Realme 5i: A budget smartphone that just works (for days)

(Author’s note: I’m used to flagship phones and currently using the OnePlus 7T, some bias may be attributed to that)

Realme welcomed the year 2020 with the launching of their new offering, the Realme 5i. The phone is another addition to their 5 series, with the Realme 5 (P9,690) and 5 Pro (P11,999) already launched last year.

Like its older siblings, the Realme 5i has an eye-catching style with its new Sunrise Dawn design that mimics the sun’s rays. This time the back is matte, unlike the Realme 5 which had a glossy finish. The design is more muted and would appeal to those who like a more low-key look.

The Realme 5i sports a 6.52-inch HD+ (1600 x 720) display that makes video consumption a treat. To my not so discerning eyes, I’d say color reproduction would be good to great.  The only letdown would be the downward-firing speaker, audio levels are not so great especially when in a crowded room where ambient noise is high. Fortunately, the 5i still has an audio jack as earphones are highly recommended when watching videos.

The Realme 5i runs on ColorOS 6 based on Android 9 Pie which admittedly would be my least favorite Android-based OS. I’ve been an Android user for quite a while now but I found the menus a little bit cumbersome. The settings bombard you with lots and lots of options which make it more confusing, to say the least.

Battery life is where this smartphone really shines. With a massive 5,000mAh battery, you need not fear leaving your charger at home as the 5i could easily last two days with light to moderate usage. I mainly used the phone to watch YouTube videos and play some games with some light browsing and was impressed to see my battery at 40% to end the day. And this is despite leaving all modes of connectivity on; Bluetooth, WiFi, Mobile Data.

The 5i – with a budget-friendly price tag of P6,990 – cements Realme’s standing in the budget segment of the smartphone market.

The phone is an easy recommendation for those on a budget, but if you have 1k more to spend and like the glossy finish over the matte, go with the Realme 5.