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Realme Book Slim First Impressions: The Good, The Bad & The X-Factor
Chinese smartphone manufacturers have spiced up the Indian PC market. Following Xiaomi's footsteps, Realme has now unveiled some exciting new notebooks with high-end features at competitive prices. The brand has launched its first notebook- Realme Book Slim in two configurations- 11th Generation Intel Core i3 processor with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD at Rs. 46,999, and 11th Generation Intel Core i5 CPU with 8GB RAM and 512GB SSD at Rs. 59,999.
We have started testing the i3 variant in the premium-looking 'Real Bue' color option. The premium-looking sub-50K notebook flaunts a 14-inch 2160 x 1440p (2K) display and weighs just 1.38 kilograms. It runs on Windows 10 and locks horns with the recently launched RedmiBook laptops and the Mi Notebook series along with various sub-50K laptops from legacy PC brands- Dell, HP, Lenovo, Asus, Acer, etc.
Should you consider buying Realme's first-ever notebook? Let's find out.
Realme has hit the sweet spot by providing a vibrant IPS display that instantly grabs the eyeballs. Unlike most sub-50k laptops that feature 1080p screens with a standard 16:9 aspect ratio, the Realme Book Slim features a 14-inch 3:2 aspect ratio panel with a 2160×1440p resolution. Resultantly, you get more screen real-estate for work and fun and sharper visuals. You will hardly find a sleek and premium-looking notebook flaunting such a fine display at this price.
Needless to say, videos look immersive and text/graphics appear crisp. You will enjoy watching videos, browsing the web, and performing day-to-day tasks on the edge-to-edge screen offering a 90% screen-to-body ratio. Moreover, the display also gets adequately bright for outdoor usage. I sat on my balcony to draft this story on the very notebook in testing and did not experience any visibility issues.
Realme is claiming 100% sRGB color gamut support on the display. We will run some tests to evaluate the display's color tuning and other important aspects in our comprehensive review; however, this is surely the notebook to consider if a good screen is your priority.
Premium Looks & Portable Design
We don't mind Realme copying the Apple MacBook's form factor as the result is a premium-looking and portable notebook at half the price. Not everyone out there is willing to invest in the Apple ecosystem because of obvious reasons and if you happen to be one of them, you will appreciate the look and feel of the Realme Book Slim.
The notebook has a definite style quotient and it's very portable. You can easily carry it around in a bag pack or a sleek case while commuting on public transport. It's that lightweight. The Realme Book Slim weighs 1.38 kgs and has a thickness of 15.5mm.
The notebook feels solid and the fit and finish are very premium, thanks to an aluminum alloy construction. The soft matte finish feels good to touch and the minimal design appearance with vibrant colors looks good. Overall, Realme has managed to create a stylish and premiumlooking notebook that's also very portable. The Realme Book Slim is available in two color options- Grey and Blue.
You can buy the Realme Book Slim in two configurations. The high-end variant comes equipped with an 11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor with 8GB LPDDR4x RAM, 512GB PCIe Samsung SSD, and Intel Iris Xe Graphics. The base variant gets an 11th Gen Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor with 8GB LPDDR4x RAM and 256GB PCIe SanDisk SSD.
The i3 variant has Intel UHD to handle graphics-related tasks. Both variants run Windows 10 and will be upgraded to Windows 11, slated for an official launch on October 5, 2021. The notebook comes preinstalled with Realme's PC Connect, the cross-connect Windows and Android software that allows you to operate your phone and access your mobile apps directly on your laptop.
We have been using the i3 variant for over two days now. In fact, our first impressions article has been drafted on the test machine and we haven't come across any issues. The notebook seems to be taking care of all day-to-day tasks with no performance issues. More to be revealed in our comprehensive review.
Moving on, I am very impressed with the audio setup on the Realme Book Slim. The sleek and lightweight notebook comes equipped with two Harman speakers, which support DTS HD stereo and produce loud and crisp audio. The sound delivery is even better than the recently launched top-end variant of the Mi notebook Ultra that costs as much as Rs. 78,000.
Lastly, the Realme Book Slim seems to be offering a respectable battery life. It is powered by a 54Whr battery which is supported by a compact yet powerful- 65W USB-PD charger.
Good keypad Layout & Large Trackpad
Typing felt right at home on the Realme Book Slim. The notebook has a nicely laid-out keypad with three-level backlit lighting, which is something hard to find in this price category. The keys have decent travel (1.3mm) and good feedback that ensures an effortless typing experience. Underneath is a large multi-touch trackpad that supports Windows Precision drivers. It feels solid to touch and doesn't come across as flimsy. The power button doubles up as a fingerprint scanner on both variants.
Physical ports and connectivity seem to be the area where Realme has made some compromises. The i3 variant we are testing has 2x USB 3 Type-C ports, 1 x USB 3.2. Gen 1 Type-A port, and a 3.5mm headphone-microphone jack. Realme has reserved the Thunderbolt 4 port for the i5 variant. The i3 variant gets Bluetooth 5.1 and the Wi-Fi 5 wireless connectivity, whereas the i5 variant supports the latest Bluetooth 5.2 and Wi-Fi 6 standards.
Should You Consider Buying The Realme Book Slim?
Realme seems to have learned from Xiaomi's mistakes and have come up with a well-thought product. So far, the Realme Book Slim seems promising and justifying its cost; however, its true performance will be evaluated in our detailed review.
You can also check out our first impressions of the Mi Notebook Ultra if you are planning to purchase a high-end i7-powered Windows laptop. And if you want the best-in-class performance in the sub-50K price-point, check out our review of the RedmiBook 15 Pro.