Realme has produced some of the best-value smartphones in recent memory, but with the competition heating up in the budget and midrange categories, the former OPPO sub-brand needs to up its game to stay competitive.
The Realme 5 Pro, which has been recently launched in the Philippines, brings even more high-end hardware features to the table while somehow costing less than its predecessor, the Realme 3 Pro.
With a Qualcomm Snapdragon 712 under the hood, along with a fast-charging 4,035mAh battery and four cameras at the back, the Realme 5 Pro seems to be a terrific all-rounder for less. Further, it is the most affordable handset on the market with the same 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 camera sensor shipped on some flagship devices.
That said, we are expecting great low-light performance, as well as a robust set of shooting modes to complement the overall camera experience, on top of what we’re used to seeing from the smartphone brand.
Realme 5 Pro price and availability
In the Philippines, the Realme 5 Pro comes in two variants: 4GB/128GB and 8GB/128GB. The 4GB RAM model is priced at P11,990 (about $231), whereas the top-end version costs P13,990 ($269). It’s already available for presale, with shipping on October 9 for online bookings. Those who reserve the phone offline can claim it from October 12. Early adopters will receive a Realme 10,000mAh power bank worth P1,599 ($31).
Design and build
The Realme 5 Pro is a good-looking phone, and the plastic housing isn’t surprising at this price point. It certainly helps keep the weight down, although the Pro is hardly the lightest smartphone to carry around at 184 grams. It has enough weight to it to make you feel like it is not just any other budget handset.
The relatively modest screen size of 6.3 inches means the Realme 5 Pro is comfortable to use, easy to pocket, and feels naturally snug in the hand, while the curvature on the back allows for better grip in portrait position.
The frame that holds the front and rear panels together is flat at the top and bottom and rounded at the corners, so the phone feels nice when you’re holding it horizontally. These bevels also add to the grip and prevent the bottom-facing speaker grill from being blocked or muffled. According to Realme, the mono speaker uses Dirac’s Power Sound technology for louder output and heavier bass despite its size.
Alongside the speaker, the bottom features the primary microphone and USB-C connector. This port takes the place of the microUSB found on previous Realme devices and the Realme 5.
The right side of the device features the power button, while the left side houses separate volume up and down keys, as well as a SIM tray with a dedicated microSD card slot for expanding the storage capacity up to 256GB. Up top, there’s a secondary microphone for noise cancellation during voice calls and getting stereo sound while shooting video or recording audio.
At the back, the Realme 5 Pro takes the visually appealing, reflective diamond-pattern design of the entry-level Realme C2 and updates it with a glossy finish that, surprisingly, manages to hide fingerprints and smudges more effectively than we expected. It also blends seamlessly with the frame; you don’t feel any sharp edges.
The pattern looks subtle on our Crystal Green review sample, but wait until you see it at certain angles as light bounces off the back surface. If you’re after something that looks fancier from the get-go, the Sparking Blue color variant might be more to your liking.
There’s a physical fingerprint scanner on the rear, embedded next to the quad-camera module. It is accurate and well placed, and it unlocks the handset in no time. But since it is capacitive, there are limitations, such as it won’t work when your fingers are wet or dirty. You can use face unlock instead, although it is less secure, not to mention you also need a decent amount of light for it to work well.
The Realme 5 Pro arrives with the same 6.3-inch FullHD+ LCD display with a small waterdrop notch as the Realme 3 Pro. As usual, the cutout is where the selfie camera and and earpiece are located. The new model gets the same 90.6% screen-to-body ratio as well and delivers a peak brightness of 450 nits, making it legible for outdoor use but not under direct sunlight.
For added protection, the Realme 5 Pro uses Gorilla Glass 3. While it is not the latest iteration of protective glass from Corning, it should be enough to help the front of the phone avoid minor scratches when it is in your pocket, purse, or bag.
In terms of size and quality, the screen is similar to what the Realme 3 Pro offers. But that’s not a bad thing at all, as the Realme 5 Pro is capable of producing color-accurate images with good contrast and a fair amount of details. You can change the temperature of the display in the Settings app to suit your preference. With Night Shield, meanwhile, the screen will be easier on your eyes at night. There’s also a black-and-white mode to achieve the same effect and at the same time conserve battery.
For streaming copyright-protected content from apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, the Realme 5 Pro comes with Widevine L1 certification for HD viewing. Overall, the screen on the Realme 5 Pro is plenty good enough for gaming and viewing content on the go, but it isn’t an upgrade from what you get on the previous generation.
One of the main attractions of the Realme 5 Pro is the new quad-camera system with a 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 primary sensor as its centerpiece. In case you’re not familiar, it’s the same spec found in flagship Android devices, such as the OPPO Reno 10x Zoom Edition, Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro/Redmi K20 Pro, and OnePlus 7 Pro.
The sensor is positioned behind f/1.8 aperture lens, which is pleasingly capable in almost any lighting condition and distinguishable by the yellow ring around it. The secondary cameras in the vertical array include an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera with f/2.2 fixed lens, a 2-megapixel macro shooter, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor for portrait shots.
The 48-megapixel Sony sensor can use the extra pixels for a process called pixel binning, which combines four pixels to make one larger pixel with more information, and therefore greater brightness, detail, and dynamic range. The Realme 5 Pro selects 12MP by default, as pictures taken with the sensor are scaled down to improve low-light performance.
It’s not all about the performance of the hardware, though. What’s also notable is Realme’s camera software, which has AI scene detection, auto HDR, and a powerful night mode that works by stacking multiple frames at different exposure settings, as opposed to exposing the sensor for a couple of seconds.
Auto mode vs Nightscape mode (the first and last sets are ultra-wide)
The wide camera is useful for group shots, landscapes, and large interiors, but the fixed-focus lens makes it less versatile, especially when working indoors or in dim environments. The macro camera is also limited in its utility by its fixed focal length of 4cm from the lens. Meanwhile, the depth sensor is mostly fine in ideal lighting and isolates the subject from the background effectively.
Auto mode vs Macro mode
More sample pictures
The Realme 5 Pro can record video at 4K resolution, and it renders detail and textures nicely in outdoor and most indoor conditions. However, the software video stabilization isn’t very effective at compensating, particularly when shooting while walking.
A compilation of 4K videos captured on the Realme 5 Pro
Finally, the 16-megapixel camera in front for selfies can deliver decent results, with fairly accurate exposure on the face. There is some visible clipping in the background when snapping portrait selfies, though. The edge detection is okay, but not as accurate as that of the main camera.
Selfies: Auto mode vs Portrait mode
For the Realme 5 Pro, the biggest change under the hood is no doubt the inclusion of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 712 chipset, which is an overclocked Snapdragon 710 and features two performance Kyro 360 cores and six efficiency cores, plus Adreno 616 graphics. Realme claims performance gains up to 10% when doing CPU-intensive tasks, whereas the graphics-processing capabilities can improve by as much a 35%.
Additionally, the chipset is aided by UFS 2.1 storage to improve the app-launching experience and data-transfer speeds. The 8GB of RAM on the high-end model, meanwhile, will allow you to keep more apps running concurrently.
In Antutu Benchmark, our review sample produced an overall score of 175,436. It scored 322 and 1,464 points in GeekBench’s single-core and multi-core tests, respectively.
A popular comparison to the Snapdragon 712 is the Snapdragon 675, which adopts a newer CPU architecture, but its Adreno 612 GPU is not as powerful as the Adreno 616. As a result, you should see the Snapdragon 712 performing better in 3D-intensive benchmarks and games. When it comes to basic functions like web browsing, both should prove to be more than adequate.
Gaming on the Realme 5 Pro: Call of Duty, Mobile Legends (5:08 mark), and NBA 2K20 (9:45 mark)
The Realme 5 Pro runs Call of Duty: Mobile and NBA 2K20 at high graphics settings without any sluggishness, and High Frame Rate mode can be enabled in Mobile Legends. We also observed that our unit gets warm during gameplay, but this is normal, and it happens to just about every smartphone. At no time was the rear panel too hot to the touch during testing.
Battery and charging
A 4,035mAh battery powers the Realme 5 Pro, which can last a full day even after more than average usage including social media, gaming, and video streaming. In the PCMark battery test, our unit lasted over 11 hours, longer than most devices in and around its price segment.
The phone’s Android 9-based ColorOS 6 software also has some built-in battery optimizations that prevent background applications from consuming too much power and can be applied on a system-wide basis or enabled for specific apps.
To quickly replenish the battery, there’s fast charging up to 20 watts using the latest VOOC 3.0 standard, which is exclusive to Realme and OPPO handsets. The bundled charger and cable takes about 90 minutes to fully top up the Realme 5 Pro, and that’s quite impressive for a phone priced decidedly lower than the competition.
The only drawback is that since the Realme 5 Pro doesn’t support Qualcomm’s Quick Charge standard or PD fast charging, you’ll need to bring the charger and cable along with you at all times if you wish to get the best charging times.
Featuring better specs, two additional rear cameras for a total of four, and a more signature look compared to its predecessor, the Realme 5 Pro is a real force to be reckoned with in the price-performance stakes.
There’s fairly little to complain here, and that’s not surprising seeing how Realme has continuously impressed us with its smartphones. The Pro is hands-down the best and most attractive offering from Realme to date, at least in the Philippines — and that’s saying a lot.
However, if you’re coming from the Realme 3 Pro and looking for a big upgrade, you might want to wait a bit longer until Realme announces its next release (likely the Realme XT), which sports a 64-megapixel main camera.
Realme 5 Pro specs (compared with the Realme 5’s)
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