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Realme 5 unboxing and first impressions: quad cameras on a budget

The Indian budget smartphone market has been resembling the eye of the storm for quite some time thanks to the raging rivalry between Realme and Xiaomi. As Xiaomi is gearing up to launch its eighth-generation Redmi phones, Realme went ahead and kicked up a storm by launching the most affordable quad-camera smartphone, Realme 5 in India yesterday. Not only is the Realme 5 the only quad-camera phone in its price range, but is also the first to feature a Snapdragon 665 chipset in India. I received the Realme 5 ahead of the launch and after spending some time with it, here’s what I think about the phone.

The Realme 5 comes in the standard Realme box with branding all around, the phone’s image on top and core specs listed at the bottom. As you take off the lid, you will find a white cardboard sheath containing the frosted protective case along with the documentation. Under the sheath lies the Realme 5 wrapped in plastic, sitting atop the micro-USB cable, power adapter and SIM Ejector tool. Realme has not provided any earphones with the phone, however, the brand has pre-applied a screen protector on the display.

Looks-wise, the Realme 5 is pretty much identical to the Realme 5 Pro (first impressions) except for a few minor changes. On the Realme 5, there is a micro-USB port instead of Type-C, and no gold trimming around the fingerprint scanner or the camera module. The rest of the design remains the same with a glossy polycarbonate build with a diamond pattern on the back, frosted sides and waterdrop notch display. The quad-camera setup is located in the top left corner, fingerprint scanner towards the center and the Realme branding on the bottom left.

As for the other elements, you will see the volume keys on the left side, and the power button on the right. The dual nano-SIM tray is also located on the left above the volume buttons, and it flaunts a dedicated microSD card slot, which is a plus. The bottom edge is home to the 3.5mm audio jack, micro-USB port and loudspeaker grille. The top edge of the phone is bare unlike the 5 Pro, which has a single noise-cancelling mic on the top.

Coming to the display, the Realme 5 features a slightly larger display compared to its Pro sibling. The screen measures 6.5-inches but features HD+ resolution. It comes with the usual features like Night Light (to filter blue light from the display) and colour temperature adjustment among others. The display was sufficiently bright even in direct sunlight and produced punchy colours. There’s a slight blue tint when looking at the display from the sides but that’s not really a deal-breaker. The smartphone also comes with gesture-based navigation to best utilise the 19:9 display of the phone.

As for the performance, as I mentioned earlier, the Realme 5 is the first smartphone in India to come with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 SoC. The successor to the popular Snapdragon 660 chipset is based on the 11nm process. The Snapdragon 665 flaunts a faster AI on-device processing, thanks to the 3rd generation Qualcomm AI Engine and improved Adreno 610 GPU. Realme is offering the handset in three variants – 4GB + 64GB, 6GB + 64GB and 8GB + 128GB. I have the top tier variant with me and didn’t notice any performance issues during my brief usage. I will be putting the phone through more rigorous testing in my complete review, which will be up soon. Of the 128GB storage, the Realme 5 offers 110GB out of the box.

On the software front, the smartphone boots Android 9 Pie with ColorOS 6.0 garnished on top. The software has a little bit of bloatware, which doesn’t hamper the performance at all thanks to the processor and RAM combination. You get features like Game Space, Clone Apps, Smart Services and more to make the overall user experience better. On the power front, the Realme 5 comes with a massive 5,000mAh battery unit, which is larger compared to the Pro variant. However, the standard variant doesn’t come with a fast charger in the packaging.

Let’s talk cameras now. The highlight of the Realme 5 is the quad-camera setup on the back featuring a 12MP main sensor, an 8MP ultra-wide-angle lens with a 119-degree field of view, 2MP super macro sensor, and a 2MP portrait lens. On the selfie front too, the Realme 5 comes with a 13MP sensor on the front as compared to 16MP on the Pro model. However, the initial shots taken using both front and rear camera were good. The camera app is loaded with features like portrait, nightscape, pro, HDR and Chroma Boost.

Long story short, the Realme 5 is the first smartphone priced under Rs 10,000 to offer a quad-camera setup, and this alone puts it ahead of the competition. Additionally, the smartphone has a powerful chipset at its core, good display and a head-turning design. The Realme 5 starts from Rs 9,999 for the base variant and will go for sale on August 27th at 12pm exclusively on Flipkart and Realme’s online store.

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