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Realme 8 5G review

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The low-end, low price smartphone market is busier than ever, with the likes Xiaomi, OnePlus, and seasoned budget phone manufacturers Motorola, and Nokia all releasing super-cheap phones that provide the essentials without putting a dent in your pocket.

Realme is another company that has a long history of reliable, affordable phones. The Realme 8 5G is a new model for 2021. It offers more of the same, with a respectable level performance and aesthetically pleasing design for surprisingly low prices. You won’t find a 5G phone cheaper than this in certain markets.

Jump to…

Release Date and Price

Design

Display

Camera

Performance and specifications

Battery life

Should it be bought?

  • Amazon Realme8 5G (Black), $179.99

There are some compromises that have to be made to reach this price point. You shouldn’t expect the Realme 8-5G to offer the best performance or best camera capabilities. It’s still able to satisfy a large number of users and the real cost of the phone is less important than additional features like wireless charging.

In 2021, 5G will be a hot topic. While most smartphones now have the technology, even those at the lower end, the availability of network coverage around the globe remains limited. Although buying a 5G smartphone now will protect you for the future, it is not a necessity right now.

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It is worth noting that the Realme8 4G version costs more. This phone has a larger screen and better camera, but it does not have the 5G. It’s up to you to choose which features you are most interested in, and you’ll soon find that there is a phone for you.

The 5G and affordable price are undoubtedly the main highlights of this phone. However, we have been impressed by the battery life of the 5,000mAh and the overall performance of the screen. The Realme 8 5G is good in other areas, such as the camera, but it doesn’t really stand out.

You can choose between budget phones and the iPhone 12 Pro Max. The key to choosing the right handset is to weigh the features and price against the cost. The Realme 8 5G is ranked among the most affordable phones. This is exactly what you would expect given the phone maker’s track record.

Realme 8 5G price and release date

  • Prices start at PS199 (around $280/AU$365).
  • One the most affordable 5G handsets
  • Configurations can vary depending on where you live

The Realme 8 5G is available for purchase in the UK starting May 20, but only until May 23, 2021, there are early bird pricing: PS179 for 4GB RAM/64GB storage option (normally price PS199), and PS229 to get 6GB RAM/128GB storage option (normally price PS249).

The best way to obtain the Realme 8 5G at the moment is to visit the Realme website (opens new tab).

It costs around $280 / AU$365 at the starting price, but it is not planned for the phone’s launch in the USA or Australia. For the most current online deals on the phone, please check this page.

Design

  • Solid if unspectacular looks
  • The power switch is the fingerprint sensor
  • No protection

Realme has been producing smartphones for many years. Looking back at past experiences, it’s not surprising that the Realme 8 5G looks great and is well-built. This handset is not cheap, nor does it feel flimsy. However, you won’t get any IP rating protection against dust and water (which is no surprise given the price).

It is slightly thinner than similar handsets, like the Nokia 5 or the Moto G50. It’s a great phone in terms of design and aesthetics at this price, but you won’t find any innovation.

The display measures 74.8mm (2.9inches) in width and 162.5mm (6.4inches in height). The phone weighs 185g (6.5 ounces).

As you look at your phone, volume controls are on the left. On the right side is a recessed power button which doubles as a fingerprint scanner – something that phone manufacturers continue to do despite our complaints.

This makes it more difficult to locate and press the power button, as well as makes unlocking the phone more difficult, so we would prefer to see the fingerprint sensor underneath the screen or on the back.

The glossy plastic back gives the Realme 8 5G a premium look. It has a subtle shimmering effect. It is located in the upper left-hand corner. Although it does add a significant camera bump, we are able to live with it. You have two options: Supersonic Blue (translations: blue) or Supersonic Black.

The Realme 8 5G will look great alongside smartphones with similar prices, or even phones in the middle-range.

Although you won’t mistake the phone for a flagship, it feels solid and has a great design. Although we have only used the phone for a short time, it is already very durable.

Display

  • Large 6.5-inch screen
  • Limited 1080p resolution
  • Good outdoor visibility

The Realme 8 5G’s 6.5-inch LCD screen measures 2400 x 1080 pixels and is larger than you would expect for a phone this low in price. Although the 90Hz refresh rate is standard for a 2021 smartphone, it will be sufficient for most users.

The display was flawless when we tested it. We used the smartphone to scroll through social media, browse websites, and scroll through Netflix’s recommended carousel. Realme claims it has a maximum brightness level of 600 nits. This brightness can be increased to make it more suitable for movies and games.

This brightness is also great outdoors, so you will not have any trouble seeing details in sunlight. The viewing angles are solid and animations and videos are smooth and fluid. You can also adjust the color temperature through the onboard Realme UI Software if necessary.

Although a 1080p screen can feel cramped at times due to how much you can fit onto it at once, this is normal for the price. You won’t be disappointed unless your goal is to go up from something flagship or upper-mid-range.

The Realme 8 5G is still very competitive, despite the fact that it has a different screen from the flagships’ displays in terms of brightness/fluidity.

The phone also comes with a transparent, thin screen protector that can be removed from the display. The punch-hole selfie camera is the only thing that can interrupt the screen.

Camera

  • Triple-lens rear camera
  • No optical zoom
  • Low light

The Realme 8 5G has a 16MP front-facing camera – more than you would expect from a smartphone with this many megapixels – as well as a triple-lens 48MP main + macro + 2MP depth back camera.

It doesn’t have an ultra-wide lens or optical zoom. The main 48MP camera does most of the work. We tried a few macro shots but the dedicated mode didn’t seem to be very good at capturing close-ups.

Despite the lack of flexibility, this rear camera can be used. The main 48MP sensor is capable of taking sharp, well-balanced images, even if they are a bit over-saturated at points. Focus speeds are also good.

You won’t be shooting professional photos, so you will probably be happy with the results. The vast majority of images are good enough to use on social media provided the lighting is perfect.)

The story is the same across all budget phones we tested. Phone camera optics have advanced to the point that even the most basic components can capture worthwhile images. It is disappointing that the camera doesn’t have optical zoom or ultra-wide zoom. As the light dims, these flaws begin to surface.

Even though photos can be taken at night with reasonable detail, you may still be able to capture them. Night mode boosts the brightness and allows you to hold the phone steady for longer periods of time. You’ll end up with blur and noise, especially if you aren’t taking close-up shots.

This is an area where the Realme 8 5G performs as expected considering the price. You’re buying this phone because it has 5G and is affordable. Everything else is a bonus. It’s fine for everyday snaps.

Video recording is not something to be excited about. Our testing revealed rather dull results. Video capture speeds top out at 1080p resolution and 30 frames per second. This is enough to satisfy most people, but not everyone who wants to make movies.

You can also record slow motion video and use a pro mode to control settings like white balance.

Camera samples

Amazing shots can be taken by the rear camera of the Realme 8 5G. (Image credit: Future)

In good lighting, the triple-lens array produces crisp and clear results. (Image credit: Future)

Close-ups look great, with minimal noise or edge blurring. (Image credit: Future)

The main 48MP camera is responsible for most of the capturing. (Image credit: Future)

We observed well-balanced color and even color saturation. (Image credit: Future)

The Realme 8 5G is adept at handling light and shadows. (Image credit: Future)

Digital zoom is the only option. There is no optical zoom. (Image credit: Future)

The majority of snaps taken by the Realme 8-5G will please most users. (Image credit: Future)

In most of our photos, details were well-defined and sharp. (Image credit: Future)

Although the Realme 8 5G is not able to capture good shots in low light conditions, it can still produce some useful shots. (Image credit: Future)

Night mode is a good option, but it doesn’t do much. (Image credit: Future)

The results of shots taken with some light are not bad. (Image credit: Future)

Again, night mode doesn’t reveal too many more details. (Image credit: Future)

Some scenes can still be captured even without night mode. (Image credit: Future)

Performance and specifications

  • Reasonable Budget Performance
  • 5G connectivity
  • comes with Android 11

The Realme 8 5G runs on the Dimensity 700 5G chipset from MediaTek. On the Realme UK website, it lists the phone with 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage. This is the same unit that we reviewed.

This model is not available in the UK. You have two options: 4GB RAM/64GB storage or 6GB RAM/128GB storage. If you need more storage, you can add a microSD card to increase it.

The phone (8GB RAM/128GB storage) was pleasant to use. There was no noticeable lag in jumping between apps and menus, nor did it load websites or media files smoothly.

Realme has not yet made this version available in the UK. We aren’t sure why they sent it to us. However, we do want to stress that less RAM will impact performance.

Smartphone performance is often one of the areas you get what you pay for. Geekbench 5 scores are 569 (single core), 1,765(multicore) and 1,515 [OpenCL], which are all in line with what you would expect based on the internals.

The Realme 8 5G can handle light gaming, but not heavy gaming. The phone didn’t skip a beat when we tried several fast-paced, demanding games.

The question about budget phones is how long they will hold up to their performance, which we cannot tell you. We can’t also judge whether the phone has 6GB or 4GB RAM. These are the versions available in the UK.

5G is a major draw at this price. You’ll need to work hard to find a 5G phone that costs less to enjoy the next-gen download and upload speeds. It is worth spending more on 5G and buying a 4G phone with similar features, such as performance and quality. Although 5G is not ubiquitous, 4G speeds are sufficient for most people’s daily use.

 

The specs include a single speaker, a 3.5mm headphone socket, and a single speaker. This allows you to use wired headphones without a dongle. The box also includes a clear plastic cover, which provides basic protection if needed.

Android 11 has joined the fray here. This is a good thing, even though we haven’t fallen in love yet with the RealmeUI. It’s just like many Android skins made by Chinese phone manufacturers. It’s a bit too busy, quirky, and garish for us. There are a few extra apps, such as an Instagram clone called “92”, but you may prefer something else.

Battery life

  • 5,000mAh battery
  • Approximately 10 hours of video
  • Smart optimization technology

The Realme 8 5G’s 5,000mAh battery does an amazing job. We were able to finish days with half the juice left, which is quite impressive.

This is not uncommon for a budget phone. Typically, less powerful components and smaller resolution screens are more gentle on the battery. It is not possible to charge your phone wirelessly, but you can wire it up to 18W.

The Realme 8 5G is a great phone if you want a phone that can last for a few days without charging. If you plan to use the 5G modem extensively, increase the brightness and spend a lot of time using GPS for navigation, the time between charges will quickly decrease. It all depends on how you use your device. However, the Realme 8 5G has a very good battery life.

The battery was drained by streaming video at maximum brightness and low volume. Gaming took between 12-15% per hour. These are good numbers, even though we’re talking about a new phone with a new battery. You can still enjoy streaming or gaming on long journeys.

You’ll only see drops of 10% to 10% per day if you don’t use the phone at all – which is unlikely, but possible. Realme claims it has worked hard to optimize the battery so the phone never draws more power than it should. This includes adapting the 5G modem to be used when the network is not available, which can lead to significant battery drains.

Do I need to buy Realme 8 5G

It’s a good deal if…

Are you on a budget

Whether you are looking for early bird pricing, the Realme 8 5G is a great value phone. You get much more for your money in most areas than you would expect, regardless of the price.

You need 5G

At the time of writing, you won’t find a 5G smartphone cheaper than this. That is a big deal. This phone is the best choice if you are looking for 5G at a low price.

Good battery life

Based on our testing, this phone is going to run and continue to run between charges. It also comes with some clever software tricks that can help extend your battery life.

It’s not worth the risk if…

Quality of Photos is critical

Although the Realme 8 5G is capable of taking decent photos with its triple-lens rear-camera, it’s fair to say that it can’t take great pictures in dark scenes.

You love stock Android

Although we are pleased with the Android 11-powered phone, the Realme UI adds many bells and whistles to the software that may not be to your liking.

High performance

Although the Realme 8 5G’s MediaTek chipset is adequate for daily smartphone tasks, it falls far behind the faster processors.

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