realme 7i Review: A Long Lasting Entertainment Machine

The last quarter of 2020 seems like a string of refreshed releases for realme starting last month with the realme 7 and realme 7 Pro. This time around, we’ll be taking a look at the realme 7i. It manages to strike a balance between progressive features such as a 90Hz display and a 64MP main camera with an aggressive pricing, at least on paper.

realme 7i

Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 662
Screen 6.5-inch IPS, 1600 x 720, 90Hz
RAM 8GB
OS Android 10 with realme UI
Rear Camera 64MP f/1.8 Main, 8MP f/2.3 Ultrawide, 2MP f/2.4 Macro, 2MP f/2.4 Mono
Front Camera 16MP f/2.1
Storage 128GB expandable via MicroSD Slot
Network Dual-SIM, 4G LTE
Connectivity Dual-band WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0, USB Type-C, 3.5mm audio jack
Battery 5,000mAh, 18W Fast Charging
Others Fingerprint Scanner
Colors Aurora Green, Polar Blue

Screen and Design

At the front if the realme 7i is a 6.5-inch IPS screen with a resolution of 1600 x 720. The biggest departure of the device from its predecessor is the screen’s support for 90Hz refresh rate. This means that general use and gaming is just a bit smoother over 60Hz screens in the market.

Though the display is not as crisp as smartphones with a 1080p display with the same size, it can still deliver a pleasurable viewing experience. Viewing angles are fairly decent without any noticeable color shifts and colors are saturated enough for them to be deep and varied. Brightness is serviceable when the smartphone is being used under direct sunlight.

As for its design, the realme 7i employs a new color scheme instead of the 6i’s uniform plastic with matte coating. The device sports a slightly more extravagant two-tone design.

The overall aesthetic gives off a hint of luxurious minimalism with clean lines that clearly divides the lighter green tones of the bottom and dark highlights at the top. Its shiny finish, however, does shatter the illusion of luxury a bit since it is quite the fingerprint magnet.

Placement of the buttons have been rearranged on the 7i. The volume rocker and power button have now been designated on the right-hand side while its triple-cut SIM tray remains at the left-hand side. At the bottom are its USB Type-C port, grilles for the bottom firing speaker, and 3.5mm audio jack.

User Interface

The realme 7i ships with Android 10 with realme UI, which carries all the amenities you expect from a smartphone. It sticks to a stock Android look and covers basic features such as a control center, a notification bar, split-window support, and dark mode toggle.

realme is adding a few notable extras such as their Dual Mode Music Share, which allows you to use Bluetooth headphones and a wired earphones in tandem to share music with another person, Game Space that frees up resources for intensive apps, and additional customization options like icon shapes and system-wide themes.

Camera

At the back of the smartphone is a complementary set of four cameras that we have come to expect from realme. The quad camera setup is led by its 64MP f/1.8 main camera, an 8MP f/2.3 ultrawide, a 2MP f/2.4 macro, and a 2MP f/2.4 mono lens.

Aside from the usual modes such as Portrait, Night Mode, Panorama, Time Lapse, and Ultra Macro, realme is adding a few new filters such as Cyberpunk, Flamingo, and Modern Gold on top of the already existing range of filters. These offer new creative ways of taking photos with the 7i.

Its 64MP f/1.8 lead camera takes 16MP photos if left to its own devices. Its full resolution can be taken advantage by choosing 64MP Mode on the camera app. Snaps taken primary lens come out detailed even under close inspection. Colors are pretty decent with good saturation and reproduction. If you colors to pop out even more, you can enable AI Dazzle Color, which ups the saturation just a notch.

The 8MP f/2.3 ultrawide pretty much perform to our expectations. Photos come out detailed near the center with a slight fisheye effect due to the nature of the lens. Colors are pretty accurate and can be boosted using the previously mentioned AI Dazzle Color mode.

As with most macro lens in this price category, the 2MP f/2.4 macro lens only exists to round up the camera count to four. Though it has its uses, we found that most photos taken come out slightly fuzzy and lacking detail. It has a nearer focusing distance compared to the main camera but you could probably take better snaps with cropped photos with the latter.

The realme 7i is moving on from the dread notch into the punch-hole design of contemporary smartphones. Breaking up the rather uniform display is its 16MP f/2.1 front-facing camera powered by a Sony IMX471 sensor. Selfies look natural without tinkering with the beautification. Skin looks pretty detailed but not too cartoonish. HDR performance is a bit lackluster with the camera still overexposing the background in order to get proper exposure in faces.

Performance, Benchmarks, and Battery Life

Under the hood of the realme 7i is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 chipset with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of expandable internal storage. While it is not a particularly impressive chip on its own right, it has enough horsepower to take advantage of the 90Hz display on titles like Call of Duty: Mobile and PUBG so long as you are willing to turn down some graphical settings.

In terms of benchmarks, the smartphone’s Snapdragon 662 lags a bit behind compared to chips like the MediaTek G80T. On its own right, the device is still able to produce decent numbers such as 6,372 in Work 2.0, 172,616 in AnTuTu, and 1,124 in Sling Shot Extreme running on the Vulkan API.

The realme 7i continues the trend of long battery life thanks to its 5,000mAh battery. Paired with an energy-efficient screen, the smartphone is able to last us more than a day under medium use with occasional mobile data usage and bouts of games in between. It even has enough at the end of the day to let us binge watch for a bit before going to sleep.

Making its paces on PCMark Work 2.0 battery test puts the smartphone at almost 14 hours of usage with medium brightness and volume.

Conclusion

Let’s start off with the good. The realme 7i enables a lower barrier to entry for those who want to try a 90Hz display and the smoothness it offers compared to the 60Hz standard. Its main camera and ultrawide lens also make a good case for themselves allowing the smartphone to take detailed photos without adding more to the price. Its design looks a bit more premium than what it actually is thanks to the split two-tone design.

There are a lot going for the realme 7i but one of its main weaknesses is its chip. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 is decent but it lags a bit in terms of numbers compared to the competition. Fortunately, it has enough power to utilize the fast display.

Speaking of the display, its resolution is also a bit disappointing at only 1600 x 720. We believe that if realme has managed to fit in a 1080p panel onto the 7i, then it would have been the complete package.

With an asking price of PhP 11,990, the realme 7i combines features found on more expensive smartphones like a 90Hz display, high capacity RAM and storage, long battery life, and a good set of cameras in an affordable package. Though it does have some downsides, it sits in a comfortable middle ground that offers a ton of features while still retaining its easy to swallow price. Which is why we believe that it is a solid choice for a smartphone for those who are looking to make most out of their money.