Kshitij PujariAug 20, 2019 13:27:27 IST
No sooner had Realme announced its flagship smartphone called the Realme X, the company has undermined it in a month by hinting at the Realme 5-series, demonstrating how fast-paced today's mid-range/budget smartphone segment race is in the country. Making the Realme 5-series special is the fact that it is offering the first quad-camera setup in its price segment. Does this make the phone revolutionary? I got the chance to try both phones for a day or two, and here are my initial impressions of the devices.
Design, display and build
At first glance, there appear to be no concrete differences between the Realme 5 and 5 Pro save for the design pattern on the back. Both phones happen to have the same Dewdrop notch display, nearly an identical chin, the same quad-camera setup, the same placement of the Realme logo on the bottom left, and the same placement of the fingerprint scanner on the top half. Both phones also weigh nearly the same and have a very similar thickness. However, once you hold the device in your hand you notice that the Realme 5 has a sort of glasstic finish to it, giving it a slightly cheaper feel. The 5 Pro has a unibody polycarbonate back complete with a smoothy, glassy feel in the hand, which definitely lends it a premium air.
In the display department, the Realme 5 is discernibly taller with a 6.5-inch screen as compared to the 6.3-inch on the Realme 5 Pro although the latter does come with an FHD+ resolution display, which is lacking in the former. One also notices that the Realme 5 Pro has kept a type-C port while its smaller sibling has opted for a micro-USB slot. Both have kept the 3.5 mm headphone jack. The position of the speaker and mic are also the same in both phones although the Realme 5 has two holes for the mic instead of one as seen in the 5 Pro. The positioning of the volume rocker buttons and sim card tray appear to be the same. A full review of the Realme 5 and 5 Pro will tell us how good the design is but at a glance, the devices do indeed appear premium for their price point.
Chipset, RAM and software
The Realme 5 Pro starts at 4 GB RAM with 64 GB storage and goes all the way up to 128 GB storage and 8 GB of RAM. No other phone is offering 8 GB of RAM in this price range, which is commendable, although it can be said that even 6 GB of RAM is quite a significant amount of memory to play around with. The Realme 5 maxes out at 4 GB RAM but does give the user an option of 128 GB internal storage and both devices do offer expandable storage of up to 256 GB. The Snapdragon 712 chipset makes its way into the Realme 5 Pro which is something I believe that the Realme X should also have been conferred with. The less powerful but quite capable Snapdragon 665 is seen on the Realme 5. Fiddling around with both devices, I could indeed make out no discernible difference in performance even though the 5 Pro has double the RAM and certainly a better processor. A full review will hopefully provide a clearer picture.
Software-wise I was not surprised to see the implementation of ColorOS 6.0-based Android 9.0 Pie on both devices. In my earlier review of Oppo and Realme phones, I have already stated my inclination towards Oppo's new approach to software, which is looking cleaner and more bloatware-free than it did before. There is talk about Realme implementing a new OS of its own in the future, to stop its reliance on Oppo's proprietary skin, which I'm very interested to see and it is possible that a software upgrade for the Realme 5 and 5 Pro may be on the cards soon. Till then, I believe I'm reasonably satisfied with ColorOS although the company would be well-advised to get rid of the irritating Oppo sign-in option that the user is greeted with every time the settings menu is opened.
Camera and battery
It is quite remarkable to see a quad-camera setup on a device that is priced under Rs 20,000 and even more so for a device harbouring an under-Rs 10,000 price tag. The 5 Pro comes with a 48 MP primary sensor along with an 8 MP telephoto sensor, 2 MP ultra-wide sensor and a 2 MP sensor used for depth detection. This setup is nearly identical to the Realme 5 save for a 12 MP primary sensor with an f/1.8 aperture. At first glance, the Realme 5 Pro is indeed pulling off some spectacular shots with great dynamic range, albeit slightly oversaturated colours, while the Realme 5 is making use of the wide aperture to bring in more light to its shots. The Realme 5 Pro is ahead in most conditions, but full marks to the Realme 5 for keeping up.
The battery is a department neither phone will have too much problem in owing to the fact that the Realme 5 packs in a humungous 5,000 mAh battery while the 5 Pro has a slightly smaller 4,000 mAh battery. that should last for quite some time.
Realme, in recent times, has had a history of bringing the fight to market leader Xiaomi's doorstep with very satisfying results. With Xiaomi currently looking to shake things up with the upcoming Mi A3 launch in India, Realme does indeed seem to pack quite the punch with the Realme 5 Pro, while the more budget-oriented Realme 5 is also a capable smartphone in its own segment.
Let's see how they hold up once I've done more thoroughly testing them.