The Realme 8 5G is one of the cheapest way to get 5G connectivity now. This entry-level 5G smartphone is very similar to the Redmi Note 10 5G. In fact, the two phones are practically identical, from the triple-camera system to the battery capacity. They even look fairly similar — both sport a side-mounted fingerprint sensor, for one. Either of them will do if you're looking for an affordable 5G smartphone under S$400. It all boils down to personal preferences. I personally prefer the Realme's user interface, which feels cleaner.
- 6.5-inch LCD (2,400 x 1,080 pixels), 90Hz
- MediaTek Dimensity 700 5G chip with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage
- Triple cameras: 48MP (main), 2MP (macro), 2MP (depth)
- 5000mAh battery
With its 90Hz refresh rate, the Realme's 6.5-inch display is a tad smoother than 60Hz screens. Its 1080p resolution is typical for mid-range phones, and is crisp enough for me. The display has slightly better viewing angles than the one on the Redmi Note 10 5G. The cutout for the front selfie camera is also marginally thinner, and not as noticeable as the one on the Redmi. As is often the case with lower-end phones, the haptic feedback is severely lacking. There's no vibration while typing on the default Gboard keyboard, though there's a weak buzz when tapping on the Android navigation keys (Back, Home and Recent).
There's nothing much to say about the Realme's design — it's all fairly standard. I do like the shimmery plastic back, but not the single bottom speaker. You do get a headphone jack and microSD support (up to 1TB), but no IR blaster, unlike its Redmi rival. There's a slight camera bump for the three rear cameras. But the only camera worth its salt here is the primary 48MP one. The other two are 2MP cameras (depth and macro) with limited usefulness. Meanwhile, the 48MP camera performs like the one on the Redmi. Shots taken in well-lit surroundings look relatively sharp without much noise. Colours are slightly more vivid than real life, but the extra pop is nice. However, the camera's performance dips significantly in low light. While its night photos are still usable for social media posts (as long as you don't look too closely), there's also plenty of noise.
Doing the heavy lifting (and supporting 5G) is the MediaTek Dimensity 700 chip, which I found to be more than adequate for most users. Apps open reasonably fast and runs smoothly enough. Its Geekbench score (567 for single-core) is practically identical to the Redmi Note 10 5G (562). The user interface is not as streamlined as I would like, but it's cleaner than the MIUI in the Redmi Note 10 5G. For instance, the Realme comes with several preloaded apps (or bloatware) such as Agoda and WPS Office. But at least it uses Google apps such as Chrome and Messages as the default.
The Realme 8 5G has excellent battery life. In our video-loop test, its 5,000mAh battery lasted about 10 minutes shy of 15 hours, which is over two hours longer than the Redmi Note 10 5G. At S$399, the Realme is more expensive than the Redmi (S$329). Both phones have similar features and performance, and more importantly, are probably the best options now for a cheap 5G smartphone. I'd pick the Realme for its battery life, and slightly better screen. Check it out at Shopee and Lazada.
Note: Review unit provided by Realme.
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