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Realme 8 5G review: affordable 5G phone, but is that enough?

The Realme 8 series when initially launched offered a decent set of features but missed out on 5G support, likely to keep the overall cost down. But with the debut of the MediaTek Dimensity 700 SoC, brands like Realme can finally offer 5G devices at an affordable price.

So this brings us to the newest addition to the Realme 8 series –  the Realme 8 5G. Priced at just Rs 13,999 onwards, the Realme 8 5G goes up against devices like the Redmi Note 10 in the market.

So, can Realme 8 5G offer you better value just because it has 5G compared to other devices in its price range? That’s what we decided to find out over the past week with our review.

Design and display

  • 162.5 x74.8 x 8.5mm, 185g
  • 6.5-inch LCD FHD+, 90Hz refresh rate, 600 nits brightness

The look and feel of the Realme 8 5G is similar to the other devices in the 8 series. However, glossy plastic finish at the back, with its regular camera module has been overdone now.

Realme 8 5G borrows its design language from its predecessor

The company says it is one of the lightest and thinnest 5G phones in its segment with a 5,000mAh battery, which we can agree on. But the phone is unlikely to win any beauty contests with its overall design.

The power button is integrated into the fingerprint sensor on the side

You get the fingerprint sensor built into the power button on the side and the volume rocker sits on the left of the phone. The headphone jack, USB Type-C port and the bottom-facing speaker take up space at the bottom. The SIM tray slot is placed at the top-left right next to the volume controls.

All the main ports at the bottom of Realme 8 5G

Moving on to the display, Realme 8 5G drops the AMOLED panel in favour of an LCD screen that supports FHD+ resolution and a 90Hz refresh rate. The punch hole cutout is placed on the top-left of the screen, housing the front camera.

The punch hole cutout on the top-left of the phone

The 90Hz refresh rate ensures smooth, fast navigation and scrolling. The LCD panel won’t disappoint, with punchy colours and additional controls to change the colour temperature.

Realme 8 5G ditches an AMOLED display in favour of an LCD panel

The only drawback of the LCD screen is that the blacks aren’t as prominent as you get on AMOLED. We can’t really complain with what’s on offer at the price though.

Cameras

  • Rear: 48-megapixel primary sensor, 2-megapixel macro sensor and 2-megapixel depth sensor
  • Front: 16-megapixel sensor

The Realme 8 5G sees minor deductions in the imaging department. Instead of going for an ultra-wide sensor, the phone has macro and depth sensors accompanying the primary 48-megapixel shooter. On the front, it has a 16-megapixel selfie camera.

Triple rear camera setup on the Realme 8 5G

Talking about the quality of the images, the primary sensor does a good job of capturing the right amount of detail in daylight conditions. Even the colours are fairly balanced, except for the odd occasion when the sky looks overtly dull for some reason. But the performance is average, especially with what we have seen in this price bracket these days. The same goes for the low-light capability of the triple rear camera. The images don’t catch your attention but get the job done. Essentially, as long as the sensor gets ambient lighting, you get decent snaps. Without it, the images are dull and noisy.

As for the selfie camera, the 16-megapixel sensor outputs a pastel-like finish, which tends to override the texture and facial features. Even having light in the background does not come to its rescue. Hopefully, a quick software update can fix the flaws here.

Performance, software and battery

  • Android 11 with Realme UI 2.0
  • MediaTek Dimensity 700 SoC
  • 4GB + 64GB/128GB, 6GB + 128GB, 8GB + 128GB
  • 5,000mAh battery, 18W charging

Realme 8 5G is the first phone in the country to come with the new MediaTek Dimensity 700 chipset. This mid-range SoC brings 5G network support and reliable performance levels. And that’s exactly what you get with this device. Dimensity chipsets across the range have impressed us with their raw ability and power efficiency. The Dimensity 700 seems to be no different in the regard. It offers the best that you expect from a mid-range device these days.

Multi-tasking across different apps will be smooth, and you will will not notice any stutter or lag. However, gaming is another story. You can play games like COD Mobile on average settings, but that’s it. Switching to higher graphics settings will take a toll on the performance.

MediaTek Dimensity 700 makes this a good performer

The phone comes in a slew of variants. You get 4GB of RAM that goes up to 8GB in the top model. And for storage you get 128GB internal, which is further expandable using the dedicated microSD card slot. So you can choose the model based on your budget and performance needs.

On the software front, you get Realme UI 2.0 based on Android 11, which continues to be served with plenty of bloatware. Some of these apps can be removed, but even then you have plenty that just stay there. The overall interface is smooth, does not pose any performance issues. However, we expect the UI to be a lot cleaner, and that is still something Realme needs to fix.

Where the Realme 8 5G does excel is in the battery department. The built-in 5,000mAh battery offers long backup that will easily last you well through a day’s use and more. Having said that, the unit only supports 18W charging, which is a big downgrade from the 30W chargers you get with other devices in the segment these days. Because of this, the large size battery takes over 2 hours to fully charge, which is not ideal.

Bottomline

Realme 8 5G has few things going in its favour, and few that are not. The 6.5-inch display with 90Hz refresh rate is bright, offers punchy colours and will fulfill all your daily usage needs. The Dimensity 700 chipset can handle most tasks with ease, however, the graphics levels on games have to be kept in check. And yes, the built-in battery will easily last you through a full day’s usage.

Realme 8 5G has strong competition

Now coming to the downsides, Realme 8 5G sports a boring design, something which has been done to death by now. The cameras on both the sides are fairly average and do not stand up to the quality offered by competition in this segment. And finally, the 5,000mAh battery only supports 18W fast charging speeds.

Realme 8 5G offers affordability and 5G support which makes it future-ready. But the overall package could have done with some upgrades. Since 5G won’t be commercially available for another year or two, you can look at other 4G options in this price range which offer better value for money. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 (review) is a great option, as is the Realme 8 (review). Both offer more powerful chipsets (Snapdragon 678 and Helio G95, respectively), faster charging, Super AMOLED displays and a better design.

Pricebaba’s rating: 7/10

What works:

  • Bright display
  • 90Hz refresh rate support
  • Decent performance
  • Long battery life

What doesn’t:

  • Average cameras
  • Boring design
  • Bloatware in Realme UI
  • Only 18W charging speeds
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