Realme Book Slim Review: A Solid First Attempt
The Windows 11 Ready MacBook Wannabe
- Realme has jumped into the notebook bandwagon with their first-ever thin-and-light laptop, the Realme Book Slim.
- Realme has tried to use every single trick in the book to make their first laptop a success.
- We have been using the Realme book slim for a little over a week now, and here’s what we think about it.
Thanks to the pandemic, the world is a different place today. It has changed the way workers work, and students study, both from home. According to IDC, global PC shipments are expected to grow 14.2% to 347 million units by 2021. What used to be a steady downward trend has experienced a new upswing thanks to the global pandemic.
No wonder Realme, which focused primarily on smartphones and IoT products, launched Realme Book Slim in India and other global markets last month. The company has tried to use every trick in the book to make its first laptop a success. Just like its smartphones, the laptop comes with some outstanding features. For less than Rs 50,000, you get a compact and lightweight notebook with a 2K display and decent performance. We have been using it for a little more than a week now, and here is our Realme Book Slim review.
Build and Design
Let us start with the build and design. Realme has absolutely nailed the build quality of this laptop. The laptop is made entirely of aluminum, which is very sturdy and feels good in the hand. It feels very premium and not like the usual sub-Rs 50,000 laptops due to the excellent build quality. The smooth, rounded edges add to the overall experience. There is also a fingerprint scanner that works very well.
While the laptop’s build quality is fantastic for the price, there’s no escaping the fact that it looks like a Macbook Air. From the looks to the keyboard layout, everything is reminiscent of the MacBook Air. Not that the design is bad, but we would have liked something better than a MacBook clone from a brand known for its bold designs.
After getting the Macbook reference out of the way, there are a few good things about the notebook. First, the laptop weighs only 1.38 kg and is 14.9 mm thick at its thinnest point. This makes the notebook extremely light and easy to carry around in a backpack.
The laptop is officially sold in two color variants – gray and blue. We have the laptop in the blue color variant with us. At first, we were unsure about the blue color, thinking that it might look too flashy for a laptop. But our opinion quickly changed when we started using the laptop. The blue hue is very subtle and not too flashy. It certainly helps the laptop stand out from the crowd.
Ports and Connectivity
We have the Intel Core i3 variant with us, which offers two USB Type-C ports on one side and a single USB-A port with a 3.5 mm headphone jack on the other. Additionally, the i5 variant has a Type-C port that is Thunderbolt 4 compatible. Although it is nice to see two USB Type-C ports, the connectivity options are minimal, in our opinion.
You are missing out on a number of important and valuable ports, such as an HDMI and Ethernet port. So if you want to connect accessories that connect via the above ports, you’ll have to buy a separate dongle. All this leads to the need to carry extra cables on your next trip. Other features include WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5.1 support.
In general, many manufacturers in the sub-Rs 50,000 laptop segment forgo a high-quality display in order to achieve their price targets in the market. However, Realme chose a completely different approach and went all out with the display of the Realme Book Slim.
The notebook has a 14-inch display with an aspect ratio of 3:2 IPS with 2K resolution. That is unusual in this price range. It also covers 100% of the SRGB color gamut and has a 90% screen-to-case ratio.
During our test, we found that the display is excellent for the price. The 2K panel, surrounded by the thin bezels, ensures that everything on this display looks absolutely stunning. Viewing angles were also very good, and there was no issue with screen bleeding. In addition, because of the 3:2 aspect ratio, you have more space to work with, which makes working a lot easier. Personally, this was my first experience with a 3:2 display, and I have to say I am a fan.
However, there is also a shortcoming due to the 3.2 aspect ratio. Since most online videos are in the 16:9 aspect ratio, you get black bars at the top and bottom of the video due to the aspect ratio. Personally, the black bar did not bother me, and I got used to it quite quickly. Thanks to the peak brightness of 400 nits, it was also no problem to use the device outdoors.
If I had one gripe about the panel, it would be its reflectiveness. The display is a bit reflective for my taste and sometimes hinders working outdoors. However, that is by no means a deal-breaker.
Our review unit is powered by an 11th generation Intel Core i3-1115G4 chipset with 8 GB LPDDR4X RAM. It is clocked at 3.0 GHz with a Turbo Boost of up to 4.1 GHz. Speaking of GPU, the i5 variant gets the new Intel XE graphics, while the i3 variant is equipped with Intel UHD graphics.
My workflow includes multiple Firefox tabs, occasional binge-watching sessions, and some PowerPoint presentations for college work. The Realme Book Slim can handle all of these tasks without breaking a sweat. If your workflow is similar to mine, performance should not be a problem. However, if you are looking for a notebook for heavy-duty tasks like photo and video editing, you should look at the i5 variant of the Realme Book Slim.
The dual fans ensured that the notebook stayed cool for the most part, and the fan noise was also kept within limits. We performed a number of tests with the notebook, the results of which we have listed below.
Cinebench and Geekbench Benchmarking
As you can see from the test results above, the laptop’s single-core performance was actually quite good. This means that surfing the web, editing spreadsheets in Excel, creating PowerPoint presentations, or writing scripts in Google Docs should not be a problem.
It is by no means a gaming laptop, and you should not buy it if gaming is your top priority. Still, we tried playing Valorant on the laptop, and it performed surprisingly well at low graphics settings. The average FPS was around 70-100 FPS, which made the game quite playable. However, when the laptop was disconnected from power, FPS quickly dropped below 60.
While the i5 variant gets a 512 GB SSD, the i3 variant is equipped with a 256 GB SSD. We performed an SSD performance test with the software “Crystal Disk Mark”. The results are as follows:
As you can see, the SSD performance results were very good, and the same is reflected in the laptop’s daily performance. Transferring multiple files and launching applications was relatively easy and fast. The boot times are also quite fast; the laptop takes about 12 seconds to boot, which is very good.
Battery Life and Charging
The Realme Book Slim has a 54-Wh battery that the company claims can last up to 11 hours of normal use and 8.5 hours of stimulated office use. However, we measured an average battery life of 6to 6.5 hours, which is definitely less than the company’s claims, but very good considering it’s a sub-Rs 50,000 laptop.
Let us move on to one of our favorite elements of this laptop, the charger. Realme has bundled a 65W charging brick in the box that is very compact and easy to carry around. The laptop charged to 50% in about 35 minutes with the included charger, while a full charge took a little over an hour. We even tried the 65W charger on my OnePlus 9 Pro, and it charged the phone in 40 minutes.
But you know what’s even more interesting? You can charge the laptop with the newly launched Realme 30W power bank, and it actually works well. However, the charging speed was much slower compared to the included 65W brick.
Keyboard and Trackpad
Even if other aspects of a mid-range laptop are good, an inferior keyboard experience can become a deal-breaker. Fortunately, this is not the case with the Realme Book Slim. The keyboard works quite well, with decent key travel and feedback. Unfortunately, you’ll lack a full-sized keyboard due to the laptop’s size and compact form factor. This means you have to do without a Numpad and few other keys.
We had no problems typing for hours on this notebook. There is also a three-level backlight, so typing in the dark was no problem.
The trackpad on this laptop is huge. In fact, I would even say it’s as big as on a MacBook. It works very well and registers all clicks, and Windows gestures just fine. However, we felt that the trackpad’s surface was a bit rough for our taste, but that is not a deal-breaker, and the overall experience with the trackpad was really good.
The laptop runs a pre-activated copy of Windows 10, and there is no bloatware whatsoever. Kudos to Realme for not installing bloatware like third-party antivirus software to keep costs down, as they do with their smartphones. It’s also ready for Windows 11. Realme has already confirmed that all Realme users will receive a free upgrade to Microsoft’s latest desktop operating system once it is available to the public. As you might probably know by now, the Windows 11 release date is set for October 5th, 2021.
Realme has an app called “PC Connect” preinstalled, which allows you to connect your Realme smartphone to the laptop and perform a number of tasks, such as controlling your smartphone, transferring files between the two devices, and more.
Speaker and WebCam Quality
Realme has equipped the laptop with dual Harman speakers for a stereo sound experience. We found the speakers to be sufficiently loud and provide decent separation. I like to listen to music in the background when I work, and the notebook performed flawlessly with no speaker quality issues.
The webcam, on the other hand, was only average compared to regular PC webcams. It is just sufficient for video calls because the recordings are not particularly sharp. That’s taking the MacBook inspiration a little too far!
Realme Book Slim Review: Verdict
Despite being the first attempt at a laptop, Realme has absolutely got the basics right. You get excellent build quality, an impressive display, decent performance, and more. Yes, it’s not perfect and has its own share of shortcomings, but those issues are not big enough to sway your buying decision.
Like most laptops under Rs 50,000 (USD 700), this one is meant for occasional use, such as surfing the web, watching movies and TV shows, or editing data in Microsoft Excel. If that is what you are looking for, then the Realme Book Slim makes a pretty good case for itself for the introductory price of Rs 44,999.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is the RAM Expandable on Realme Book Slim?
Sadly, the RAM is soldered and cannot be expanded like it is on most thin and light notebooks with industrial design these days.
2. How is the Fingerprint scanner performance?
The fingerprint scanner is neatly integrated with the power button and works very well. No issues with the accuracy of the scanner, and it is quite fast to unlock.
3. Can I increase the storage?
Yes, you can expand the storage on the Realme book slim. But, first, you need to open the back panel and install a higher-capacity SSD of your choice.
4. It has Windows 10 pre-installed. What about Microsoft Office?
Well, you do not need to worry as the laptop comes pre-installed with Microsoft Office 2019.
5. Did you face any overheating issues?
No, the laptop does a pretty good job at handling thermals. The dual fan setup works very well in keeping temperatures under check even during heavy workload.
6. Are there any better options available?
Under Rs 50k, the Realme Book Slim is probably the only laptop to feature a 2k display and an overall appealing package. But if you want to have a look at other laptops in a similar price range, you can check out the Lenovo Ideapad Slim 3 or the Asus Vivobook 14 once.
- Gorgeous 2K Display
- Thin and Lightweight Formfactor
- Decent Performance
- Good Battery Life and Charging
- Large Trackpad
- Sub-par Webcam
- No RAM expansion
- Limited I/O ports
- Macbook-inspired design
|Build & Design||
|Ports and Connectivity||
Is this the best laptop for your money? Realme Book Slim is a Windows laptop that’s made to be used like a MacBook Air. Here is our Realme Book Slim review.