Realme has been considered as the fastest growing smartphone brand today. It’s the result of the company’s aggressive push in launching new smartphones that offer good value for the price. One of them is the brand new Realme 5.
Sitting in the below-Php10k price category, the Realme 5 is undeniably one of the best budget options out there. But how does this device performed in the real world? That’s what we want to find in our Realme 5 Review.
Realme 5 Specs
- Android 9 Pie, ColorOS 6
- Dual SIM
- 6.5-inch HD+ IPS display, 1600 x 720 pixel resolution, ~269ppi
- Corning Gorilla Glass 3+, 89% screen-to-body ratio
- 2.0GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 octa-core processor
- 3GB/4GB RAM
- Adreno 610 GPU
- 32GB/64GB/128GB internal storage, expandable via microSD up to 256GB
- 13-megapixel front camera
- 12-megapixel (f/1.8, PDAF) + 8-megapixel (ultra-wide, f/2.25) + 2-megapixel (depth sensor) + 2-megapixel (macro) rear cameras, LED flash
- AI scene detection, Chroma boost, Super nightscape
- Rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, Face unlock
- Headphone jack
- 4G LTE
- WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band
- Bluetooth 5.0
- GPS, BDS, Galileo, A-GPS
- Dimensions: 164.4 x 75.6 x 9.3mm
- Weight: 198g
- Colors: Crystal Purple, Crystal Blue
- 5,000mAh non-removable battery, 10W fast charging
Design and Build Quality
Low-end smartphones have become very capable in the last couple of years. But with the Realme 5, the industry has proven that affordable devices can also have great designs.
The Realme 5 has a unique Diamond-cut design on the back that shines alternately with light. What we have here is the Crystal Blue model, while a Crystal Purple option is also available.
However, people who prefer smaller and compact devices might not like this device. This one is 164.4mm tall, 9.3mm thick, and weighs at 196g. On the upside, we get a few benefits from its large body.
For one, it comes with an enormous 5,000mAh battery and a large 6.5-inch screen on the front. Which is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. Despite its attractive design on the back, Realme is still going with function over style. The Realme 5 even has a splash-resistant body.
In fact, for a device with such a large screen, Realme was able to keep the footprint at the minimum that it has an 89% screen-to-body ratio. That’s thanks to its ultra-thin bezels, and the tiny waterdrop notch on top that houses the 13-megapixel selfie camera.
Staying true to their no-compromise approach in design, we have the SIM tray on the side that can house two nano SIMs and a dedicated slot for a microSD card (up to 256GB).
Below it is the volume controls. While on the other side we have the lock/power switch. The buttons are not the most satisfying thing to press, but they’re tactile enough to do the job.
The top is clean, while on the bottom we have the 3.5mm headphone jack, loudspeakers, and disappointingly, a microUSB port instead of Type-C.
We have the four cameras on the top left corner at the back. They’re located in an unnoticeable camera bump in a vertical orientation. Adjacent to that is the Realme logo on the bottom, and the fingerprint scanner in the middle.
Those who have smaller hands might have to reach further to get to the fingerprint sensor, considering how tall the device is.
The Realme 5 may not be the most comfortable smartphone to use, but its unique and flashy design can attract some attention.
As stated earlier, the Realme 5 boasts a large 6.5-inch screen. It uses an IPS panel with an HD+ resolution of 1600 x 720 pixels, with a ~269 pixel-per-inch. It also has Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. But if you’re still worried about durability, Realme has pre-applied a screen protector in the factory.
Having an HD panel for a screen this large is not ideal. If you look closely, you’d notice the lack of sharpness. But for the average people, and especially when you consider its price, this is fine. The fact that it gives you a roomy screen real-estate is already a big plus.
The actual color quality and contrast are also mediocre, but we’re not taking offense. Meanwhile, the screen brightness is sufficient enough to make it usable outdoors.
The Realme 5 has a single loudspeaker on the bottom. It outputs clear sound quality and the volume is loud enough if you want to listen to music or watch videos without headphones.
But for a better listening experience, you can plug in a pair of earphones via the 3.5mm jack on the bottom.
Performance and Hardware
The Realme 5 is powered by a 2.0GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 octa-core processor with Adreno 610 GPU. It’s available in 3GB/32GB, 3GB/64GB, and the one that we’re reviewing right now, the 4GB/128GB model.
Realme 5 Benchmark scores:
You can get a decent and acceptable performance from this thing. You can experience minor hiccups or ‘lags’ occasionally, but nothing too worrying. It still feels smooth for a budget smartphone.
It was also able to handle all the games that we played with it. Popular games like Call of Duty Mobile and Mobile Legends ran at playable frame rates. Although demanding titles like Asphalt 9 did had a lot of frame drops, but bearable.
Software and User Interface
Realme has already confirmed the Android 10 upgrade for the Realme 5, which will arrive on Q2 of 2020. In the meantime, we have to settle on its Android 9 Pie software. It’s dressed with ColorOS 6 interface on top.
The UI looks fairly clean and straightforward. The lock screen is neat with the time on the top, and your notifications laid out below it. You can swipe up from the home screen to easily access the app drawer (with an app search tab on the top). You can also swipe to the far left to access the Smart Assistant Tab.
We also have the familiar camera app that lets you intuitively use one of the device’s best features. It uses Google Keyboard that’s easy to type on and has built-in search.
Meanwhile, we have the notifications tab via the drop-down menu on the top. It’s below the control center that you can swipe further down to expand and gain access to more controls.
The device also has a dark mode feature that you can access in the settings menu. The black theme is extended to third-party apps that support it, even Facebook and Instagram.
I also like how the screenshot notification is less distracting when your watching videos or playing games. You can also enable the lock screen magazines for unique wallpapers that you can swap easily.
Other features like Digital Wellbeing and Parental Control is also present. It helps you monitor your smartphone usage so you can regulate it if you need to. There’s also the App Cloner, Game Space, and Split screen features.
Clearly, ColorOS 6 packs tons of features that complement the hardware that the Realme 5 has.
Fingerprint scanners are a common feature in almost all smartphones in recent years. The only question is, where did they put it.
The Realme 5 has its biometric sensor on the back. You can’t expect an in-display or side-mounted scanner for this price. Although you’d be glad to know that it worked fast and accurate.
We also have the Face Unlock that uses the device’s 13-megapixel selfie camera to see your face. This one also worked well. In fact, it can instantly unlock the device the moment you pick the device up (with Raise to Wake enabled) before you can even reach the fingerprint scanner on the back.
When the first dual-camera smartphone was announced, it became really popular — and very expensive. But now, we’re way beyond that. Devices now even come with three to four cameras, at a very affordable price tag.
Realme 5 is one of them. This one comes with a quad-camera setup on the back. Starting with the 12-megapixel primary shooter, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide, and two 2-megapixel cameras for macro and depth-sensing, respectively.
Let’s start with the 12-megapixel primary shooter. This thing can capture images with nice exposure, even in low-light. The colors look accurate and not oversaturated. It also offers a wide dynamic range and acceptable sharpness.
For an even better low-light shot, you can enable the Nightscape feature. Despite the lack of an optical image stabilizer, it takes sharp and clean long-exposure shots.
The images from 8-megapixel ultra-wide are unsurprisingly less impressive. The details and colors are a bit muddy. However, the wide field of view is still very handy for large subjects and group shots.
Next stop, we have the 2-megapixel macro camera. Not a lot of people might use it, but it comes in handy if you need it. Just like the ultra-wide, the quality is not the best. However, the flexibility it provides is very much welcome.
We also have a 2-megapixel depth sensor. Surprisingly, it does a great job of determining which is the subject and background. Thus, helping the 12-megapixel primary camera to take portrait shots with great edge detection.
The capable cameras sweeten the deal if you purchase the Realme 5.
For a budget device, the Realme 5 comes with a lot of advanced antennas. There’s the dual-band WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 5.0. Both of which delivered seamless connectivity with our home network and other wireless accessories.
The 4G LTE antenna also didn’t pose any problem connecting to our home network. The call quality is also great via the decent earpiece on top of the screen. The voice pickup is also good, although we’re not seeing a secondary noise-canceling microphone.
Probably the most disappointing thing about the Realme 5 is its use of microUSB, instead of the newer USB Type-C. Which we’re already seeing in tons of other devices — some of them are even cheaper than this.
One of the ‘big’ features of the Realme 5 is its enormous 5,000mAh battery. Since it’s only powering an HD screen and has an efficient processor, it provided really good longevity.
PCMark’s battery test gave it a score of 16 hours and 25 minutes of screen-on time. That’s after a loop of synthetic workloads, with the WiFi off and the screen brightness and volume set to 50%, until the battery reached 20%.
This translates to an entire day, or even a day and a half of common smartphone usage.
The Realme 5 comes with 10W of fast charging support. It’s not as ‘fast’ in today’s standard, but it’s better than the usual 5W that other smartphones come with.
The Realme 3 was already a killer for its price when it was released. And with the Realme 5 — as what you just saw — the company stepped it up even further.
You’d rarely find a really good looking smartphone for this price. But more than its looks, it also comes with a large screen, capable cameras that take good images, a processor that can handle anything, and of course, a large battery that lasts for a day or two.
Still, Realme’s move to stick on microUSB is disappointing. And if we have to nitpick, we just wish that the display has a more fitting FHD+ resolution.
However, the downsides are trivial when compared to its pros, which makes the Realme 5 one of the best smartphones you can get for under Php10,000.
Realme 5 pricing and availability in the Philippines
The unit you just saw, the top-of-the-line Realme 5 4GB/128GB model, is available nationwide for a price of Php9,990. While a 3GB/64GB is also in-shelves for Php7,990.
Meanwhile, a more affordable 3GB/32GB variant for Php6,990 is also being sold exclusively in Lazada.
- Attractive, splash-resistant design
- Large screen
- Capable cameras
- Decent performance
- Great battery life
- Still at microUSB
- Low display resolution for the size