Realme 7 5G Review: A Great 5G Phone That’s Also Affordable

Realme 7 5G: What The OnePlus Nord N10 5G Should Have Been

realme 7 5g phone in hand
Affordable 5G phones are all the rage right now, with devices like the Moto One 5G here in the US, and in markets like Europe and India with the OnePlus Nord. But while prices are dropping rapidly, corners are getting cut -- like we saw with the lack-luster €349/£329 OnePlus Nord N10 5G. Enter the €279/£279 ($370) Realme 7 5G, a MediaTek Dimensity 800U-powered 5G handset that punches way above its weight class, and gives its OnePlus Nord N10 5G cousin a run for the money. Here’s our quick take on this sleeper alternative Android value phone.

Realme 7 5G Hardware And Design
Realme 7 5G 14

It’s impossible to review the Realme 7 5G without comparing it to the OnePlus Nord N10 5G. Both companies fall under the BBK Group umbrella (alongside Oppo and Vivo), and share technology and resources. While these phones are very similar overall, the Realme 7 5G packs a Dimensity 800U (vs. Snapdragon 690), a 120Hz display (vs. 90Hz), at 48MP main shooter (vs. 64MP), and a 5000mAh battery (vs. 4300mAh).

Everything else is pretty much identical: there's a 6.5-inch 1080p IPS screen, 6GB RAM / 128GB of storage (plus microSD), and even 30W fast charging. Where the Realme 7 5G really stands out is in terms of design and, of course, value. Like the OnePlus Nord N10 5G, the mid frame and back panel are made of plastic, and the display features a punch hole in the top left corner, plus an obvious chin. Even the camera pods are similar in shape and location.

Realme 7 5G 11

But there’s a huge difference in execution. Thanks to a distinctive Baltic Blue satin finish, a side-mounted capacitive fingerprint sensor, and far less pronounced chin, the Realme 7 5G looks and feels more modern and premium than the OnePlus Nord N10 5G. It’s all in the details; like the Honor 8X-inspired band bisecting the camera bump and splitting the rear surface lengthwise into two visually contrasting areas that reflect light differently.

We also like the landscape-oriented Realme brand. As we already mentioned, the rear shooters -- which include a 48MP main lens, 8MP ultrawide, 2MP macro, and 2MP depth sensor -- are mounted in a rectangular glass pod in the top left corner alongside an LED flash, just like many of today’s flagships. In front, there isn’t much going on beyond the 16MP punch hole selfie camera, earpiece, and chin (necessary for the IPS panel).

Along the sides, you’ll find the power/lock key on the right (which doubles as a capacitive fingerprint sensor), the volume rocker and SIM/microSD tray on the left, and the secondary mic on top. There’s a headphone jack, primary mic, USB Type-C connector, and mono speaker on the bottom. And speaking of cool design and fun details, we’re particularly fond of the blue gradient along the left and right edges -- it’s a nice touch.

You can check out our unboxing video and then we'll take a closer look at the goods...
 

Realme 7 5G
Specifications & Features
Processing And 5G MediaTek Dimensity 800U
Display 6.5" FHD+ IPS, 2400x1080 resolution, 120Hz
Memory 6GB LPDDR4x
Storage 128GB UFS 2.1 + microSD
Rear-Facing Cameras 48MP f/1.8 Main PDAF - 8MP f/2.3 119º Ultra-Wide - 2MP f/2.4 Macro - 2MP f/2.4 Depth
Front-Facing Cameras 16MP f/2.1
Video Recording Up to 4K @ 30fps, 1080p @ 60fps, 1080p slow-mo
Battery 5000 mAh
OS Android 10 With Realme UI 1.0
Dimensions 162.2 x 75.1 x 9.1mm
Weight 195 grams
Connectivity 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.1+LE, NFC, USB-C, LTE, 5G
Colors Baltic Blue
Pricing Find the Realme 7 5G On Amazon, Starting at £279

Realme 7 5G Display Quality

The Realme 7 5G boasts a 6.5-inch FHD+ IPS screen (2400 x 1080 pixels, 405ppi) with a 20:9 aspect ratio and a 120Hz refresh rate. Bezels are slim all around, other than the chin at the bottom, which (thankfully) isn’t massive. A punch hole in the top left corner accommodates the selfie camera. It’s a beautiful display -- especially at this price point. Colors are vibrant, contrast is great, viewing angles are fine, and it’s bright enough in direct sunlight.

Realme 7 5G 05

We do have one niggle, though, and that’s with the oleophobic coating. This screen is a fingerprint magnet, and is difficult to keep clean. It’s not something you’d expect on anything but the most budget of handsets these days.

Realme 7 5G Camera Performance And Image Quality

When it comes to imaging, the Realme 7 5G is almost identical to the OnePlus Nord N10 5G. It shares the same 8MP f/2.3 1.12-micron 119-degree ultrawide, 2MP f/2.4 macro (without AF), 2MP f/2.4 depth sensor / monochrome lens, and 16MP f/2.1 1.0-micron selfie camera. The main shooter pairs Samsung’s 48MP 0.8-micron S5KGM1ST sensor (instead of Omnivision’s 64MP 0.7-micron OV64B) with a f/1.8 lens (and no OIS).

Realme 7 5G 03

This isn’t the best 48MP sensor on the block, but the results are pretty good. It supports 4-to-1 pixel binning for better low-light performance, and outputs 12MP images by default. Photo modes include night (main, ultrawide, selfie), portrait and panorama, (main, selfie), manual and text (main, ultrawide), plus macro. Video recording maxes out at 4k 30fps / 1080p 60fps (main shooter only), and 1080p 30pfs (other cameras) -- all stabilized.

Realme 7 5G sample 31
Realme 7 5G main camera

Realme 7 5G sample 44
Realme 7 5G ultrawide

Macro video isn’t available, but audio is always captured in stereo. Video modes include manual (main shooter only, 1080p 30fps, 21:9), slow motion (main, 1080p 120fps / 720p 240fps), time lapse (main, ultrawide, 1080p 30fps), and two super stable modes (main, ultrawide, 1080p 30fps). The Realme 7 5G camera app is similar to Oppo’s. It’s very intuitive, and we like that it remembers the last mode selected.

Realme 7 5G sample 21
Realme 8 V 5G UW main camera (night mode)

Realme 7 5G sample 19
Realme 8 V 5G UW ultrawide (night mode)

The resulting pictures are quite lovely. Colors and exposure are accurate, low light performance is decent, and night mode helps with dynamic range. Selfies are often a bit soft, but that’s easy to fix in post. Macro shots are lackluster -- you’re better off zooming 2x with the main camera. Videos are perfectly serviceable, though. Overall, we’re satisfied with these shooters. The Realme 7 5G certainly bests the OnePlus Nord N10 5G here.

Realme 7 5G sample 02
 Realme 7 5G selfie camera (portrait mode)

Realme 7 5G Audio, Data And Call Reception

Here in the US, the Realme 7 5G supports 4G LTE, but lacks 5G connectivity -- despite bands n5 (850MHz) and n41 (2.5GHz) being listed in the specs. In our tests, 4G LTE worked fine on T-Mobile and AT&T here in San Francisco, but not on Verizon. The mono speaker is loud and clear, and the headphone jack sounds clean. Both also support Dolby Atmos, which is a welcome addition. In all, audio performance is competent, but doesn’t stand out.

Realme 7 5G 04

Realme 7 5G Performance And Battery Life

It’s our first time reviewing a device with MediaTek’s Dimensity 800U 5G SoC and honestly, we’re impressed. Based on a simple round of benchmarks, this chip slots somewhere near Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765 and 765G. And indeed, the Realme 7 5G feels pleasantly quick. Obviously, the 120Hz refresh rate helps, but so does the optimized build of Android. Basically, it handled everything we threw at it without skipping a beat.

Alongside the Dimensity 800U, the Realme 7 5G features 6GB of LPDDR4x RAM and 128GB of UFS 2.1 storage, plus microSD support. The rest of the specs are rather standard -- no surprises here. You’ll find CAT18 LTE, WiFi 5 (802.11ac), Bluetooth 5.1 (LE), NFC, A-GPS/ GLONASS / Beidou / Galileo positioning, and the usual collection of sensors (proximity, ambient light, accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass).

Realme 7 5G Benchmarks
 
GeekBench 5
594 (Single-core) - 1765 (Multi-core)
PCMark Work 2.0
7892
AnTuTu 8 330112
3DMark Slingshot Extreme Unl.
3253

realme 7 5g geekbench score

Though performance slots in just above the Google Pixel 5, when it comes to battery life, the Realme 7 5G is a champ. That 5000mAh cell just keeps on going, with upward of 9 hours of screen-on time per charge, even on a busy day. Obviously, the Dimensity 800U is efficient (7nm process built), and we only used 4G LTE (not 5G). Still, you’d think that pegging the refresh rate to 120Hz would impact battery life a lot more. Ultimately, most folks won’t have any trouble using this handset for a more than a full day's use on a single charge.

Filling up is a breeze thanks to 30W Dart Charge (0-100% in 65 minutes) -- with a compatible charger in the box. The capacitive fingerprint sensor is fast and reliable, and haptics are better than expected at this price point.

Realme 7 5G Software And User Experience

The Realme 7 5G runs Realme UI 1.0 on top of Android 10 -- basically a lightweight version of Oppo’s ColorOS 7.1 that’s close to OnePlus’ new OxygenOS 11. We’re generally not fans of skinned Android, but Realme UI is pleasantly clean and responsive. The launcher is close to stock, and includes the Google Discover feed. Other than the rearranged settings menu, everything’s pretty much where it’s supposed to be.

Realme 7 5G 06

Realme UI also features Smart Sidebar, which is similar to Moto’s Edge Touch. It lets you access your favorite apps and tools via a menu that pops up when you swipe inward from the “pill” located on the right edge of the screen. There’s also a game mode/launcher called Game Space that does exactly what you’d expect. In all, Realme UI provides a speedy and friendly user experience without sacrificing customization.

Realme 7 5G Review Summary

We’re not going to mince words. The Realme 7 5G is surprisingly well rounded, and for €279/£279 ($370), it’s a really great 5G phone. Beyond the impressive value, it delivers excellent design, a lovely 120Hz display, respectable cameras, solid performance, and great battery life. Its polished software is just the icing on the cake. Sure, we’d have liked better (stereo) speakers and better US band support, but these are minor quibbles.

Realme 7 5G 13

Ultimately, we can’t help but think that Realme is out OnePlus-ing OnePlus here. The Realme 7 5G is exactly what the OnePlus Nord N10 5G should have been. It’s the better handset, and it’s more affordable. Maybe that’s the point? As OnePlus matures and becomes more like Oppo, Realme is swooping in and filling the void. If you live in Europe and are looking for an affordable 5G phone, the Realme 7 5G won’t let you down.

Alternatively, consider Xiaomi’s Mi 10T Lite (£229/64GB, £299/128GB). It’s bigger and comes with a 64MP main shooter. Here in the US, Google’s Pixel 4a ($349) is smaller and lacks 5G, but offers superb imaging performance and an OLED screen.
approved hh




 
  • Affordable 5G handset
  • Modern design
  • Beautiful 120Hz display
  • Solid performance
  • Impressive battery life
  • Fast 30W charging
  • Pleasant UI
  • Mono speaker
  • Not sold in the US
 


Related content

Comments