Realme 5i review, price, and specs via Revu Philippines

Realme 5i review: Best all-around budget phone

In Phones by Ramon Lopez1 Comment

Priced at P6,990, or around $138 converted, the Realme 5i with 3GB RAM and 64GB of internal storage is now available for purchase in the Philippines. You can choose from either Aqua Blue or Forest Green color variant.


You can choose from either Aqua Blue or Forest Green color variant

At its budget price point, the 5i brings in specs largely similar to the Realme 5 and other local offerings from brands like OPPO, Vivo, and Xiaomi. There are other fantastic options from Samsung and Huawei, too, including the Huawei Y6s.

So, is the 5i just another smartphone that will be overshadowed by the competition? To find out, we spent more than two weeks with the device as our daily driver. Here is our full review of the Realme 5i.

Hardware

The Realme 5i shares about the same dimensions as the Realme 5. With its 20:9 aspect ratio for the screen, the device is longer than usual. The weight — 195 grams — is quite reassuring, and feels evenly distributed across the polycarbonate shell.

It’s comfortable to hold, despite being a little plasticky and having an extra-tall display. Most users will have no problems wrapping their fingers around the entire width of the front. The build quality is great for the money — the side buttons feel nice under our thumb and index finger, the back doesn’t flex or creak when you push down on it. Typical Realme stuff.

Realme 5i review, price, and specs via Revu Philippines

The Realme 5i’s rear panel is certainly something that deserves praise

The rear panel of the 5i is certainly something that deserves praise as well. Realme calls it a Sunrise design, which is textured; has a non-glossy, matte-like finish; and features a special pattern etched onto the surface that is supposed to look like sun rays shining from the panel’s bottom-left corner.

It’s attractive indeed, but you get more of an impact seeing it in person than in pictures. As a bonus, it also keeps the back free of fingerprints and smudges, so you don’t have to wipe it down regularly or use a case to keep it looking fresh past the first day. Speaking of using a case, the Realme 5i doesn’t ship with one in its yellow box. The phone isn’t bundled with earphones either.

  • Box Contents
    • Realme 5i
    • User guide
    • SIM-eject tool
    • 10-watt wall charger
    • MicroUSB cable

The camera bump is noticeably thick, more protruding than we’d like it to be. And it makes the 5i wobble if you rest it on a flat surface. Realme’s signature yellow accent on the main camera lens is, as always, a welcome touch.

The fingerprint reader is located on the back, at the upper center and on the right of the quad-camera array. It’s almost flush with the panel, making it convenient to access. It works very well, just as quickly as any front- or rear-mounted fingerprint sensor on a modern Android handset.

Realme 5i review, price, and specs via Revu Philippines

The physical keys are located where your fingers will easily find them

The physical buttons are also located where your fingers will easily find them. The power key sits on the right edge, while the separate volume up and down buttons are on the left, alongside a dedicated microSD card slot for additional storage expansion.

The bottom of the handset features a microUSB port, a headphone jack, and a mono speaker that puts out decent sound for its size and loud enough to be audible even when there’s noise around you.

Screen

The Realme 5i packs a 6.52-inch, 1,600 x 720 LCD screen with a 20:9 aspect ratio, as we mentioned earlier. The size and length of the display means you can see more content on one page, while the potential benefits for gaming are obvious.

A bigger screen also gives you a bigger, more comfortable keyboard to type on. Additionally, the taller aspect ratio is pretty close to what wide-screen movies are shot in, which lends a cinematic viewing experience on a budget.

SEE ALSO: Realme UI (Android 10) initial review: Big step forward in the right direction

For added protection against scratches and accidental drops, the 5i comes layered with Corning Gorilla 3 on top. The screen glass curves around the lip of the plastic frame that holds the front panel in place. This makes the screen easier to operate, and swipe gestures for navigation feel natural. The notch at the top bezel isn’t wide and unsightly like on many budget devices, and the side and bottom bezels are rather slim.

Realme 5i review, price, and specs via Revu Philippines

The notch at the top bezel isn’t wide and unsightly like on many budget devices

As for picture quality, the Realme 5i is mostly solid for its price and almost on a par with the Realme 3 Pro, which costs much more. It’s large enough and sharp enough for most purposes, including gaming and watching videos on YouTube and Netflix. You can choose to run apps in full-screen mode to take advantage of the real estate the display offers, but not all apps will look great on a stretched resolution.

Realme 5i review, price, and specs via Revu Philippines

The Realme 5i’s screen is large enough and sharp enough for most purposes, including gaming and watching videos on YouTube and Netflix

The color accuracy is reasonably accurate. Blacks go fairly deep even if they don’t match up to OLED panels. The viewing angles are wide, while the brightness levels are sufficient for outdoor viewing, but it can be hard to see the screen under direct sunlight even when the auto-brightness setting is disabled. Still, we can’t complain too much about the overall quality of the display given its cost.

Camera

On the back of the Realme 5i is a quad-camera array comprised of a 12-megapixel primary sensor that sits behind f/1.8 lens, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide shooter for landscapes and group pictures, and 2-megapixel macro and depth sensors.

READ ALSO: Realme Buds Air review: Good audio, even better price

The macro unit is useful if you like taking closeup shots under good lighting, while the depth sensor helps create a natural-looking bokeh in Portrait mode. The edge detection in portraits is fairly accurate and manages to separate the subject from the background, but the background blur isn’t convincing.

For daytime shots, the results are about as good as we can expect a cost-effective phone to produce, full of color and detail, and the dynamic range is commendable. There is a zoom toggle switching between 1x, 2x, and 5x zoom, although the 5i is only capable of digital magnification (up to 10x, at least), as it lacks a telephoto camera.

The first set of photos we shared in Realme 5i: Camera specs, sample pictures

This set is a new batch of pictures taken with the Realme 5i

Meanwhile, Realme’s Nightscape mode makes a substantial difference when shooting in extremely dark environments or at nighttime. You can still take night shots in auto, of course, but we don’t recommend it. There’s also the option to use Nightscape if you’re taking a picture with the ultra-wide lens, which is critical since the sensor alone is hardly usable in low light.

The 8-megapixel selfie camera is sharp enough for social media and retains realistic skin tones when beauty filters are turned off. You can take portrait-style and HDR selfies with better contrast, and there are beauty and color filters that can change the overall look of your selfies.

SEE ALSO: Realme X50 5G launched with aggressive pricing

The 25-megapixel front camera is sharp and allows you to take some great-looking selfies with realistic skin tones. For portrait-style shots, the camera avoids obvious edge-detection errors almost every time in bright conditions.

The software package isn’t brimming with features, but you can take HDR selfies with better contrast, and there are a variety of filters that can change the overall look of your images.

Performance

The Realme 5i is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor that performs better than Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 400 series and the Helio P22 and P35 chipsets from MediaTek. The chip runs ColorOS 6 based on Android 9.0 Pie and incorporates Adreno 610 graphics and 3GB RAM, which is enough for hardware-intensive games like Mobile Legends, Black Desert Mobile, and NBA 2K20.

Can the Realme 5i game? Watch us play Mobile Legends, Black Desert (4:05 mark), and NBA 2K20 (8:18 mark) on it

Similarly, the Snapdragon 665 is decent for multitasking, so you’ll be spending less time jumping in and out of applications and more time doing what you want in your favorite apps. The 5i is capable of smooth frame rates at high settings in games that require high-end graphics to run as intended. If you play Mobile Legends as much as we do, you’ll be happy to hear that this Realme supports High Frame Rate mode.

The Antutu Benchmark score of our unit is 173,713, which crushes most of its competitors. It also scored 312 in Geekbench 5’s single-core test and 1,387 in the multi-core benchmark. Obviously, the 5i won’t be winning any benchmark contests outside of its price bracket, but its real-world performance is unrivaled in the category.

Realme 5i Antutu and Geekbench benchmark scores via Revu Philippines

Realme 5i’s Antutu and Geekbench benchmark scores

For connectivity, the 5i comes with 802.11 ac WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0, and 4G LTE with support for 10 FDD-LTE and TD-LTE bands. Our only complaint is that it doesn’t have support for 5GHz wireless frequencies, though it’s completely understandable why it was cut from the specs sheet.

Battery life

Under the hood, the Realme 5i has a hefty 5,000mAh battery, which is impressive for a cost-effective unit. We found that it can last two days with moderate to heavy usage consisting of basic smartphone tasks like web browsing, emails, social media, and some gaming.

In PCMark’s battery-rundown test, which puts your device through a loop of data crunching, word processing, and media playback, our unit lasted close to 17 hours at half brightness. Impressive compared to the 10 to 13 hours of backup we normally get on low-cost units.

Realme 5i battery life test results by Revu Philippines

Result: Realme 5i battery-rundown test in PCMark

Realme promises more than 9 hours of gaming, 14 hours while watching videos on YouTube, or up to 30 days on standby. For the most part, the company’s claims are pretty accurate as we’ve seen in our testing.

A full charge takes around three hours using the included 10-watt charger. This is not surprising considering the high-capacity cell. The Realme 5i comes with reverse-charging support, which basically means you can use it to juice up other devices.

Final thoughts

Realme has done it again. The Realme 5i ticks all the right boxes, offering genuine value for money and a superior user experience compared with others in the category.

The hardware, including the screen and cameras, is more mid-tier than bargain basement; the Snapdragon 665 is largely capable of handling any task you might want to throw at it; and the battery life lasts days, not hours, on a charge. Simply put, the 5i is as good as it gets in the world of budget phones right now.

Realme 5i specs

  • 6.5-inch HD+ LCD display, 1,600 x 720 resolution, Corning Gorilla Glass 3+
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor
  • 3GB RAM
  • 64GBGB expandable storage
  • Quad rear cameras: 12MP (main), 8MP (ultra wide, 119 degrees field of view), 2MP (macro), 2MP (depth)
  • 8MP front camera
  • Fingerprint reader (rear-mounted)
  • 5,000mAh battery with support for reversed wired charging
  • ColorOS 6.1 based on Android 9.0 Pie
  • Colors: Forest Green, Aqua Blue

Share this Post


Learn About This Author

Ramon Lopez

Facebook Twitter Google+

Reviews editor: Ramon "Monch" Lopez has 12 years of professional experience creating and editing content for print and digital publications such as Yahoo. He headed the gadgets-merchandising division of one of the Philippines’ largest retail operators somewhere in between. His latest addiction is the comments section of viral Facebook posts.