Realme have been on a roll recently when it comes to launching smartphones, and this is their latest in the mid range category taking all the benefits of their realme 7 and including 5G for anyone who wants that extra connectivity.
I was lucky enough to get hands on the device a week before launch was able to do this review, with that’s being said the software will be updated around launch to add and last minute fixes that are needed.
The device was a loaner from Realme PR and no offer to keep the phone or any money to review was made, all thoughts are my own and no one else has viewed this review before it has gone live.
With only 2 days to go until the review was due to go live I was made aware of the price, at £279 this is the cheapest entry to the 5G market right now and with a great set of spece to go with it as you will see in the review.
The realme 7 5G is not over heavy at 195 grams in weight which is mainly down to the fact the back and sides are plastic and not metal which would have added extra bulk as well as cost for the end user.
The screen is 6.5 inches with 1080p resolution and uses LCD technology to help boost colours although it does therefore lack the punchy black contrast that an AMOLED screen has, it almost looks a little washed out at times, but considering the price was to be expected, and is one of the better LCD displays out there that some people will not mind this and with dark mode this will help make it less noticeable.
There is a setting called OSIE you can switch on which helps with colours to be more accurate and video content look better by software and was something I switched on right out of the box.
Realme have gone with a 120hz refresh rate panel which is great for gaming and scrolling your content by making everything super smooth and fast, to get a 120hz display at this price is a great selling point for realme.
The earpiece is housed right up top in the middle and in general voice calls were good quality and loud, even when using out by a busy road or in a loud building such as a restaurant.
The selfie camera is built into the display in the top left corner and this houses the 16 megapixel selfie camera which records video in 1080p resolution, but more on the camera and video later on in the review.
Bezels are quite small with the largest being below the display, however this is not massive and does not spoil the design as it is still quite small compared to what we used to get in mid range phones.
On the left you have the SIM card tray which is for a Nano SIM as well as a MicroSD card if you want to expand the memory this way, or if you have a second SIM card you can use this and make it dual sim, both which can be used in 5G mode which is unheard of until now.
Below you get the normal volume up and down buttons for controlling the system volume as well call volume when in calls.
Over on the right you have a single button in the middle which is for power and of course turns the phone on and off. However it also acts as the fingerprint reader should you want to use this for unlocking or contactless payments.
Looking up top you have one of the dual microphones for blocking out unwanted noise when in calls or recording video.
Down at the bottom you have a USB-C port for charging or data transfer as well as the loudspeaker which is clear even at maximum volume.
You also have the second microphone for noise cancellation as well as a 3.5mm headphone port so you can plug in your own set of headphones if you wanted an old fashioned wired connection.
Switching to the back you have a plastic back cover with the camera setup in the corner which is where you find all four cameras as well as the LED flash which is for boosting lighting in poor conditions or as a flashlight which we all take for granted as a handy addition.
The back is made of matte plastic and does feel quite slippery so would recommend using the free bundled in the box clear case to add some grip and prevent scratching and dropping.
If you have used an Oppo phone before and think the UI looks very similar, there is a very good reason for that, and that is although it goes by the name ‘realme UI’, it is in fact just a skinned version of the Oppo software.
There were some issues with older versions of Color OS, but a lot of this has been fixed and improved in recent versions, and realme UI is actually a joy to use coming from someone who has used most, if not all the different versions of skins out there.
The drop down menu has some nice touches including showing the amount of data you have used in the day, handy if you are not on an unlimited data plan and want to keep a look at what you are using each day so you wont run out.
There is a Dark Mode built in which was what I was using personally, and although the LCD means you don’t get those deep blacks, it helped using the phone on a day to day basis and with the splash of colour here and there, helps make colours stand out.
The software out of the box is based on Android 10, and we will have to see how quickly the company are able to roll out the Android 11 update when this becomes available later in the year or early next year.
You also get a swipe in sidebar which has some handy apps and shortcuts like if you wanted to quick launch an app or take a screenshot.
Also included is a Game Space area which lets you put gaming as a priority and block notifications, as well as boost gaming performance depending on the settings you set in the options, this is very handy if you are into your gaming and hate getting interrupted by constant notifications.
Digital wellbeing is also a big area of Android 10, and you get a set of tools in the settings to monitor your use on each app per day so you can make sure you are taking a break from your phone, there is a ‘Wind Down’ mode which puts the phone into gray scale mode at certain times to help your eyes as you go to bed, and Focus mode stops you using those apps that distract you by setting timers or a schedule.
Parents are also covered here with a separate area using Google Family Link which allows you to monitor timers, set certain apps that are allowed and restrict certain content until you authorise it as a parent.
Performance is very good thanks to an impressive set of specs included here from the battery to the processor.
Running everything is the Mediatek Dimensity 800U 5G processor which is based on 7nm chip technology and has some great power behind it.
You get a decent 6GB of RAM which is enough for most tasks and even on some heavy gaming I never found the device to slow down at all which is saying a lot when it comes to games such as Call of Duty.
The battery is a huge 5000mAh which will easily last you a full day with a lot of use and this is great for anyone who wants to game or play a lot of media back such as video content.
Whilst you may lose any wireless charging, you do get 30W Dart Charging so you can top up the battery really quickly when needed which is nice.
When it comes to networking you get the standard WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS and NFC, however the realme 7 5G is also a dual sim device so you can use two different networks at the same time.
However the trick up the sleeve here is 5G DSDS which means you can run 5G signal on BOTH SIM cards at the same time, a first from what I can remember and this means you have great flexibility if you use two SIM cards.
In fact the whole performance area of this phone is very good and enjoyable and I was pleasantly surprised how well it handled all my day to day tasks.
As I normally do with reviews I get the selfie camera out of the way first, with the realme 7 5G you get a single pin hole camera in the top left corner which can capture 16 megapixel photos.
The quality is pretty decent and it does a good job at edge detection when you want to take portrait selfies considering there is only a single camera to play with.
Mostly this selfie camera will be for social media use and video calling and it will do a decent job at that
The front camera can also record video in 1080p resolution so ok if you want to get into some vlogging or social media use again, it does lack against some of the 4K rivals out there but at this price that was to be expected.
Switching over to the back and you have a quad camera setup using Samsung lenses so quality as you may expect is decent and with four cameras to choose from you have lots of options to play around with.
The main lens gives you 48 megapixels but as with a lot of phones now uses this information to produce lower megapixel shots but with more details in thanks to what is called pixel binning.
There is a mode to shoot in full 48 megapixels so you can crop after but most people will want to leave in the normal mode for the best photos possible.
The secondary camera is a ultra wide angle 8 megapixel one and lets you get some great landscape photos if you need to get more into the shot, with 119 degrees field of view this will be great for those group shots.
With the third camera you get a 2 megapixel macro lens for those super close up photos of flowers and other objects you want to get really close too and get all the detail even if it is a much lower resolution image.
Finally the fourth is a 2 megapixel black and white sensor and is there to help get some artistic photos as well as helping with getting realistic contrast and brightness in your main photos.
When it comes to video you have a maximum resolution of 4K for recording and quality is reasonable with good lighting, but as expected does start to suffer again when lighting goes down indoors or in the evenings.
Realme have their double version of stabilisation like in their older phones which does seem a little strange and I wish they would just have stabilisation on or off, having it on but then also having an option for a maximum stability mode seems strange and confusing and an extra step not needed.
The interface is very simple and what you find on most other smartphones out there with a sliding bar of modes to pick between with lots hidden under the More section.
Over on the left side you have a few other settings such as changing the timer, size of frame and flash settings.
I have covered a lot of phones recently in reviews especially in the mid range category as this seems to be where a lot of manufacturers are upping their game.
With the Realme 7 5G you are getting some of the latest technology to future proof yourself at a price that will not break the bank and be competitive with the big names out there.
The specs on offer here are really good when you look at the quality of camera, display, processor and storage, and whilst there may be a few cut backs to keep the cost down, the realme 7 5G is a great overall performer that many people will love using.
The biggest pros here are the 120hz display refresh rate as well as a decent camera setup on the back, plus that large 5000mAh battery to keep you going.
The cons are really down to if you mind living with an LCD display over an AMOLED so lack the deep blacks or punchy colours that gets you and questionable low light camera performance.
Apart from that you are getting a solid phone with decent camera in daytime, huge battery, dual sim with 5G on both and price that makes some flagships look overpriced.
A big thanks to realme for sending over the device for review before launch.