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Realme 6i Review: Budget Gaming With A (Small) Catch

Should you pick up the Realme 6i?

Realme is looking to dominate the sub Php 10K market this year with a bevy of budget smartphones. While the brand already has a great offering in the form of the Realme C3, they’re looking at beefing up their budget lineup with something that has a little more oomph.

Enter the Realme 6i. This budget smartphone starts at a mere Php 7,990 but promises to deliver a better gaming experience compared to its rivals. And while the phone does deliver on the promise of budget power (in both the literal and figurative sense) there are a few minor annoyances that should be aware of before you pick one up.

Pros

  • Sturdy, plastic design
  • Large battery
  • Relatively powerful processor

Cons

  • Cameras are hit or miss
  • Display lacks brightness
  • The battery might not be optimized for chipset

Plastic design isn’t for everyone

I’m a little conflicted with the design of the Realme 6i. On the one hand I like that the brand didn’t even attempt to try and hide the fact that the phone is made out of plastic. Instead of a “glasstic” rear, the phone uses a matte plastic finish that shows a Rimowa-like pattern when light hits it.

That in itself isn’t a problem, it’s the fact that I’m not exactly in love with the green colorway. The phone is available in other colors though, namely yellow and black, so there’s that.

The phone feels nice in the hand with the matte finish, and you probably don’t need to run it with a silicone case to protect it from scratches that arise with daily use. I especially like the fact that it has a 3.5mm jack on the bottom, along with a USB Type-C port, which finally, is starting to show in more and more budget devices nowadays.

The fingerprint scanner is located on the rear, and is relatively quick and easy to reach.

Despite being a budget phone, the Realme 6i doesn’t physically feel like one. Everything’s well put together, there’s no wobble or play in the buttons when you press and hold them – the quality of manufacture here is very obvious the minute you pick it up.

Display is good, but hates sunlight

For a budget phone the Realme 6i has a relatively large display at 6.5-inches. Resolution is at HD+ though, so it’s not as sharp as we’d expect, especially with that larger than average panel.

There’s a water-drop notch at the top of the display as well that contains a 16-megapixel camera.

Colors for the display were OK for the price, though the phone had issues with sunlight legibility. The display is simply too dim to see when it’s really bright out, even if you set it to manual brightness.

Mixed bag for the quad cameras

Quad-cameras on budget phones is becoming more common nowadays, and the Realme 6i is no exception. The vertically-stacked quad-camera setup has a 48-megapixel main shooter with a f/1.8 aperture lens, 8-megapixel wide-angle camera with a f/2.25 lens, 2-megapixel f/2.4 macro camera and a 2-megapixel f/2.4 portrait camera.

The 48-megapixel main shooter performed fairly well under bright, well-lit scenes which is expected for most budget devices nowadays. Unfortunately it struggled a bit more under less than ideal conditions indoors including not so great low-light.

The macro camera isn’t too great too because of the limited distance you can shoot with it, and honestly I feel that smartphone companies (not just Realme) keep adding unnecessary optics to the camera stack simply to pad out the feature list.

The good news here is that Realme can easily fix some of the low-light issues with its camera with a software update if they’re willing to put in the work.

Helio G80 is great for mid-range gaming, but the big battery doesn’t last long

The Realme 6i comes packing one MediaTek’s newest chipsets, the Helio G80.

Depending on what variant of the phone you get, you’re either getting 3GB of RAM and 64GB of storage or 4GB RAM and 128GB storage.

The phone felt fluid and fast, and synthetic benchmarks put the phone’s performance in perspective when compare it to other devices in the same price range.

Thanks to Realme’s Game Space feature, the phone optimizes your gaming experience to be as smooth as possible. I didn’t encounter any game-breaking lag or other issues with the phone while playing.

I also like how Realme’s implementation of their UI overlay (dubbed RealmeOS) over Android 10, which feels more cohesive and logical over similar offerings of their competitors.

There is a caveat though – the Helio G80 seems to dram more power than I’m comfortable with. Our battery benchmark recorder a 10 hour and 54 minute run time before it crashed at 20%, which is far shorter than what I expected a phone with a 5000mAh battery would last.

To make it clear you’d probably go past a full day of normal use with the Realme 6i before you’d need to charge it, but it’s a little disappointing how the battery isn’t up to par with what we’ve seen its competitors offer with the same capacity.

Verdict: It’s a great budget gaming phone, just be aware of its limitations

The Realme 6i at the end of the day offers quite a lot of value for people looking for a budget gaming device with a relatively low price tag. Priced at just Php 7,990 for the 3GB/64GB variant (with a special price of Php 7,490 when it releases) and Php 9,990 for the 4GB/128GB variant (again with a special price of Php 9,490 when it hits the market) through Lazada, the Realme 6i hits the sweet spot for cash-strapped buyers.

The phone does have its own set of annoyances like the sub-par camera performance in low-light as well as the less than stellar battery life, but those are relatively minor complaints in an otherwise solid budget phone.

Realme 6i Specs

  • MediaTek Helio G80 octa-core processor
  • Mali-G52 MC2 GPU
  • 3GB/4GB RAM
  • 6.5-inch HD+ LTPS IPS Dewdrop display, Gorilla Glass 3 protection
  • 64GB/128GB of expandable storage
  • Quad rear cameras: 48-megapixel f/1.8 main camera; 8-megapixel f/2.25 ultra-wide-angle camera; 2-megapixel f/2.4 macro camera; 2-megapixel f/2.4 portrait camera; with LED flash, Dual Pixel Autofocus, EIS, Chroma Boost, Nightscape
  • 16-megapixel f/2.0 front camera
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
  • Fingerprint scanner, AI Facial Unlock, Dust and splash resistant, USB-C
  • 5000mAh battery with 18w wired charging
  • Android 10 with RealmeOS

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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One Comment

  1. Just read the review. How is that a “small catch”? It has glaring limitations on almost all departments vs other phones on the same price range.

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