The Realme 7 5G is the latest in a long line of Realme phones hitting Australian shores — but this one isn’t like the rest. While newer entries in the market like the XT and the SuperZoom X3 focused on photography, the Realme 7 5G is the first phone from the company to feature 5G capability.
Paired with a refreshed 120Hz display, fast charging and easy everyday use, the Realme 7 5G is following in the footsteps of previous Android and iOS devices.
But what makes this impressive is that it’s delivering these features at a much cheaper price point. It’s also one of the cheapest 5G phones available, so it’s great for anyone looking for an easy entry into the market.
Here’s the Gizmodo Australia review.
Realme 7 5G: Specifications
The Realme 7 5G sits comfortably in the mid-range tier of smartphones and rocks a bunch of great features for its price point. 5G is an obvious advantage, but the phone also excels in its overall performance and handiness. The reduced camera quality is notable, but not a major concern.
Here’s what you’ll find under the hood.
- Colours: Mist Blue & Flash Silver
- RAM: 8GB
- Battery: 5,000 mAh, 30W Dart charge (100% battery in 65 minutes)
- Internal Storage: 128GB
- Processor: Dimensity 800U
- Display: 6.5″ 120Hz ultra smooth display
- Camera: 48MP (main), 8MP (wide-angle), 2MP (B&W portrait), 16MP (front), Macro Lens, Super Nightscape Mode
- Audio: Dolby Atmos and High-Res Audio
- Features: 5G
- Price: $499
While it’s not as flash as the blue-and-purple XT or as bold as the Realme onion phone, there’s still a lot to love about the Realme 7 5G.
Realme 7 5G
WHAT IS IT?
Realme's first 5G compatible phone
Slick screen, great processor, easy 5G compatibility
Camera is a step down from last generation
These phones are real joys to use because they’re so simple and well-designed. While the cuteness of OPPO’s ColorOS operating system won’t be for everyone, I find it extremely pleasant. The round, ‘minimalist’ icons of ColorOS make the phone menu very aesthetically pleasing.
It’s easy to flick through apps, locate files and go about your daily business with the Realme 7 5G.
But even beyond the ease of use, the Realme 7 5G is a very practical phone. It’s mid-range, yes, but has an impressive array of specs with everything you’ll need in an everyday phone. It doesn’t rock the performance or camera of the latest iPhone or Samsung release, but it excels in other areas.
The battery life, for example, can be quite good under certain circumstance. If you’re not a power user and aren’t using 5G or streaming at 120Hz on the reg, you can get to two days.
To test the battery, rundowns were conducted by streaming Netflix video at 1080p with 120Hz switched on and 50% brightness. After 12 hours, the battery hit 17% from a full charge, with the predicted battery life being close to 15 hours in active, rigorous use.
In more practical everyday tests, it performed even better. This secondary test was conducted after a full day of varied phone use including streaming (3-4 episodes), checking social media and emails, and listening to Spotify via Bluetooth (4 hours). During tests, it jumped between 5G, 4G+, LTE and Wi-Fi networks. At the end of the 15-hour day, the battery had drained to 57% with 2.5 hours of screen time.
Of course, this will be lower if your screen time is regularly higher than this. But for a moderate user like myself, this was excellent.
The battery does come with an important caveat though: if you’re in a 5G catchment area (or somewhere where it’s swapping between 4G and 5G), your phone battery will drain much faster. This is an issue will all 5G phones at the present time.
During everyday tests, the Realme 7 5G was able to lock into a 5G signal briefly — and there was a notable drop in battery while it was connected and streaming. You are able to turn off 5G compatibility if this is a worry, but it’s worth noting the service does have an impact on your daily battery life.
That said, the phone is bundled with a 30W charger that’ll get you back up to full power from a drained battery in about an hour, so there’s really no dramas with charging.
Plus, with the use of battery saver mode (which lightly reduces phone brightness and overall performance) the phone could certainly get you even further — especially if you turn 5G and lower the screen refresh rate.
Beyond the hearty battery, the phone also boasts other practical features like a very nice-looking screen that isn’t hindered by the ‘dreaded’ camera notch. It’s only a tiny circle embedded in the top left of the screen so it’s easy to ignore and won’t impact your experience.
The screen itself is also very slick, and aided by the phone’s performance.
Realme 7 5G: Performance
The Realme 7 5G contains a Dimensity 800U (due to the processor’s in-built 5G modem) and it gives the device a much-needed performance boost from other Realme phones. The most practical benefit of this processor is the phone’s quick boot-up and loading times for apps, but it also has great benefit for gaming on the phone, too.
Genshin Impact is one of the newest and most popular mobile titles around, but it requires a hearty processor to run on phones because it’s set in a massive, open world. While you do get texture pop-in running Genshin Impact on the Realme 7 5G, the game itself runs smoothly with no major latency issues or lag. Gameplay is smooth and consistent throughout, and while the phone does get a little bit warm while playing, it handles the action well.
Given the high processing power needed to run the game (it’s essentially a ported version of a larger PC game), it’s impressive how smoothly it runs on the Realme 7 5G. Pair that with the shiny 120Hz display of the phone, and you’ve got a very hearty gaming experience waiting for you.
Likewise, all streaming apps load and run smoothly on the phone. There’s no latency or stuttering here, even with multiple apps running concurrently.
Why the 5G upgrade is important
5G has become a boogeyman in online circles. It’s been trotted out as the ’cause’ of coronavirus, and blamed for half the sins on Earth. Amongst all the noise, it’s been hard to see the benefit of 5G clearly and without commentary.
In the simplest possible terms: 5G is fast. Really fast. Compare the two images above. The measure on the left (conducted with the help of Ookla’s handy SpeedTest website) is the average speed of Vodafone 4G+ (28.11 Mbps) in the CBD, the next fastest service to 5G. On the right is the speed of 5G, measured from a tram stop in Surry Hills (431.19Mpbs). That’s a 1,433% increase in speed.
As an everyday phone user, you may not notice the difference. 28 Mbps is still a solid download speed and perfect for casual streaming and social media use. Loading a service like Netflix on 4G, 4G+ or even Wi-Fi feels about the same as using 5G and unless you have a particularly patchy connection, there won’t be any latency issues at all. But at 431.19 Mbps, you’ll notice the following changes: instant refreshes for apps with heavy data usage (Instagram, Facebook), instantly-loading YouTube and streaming videos, and no latency when playing online or internet-reliant games (Among Us, Pokémon Go, Mario Kart Tour).
If you’re a heavy phone user or you like gaming on the go, 5G will have major benefits for you.
The only caveat is you won’t be able to get coverage everywhere. Telcos are currently in the midst of rolling out 5G across Australia, with select suburbs already having access to the service. Around the La Perouse area where I occasionally work from, there aren’t any Vodafone 5G hotspots.
Your area may be luckier, but you’ll need to do some research to discover whether your suburb is on the 5G menu. You’ll also need a 5G-compatible device, like the Realme 7 5G.
If you want to make the leap to 5G and take advantage of these elevated data speeds, this phone is the perfect entry-level device. Its price is an obvious attraction, but beyond that it’s also a stellar everyday phone, has a sizeable battery and features smooth and reliable performance.
It does come with a single caveat, though.
The Realme 7 5G’s only real bugbear is the camera
The Realme 7 5G’s camera is just ‘good’ and that’s unfortunate, given the company’s past successes with phone cameras.
Rather than the hearty 64MP monster array the Realme XT housed, the Realme 7 5G only boasts a 48MP main lens. It’s not a major step down, but the differences are notable.
If you’re looking for a new camera based solely on photography capability, you’re still better off with an XT than with this model even if you’re interested in 5G.
If it’s not a major concern, the camera is still serviceable. You can get some fabulous nature shots in the right light, and the colours always pop. For a more visually appealing scene, you can also turn on the camera’s AI mode, which enhances the colours and contrast of images for more beautiful shots.
It does manage illumination and lighting fairly well, though. These shots were taken in a completely dark room with only Nanoleafs lighting the room.
The camera also comes with a night mode filter which helps illuminate darker scenes and provides deeper contrast — but there’s mixed results here. Night time shots depicting my local neighbourhood and nearby plants came out fairly muddy and blurred despite repeated attempts.
This image was taken just past dusk with minimal lighting. It’s far more detailed than what I could see with my own eyes, but it’s not as crisp or as clean as I expected of the phone. The colours are also fairly muted, and the darker patches of the photograph are blurred.
The actual night time shots are pretty rocky, too. You can see a vague, shaky blur in the sky where the camera’s attempted to contrast the sky with the surrounding houses, and clouds are poorly defined. Unless there’s significant illumination around, you won’t be able to pick up the finer details of the scene you want to capture.
Plants are also mostly hidden in darkness in low light, with the shades of black being fuzzy and dull.
As for the 16MP selfie camera, it’s good but it features a strange colour balance and washes out faces. I had trouble taking a decent picture that had the right amount of contrast and and no extreme saturation of colour.
Here’s a comparison between a selfie taken with the Realme XT and the Realme 7 5G.
As you can see, the Realme 7 5G selfie cam has a much greyer colour palette and eases off the contrast, meaning I look paler and more tired in pictures. You can flick on the phone’s AI ‘beauty filter’ mode here (which functions like a photobooth), but I found the camera’s lower quality meant the mode made my face look like a creepy porcelain doll.
If you’re not overly concerned about perfect photography, you won’t mind the drop in quality here — but it’s certainly something to note. As phones become more social, connected devices, having a decent camera handy is a great boon. But to be fair this is only a mid-range phone, so we can’t exactly expect the same results as a $2,000 device.
With that in mind, consider whether you want to prioritise performance or 5G connectivity over a more reliable camera if you’re looking to purchase the Realme 7 5G.
The Realme 7 5G is a great, handy smartphone with a solid array of features and minimal overall sacrifices. While the camera pales in comparison to Realme XT, the inclusion of 5G functionality, a crisper display and strong performance means the sacrifice could be worth it for you.
As an everyday phone, its lack of energy thirst means you won’t have to charge it too often and you’ll be able to grab emergency power in a pinch. Basically, it’ll always be there when you need it, and you can’t ask anything more of a phone.
This isn’t the phone for camera enthusiasts, but if you’re looking for a phone with slick performance that won’t break the bank or you just want to crack into that elusive 5G market, the Realme 7 5G will have a lot of the features you’re looking for.
It’s a solid, reliable and snazzy phone that deserves your attention. The $499 price point is extremely appealing and while the camera isn’t as nice as past Realme releases, there’s a lot to love about the phone.