The Realme 7 5G is an affordable smartphone that covers the basics and more. With its improved 120hz, 6.5-inch display and new MediaTek Dimensity 800U 7nm processer, the specs are competitive and beyond what you would expect from a smartphone costing £279. This makes the Realme 7 5G a worthy alernative the the Oneplus Nord or the Google Pixel 4A 5G.
- 6.5 Inch FHD+ Display
- 120hz Refresh Rate
- 48MP Quad Camera
- MediaTek Dimensity 800U Chipset
- 6GB Ram / 128GB Storage
- 30W Fast Charge
- 5000mAh Battery
Realme hasn’t been in the UK market for long, but it’s moved aggressively in that time. The Realme 6 series only launched earlier this year and the Realme X50 Pro has easily been one of the most underrated and unappreciated phones of the last 12 months. Moving on to the latter end of the year, Realme recently launched their 7 series consisting of the Realme 7 and the Realme 7 Pro (you can find my video review of the Realme 7 here) but have now launched the Realme 7 5G bringing an extra G to the fray and also making one of the cheapest 5G phones you can buy right now.
Starting from £279, the Realme 7 5G undercuts the Oneplus Nord (£379) and the Google Pixel 4A 5G (£499) and while it can’t quite compete on pure performance or camera chops, with an attractive design that keeps up with most smartphones and a non intrusive Android 10 skin, the Realme 7 5G will appeal more to some.
Theres nothing wildly out of place or anything unique to the Realme 7 5G design. You get a metal back (so no wireless charging here) which has 2 slightly different gradients. One is a strip running down from the camera bump and the second covers the rest of the phone. They both have some colour at first but when catching it just right in any light source, you get a nice display of multiple shades of blue and opposing gradiants. Its nice to look at and isnt as glossy or garish as some other phones that try the same effect.
You’ll get the now standard multi camera array at the back with volume buttons on the left and power/standby key on the left which also houses the fingerprint sensor which works as well as any other Realme device. The speakers are only mono so sound as you’d expect, nothing special but perfectly usable for this price point. On the plus side you do at least get a headphone jack. That’s joined by a USB-C port for charging.
I’ve already written a lot about the displays that Realme use on other reviews but this is much of the same. A 6.5inch display that is fairly big and has a Full HD resolution of 2400×1080. It’s fast too though, with a 120Hz refresh rate – which basically means it looks and feels smoother to use and is capable of hitting higher framerates if you’re big on gaming. It’s an effect that’s hard to put into words until you’ve used it, but trust me: using a 120Hz phone feels better, even if you can’t quite put your finger on it, and that alone will make this an upgrade for many.
One thing to consider is that this is a LCD panel not an OLED so you wont get the kind of deep blacks and viewing angles you may expect from an OLED display but Realme have been using LCD displays for their high refresh rates with great results this year and you wont be disappointed with the experience here either.
There’s a 90% screen-to-body ratio, which basically means slim borders around the display’s edges – admittedly with a bit of a chunky chin right at the bottom. There’s also a punch-hole selfie camera in the top-left corner – my preferred spot, as it keeps it nicely out of the way.
SOFTWARE & PERFORMANCE
Realme have gotten so much better with their Android skin this year. It is almost at vanilla Android levels with a few apps and tweaks thrown in but its honestly is great to use. You can disable or remove the apps you wont use (and there aren’t as many as there used to be) and after that, the experience is as you’d expect from Android 10.
If you happen to care about phone processors, the Realme 7 5G is powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 800U, a new 7nm chip that’s designed to bring high-level performance to budget devices, especially for gaming.
During my time with the phone, I didnt see any issue with gaming, from Call of Duty Mobile to Among Us, there have been no frame rate drops or the phone getting too hot to hold so performance wise, this has been great.
For everything else, the phone is fast and fluid and the 120hz refresh rate helps keep navigation buttery smooth. In general I found the Realme 7 5G perfectly snappy and responsive. The 5000 mAh battery has also been brilliant, easily lasting a day when the refresh rate has been set to adaptive but you will find that the battery will run down quicker if the 120hz refresh rate is on permanently.
When it’s time to top up, the included 30W charger recovered 58% of the battery capacity in just half an hour in my test. That’s basically enough power to last the day from just half an hour on the charger, which isn’t bad at all.
Coming onto 5G, this is a tricky one. The UK doesnt have a great deal of 5G available areas and its a bit of a mess. This combined with the lockdown has prevented me from being able to test the speeds and battery life. The 5G speeds will vary based on which network youare using and how strong he 5G network is but I have to reiterate that at £279, this is easily the cheapest 5G smartphone you can buy in the UK right now.
So far things have all been pretty good, but if there’s a weak link to the Realme 7 it’s really the camera. On paper it looks promising enough: a 48MP, f/1.8 main lens, backed up by an 8MP ultrawide and portrait and macro sensors.
In practice, things are slightly less encouraging. Thanks to the 48Mp sensor detail is decent so long as the lighting is good, and most of my shots have been crisp and sharp. Colour reproduction is less impressive though, with consistently warm tones that never quite feel true-to-life, with the effect getting more pronounced in lower light.
The portrait mode is hit and miss with slightly ropey edge detection especially with hair/beards. Night mode is better though. There’s a slight hint of image softening on occasion thanks to the long focus, but nothing too bad, and colour reproduction is actually good here. Importantly, the photos still look like they were taken at night – something many other phones get wrong, brightening dark photos until they look like daylight.
The other lenses in the camera array arent as versatile or as detailed as the main sensor. The ultrawide is distinctly fuzzy and undetailed, so will only do in a pinch. As for the macro, like on most budget phones this lens is really only there to pad the numbers – even up close you’ll get better shots out of the main camera than the macro lens.
The 16Mp selfie camera isn’t bad at all though. Colours are still a little warm, but selfies are sharp, and in my test shots it handled the portrait mode better than the rear camera setup, even without a dedicated portrait photography lens.
As for video, you can film up to 4K at 30fps or 1080p at 60fps from the rear cameras, with electronic image stabilisation to keep footage steady. You can also shoot slo-mo at up to 240fps if you fancy.
Overall the Realme 7’s camera is good and bad. Good because you get all the modes and versatility of flagship devices and bad because alot of the time the images will be just okay rather than razor sharp. But as an overall package with the price you are paying, you could do alot worse.
Realme have come along way since they entered the UK market and the pandemic has not stopped them going full steam ahead with new smartphones and complimentary tech such as smartwatches and wireless earphones.
They have made their mark by providing low cost – big spec devices and the Realme 7 5G is no different. If you are looking to enter the world of 5G but not confident enough to spend flagship money then this phone would be a great option.
REALME 7 5G
A decent spec sheet at a great price with 5G thrown in. Realme are going all in on the low cost – high spec phone and this is another great entry