Realme 5 Review: New Budget King

Realme 5 Review: New Budget King
Realme 5 Review: New Budget King

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Realme 5 design 
Realme 5 specifications and software 
Realme 5 camera 

In India, it's hard to not have heard of smartphone maker Realme by now. Even though it's a relatively new company, it started life within Oppo, and thanks to aggressive marketing and pricing, it has managed tremendous growth over the past year. 

With the budget smartphone war constantly escalating, the company wants to disrupt the market once more with its new Realme 5 series and Realme is making the leap from dual to quad cameras on the backs of its phones, across the board, including models which are priced below Rs. 10,000.

The Realme 5 is a big upgrade over the Realme 3 ₹ 8,999 (Review) across the board, including its processing power, cameras, and battery capacity — which the company hopes will set a new bar for what buyers can expect from a phone in this segment. 

Armed with an impressive resume of features, it's time to see if the Realme 5 can deliver an equally impressive Android experience.

Realme 5 design

Realme has slightly updated its design language with Realme 5. The phone still uses a polycarbonate body with a laminated plastic back, but is taller than the Realme 3 and has a larger display. 
Realme 5 Review: New Budget King
Realme 5 Review: New Budget King

The diamond pattern design on the back has been updated to a more crystalline pattern, which looks cleaner and helps the phone stand out. 

The crystal blue finish we have is very striking, but if you're looking for subtlety, the Crystal Purple option would be a better pick. In addition, minor fumes from everyday use are less visible on the purple version, as they will be on Blue Realme 5.

The size of this phone makes one-handed use quite cumbersome, and even with large hands, we struggle to tap anywhere near the top of the display. 

Thankfully, ColorOS provides a hand mode to help deal with this issue. Realme 5 is slightly heavier, at around 200g. The button placement and touch response of the volume and power buttons are good and at the bottom, we have a speaker, headphone socket and a micro-USB charging port.

The front has a 6.5-inch HD+ (720x1600 pixels) resolution display, with a small dewdrop notch and fairly slim bezels all around. The notch is slightly smaller on the Realme 5, although it's not easily noticeable at first glance. 

There's scratch protection in the form of Corning's Gorilla Glass 3 as well. The display also has a pre-applied screen guard, which got annoying for us pretty quickly but your mileage will likely vary. 

We found the brightness to be more than adequate, and colors had good saturation. The sharpness of text and icons isn't the best but this is only noticeable if you use this phone side-by-side with one that has a full-HD (or higher) screen.

Realme 5 is meant to pack four cameras in the middle of the first set of Realme phones, but we will meet in details later. There is a fingerprint sensor in the middle of the rear, which works well, and also facial recognition. 

Like previous Realme offerings, face recognition is very quick. In low light, the screen compensates for the lack of light so that you can unlock your phone even in the dark.

Last but not least, Realme says that this phone features multi-layer humidity protection for SIM slots, spacing, battery cover, etc., and says that it should be able to avoid mild splashes of water. 

In the box, the Realme 5 ships with a silicon case, a 10W adapter, a micro-USB cable, an additional screen guard, a SIM ejector, and general quick start and warranty booklets.

Realme 5 specifications and software

The Realme 5 is the first phone to be announced in India with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 SoC. As its name indicates, this processor sits between the Snapdragon 660 and Snapdragon 675. 

This SoC is built on an 11nm fabrication process, so it's more power-efficient than the Snapdragon 660 and it even uses the same Kryo 260 cores. The integrated GPU has been upgraded to the Adreno 610, which should enable better gaming performance.
Realme 5 Review: New Budget King
Realme 5 Review: New Budget King

The Realme 5 is available in three variants — 3GB of RAM with 32GB of storage (Rs. 9,999); 4GB of RAM with 64GB of storage (Rs. 10,999); and the one we have, which has 4GB RAM with 128GB of storage (Rs. 11,999). 

Other Realme 5 specifications include dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5, slots for two Nano-SIMs plus a microSD card of up to 256GB in capacity, support for four satellite navigation systems, USB-OTG, FM radio, and the usual suite of sensors.

Realme 5 ships with ColorOS 6.0.1, its latest version. Realme has added some cosmetic refinements to the interface, compared to what we recently saw in Realme X Review 16,999 (review). Our unit also had a July 2019 Android security patch at the time of our review. 

Neil said that it has refined some of its looks and feel based on user feedback of its app icons and UI elements. The company's own apps, such as Arming, Calculator, etc., have a flatter, cleaner look.

ColorOS has gotten rid of the bubbles surrounding the notification toggle switches, also for a flatter and cleaner. The battery section in the Settings app is much easier to read than the previous version, although we are still waiting on that battery level graph.

We have no problem with spam notifications from the apps on this phone. You still get a plethora of pre-installed apps, including Dailyhunt, Hello, etc., but all of them can be uninstalled.

Realme 5 performance and battery life
We generally had a good experience using the Realme 5 on a daily basis. We got used to the thickness and weight of this phone after a couple of days, even though we found it top-heavy and one-handed use continued to be a challenge. 

The bundled phone case doesn't add much bulk and provides a layer of protection to the back. The display offers very good sunlight legibility and its size makes it great for media consumption. 

There's no Widevine L1 support, though, which means video streaming apps won't be able to play content at HD or higher resolutions.

The AnTuTu benchmark completely refused to run, but in all our other standard tests, we got fairly good numbers. At PCMark, we got a score of 7,719 points, while the T-Rex graphics test at GFXbench managed 50fps. 

Compared to the Helio P70 in Realme 3 and even the recent Oppo A9, 4 15,490 (review), the Snapdragon 665 generally has a slightly better score in the gaming benchmark, but for the CPU, it has a pretty neck and neck.

While playing stressful games we did not pay any attention to any overheating. In Asphalt 9: Legends, we saw very minor stutter when a race was about to start, but nothing happened after that. 

PUBG Mobile awkwardly defaults to the pres low 'preset but ran fine even after the graphics were ready to balance and.' Realme 5 got a little hot, but never really warmed up, 30-minute matches at PUBG Even after.

The audio from the bottom speaker sounds a bit sharp, but at least the placement is such that it is not easily blocked when holding the phone horizontally. 

Realme has continued its partnership with Dirac, which powers its Technology Real Sound Technology '. Unlike Dolby Atmos Mobile, it only works when you have a headphone plugged in.

Even with heavy daily activities, you can expect the Realme 5's battery to easily last beyond a day of regular use. The phone has a 5,000mAh battery, which lasted for a solid 22 hours and 31 minutes in our HD video loop battery test, which is excellent. During our review, with light to medium use, we were able to manage nearly two days of use per charge.

Charging the battery takes a while, which could be an issue when you're in a rush. From zero, it takes a little more than 3 hours to fully charge this phone using the bundled adapter. 

There's no fast charging support, which is a little disappointing. You can get up to a 24 percent charge in half an hour, and around 43 percent in an hour, which is a bit underwhelming. 

If you are in the habit of plugging your phone in to charge each night regardless of its battery level, this shouldn't be an issue.
Realme 5 Review: New Budget King
Realme 5 Review: New Budget King

Realme 5 camera

This is where things get really interesting. The Realme 5 is the first phone with four cameras to be priced under Rs. 10,000 in India and the company is really driving this point home. 
Other than the primary 12-megapixel primary sensor and 2-megapixel depth sensor, Realme has given this phone an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera with a 119-degree field of view, and a 2-megapixel macro camera for closeup shots. 

The primary camera has an f/1.8 aperture and PDAF, so focusing is quick. The ultra-wide-angle camera lacks autofocus but you can use Nightscape with it. 

The macro lens has a very narrow aperture of f/2.8, so it's not useful in low light. During the day, however, you can get some really detailed closeups.

In daylight, the primary camera captures landscape shots that look pleasing when viewed on the phone's display, but upon zooming in, we noticed that the details in distant objects were not very good and there was a slight noise in shadow areas Was. 

HDR is not always effective, as the colors appear slightly yellow. This can be fixed using chroma boost mode, which makes the scenes more lively. 

Wide-angle shots have less detail visually, but you get a potentially more interesting perspective. The barrel distortion correction also works quite well, so objects on the edges of the frame do not appear to be very distorted.

Closeups are one area in which the Realme 5 pulls ahead of its competition. Shots of people have good-looking skin tones, and edge detection is handled well when shooting in Portrait mode. 

You still can't adjust the background blur before or after you've taken a shot, but the blur looks fairly natural. If you want to take super macros, switching to the ‘Ultra macro' mode yields some good results. 

There's no autofocus, but when positioned correctly over a subject, we managed to get some stunning details which wouldn't be possible with a regular lens.

Low light is where Realme 5 struggles a bit. The speed of the autofocus is still decent, but the landscape usually had weak details, and in very dark scenes, the grain was visible. Nightscape mode helps with bright visuals and improves detail, but it also adds a slight crop to compensate for the handshake.

There is a 13-megapixel selfie camera, which captures very good-looking selfies in daylight. It is HDR for this camera as well, and it also works well when shooting against bright light. 

The portrait shots still looked a bit fake, and the edge detection was not great. You can shoot selfie video up to 1080p, and the footage is stabilized, which is very easy and is not something we see very often in this segment. 

It worked well in daylight, but in low light, due to electronic stabilization, the distortion was visible every time we took a step.

Talking about the video, Realme 5 can shoot up to 4K, but without stabilization. This is not a big deal because at this price no other phone can freeze the video at 4K. 

The colors looked slightly magnified, but other than that, the detail was good during the daytime shooting. Footage shots in low light, however, looked grainy.

1080p video is stabilized, though we noticed light focus hunting while moving around. Electronic stabilization led to higher video quality in low light with softer details and slight shimmer.


The Realme 5 is a significant upgrade over the Realme 3 (Review) and the fact that its pricing starts just below Rs. 10,000 is commendable. Compared to the Realme 3, you get a slightly better processor, nearly two-day long battery life, and improved cameras. 

Plus, the addition of the wide-angle and macro cameras definitely gives you the more creative freedom to capture different types of shots.

Some things to keep in mind are the weight and size of this phone. The bigger battery has made it heavy, and the tall display might not suit everyone, especially if your routine involves a lot of one-handed use. The cameras also struggle in low light, for both stills and video.

Considering you get a dedicated slot for storage expansion, the base variant of the Realme 5 offers better value compared to the 128GB version, which feels a little expensive considering there are phones in the sub-Rs. 15,000 segment that offers higher resolution displays, fast charging and equal or better processors such as the Redmi Note 7S ₹ 10,390 (Review) and the Realme 3 Pro ₹ 12,998 (Review). 

If you don't mind the HD display, then the Realme 5 is still worth getting for its big battery and versatile wide and macro cameras.

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