The Realme 5 Pro nails all the essentials of a budget phone and should be considered by those who don't mind Color OS.
Snapdragon 712 AIE
Versatile quad-camera setup
Big 4,035 mAh battery with VOOC charging
ColorOS can be overwhelming
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Realme's spree of populating the budget segment of smartphones continues, this time with the Realme 5-series. The Realme 5 Pro succeeds the Realme 3 Pro in just four months, yet manages to bring in significant updates without pushing the price tag by a lot.
The most notable upgrade comes with the camera, as the Realme 5 Pro is the first of many devices to sport a quad-camera setup and will be a trend in followed by most Realme devices going forward. Secondly, the processor gets a slight boost with the Snapdragon 712 instead of the 710. Lastly, the back panel gets a facelift with a new design.
With all of that, Realme has managed to make a device that is one of the best for its price, and gives much needed competition to the Redmi Note 7 Pro in India.
Realme 5 Pro price and availability
In India, the Realme 5 Pro is available in three configurations. There's a base 4+64GB variant which is priced at Rs 13,999, followed by the 6+64GB variant at Rs 14,999 and the top variant with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage is priced at Rs 16,999.
The Realme 5 Pro aspires to look a lot more premium than its price tag would suggest. More evidently because of its “Crystal design” on the back which almost looks like facets of a diamond. It looks cool but is a little overdone currently as almost every smartphone manufacturer has some form of a gradient blue finish available.
However, it is still a plastic back and will be susceptible to scratches over time. Thankfully, my unit has had none till now, and the included case adds a little more peace of mind.
It definitely doesn’t feel very premium in the hand and attracts ample smudges too. Overall, it’s a functional design that isn’t too slippery or bulky, but is unlikely to blow you away. It looks more interesting than your regular plastic back phone and doesn't feel flimsy.
Screen: 6.4-inch, LCD
Resolution: 2340 x 1080
CPU: Snapdragon 712 AIE
OS: ColorOS 6.0
Camera: 48MP primary + 8MP ultra-wide + 2MP macro + 2MP depth sensor
Front camera: 16MP
Battery: 4,035 mAh, 20W VOOC 3.0 charging
Ports: Headphone jack, USB Type-C
Smartphone displays in this budget are usually pretty basic, and the Realme 5 Pro is no exception. Spread across 6.3-inches, we get an IPS LCD panel with a resolution of 2340 x 1080. Eating into that screen, there’s a small waterdrop notch housing the front camera. Realme states that this “minidrop” notch is smaller than the previous generation, and by the looks of it, it definitely seems small.
The panel itself is pretty color accurate but lacks the oomph inherently present on OLED displays. But considering the price of the Realme 5 Pro, that is a reasonable trade-off. Unless you compare it to an AMOLED panel, the colors and contrast won't disappoint.
Maximum brightness levels are pretty adequate too, bringing serviceable sunlight legibility. Similarly, the minimum brightness was also pretty ow for use in dark scenarios.
As for protection, we get Gorilla Glass 3+. There's a simple plastic screen protector pre-applied with the phone which is always appreciated.
Thanks to companies like Xiaomi, India has grown to be a very processor-centric market, and Realme has carefully powered the 5 Pro with the Snapdragon 712 AIE chipset. This chipset has been fabricated at 10nm, bringing in higher efficiency and raw processing power than any other phone in this price segment. Interestingly, the SD 712 is supposed to be 10% more powerful than the SD 710 which powers the much more expensive Realme X.
For regular use including social media, multi-tasking, calling and texting, etc., the Realme 5 Pro never broke a sweat. Every action was usually snappy, just slightly bogged down by not-so-fluid animations. The Snapdragon 712 is paired with up to 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM and UFS 2.1 storage which work in tandem to increase performance and reduce app opening times.
Another increasingly common use case in this segment is gaming. The processor always held its own for even heavy 3D games such as PUBG while providing a consistent and stable frame-rate throughout, with minimal heating. We've seen this same chipset perform a lot worse in other phones, so Realme must have done some solid optimising.
The Realme 5 Pro runs on ColorOS 6.0.1 built atop Android 9 Pie. ColorOS is not a light skin by any means, and brings a lot of cosmetic and functional changes over stock Android. Everything from the icons to the notification shade is very different and can overwhelm those coming from stock-ish Android interfaces. Customization are limited to visual changes such as the wallpaper and icons, but most other elements remain intact.
Having said that, it does bring in some useful features such as a private space for sensitive content, hotspot management to limit the data by each user and downloadable themes.
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Aakash is the engine that keeps TechRadar India running, using his experience and ideas to help consumers get to the right products via reviews, buying guides and explainers. Apart from phones, computers and cameras, he is obsessed with electric vehicles.