The Realme 5i is another budget-friendly smartphone from Realme that brings modern features at a more affordable price. These include its quad-rear cameras, 5000mAh battery, and Qualcomm Snapdragon 655 chipset.

I’ve been using the device for almost one month and published a gaming review and set of sample pictures. Now, here’s my full review of the device.

 

Realme 5i Design & Display

Ports at the bottom of the Realme 5i.

Ports at the bottom of the Realme 5i.

The Realme 5i uses a new back cover design that has tiny grooves. I like it. The patterns prevent the accumulation of fingerprints or smudges and produce an optical effect that looks like light rays during sunrise.

Its power button is on the right side while the volume buttons are on the left side together with the SIM card tray. A 3.5mm audio jack, micro-USB port, and loudspeaker grille are at the bottom.

 

The display and home screen of the Realme 5i.

The display and home screen of the Realme 5i.

The front of the device is largely occupied by a 6.5-inch HD+ IPS display with a small notch and narrow bezels except for the bottom bezel which measures around 7mm.

The screen itself has decent brightness and looks sharp enough despite the sub-300 PPI pixel density. Meanwhile, its colors are slightly skewed towards warmer shades but this can be adjusted to neutral or cool in the settings.

Overall, what’s new in the Realme 5i is the smudge-resistant back cover. The screen, button layout, and materials are similar to those found in the regular Realme 5 and Realme 5 Pro.

 

Realme 5i Performance

Graphics settings of PUBG Mobile on the Realme 5i.

Graphics settings of PUBG Mobile on the Realme 5i.

The Realme 5i is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 chipset with 3GB of RAM and Android 9 Pie operating system. These are mid-range hardware and the device performs like one.

Apps launch within a second or two while scrolling across newsfeeds feels smooth most of the time. There are occasional stutters though, especially when opening a lot of apps or switching from a game to social media apps and back. The amount of RAM seems like the limiting factor here.

For a more objective comparison of the phone’s performance, here’s a comparison of its Antutu Benchmark score with other smartphones in its price range:

 

SmartphoneAntutu Benchmark Score
Realme 5i
169,029
Huawei Y6s
105,510
OPPO A5s
100,234
Samsung Galaxy A10s
83,381

 

The Realme 5i has the highest score by a large margin! This has a direct correlation with the gaming performance. In fact, it performed well in my separate gaming review.

It can run Mobile Legends and Call of Duty Mobile with High graphics quality at 60 FPS and 50 FPS respectively. However, it’s limited to Balanced graphics quality on PUBG Mobile and runs at a frame rate of 25 FPS to 26 FPS.

Here are the scores of the Realme 5i in different benchmarking tests:

 

BenchmarkRealme 5i Score
Antutu Benchmark v8.2.2169,029 Points
3DMark Slingshot1,785 Points
PCMark7,503 Points
GeekBench 5 (Single Core)310 Points
GeekBench 5 (Multi-Core)1,385 Points
RealPi Benchmark3.90 Seconds

 

Despite the slightly lower amount of RAM compared to other Realme smartphones, the Realme 5i still performs well in basic tasks as well as gaming.

 

Realme 5i Camera Quality

The Realme 5i has a quad-camera setup at the back. It’s composed of a 12MP main camera, 8MP ultra-wide camera, 2MP macro camera, and 2MP portrait camera. There’s also a single 8MP selfie camera residing on the screen notch.

Here are some sample pictures I took using the device:

 

Realme 5i normal shot

Realme 5i normal camera shot.

 

Cat by Realme 5i.

Cat by Realme 5i.

 

Realme-5i-sample-picture-chair-ultrawide

Realme 5i ultra-wide with HDR.

 

Realme-5i-sample-picture-night-mode-horse

Realme 5i sample Nightscape mode photo.

 

As you can see in the sample pictures, the Realme 5i can easily capture good-looking pictures. It’s very surprising given the phone’s affordable price tag.

It also has additional features such as ultra-wide mode, Nightscape mode, and Portrait mode that are useful in taking pictures for specific scenes.

 

Realme 5i cameras

Realme 5i cameras.

Ultra-wide fits a bigger area in the image but with a slight dip in picture quality. Meanwhile, Nighscape mode makes low-light shots brighter and more colorful but takes a few seconds to produce the image.

Portrait mode emulates the blurry background effect of bigger cameras using the depth data from the phone’s fourth camera. It works well especially with dark backgrounds but it should be used sparringly during the day.

One feature that I’m not fond of is the macro mode. It uses the third camera which is dedicated for this purpose. However, it’s a low quality camera that produces grainy images.

Now, let’s look at a sample selfie:

 

Realme-5i-sample-selfie

Realme 5i sample selfie.

 

The Realme 5i can also produce good-looking selfies as long as there’s good balance in lighting. Too dark and selfies come out grainy while too bright results in overblown backgrounds and highlights.

Nevertheless, the device has capable cameras with several extra features. Just be mindful of the usual rules in photography to get good-looking shots all the time.

More sample pictures are available in this separate article: Realme 5i Sample Pictures with Ultrawide, Night Mode and Chroma Boost .

 

Realme 5i Connectivity & Audio Quality

The Realme 5i is a dual-SIM smartphone with dedicated card slots for the two nano-SIM cards and a microSD memory card.

It can connect to 4G LTE networks and the mobile data speed is fast although it still depends on the strength of the cellular signal. Connecting to the internet via Wi-Fi is seamless too with support for 5GHz Wi-Fi networks.

Meanwhile, call audio quality and loudspeaker audio quality are both decent. Of course, the bass is lacking and there are no free earphones inside the box for a better audio experience.

 

Realme 5i Security & Sensors

Face recognition enrollment screen on the Realme 5i.

Face recognition enrollment screen on the Realme 5i.

The Realme 5i has a fingerprint scanner at the back which is quick and reliable in unlocking the smartphone.

It also supports Face Recognition technology for a second way of unlocking. However, it only uses the front camera and isn’t as secure as the fingerprint scanner. Nevertheless, it’s more convenient since the phone automatically unlocks once the user’s face is within the camera’s line of sight.

The device is also one of the most affordable smartphones that feature a gyroscope. This sensor is used by AR apps and games including Pokemon Go and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.

 

Realme 5i Battery Life

Realme 5i battery life test score.

Realme 5i battery life test score.

The Realme 5i has a 5000mAh battery and I expected it to last a long time. Still, I wasn’t prepared for the 17 hours and 1-minute score of the device after I tested it using the PCMark Battery Life Test 2.0!

It’s the highest score among the smartphones I have reviewed to date. The phone can easily last two days on a single charge with basic usage.

Meanwhile, re-charging the device from an empty battery to 100% battery capacity takes around 3 hours using the bundled 10W charger. That’s a long wait but it’s expected since the battery is huge.

 

Conclusion and Recommendation

The Realme 5i smartphone and its box.

The Realme 5i smartphone and its box.

Realme smartphones are fairly easy to recommend and the new Realme 5i is no different. If someone asks me which smartphone to buy with a ₱7,000 budget, I’ll give a list with the Realme 5i on top.

It has good gaming performance, capable cameras, long-lasting battery, and smudge-resistant back panel.

Its main competitors include the Huawei Y6s, OPPO A5s, Samsung Galaxy A10s, and Xiaomi Redmi 8. Click each link for a specs comparison with the Realme 5i.


Realme 5i specs:

  • 6.5-inch HD+ IPS LCD Display (720 x 1600 Pixels), 269 ppi
  • Android 9.0 Pie Operating System
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 Chipset
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 12 Megapixel Rear Camera with LED Flash
  • 8 Megapixel Front Camera
  • Dual SIM
  • 64GB Internal Storage
  • Expandable Up to 256 via microSD
  • 4G LTE, 3G HSPA+, 2G EDGE & GPRS Networks
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • MicroUSB 2.0
  • 3.5mm Audio Jack
  • Fingerprint Sensor
  • 5000mAh Battery
  • 10W Charging
  • 6,990.00 Official Price in the Philippines


Realme 5i Review Summary

Realme 5i review.
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4.5 out of 5 stars

It’s very easy to recommend the Realme 5i because it has good gaming performance, capable cameras, long battery life and smudge-resistant back panel.