Realme 5s First Impressions: Pros, Cons And The X Factor

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The successor to the highly popular budget smartphone- Realme 5 goes live on sale today. The base variant of the Realme 5s offers 4GB RAM and 64GB internal memory and comes at an aggressive starting price of Rs. 9,999. Priced at Rs. 10,999, the higher variant also packs 4GB RAM but offers 128GB internal storage.

Realme 5s
 

As for the display and processor, the Realme 5s sports a big 6.5-inch Full HD+ screen and is backed by the tried and tested Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 AIE chipset. The budget smartphone is fuelled by a massive 5,000mAh battery unit and comes equipped with a quad-lens camera setup featuring a 48MP high-resolution primary sensor.

With the launch of the Realme 5s, the company is once again set to challenge Xiaomi in the budget price category. If you recall, Xiaomi recently unveiled the Redmi Note 8 and the Note 8 Pro smartphones in India. The specs and features of the Realme 5s are quite similar to the Xiaomi's budget champion- Redmi Note 8, which is also priced at Rs. 9,999 for the base variant.

The higher variant of the Redmi Note 8 is priced slightly higher at Rs. 12,999. Which is a better smartphone between the two? Let's try to find this out with the following first impressions of the Realme 5s. Here we have highlighted the good, bad and the X factor of the Realme 5s budget handset.

Realme 5s Pros

Realme 5s Pros

Big 6.5-inch Display

With a big 6.5-inch display, the Realme 5s offers enough real estate to browse web pages, stream videos and play games. The screen has a tiny dewdrop notch at the top and slim bezels on either side that results in a respectable screen-to-body ratio of 89%. If you prefer big screen devices, the Realme 5s is a good budget option.

Long-Lasting 5,000mAH Battery Unit
 

Long-Lasting 5,000mAH Battery Unit

The battery is one department where the Realme 5s has an edge over the competition. The smartphone is backed by a massive 5,000mAh battery unit that easily lasts a day even with heavy usage. You can stream videos and play games on a stretch and the phone will still last you a day on one full charge.

In comparison, the Redmi Note 8 ships with a smaller 4,000mAh battery cell. The Vivo U20 is backed by a 5,000mAh battery cell and comes at a starting price of Rs. 10,990.

Splash-Resistant Design

Splash-Resistant Design

The diamond-cut design of the Realme 5s is also splash-resistant. The company claims that the Realme 5s can resist minor accidents as it boasts a multi-layer water-proof design with three splash-resistant layers from the inside to the outside. The important components such as the 3.5mmheadphone jack, the charging port and the microphones are protected by glue and a rubber casing to prevent damage from the liquid.

Moreover, the company also mentions that the SIM card slot, battery cover, component connectors and other gaps are also sealed with foam splash-resistant ring for protection against liquid. While the three-layer splash-resistant design sounds quite impressive, the Realme 5s does not come with an official IP rating. We would recommend using the handset with proper care to prevent damage from any form of liquid.

Swift Everyday Performer- Snapdragon 665 AIE Chipset

Swift Everyday Performer- Snapdragon 665 AIE Chipset

The Realme 5s is powered by the tried and tested Snapdragon 665 AIE chipset. It runs on Android 9.0 ColorOS 6.1. The lower-midrange chipset is built on 11nm fabrication process and replaces the Snapdragon 660 processor. It is an octa-core SoC and is accompanied by Adreno 610 GPU to handle graphical related tasks. With 2x Kryo 260 cores clocked @2.0 GHz and the remaining 4x Kryo 260 cores are clocked @1.8 GHz, the SD665 is a good chipset for everyday jobs.

Combined with 4GB RAM, the CPU ensures smooth performance for most of the tasks. You can stream videos, open multiple tabs in Chrome, play games, edit pictures and perform all other general tasks on the Realme 5s without any major performance slowdowns. Don't expect heavy games to run without any frame drops as the Adreno 610 is not a very powerful GPU unit; however, the Realme 5s can easily handle light games and HD video playback.

Dedicated microSD Card Slot

Dedicated microSD Card Slot

With the Realme 5s, you don't have to compromise connectivity over storage and vice versa. The smartphone features a dedicated microSD card slot. What this means is that you can use two nano-SIM cards and a microSD card at the same time to expand the internal memory of the handset.

Realme 5s Cons

6.5-inch Display Feels Lifeless

6.5-inch Display Feels Lifeless

While the big screen comes handy to browse web pages, stream videos and play games, the screen's resolution is a bit setback. The Realme 5s boasts a big 6.5-inch screen that lacks high-resolution and a good PPI count. The HD+ display offers a resolution of 720 x 1600 that accounts to an average pixel density of 269 PPI.

The low resolution and subpar pixel density directly affects the multimedia experience. The gameplay and video playback does not come across as immersive as it appears on the direct rival Redmi Note 8 that flaunts a smaller 1080p screen. Realme should have offered a Full HD+ panel on the Realme 5s as the underlying chipset supports up to full HD+ resolution panels.

Dated Gorilla Glass 3+ Protection

Dated Gorilla Glass 3+ Protection

It is not just the pixel density and resolution that makes the Realme 5s inferior to the competition. The smartphone also lacks in the screen durability department. The 6.5-inch HD+ screen on the Realme 5s is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3+ protection, whereas the competition offers Gorilla Glass 5 layer. The Gorilla Glass 5 offers better protection from accidental damages than the Gorilla Glass 3+.

Plastic Build

Plastic Build

While the Realme 5s is not a bad looking device, it fails to match the premium in-hand feel of its direct rival Redmi Note 8. The latter offers Gorilla Glass 5 protection on both front and back and is also a better one-hand fit. The Realme 5s is bigger in size and generally requires two hands for comfortable handling.

10W Fast Charger In The Box

While the Realme 5s wins the battery game by offering a 5,000mAh battery cell, the in-box contents include a 10W charger. In comparison, the Redmi Note 8 bundles an 18W fast-charger, which refuels the battery in roughly half the time of what a 10W charging adaptor takes.

The X Factor

 

Feature-rich 48MP Quad-Lens Camera Setup

Feature-rich 48MP Quad-Lens Camera Setup

In addition to the 5,000mAH battery cell, the key highlight feature of the Realme 5s is the quad-lens camera setup. The four-lens camera array comprises of a 48MP high-resolution main sensor. The 48MP camera uses the same ISOCELL GM1 sensor that powers the 48MP camera on the Redmi Note 8. You can expect the same picture output; however, the software also plays a big role in the final image output. In contrast, the Realme 5 Pro's 48MP camera works on the Sony IMX 586 sensor and is a better overall performer in terms of color processing and overall image output.

Nevertheless, the 48MP primary camera with the 1/2-inch image sensor and f/1.8 aperture does a good job. The images and videos look crisp and detailed. The 48MP sensor is accompanied by an 8MP wide-angle lens that uses an aperture of f/2.25 and captures 119° field of view. Next in line is the 2MP dedicated macro lens with 4cm focus distance and a 2MP depth sensor working on a darker f/2.4 aperture.

Considering the price-point, the Realme 5s' camera captures decent shots. You can derive some decent wide-angle and macro shots on this budget handset. As we have just started using the Realme 5s, you will find more details on the camera performance in our detailed review.

Should You Buy The Realme 5s?

Should You Buy The Realme 5s?

The Realme 5s is a good deal at a starting price of Rs. 9,999. The budget handset offers a large display, splash resistant design, humongous 5,000mAh battery cell and feature-rich quad-lens camera setup. It is powered by the same Snapdragon 665 chipset that powers up the Redmi Note 8; however, the Xiaomi's budget device offers a crisper 1080p screen with better protection (GG5) and slightly premium design.

We will compare the gaming, multitasking and processing speed of the handsets in our detailed review of the Realme 5s. The Realme 5s is available in three new colors - Crystal Red, Crystal Blue and Crystal Purple in two variants- 4+64GB priced at Rs. 9,999 and 4+128GB priced at Rs. 10,999.

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