[First Cut] Realme 5 Pro: Dare to take on the Note and the X?

A new mid-segment warrior arrives

by: - Last updated on: August 20th, 2019

It has the looks. It has the specs. It has the price. That makes the Realme 5 Pro, Realme’s latest offering, a formidable proposition in the highly competitive mid-segment of the Indian smartphone market. One with the potential to not only rattle the cages of the existent leaders but also make its own siblings look warily at it.

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First things first – the Realme 5 Pro is definitely one of the most attractive looking devices in its price segment. We can have the glass vs plastic back debate forever, with each having its own virtues and vices but there is simply no doubting that the diamond-like etched back of the Realme 5 Pro will turn heads. The design might be edgy but the back itself is smooth, and you see colors change and reflect off it as you tilt the device in the light, with even the gold-bordered fingerprint sensor on the back looking catchy.

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We got the Crystal Green unit and take it from us, it looks very good, although it is super prone to pick up smudges (use the transparent case in the box, please). What’s more, the device is splash resistant, which is always welcome – it will survive the casual splash and the odd downpour but is best kept out of immersions! At 184 grams, it is a little on the heavier side, but it remains reasonably compact (by modern standards) and sits well in the hand, although you will need two hands to use it, as you would with most phones nowadays. Incidentally, the phone follows the Oppo button placement template of having the volume buttons on the left and the display/power button on the right, which might strike some as unusual but one does get used to it.

Flip over that back and you get to see a 6.3-inch full HD+ display with a teeny drop notch, bang on the top in the center, containing a 16-megapixel selfie camera. It is the cameras that are likely to be the biggest attraction of the Realme 5 Pro. Apart from the selfie snapper at the front, the phone has four shooters at the back – making it perhaps the first in its price segment so sport this many. The main sensor is a 48-megapixel Sony IMX 586 (the same seen on the Redmi Note 7 Pro and the Realme X) with f/1.8 aperture. There is also an 8-megapixel ultra-wide sensor (f/2.25 aperture) and a 119-degree field of view, and two 2-megapixel shooters, one for macro (close-ups from up to 4 cm) and another for portraits.

There are plenty of AI smarts onboard and the famous Nightscape mode is present as well, and both front and rear cameras have EIS and support for 4K video.

It is quite an array of camera firepower at this price point and given Realme’s formidable track record in this field, could well tilt the balance in its favor against some very stiff opposition. This is the first time we have a dedicated macro sensor at this price point, and it will be fascinating to see what it brings to the mid-segment smartphone camera party, which has so far been fighting on megapixels.

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The rest of the device is very well-specced – powering it is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 712 processor, which brings a ten percent performance boost over the 710, with RAM and storage variants of 4 GB/ 64 GB, 6 GB / 64 GB and 8 GB / 128 GB (the storage, incidentally can be expanded thanks to a dedicated microSD card slot). Connectivity-wise, it comes with 4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS. No, it does not miss out on a 3.5 mm audio jack, and making sure all this is running smoothly for a while is a larger 4035 mAh battery with support for VOOC charge 3.0 over a USB Type C port. There is a 20W charger in the box too, so you can get the phone up and running within a short time.

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In terms of software, the Realme 5 Pro runs on Android 9 with Color OS 6.0. Realme claims that it has redesigned icons and also taken some inspiration from stock Android to provide a cleaner experience to the users. Of course, this is leading up to Realme’s own UI in the coming days.

The Realme 5 Pro starts at Rs 13,999 for the 4 GB/ 64 GB variant, which puts it right in the path of the Redmi Note 7 Pro, which starts at a similar price. Its 6 GB/ 64 GB variant is priced at Rs 14,999 and the 8 GB/ 128 GB variant comes for Rs 16,999. And that actually puts it in the path of its recently-launched sibling, the Realme X. Of course, the X does bring an AMOLED display and a pop-up camera to the battle, but we can see some people wondering about the superior processor on the 5 Pro and of course them quad cameras at the back. Just how well it compares to that very formidable competition will be revealed in our detailed review later this week, but as of now, we can safely say that with the 5 Pro, Realme has just upped the ante in an already crazily competitive mid-segment.

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