Realme and Xiaomi are going back and forth at each other with their new launches, both trying to get a hold of the entry-level smartphone market. After the launch of Redmi Note 8 by Xiaomi, Realme challenged it with the new Realme 5s. Both compete for the same price range and same performance. In this article, we will be reviewing Realme 5s, and you’ll find out if it is worth your penny or not, and if not, what are some other options in the same price range.
I’m sure you all are very excited to know more about this device, so without wasting any time, let’s dive into the in-depth review of Realme 5s.
Price in India, Variant, Availability
Realme 5s is available in 2 hardware configurations, and those are 3GB/64GB version and 4GB/128GB version. The base variant is priced at ₹9,999, whereas the 128GB variant comes priced at ₹10,999.
If we talk about colour variants, we have got three options named Crystal Red, Crystal Blue, and Crystal Purple. All the variants look great and attractive, but the plastic body is a bummer.
At the time of writing this review, the phone is not on the market for sale yet; instead, it is only available through Pre-order, and those orders will be delivered when the phone comes out for purchase officially on Nov 29th.
The review unit that we got was a Crystal Red variant and 4GB/128GB version handset. The handset comes in a neat box with Realme branding and a golden banner on the right top saying “No 1 Quality smartphone brand”. The packaging was simple. Inside the box, we get the usual accessories like Silicone protective case, SIM ejector tool, Realme 5s handset, 10W AC adapter, micro-USB Cable, and some Documentation.
Here is a quick overview of what you’ll be getting inside the box:
- Realme 5s
- Silicone protective case
- Micro-USB cable
- 10W(5V,2A) AC adapter
- Sim ejector tool
Specs at a glance
Before we share our thoughts on the Realme 5s, let’s have a look at the specifications.
- Display: 6.5 inch, HD+ (720 x 1600 Pixels, 269PPI)
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 665, octa-core 2 GHz
- GPU: Adreno 512 650MHz
- RAM & ROM: 4GB RAM, 64GB/128GB storage (expandable storage up to 256GB)
- Rear camera: 48MP + 8MP + 2MP + 2MP
- Selfie camera: 13MP
- Battery: 5000mAh
- Software: Color OS 6.0.1 based on Android 9.0
- Price: ₹9,999 / ₹10,999
With specs being cleared, let’s jump right into our detailed review.
Design and Build Quality
Realme is going at a good pace with its colourful, vibrant, and sleek design methodology. People seem to like this design very much, and when the phones are so affordable, people are just going crazy for realme phones. The entry-level market right now is ruled by only two companies, Realme and Xiaomi. Realme is giving a perfect competition to Xiaomi, and Xiaomi has also soon changed its design methodology from rigid and stiff to colourful and sleek.
The Realme 5s is made of plastic, and I know you’ll say plastic is so cheap but no. The finishing and everything is done great on this device, and it seems seamless and feels good. A glass body would have been better, but the plastic body is not bad either the finishing is excellent, and the device feels great in hand. Realme saved a lot of money by using a plastic body. Realme could have smoothly gone for a Full HD+ display or a USB-C port, but neither of them was used, and it’s a bit disappointing. The Redmi 8 Pro comes with a Full HD+ display, USB-C connectors, and glass body. Considering these differences, Redmi note 8 seems to a smarter better choice when compared to the Realme 5s, but we are not giving our final verdict so soon. Let’s move forward with this review and look at other aspects of this phone.
The basic design is the same as in other Realme phones but with very few minor changes. The back panel has the iconic diamond design of Realme, which anyone will recognize in a second.
The front of the handset is sleek and looks good with no branding. The front is elegant and clean. The screen looks gorgeous, and the notch is non-intrusive and looks excellent overall. The 13MP selfie camera is housed into the groove. The screen is a 6.5-inch 720p display with 279PPI, which reflects lots of light during outdoor usage, so you might be tempted to use an anti-reflective screen protector.
At the back, we have the quad-camera module and the fingerprint scanner. The camera module is mounted on the top left corner, whereas the fingerprint reader is placed a bit above the centre. The fingerprint reader is sometimes hard to reach because of its placement and would need re-adjustment of the phone to contact the scanner. The back panel is made of plastic, and the iconic diamond pattern of Realme is present at the back.
At the bottom, we have micro-USB port, Primary Speaker, primary microphone, and the 3.5mm headphone jack. As much price-cutting we have seen in this device, we were expecting a USB-C, but unfortunately, Realme stuck with micro-USB. Realme doesn’t seem to be ditching the 3.5 mm headphone jack any soon since it is targeting the entry-level smartphone market, and most people buying these smartphones can’t afford or don’t want Type-C earphones.
On the left, we have the sim tray and volume rockers, on the Right side, we have the power button. The buttons are durable and easily accessible.
The Realme 5s is equipped with a 6.5 inch 720p IPS display with 270 PPI, which usually is not great as the display looks blurred when seen closely because of fewer pixels per inch. The screen looks great with the rest of the body, but the display is glossy, so there is an issue of reflection when using in sunlight, we would suggest using an anti-reflective screen protector to overcome this problem. The screen is bright enough in itself, and it is okay to watch movies and casual streaming, but the video quality is not high.
Believe it or not, but the internals of both Realme 5 and Realme 5s are the same. Both devices are powered by the Snapdragon 665 chipset, which is pretty standard in entry-level devices. It is a reasonably powerful processor, but it can easily handle day to day tasks, and multitasking is smooth. Realme 5s comes with a huge 4GB RAM, which enables it to keep multiple numbers of apps open in the background without the need to kill them. 64GB/128GB onboard storage is excellent, but if you are still not satisfied with that too, then go on and expand it up to 256GB.
The performance of the phone is excellent in gaming too. PUBG ran on this phone without a lag. Asphalt 9 also performed great with no delay.
On the other hand, the massive 5000mAh battery lasted comfortably for 1.5 days for us, during which we took a lot of camera samples and played some games like PUBG and Asphalt 9 and lots of online video streaming. Charging speed was decent, and it can go from 0 to 100% in just around 2hrs with the provided 10W charger. It’s surprising to see how much budget hardware has evolved over the past years.
This phone runs on Colour OS 6.0.1, which is based on Android 9.0. Colour OS is not the best custom OS out there. We never liked any of the Chinese custom OS as its filled with lots of bloatware and adware. More bloatware comes with more background running apps and hence resulting in lower battery life. Most of the bloatware is uninstallable, so that’s good. Our overall experience with Color OS was decent. All transitions were smooth thanks to powerful CPU, and RAM management was also adequate. There are few options available for customization, but that’s not something to be excited about because those customizations are not much.
The camera is one of the major selling points for this device. There are two significant changes in this device when comparing it to its predecessor, Realme 5. First was the camera upgrade, which jumped from 13MP to 48MP, and the second change was the addition of one more colour variant. Let’s see if the camera upgrade is worth the extra price or not.
This handset carries a quad-camera setup for the rear. At the back, we have a primary 48MP camera with an f/1.8 aperture and a pixel size of 1.6-micron, a second 8MP camera with an f/2.25 aperture, a third 2MP camera with an f/2.4 aperture and a fourth 2MP camera with an f/2.4 aperture. The rear camera setup has phase detection autofocus. We took a lot of pictures from this device, and we weren’t disappointed by the performance at all. The machine gave good results in both daylight photos and night time photos. Portrait mode was flawless most of the time. As far as video recording is concerned, the videos seemed to be stable enough, and video quality was high. I liked the slo-mo feature the most and shot some cool slo-mo videos. The HDR mode does enhance the photo colour quality by the right amount. We compared the photos from Realme 5 and Realme 5s, and we finally came to a decision, and we think that the camera upgrade is definitely worth the extra price.
It sports a 13-megapixel camera on the front for selfies. The picture quality was high and had all the necessary details. Portrait mode was as good as the rear camera. Video quality was at best from the selfie camera, and there is no change in front camera when compared to Realme 5.
Cameras are the strong point of this handset, and photography enthusiasts must give this phone a chance as it has a lot of potentials.
Pros & Cons
- Enormous Battery
- Great camera
- Great performance
- Lot’s of bloatware
- Plastic body
- No Full HD+ display
Realme 5s is a perfect looking device with a plastic body, but that doesn’t matter because the finishing is flawless, and it doesn’t feel like plastic. The significant change compared to Realme 5 was the primary camera upgrade to 48MP, and its a good value for money if you’re into photography or just in general like taking good pictures. For a regular user, there is not much new and exciting in this smartphone except a new colour variant. If you are not fascinated by the camera, then you should go for Realme 5 as its prices one thousand lower than this handset while offering all the same configurations except the camera.
If you are still not convinced about the quality and capabilities of this phone and you might want to check out Redmi Note 8, which is also priced at the same range.