Realme has got a lot going for it recently. With the recent launch of its second 5G smartphone, the X50 Pro 5G in Europe, it’s full steam ahead for this young brand with a promise of more 5G devices coming this year.

But let’s set aside 5G for now and look at the 5i (wink). Released last January, the realme 5i is a true budget contender. I’m particularly excited for the 5i as its siblings, the 5 and 5 Pro broke the entry-level segment by being the first to sport a rear quad-camera set-up and bringing serious specs to while staying within budget. Flaunting great specs on paper, we tested it out to see if it holds up to real life use.

Battery for Days

The main selling point of the 5i is its huge battery. With a 5,000 mAh cell, it’s said to last up to 30 days on standby. It took me around a week (with a little browsing, a round or two of COD, and with the WiFi perpetually on) to completely drain it. Benchmarked with PC Mark, it gave a great 19 hours and 12 minutes of performance before tapping out. It also comes with a handy reverse charging feature (wired) so you can use it to power your other devices, if needed. A full charge takes a little less than three hours and it still uses micro USB and doesn’t come with fast charging.  

Surprisingly Powerful

When testing entry-level phones, especially at this price, one usually shouldn’t hope to expect stunning performance. And so, when I tried playing a round of Call of Duty on it, I purposefully didn’t go on ranked mode to make sure that I don’t lose any points if the phone couldn’t handle it. But not only did the realme 5i handle it extremely well, I went on to play several rounds on it and it performed close to the flagships I’ve used in the past. Inside is a Snapdragon 665 AIE processor, Adreno 610 GPU, and 3GB of RAM. Its 6.5-inch LCD display was smooth and while not as vibrant as AMOLED or OLED, was fine for everyday use and casual gaming. If I had to pick out a bad thing, it was that there was a bit of heat after heavy usage but nothing uncomfortable.

Fully Equipped

In every review I do, I make sure to honor the presence of the 3.5mm jack because even if I depend on bluetooth earphones these days, you can’t go wrong with a good ol’ pair of wired earphones.

It has bottom firing speakers that are loud enough to power the whole room but sound gets a bit garbled when playing audio at maximum volume.

The realme 5i also comes with two sim slots and a dedicated slot for the external SD card.

Photo-ready  

Another thing that stuns is the AI quad-camera setup it has. At the rear, it has a 12 MP (f/1.8) main camera + 8 MP (f/2.25) wide-angle lens + 2 MP bokeh lens + 2MP macro lens. Up front, it has a 8 MP (f/2.0) selfie camera set in a waterdrop notch. Additionally, it supports 4K and 1080p HD video recording at 30 fps and has EIS.

Here are some sample shots I’ve taken with the 5i:

Activate Dark Mode

Out of the box, the realme 5i comes powered with ColorOS 6.0.1 based on Android Pie. And for those who love dark mode, the OS can enable a system-wide dark mode so you don’t have to look for third-party apps or get stuck with dark mode for certain apps only.

Dressed for Summer

Instead of the usual holographic gradient back cover, the phone comes with a sunrise design that has subtle rays peeking out from the bottom corner. It seems that this mirror-polished shell takes a lot of work to make. It features a uniquely textured surface made of little grooves, much like a fingerprint.  Realme says that it uses a five-axis precision radium carving machine and 600 minutes of polishing to come up with the finished product—but boy does it look good. It comes in two playful shades: a deep forest green and a vibrant aqua blue.

Our Opinion  

The realme 5i looks great on paper and rocks it even more in real life. At P6,990, it’s a rare gem in the entry-level segment that packs in powerful performance at an affordable price.  


Full Specs:

Display: 6.5” LCD mini-drop multi-touch display, 1600 x 720 resolution

SIM: Dual nano

Operating system: ColorOS 6.0.1, based on Android 9 Pie

Processor:  Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 AIE

GPU:  Adreno 610 GPU

Memory: 3 GB RAM

Storage: 64 GB internal, expandable up to 256 GB via microSD

Cameras: Rear – 12 MP (f/1.8) main camera + 8 MP (f/2.25) wide-angle lens + 2 MP bokeh lens + 2MP macro lens, PDAF, EIS, LED Flash; Front – 8MP

Connectivity: & I/O ports: Wi-Fi 2.4/5 GHz 802.11 b/g/n, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot; 4G/4G+; Bluetooth 5, A2DP, LE; A-GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, GALILEO, BDS; FM Radio; Micro USB; rear-mounted fingerprint sensor; 3.5 mm audio jack

Battery: Non-removable 5,000mAh10W charging

Dimensions & weight:  164.4mm  x 75 mm x 9 mm , 195g

Color: Forest Green, Aqua Blue

Price: P6,990

Realme 5i Full Review: The Real Deal
Build Quality 9
Form Factor 9
Ease of Use 9
Performance 8.7
Value for Money9.5
9Overall Score

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