Realme has been taking the market by storm with almost one or two new releases every month, that’s right, every month. With little to no difference between the generation that comes prior, Realme follows a diligent PR program and ensures that every new phone they release is “new”. While it seems like only yesterday, that we got our hands on the Realme 7, we are back again with the review for the new Realme 7i.
Realme has stuck to the tried and tested formula of making a smartphone that delivers more for less. Priced at INR 11,999, the Realme 7i is very much like a watered-down version of the Realme 7. But, does it have that little x-factor that makes it a purchase worth the money?
Let’s find out –
Design and Display –
When we reviewed the Realme 7, we were awestruck at how premium, Realme made their devices feel in hand, especially considering their aggressive prices in the market. The matte finish was just too good to behold and if we had to choose just one reason to recommend the Realme 7 series, it would be the design.
However, the Realme 7i makes the cost-cutting efforts obvious. The plastic case at the back feels cheap in the hand, and it totally eats away at the premium feel that the other models in the 7 series bring to the table. The plastic back also attracts dust and fingerprints, which means, a phone case is a must.
The rectangular camera module does give it a bit of saving grace in terms of appearance, and the fingerprint sensor is also positioned flush on the back panel itself. We still have the unibody form factor made of plastic, which hosts a USB C Type charging port and a rare 3.5mm headphone jack, at the bottom of the device. The other control buttons didn’t feel as clicky as we would expect, which puts a big question mark on their durability and longevity.
On the front, we have the 6.5-inch display which Realme hypes for its 90 Hz refresh rate. What you may not know, is that the resolution of this display maxes out at 720p, which, in today’s day and age, is unacceptable. Sure, the display is vibrant, the colors are accurate to a degree and the text and images are sharp, but when the best you can do is 720p, you are not necessarily spoilt for choice.
Sunlight legibility is not the greatest we have seen in an INR 12,000 device, while content streaming is also limited to a paltry 720p. Again, in an age where people stream their favorite shows and other content in full 4K resolution, having to settle for 720p is sad.
Coming to the hardware side of things, the display comes with narrow bezels on three sides, with a very visible chin and a hole-punch camera. We are seeing a lot of brands essentially ditching the notch on their devices, and it looks like Realme is following suit.
Realme has been going very hard on the 90Hz display hype, and we decided to see exactly how much of a change or improvement this brings to the table, along with the rest of the performance package.
So, starting off, the Realme 7i is powered by the Snapdragon 662 chipset, along with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage. The Snapdragon 662 chipset has proven to be a capable performer, but only when optimized for the target device. For example, the same Snapdragon 662 performed really smoothly on the Motorola phone, but then again, Motorola devices work on stock Android, which, in itself, is a very light UI.
When it comes to the Realme 7i, the Snapdragon 662 has to contend with the rather heavy Realme UI, and almost instantly, the whole experience becomes very clunky. Sure, the more menial tasks are carried off in good fashion, but the moment you start piling up the apps, the scrolling becomes laggy, the whole system just ramps down in terms of speed.
Gaming is another area where we were not completely convinced with the Realme 7i. The reason is that the Realme 7 had set such a high benchmark, thanks to its stellar gaming performance. When we tried to run the currently trending games like Call of Duty, Asphalt, even FIFA, what we got was an absolute sub-par performance. There were loads of lags and lots of cases where the game just quit out. But, when we tried running more casual games, like Candy crush, the Realme 7i felt definitely a lot more at home.
The audio output is not at all something to be proud of in the Realme 7i, and we preferred to consume our favorite content with a wired earphone set, or sometimes, the wireless buds.
Realme has played it safe here by giving the 7i, the exact camera package that was on the Realme 7. So, what we have is a 64-megapixel main camera at the back with an aperture of F1.8. This is paired with an 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera, a 2-megapixel macro camera, and a 2-megapixel monochrome camera.
The daylight performance is decent on the Realme 7i, but the moment you enter an area with low light, the performance takes a visible dip. Sharpness is a miss as we experienced a noticeable loss in quality when we zoomed in to take a shot.
Rainy or cloudy conditions lead to softer images as the AI jumps in to try and remove the graininess. This is something that you may or may not find to your liking. Realme’s classic oversaturated color profile makes photos look dramatic.
When it comes to the other cameras, the 8 MP Ultrawide camera tends to overcomplicate things by enhancing every single photo you take, whether you want to or not. The distortion around the edges of most photos is quite obvious, and the whole output is only great when you take your ultra-wide photos in good lighting conditions.
The next camera we have in the module is the 2-megapixel macro camera with a focal length of 4cm. This sensor also does well in good lighting but falters when conditions become less than ideal.
The final sensor is the monochrome sensor. This particular sensor only helps with the details and as such, you won’t be using this particular sensor alone.
On the front of the device, the 16MP sensor captures a lot of details and enhances them automatically to make them stand out. The aggressive post-processing, even without beauty mode, ruins the look at times. We just wished that the AI was not so much in your face in the Realme 7i.
The Realme 7i is powered by a massive 5000mAh battery. Looking at the limitations that the Realme 7i has in terms of performance and display, it’s not surprising to see the device lasting more than a day on a single charge. We still get the 18W charging, which is quite good when it comes to giving your that last-minute burst in battery life.
All in all, the Realme 7i looks like a device that was hurried into the market to keep the market share intact. It is very clear that little or no thought has been put into this device, as there are some glaring omissions that make the Realme 7i, a product that you can actually miss. There are a lot of offerings in the market that rival the Realme 7i, and offer features that are obviously better and more relevant for users today.