Realme 8 series arrived with two models at first and then, Realme added a 5G variant of the standard Realme 8 although with a slightly better chipset, display, and camera setup. Realme made quite a few changes with the new Realme 8 5G to include the much-anticipated 5G support although while cutting back on some must-have features including faster-charging brick, stereo speakers to name a few. Realme 8 5G may look like a knight on paper but does it perform practically as it promises?
That’s why I am here as I tested the phone for its aspects to find out the loopholes, the upgrades, the downgrades, and more in my hands-on review. Read along.
Prices in India, Variants, Availability
Realme 8 5G is available in two configurations and four colour variants. The first is the 4GB+128GB variant available at Rs 14,999/- while the higher 8GB+128GB variant is available at Rs 16,999/-. You can choose between Supersonic Blue or Supersonic Black colourways. Available on Flipkart, Realme 8 5G arrives with an exchange offer that you can redeem to get a discount of up to Rs 14,450/- on eligible models. Other deals and discounts include 10 per cent off on using Citi CC/DC, 10 per cent off on BoB Mastercard DC, and so on.
We are all very well-acquainted with Realme’s obsession with yellow box packaging. Realme 8 5G also shows that. Open the yellow box to see:
- Realme 8 5G device
- A transparent silicon back cover
- 18W power adapter
- USB Type-C cable
- Sim ejector tool
Specs at a glance
Before we talk in detail about the Realme 8 5G let’s see what the on-paper specs look like?
- Display: 16.51 cm (6.5 inch) Full HD+ IPS LCD Display, 90Hz refresh rate
- Processor: MediaTek Dimensity 700 5G
- Storage: 4GB/8GB, 128GB
- Software: realme UI 2.0 based on. Android 11
- Rear cameras: 48MP + 2MP + 2MP
- Battery: 5000 mAh
- Weight: 185g
- Dimensions: 162.50 x 74.80 x 8.50mm
Design and Build
There’s not much difference when it comes to Realme 8 5G and the Realme 8/8 Pro released earlier. Realme 8 5G falls on a lighter side with 185 grams of weight and it is slim at 8.5mm which makes holding the phone and grip on it a lot better. The phone comes with a plastic frame and rear panel as usual. However, Realme has decided to kick out the giant “Dare To Leap” insignia for a rather calm-looking and tiny “Realme” branding at the bottom which looks premium.
The back panel has an iridescent colour effect that looks pretty dope paired with its glossy finish. I would still prefer a matte look because a glossy finish would mean that the panel is prone to smudges and fingerprints and that is what Realme 8 5G suffers as well. You can still use a TPU case that comes with the retail box or buy yours to prevent the back panel from becoming a galore of smudges.
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The front has a giant display with thick bezels, forehead, and chin but that’s something that goes in line with the price tag the phone has. You get a power button on the right that doubles as a fingerprint scanner. On the left, you have a volume rocker and on top of it, you get a three-slot SIM tray with two slots for nano SIMs and the third one for a microSD card. You can easily extend the storage up to 1TB so that’s a relief.
At the bottom, you get a bottom-firing loudspeaker, a 3.5mm headphone jack, primary microphone, and a USB Type-C 2.0 port and that’s pretty much all you get with the Realme 8 5G.
Realme 8 arrived with a 60Hz AMOLED display while the Realme 8 5G gets a 6.5-inch FHD+ IPS LCD panel with a 90Hz refresh rate. This means, either way, you end up compromising either over the technology or the refresh rate of the display here. In any case, despite having an LCD panel, Realme 8 5G still has a fluid 90Hz refresh rate that looks more vibrant and has a greater colour reproduction.
The punch-hole cut-out on Realme 8 5G is on the top-left corner that makes sure it doesn’t act as a hindrance when you are watching a movie or so. Overall, the display is of good quality with a ting of off-axis colour shift and not-so-prominent blacks (compared to an AMOLED panel). The display gets bright at 600 nits which makes it usable even under the harshest lighting conditions which is a relief.
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Additionally, Realme 8 5G is Widevine L1 certified so watching HD content on OTT platforms like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and others is a delightful experience. Overall, the display is of good quality although if you are tempted with darker blacks and brighter whites, an IPS LCD doesn’t have a chance over an AMOLED panel.
Talking about the refresh rate, you can set it up to 60Hz or set it to dynamically change. It is fluid, buttery-smooth, and undoubtedly one of the best USPs on the device that compensates for the use of an LCD panel. You’ll find 90Hz in many apps although some apps like video players are locked at 60Hz and something almost all smartphones have to deal with.
Realme 8 5G runs on Dimensity 700 5G SoC manufactured on a 7nm node. It stands at around 304,952 points on AnTuTu which is way better than the Realme 8 score (Helio G95 at 297,216 points). What that means (in case if you haven’t understood yet), Realme 8 5G processor is way faster than that of Realme 8 and the same goes for its GPU. Plus, Realme 8 5G uses a 4/8GB LPDDR4 RAM with Dynamic RAM Expansion Technology that uses internal storage as RAM thereby giving a 5/11GB RAM output respectively. The storage on-board is also UFS 2.1.
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No doubt Realme 8 5G can churn calculations and perform better in its price segment and not to forget that it supports the 5G network (both SA and NSA). During testing, I didn’t found the phone to lag even when switching between a couple of apps. You can play heavy graphics games like Call of Duty Mobile setting it to the max graphics (which is medium in the case of Realme 8 5G) without any issue. It does heat up a bit and that usually results in frame drops, what you are talking about here is an affordable 5G smartphone and no doubt it will still have some compromises to make.
No doubt multitasking, switching between the apps, using social media apps, texting, calling, and all sorts of day-to-day usage won’t break a sweat.
Realme UI 2.0 takes the lead when it comes to the software part. It is based on Android 11 which means you get the best of both worlds. Realme UI 2.0 has a customizable dark mode, floating windows, dual-mode audio, and a few other features up its sleeves. The bloatware on the device is kept to the minimum. You won’t like too much bloatware in your phone which is the case with almost all Xiaomi devices.
The crux of this section is, Realme 8 5G has just a single-use camera in the rear assembly since it made a cutback from a quadruple-camera setup as seen on Realme 8 to a triple-cam setup. Specs-wise, you get a 48MP Samsung GM1 primary snapper paired with a 2MP depth and 2MP macro lens. Now you must have guessed why I said that Realme 8 5G has a single-use camera on the back and the quality isn’t that promising either. There’s a 16MP selfie shooter housed in a punch-hole cut-out. Here’s more about the sensors.
Photos on Realme 8 5G in the daytime and well-lit lighting conditions are amazing, to be honest. The results turn out to be high in dynamic range and the sensor manages to retain a good amount of details but doesn’t get over the clouds just yet because you would still end up with noise in the final shot. Capturing a fast-paced object like a train will be difficult so try taking a video instead. There’s no ultrawide camera this time so yeah, the 48MP primary sensor is the only usable camera.
At night time, you can use a dedicated Night Mode that uses the software under the hood to clean up shots taken during low-light conditions. But hey, that doesn’t mean you will get the best shot here. Night Mode does apply its magic but it falls short as the results are unrealistic at times with excessive colour pumping.
Moving on to the sort-of useless section of the rear camera right, you get a 2MP B&W sensor that slaps a monochrome filter on the images captured by the primary sensor. Feels useful, isn’t it? A depth sensor would have added the required depth effect for a better portrait shot but hey, I already mentioned that this is a pretty useful part. The device can still take portrait shots but with soft blue and decent edge detection, having a depth sensor would have enhanced it.
Finally, the third sensor is a 2MP macro sensor which without going into further detail, is hit-and-miss at times. A good lighting condition would make the shots pop out but try snagging a pic in low light condition and it would not end well.
Turn the phone around and you get a 16MP front selfies shooter. Now there’s not much to say about the selfie camera since it is usually used for selfies (of course), video calls, and so on. It is as per the standards. All the shots are accepted subjected that the lighting conditions are good.
Realme 8 5G packs in a colossal battery rated at 5,000 mAh. Now that might seem a lot (although it is), 5G support does require an exorbitant amount of battery backup but as long as there’s no 5G available in India on a mass scale, you are good and ahead in the game. The battery lasts more than a day on moderate usage although you can squeeze half a day if used properly. I was able to get a SOT of 6 hours which is great for Realme 8 5G.
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The phone is supplied with an 18W fast charging tech and now, you will see a downfall. Apparently, the Realme 8 (4G) arrived with a 30W charging rig which means Realme 8 5G gets almost 40 per cent slower charging brick. It takes around 2-2:20 hours to juice up the battery which as per me and as per usual consensus, is pretty slow as per 2021 standards.
Audio, Connectivity, Biometrics
I wouldn’t stress that enough, Realme made cutbacks on Realme 8 5G to include the 5G modem and one of the casualties was the stereo speakers. I personally feel having a stereo speaker setup does enhance my movie/video viewing or gaming experience but unfortunately, you will have to do it with a single bottom-firing loudspeaker. It is loud but not that great. Thus, it is average but at least you have a 3.5mm headphone jack to compensate and that’s a major plus.
You get a whole sort of connectivity features. Starting with NFC, WiFi 6, Bluetooth v5.1 with LE and A2DP, as well as GPS that encapsulates QZSS, Galileo, BDS, Glonass, and A-GPS. There’s a 3.5mm headphone jack at the bottom along with a USB Type-C 2.0 port.
When it comes to the security part, Realme 8 5G arrives with a side-mounted fingerprint scanner tucked inside the power button. It is snappy and far more reliable than the facial recognition system Realme 8 5G packs although that doesn’t mean the latter is any bad. The FPS comes with two settings i.e. unlock with just a single tap (which is lightning fast) or you can select it to have a full-blown fingerprint impression before it unlocks the phone depending upon your preference.
Pros & Cons
- 90Hz refresh rate display
- Dimensity 700 5G
- 8GB RAM + 128GB internal storage
- Virtual RAM expansion
- 48MP NightScape rear camera setup
- 16MP selfie camera
- 5000 mAh battery with 18W fast charging
- No Gorilla Glass protection
- No dust and waterproofing
Now, this is the last piece of the puzzle – the Verdict. Both Realme 8 and Realme 8 5G are two different devices with distinct chipsets, displays, and camera rig (certainly not for good) among others. Realme 8 5G is one of the most affordable 5G smartphones that has resulted in a few cutbacks. Overall, the build quality of Realme 8 5G is average, the performance is way better thanks to the Dimensity 700 processor, and the battery life is great on the device.
5G is still unavailable in India so I don’t think so you will be needing it at least for a year or two and that’s if I am being too optimistic. Downgrade to an LCD panel is undoubtedly a major turn-off point since it is AMOLED over LCD always. Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro seems like an extraordinary alternative with better specs and no 5G. Still, if you want to stay inside the Realme ecosystem and are arriving from Realme 7 or below, you can go for Realme 8 5G over Realme 8 4G any day.