Wednesday, 04 December 2019 17:34

Review: Realme 5 and 5 Pro smartphones

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realme 5 (top) and 5 Pro (bottom) realme 5 (top) and 5 Pro (bottom)

Following the original announcement of the release of 4 new realme smartphones, the realme 5 ($299) and realme 5 Pro ($399) versions were reviewed.

Rather than immediately dive into all manner of features and statistics, I instead dropped each of the phones into the eager hands of a 17-year-old, who used them for a week or two each.

Here are the (relatively) unbiased opinions.

He noted that both units felt good in the hand, and he was thankful for the clear soft plastic bumper case that came with each of them.

He also observed that although the realme 5 was physically larger than the realme 5 Pro and had a larger screen, the resolution was noticeably poorer than the 5 Pro (please, from now on, we will simply refer to them as the '5' and the 'Pro').

Both the 5 and Pro sometimes showed a reluctance to detect touches when operating close to the sides of the display - this may be an annoyance when playing many of the full-screen games available for any Android device.

The general opinion was that the cameras in both phones both felt great to use and both offered easy-to-use and effective editing tools - in particular, the auto edit feature allowed photos to look much better in just 1 press. "The additional offering of a wide angle and macro lens was really helpful as well."

Although the Pro's camera was 48Mpx compared to 12Mpx in the 5, the overall impression was that the difference wasn't as great as the pixel difference suggested. Obviously, the greater the number of pixels, the easier it is to retain a high-resolution cropped version of any image.

The notch was barely noticeable on either phones (it's the cut-out from the screen for the front facing camera, allowing the screen to extend closer to the physical edge of the device).

Both the fingerprint and face reader security access tools were extremely accurate and quick, "in the time it take for me to grab my phone from my pocket with my finger on the sensor I'm already logged in." However, he smaller fingerprint reader on the Pro can make it feel uncomfortable to use for larger fingers.

The side buttons felt very "clicky," and were not considered to be "mushy" at all.

The pop-out SIM drawer had space for two SIMs (permitting dual-SIM operation) along with a slot for a micro-SD card up to 256GB capacity. The dual-SIM option is very rare in a phone at this price-point.

One minor annoyance, neither phone was able to detect the magnetic button in a Google cardboard VR headset. For those not familiar, the vast majority of smartphones have a magnetic field detector to determine that they have been mounted in a cardboard VR cradle. Neither phone worked even though a magnetic sensor is supposed to be present in both phones.

The realme 5 has been available for sale since 25 October for $299. Specifications are as follows:

  • 5000 mAh battery life that allows 30 hours of music, 21 hours of video, 49 hours of talk time or almost 30 days of screen-off stand-by.
  • 6.5 inch HD+ Mini-drop full screen display
  • It features an AI Quad Camera set up including an 8MP 119-degree ultra wide-angle lens, 12MP primary lens, 2MP portrait lens and 2MP macro lens, as well as a 13MP AI front camera
  • Camera features: AI Beauty, HDR, Panorama Mode, Portrait, Timelapse, Slo-mo, Nightscape, Expert
  • CPU: Snapdragon 665 AIE
  • Colours: Crystal Blue and Crystal Purple
  • Storage: 4GB RAM + 128GB ROM, with the compatibility of expandable storage of up to 256GB (independent SD card slot)

The realme 5 Pro has been available since 30 October for $399. Features:

  • Rear camera: 48MP Sony AI quad camera
  • Front camera: 16MP AI Camera Sony IMX471 Sensor
  • Camera features: Supports 960fps slo-mo, macro mode, AI scene recognition, HDR, Super Nightscape, Chroma Boost, Pano, Expert, Time Lapse, Bokeh
  • Screen: 6.3 inch FHD+ Dewdrop Fullscreen
  • CPU: Snapdragon 712 AIE
  • Battery: 4035mAh
  • Charge: VOOC Flash Charge 3.0 (20W) - flash charging while gaming
  • Storage: 8GB RAM + 128GB ROM (UFS 2.1), with the compatibility of expandable storage of up to 256GB (independent SD card slot)
  • Colours: Sparkling Blue and Crystal Green

Both phones use the same OS: OPPO's Color OS 6, based on Android P Hyper Boost 2.0

realme devices are available via the e-commerce sites of traditional retailers including electronics giant JB HiFi, The Good Guys, Bing Lee etc. Further, they will also be available on e-commerce sites including eBay, Amazon, Kogan, Catch and Mobileciti, as well as realme's website.

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David Heath

David Heath has had a long and varied career in the IT industry having worked as a Pre-sales Network Engineer (remember Novell NetWare?), General Manager of IT&T for the TV Shopping Network, as a Technical manager in the Biometrics industry, and as a Technical Trainer and Instructional Designer in the industrial control sector. In all aspects, security has been a driving focus. Throughout his career, David has sought to inform and educate people and has done that through his writings and in more formal educational environments.

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