Realme, a market shaking smartphone brand of 2019, entered 2020 with a budget-segment smartphone, Realme 5i, adding it to the popular Realme 5 series that sold over 5.5 million units in 2019. I have been using the device for about a week now as it was just launched in Nepal at a price tag of Rs.20,990 for the only one variant available i.e. the 4GB RAM and 64GB storage variant.
Here’ my honest opinions about Realme 5i to help you decide for yourself if this phone is worthy of attracting consumers in the Nepalese market right now.
Unboxing: Realme 5i
As we open the yellow box, we are greeted with the smartphone in Aqua-Blue color which has a pre-installed screen protector, a 2-pin charger with micro-USB cable, SIM ejector tool, User Guide and Warranty Information.
Realme 5i: Specs Summary
- Display: 6.52-inch IPS LCD display
- Resolution: 720 x 1600 pixels
- Operating System: Android 9.0 Pie
- Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 665
- RAM: 4 GB
- Storage: 64 GB of internal storage
- Rear Camera: 12MP Main camera + 8MP Ultra-wide-angle lens, 2MP Portrait lens + 2MP Ultra-Macro lens | Video: 2160@30fps, 1080@30fps
- Front Camera: 8 MP
- Sensors: Fingerprint, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
- Battery: 5000 mAh
- Headphone Jack: Yes
- Colors: Aqua Blue and Forest Green
Realme 5i: Design
The design is similar to Realme 5 and 5s except for the diamond-cut pattern giving birth to the beautiful Sunrise design on the back. The phone is still made out of plastic but has a matte-like textured back finish to keep oily smudges and fingerprints at bay.
The back has the power button is present on the right, volume rockers and two dedicated nano-SIM and one microSD slots are present on the left and the loudspeaker grill, micro USB port, microphone, and the 3.5mm audio jack are present on the bottom. On the back, we have the vertical quad-camera housing with a flash and circular physical fingerprint sensor just outside it and a Realme logo on the bottom left corner.
The bezels are very thin while the chin is noticeably large with the dew-drop notch on top that houses the usual set of proximity and ambient light sensors along with the selfie-sensor. I have been having problems unlocking the phone with the fingerprint sensor at times but when it does work it’s blazing fast. Also, face unlock works pretty well and quickly. Even though its huge 6.52 inches IPS LCD display is only of 720p resolution, I found it to be pretty in terms of brightness, colors and viewing angles but lacking in the pixel quality and also not suitable for one-handed use due to its size. The display has a 20:9 aspect ratio with 269 PPI pixel density and Corning Gorilla Glass 3+ protection. The phone weighs about 198 grams since it has a huge non-removable battery.
Software and Performance:
It is powered by Snapdragon 665 which is found on the Redmi Note 8 as well which is perfectly capable of day-to-day multitasking. The Snapdragon 665 is an 11nm processor that has Kryo 260 CPUs clocked at up to 2.0GHz and Adreno 610 GPU.
It handles all of the popular heavy games like PUBG mobile, Call of Duty and Asphalt 9 with few occasional frame drops. We were able to run Call of Duty at the highest, PUBG mobile at medium and Asphalt 9 at high settings. Even though it is a phone of 2020, the phone runs on Color 0S 6.1 based on Android Pie.
The company already confirmed Realme UI based on Android 10 for the Realme 5 in Q2 2020, so the 5i should also get the update during that time. There is system-wide Dark mode support of Color OS 6.1 which can be toggled from the drop-down menu. The night shield option helps to minimize eye stress while using the phone in low-lit conditions. If you are a B&W lover, there is a Grayscale mode option as well to remove colors system-wide.
Overall, there are various display modes, ease of use benefits and other tools in Color OS 6.1 as seen in the other Realme 5 series that make the overall user experience pretty good for the price except for the annoying ads that kept popping up in the Notification bar time to time before. I finally learned to turn it off in the settings and now I am perfectly fine using the OS but I’m eagerly waiting for the Realme UI.
This is one of the very few phones to have a quad-camera setup at this price range. Let’s recap the sensors this phone has i.e. 12MP Sony IMX386 f/1.8 main, 8MP f/2.25 ultra-wide, 2MP depth and 2MP f/2.4 macro sensor. Personally, I like the software processing of Realme a lot and combined with quad-sensors, it works great in every scenario possible. In good lighting conditions, photos from the main sensor even though it is of the only 12MP, have pretty good dynamic range, color reproduction, sharpness, and highlights. When zoomed in, there aren’t enough pixels as the 48MP and 64MP sensors to match their clarity and sharpness but it isn’t that bad up to 2x digital zoom.
The ultra-wide captures a 118-degree wide field of view but the picture quality isn’t good and consistent throughout the pixels as from the main sensor. The distortion correction is done automatically by the software.
Also Read: Realme Mobiles Price in Nepal
I don’t know how much the 2MP depth sensor helps in improving portraits but they come out naturally with good edge-detection and lesser beautification just like how I prefer it. The macro camera is supposed to shoot pictures at a distance as close as 4cm but I found it to be sub-par in quality as compared to the other two sensors.
The selfies seem natural with enough clarity and accurate colors but the intense AI beauty mode toggle totally spoils it for me but there is an option available for those who use it. Selfie portraits have not so decent edge detection and background blur but it works just fine in good lighting. In low-lit conditions, only the main sensor is decent with its Nightscape mode.
In the video aspect, the main sensor can shoot up to 4k at 30fps with the main sensor and up to 1080p with the ultra-wide and quality is similar to what I said for the photos. There’s no optical image stabilization on any of the sensors but the Electronic Image Stabilization and AI itself do a great job in stabilizing the footage while capturing in 1080p from both the main and the ultrawide sensor.
The camera app also supports Time-lapse, Panorama and Expert mode that helps you control your Exposure, Shutter Speed, White Balance, and Focus. Though the company claims to have 120fps and 240fps of slow-motion support, I didn’t find the option to change the fps in the native camera app. Overall, the phone has one of the best camera setups in its price range making it the phone’s best-selling point.
Realme 5i Camera Samples
The battery backup is insane here due to its massive 5000mah battery and that lower resolution display but, it has its disadvantages. It can take more than 2 hours to juice up the massive battery from 0 to 100 with its non-fast 10-watt charger provided in the box. So sadly, no quick charging for a quick run to the coffee shop here. Also, I am highly disappointed at Realme for giving us a USB-Type-A port in 2020. Like really, Back to the past instead of Back to the Future?
Compared to the Realme 5, the 5i offers more RAM for the same price but the storage is identical and can easily be expanded using a micro-SD card. The display and the quad-camera setup at the back are identical except for the lesser 8MP selfie shooter on the Realme 5i. So, personally, I don’t think one should be paying Rs.2000 more for a higher pixel selfie-shooter of only 13MP and that extra 64GB of storage on the Realme 5.
Looking over all the aspects of the phone, I think anyone would consider this phone to be a great budget-mid ranger in the Nepalese smartphone market for now coming neck to neck with the Redmi Note 8.