Realme 5i Review: Another Budget Contender?

    The Realme 5i has been designed to be a more affordable alternative for the Realme 5. There are a few features that have been cut down to reach a more palatable price but does the 5i still come with the same magic that made the Realme 5 such a budget hit?

    Realme 5i

    Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 665
    Screen 6.5-inch LTPS IPS Dewdrop, 1600 x 720, Gorilla Glass 3
    RAM 3GB/4GB
    OS Android 9.0 with ColorOS 6.1
    Rear Camera 12MP f/1.8 main, 8MP f/2.25 ultrawide, 2MP f/2.4 macro, 2MP f/2.4 portrait, HDR, Nightscape, Chroma Boost
    Front Camera 8MP f/2.0, AI Beautification, HDR, Panoramic View
    Storage 32GB/64GB expandable up to 256GB via dedicated MicroSD slot
    Network Dual-SIM, 4G LTE
    Connectivity WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, A-GPS
    Battery 5,000mAh
    Others Fingerprint Scanner, Face Unlock


    The Realme 5i is encased in the traditional yellow box that almost all of their smartphones come in. Inside the package is pretty much a barebones accessories list that include a MicroUSB cable, 5V/2A wall adapter, and a SIM ejector pin.

    That’s pretty much it in the way of accessories that come with the Realme 5i. Like most of their smartphones in the same price range, documentation and earphones have been excluded to bring down the cost although it would have been nice to receive a silicone case with the smartphone.

    Design and Features

    The Realme 5i and the Realme 5 could be mistaken for one another since they share almost the same design. The former, however, have some minor aesthetic changes from its predecessor.

    Although both smartphones come with a 6.5-inch LTPS IPS 1600 x 720 display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3, the notch of the Realme 5i has been toned down and is now called a mini waterdrop notch that houses its 8MP f/2.0 selfie camera. The smaller notch on the 5i also increases the screen-to-body ratio to 89%.

    Though the display has a relatively low pixel count, it still remains sharp whenever we’re viewing text or watching movies. It’s also bright enough to be used under direct sunlight without much of a hassle. Colors are well-saturated and the blacks are deep enough that they don’t appear washed out.

    The near-iconic Diamond Cut design of the rear from the Realme 5 is now gone with the 5i. Realme has opted to use a more minimalist design for the 5i’s back. The rear is now matte with what the brand calls Sunrise Design. Under the right conditions, the back of the 5i will simulate a sunrise pattern.

    Of course, the matte finish of the rear now means that it will now be almost immune to fingerprint and dust marks. It won’t be completely resistant but they will not show up on a quick glance of the smartphone.

    Despite the front-facing camera being downgraded by 5MP, the quad rear cameras remain the highlight of the smartphone. The Realme 5i still sports its predecessor’s 12MP f/1.8 Main, 8MP f/2.25 Ultrawide, 2MP f/2.4 macro, and 2MP f/2.4 portrait quad camera setup.

    The fingerprint scanner of the 5i can be found just beside its four cameras. Since the smartphone comes with a traditional fingerprint scanner and is of a budget nature, it won’t have an in-display fingerprint sensor that we’re quickly being accustomed to.

    The triple-cut SIM tray is located at the left-hand side of the smartphone. Ejecting the tray reveals two slots for SIM cards as well as a dedicated MicroSD card slot. Just below it is the device’s volume rocker while the power button can be found at its right-hand side.

    The bottom portion of the smartphone houses its bottom-firing speakers as well as grilles for the microphone. Realme has outfitted the 5i with a 3.5mm audio jack and a MicroUSB port.

    In terms of design, the Realme 5i is not as ornate as its contemporaries. Instead of having a flashy rear, the smartphone chooses to have a more conservative look that should blend whatever style you are rocking.

    User Interface

    The Realme 5i ships out with Android 9.0 with ColorOS 6.0. The UI doesn’t detract from the traditional Realme look (or OPPO for that matter) and has a design that closely resembles an Android UI instead of the iOS look that previous versions of the ColorOS mirrors.

    Standard features of the ColorOS 6.0 and the Android environment can be found on the 5i. Notifications, the control center, and the shortcut for the settings menu can be accessed by swiping down from the top.

    GameSpace makes a comeback on the device that allows it to dedicate more resources to whatever game you included as well as turn off notifications to keep you immersed.

    The navigation keys are integrated to the screen although you can go for gesture controls. The display temperature can be edited via the settings menu and gives you three presets to choose from.


    As mentioned, the Realme 5i retains the most attractive feature from its predecessor; the quad cameras. All the previous camera modes such as HDR, Nightscape, Portrait Mode, Chroma Boost, Time Lapse, Expert, Panorama, Slo-Mo, and Ultra Macro as well as a modicum of filters carries over to the 5i.

    The 12MP f/1.8 Main camera of the smartphone takes sharp and well-detailed photos under bright conditions. Colors pop in the frame without being too overbearing on the eyes. Low-light shots can be a bit grainy on the 5i. The camera takes night photos better with Nightscape Mode although some bright spots such as lamp posts can still overpower the image.

    The 8MP f/2.25 Ultrawide of the Realme 5i allows you to fit more subjects in the photo. Despite having more in the frame, it isn’t as sharp as the main camera due to the lowered megapixel count.

    One of the biggest downgrades in the Realme 5i from its predecessor is the selfie camera. The smartphone only comes with an 8MP front-facing camera instead of 13MP f/2.0. Despite this, the camera still takes natural-looking selfies although not as detailed as the Realme 5.

    Performance and Benchmarks

    Inside the chassis of the Realme 5i lies a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 with 3GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage that can be expanded via the dedicated MicroSD slot. Both the Realme 5 and Realme 5i come with the same chip, which is essentially an upgraded version of the Snapdragon 665.

    Although the 5i comes with 1GB less RAM compared to the Realme 5, it still offers a lag-free experience throughout daily use. In terms of benchmarks, it does quite a bit better compared to its precursor.

    Running AnTuTu yielded a score of 167,738 while PCMark 2.0 reaches a score of 7716. Playing demanding games might be a bit too much for the chip, so we suggest turning down some of the more graphical intensive options to reach a stable framerate.


    Realme has a habit of outfitting their budget-oriented smartphones with large batteries and that doesn’t change with the 5i. Powering the smartphone is a 5,000mAh battery charged via 5V/2A its MicroUSB port at the bottom.

    The big battery inside the smartphone is able to last us more than a day under medium usage with WiFi and occasional mobile data usage. Benchmarks put the Realme 5i at 16 hours and 25 minutes of use with medium brightness and volume.

    The large power source of the device does come with a bit of waiting time. In our experience, charging the smartphone from 0% to 100% takes around 2 hours since it doesn’t support fast charging.


    Locally, the Realme 5i will be available for PhP 6,990 with a 3GB/64GB configuration. This puts it in the same bracket as the 3GB/32GB version of the 5. Although the selfie camera has been downgraded to an 8MP f/2.0 shooter, a thousand pesos is still a considerable amount to save since its specifications put it just beside the 3GB/64GB variant of the Realme 5 (which costs PhP 7,990).

    Though some people might not be comfortable with a downgraded camera, it must be said that most selfies will be posted on social media sites who will still compress the photo to save data space thus mitigating the 5MP difference. You might as well save a thousand pesos instead of pondering the difference between selfie cameras.

    The Realme 5i still offers the same great price-to-performance ratio as its precursors. Top-notch performance for its price point as well as cameras that take decent photos, we’re confident that the smartphone is still a smart buy to those looking to upgrade their old phones.

    With these in mind, we are comfortable in giving the Realme 5i our seal of approval for the budget smartphone market. The Realme 5i might only supplement the existing smartphone options from Realme, but it’s a solid choice nonetheless.

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