Early verdict: The Realme 7 has great hardware that might just give Xiaomi a run for their money. There’s plenty to like here: fast refresh-rate screen, excellent quad-camera setup as well as a brand-new mid-range chipset from MediaTek, in the form of the Helio G95T. On paper, it looks like a solid upgrade from the Realme 6, but we’ll still have to see what the pricing is and how the hardware fares with our full review to give a solid verdict.
Realme has made fantastic strides in the Philippine market despite the challenging business environment brought on by the modern plague. This growth has been driven mostly by their mid-range and budget lineups, which have been instrumental in helping the brand achieve insane growth numbers despite the slowdown brought about by COVID-19.
Realme’s not about to stop releasing new phones to bolster their lineup and is launching their new mid-range contender, the Realme 7, on September 30. We’ve managed to secure a review unit to test, and while we’re still finishing our full review, we’ve laid our initial thoughts below:
- Fast 90Hz refresh rate
- A good set of cameras
- Nice-looking body
- New MediaTek G95 processor
- The colors on the display are good but not great
Packaging and contents
Realme’s packaging for their phones has largely remained consistent over the years, which has allowed them to build their own distinct brand identity in the countries they operate in. The big yellow box has the name of the device printed in front in bold black letters.
The contents of the box are pretty much identical to the Realme 7 Pro: a silicone case, manuals and documentation, USB Type-C cable, and fast charger, along with the phone itself.
Design and display
The Realme 7 follows the same design language that the company established with its Pro brethren: you’re getting a plastic body that has this unique matte coating on it that makes it stand out when it’s out of your pocket. The Realme 7 gets the nicer Mirror Blue option, which gives it a nice, deep shade of blue when the sun hits it the right way.
Like the Realme 7 Pro, the Realme 7’s exterior is fairly smudge resistant, and the phone has nice curves and contours that make it easy to use one-handed.
The button layout mirrors the Realme 7 Pro: the volume rockers are on the left side, while the power button is on the right. The USB Type-C port and the 3.5mm jack are all located on the bottom, along with a bottom-firing mono speaker.
The big difference here is that the power button has an integrated fingerprint scanner since the display is only an LCD and not an AMOLED one like the Realme 7 Pro.
Since we’re on the subject of the display, the Realme 7 uses a 6.5-inch full HD+ panel. Unlike the Realme 7 Pro, the vanilla Realme 7 has a fast, 90Hz refresh rate that can be turned down to 60Hz to save battery.
Colors generally look OK, though I prefer the AMOLED display of its brother since it’s brighter and punchier, despite having a panel that’s only locked to 60Hz.
The panel is protected by Gorilla Glass 3, there’s a 16-megapixel selfie camera stuck on a punch-hole notch on the upper left.
Camera, performance, battery
The Realme 7 uses the same 64-megapixel Sony IMX682 as its bigger brother, placed in a thinner, rectangular camera module tucked on the upper left side of the phone’s rear. It’s joined by an 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera, 2-megapixel macro camera, and a 2-megapixel black and white camera for portraits.
That’s essentially the same setup on the Realme 7 Pro, so it’s no surprise that image quality is virtually identical for both phones. You can check out the sample shots below:
What is different is the processor that powers the device. The Realme 7 is the first phone to get MediaTek’s new Helio G95 processor, which supposedly delivers better gaming performance than its predecessor and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 720G.
It’ll be interesting to see what the benchmark scores are between the two phones – it’s natural to give Qualcomm the early win but MediaTek may have something under their sleeve with the new processor.
Just like the Realme 7 Pro, the Realme 7 comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of expandable storage.
Interestingly, the phone comes with 500mAh more battery than the Realme 7 Pro, with total battery capacity clocking in at 5000mAh.
Will the extra 500mAh mean a longer run time compared to its sibling? You’ll have to see in the review.
Unlike the Realme 7 Pro though, the vanilla model only gets 30W dart charging, so you’ll be stuck behind a charger longer.
Wrap-up and conclusions
The Realme 7 looks to be a real contender in the mid-range space for the brand, and just in time too – perennial rival Xiaomi has already announced their own mid-range champion for 2020, and it looks like there’s going to be a very good fight at the budget mid-range category.
If Realme prices this phone right, then they might have a good chance of maintaining their market position at the top and maybe steal a few customers from POCO as well. We’ll have to see on the 30th.