realme C15 Review: The Budget Battery King

It seems like every month that realme is introducing another smartphone into their ranks. The latest addition to the family is the realme C15. Packing the same chip as the C11, the C15 comes with an extra camera, more RAM and storage, and larger battery.

realme C15

Chipset MediaTek Helio G35
Screen 6.5-inch IPS, 1600 x 720, Corning Gorilla Glass
RAM 3GB/4GB
OS Android 10 with realme UI
Rear Camera 13MP f/2.2, 8MP f/2.3 Ultrawide, 2MP f/2.4 Mono,  2MP f/2.4 Retro
Front Camera 5MP f/2.4
Storage 64GB expandable via MicroSD
Network Dual-SIM, 4G LTE
Connectivity WiFi 802.11n, Bluetooth 5.0, MicroUSB
Battery 6,000mAh, 18W Fast Charging
Others Fingerprint Scanner
Colors Marine Blue, Seagull Silver

Unboxing

The realme C15 we received for our review is encased in a limited edition Philippine-exclusive doodle box. The doodle embossed on the box is the winner of the realme doodle challenge held back in June. Only a thousand of these boxes will be shipped in the Philippines so if you’re a hardcore realme fan, then this box is a must-have.

Aside from the special box, the accessories included with C15 remains unchanged from previous entries. The smartphone is accompanied by a welcome note from the brand, documentation, a SIM ejector pin, and a microUSB cable, and an 18W Fast Charger. Unfortunately, the case has been stricken from the list of usual extras from a C series device.

Screen and Design

The realme C15 has a 6.5-inch IPS display with a 1600 x 720 resolution, which are the specifications as the C11. Instead of only having a plastic screen protector, however, they are throwing in a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass on top of the screen itself in order to protect it from damage.

At 6.5-inches, its display is undoubtedly large. With a resolution of only 1600 x 720, however, there are times that the screen will look less-than-crisp especially if you’re holding it just a few inches from your eyes.

Despite the sub-optimal resolution for the big display, colors are reproduced with just the right saturation to be pleasant to the eyes. Color temperature can be quickly adjusted through the display settings from cool, default, or warm. Brightness of the screen is fairly decent as well allowing us to use the smartphone in broad daylight without difficulty.

realme changes the rear design of the C15 to differentiate itself from other members in the family. It now has what the brand calls a “geometric gradient design” that splits the rear of smartphone into three distinct shapes and color gradients. It’s an attractive design that changes the intensity of the colors depending on the angle where you look at it.

Like its predecessors, the rear is made out of matte plastic material that tries to eliminate fingerprint smudges. It is somewhat successful in deterring smudges but we expect that the material will give way to your finger’s natural oils sometime in the future.

Its volume rockers and power button are located at the right-hand side while its triple-cut SIM tray is placed at the left-hand side. The fingerprint scanner makes a return after being removed from the C11, allowing the C15 to have another layer of protection in addition to its PIN code and Face Unlock settings.

Its bottom houses the grilles for the bottom-firing speaker, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a MicroUSB port for data transfers and charging. We’ve been spoiled by the ease of use of USB Type-C but since the C15 is positioned in a budget-oriented market, we won’t knock off marks by using MicroUSB to lower down costs.

User Interface

Like most of its contemporaries, the runs on Android 10 with the company’s now near-universal realme UI. Home screen customization remains one of the focus of the smartphone’s software environment allowing you to change the size and design of app icons to fit your design philosophy.

Standard options such as a drag down control center and a quick switch to and from dark mode are present. Gestures are comprehensively supported allowing for screen-off gestures as well as general navigation.

There are old features that are missing, however, like Smart Assistant and Smart Sidebar. Perhaps these have been removed in order to distance themselves from their OPPO roots. Hopefully, realme will be replacing them with similar widgets since they offer a variety of useful functions.

Camera

Traditionally bound in dual or triple rear camera setups, the realme C15 ups the game by adding another camera. This means that for the first time, an entry in the brand’s C lineup has four cameras at the back. Its quad camera setup is comprising of a 13MP f/2.2 main, an 8MP f/2.25 ultrawide, a 2MP f/2.4 mono lens, and a 2MP f/2.4 retro camera.

Its 13MP f/2.2 main camera snaps decent photos with a wide dynamic range and saturation. On auto, however, the realme C15 does tend to over-brighten photos especially in good lighting outdoors. Details, however, are still preserved despite the increased brightness of the photos.

While the main camera do take brighter photos than we expected, the 8MP f/2.25 ultrawide camera is the opposite. Based on our experience, images taken with the ultrawide lens is a bit on the darker side of things. Although a bit darker than we would like it to be, the photos still retain some level of detail especially if you’re just posting on social media.

You can’t actively take standalone photos with the 2MP f/2.4 mono and the 2MP f/2.4 retro lenses. They assist the main camera once you go into portrait mode. They help by adding detail and more contrast in Black and White, and Sepia-themed colors, respectively.

At the front is a 5MP f/2.4 selfie camera. Like with the C11, the C15’s selfie camera works well if you’re taking photos in a well-lit area. Low-light performance is a bit sub-par but that’s to be expected for a budget-oriented smartphone. AI Beautification, when left on auto, still turns skin a bit smoother to be considered natural by most.

Performance, Benchmarks, and Battery Life

The realme C15 houses a MediaTek Helio G35 with 3GB/4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. The unit we have on review is the higher 4GB variant, which is a bit more expensive. Playing games with the C15 reveals the chipset’s budget-friendly nature. On our testing, we needed to turn down some of the graphical settings in titles such as Call of Duty: Mobile and PUBG to get a steady playable framerate.

Benchmarks show that the realme C15 is a pretty capable smartphone although not mind-blowing at this price point. It scores just a smidge higher across the board compared to the C11 but these higher scores can be attributed to the higher RAM capacity of the C15. Scores include a 6,025 in PCMark 2.0, 111,398 in AnTuTu, and 614 in 3DMark with the Vulkan API.

Battery life is where the realme C15 truly shines. Packing a 6,000mAh battery, it has one of the largest battery capacities in the entry-level market. We were able to use the device for almost 2 days before we went anywhere near a charging point. Running PCMark 2.0 battery test yields more than 18 hours of usage, which is a tall feat for any smartphone.

realme is considerate enough to include an 18W Fast Charging connection through its MicroUSB port at the bottom. This allows charging to be done in around 2 hours from 0 to 100%. Given that it has a massive battery, we’re thankful that they upgraded its charging from the usual 10W speeds.

Conclusion

The realme C15 is definitely a step up from last month’s C11. While it doesn’t offer the same processing performance as the C3, its larger battery, additional RAM and storage, and faster charging speeds more than make up for its lesser scores in benchmarks.

Priced at PhP 6,990 for the 4GB/64GB version and PhP 6,490 Lazada-exclusive 3GB/64GB version, the realme sticks to the C series formula: offer more features at a decent price. With the things the way they are, the realme C15 is a perfect smartphone for students or those who need a smartphone that will last through extremely long sessions of studying, working, playing, or watching videos.