Realme launched its mid-range Realme 6 and Realme 6 Pro smartphones in India in March with prices starting at Rs 12,999. However, the Indian government hiked the GST rates on smartphones from 12 percent to 18 percent in April and as a result, the Realme 6 series now starts from Rs 14,999. Taking advantage of the empty price bracket between Rs 10,000 to Rs 13,000, Realme recently announced the Realme 6i.
The Realme 6i is essentially the same device as the Realme 6, with a 48-megapixel quad-camera setup on the back. It competes with the recently launched Redmi Note 9 (review) in India, but brings in better specs like a Helio G90T chipset, 90Hz display and 30W fast charging. I have been using the smartphone for a while now and here’s my detailed review of the Realme 6i.
Design and display
The Realme 6i is identical to the Realme 6 design wise. However, it comes in two new colours – Lunar White and Lunar Black, I received the latter and it looks stunning when the light hits it at an angle. On the flip side, the back panel is a glossy plastic, which means it picks up scratches and fingerprint smudges pretty fast, and I would advise putting on the provided case.
As for the other elements, the Realme 6i features a 3.5mm headphone jack, a Type-C port and a loudspeaker grill at the bottom. There is a single physical power button the right that also features an embedded fingerprint scanner. The fingerprint scanner is pretty fast and accurate, with the positioning being ideal for your thumb to rest on. On the left are the volume buttons and triple SIM card slot, which houses dual nano-SIM cards and a microSD card.
As for the display, the Realme 6i comes with the same 6.5-inch FHD+ LCD panel with a 20:9 aspect ratio as the Realme 6. Thanks to the punch-hole design, the smartphone offers a 90.5 percent screen-to-body ratio. The Realme 6i also retains the 90Hz refresh rate and Widevine L1 certification, even at this price point. Needless to say, the display is stunning despite being an LCD panel. It offers good contrast, sharpness, viewing angles and is sufficiently bright.
On the Realme 6i, the primary camera has been downgraded to a 48MP f/1.8 primary sensor, while the 8MP f/2.3 ultra-wide, 2MP mono and 2MP macro sensors have been retained. The front camera also remains the same with a 16MP f/2.0 sensor inside the punch-hole cutout. The camera app is loaded with features like Super Nightscape, Ultra 48MP mode, Chroma Boost, 4K video at 30fps, selfie portrait mode, and more.
The 48MP camera captures detailed images with accurate colour reproduction, which is a plus. Just like Realme 6, the 6i also handles dynamic range well with a good amount of details in the shadows as well. In case you prefer your pictures with a colour boost for social media, you can turn on the Chroma Boost mode. As for the low-light shots, you can turn on the Super Nightscape mode for brighter and more colour-accurate images.
The camera also supports 10x zoom, but this requires you to have a steady hand, else you end up with a distorted image. The 8MP ultra-wide lens supports both HDR and night mode, but the latter doesn’t provide the desired and is best avoided. The regular wide-angle mode captures good images without much distortion but mutes the colours slightly. The macro lens lets you get as close as 4cms to the subject but struggles to capture details.
The 16MP selfie camera on the front captures good selfies with accurate skin tones and natural-looking colours. However, just like the Realme 6, it struggles to detect edges accurately in the portrait mode most of the time.
Performance, software and battery
Realme really nailed it by retaining the MediaTek Helio G90T chipset from the Realme 6. The 12nm gaming processor is one of the most powerful chipsets available for mid-range devices now. And it shows in the day-to-day performance of the Realme 6i. Realme is offering the handset in 4GB and 6GB RAM configuration with 64GB storage. I received the former and faced no issues with app loading times or multitasking.
The Realme 6i loads PUBG Mobile in HD + High graphics by default, which is a feat not many smartphones can boast at this price point. At no point did the Realme 6i break a sweat while playing the intensive game, but it does warm up slightly after a non-stop 30-minute gaming session. I also played a lot of Forza Street on the Realme 6i, and the game plays like butter on the new launch.
Coming to the software, the Realme 6i boots Android 10-based Realme UI which comes with features like a system-wide dark mode, Digital Wellbeing, and more. There are third-party apps pre-installed, but most of these can be removed to free up resources. More importantly, there are no ads served within the interface.
As for the battery, the Realme 6i is equipped with 4,300mAh unit with support for 30W fast charging, which is claimed to charge the battery from zero to 100 percent in just 60 minutes. However, to keep the price in check, Realme is offering a 20W charger with the device, which takes almost an hour and a half to charge the phone completely. In my experience, with the 90Hz refresh rate turned on, I had to plug-in the Realme 6i to charge by dinner time, which improves a little with the refresh rate switched to 60Hz.
The Realme 6i costs Rs 12,999 for the 4GB model and Rs 14,999 for the 6GB variant. At this price point, the phone takes on the Redmi Note 9 and POCO M2 Pro. The former has been priced at Rs 11,999, Rs 13,499 and Rs 14,999 for 4GB + 64GB, 4GB + 128GB and 6GB + 128GB variants, respectively. It misses out in terms of performance as it comes with the MediaTek Helio G85 chipset. Additionally, the display features a standard 90Hz refresh rate. However, it does offer a much larger 5,020mAh battery, with a 22.5W fast charger in the box.
The POCO M2 Pro is slightly pricier and starts at Rs 13,999 for the 4GB + 64GB model. However, it offers a capable Snapdragon 720G processor, 5,000mAh battery and 33W fast charging. Like the Redmi Note 9 though, you miss out on a 90Hz display.
The Realme 6i retains all the good bit of the Realme 6, while being priced more affordably. You get an ultra-smooth 90Hz display, powerful MediaTek Helio G90T processor and fast charging support at a sub-Rs 15,000 price point. While it is a toned-down variant of the Realme 6, you won’t miss out on much if you opt for this device.
Pricebaba’s rating: 8 / 10
- Smooth 90Hz display
- Powerful processor
- Good cameras
- Fast charging support
- 20W bundled charger
- Average macro camera