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Realme 7 Review: All-Round Performance At Aggressive Price
Realme today unveiled two new smartphones and a couple of lifestyle products in India. The new smartphones- the Realme 7 and the Realme 7 Pro bring premium design, Full HD+ displays and are powered by powerful chipsets. The one we are reviewing today- the Realme 7 boasts a 90Hz refresh rate LCD screen and boasts a 64MP quad-lens rear camera setup featuring the Sony IMX682 sensor. It is powered by the newly launched MediaTek G95 SoC and draws power from a massive 5,000 mAh cell which is aided by a 30W fast-charger in the box.
- Premium Design
- Fluid 90Hz Refresh Rate Display
- Swift Performance
- Camera Offers Good Daylight Performance
- Good Battery Life
- Feature-Rich Camera
- Camera Software Needs Refinements
- Reflective LCD Panel Has Average Outdoor Visibility
- Dated Screen Protection
- Feels Bulky In Hands
The spec-sheet is quite promising for a smartphone which comes at a starting price of Rs. 14,999 for the 6GB RAM and 64GB configuration. We are testing the 8GB + 128GB variant which is priced at Rs. 16,999. Here's how the smartphone performed in our review.
Design- Premium Aesthetics But Feels Slightly Heavy
I am glad Realme ditched the gradient finish style for the Realme 7-series and opted for subtle solid color back panels. There is no glittery gradient pattern this time that reflects light with the slightest hand movements. Instead, you get minimal looking solid white and blue shades which look much more polished than all previous iterations of the ‘Realme Number-Series' devices.
The back panel with frosted finish looks much premium and feels much better to touch than devices with glossy back panels. It is made out of plastic but feels sturdy. The new design is called AG Split design, as it divides the back panel into two parts. I wish the quad-lens camera module was placed inside the other half as the line cuts the camera setup at almost centre which looks a bit off from a clean geometric design point-of-view.
Splash Resistant Body
Nevertheless, the phone still makes a solid impression. Realme also claims that the Realme 7 is splash resistant. As per the brand, all of the phone's ports are sealed by a silicone protection layer which will offer required protection from water splashes. As for ergonomics, the phone feels bulky and heavy as it houses a massive 5,000mAh battery cell. I don't mind some weight if the phone lasts longer with heavy usage.
Overall, Realme has improved the design to a good extent. Available in two color variants- Mist White and Mist Blue, the Realme 7 is by far the most premium ‘Realme Number-Series' smartphone, in fact, it looks way more premium than almost all sub-18K smartphones selling in the Indian market.
3-Slot SIM Card Tray, Type-C Port And Side-Mounted Fingerprint Scanner
Realme always ensures all design basics are met and the same goes with the Realme 7. The smartphone comes equipped with a 3-slot SIM card tray which can be used to accommodate two 4G nano-SIM cards and a microSD card simultaneously. The phone has a Type-C charging port at the bottom along with a microphone, speaker unit and the conventional 3.5mm audio jack. The fingerprint scanner is placed on the right side due to the LCD panel's restriction of housing a biometric scanner underneath. I prefer the side-mounted biometric scanners as the thumb naturally lands on the spot to lock/unlock the screen.
6.53-inch 1080p LCD Screen With 90Hz Refresh Rate
Like its predecessor, the Realme 7 also sports an IPS LCD display with fluid 90Hz refresh rate and 120Hz sampling rate. The 1080p panel offers 2400x1080P FHD+ resolution. As the screen comes in 20:9 aspect ratio, the Realme 7 offers a 90.5% screen-to-body ratio which is pretty good for a sub-20K smartphone. With the 90Hz refresh rate, the IPS LCD panel feels fluid and responsive. And the respectable pixel density makes text, pictures and graphics look crisp and sharp. Compared to the Realme 6, the Realme 7 seems to have a slightly better overall LCD panel.
Good Color Reproduction But Underwhelming Peak Brightness Levels
The IPS LCD panel's color reproduction is good and videos and gameplay looks immersive. The screen works well for indoor usage and multimedia consumption as the 480nits brightness seems sufficient. However, the same cannot be said for outdoor use. The LCD screen seems reflective and loses visibility in direct sunlight as the peak brightness levels seem inadequate.
As far as screen protection is concerned, Realme has offered the dated Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection on the Realme 7 and the Realme 7 Pro. Notably, the competition has moved towards the much better Corning Gorilla Glass 5 even in the sub-15K price segment.
Similar to the Realme 6, the Realme 7 also boasts a quad-lens rear camera and houses a 16MP selfie camera. The rear camera's primary lens now works on the Sony IMX682 sensor instead of using the Samsung ISOCELL Bright GW1 sensor. The other three camera sensors have received no improvements on the hardware side. The company should have offered a better macro sensor or at least a higher resolution wide-angle camera for better landscape photography. Below are the camera specifications and software features.
Primary Sensor- 64MP, f/1.8, 6P lens, Sony IMX682 Sensor, 1/1.73"
Wide-Angle Sensor- 8MP, f/2.3, 119° Field-Of-View, 5P lens
Depth Sensor- 2MP B&W Portrait Camera, f/2.4, 3P lens
Macro Sensor- 2MP, 4cm Focus Distance, f/2.4, 3P lens
Photography Modes- 64MP High-Resolution Mode, Super NightScape, Starry Mode, Panoramic view, Expert mode (Pro Mode), Time-lapse, Portrait, HDR, Wide-Angle mode, Macro mode, AI scene recognition, AI Beauty, Filter, Chroma Boost, Slow Motion, Bokeh Effect
Video Recording- 4K/30fps video recording, 1080P/30fps, 60fps video recording, 720P/30fps, 60fps video recording, EIS Support, No OIS
Front Camera- 16MP f/2.0, 79.3° Field-Of-View, 5P lens
Photography Modes- Portrait Mode, Timelapse, Panorama, AI Beauty, HDR, Face-Recognition, Filter, Bokeh Effect Control
Video Recording- 1080P, 720p/30fps video recording
Thanks to the Sony IMX 682 sensor, the 64MP primary lens captures crisp shots in daylight with better details than the 64MP camera setup on the predecessor. The 16MP pixel-binned images and the 64MP high-resolution shots show the impressive dynamic range and vibrant colors. Although the camera captures punchy colors in standard mode, you can also enable the Chroma Boost mode if you prefer more vivid and contrasted images for that edited look. It does make pictures stand out but the results are highly edited and show unrealistic colors, cranked up contrast and excessive sharpness.
Some shots with Chroma Boost mode disabled also look unrealistically sharp. Realme should make some adjustments to the camera software as the current version is very harsh on colors, especially the Chroma Boost mode which boosts color saturation a bit too much resulting in artificial-looking shots. Also, noise is a bit too much evident in images which must be tuned for a more pleasing output.
The 16MP selfie camera is a good performer and unlike the rear camera, the result is not marred by unrealistic colors or cranked up contrast and sharpness.
Similar to images, the videos also look crisp and show vibrant colors and good dynamic range. The video recording maxes at 4k 30fps which is impressive for a sub-17k smartphone. The camera supports software-backed stabilization which now also works with the 8MP wide-angle lens and it is called ‘Ultra Steady Max'. The results are satisfactory based on the phone's price but this phone is best used for video recording with a gimbal.
AI Scene Detection, Several Filters And Modes
Moving on, the camera's autofocus is snappy and quickly locks the subject. You can also enable AI Scene recognition which quickly makes adjustments according to the scene to improve the overall picture output. The HDR also works well on the Realme 7 and captures good details in bright and dark areas. The camera app is loaded with various filters and modes to help you make the most out of smartphone photography. Overall, if there's ample amount of light, the Realme 7 will impress you with its picture abilities.
Portrait Camera Performance
The Realme 7 uses a 2MP B&W depth sensor with f/2.4 aperture to create bokeh. Despite a low resolution 2MP sensor, the smartphone captures pleasing portraits. The edge-detection is largely on point if you have maintained the required distance from the subject. I liked the fact that the Realme 7 can also create a bokeh effect if the subject is placed very far. Yes, the edge detection takes a hit but the overall miniature effect looks pretty cool.
Ultra-Wide Angle Shots And Macro Mode
The Realme 7 captures decent wide-angle shots. The 8MP wide-angle camera captures a good field-of-view and takes good landscape shots in favorable lighting. The detailing takes a hit in low-light and the distortion is also very much visible if you capture images in 4:3 aspect ratio. Shoot in full-screen aspect ratio for better results.
The 2MP macro sensor only produces decent results when the light is in abundance. The results are just not at all usable in indoor lighting. Its high-time Realme gets away with the minuscule 2MP macro sensors and start offering at least 5MP macro sensors or create a triple-lens camera system with 5MP depth sensor instead of offering an additional but underwhelming 2MP macro sensor.
Low-Light Camera Performance
The dedicated night mode brings out good details in darker areas but noise also becomes evident in poor lighting situations. If there's some lighting in the frame, the Realme 7's night mode can yield impressive results. The camera app now also offers ‘Starry Mode' which is essentially a 5-minute long-exposure shot to bring out adequate details win the frame that's usually not captured with standard night modes.
Hardware And Software Performance
The Realme 7 has the newly launched MediaTek Helio G95 SoC at its heart. The game-centric chipset is the successor to the well-received G90T which powered the Realme 6 and the Redmi Note 8 Pro. Similar to the G90T, the G95 is also designed on the 12nm fabrication process and incorporates a pair of Arm Cortex-A76 cores operating at up to 2.05GHz and six Cortex-A55 power-efficient cores clocked at 2.0GHz. The improvements come in the form of higher clock speeds of the ARM Mali-G76 MC4 GPU which now operates at 900 MHz instead of the 800MHz in the MTK Helio G90T. The CPU is paired with 6GB and 8GB LPDDR4x dual-channel RAM and 64GB/128GB UFS 2.1 storage. On the software side, the Realme 7 runs on Realme UI V1.0 based on Android 10.
The 8GB/128GB variant performed well in the day-to-day routine. The 90Hz refresh rate screen combined with snappy chipset and well-optimized Realme UI makes the overall user-experience smooth and responsive. The side-mounted fingerprint scanner unlocks the phone in a jiffy and the software backed face-unlock also works well. The 8GB RAM ensured lag-free multitasking on the Realme 7 and the phone can also handle heavy-duty tasks without any performance issues.
Lag-Free Gaming Experience
We also played major game titles to gauge the gaming performance of the new chipset. As expected, the PUBG defaulted to High settings with the frame rate set to High and game-graphics set to HD. The gameplay was smooth and mostly free of frame drops and lags. The phone did get warm after 20 to 25 minutes of continuous gameplay which is pretty normal. Other popular game titles like Dead Trigger 2, Brawlhala and Hitman Sniper ran without any glitches.
We also ran some benchmarks to test the MTK G95's synthetic scores. The Realme 7 scored 9,911 in PC Mark's Work 2.0 Performance test and recorded 527 in GeekBench's Single-core and 1,684 in the Multi-core test. The number varies ever so slightly in comparison to test results achieved on the MediaTek G90T.
Battery Life And Connectivity
With a big 5,000 mAh battery cell, the Realme 7 can easily last for one full day with moderate to heavy usage. If you are always hooked to your smartphone screen for media consumption and also play games on a stretch, you would need an extra refuel at the end of the day with the Realme 7. The smartphone draws power from a 30W Dart Charger (included in the box) that's capable of refueling the battery unit from flat to 100% in about 73 minutes. This is much better overall battery performance than the Realme 6 which is powered by a 4,300 mAh battery cell.
As far as connectivity is concerned, the Realme 7 comes equipped with a Type-C charging port and 3-card slot (2 SIM Slot + 1 MicroSD Slot). You can expand the built-in memory to up to 256GB. The handset supports both 2.4 and 5 GHz 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi network and offers Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity. Besides, you also get the standard connectivity features like GPS, AGPS and GLONASS.
Summarizing the review, the Realme 7 comes across as a decent overall upgrade over the Realme 6. The most notable changes come in the form of design and battery performance. The camera performance has also improved to some extent but is mostly limited to the primary sensor's image/video output and low-light results. The brand should also work towards improving macro and wide-angle photography experience by upgrading the hardware. The 90Hz refresh rate LCD panel offers fluid performance but the panel itself lacks good peak brightness resulting in an underwhelming experience outdoors.
Moving on, the hardware and gaming performance hasn't received any major boost but the overall performance remains very satisfactory. The new MediaTek G95 SoC offers impressive performance in all day-to-day routine and also makes the Realme 7 a good budget gaming handset.
Overall, the Realme 7 is a great value for a money mid-range smartphone, especially the entry-level variant. At Rs. 14,999, the smartphone offers 6GB RAM/64GB built-in memory with dedicated microSD card support, 64MP Sony IMX682 sensor, 90Hz refresh rate screen and a big 5,000mAh battery with 30W fast-charger support.