realme has been heavily targeting the entry/budget segement of smartphones for a while now, and admittedly, they’re making quite a name for themselves in that area. One of their more recent entries into the market, is the realme 5. When they launched the phones, they brought both the realme 5 and the realme 5 Pro, which have some differences between them.
But do the differences justify the price difference? Should you go for the more accessible, cheaper realme 5? Is it even worth that much?! Well lucky for you, we’re here to answer those questions. So sit back, relax, and let’s get into the review of the realme 5!
Design & Build Quality
The realme 5 basically looks like 80% of smartphones out there right now, with a twist. It follows the same kind of gradient blue back design, but with a sort of shattered glass look which differentiates itself enough from the rest. But besides that, it really is similar to most. The back of the phone is a sort of hard plastic/polycarbonate fused material, making it look like glass (barely) but having a hard, plasticy feel to it. It does make the phone feel all the more cheap, but I don’t think that’s the main appeal of the phone.
On the front, the realme 5 has a 6.5″ HD+ LCD ‘mini-drop’ display with a 89% screen-to-body ratio along with Corning Gorilla Glass 3+ protection. I mean, it’s not bad, and it’s definitely a big screen for the price, but I personally wasn’t that into it. I would’ve preferred a smaller screen, like the realme 5 Pro, but they opted to bring a bigger battery instead of a small form factor. But more on that later.
Another thing about the display I didn’t really like, was the fact that it was often too “warm”. Not that it felt warm or that it got hot, but rather the colour of the screen made it seem more yellow than it needed to be. You can adjust it in the settings, but even then, it’s a bit warmer than I would’ve liked. Maybe that’s up to personal preference, but that’s just me.
Performance & Software
The performance of the realme 5 is actually not as bad as I thought it would be. It comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665, making it a pretty good budget processor. It has 4GB of RAM and comes in three variants of 3/32 (RM 549), 4/64 (RM 599) and 4/128GB (RM 799). I got to test out the 128GB variant, and like I said, okay for the price. It wasn’t something that wowed me, but it definitely did the job. I did notice a few lags here and there, especially when I would close an app, the home screen would consistently have to load up again.
It was a minor annoyance, but definitely something noticeable. Playing games was more enjoyable than I thought it’d be, and there was no issues running Call of Duty Mobile on High settings. This doesn’t include anti-aliasing, shadows, and other features that would make it graphically intense though. But overall, I was satisfied with how it performed.
As I mentioned before, the device is a bit hefty in comparison to many devices out there. It’s long because of the screen size, and it’s also pretty bulky. But it’s form factor is mainly to blame to the battery, as it’s powered by a pretty huge 5000mAh battery. So maybe I’m willing to sacrifice the dimensions for that huge battery, because it really was one of my favourite things about the the phone. I didn’t have to charge often, but I would have to wait for it to charge up, because unfortunately, it has a microUSB port.
I mean, it’s not horrible to charge it up, and I found it to be bearable. Because honestly for the price, I really can’t complain.
Now this is where many budget phones lose out against their more expensive counterparts, the cameras. But surprisingly, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. The phone has a 13MP front facing camera which takes pretty good selfies, and also has an AI Beauty Mode for those who need it. It wasn’t as aggressive as other software’s I’ve seen before, so I’ll give it that. But I did end up looking like someone in a Korean Drama though.
On the rear, there’s impressively enough, a quad camera setup; a 12MP Normal camera, 8MP Wide-angle camera, 2MP Micro camera, 2MP Portrait camera. And it took ‘good enough’ photos, but I felt the colour was a little off. I’m not sure what it was about the pictures, but it just wasn’t accurate/true to life. The night mode really couldn’t cope, and you’re better without it. Colours came out inaccurate, as the picture below demonstrates. Those purple lights? In real life they were blue.
There’s also a ‘Chroma’ feature in the camera app, which basically makes colours pop out, but like I said, it’s not as accurate as it could’ve been. Kind of made things look weird, so I never really turned it on. But at the end of the day, that’s more of a matter of preference rather than there being an objective point of view.
In comparison, when we had the realme 5 Pro in hand, it was a really good camera. Sad to see that the Realme 5 just couldn’t stack up, but for the price, I’d say the cameras were good. The cameras really did perform when you consider the price of the device, and therefore, I’m gonna say they were better than okay. They were good.
The realme 5 honestly, is a bargain for the money. It isn’t the best performing entry level smartphone, but it’s up there with the best of them. There’s a reason realme is booming right now, because they’re trying to bring in flagship (close enough) level specs, to an extremely affordable price point. And the realme 5 will get you through most of what you do with a smartphone anyway.
The screen isn’t as great as it could’ve been, the sound is tinny if too loud, and it can feel cheap in hand, and the cameras aren’t super great but gets the job done. It really is meant for someone who doesn’t want to spend a crazy amount on a smartphone. For the RM 549 starting price, I’m impressed that I enjoyed using it as much as I have. The story of the realme 5 is that it’s ‘good enough’.
I wouldn’t mind using it as my daily driver, but for me, the cameras aren’t good enough for that. But for the price, there really isn’t that much more beating it.
A 'Good Enough' smartphone for the price.