The trend of multiple cameras on a smartphone started in the flagship segment. But it did not take long to make these experiences available at affordable price points. Realme, ever since its launch last, is on a road to disrupt the set norms. The latest, Realme 5, brings a quad-camera setup under Rs 10,000. The smartphone has other parameters too that make it really appealing.
Realme 5 price in India starts at Rs 9,999 for the base model with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage. The 4GB RAM variant with 64GB storage will cost Rs 10,999, whereas the 4GB RAM with 128GB storage variant will set you back by Rs 11,999. The smartphone can be purchased from Flipkart, realme.com and partner retail outlets. It competes with the HTC Wildfire X, Xiaomi Redmi Note 7S, and Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 to name a few. On paper, the Realme 5 looks very promising, but what about the real-world performance? Here is my Realme 5 review.
Realme 5 Review: Design
Ever since Realme entered the market, design and aggressive price point have been the company’s two strong points. The same is true with the Realme 5 too. You still get a hard plastic frame and laminated plastic back which looks and feels like glass. Realme has updated the diamond pattern design which looks stunning, especially for a device that is available under Rs 10,000.
Compared to the Realme 3, Realme 5 is a bit tall. It flaunts a 6.5-inch HD+ display that runs at a resolution of 720×1600 pixels. The display is tall at 20:9 aspect ratio, but the width is small, making it easier to grip. I have one issue with the display, it is not bright enough to be legible under direct sunlight. There is a waterdrop-style notch that houses the front camera and sensors.
Turn to the back and you have vertically stacked quad-camera sensors and LED flash model. Besides that, you have a physical fingerprint scanner, which is fast in unlocking the smartphone. The power button is on the right, whereas the volume buttons are on the right. Along the bottom, you have the microUSB port and 3.5mm audio jack.
Realme 5 Review: Cameras
The smartphone’s camera setup includes a 12-megapixel primary sensor with f/1.8 aperture. The second is an 8-megapixel ultra-wide sensor, whereas the third and fourth are 2-megapixel sensors for depth and macro mode. Upfront, you get a 13-megapixel selfie snapper with AI beauty mode. The cameras are AI-enabled with scene detection to capture better photos. There is also chroma boost mode, which increases the color saturation of the captured photos. But what about the quality?
Given the price point, we can’t expect too much from the camera. But then, I was pleasantly surprised. Outdoor photos under bright lighting conditions have enough details. The dynamic range and shadows look good too. The chroma boost adds a little punch to the colors, and some users may just like this.
The macro mode is a hit and miss. I clicked close-up photos of keyboard keys and it turned out to be well. However, close up of flower lacked details. The camera struggled to focus, and the end result wasn’t that good. In the portrait mode, the edge detection works well.
There is a nightscape mode as well, which is Realme’s version of low-light mode. While you can’t expect Pixel or P30 level performance, the Realme 5 still does a decent job. In the below photos, I have highlighted boxes (in RED). As you can see, the low-light mode increases the brightness, and the shadows and details that are not visible otherwise, are clearly visible here.
Coming to selfies, the front camera is able to capture good looking photos with enough details and accurate skin tones. Portrait mode soften the skin tones, even if beauty mode is turned off, which is a tad disappointing. However, edge detection works well, even when you have multiple people in the frame.
Realme 5 Review: Software and performance
The Realme 5 ships with Android 9 Pie with ColorOS skin on top. My review unit ran of July 2019 Android security patch, which isn’t that bad. There are some customizations from Realme in the form of Smart Driving assistant. When activated, it notifies callers that you are busy driving and will call back. There is an app market from where you can download games and apps.
You have the Realme Store from where you can buy Realme products. There is also Theme Store to download new themes and wallpapers. My problem is with the bloatware apps that Realme has bundled. Thankfully, they can be uninstalled too.
Under the hood is Snapdragon 665 octa-core SoC which is made on 11nm process. You can choose between 3GB / 4GB RAM, and 32GB / 64GB or 128GB storage options. I had the 4GB RAM with 128GB variant for review. During my review period, I did not come across any major issues related to the performance. The UI is smooth, apps open within seconds, and multitasking is smooth too. I had no issues using daily apps like Slack, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
The gaming experience on the Realme 5 is good. There is Game Space to boost gaming performance. It does this by maximizing chipset performance, reducing network latency, and blocking unwanted notifications for uninterrupted gaming. Games like PUBG Mobile run on High settings easily. It’s just that I noticed minor frame skipping, but a lot had to do with the network latency. The gameplay experience was good with high-speed Wi-Fi in office.
Lastly, its time to talk about another USP of the phone – 5,000mAh battery. It is not the first phone in this range to come with a massive battery, as you already have the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 and M2. But the optimizations done by Realme does ensure that the battery lasts little over a day without breaking a sweat. And even with heavy usage, the battery lasts a day.
It’s sad that the phone does not have fast charging capabilities. With the stock 10W charger, it took a little over three hours to charge the phone’s battery to full. Even using Oppo K3’s VOOC Flash Charge charger didn’t help. I hope the Realme 5 successor comes with fast charging capabilities.
Verdict: Should you buy the Realme 5?
The Realme 5 is a significant upgrade over the Realme 3. It brings a bigger battery, more cameras, slightly larger display and a new design pattern. There is a new and improved chipset and more storage option. The quad cameras at the back perform well, and I wish the macro lens was a bit better. The smartphone also offers excellent battery life in its segment.
If you’re looking for an all-round performer in under Rs 10,000, the Realme 5 should be in the top of your list. If you can pay a little extra, the Realme 5 Pro, Xiaomi Mi A3 or the Zenfone Max Pro M2 would be good alternatives. The Redmi Note 7 Pro is not a bad option either.