Hands on: Realme 5i Review

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Continuing with its incessant launch spree in the new year, Realme started off with 5i, another affordable option in the Realme 5-series that has already sold over 5 million units.

The Realme 5i costs lesser than the existing Realme 5s, Realme 5 and Realme 5 Pro and will replace the Realme 5 moving forward.

Some of the highlights include Snapdragon 665 octa-core chipset, 5000mAh battery with reverse charging support, and quad-cameras on the back. Is it a phone that you should buy? We have had some first-hand experience with the phone and here’s what we think.

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Realme 5i price and specs

Model Realme 5i
Display 6.5-inches, HD+ (720 x 1600 pixels) , 89% screen ratio, Gorilla Glass 3+
Processor Snapdragon 665
Internal Storage 64GB (expandable up to 256GB)
Software Android 9.0 Pie-based Color OS 6.0.1; Color OS 7 update scheduled for May 2020
Rear Camera 12MP (f/1.8) + 8MP (f/2.25) 118.9-degree ultrawide + 2MP portrait + 2MP macro (4cm range)
Front Camera 8MP
Battery 5000mAh, 10W charger
Price Rs. 8,999

Realme 5i Unboxing

Realme doesn’t bundle any protective case in the 5i box. Other than that, all usual elements are present. Box contents include:

  • Realme 5i handset
  • Pre-installed screen protector
  • 10W Charging adaptor
  • Micro USB cable
  • SIM ejector tool
  • Documentation

Realme 5i: Design and Build

Realme 5i reminded us of Realme 3i, and the reason why we still remember Realme 3i is its peculiar textured back that somehow felt gratifying. The 5i has a similar, but subtler texture. The Aqua Blue variant we have with us is flashy but not gaudy. The other option is Aqua Green and we suspect, it wouldn’t be any more understated either.

Realme 5i conforms to modern trends and a design that youngsters should consider appealing. The fascia is marked by a v-shaped notch and reasonably narrow bezels. On the rear, four cameras are stacked on the top-left and a capacitive fingerprint reader is positioned where our index finger naturally rests. The handset has a dedicated card slot, a regular micro USB port, and retains the audio jack.

Overall, the phone manages to pull its weight when it comes to design. We don’t have much to complain about in this regard.

Realme 5i: Display

Just as Realme 5s and Realme 5, the 5i also banks on an HD+ resolution screen. Since we are accustomed to sharper screens, we could make out the softness in text, icons, and images. Perhaps the same might not be as discernible to common consumers.

Default calibration is good enough and the display settings menu has a Warm-Cold toggle you may use to adjust color temperature. Outdoor visibility is passable.

The phone has DRM L3 certificate, which is to say that HD streaming isn’t supported on Netflix and Prime. Once again, this shouldn’t be much of a peeve point considering consumer expectations in the price bracket.

Also Read: Realme X2 Pro Master Edition x DJI Osmo Mobile 3 review

Realme 5i: Performance expectations and Software

Performance is one aspect that Realme prioritizes on all its phones and the 5i isn’t any exception. The handset employs Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 665 octa-core chipset paired with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage, and this is the most you could expect for the asking price.

We are yet to deep dive into real usage performance, but we can safely bet on the experience being similar to other Snapdragon 665 phones.

Out of the box, the software is Color OS 6.1 based on Android 9. The Android 10 update with Color OS 7.0 overlay will arrive by May 2020. We are not yet sure what the new Customized Color OS or Reami UI skin would be like. All we know is the interface will be closer to stock Android and will, unfortunately, show ads and recommendations within system apps.

One important highlight of the Realme 5i is its battery. Given the hardware, 5000mAh battery should last long and battery longevity is something we are quite optimistic about. 10W charging for such a capacious battery is a bummer, but it wouldn’t be fair to complain at this price.

Realme 5i: Camera expectations

Our expectations from cameras on affordable phones have been remarkably low across all brands, and this is one area that’s still hard to nail even for phones that cost twice as much.

We are yet to test Realme 5i camera quality, so we wouldn’t be passing any verdict just yet. But at least the camera is versatile.

Realme 5i has a 12MP primary camera, paired with the customary troika of 8MP wide-angle shooter, 2MP macro shooter for close-ups and a 2MP depth sensor. On the front, the handset has an 8MP sensor, which is in fact a specs-downgrade as compared to Realme 5 that it shall replace.

Also Check: Realme XT vs Realme X2 vs Redmi Note 8 Pro Comparison

Realme 5i First Impressions

To sum up our initial impression, Realme 5i is an affordable phone that focuses on performance. Snapdragon 665 coupled with ample RAM and storage is what, we expect, will primarily draw buyers.

The phone also brandishes a modern design and houses an assuring battery – something affordable phone buyers have always prioritized. As is expected at this price point, compromises have been made and one area where Realme is cutting corners is the display quality.

We still need to spend more time with the 5i to ascertain if it’s a good buy. We will continue testing the 5i in days to come and will be back with a concrete verdict really soon. Stay tuned.


Realme 5i Review Video [in Hindi]

Deepak SinghDeepak Singh
Deepak has more than 8 years of experience in covering technology for several eminent publications in India. He currently leads an enthusiastic team of young writers at Smartprix and tries to uphold the highest quality standards.

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