Realme has done a great job of keeping us busy since it debuted as a subsidiary of Oppo in India in mid-2018. The new Realme 5 (Review) and Realme 5 Pro models follow Realme 3 (Review) and Realme 3 Pro (Review) – the number 4 that is considered unfortunate in some Asian cultures – and underline the young company's remarkable turnaround rate , For a brand that is barely fifteen months old, four generations of a product have a lot to deliver. Realme has managed to keep up with market leaders Xiaomi, Lenovo, Honor, Asus and Samsung, or to supplant them by launching new models each time the bar has been raised.
The Realme 5 Pro can keep up with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro (test) and the Mi A3 (test), various members of the Samsung M and A series and the new Vivo Z1 Pro (test) as well as several older models to have. We have the top-end version of the Realme 5 Pro with us, which has the same price as the Realme X (review). This should be an interesting look back, so let's get started.
Realme 5 Pro design
For an inexpensive phone, the Realme 5 Pro looks and feels pretty good. It's not too big or bulky and the materials and finishes feel great. You will immediately notice the geometric pattern on the back, which was previously used for cheaper phones like the Realme 3i (Review) and the Realme C2 (Review). The concept has been expanded with a metallic sheen and a completely smooth surface.
The abstract shapes on the back have slightly different colors and capture the light differently, but there is still a uniform color gradient on the back of the device. You can choose between the Crystal Green and Sparkling Blue versions, and we liked the blue-green, jewel-colored look of our Crystal Green tester, which is different from others without appearing glaring.
Fortunately, this phone is not slippery at all. Despite its shiny appearance, the Realme 5 Pro is very handy. The rounded sides and the curved back wall let it fit comfortably in the palm of your hand and hide the thickness of 8.9 mm. It weighs 184 g and is actually more compact than the Realme 5. We had no problems operating it with one hand.
There is a large 6.3-inch LCD screen on the front, and Realme gives a screen-to-body ratio of 90.6. The chin is quite pronounced, but the rest of the edges are narrow and look modern. We generally don't like pre-installed screensavers like the Realme 5 Pro, but some people want to have them for protection.
Realme has developed a water drop-like notch for the front camera, which we think is fine at this price level – pop-up cameras and screens with holes are becoming more common, but you'll have to spend more if you want such a design.
The power and volume buttons are on the opposite side of the phone and are easy to reach. On the left side you will find a compartment with individual slots for two nano SIMs and a microSD card. There is a USB Type-C port on the bottom, which is interesting because the Realme 5 (review) has a micro-USB port. There is also a 3.5mm audio jack and a single speaker on the bottom of this phone.
A small minus in the design of the Realme 5 Pro is the raised camera module on the back, which is quite striking and also has a slightly rough, raised ring. You get four rear cameras, which is the biggest selling point of this phone. There is also a fingerprint sensor on the back, which is not integrated into the screen like other phones in this price range.
Realme 5 Pro specifications and software
We saw the Qualcomm Snapdragon 712 SoC for the first time in the valuable Vivo Z1 Pro (review), and you can also see it here. This chip has a slight edge compared to the Snapdragon 710 and Snapdragon 660, which are usually found in phones in this segment. It has two 2.3 GHz Kryo 360 Gold cores and six additional 1.7 GHz Kryo 360 Silver cores for efficient power supply and integrated Adreno 616 graphics.
You can buy the Realme 5 Pro with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage for Rs. 13999; 6 GB of RAM with the same 64 GB of storage for Rs. 14,999; or 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage for Rs. 16,999, which is a big leap. The latter variant costs the same as the Realme X with 4 GB RAM and 128 GB storage, which causes a small conflict in the company's portfolio.
The 6.3-inch screen offers a Full HD + resolution of 1080 x 2340. There is a 4035 mAH battery, and Realme uses Oppo's proprietary VOOC fast charging technology. With this phone you get a large 20 W charger in the package. There is also Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5 and GPS, but no FM radio. All common sensors, including a gyroscope, are included.
In addition to Android 9, Realme also uses Oppos ColorOS user interface. ColorOS 6 has been adjusted a little, with slightly more modern symbols and some other visual improvements. The user interface has an app drawer, so that not all symbols are scattered on the start screens. On the left side of the first home screen is a Smart Assistant page with displays for the weather, calendar appointments, step tracking and various other things that you can show or hide. You can view sports results, track orders in online stores, and track upcoming flights.
There are countless pre-installed apps, from the community and store apps from Realme to the popular apps Amazon Shopping, UC Browser, Paytm, Helo, Facebook and many more. Game Center, Hot Games, Hot Apps and Theme Store try to offer you content for download. Many of them can be uninstalled, but those at the system level cannot even be deactivated.
Fortunately, we didn't have to deal with constant pop-up notifications and commercial spam. After the initial setup, there were a few prompts to use some apps and features, but only a few afterwards. Speaking of the setup process: We were asked to download some advertising apps. However, this step can be skipped.
With fingerprints and facial recognition, you can not only unlock the phone, but also individual apps and a private safe, where you can protect documents and photos from prying eyes. With ColorOS, you can also try to provide dummy data including call history and messages when invasive apps require too many permissions.
Customization options include the icon density on the home screens, the animation speed of the user interface, themes and various gestures. You can long press the phone's power button to launch Google Assistant and launch apps with gestures on the screen when the phone is in standby mode. The standard Android navigation buttons can be replaced with a variety of gesture schemes, and some of these sets even have customization options.
Overall, the software and the user experience of the Realme 5 Pro are very good. We like the direction that Realme has taken. The security patch from July 2019 was carried out on our unit.
Realme 5 Pro performance and battery life
The general performance of the Realme 5 Pro was good and we had no complaints about how it worked in everyday tasks. Remember that we have experience with the 8 GB RAM variant. The beginner has only half as much, but that should still be enough for most applications. Handling and use were easy, even when multitasking between heavy apps. The fingerprint sensor is a bit difficult to reach with small hands, but it is quick and accurate.
Face recognition was easy too. It only took a few seconds to register a face, and we didn't have to turn or tilt our head at all for the process. The default setting allows the phone to unlock itself even when your eyes are closed, which ideally shouldn't.
The screen can get very bright and is easy to use outdoors. Video content looked good, with decent colors and sharpness, but this isn't the best screen we've seen in this price range. Interestingly, Realme 5 Pro Widevine L1 supports DRM for high-definition video streaming. The single speaker is quite loud and the voices are clear even at high volumes, but there are no bass or lows at all when you listen to music.
180,193 points were scored in AnTuTu, 1,523 and 5,936 in Geekbench's single and multi-core tests. 3DMark's Slingshot Unlimited test gave 3,068 points, and the Ice Storm Extreme test reached the maximum. GFXBench delivered 58 fps in the T-Rex scene and 23 fps in the Manhattan 3.1 scene.
PUBG Mobile had the default setting "High" and was playable, although the phone warmed up slightly in the course of a lap. We also had no problems with Asphalt 9: Legends.
With this phone we were able to survive a whole day with a single charge. This included about an hour of video streaming, some games, and a lot of web browsing, but we definitely had to plug it in to charge at night. Our HD video loop test lasted 12 hours and 41 minutes, which is reasonable but not great. With the included charger, we were able to reach up to 15 percent in 10 minutes and up to 70 percent in just over 30 minutes.
Realme 5 Pro cameras
The main camera on the back has a 48 megapixel Sony IMX586 sensor, which until recently was only found in much more expensive phones. It also has an aperture of 1: 1.79 and supports PDAF. Next up is an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera with an aperture of 1: 2.25, a 2-megapixel macro camera and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. The front camera has a 16 megapixel sensor and an aperture of 1: 2
The camera app looks good, but the layout is a bit awkward. For starters, there is no easy way to switch between cameras. Use a toggle button at the top of the screen to enable or disable the wide-angle camera. However, in order to use the macro camera, you need to select the ultra macro mode, which is in an overflow menu next to the standard photo, video, and portrait selection buttons. This menu is unnecessarily small and you actually have to scroll down to find the Ultra Macro mode, which involves too many steps.
There are also separate controls for HDR, Filters, and Chroma Boost. With the latter option, the colors become much more vivid, which can make pictures look artificial. Therefore, this option works best as an effect like any other filter. The other modes are Expert, Panorama and Time Lapse.
The pictures taken with the main camera during the day were quite sharp and the color balance was good. The Realme 5 Pro was able to save focus quickly and we had no problems with usability. We liked the results in terms of fine details in the foreground and clarity on distant objects. A small grain could be seen in shady areas and on the sides of some frames, but the main camera worked very well even in high-contrast scenes.
To take 48 megapixel shots, you also need to switch to another mode in the overflow menu, and HDR is not available. The file size increases from 2 to 4MB to over 15MB per shot, but the shots are enormous and you can see tiny details from a great distance when you zoom in.
As expected, the wide-angle camera delivers lower quality images and should only be used if you have to fit a lot into a frame. Magnifying pictures shows a significant loss of detail and color accuracy. The overall quality is poor compared to pictures taken with the main camera a moment earlier from exactly the same place.
The macro camera is also more suitable for playing with compositions than for everyday use. It's a nice addition, but you might not find much use for it. If you take a close-up with the standard camera, the AI scene detection could show "macro lens", which we consider a suggestion to switch manually instead of indicating that the AI settings have changed.
When you are in Ultra Macro mode, the viewfinder displays the message “Best quality at 4 cm”. However, you cannot be sure that you are in the ideal focal length. It may take a few tries because the photos may appear sharp on the phone screen, but may be a little absent when you check out at full size. The color also changes when you approach a subject in this way, especially because the phone itself is very likely to cast a shadow on the subjects.
Macros only have a resolution of 1600 x 1200 pixels (2.1 megapixels) and details out of focus are definitely rough. The colors were stained and the textures weren't that great either. For example, we saw a cluster of bright red flower buds that almost melted together. Using the main camera and cropping images can produce similar, if not better, results in some cases. However, the depth of field can look very good. With this camera you can have fun and achieve some creative satisfaction.
Selfies are decent too, but some of our samples looked a little overworked, making our skin look artificial. When we took portraits, the edges of our faces seemed to be wrong, and most of the time our ears were cut off in the viewfinder of the camera. However, the recordings benefit from further processing if they are saved and look much better when later opened.
Unfortunately, the pictures we took at night weren't that impressive. There was a lot of noise and grain, even when there were lights around. You can use these photos if you are not going to enlarge or enlarge them at all. The details were bad unless there was direct bright light on our subjects. In this case the results were far more appealing. In Nightscape mode it took a few seconds for the phone to save a recording. However, the results were bright and the points of light, which were normally blurred due to long exposure, were sharp and clear.
The wide-angle camera takes predictably poorer pictures at night with much duller colors. We wouldn't even bother to use the macro camera since objects were barely recognizable. Selfies made at night were not bad though.
Videos are recorded at 1080p 30fps by default, although they can reach up to 4K 30fps or 1080p 60fps. Video quality is generally pretty good during the day. There is electronic stabilization that seemed to work quite well at 1080p. The video looked smooth and bright, although there was a strange pink tinge throughout at 4K. One big surprise is that you can't use the wide-angle camera to record video, which seems like pointless waste.
There is a lot to like about the Realme 5 Pro. The entry-level variants seem to be good options and will compete strongly with the Redmi Note 7 Pro (test), the Samsung Galaxy M30 (test) and the Vivo Z1 Pro (test). However, if your budget is sufficient to accommodate the top-end configuration that we have reviewed, you may find Realme X (Review) or one of our other Sub-Rs. 20,000 picks more appropriate.
Four rear-view cameras will be a big selling point and tempt many buyers, but you should consider how much value a 2.1-megapixel macro camera really offers before relying on this marketing aspect.
This update is well timed and keeps Realme close to the top of the pack. We would have liked a longer battery life and the camera's user interface needs to be redesigned, but by the way, this is a great phone. The Realme 5 Pro impresses us across the board, especially in terms of price.