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Realme 8 5G Review: 5G Smartphone For Everyone
Before writing this review, I reached out around 10 people to take their opinion on 5G smartphones, and the most common reply was that 5G smartphones are expensive hence they might just buy a 4G smartphone. Realme has been one of the front runners when it comes to launching 5G smartphones, and the company has now launched the most affordable 5G device in India -- the Realme 8 5G.
- Most affordable 5G smartphone
- 90Hz refresh rate display
- Above average battery life
- Average camera performance
- Plastic body and frame
Since we can't test the 5G capabilities of the Realme 8 5G, we focused on the device's performance in other aspects? Is it as good as other mid-range smartphones available in India or it is just the 5G capability, which makes it an interesting choice? I have been using the Realme 8 5G as my primary smartphone, and here is what I think.
Realme 8 5G Design: Mellowed Down Design
Most mid-tier smartphones come with a plastic frame, a plastic back panel that tries to mimic glass, and the Realme 8 5G does the same thing. The frame of the phone is made using plastic and the back panel of the phone is also made using plastic, while the front display is protected by a 2.5D curved tempered glass.
I liked the fact that the retail package includes a soft silicon case, which offers good protection to the smartphone, as it wraps around the display, offering increased protection. The Realme 8 5G has a simplistic design with a USB Type-C port, speaker, and a 3.5mm headphone jack located at the bottom.
The device houses the volume button at the left with a SIM card slot with a dedicated microSD card slot, and the fingerprint sensor/power button is on the right side. The overall fit and finish of the product are pretty good, however, I still like the design of the Redmi Note 10 Pro with a glass back panel with various color options.
Even if you plan to use the Realme 8 5G without a case, the device does offer a good amount of grip. However, both the back panel and the display are fingerprint magnets, so you might have to keep a cleaning cloth with you to keep the phone tidy.
When compared to the regular Realme 8, the Realme 8 5G has gone for a simpler design approach by removing that big "Dare To Leap" logo from the back of the smartphone. I have no issues with having big logos on the back of the smartphone as the Realme 8 5G when compared to the Realme 8 looks a bit plain and boring.
To conclude, the design of the Realme 8 5G has gone backward when compared to the regular Realme 8, and I would have liked to see a bit more colorful and bold design choices, which could have set this device apart from regular looking smartphones.
Realme 8 5G Display: Good But Not The Best
The Realme 8 5G has a 6.5-inch IPS LCD screen with a native resolution of 2400 x 1080 (FHD+). The display has a punch hole on the left, which is something that I prefer over a display with a middle punch hole, as the punch hole easily disappears into the content or the game, especially when using in full-screen mode.
The regular Realme 8 comes with an AMOLED display but with a 60Hz refresh rate, while the Realme 8 5G has a 90Hz refresh rate panel, which is an IPS LCD screen. So, no matter which one you choose, you have to make a certain compromise for sure. Especially given the fact that devices like the Redmi Note 10 Pro offer a 120Hz AMOLED panel, which makes the Realme 8, and the Realme 8 5G look a bit underwhelming.
If we start seeing the display on the Realme 8 5G, without comparing, it does offer a good set of features. Despite having an IPS screen, it is very vivid and also gives an option to select between P3 and sRGB color profiles. If you like slightly punchier colors, then, go with the P3 color space, else, you can opt for the sRGB, which offers more life-like colors.
Scrolling on social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram also feels very fluid, thanks to the 90Hz refresh rate. Again, there is an option to set the refresh rate to 60Hz, which will further improve the battery life. However, I feel, one should use the Realme 8 5G with either a 90Hz refresh rate or auto mode to get the best possible user experience on the Realme 8 5G.
The Realme 8 5G does have a good screen with Widevine L1 certification, capable of streaming HD content on platforms like Netflix and Prime Video. However, if you are an OTT buff, then, it is best to go with the Realme 8 with an AMOLED display instead of the Realme 8 5G, as it offers much punchier colors and deeper blacks, further enhancing the multimedia experience. If you are a gamer, then, the Realme 8 5G makes a lot of sense, it has a higher refresh rate panel that does well with the color reproduction too.
Realme 8 5G Camera: Not The Best In The Business
The Realme 8 5G costs Rs. 16,999 for the high-end model for the 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. For this price, I had a lot of expectations from the Realme 8 5G. The camera module on the Realme 8 5G looks like it has a quad-camera setup, but it actually has three cameras, where the device has a 48MP primary sensor with a 2MP depth sensor and a 2MP macro lens. So, it means, it just has a single primary camera that works in every situation.
Both the primary camera and the 16MP front-facing selfie camera can record up to 1080/30fps videos at max, which is another shortcoming of this camera setup as most phones, at this price point offers 4K video recording with 1080/60fps.
In normal daylight conditions and well-lit areas, the Realme 8 5G takes some great photos with a good amount of detailing and dynamic range. Even the selfie camera also does a good job in capturing images under most lighting conditions. Given the price of the phone, I would have liked to see at least a dedicated ultra-wide angle lens, if not for the telephoto lens on the Realme 8 5G.
Realme 8 5G Performance: You Can Play Any Game
The Realme 8 5G is the first smartphone to launch in the country with the MediaTek Dimensity 700 SoC, which is a 5G enabled processor with an octa-core CPU, consisting of two high-performance CPU cores based on Arm Cortex-A76 clocked at 2.2GHz and six efficient cores based on Arm Cortex-A55 clocked at 2GHz. The SoC comes with the Arm Mali-G57 MC2 GPU with a clock speed of 950MHz.
The Realme 8 5G will not amaze you with the benchmark numbers, as it scores slightly lower than the Snapdragon 700 series processor. The Realme 8 5G scores 572 points and 1772 points on Geekbench 5 single-core and multi-core CPU performance, respectively. Similarly, the processor scores 1101 points on the 3DMark Wild Life benchmark test, which is similar to the phones like the Google Pixel 4A 5G and the Samsung Galaxy A52.
Coming to the real-world test, I played COD: Mobile for more than 30 minutes on the Realme 8 5G and I didn't notice any sort of heating even while playing heavy games like COD Mobile. Do note that, the graphics quality and frame rate setting were set to medium by default, and I was getting around 45 to 50fps frame rate. I also played other casual games like Clash of Clans, Temple Run 2, and subway surfers, and I faced no issue while playing either of these titles.
Even when it comes to day-to-day usage, I didn't face any issue on the Realme 8 5G, and it handled normal tasks like texting, calling, and using social media apps without any issue. Yes, there were some minor hiccups in animation while switching between the apps, other than that the device did offer a good user experience.
The Dimensity 700 is a well-optimized processor that handles normal tasks with ease, and can even handle graphics-intensive games like COD: Mobile without any issue. Half the credit for the same also goes for the Realme UI 2.0 skin on top of Android 11 OS. I felt that the whole software is well optimized, and were minimal third-party apps, and most of them can be easily uninstalled.
The Realme 8 5G is a great example that the benchmark numbers do not translate to real-world performance. Despite scoring low on Geekbench, the Realme 8 5G offered a good day-to-day experience, including gaming, which makes this a good smartphone for normal day-to-day usage.
Realme 8 5G Battery Life: All-Day Battery Life
Have I used phones that offered better battery life than the Realme 8 5G? Yes. Does that mean the battery life on the Realme 8 5G is bad? No. The phone comes with a 5000 mAh battery with an 18W fast charger in the box. When compared to the regular Realme 8, the Realme 8 5G charges at a slower rate, which could be a disappointment, even for someone, who is upgrading from the Realme 6 or the Realme 7.
Due to the 5000 mAh battery, the company has been able to keep the weight under check, as the Realme 8 5G just weighs 185 grams, making it easy to use even with a single hand. I am someone, who prefer phones that are light-in-weight, and the Realme 8 5G is a light phone, especially when compared to other 5G capable smartphones in the market.
I used the Realme 8 5G with Airtel network, and during my testing, the device was mostly connected to the WiFi network, which also helped to deliver better battery life. One can easily get over 5 hours of screen-on-time on the Realme 8 5G even with continuous usage. 5G is known to take a toll on battery life, and it is interesting to see how long will the battery lasts on the Realme 5G when connectivity to a 5G network.
Realme 8 5G Connectivity: 5G Ready Smartphone
The Realme 8 5G, as the name suggests is a 5G capable smartphone with support for dual SIM active 5G networking capability. Most 5G smartphones in India support one or two bands, while the Realme 8 5G supports multiple 5G bands, which includes NR_NSA n41(2515-2675MHz)/n77/n78 and NR_SA n1/n28/n41(2515-2675MHz)/n78. This means, there is a high chance that the Realme 8 5G can offer 5G connectivity with multiple carriers.
On top of that, the Realme 8 5G also supports dual-band WiFi and Bluetooth 5.1. Given the phone is touted as a future-proof device, and made for the 5G era, I would have loved to see WiFi 6 and NFC support on the Realme 8 5G.
I made multiple calls on the Realme 8 5G, which includes both VoIP and regular voice calls, and I had no issue when it comes to cellular reception. Even with the WiFi download speeds, I was able to achieve the numbers claimed by my telecom provider.
Verdict: 5G Is The Selling Point
Given the fact that the brand has launched the Realme 8 and the Realme 8 5G as two different devices, it is pretty clear that the company wanted to make an affordable 5G smartphone by cutting a few corners to keep the price in check. The base model of the Realme 8 5G costs Rs. 14,999, which makes it one of the most affordable 5G smartphones in the country.
The Realme 8 5G has a good display, average build quality, good performance, and good battery life. However, it has a sub-par camera, and the styling would have been a little better. I feel that the Realme 8 is still a better device when compared to the Realme 8 5G for the most part. However, if you are keen on getting a 5G smartphone, then definitely get the Realme 8 5G.