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Realme 7 Review

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The Realme 7 precedes a midrange device that oddly dominates its “Pro” counterpart in some key areas.

If you can still remember only 6 months ago, the Realme 6 was favored more by fans than the 6 Pro as it offered better value for the price. But does the same go with the Realme 7? Is it still a more valuable option than the 7 Pro? And in general, is it a device worth checking out? We find out in our Realme 7 review.

Realme 7 Specs

  • Android 10, Realme UI
  • Dual SIM, Dual Standby
  • 6.5-inch FHD+ IPS display, 2400 x 1080 pixel resolution, 405ppi
  • 90Hz refresh rate, Corning Gorilla Glass
  • TÜV Rheinland certified
  • 2.05GHz MediaTek Helio G95 octa-core processor
  • 8GB LPDDR4X RAM
  • Mali-G76 MC4 GPU
  • 128GB UFS 2.1 internal storage, expandable via microSD
  • 16-megapixel front camera, f/2.1
  • 64-megapixel (IMX682, f/1.8) + 8-megapixel (ultra-wide, f/2.3) + 2-megapixel (mono) + 2-megapixel (macro) rear cameras
  • Side-mounted fingerprint scanner, Face unlock
  • HSPA+, 4G LTE
  • WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • GPS, A-GPS, BDS, GLONASS
  • USB Type-C
  • Dimensions: 162.3 x 75.4 x 9.4mm
  • Weight: 196.5g
  • Colors: Mist Blue, Mist White
  • 5,000mAh non-removable battery, 30W Dart Charge

Design and Build Quality

We’ve always commended Realme for being creative and not lazy in coming up with new designs on its every smartphone. Although unlike their predecessors, the Realme 7 series shares identical designs instead of being completely different.

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LR: Realme 7 | 7 Pro

They both have the same split design, with a vertical strip on the left side that transcends to the quad-camera glass on the top and the Realme logo on the bottom.

The only thing you can set them apart is by the camera layout. As you can see, the Realme 7 has all four cameras fall in a straight line, while the Pro model has an inverted L-shape layout.

LR: Realme 7 | 7 Pro

It’s available in two colors: there’s a Mist Blue and the one we have here, the Mist White. Despite its smoked, AG-processed, plastic material, it has light reflections that make it looks really premium. For protection, you can use the included clear case.

The overall build quality is decent. It’s slightly bulkier than the 7 Pro, but that’s primarily due to its larger 5,000mAh battery.

Taking a tour, we have a decent 6.5-inch FHD+ IPS screen, with passable bezel thickness, which was streamlined with its punch-hole for the selfie camera.

The front is protected by an unnamed Corning Gorilla Glass version. There’s also a pre-applied screen protector, which was put really well that you don’t notice it’s there. Oh, and there’s also a tiny slit on the top for the earpiece.

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The top is clean, so it may not have a secondary mic for noise cancellation on calls. While on the bottom, we have the headphone jack, built-in mic, loudspeaker, and the USB Type-C port.

We also have the SIM tray on the top left side that can accommodate two nano SIM cards and microSD all at the same time. Below that is the volume controls.

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On the left side, we have the lock/power switch. As you can see, it sits flat, unlike the other two buttons. That’s because it doubles as a side-mounted fingerprint scanner.

All in all, we’re satisfied with the Realme 7’s design. It may be made of plastic instead of more premium material, but thankfully, the design is clean and straightforward, and the overall weight is heavy enough to assure you that there’s valuable cargo inside.

Display and Audio

The Realme 7 has a 6.5-inch FHD+ IPS screen. What makes it more appealing than the Pro model is its fast 90hz refresh rate — which Realme removed on the former in lieu of a more colorful Super AMOLED panel.

We found no complaints during our time with it. Just like most IPS panels, it provides decent colors, contrast, and sharpness, but obviously, not as vibrant as an AMOLED panel.

The main highlight here is the 90Hz refresh rate, which makes everything fast and smooth — from browsing the UI to playing supported games. Although, its difference between the regular 60Hz screen is barely noticeable.

You can set the refresh rate to auto, which intelligently switches to 90Hz and 60Hz depending on the task on hand to conserve battery.

As for the audio, we have a single bottom-firing speaker on the Realme 7, unlike the stereo speakers that the Pro model has. It provides enough volume for private listening, and has acceptable sound quality and balance.

You can plug in a pair of earphones via the headphone jack for a more immersive experience. It doesn’t come with one, so you have to purchase it separately.

Hardware and Performance

The MediaTek Helio G90T is considered as one of the most powerful chipsets to grace the midrange segment. And with the Helio G95 of the Realme 7, we’re expecting nothing less.

Realme 7 benchmark scores

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Partnered with its 8GB of RAM, 128GB UFS 2.1 storage, and 90Hz screen, the Realme 7 did provide a seamless experience during our tests. You can run basic apps fast and switch between them without a hitch.

That includes taking pictures, participating in video conferences, social media apps, and more.

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Call of Duty Mobile settings on Realme 7

Gaming was also great on this thing. Partnered with the Mali-G76 MC4 GPU, you can play demanding games like Call of Duty Mobile and PUBG Mobile, with the graphics and frame rate set to High.

With that, it’s no surprise that lighter games like Among Us and Mobile Legends also ran smoothly on this device.

Software and User Interface

Just like its brothers, the Realme 7 runs on the latest Android 10-based Realme UI. It’s already confirmed to receive the upcoming Android 11-based Realme UI 2.0 update, so rest assured it’s fairly futureproofed.

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Home Screen | Drop-down menu | App Drawer

Overall, the interface is really clean. Not as straightforward as stock Android, but it’s getting there. The home screen and lock screen looks neat, and swiping up reveals the app drawer, which you can disable in the settings menu if you want to go with the iOS-like, no-app-drawer layout.

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Google screen | Search Tab | Dark Mode settings

On the farthest left of the home screen, you can spot the Google Search, Weather, and News. Swiping down from the desktop reveals the local search tab.

There’s the Dark Mode feature for a stealthy look, which works on the UI, native apps, and most third-party software. You can manually turn it on in the drop-down menu, or automate it in the settings. It can be set it to ‘Sunset to Sunrise’ or on a specific schedule.

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Focus Mode | Customization settings | Smart SideBar

The user can also choose between focus and driving modes, which simplifies the UI and blocks notifications so you don’t get distracted. It can even display encouraging texts and play ambient music to help you stay focused.

Customization options are also present. You can set themes, wallpapers, and icon styles to fit your style. Moreover, Smart SideBar is accessible by swiping from the corner of the screen. It gives you quickly take screenshots, screen recording (with adjustable resolution and audio reference in the settings), and access to your chosen apps.

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Digital Wellbeing | Split Screen | App Cloner

Digital Wellbeing shows your smartphone usage and habits, Parental Controls regulates smartphone usage, three-finger split screen if you want to use two apps side-by-side, and app cloner for easy multi-account management.

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Game Space | Uninstall-able native app | HeyTap Cloud

Game Space is an app that lets you configure Realme 7’s performance before you ran a game for a more optimal experience.

Disappointingly, there are preinstalled Google and Realme apps that can’t be installed. But we bet most of them will be useful for you, so you wouldn’t mind keeping them. We also have OPPO’s HeyTap cloud if you want to play with it.

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Storage | Google Keyboard | Camera App

The Realme 7 has 128GB of storage, with 13.9GB of it saved for the system. The Google Keyboard is easy to get used to, while the camera app is intuitive and familiar.

Overall, we’re satisfied with the Realme 7’s interface. It compliments the overall hardware. No problems here.

Security

The Realme 7 has a side-mounted fingerprint scanner that works really fast and reliably. No issues in our tests. Other than unlocking the device, you can also use it for the App Lock and Private Safe features, which benefit your privacy.

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For faster unlocking, you can enable its Face Unlock feature, which uses the 16-megapixel selfie camera to recognize your face and unlock the device.

Since it lacks a night-seeing IR scanner, there’s a part in the settings that will help brighten the screen — acting like a flash — to light up your face when unlocking the device at night or at pitch-black rooms.

Connectivity

The latest chipset allowed the Realme 7 to have 4G LTE and dual-band WiFi. However, it still has Bluetooth 5.0 instead of the newer 5.1 version. Still, as per our testing, neither showed any problems when connecting to the mobile network, home WiFi, and other wireless devices. The USB Type-C also has OTG capabilities, too.

We don’t see any secondary microphone anywhere for noise cancellation. Still, partnered with its earpiece, call quality is clear on this device.

SEE ALSO: Realme 7 Pro Review

Camera

The Realme 7 seems to have retained the cameras that its predecessor has. But in fact, the 64-megapixel main shooter is actually now a Sony IMX682 sensor. That’s the same as the Pro model and an upgrade over the Samsung GW1 of the Realme 7.

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Other than that, everything is pretty much the same. There’s the usual 8-megapixel ultra-wide, 2-megapixel mono, and 2-megapixel macro. There’s also the 16-megepixel selfie snapper on the front.

Let’s start with the main camera. As you can see in the samples below, it takes images with acceptable colors, contrast, and dynamic range. However, the sharpness looks too exaggerated. A software update should fix this easily. Low light images are passable, but you can improve that by using the Night mode.

The AI Scene Detection a.k.a Chroma Boost feature, which you can enable at the top of the camera app, increases the vibrancy of the image, resulting in an Instagram-ready image. But be cautious of using it as it sometimes oversaturates the image.

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64-megapixel | Outdoors
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64-megapixel | Outdoors
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64-megapixel | Outdoors
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64-megapixel | Outdoors | Chroma Boost enabled
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Night Mode: Off | On
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Night Mode: Off | On

The 2-megapixel mono camera also doubles as the depth sensor that allows the main shooter to take bokeh images. Its edge detection is good, for as long as the foreground and background aren’t too complicated.

It also enables the built-in filters on the camera app. It looks neat, but I doubt it’s better than doing the edit after a shot is taken.

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Portrait Mode
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Portrait Mode
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Built-in filters

We also have the 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera on the Realme 7. As expected, the quality is inferior to the main camera and there is noticeable distortion on the corners.

Still, the wide field-of-view it offers is really usable for taking architectural pictures, landscapes, group pictures, and other large subjects that you can’t usually fit on a single frame.

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8-megapixel ultra-wide | Outdoors
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8-megapixel ultra-wide | Indoors

Lastly, we have a 2-megapixel macro camera. It lets you get close to a small subject by up to 4cm, great for flower images, insects, and whatnot.

However, the quality is really not the best. You might be better off using the main camera, get as close as the focus permits, and just crop in later.

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2-megapixel macro | Outdoors
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2-megapixel macro | Outdoors

The rear cameras can also shoot [email protected] videos, up to 240fps slow-mo at 720p, has UIS and UIS Max Video Stabilization, and record videos using the ultra-wide camera.

Lastly, there’s the 16-megapixel Sony IMX 471 selfie camera with an f/2.1 aperture. It takes clean selfies with natural skin tones, enough exposure even in low-light, and sharp details.

You can max out the AI Face Beauty and still get fairly believable selfies. Portrait Mode also works well in here, despite the lack of a dedicated depth sensor.

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16-megapixel
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16-megapixel | AI Face Beauty: Max
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16-megapixel | Portrait Mode

Overall, we’re impressed by the flexibility the Realme 7’s camera provides. Just a couple of software updates and we’re good.

Related

Battery

As stated earlier, the Realme 7 has a large 5,000mAh battery accounting for its large profile. And during our test, it provided good performance.

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Realme 7 PCMark battery test score

We ran PCMark’s battery test where it loops synthetic workloads until the battery reaches 20%. We did it with the WiFi and Bluetooth off, and the brightness and volume set to 50%. Under those circumstances, the Realme 7 got a screen-on time of 11 hours and 14 minutes.

In real-world usage, the Realme 7 can last for a day and a half of light to moderate usage. But if you game or watch movies a lot, you can still expect an entire day of charge.

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Other than the generous battery, the Realme 7 also has a fast 30W Dart charging feature. It’s not as fast as the Realme 7 Pro’s 65W charger, but it’s enough to provide a full charge in only about an hour.

Conclusion

Well, it goes without saying that the Realme 7 boasts a really compelling value for the price. For under Php15,000, it already offers a smooth screen, fast and reliable performance, flexible camera hardware, and of course, a long battery life with a complimenting fast charger.

If we were to nitpick, we just wish a better construction than plastic. The camera is also in need of a software update. And lastly, it would be nice to see a stereo speaker setup on this thing.

Realme 7 pricing and availability in the Philippines

The Realme 7 has an official price of Php14,990 in the Philippines. It’s now avaialble in tons of Realme physical stores nationwide, and exclusively online through their official store in Lazada.

You can get it at a 6-month and 9-month 0% installment plans on Home Credit, and 0% 6 and 12 month plans on major credit cards on select Realme stores.

Pros

  • Large and fast 90Hz display
  • Fast and reliable performance
  • Long battery life with fast charging
  • Flexible camera hardware

Cons

  • Plastic build
  • Camera software needs improvement
  • Stereo speakers would be nice

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