Realme 5i Review: a flashy device with quad-camera

Realme 5i is almost similar to realme 5, with the only meaningful difference of the selfie camera that is a downgrade in 5i. In my opinion, a mere 5MP difference shouldn’t’ make a huge difference for both the models. Yes, the price could be a factor for the users tight on budget. I don’t expect Realme 5i to perform any different than the base mode; nevertheless, let’s check out how it performed in our tests.

Realme 5i specs

  • Display: 6.52 inches 
  • OS: Android 9.0, ColorOS 6
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 665
  • RAM/ROM: 4GB/64GB 
  • Camera (rear): 12MP + 8MP + 2MP + 2MP
  • Camera (front): 8MP
  • Battery: 5000 mAh
  • Full specs

Design and Display

Realme 5i backside

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Just like the realme C3’s bold outlook that was also launched recently, the 5i also features a new sunrise design pattern that targets the youth with its Aqua Blue and Forest Green colors. The rays design originating from a corner of the phone on the rear side is equally striking as the diamond cut rear of realme 5. But, it is the matte finish back cover this time that acts as resistive to the smudges.

The quad-camera setup, aligned vertically, protrudes similar to the realme 5 that can cause wobbling on a flat surface. Since there is silicon cover out of the box and there is no need owing to the pattern and the matte finish, so you might need to live with that wobbling effect. Just like the old ways, the primary 12MP lens is surrounded by a yellow circle – realme does it, apparently, to stand out among the crowd. Just within reach of the index finger, a fingerprint scanner resides a few millimeters away.

Realme 5i Notch Display

On the other side, the 6.52 inches IPS LCD features a mini drop display that gives 269 ppi. The bezels look minimum except for a very prominent chin. Realme hasn’t mentioned the version, but it is a Gorilla Glass display of HD Plus resolution, which is reasonably bright at 60%. The viewing experience is good both indoors and outdoors; however, watching a movie like Captain Marvel with lots of dark scenes in the daylight could sometimes be challenging. The color reproduction is decent for a 720px screen, which looks good in this price segment.

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The size of the screen, however, is the primary asset that gives an immersive viewing experience for games and movies. There are no fancy display options inside the setting area other than altering the color temperature, which has a minimal impact on the display quality.

Realme 5i comes with phone wide dark mode that not only helps to put a healthy impact on the battery life but also makes display a bit crispier and easy on eyes. It’s a personal choice, though, and may not uniformly work for all third-party apps.

Performance and Battery

The phone isn’t different in hardware that we found in the base version. There is a Qualcomm 665 Snapdragon chipset under the hood coupled with Adreno 610 for graphic handling. Depending upon the market, you may find a 3GB/32GB and 4GB/64GB memory versions that can be further upgraded up to 256GB through a MicroSD Card.

It scored 163563 on AnTuTu that falls closer to Nokia 7.2’s 165600 but behind Redmi Note 8 that scored 177451.

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Playing games like Call of Duty and PUBG isn’t a problem for 5i, but you shouldn’t rule out a bit of lag and intermittent frame drop here and there, which is a part of the experience with low-end phones.

Realme 5i boasts a massive 5000 mAh battery and an out of the box 10W charger takes almost 3 hours to fill it from 0 to 100%. It also supports reverse charging serving as the power bank in times of need, but the process is painfully slow that can only help you if there no alternatives around. 

The device is good with battery timing. I was always left with 30 to 40% of the battery at the end of the day, but it mainly depends upon the usage pattern. However, for a more clear picture for everyone, we drained the battery in 17 hours during the video looping test (wifi/data off, brightness 50%, volume 100%).

The four hours social media test on 4G data took away 43% of the battery that is similar to C3’s 5000 mAh battery. The following graph gives a clear picture of the test.

Realme 5i 4 hours battery test

Camera

Realme 5i boasts a quad-camera setup on the rear side that is again similar to the base version, but it is the front camera that has been downgraded this time from 13MP to 8MP. Lenses on the rear side include a 12MP main sensor, 8MP ultrawide, 2MP depth sensor, and a 2MP macro lens, which is seemingly a trend today for the entry-level and mid-range phones.

Realme 5i Quad Camera

The default camera app is a usual sequence of different modes tied at the bottom area featuring what every other ColorOS based phone does; Video, Photo, and Portrait. A hamburger menu at the extreme left of the menu bar provides access to additional modes like NightScape, Ultra Macro, Expert, etc.

Day Images

You don’t need a fancy phone to get good daylight pictures today. Even the entry-level phones like realme 5i can perform adequately. Its standard 12MP lens has this capability to catch and maintain the original colors of the scene. It does not overdo the color, contrast, and exposure value. Everything looks rightly balanced in typical daylight scenarios.

Look at the following image where you can see almost every pattern on the building, ground, trees, and sky that existed originally.

Penta Square Mall DHA Standard Mode
Standard Mode

The HDR mode, which is a tap away, add more black to the scene than we wished. It enhances the details on most of the places, but some areas inside the frame get hidden owing to excessive blacks. However, images appear a bit more catchy overall on the small screens.

Similarly, you can use the chroma boost to amplify the colors. 5i keeps the enhancement on the warmer side, and you get to feel a yellowish layer on top of the original image.

The 8MP ultra-wide-angle lens can expand as wide as 119 degrees for bringing in more area, but when compared to the main lens, a mere 4MP cut in the lens power adds more noise in the images which is not annoying in the middle area, but as you move away, the grains are more noticeable, and the details look a little washed out. We noticed a bluish tilt in colors when compared with the images of the same scene from the main lens, but it is nothing major to complain about. The overall image quality from the ultra-wide-angle lens is reasonably fair, considering the price point of this phone.

Penta Square Mall DHA Ultra-Wide Lens
Ultra-wide lens

Zooming in realme 5i can go up to 10x, there are however soft keys for 2x and 5x but don’t expect too much as they are merely AI treated and the cropped versions that are lesser in quality than what you can get out of a manual crop on a 12MP standard mode image. 5x and then 10x are simply the no go areas. Take a look at the cropped image from the 12MP lens and the one from the 2x zoom.

Night Images

At night, Realme 5i behaves what you can expect from a good performing entry-level phone. Like the day shots, well-lit subjects with 12MP main-lens are captured with a fair amount of detail, although grains are easy to see. Unlike Samsung’s Galaxy A30s and Galaxy A51, we didn’t notice lens glare issues ruining the images. 

Wing Chair Builing in DHA Standard Mode
Standard mode

However, with NightScape – that’s what realme call the night mode – 5i boosts up the image quality and colors by more than 50%, especially, the lights that start looking more accurately registered as compared to the standard mode. We recommend practicing NightScape more frequently for some fantastic shots.

Wing Chair Builing in DHA Night Mode
Night Mode

It’s better not to use the ultrawide lens at night in the default way, or else you won’t find anything on the screen except for grainy scenes that are extremely lower in detail. In short, the ultrawide lens is no way helpful for outdoor photography where you have to depend on the surrounding lights, and the same goes for the zoom shots. But, Realme has provided the NightScape for the ultrawide angle as well that is capable of doing a little justice with decently lit scenes.

Portrait, Macro & Selfies

Although Realme 5i has a dedicated portrait mode, it is really good with the closeup shots when taken with standard mode. It blurs the background very nicely and keeps the colors punchy. Portrait mode does a similar job for all kinds of subjects, but it doesn’t always match the quality of standard mode’s closeup shots.

Brown Rice Macro Shot
Capturing brown rice with the ultra-macro mode that don’t look brown eventually

The phone also boasts a 2MP macro lens that can shoot the tiniest objects from just 4cm away. It needs a bit of practice even in the good light that, too, does not get rid of unwanted noise in the image. We were able to take some better shots, but it was a challenge on its own.

As stated, the front lens has been downgraded in this device from 13MP to 8MP, which shouldn’t be a major hiccup for selfie lovers. We were able to click some really lovely selfies both day and night. The standard mode, although, keeps the face in focus, but the backgrounds are overly exposed under the sunlight. HDR is helpful in such a situation. However, we noticed a little inaccurate, subject mapping with the portrait mode that looks like a common weakness among the entry-level phones.

Videos

Realme 5i can record up to 4k resolution videos from the rear camera. The front lens, however, can record 720 and 1080 videos. The phone supports EIS that provides a decent stabilization on 720 and 1080 video. You can also shoot videos in ultra-wide-mode. Have a look at the sample video below.

Verdict

Realme 5i falls in a price segment that is stuffed with lots of choices. A brighter screen of 6.5 inches, a bigger battery that lasts for hours even days, and a quad-camera setup which can take some clean shots are some of the attractive features. Being an entry-level device, you may find small issues here and there, but that doesn’t undermine the overall performance.

Although there are tons of other options like Moto E6 Plus, Infinix S4, and Oppo A5s, Realme 5i  has this strength that can impress many.

Alternative

When it comes to performance and camera results, you will find Redmi Note 8 to be a much better option as compared to the Realme 5i but you will have to spend a little more money for the purchase.

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