate as one would expect at this price bracket. Viewing angles are decent though. Another big issue with the display is that it comes with an HD+ resolution, due to which pixelation is visible. Compared to the Redmi Note 8, which at the same price offers a 1080p display, Realme 5s’ screen is not that crisp.
Realme 5s review: Performance
The device performs well when it comes to daily tasks such as calling, texting, browsing the web and more. However, when you start multi-tasking heavy apps on it, it does struggle and the stuttering and lag are hard to ignore. Playing heavy games like PUBG Mobile, Asphalt 9: Legends, Call of Duty: Mobile and more on the smartphone is a nightmare. They do run decently when played on low graphics settings, however, after 30 minutes of gameplay they start to lag and the phone gets too hot.
I would rather say that games like PUBG Mobile Lite are much more suited for this device. Playing PUBG Mobile Lite did not cause me as many problems and ran perfectly fine. However, considering the Redmi Note 8 can run the full version of the game in Medium settings for long sessions without any stutters.
Realme 5s review: Software
The device runs Google’s Android 9 Pie operating system with the company’s own ColorOS 6.0.1 skin on top. I simply do not like the childish UI that is ColorOS, it is too big and colourful for me and is just not that intuitive. It comes with a ton of bloatware pre-installed, most of which you cannot get rid off. Another thing is that the device’s native apps keep on pushing advertisements, even if they are not open. Realme is scheduled to push ColorOS 7 to this smartphone in May, which might fix the issues.
Realme 5s review: Cameras
Realme has swapped the Realme 5’s 12MP main camera with a 48MP Samsung GM1 sensor on the Realme 5s. The other three rear sensors remain the same, which include an 8MP wide-angle camera, a 2MP depth sensor and a 2MP macro sensor. For selfies, the company has stuck with the same 13MP camera on the front.
Nothing has changed in the camera app, which seems quite familiar, thanks to all of the Oppo smartphones we have been testing throughout the years. The app consists of toggles for wide-angle photography, HDR mode, 48MP mode and more.
While taking images during daytime with ample light, the Realme 5s captures a good amount of dynamic range and details. Portrait mode is also decent on the device, but it leaves a lot of room for improvement. In the portrait mode, the image exposure, colour accuracy is captured quite well with good details. But the edge detection is not good at all. While taking images using the wide-angle sensor, the images look a little overexposed and the fisheye lens effect is present.
Low light photography is when the camera struggles a lot. The images I took looked as if they were painted rather than clicked. The autofocus was mostly out and took a lot of time to get hold of the subject. Shifting to the nightscape mode helped a bit, by correcting the exposure and adding details. Nightscape did remove some of the light, but the shots looked as if artificial lighting was introduced.
Coming to the front camera, it was able to take decent selfies in good lighting conditions with a fair amount of details. The portrait mode once again fell short in terms of edge detection. The beautification mode remains far removed from reality.
Realme 5s review: Battery
Battery life is where the Realme 5s was able to excel and impress. The device lasted around two days on a single charge with heavy-duty usage. It comes with no fast charging and takes over two hours to charge the device with the in-box 10W charger. It also continues with a micro-USB port.
Realme 5s review: Verdict
The Realme 5s is just the Realme 5 repackaged with a new camera and coated with a new paint layer. But at a time when the competition is much more fierce in this price bracket, I would say that you are better off getting the Redmi Note 8, instead of the Realme 5s. However, if you want to only buy a Realme smartphone, I would recommend that you wait for the Realme 6, and seeing the company’s launch pattern I would say, the launch is not that far off.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines