Latest!

Realme 8s review: affordable 5G phone that ticks most boxes

Realme is already bullish about its 5G line-up and has launched multiple 5G-enabled smartphones in the country. The latest to join the stable is the Realme 8s, which came as the latest mid-range offering from Realme. At the time of its launch, the Realme 8s grabbed headlines for being the first smartphone with the Dimensity 810 SoC. Apart from that, the Realme 8s lives up to the brand’s reputation of offering a good value for money proposition, at least on paper.

Also read: Redmi 10 Prime review: a bold upgrade

I received the top-end variant with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage for the purpose of this review. After using it for a couple of weeks, I can safely say that the Realme 8s is an impressive device on its own merit and is not yet another 5G offering to bulk up Realme’s affordable 5G smartphone lineup. The phone offers a good display, commendable performance, good cameras, and great battery life. Here’s how my experience with the smartphone has been.

Realme 8s specifications

Specs
Realme 8s
Display
6.5-inch FHD+ LCD (90Hz)
Processor MediaTek Dimensity 810 5G
RAM 6GB|8GB, 5GB Dynamic RAM
Storage 128GB
OS
Realme UI 2.0 based on Android 11
Rear cameras 64MP + 2MP + 2MP
Front Camera 16MP
Battery 5,000mAh battery
Fast charging 33W SupeDart charge
Dimensions 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.8mm
Price Rs 25,999 starting price

Design and display

  • 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.8mm, 191g
  • 6.5-inch, LCD, Full HD+, 90Hz refresh rate, 180Hz touch sampling rate, 600nits, 90.5% screen-to-body ratio, 405 PPI

At first glance, you can easily mistake the Realme 8s for the Realme 8 5G (review), which launched earlier this year. From the design to button and port placements, the Realme 8s is just a rehashed Realme 8 5G. However, with the 8 5G, the glossy back panel that attracted fingerprints like a magnet was my point of contention. With the Realme 8s, the brand has changed the finishing to matte, which doesn’t attract smudges as much and also looks classy. The new launch comes with what Realme is calling Infinite Star Design. The smartphone does have a glimmering effect, especially when you shine a light on it but it’s nothing out of ordinary. The finish does set it apart from the Realme 8 5G though.

The polycarbonate-clad smartphone features a familiar rectangular camera module with a triple L-shaped camera setup with another faux circular cutout featuring the letters AI embossed for aesthetics. As for the other elements, you will find the fingerprint scanner integrated into the power button on the right, and the SIM tray with volume buttons on the left. At the bottom, you’ll find the 3.5mm audio jack, USB Type-C port, and speaker grille. The top edge is bare except for a single noise-cancelling mic.

The Realme 8 5G dropped 60Hz Super AMOLED panels from the original Realme 8 and Realme 8 Pro in favour of a 90Hz IPS LCD panel. The Realme 8s 5G continues with the same 90Hz IPS LCD panel. The screen measures 6.5-inch and offers FHD+ (2,400 x 1,080) pixels resolution. I enjoyed the colour calibration of the display, which leans more towards saturated colours. The viewing angles and outdoor legibility on the screen are pretty decent as well. There’s support for WideVine L1 certification, which means it can stream HD content on OTT platforms. I didn’t get enough time to watch a movie or show, but a few videos I streamed on YouTube looked good.

Camera

  • Rear: 64-megapixel sensor (main), 2-megapixel sensor (BnW), 2-megapixel sensor (macro)
  • Front: 16-megapixel sensor

Coming to the cameras, the Realme 8s 5G features a 64-megapixel main camera with f/1.8 aperture and PDAF support. The primary lens is accompanied by a standard pair of 2-megapixel shooters – B&W and Macro, each with an f/2.4 aperture. I would have preferred an ultra-wide lens instead of the B&W unit. In the front, there’s a 16-megapixel selfie shooter nestled inside the punch-hole cutout. The selfie camera comes with an aperture size of f/2.1. As for videos, the cameras support EIS video stabilisation, 720p and 1080p video recording at 30fps, and slow-motion video recording at 120fps.

The camera UI is typical Realme with a massive shutter button at the bottom and preview and selfie toggles on either sides. You can swipe on the viewfinder to shift between night, video, photo, portrait, 64MP, and More. Inside the More option, you will find modes like slow motion, time-lapse, pro, pano, text scanner, and ultra macro. On the other hand, flash, AI scene recognition, timer, and settings buttons are located on top of the viewfinder.

Coming to the camera performance, the Realme 8s captures saturated images in daylight conditions, which many might prefer. However, the 64-megapixel shooter comes into its own when the sun goes down. The camera captures decent shots in standard mode, but the dedicated night mode brings out good details in shadows and highlights. I did notice the saturation boost creeping in, in night shots as well, which takes away from the natural colours. The other two cameras are regular mono and macro sensors with nothing to write home about.

As for selfies, the 16-megapixel sensor on the front does its job. The pictures are slightly artificial-looking due to the unnatural skin tone and have oversharpened details. I would recommend turning off the beautify mode, which is set to 30 percent by default. In portrait mode, the camera produces an aesthetic blur in the background and has good edge detection.

Performance, software, and battery

  • Realme UI 2.0 based on Android 11
  • MediaTek Dimensity 810 with ARM Mali-G57
  • 6GB + 128GB, 8GB + 128GB, 8GB + 256GB, 5GB Dynamic RAM
  • 5,000mAh battery, 33W Dart fast charging

The Realme 8s is the first smartphone to come with the MediaTek Dimensity 810 SoC. The 6nm chipset comes with four Cortex A76 performance cores, which are clocked at 2.4GHz, and four efficiency cores clocked at 2GHz. Realme is offering the handset in three configurations – 6GB + 128GB, 8GB + 128GB, 8GB + 256GB. The phone has virtual RAM support of 5GB, which means whichever variant you choose, you can always expand the RAM.

During my time with the smartphone, I used it with both configurations – just stock RAM and then with virtual RAM enabled. I didn’t notice much difference as the app switching, multitasking, and daily usage tasks were a breeze in stock configuration since 8GB RAM is more than enough. As for gaming, BGMI opens with HD graphics and High frame rate settings by default. The gameplay was pretty smooth at these settings and after a 30-minute gaming session, the phone didn’t heat up either. Realme also has a dedicated Game Space feature offering features like block notifications, reject incoming calls, and app shortcuts, among others.

As for the software, the Realme 8s ships with Realme UI 2.0 on top of Android 11. Right off the bat, I was greeted with a ton of bloatware onboard like HeyFun, SoLoop, FinShell Pay, and Dailyhunt, among others. While it’ll take you some time to uninstall irrelevant apps on the first start-up, thankfully you can uninstall them. Unfortunately, you can’t do so with the Hot Apps and Hot Games folders, which keep sending notifications time and again. However, it also comes with goodies like third-party icon pack support, call recording, screen recording, gestures supports, and the shebang.

Coming to the battery, the Realme 8s is equipped with a 5,000mAh battery with support for 33W fast charging. On a full charge, I was left with around 25 percent battery at the day end with heavy usage. On moderate usage, I could push the smartphone till noon the next day, which is pretty good. The provided charger juices up the battery from zero to 100 percent in just under 90 minutes.

Bottomline

The Realme 8s is yet another device added to the brand’s growing dossier of 5G phones. You get a good performance, 90Hz display, decent cameras with impressive low-light imaging, and good battery backup. However, the lack of an ultra-wide sensor was a sore point. The smartphone is priced at Rs 17,999 for the base variant and goes up to Rs 19,999.

Surprisingly, the pricing is identical to the Realme 8 Pro (review). The Realme 8 Pro does miss out on 5G connectivity, but if that’s not a deal-breaker for you then it makes a better alternative. You get an AMOLED display albeit with a 60Hz refresh rate, Snapdragon 720G chipset, 108MP primary camera, and a smaller 4500mAh battery but with 50W fast charging support.

Another option is the iQOO Z3 5G (review), which starts at Rs 19,990 but offers a more powerful Snapdragon 768G SoC, 120Hz display, and a 64-megapixel primary shooter with 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera and 2-megapixel macro sensor. The phone also comes with the improved stock-like Funtouch OS and 55W fast charging for the 4,400mAh unit battery.

In a nutshell, if you are looking for a 5G device with good performance and low-light imaging, the Realme 8s fits the bill. However, it’s not the only good option to consider.

Pricebaba’s rating: 7/ 10

What works

  • 90Hz display
  • Good low-light imaging
  • Impressive performance
  • Good battery life

What doesn’t

  • Bloatware in Realme UI
  • Mono speaker
Comments
Tags:
Abhiman Biswas

Abhiman has over 8 years of experience in content development. He is a Senior Writer and Social Media Manager at Pricebaba. He covers technology news, feature articles, and tech reviews, apart from managing the official Facebook and Instagram handles. Despite a degree in marketing, his love for latest gadgets and technology steered him towards consumer technology coverage.