realme has thrown down the gauntlet to all other mobile phone brands in Australia with it’s new realme 7 5G (RMX2111).
For the money they’re asking $499 you get dual 5G SIM slots, fast charging 0-60% in less than half an hour, 5000mah battery, 120hz screen refresh, 128GB storage, 8GB RAM and a 90.5% screen to body ratio.
It’s the best value for money phone I’ve reviewed in years. A big call you say but I really rate value for money and this phone delivers it in spades.
Inside the bold yellow box you’ll find the phone, a free bumper case, pre applied screen protector, fast charger and fast charging cable. This is nice, especially in an era where Samsung and Apple are reducing what’s included in the box.
The charger and cable are proprietary. If you don’t use them together you won’t get the full 30W fast charge speed.
You can use a 15W or slower USB-C PD charger instead eg at work or buy an extra charger and cable from the realme Australia online store.
I reviewed the Flash Silver version. There’s also a Mist Blue option. I find it an odd design decision that realme decided to display it’s name in a small font on the Mist blue version of the phone but stamp their name in huge letters across the Flash silver version of the phone.
The realme 7 5G uses the 7mm Mediatek Dimensity 800u whose performance is roughly equivalent to Qualcomm’s popular mid-range Snapdragon 765 / Snapdragon 765G but the 800u has the advantage of supporting Dual 5G active SIM’s with carrier aggregation.
To be honest I’d like to see that in action in a 5G coverage area because the combined speed would be amazing, with correspondingly fast battery drain!
This is the first time I’ve given a strong thumbs up to a phone with a Mediatek system on chip (SoC). Until now I’ve only ever seen Mediatek used in really cheap phones sub $300 and the performance for those has not been very impressive.
Unlocking is easy thanks to the side fingerprint reader which also doubles as the power button. Unless you’re wearing a mask or dark sunglasses you can use the face unlock instead.
8GB RAM and 128GB storage mean you can run plenty of apps without running out of memory and store lots of photos and videos without worrying about storage space. In the unlikely event you get close to running out you can add up to 256GB micro SD card to expand storage.
The 30W Dash charger is faster than the competition at this price point which usually offers 15-25W. Running out of battery is not a worry when you can top up to 50% in 26 min and 100% in 65 min.
Mentioning running out, the 5000mah battery usually ended up at about 40% for me at dinnertime which is quite good. Less heavy users will easily manage to get 2 days battery life out of the phone.
This was using it with Wi-Fi and with either a 3G/4G Telstra network BOOST SIM or a 3G/4G Optus Network Moose Mobile SIM. Another Australian reviewer used the realme 7 5G in Telstra 5G coverage areas at home and at work and they report that the battery life is not as good if 5G is enabled all the time.
The reflective silver back on my version of the phone certainly doesn’t look cheap. It’s made of durable polycarbonate like phones used to be until manufacturers got obsessed with glass phone backs, that have the weakness of easily getting smashed.
The screen has small bezels with a 90.5% screen to body ratio. It’s resolution is 1080 x 2400 pixels with a tall 20:9 ratio and 405 ppi density. The hole punch selfie camera at the far top left of screen is well placed to be unobtrusive and out of the way.
The IPS LCD screen is perfectly fine and quite bright even outdoors. I’d prefer an AMOLED screen for better blacks but there have to be some compromises to get the price down below $500.
Regarding the advertised screen refresh rate of 120hz it helps give the phone a zippy speedy feeling. realme says:
“When the screen refresh rate is set to auto, most of the apps that our consumers use daily, such as Facebook, Instagram, Youtube or Snapchat, will be set to 90Hz. Apps that aren’t compatible with realme’s infrastructure and are used less regularly among our consumers will be set to 60Hz. However, when the device’s refresh rate is not set on auto, all of the apps and games our consumers love the most can be accessed at 120Hz”.
“Based on our testing, we expect that there will be a 5-10% difference in battery usage when using Auto setting and the fixed rate of 60Hz”.
The phone ships with Android 10 and realme says they promise:
“All models are guaranteed security patches two years from launch, and models from the number and X series are guaranteed one Android OS version update”.
For those who like that kind of thing there is a “Quick Tools” sidebar which you can customise with your own shortcuts. Otherwise the realme UI is mostly stock Android with some OPPO (realme sister company) styling. Most people will find the realme UI pleasant and easy to use, it’s certainly not the iOS clone OPPO software was a few years ago.
realme say the 7 5G has Quad Cameras which is kind of true.
Similarly to many competitor Snapdragon 6xx 7xx mid range phones these 4 cameras are: 48MP main, 8MP ultrawide, and the low resolution 2MP macro and 2MP portrait which are not very useful. On the front you’ll find a 16MP selfie camera.
The main, ultrawide and selfie cameras are fine in daylight. Thanks to Coronavirus I haven’t been to any late events to be able to take photos at night.
Most people will find the macro camera too low resolution to be useful. A 2x optical zoom would be more useful but again this is probably a compromise made to reduce the price which is fair enough.
Thanks to the large 48MP main camera, digital zoom photos cropping the sensor output are quite decent as long as you’re somewhere with enough light.
The question is should you buy the realme 7 5G if you need a new phone? The answer is definitely Yes. It’s great value for money.
True the battery life won’t be as good if you leave 5G on but that’s the same for most other 5G phones and frankly there’s no urgent need to get a 5G phone plan anytime soon. If you buy the realme 7 5G and intend to use a 5G capable SIM in an area with 5G coverage just buy a spare fast charger.
What you won’t get is things like wireless charging, water resistant IP rating, zoom camera and an AMOLED screen but no one else offers these for sub $500 anyway.
Honestly 80% of Australian phone buyers would be quite happy with the realme 7 5G and save a lot of money compared to higher spec phones available for a lot more money $1000+.
Pricing & Availability for the realme 7 5G is $499 RRP. The colours available in Australia are Mist Blue and Flash Silver. As a promotional offer the first 4000 people to purchase a realme 7 5G will receive bonus realme Buds Q valued at $79.
Availability is widespread from realme e-store, JB HI-FI, Officeworks, Bing Lee, mobileciti, 5GWORLD, Amazon, Kogan, eBay, The Good Guys and Catch.com.au
realme has allowed Ausdroid to retain this device to check on whether they deliver promised software updates over time