We review Realme’s latest hero budget phone!
The Realme 3 was an awesome phone for what it was. It exceeded our expectations for a sub 10K smartphone, delivering excellent camera performance even in low-light. While the Realme 3 wasn’t perfect, it was one of the best phones you could buy back then if you were on a tight budget.
Realme isn’t resting on its laurels and has released the followup to its value-for-money smartphone: the Realme 5. The new phone addresses many of the issues of the previous generation, thanks to a bigger battery, better processor and a first for the budget line, quad-cameras.
Bigger is better looks to be the mantra of Realme with their new phone, as the Realme 5 is physically larger, thicker, and heavier than its predecessor. Part of its large size is due to the 5000mAh battery inside the phone, along with a larger display. At 198 grams, the Realme 5 is 23 grams heavier than the Realme 3 despite sporting the same polycarbonate build.
Thicc dimensions aside, the Realme 5 looks more eye-catching with its diamond-cut back than ever before. Available in either Crystal Blue or Crystal Purple (ours is the latter), the Realme 5’s diamond-cut back makes it more visually appealing compared to the Realme 3’s gradient colors. While it is a fingerprint magnet because of its glossy finish, the Realme 5 comes with a translucent jelly case out of the box, so you can protect the back panel from smudges while being able to flaunt is varied geometrical shapes.
If the Realme 3’s 6.2-inch display was great for watching movies, people will definitely appreciate the bigger 6.5-inch panel of the Realme 5. While it only comes with HD+ resolution, the larger screen means more real estate when playing games or watching videos.
The display is bright, enough for outdoor use and colors are pretty good as well. Like the Realme 3, the Realme 5 implements a waterdrop notch, and we didn’t find it intrusive when playing games or watching videos.
On the audio side, the Realme 5’s lone speaker is loud and clear, though we advise keeping the volume at 80% tops to avoid distortion.
Aside from the humongous battery, the Realme 5’s big upgrade is its processor. The Realme comes packing Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 665 chipset, the company’s latest mainstream mid-range processor. The Snapdragon 665 is better than the Helio P60 used on the Realme 3 as the former is manufactured using a more modern 11nm process, along with a better GPU and native support for 4K video recording.
The Realme 5 scored close to 140k in AnTuTu, which is almost 9k higher than what we got with the Realme 3. On actual use, the Realme 5 definitely feels snappier than its predecessor and performs much better when it comes to gaming. Save for Asphalt 9—which is not yet optimized for Snapdragon 665-powered phones—the Realme 5 performed well with most popular titles. Check out the benchmark scores we got using GameBench:
The Realme 5 managed to deliver solid and stable gameplay with PUBG Mobile on smooth graphics and high frame rate settings, averaging 30FPS at 100% stability. For MOBA, Basketball, and FPS games like Mobile Legends, NBA 2K20, and Call of Duty, the Realme 5 gave us decent gameplay, with average FPS on the 30s range with at least 89% stability. If you are into smooth 60FPS gaming, Vainglory fans are in for a treat: the Realme 5 can pull off 60FPS at 99% stability with the popular MOBA game.
Instead of dual rear cameras, the Realme 5 comes with quadruple rear cameras consisting of a 12-megapixel main camera, 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, 2-megapixel macro camera, and 2-megapixel portrait camera (which functions more like a depth sensor). The Realme 5’s main camera and ultra-wide-angle camera perform well even in low-light conditions, though the main camera has better noise control over than the ultra-wide-angle camera, which is expected.
Both cameras produced good amount of detail and decent color reproduction, and you can use Realme’s Nightscape feature for both cameras—a definite plus if you want to shoot ultra-wide-angle shots at night.
The same cannot be said with the macro camera, however. Aside from its limited application (you need to maintain a 4cm distance to get good results) and low 2-megapixel resolution, we think that the macro camera unnecessary and more of a feature to stuff the Realme 5’s spec sheet.
As for videos, the Realme 5’s big new feature here is that it can shoot 4K videos, though you are limited to using the main rear camera.
The Realme 5’s huge 5000mAh is a big upgrade over its predecessor’s 4230mAh battery, and that translated to big battery life gains. Paired with a newer and more power-efficient Snapdragon 665 processor, the Realme 5 scored 16 hours and 39 minutes on PCMark’s battery benchmark test—it is one of the highest scores we have obtained for this year. On real-life use, we managed to stretch the Realme 5’s battery to almost two days before we had to top it up.
Charging the Realme 5’s humongous battery is done via 10w wired charging, and takes around two hours to fill it up.
The Realme 3 was already impressive when we reviewed it six months ago, and the Realme 5 has set a new standard for budget phones. While it has its fair share of shortcomings (like the unnecessary macro camera and the phone itself being heavier than usual), the Realme 5 offers a lot of features that you typically wouldn’t find on a budget phone: 128GB internal expandable storage, 4K video recording, huge 5000mAh battery, speedy Snapdragon 665 processor, and Realme’s impressive image processing algorithm for images.
For what it offers, the Realme 5’s closet rival is Xiaomi’s Mi A3. While you only get a triple rear camera setup, a smaller battery, and a more compact display, the Mi A3 comes with an AMOLED panel, in-display fingerprint scanner, Android One, and a better front camera.
The Realme 5 will come in three variants. The 3GB/32GB will be a Lazada exclusive model and is priced at Php 6,990. The 3GB/64GB and 4GB/128GB will be priced at Php 7,990 and Php 9,990 respectively. All three variants will be available starting today.
Realme 5 Specs
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 octa-core processor
- Adreno 612 GPU
- 4GB RAM
- 6.5-inch HD+ LTPS IPS Dewdrop display, Gorilla Glass 3 protection
- 128GB of expandable storage
- Quad rear cameras: 12-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, and 4K video recording
- 13-megapixel f/2.0 front camera
- Dual SIM
- 3G, LTE
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
- Fingerprint scanner, AI Facial Unlock, Dust and splash resistant
- 5000mAh battery
- Android 9 Pie with ColorOS 6