Realme 5 review: a convincing move upmarket
Realme is ambitious and the new generation of smartphones unveiled in India last August is proof of this. The Realme 5 is an affordable mid-range smartphone that offers a quadruple camera and an interesting technical spec sheet. But what is it worth on a daily basis? After more than a week spent with it, it is time for our full review.
- Battery life
- HD+ display
- Available only as an import
Import only purchasing
Just like the Realme 5 Pro previously reviewed, the Realme 5 is currently only available in India. While waiting for a possible officialization in our regions, you must therefore go through the import box or go to India to get your hands on one.
Realme 5 is available from 9,999 rupees (about $140) for the 3/32 GB version. This is the same price as the Redmi Note 7S in India, known in Europe as the Redmi Note 7. The 4/64GB and 4/128GB versions are also available for 10,999 ($155) and 11,999 rupees ($170) respectively. It is this later model that we tested.
A modern design
If you are familiar with Realme smartphones, this Realme 5 will not surprise you. The smartphone has many similarities with the Pro version. There is a glass smartphone at the front and a plastic one at the back. Aesthetically, the Realme 5 is a rather elegant device but its handling is not as easy as you might think.
The smartphone is indeed wider and larger than the Pro model with its dimensions of 164.4 x 75.6 x 9.3 mm. Its weight, close to 200 grams (198 to be precise), is a hindrance at times and the slightly too 'sharp' joint between the chassis and the screen of the device has still not been improved.
We find the volume knobs and the slot for SIM cards (Nano-SIMs or a SIM card + a microSD card) on the left side, and the power button on the right side. At the back, the quadruple camera (it protrudes a little from the body) and the fingerprint reader are in place.
On the lower edge of the unit, we find two loudspeaker grids. Don't let yourself be impressed, only one of them works, the other is only present to ensure an aesthetic balance. A headphone jack is also included.
Overall, the Realme 5 offers a convincing design with a robust build that will appeal to a great number of people.
A dewdrop notch in the display
We have here a 6.5-inch LCD screen with a dewdrop-shaped notch and protected by Gorilla Glass 3 glass, so it is larger than the Realme 5 Pro but the definition is not as good with HD+ (720 x 1600 pixels). This screen is therefore far from being the best on the market but for daily use, it should be sufficient for a majority of users.
The brightness is good, the color calibration is good too (slight tendency to draw towards blue though), as are the viewing angles but the smartphone shows some limitations, especially if you are in bright sunlight.
Not surprisingly, it is ColorOS (version 6) that we find within this Realme 5. Compared to its older brother, the Realme 5 Pro, there is no difference. Fluidity is still there despite a less powerful processor. The interface is colorful and there are some similarities with iOS.
For the rest, ColorOS remains true to itself and presents few surprises. You can learn more in our Realme 5 Pro test and in our dedicated article:
The Realme 5 is not able to compete with gaming smartphones, but the device offers more than satisfactory performance and includes a Snapdragon 665 processor, known to be also present on many smartphones and which has proven its worth. To support the chip, we find at its side an Adreno 610 chip and 4 GB of RAM.
On a daily basis, I didn't encounter any lag problems, not even bugs or crashes. The same applies to calls and network coverage. For a device in this price range, this is very solid performance that allows for all uses, including games that are quite demanding in a punctual way. However, if you are looking for a high-powered smartphone, it may not be the most appropriate one. If you have simpler expectations, you will probably find it beneficial.
You can get an idea of its potential and power by having a look at the results of these benchmarks tests below.
Realme 5: tests on benchmarks
|3DMark Sling Shot Extreme||3DMark Sling Shot Vulkan||3DMark Sling Shot||3DMark IceStorm Extreme||Geekbench 5 (Single/Multi)||PassMark
|Redmi Note 7||1356||1304||2065||26482||-||12833||51462|
|Realme 5 Pro||2091||1980||2990||28541||321 / 1498||12595||67088|
|Realme 3 Pro||1813||1747||2647||26945||-||12456||54076|
The smartphone's photo potential is interesting, especially for this price range, but it still suffers from some shortcomings. On paper, we can quickly get an idea of what it has to offer: at the front we find a 13-megapixel camera with an f/2.0 aperture, at the back we have four photo sensors composed as follows:
- A 12-megapixel main sensor, opening f/1.8
- An 8-megapixel ultrawide-angle lens, f/2.25 and 1.12µm aperture
- A ToF sensor (called Portrait by Realme) of 2-megapixel, aperture f/2.4 and 1.75µm
- A 2-megapixel optical sensor for macro focus at 4 cm
As usual, if you take pictures in a bright environment (whether in sunlight or artificial light), the result is excellent . The colors are respected, the details are rich in the center, the saturation is correct, and the noise is absent (more or less). Unfortunately, if the lighting conditions are not optimal, the noise will obviously be higher. A night mode is present and allows you to improve the rendering with the help of artificial intelligence.
The macro lens with its 4 cm fixed focus allows you to take close-up pictures. It takes a little practice but the result is quite good, especially since no smartphone offers this type of sensor in this price range.
On the video side, the Realme 5 is capable of shooting in 2160p at 30fps and 1080p at 30fps videos. Finally, the camera application is also pleasant to use and intuitive. I just sometimes missed the lack of reactivity when you press to take a shot, the autofocus is not the fastest but it has the merit of being accurate.
Overall, we are not at the level of what we can find on modern flagships but, once again, this Realme 5 offers a very good quality/price ratio.
One of the best students
Like the smartphones in 2019, the Realme 5 is equipped with a fairly large battery. Manufacturers finally seem to have understood the importance of autonomy for users. The device thus carries a 5,000 mAh battery, so it must be admitted that this Realme 5 knows how to manage energy rather well: in 'normal' use it can last two days or more without any problem.
However, there are several negative points to note. The first is that the device only has a 10 Watt charging. To go from 0 to 20 percent, it will take you 30 minutes, one hour for 50 percent and more than two hours for a full charge. The other disadvantage is the lack of a USB-C port. We can't have everything, especially at such a low price.
In our battery test, the Realme 5 got an excellent score of 13h30 minutes.
Realme 5 - battery test
|Realme 5||13:30 hours||5000 mAh|
|Realme 5 Pro||11:10 hours||4045 mAh|
|Realme 3 Pro||11:15 hours||4045 mAh|
|Redmi Note 7||09:54 hours||4000 mAh|
|Huawei P30 Pro||14:09 hours||4200 mAh|
The Realme 5 is an excellent entry-to-mid-range smartphone. It offers a good price-to-performance ratio and the device will satisfy all users looking for a simple, versatile and affordable mobile. Among the highlights are its good camera performance, excellent battery life and modern design.
However, while waiting for its officialization in Europe, it is necessary to go through the import system (with all the disadvantages that this includes) to buy one. Finally, the Pro version available for a few additional bucks deserves more attention.
A good phone at a decent price