Realme does a lot of things right with its smartphones with a simple philosophy: delivering value-for-money smartphones. Since May 7, you have been able to treat yourself to the Pro version of the Realme 6 series for just under €350 ($380). If you are working with a tighter budget, then you can always settle for the more affordable Realme 6. In my review, I looked at whether the money saved is worth your while.
- Large 90 Hz display
- Game space area
- Decent display performance with appropriate lighting
- Decent battery life with quick charge capability
- Build quality can be improved
- Night mode not up to par
Realme 6 release date and price
A good camera, a powerful battery, and nice packaging all rolled into an attractive price point: that's what the Realme smartphones are all about for me. It is exactly those points that made us gush over the Realme 5 Pro which was released last year. This year, the Chinese smartphone manufacturer continues to be on the same trajectory by rolling out several new handsets in the form of the Realme X50 Pro and Realme 6 Pro with equipment that punches above their weight class at a favorable price point.
Do take note that Realme has also adjusted its pricing structure, allowing you to pick up the Realme 6 Pro for approximately €350 ($380) while the 5G-capable Realme X50 Pro has a sticker price point of €599 ($655). This would mean the recently released Realme 6 is a whole lot more affordable.
In fact, the starting price for the Realme 6 happens to be €230 ($252) (4/64 GB model). The 4GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal storage version will be priced at approximately €270 ($295) while those who would like to have the largest storage capacity possible on this model at 8GB RAM/128 GB will nudge the sticker price to around €300 ($328).
Realme 6 design and build quality
"You look like your sister" was a statement that I didn't really like throughout my childhood, and that discomfort has remained ever since even until now. From a design point of view, you could say the same about the Realme 6 and its bigger sibling, the Realme 6 Pro. There is no mistaking the shared bond between the two devices. Dual-SIM support, an integrated 3.5mm jack, and a uniquely positioned power button, as well as the volume rocker, are present in both handsets, and in the same position to boot! So you will hardly notice any difference from the outside at first glance. However, there are compromises in the Realme 6's design - which can be attributed to the cost of the handset.
Anyone who picks up the Realme 6 Pro would be rewarded with a glass back. If you choose the normal Realme 6, you will end up with a plastic back. Between glass and plastic, there is a very clear difference in terms of the smartphone's quality and feel. Plastic simply lacks the sophistication of glass, and it certainly does not feel as silky smooth as the larger sibling. This does not detract from the chic look, never mind if the color shine seemed a bit dull, not to mention the included protective cover clouding things further.
The Realme 6 will arrive in just two colors: Comet Blue and Comet White. I received the Comet White version for review. I was resigned to the fact that beneath the included silicone cover, this beautiful white swan turned into a grey duckling in an instant. It is an unfortunate fact that I had to accept throughout the review duration, as I can see fingerprints rather clearly from certain angles. Do note that I'm always happy to have protective covers included right out of the box, but I would advise you skip this generic case and purchase a better quality one if you want to have the Realme 6 look its best all the time.
Realme 6 display
1,080 x 2,400 pixels, a 20:9 format and Gorilla Glass 3 (on the Realme 6 Pro you get Gorilla Glass 5) characterize the 6.5-inch LCD display, which takes up almost the entire front of the Realme 6. If you still have the technical specifications of the Realme 6 series in your head, you may stumble here. Not because of the older generation Gorilla Glass (which performs its task admirably anyway), but because of the display size. And yes, you are correct: only 0.1-inches of viewing real estate separates the cheaper Realme 6 in this department compared to its more expensive family member. As for the thin frame, the overall user experience will be similar.
However, you'll have to do without world-shattering features like a 120 Hz refresh rate as we experienced with the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus, and will most probably see it in the upcoming iPhone 12 from Apple, too. This seems logical: selected features will have to be part of the flagship specifications for brands, appearing first in the more expensive models before the trickle-down effect arrives at the mid-range and entry-level models. I did not particularly miss the 120 Hz function, as with the 90 Hz screen alone, navigation was already smooth and easy for casual, everyday use.
But there is still one difference that I would like to point out. The Realme 6 comes with a single selfie camera. Since I never really liked the punch hole design for the dual selfie-cameras, this suits me perfectly fine. The only drawback would be less good-looking selfies. If I really wanted to pick a bone, it would be the selfie camera did not arrive in a drop notch in the middle of the display, but that would be a rather petty thing in my opinion.
Realme 6 software
As you would expect, Realme uses the Android 10 operating system for its Realme 6 that runs its own user interface, the Realme UI, on top. Besides practical features like the TalkBack feature for visually impaired users and a relaxation and concentration mode, you will also find many similar options as found in the Realme 6 Pro. That would mean having Game Space, drawers for various apps, as well as the well-known Clone Phone available in this model.
So, it is virtually like the Realme 6 Pro apart from the price point? No, not really. In comparison, there are some things that stand out that I have only noticed on the Realme 6. Apart from the Chrome browser, there is also Yandex, the Russian-Dutch browser that arrives pre-installed. This alternative browser is similar to Google's offering, although it supposedly arrives with a built-in virus scanner for a greater level of security. What I found amusing in this context was that Google and Chrome had disappeared somewhere in the drawers, with the prominent place was occupied by Yandex. What a subtle suggestion!
In general, Realme seems to offer fewer pre-installed apps on the cheaper device of the Realme 6 series compared to its Pro edition. For example, I miss the hot games and hot apps feature - not because I used it very often. It has less to do with functionality but more of aesthetics, considering how they were my constant display companions for quite some time, now the whole screen looks a bit naked without them.
Realme 6 performance
Another difference compared to the Pro version would be the Realme 6's chipset. As the 6 Pro comes with a Snapdragon 720G chipset, the Realme 6 is equipped with a MediaTek Helio G90T (12 nm). According to chip manufacturer MediaTek, the chipset is said to have been designed specifically for gaming - as indicated by the 'G' in its name. I did not run into any performance issues with my chess game, but since chess isn't graphically intensive in the first place, I will let the benchmark comparison data do the talking.
Realme 6 benchmark score comparison
|Realme 6||Realme 6 Pro||Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro|
|3DMark Sling Shot Extreme||2548||2528||2371|
|3DMark Sling Shot Volcano||2606||2338||2019|
|3DMark Sling Shot||3150||3551||2411|
|Geekbench 5 (Single / Multi-core)||543 / 1714||568 / 1704||503 / 1633|
Realme 6 camera
It is getting more common these days where affordable smartphones have upped the ante by offering great camera performance: allowing them to have a whiff at the flagship models (but not really displacing them). However, this tends to apply to the Pro versions of Realme's smartphones. In a nutshell, the Realme 6's cameras offer decent performance, but you would be better off with a Realme 6 Pro if you want better shots.
As I have already mentioned, there is no dual selfie-camera in this device. You end up with a solitary selfie-camera instead, arriving in a punch-hole design on the upper left side. Flip the handset over to its back and it is a different story altogether. A line of four cameras housed within an island is there to handle all your photography attempts. Placing it on its back would lead to the camera island creating an imbalance, but using the included protective cover allows you to circumvent a potentially wobbly situation.
Enough about the exterior aesthetics and into its performance: let's take a look at the specifications. The selfie camera is a 16-megapixel (f/2.0) wide-angle camera that does its job quite well. As for the quad-camera island behind, it is comprised of a 64-megapixel (f/1.8) wide-angle camera, an 8-megapixel (f/2.3) ultra-wide-angle camera, a 2-megapixel (f/2.4) macro camera, and a 2-megapixel depth camera. Since it is the more affordable model, you must be willing to make concessions with the camera technology.
Take note that this does not mean captured photos are of poor quality. On the contrary, under good light conditions, the camera is capable of taking good photos. However, it is the distant objects that lose their sharpness in panorama mode.
The Realme 6 Pro, as well as the Realme 6, offers you up to five times magnification. Here, the cheaper Realme achieved good results in my review. The zoomed-in chapel clock shows neither blur nor noise in the picture, as you can see that for yourself in the sample image above.
I must admit that I am a child-at-heart. That is why I find it the most fun to capture pictures first and edit them to my heart's content later. The Realme 6 offers a lot of possibilities here. I am able to change the focus of the captured image later on, as well as various photo editing options such as colour blue. Anyone who loves to micromanage will find the ability to place selected filters over the images useful or perhaps to fiddle with manual camera controls.
During the review, I decided to test out the camera capabilities in night mode. While it does a decent job in amplifying light, there are other quirks to take note of. The camera has no qualms about capturing sharp and clear pictures during the day, but it seemed to lose this advantage under poorer lighting conditions. The objects at the edge of the photo remain blurred and seem somehow painted and even fake, the closer they get to a light source. Besides that, I also noticed a certain level of noise that encompassed the entire picture. I admit that I do not expect perfect camera performance at that price point. So, if you want great-looking photos regardless of what time of the day it is, you might as well fork out slightly more money for the Realme 6 Pro version.
Realme 6 battery
The Chinese producer does not disappoint in terms of the battery choice for the Realme 6, as it carries a 4.300mAh-battery, similar to the larger Realme 6 Pro sibling. Therewith, both devices fall behind the Realme 6i in the battery performance, which can show off with a 5.000mAh-battery. Due to the fast charge function, a slightly smaller capacity should not make too much of a difference. I was able to charge the device from 13 percent battery remaining all the way to 100 percent in under an hour with the included 30-watt quick charger. As with all smartphones today, charging is done via the USB-C port.
In terms of endurance, I was able to make use of the handset for slightly more than a day before requiring a quick trip to a power outlet. Running numerous productivity apps and indulging in typical office work on it throughout my review (such as frequent video calls and constant Internet surfing), the battery performance only dipped to 20 percent after about a day and two hours. What I already liked about the Realme 6 Pro can also be found on the Realme 6. In fact, the software will notify you to switch to power saving mode whenever you hit the 20 percent battery mark. This is useful to remind me during work so that I won't run the battery ragged by accident. Of course, battery life also varies depending on whether you turn on the 90 Hz refresh rate or not.
Realme 6 technical specifications
The Realme 6 resembles its bigger and more expensive brother, the Realme 6 Pro, in some ways. From design to build, battery capacity, and functions, these are similar with a very favorable price point of under the €300 ($328) mark. It is a nice gesture on Realme's part to throw in a quick charger and a protective case for the Realme 6 right out of the box, apart from the fact that using the protective case would make the handset look less attractive. If you want a cheap smartphone that does a perfectly decent job of snapping photos, handle all your instant messaging requirements, perform video calls and phone calls from time to time, along with a Dual-SIM card tray, then the Realme 6 fits the bill quite nicely.
However, should you feel that you do not want a handset that will end up obsolete so quickly, it would be advisable to fork out that little bit more cash and pick up the Realme 6 Pro. The Realme 6 Pro is capable of capturing far better-looking photos than the Realme 6, with the latter doing well only under good lighting conditions. Night shots on the Realme 6 look blurry and have slight noise. For selfie lovers, a solitary selfie-camera might not be good enough.
The use of plastic at the back certainly is a poor substitute for the smoothness of a glass back. If you would want a device that exudes more quality and refinement, then the Realme 6 Pro would be the far better choice for you.