Realme 5i Review: The same power but more affordable

realme 5i review

Here is my Realme 5i review

It has been a few weeks now since I started using the Realme 5i as my main daily driver while putting aside my standard Realme 5 smartphone in the process. I think that time is already enough for me to share with you my review of this latest budget-friendly yet powerful smartphone from Realme. Just in case you have lost count, this is actually the fourth smartphone the company has released so far under the Realme 5 series, 5s (India-only) being the third following the 5 and 5 Pro variants.

While the 5i is essentially an ever so slightly watered down version of the regular Realme 5 (unboxing and hands on), there are a lot to like and get excited about this device, most especially in the design, performance, and pricing departments. Whether you are more of a mobile gamer, mobile photography enthusiast, or someone who loves consuming everything digital on a budget, this is definitely a phone to consider this 2020.

realme 5i review

The specs and features

Let's start off by talking about this smartphone's key specs. On the front, the device sports a huge display of 6.5" that offers 720p resolution and is protected by a Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The waterdrop notch is still here to stay housing the 8MP front facing camera for selfie and video calling needs. The regular Realme 5 has 13MP front camera, in case you wonder and that's where the downgrade is found here. If you are a type of user who does not care too much about selfie photos, that will not bother you at all. But I am happy to say that the front camera is still capable of producing acceptable quality of selfie pics, thanks to its AI Beautification feature.

On the right side are the volume rocker and triple card slot capable of holding two 4G LTE sim cards and a microSD card up to 256GB all at the same time. On the left is the power/lock key. There is nothing to be found on the top side, but at the bottom are the 3.5mm audiojack and microUSB as well as mic and speakers. The mic works really well and does a good job when used for calling and video recording while the speakers is loud enough to be used in a closed room. Sometimes the audio quality just get distorted if the volume bar is adjusted to full.

realme 5i review

On the inside is the same processor that powers the Realme 5 which is a great news for those who are eyeing to get the same performance level for a much more affordable price tag. The octa-core Snapdragon 665 chip is accompanied by 3GB of RAM and a default 64GB internal storage to begin with. No other RAM-storage configuration is available for this variant. Software-wise, it runs on the current ColorOS 6.1 based on Android 9. Though it has already been confirmed that this too will receive the much anticipated Realme UI update in the near future, hopefully in the coming months or at least before the year ends.

There is a fingerprint scanner on the back that responds very fast. And then of course a long-lasting massive 5000mAh battery pack powering the entire system. All of this, including a quad camera setup on the back (12MP+8MP+2MP+2MP), for only Php6,990. This makes the Realme 5i one of the most affordable and best quad-camera smartphones out there for an asking price that's just a little under the P7K price mark.

realme 5i review philippines

The diamond-cut design from the original Realme 5 series is no more

With the Relame 5i, gone is the nearly iconic diamond-cut design found on original Realme 5 devices, what is now seen on the 5i is what the company calls the "sunrise design" with textured finish. This is a nice modification though as apart from this design tells the observers which phone it is from the Realme 5 series, this also adds character to the phone and a much better grip to it together with the curved sides on the back. While the glossy back finish is something nice to look at, one of its downsides is it is fingerprint and smudge hungry of a surface. If you are particular to that, then consider getting the Realme 5i instead.

The Realme 5i comes in two colors, Aqua Blue and Forrest Green. As you can see, I got the latter. I should mention though, unlike the previous iterations, the 5i does not come with a protective case in the box. Perhaps it's because of the back cover design. But you can definitely use cases made for the Realme 5 series, as its dimension is pretty much the same. I can confirm that since I tried using my other soft case from the Realme 5 on the Realme 5i and it fits perfectly.

Speaking more of the back cover, though it is obvious to be made of plastic material, it feels more solid, sturdy, and does not feel shallow as it seems that the chassis holding the device together is made of solid metal. Also, the rear is so textured that you will hear a subtle sound when you run your nails on it.

realme 5i review

DISPLAY

Out of the box, the Realme 5i offers 6.5-inch HD+ display resolution. That might not excite you so much, but it is a pretty good display though for its price tag. The images come out sharp and clear. Not as clear as a Full HD panel can offer, but more than enough to provide the best viewing experience for a pocket-friendly smartphone. Color reproduction is just good and accurate as well as the viewing angle. Also, the display can be bright enough to be used in direct sunlight without any issues.

SOFTWARE

On the software side of this device, it has ColorOS 6.1 based on Android 9 Pie running the show. With ColorOS in the early days of its life, it used to look more like an iOS ripoff mobile OS. Thankfully that is not the case anymore with the ColorOS 6.1. And with Realme 5i, the overall design and experience is now close to a vanilla Android OS. Quick settings and notifications can be pulled down from the upper screen. There is no app drawer, just simply swipe up from the home screen and you will have access to all the apps. There are a few pre-installed applications but you can definitely uninstall them if you want to.

Another thing that I really like about this version of the ColorOS on Realme 5i, also the same with other Realme 5, is the inclusion of the "Dark Mode" feature. By turning this on, this gives users a system-wide dark mode functionality making almost all mobile applications, even those that do not have this feature officially rolled out to yet, go black or dark.

PERFORMANCE

Thanks to the powerful Snapdragon 665 processor and quite roomy 3GB of RAM, the performance of the software is fast and smooth. Switching between apps and even having multiple ones running in the background do not cause lag or any issue. In fact, I have never experienced any slowdown or lag since I started using this phone a couple of weeks ago. Most of the time, I don't play games on a smartphone. But when I did with this one, I tried playing Mobile Legends. So far, the experience is really good.

Split screen function is a very useful feature for me, I always use this whenever I am watching clips or music videos on YouTube while browsing other sites or social media apps all at the same time. It requires quite the resources depending on the apps that I run simultaneously, and the processor and RAM can really accommodate without any hiccups. To activate the split screen feature, simply launch the first app you would like to use and then long press the Multitask button situated next to the left of the Home button and from there you will see all apps that support split screen functionality.

BATTERY

One of the best features of this budget friendly Realme 5i is its massive 5000mAh battery. On average, it lasts me more than 48 hours on a single charge. I am not a heavy user type of person, I would say. Mostly, I use a smartphone for browsing sites and social media apps, and then streaming of music and movies from time to time while commuting to and from work. Then when it comes to charging, since it's a huge one, it takes about 3 hours to fully charge the battery from around 20%. There is just one feature I really hope to become a regular part of these big battery-equipped smartphones, the reverse charging capability. This will be very helpful especially for users who are also using wireless earphones (like the Realme Buds Air) and the soon-to-be-launched Realme smart band. Although a powerbank will surely solve this problem, that will cost users extra space and weight in their bags.

With the overall battery performance of this Realme 5i, I am completely satisfied.

CAMERA

As already mentioned above, the Realme 5i sports four cameras on its rear and a single 8MP lens on the front. On the back are the 12MP primary shooter with f1.8 aperture and phase detection autofocus features, a secondary camera with 8MP and ultrawide angle lens, and two 2MP shooters for macro and portrait photography. The back cameras can record up to 4K videos but the EIS or Electronic Image Stabilization feature is only available until 1080p video resolution. And it can also record slo-mo videos with 240fps for 720p resolution or 120fps in 1080p format. The Nightscape and Chroma Boost camera features are still here for night or low-light photography needs. You can check out some of the photos below I managed to snap using the Realme 5i.

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realme 5i review

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realme 5i review philippines

realme 5i sample shots

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realme 5i night shots

realme 5i camera samples

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realme 5i review

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realme 5i selfie shots

realme 5i review philippines

realme 5i review

realme 5i night shots

realme 5i review night shots

realme 5i review night photography

realme 5i review night photography

realme 5i at mall of asia

realme 5i in makati city

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realme 5i review

realme 5i review

Final words

As already mentioned above, there are a lot to like about this new Realme 5i. Design, performance, cameras, and the price tag. It is no doubt that the Realme 5i is the smartphone to beat for the sub Php7K price category. Power and endurance all packed in the same smartphone that won't break the bank, a real value for money of a smartphone from Realme.

Realme 5i specs:

  • 6.5-inch HD+ IPS Display
  • 1600 x 720 resolution
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • Octa-core Snapdragon 665 processor
  • 3GB RAM
  • 64GB internal storage
  • Supports microSD card up to 256GB (dedicated slot)
  • 12MP + 8MP + 2MP + 2MP quad rear cameras with ultrawide, depth, and macro sensors
  • 8MP front camera with AI beautification
  • Android 9 Pie with ColorOS 6.1
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS
  • Dual SIM
  • 4G LTE
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Forrest Green, Aqua Blue
  • 5000mAh battery
  • Php6,990
The Realme 5i is now available in the Philippines for only Php6,990. It comes in two different color options namely Aqua Blue and Forrest Green.

COMMENTS

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DUGOMPINOY: Realme 5i Review: The same power but more affordable
Realme 5i Review: The same power but more affordable
Here is my review of the new Realme 5i bang for buck smartphone in the local market right now. Read more here.
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