The Realme 5G Is a Refreshingly Simple and Cheap 5G Phone

The Realme 5G Is a Refreshingly Simple and Cheap 5G Phone
Photo: Sam Rutherford

It’s not very flashy, and it doesn’t have a huge tagline emblazoned on its back like its more expensive sibling, but the Realme 8 5G is the kind of simple and affordable phone we could use more of.

The Realme 8 5G starts at 200 pounds (around $364) for 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, or 250 pounds (around $446) for 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. When you convert the prices from pounds to dollars — give or take a little since direct conversions are always subject to a little wiggle room — the Realme 8 5G has specs that blow a lot of comparably priced phones out of the water, especially the kind of budget phones typically available in the U.S.

Compared to the $599 Pixel 4a, which is one of the best budget phones available, the Realme 8 5G features a much larger 6.5-inch display with a 90Hz refresh rate, which is a feature that until recently has mostly only been available on phones that cost $600 and up.

The Realme 8 5G also packs in a MediaTek Dimensity 700 chip with support for sub-6Ghz 5G, a big 5,000 mAh battery, a nifty side-mounted fingerprint sensor, and three rear cameras: a 48-MP main cam, a black-and-white portrait cam, and a dedicated macro cam. That’s not your typical camera setup, but it’s nice to see a company do something different.

Photo: Sam Rutherford Photo: Sam Rutherford

And like all good budget phones, the Realme 8 5G also features a 3.5mm headphone jack and microSD card expandability, along with dual SIM card slots to boot. The Pixel 4a does have a richer OLED screen and the best camera quality available on a phone in this price range, but the Realme 8 5G offers way more storage (and storage flexibility), a faster refresh rate, and some handy bonuses for frequent travellers thanks to its extra SIM slot and 5G connectivity.

Photo: In-House Art

Photo: In-House Art

Click through for more hands-on pics of the Realme 8 5G.

In the short time I’ve had to play around with the Realme 8 5G, I’ve been really impressed with its battery life, which uses its large internal battery along with some software-based battery-saving techniques to help eke out every last minute of juice. And while its design is pretty simple, Realme still managed to keep the bezels around the screen relatively slim.

Compared to some other Chinese skins for Android, there’s not much to complain about when it comes to Realme UI 2.0 either, aside from all the annoying pre-installed apps.

Following LG’s decision to exit the mobile phone game, I was hoping we would see more Chinese OEMs bring their phones to the U.S. and put more pressure on companies like Google, Motorola, and Nokia to release budget phones with more competitive specs. But sadly, that hasn’t happened quite yet.

So while people in the U.K., India, and China and other overseas markets will soon see a pretty solid new phone, it seems folks in the U.S. are going to miss out again.

Editor’s Note: Stay tuned for news of a local Australian release.