realme. The really young smartphone brand that popped out last year and made waves across the globe with its affordable smartphones. They’ve returned once again, but this time they have the brand new realme 5 Pro to show. Since we already are using it for about a month already, here is our full, in-depth review of the realme 5 Pro.

Special thanks to realme Malaysia for this opportunity!

Unboxing

Since we got the unit early, here’s our unboxing of the realme 5 Pro.

In summary, what you get are:

  • realme 5 Pro itself
  • VOOC charger
  • Thick USB-A to USB-C cable
  • TPU case
  • User manual
  • SIM card ejector tool

<em>realme</em> 5 Pro

Pretty typical stuff, and at this point – it seems like realme is going to have VOOC for their “pro” variant of smartphones. That’s a good thing, considering that we somehow want the fastest possible chargers nowadays.

Overall, a pretty good package out of the box. You also get a film screen protector pre-installed on the phone itself.

Holding the realme 5 Pro, it’s pretty much similar with the realme 3 Pro that we reviewed here. Similar shape, similar geometry, and even similar feel on the hand. What’s different here is the back design.

From what I can say, the realme 5 Pro is inspired by the diamonds and gems as it has a facet cut design. realme kept it classy by having fairly large polygonal cuts with just a few angles in total – and that looks absolutely stunning.

<em>realme</em> 5 Pro

We have our realme 5 Pro in Crystal Green color option. It’s not really that green – more like emerald color with a bit of blue mixed in it. It looks absolutely fantastic to the eyes.

Though, I have to warn you that the realme 5 Pro is using a very scratchable, soft plastic material to protect the facet cuts behind. We put our unit of the realme 5 Pro in the bag (like any other review phones) and it got scratched up terribly. Build quality is definitely not up to par here.

<em>realme</em> 5 Pro

Which is where the included TPU case comes in. It’s definitely a necessity to use a case for the realme 5 Pro because of its fragility. Don’t be an idiot like me and think it’ll be alright – because it’s not. Using the included TPU case also means sacrificing the beauty of the back design as realme included a smoked case instead. It’s a semitransparent black case, so to speak.

realme has once again did a great job in including the necessary ports and connectivity on their smartphones. The realme 5 Pro got all the basics right – AC-WiFi to take advantage of faster internet speeds, an audio jack, and a microSD card slot with dedicated 2nd SIM card slot.

<em>realme</em> 5 Pro

One thing that I truly appreciate is the presence of the physical fingerprint scanner at the back of the phone. I truly can’t stop appreciating this right now as other smartphones are jumping into the inferior under-display fingerprint scanners. Having a physical one – either at the back or the side – is definitely much faster, more reliable, and definitely more ergonomic.

<em>realme</em> 5 Pro

Overall, I feel like they’ve got the I/O pretty solid on the realme 5 Pro.

Alright, the display. On the realme 5 Pro particularly, it has a 6.3-inch IPS LCD display with a waterdrop notch at the top. This is similar if not the same display used on the realme 3 Pro. It even has the same resolution of 2340×1080 pixels.

<em>realme</em> 5 Pro

From my eyes, the white balance on the realme 5 Pro is a tad bluish and perhaps oversaturated. It’s an easy fix since realme also provided a slider to change the temperature of the display. I personally like it to be a little warmer, so I slide it about 20% off to the right.

And yes, it has a small little waterdrop notch at the top. Much better than flagship smartphones that cost €1,000 Euros but with a humongous notch.

<em>realme</em> 5 Pro

Oh boy, the cameras. For the realme 5 Pro, they have an entire hashtag and tagline revolving around its new quad-camera setup. They’re calling it #LeapToQuadCamera and with a good reason too since they’re leaping from a dual-camera setup on the realme 3 Pro straight to a quad-camera setup on the realme 5 Pro.

Here are the specs for the cameras on the realme 5 Pro, from top to bottom:

  • Ultrawide angle: 8MP f/2.2
  • Main: 48MP f/1.8 with PDAF
  • Depth sensor
  • Macro: 2MP f/2.4

<em>realme</em> 5 Pro

So there are only a total of 3 usable cameras here. Also fun fact – both the depth sensor camera and the macro cameras are the exact same in sensor size, megapixel count, and lens aperture.

Anyway, I digress. Here are the pictures that were taken with the realme 5 Pro. To view the image in full alongside its metadata, click here to visit our Shutterfly album.

Let’s start off with the main camera. By default, it takes pretty decent pictures. And yes, this picture was taken with the realme 5 Pro. Haha, surprise!

Review - realme 5 Pro 1

Review - realme 5 Pro 2

Then, we messed around with some other camera features – particularly the Chroma Boost first.

Review - realme 5 Pro 3

Depending on what scenes you’re shooting, Chroma Boost might look fantastic. For me, the green colors are just… too oversaturated – for my liking, at least.

We also enabled HDR mode but unfortunately, the colors turned all blue. No idea why that happened, but that’s just jarring.

Review - realme 5 Pro 4

We tried combining both the HDr and Chroma Boost and honestly, I don’t recommend doing that because of the incorrect white balance.

Review - realme 5 Pro 5

Moving on to the ultrawide camera, the quality in itself is pretty okay. Both the HDR and Chroma Boost produces the same types of results as the main camera.

Review - realme 5 Pro 6
By default.
Review - realme 5 Pro 7
Same picture with Chroma Boost. Yeah… too much saturation on the green/yellow.

By the way, did you notice the chromatic aberrations at the top left corner of the ultrawide angle pictures? That’s pretty common for ultrawide angle cameras, so don’t worry about it.

Moving on to the macro camera. Yeah, it can take pictures as it has a 4cm focal length. However, the white balance is totally off. This picture shouldn’t be this white.

Review - realme 5 Pro 8

So is the camera actually any good? Yeah, it’s okay as a point and shoot. Some of the modes – especially Chroma Boost – is situational. The white balance for both HDR mode and the macro camera will need to be fixed in the next firmware update.

Camera UI

Alright. Referring back to my realme 3 Pro review, I praised how the ColorOS 6.0 managed to clean up the camera interface and made it streamlined to the point where I considered it as one of the best when it comes to smartphone camera UI. However, that was when the realme 3 Pro only had a single usable camera. Now, the new realme 5 Pro has a total of 3 usable cameras and the camera UI needs to cope with that.

What changes did ColorOS have to accommodate the two more usable cameras? By literally scattering buttons everywhere, similar to what Xiaomi did. For some reason, the ultrawide angle camera is moved away from the zoom slider, and placed at the opposite end of the screen. That’s pretty inconvenient, honestly.

Review - realme 5 Pro 9

Then comes the “hamburger menu”, which is located at the corner, which houses all of the different modes to select from. As the previous realme 3 Pro had only a handful of modes, the hamburger menu worked fine. Now, the realme 5 Pro has a bunch of different modes and the hamburger menu is now scrollable. Within this menu is where you’ll find the Ultra 48MP, nightscape, and “ultra macro” modes.

<em>realme</em> 5 Pro camera UI hamburger menu <em>realme</em> 5 Pro camera UI hamburger menu

One solution to fix all of this clunkiness if by allowing users to customize which button goes where. Perhaps give the users option to swap the Chroma Boost with Ultra 48MP or the filter selection with nightscape mode. Then, the hamburger menu will be housing all the tertiary camera modes instead, making the UI feasible again.

As this is not the first time we’ve used ColorOS 6, we have to say that it’s pretty clean overall. Though, realme had a few additions this time around. Introducing – bloatware.

There are some apps here which I generally already use, but most of them are purely bloatware. One particular bloatware that juts out is the App Market. Yes – realme has its own app market as well, and it kept sending in notifications to install some apps on that store itself. Honestly, it’s annoying.

<em>realme</em> 5 Pro Game Market bloatware

There are also two special folders on the home screen. One is called “hot apps” and the other is called “hot games”, which is just an aggregated list of apps from the realme app market. Even the Game Center app sends in notifications!

Can we uninstall the App Market and Game Center? Unfortunately, no – but you can “reset” the app to its factory default it won’t send in any notifications.

Other than that, the ColorOS 6 is still pretty solid like before. The overall UI and how the elements flow, alongside its proper placement of buttons, make it user-friendly. Also, it comes with Google apps and services!

Alright, the moment that a lot of us have been waiting for – the performance benchmark. The realme 5 Pro that we have here comes with this list of hardware:

  • 6.3-inch IPS LCD display with 2340×1080 pixels in resolution
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 712 chipset
    • Adreno 616 GPU
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128GB internal storage (expandable with microSD)
  • 4,035mAh battery
    • Fast charging with 20W VOOC charger
  • Android 9.0 Pie with ColorOS 6

From what we can find out, the Snapdragon 712 chipset here is pretty much just an overclocked version of the Snapdragon 710, which gets about 100MHz faster on the dual high-performance cores.

Without further ado, let’s move on to the benchmarks.

<em>realme</em> 5 Pro 3DMark benchmark <em>realme</em> 5 Pro VRMark benchmark <em>realme</em> 5 Pro Geekbench 4 benchmark <em>realme</em> 5 Pro Antutu benchmark

If you are benchmarking for yourself, you might wonder why the scores of the realme 5 Pro is lower than the realme 3 Pro – and that’s because you must use high-performance mode to unlock the Snapdragon 712’s full potential. By default, it is in “normal mode”. You can downclock even further with “power-saving mode” if you want.

We realize that the scores aren’t that far apart from the realme 3 Pro that uses the Snapdragon 710 chipset. And that pretty much confirms that the Snapdragon 712 is an overclocked Snapdragon 710 chipset.

Gaming

The gaming prowess on the Snapdragon 712 chip used in the realme 5 Pro is – as mentioned – an overclocked Snapdragon 710 chipset.

We played our usual games – Honkai Impact 3, Asphalt 9, and also PUBG Mobile. All 3 of them ran smoothly on the realme 3 Pro. Do take note that PUBG Mobile will run at HD graphical settings at “high” frame rates, or at lowest graphical settings with “ultra” frame rates as of now.

<em>realme</em> 5 Pro lowest graphical setting <em>realme</em> 5 Pro PUBG Mobile highest graphical setting

Still, a smooth experience overall.

The total of 4,035mAh battery in the realme 5 Pro is actually pretty okay. It lasted for about 10 hours and 40 minutes in our battery test. It makes sense since the Snapdragon 712 is pretty much an overclocked version of the Snapdragon 710, the battery-efficient is not as good as the realme 3 Pro.

<em>realme</em> 5 Pro battery life benchmark

The new realme 5 Pro marks the second realme smartphone in Malaysia with the proprietary VOOC charger. It can take in a total of 5V 4A, making it a total 20W. Keep in mind that we need to use a proprietary, thick cable to carry a total of 20W. This is because of the limitation of USB-A to USB-C cables. Perhaps in the future generations of VOOC will be using USB-C to USB-C cables instead.

<em>realme</em> 5 Pro

Anyway, the VOOC charger is able to charge the phone quite quickly. Take a look at our summary below.

<em>realme</em> 5 Pro battery charger benchmark

Since we have another USB PD charger lying around, we tried it with the realme 5 Pro because we’re curious what would happen. The result confused us as the Innergie 60C (review here) can charge the phone faster than 10W, but still slower than the proprietary 20W VOOC charger.

Battery level

Time taken (minutes)

VOOC charger (20W)

Standard 5V 2A charger (10W)

50%

23

39

75%

38

68

The realme 5 Pro in itself feels more like a new entry into the series but somewhat maintaining the performance. We measured and know that its performance is not bumped up by a lot – definitely not enough to affect day-to-day usage.

The cameras though, is bumped up in terms of camera count. From a total of 2 cameras (1 usable) to a total of 4 cameras (3 usable) is a big step-up. However, instead of going with the usual main-ultrawide-telephoto camera setup, the realme 5 Pro has a main-ultrawide-macro camera setup. Its quality leaves a lot to be desired – and I honestly think its future software updates can further improve the camera.

<em>realme</em> 5 Pro

My only major complaint here is the build quality of the phone, but that’s pretty much my own mistake since I didn’t put on the included TPU case.

Though for the price of only RM1,099, I really can’t complain about anything here. The price is just unbelievably low. For the performance it offers, I can’t think of any other smartphones that have the same offering.

Nasi Lemak Tech Gold Award


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REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design & Materials
7
Software
7
Connectivity and ports
9
Screen
7
Performance and gaming
9
Camera
7
Battery and charger
8
Value
10
The enthusiastic nanoelectronic engineer who found his way into simplifying the world of tech for everyone. Introverted, but noisy. Nice to meet you!