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Realme 5 Pro Review - What a beast for the price!

Huawei Nova 5T
Realme earlier released the realme 5 Pro in the Philippines, the company's newest mid-ranger packed with a LOT of innovative features for less.
Realme 5 Pro Review - What a beast for the price!
Here's our realme 5 Pro review!

Over a week back, I unboxed the said device and it impressed me right off the bat.

Why? With its PHP 11,990 starting price, realme 5 Pro the most affordable with 10nm Snapdragon 712 chip, 48MP quad-camera setup, and 4,000mAh battery with 20W VOOC 3.0 fast-charging technology yet.

Now, it is time for the full review. It is really that great? Read on!

For our review part 1: Realme 5 Pro Unboxing and First Impressions

Multimedia Experience

Big and bright display
Big and bright display

Sporting a 6.3-inch IPS screen with FHD+ resolution, realme 5 Pro's display is one of the better looking at this price point.

It is quite big and the bezels are noticeably slim at 90.6 percent of screen-to-body ratio for pretty immersive viewing.

Big display, decent output

Since it has FHD+ resolution, details are noticeably crisp enough. While its blacks and contrasts are still not as good as most AMOLED screens found on higher-end phones, the panel used by realme here is quite color accurate.

It is a bit cold in colors by default, but you can adjust its color tone to make it even colder or make it a bit warmer. Personally, I like it on default.

It also has pretty good viewing angles. The max brightness at 450 nits is respectable for outdoor use, but it would have been better if it is brighter than this.

Hence, looking at 5 Pro's display is a pleasure. We find it to be great for binge-watching and reading texts. For a more comfortable viewing in low light, it has the Night Shield option to lessen the emission of blue light to protect your eyes.

For easy typing and swiping, it has 10 points of touch.

A good display without great audio is useless. Fortunately, realme knows that and they equipped the realme 5 Pro with a decent quality down-firing speaker.

It gets loud when needed with clear tunes or voice depending on the content you are listening with. It has some distortion at max loudness, but it is minimal and considered as respectable for a mid-range phone.

Slightly above-average speaker

The headphone out did okay too and I like that it has a 3.5mm headphone slot. It can drive even some of my picky earphones pretty well at 60 to 70 percent loudness. With the Head HD Sound on, the sound signature is warmer and bassier. When turned off, it is more balanced.

For calls, it has a good quality earspeaker. We tried it for calls and the person on the other end can hear our voice clearly. It means that it has a decent mic as well.

For audio recordings, I'm impressed and I can say that it is good and clear for indoor use. Outdoor use is decent, but there will be noise.

Cameras

Not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 cameras at the back
Not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 cameras at the back

Realme 5 Pro touts 5 cameras in total. It has four at the back and one in front.

At the back, it sports a 48MP f/1.79 Sony IMX586 primary sensor paired with an 8MP f/2.25 119-degree ultra wide-angle secondary sensor, 2MP f/2.4 4cm macro sensor, and a 2MP f/2.4 depth sensor.

Not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 rear cameras!

As mentioned above, realme 5 Pro is the most affordable with a rear 48MP quad-camera system. AND, like the similarly priced Xiaomi Mi A3, it is using the 48MP f/1.79 Sony IMX586 primary shooter with 4-in-1 pixel binning tech.

But, the Mi A3 only runs with Snapdragon 665 with a lower-end Spectra 160 ISP unlike the realme 5 Pro with Snapdragon 712 with the better Spectra 250 ISP.

That's rare and impressive for a phone priced this low.
Normal vs ultra-wide
Normal vs ultra-wide

Anyway, it still has most of the most that made us love the realme 3 Pro. But since it has more cameras than the 3 Pro, it has more modes.

In particular, it now has an Ultra-wide and the Ultra macro modes. The ultra-wide mode is useful if you want to capture landscapes and the macro is for close-up shots in daylight.

Realme also replaced the ULTRA HD mode with the Ultra 48MP mode. It allows you to use its full 48MP. It could be useful for daylight shots wherein you want a high-resolution image for print or cropping.
Expert mode
Expert mode

And of course, it has our favorite Nightscape mode and Expert mode with ISO (100 to 3200), shutter speed (1/8000s to 16s), white balance, focus, and EV (-2 to +2) settings.

Also, like most modern phones, its cameras are assisted by AI to optimize shots. The Chroma Boost is also there 

So, without any further ado, here's what we think of its cameras in real-life.

Rear Camera Samples

Normal vs Chroma Boost

Like most modern phones, it has a fast shutter and saving speed.

In daylight scenes, it captures images with plenty of details, less noise, and decent-looking colors. But if you want to make it punchier and a bit brighter, warmer, with a wider dynamic range, you can always opt with the Chroma Boost mode.

While it is still not perfect, and there are times where the AI will make your images look cartoonish, now works more effectively than the previous generation.

There is an option in the camera settings to turn off the scene detection if you want more neutral-looking colors.
48MP cropped
48MP cropped

The 48MP mode is quite impressive as long as it is in daylight as well. It is highly detailed and it doesn't lose too many details even when cropped.
Normal mode daylight
Normal mode daylight

As you can notice, the daylight shot above is already wide and impressive enough. But with the ultra-wide, you can capture more in one frame like the photo below.
Ultra-wide daylight
Ultra-wide daylight

Yes, it has some barrel distortion, but it is minimal compared to action cameras and other ultra-wide modes.

AND, for an 8MP f/2.25 snapper, it is fairly detailed with minimal loss of details in daylight.
Sample macro shots
Sample macro shots

For macro shots, it isn't that detailed as it only uses the 2MP cam. But at least it can help you take close-up images. It doesn't work well for indoor and low light scenes.

While I appreciate that it has a macro mode, it would have been so much better if it has a telephoto lens for zooming instead.
Normal, 2x, 5x
Normal, 2x, 5x


Anyway, it can do up to 10x digital zoom. It is lossless at 2x and there's minimal noise in 5x mode. Still decent.
Indoor well-lit
Indoor well-lit
Indoor dim
Indoor dim

For indoor shots, I'm pleased to say that it didn't lose the details. Realme did a good job of maintaining its colors.

It could still be a hit or miss though. If you will notice, my first indoor shot is bright and detailed, but a bit oversharpened. My second shot looks better and more natural-looking.
Normal vs bokeh
Normal vs bokeh

Realme 5 Pro's fourth camera is designed to assist the main camera in achieving believable portrait shots. Edge detection is still not perfect, but it is more decent-looking than the ones found on realme 3.
Low light main
Low light main
Low light wide
Low light wide

In low light, thanks to its 48MP f/1.79 bright Sony IMX586 snapper with 4-in-1 pixel binning tech, it can take respectable night shots even on point and shoot mode. It has grain and loss of details, but far from bad.

To our surprise, even if its ultra-wide camera is just at 8MP f/2.25, it can produce decent auto night shots as well.

But of course, do not expect it to be as amazing as the flagships by default.
Normal vs Nightscape (night) mode
Normal vs Nightscape (night) mode

Gladly, realme 5 Pro is one of those phones with a 2s handheld (long exposure) Nightscape mode. And to be honest, it is one of the nicest night modes around. It has less crop than the night mode of realme 3 Pro and it looks more controlled than ever.

It gets bright, but not too bright. Shots are detailed, but not too oversharpened. In short, not as cartoonish as other night modes.
Low light ultra-wide
Low light ultra-wide
Low light ultra-wide night mode
Low light ultra-wide night mode

Oh, by the way, this is the first mid-ranger I tested with ultra-wide Nightscape mode by default. It simply means that it can let you take better-looking shots in the dark using the wide-cam of this phone.

The night mode from the main shooter is still better with better light control, but at least it has that function.
Nightscape main cam
Nightscape main cam
Nightscape ultra-wide
Nightscape ultra-wide

Overall, I enjoyed using the four cameras of the realme 5 Pro. Especially for night shots. Realme ensured that this device can let you take respectable images in nearly all scenes.
16MP snapper
16MP snapper

In front, it has a 16MP f/2.0 Sony IMX471 w/ AI Portrait. All the modes are similar to the realme 3 Pro. 
Camera modes

It still has the portrait mode (bokeh mode), auto HDR, several filters, and screen flash (for low light selfies).

It also has fast face detection and photo saving speed.

Selfie Camera Samples

Well-lit selfie
Well-lit selfie

Its 16MP snapper may sound lower than the 25MP of realme 3 Pro, but let us all remember that it is a 16MP f/2.0 Sony IMX471.

And in our shots, it is highly detailed in daylight with good dynamic range. My concern is it is not as wide as I wanted (to fit more people in 1 frame) and the color accuracy. It makes my brown skin a bit whiter than I expected most of the time.
Normal vs AI Face Beauty
Normal vs AI Face Beauty
Face Beauty level 3
Face Beauty level 3

Like before, realme has a Face Beauty mode that can smoothen your skin, make your face smaller, make your nose smaller, and more. On AI mode, the beautification is not too much. It retailed my pores and facial scars. But again, I find my skin tone too white here.
Bokeh shot
Bokeh shot

The bokeh on the Portrait mode has improved a little too. The edge detection and subject to background separation are better than ever. It doesn't look too fake from afar now.
Selfie low light w/o and w/ screen flash
Selfie low light w/o and w/ screen flash

In low light, I'm not much of a fan. While it looks a bit decent, it is obviously grainier. The selfie screen flash will make your face brighter, but it is soft.

For videos, I'm happy that it has 4K 30fps mode. There's an option for 1080p 60fps and 1080p 30fps as well. There is a way to access the 960fps Slo-Mo mode and the usual Time-Lapse mode.

For the quality, it is obviously detailed with great colors and dynamic range in 4K mode. But, it lacks the stabilization that would make it usable if you will take handheld videos. Switch to 1080p 60fps to enjoy better stabilization (EIS) without losing many details. The slo-mo feature is okay and at least it is there.

For selfie videos, there's no question that it is detailed. Stabilization is actually respectable as well. My problem? The crop is TOO big. There no Face Beauty for selfies as well.

Video Samples


Performance/UI

AnTuTu, Geekbench
AnTuTu, Geekbench

For a phone with PHP 11,990 to PHP 13,990 price tag, it is the most affordable with the Snapdragon 712 chip yet. It is the same chip that Xiaomi used on the impressive Mi 9 SE.
PCMark, 3DMark
PCMark, 3DMark

It is paired with either 4GB or 8GB RAM with 128GB storage (expandable via microSD slot).

Obviously, the one with a bigger RAM is the smoother phone. But 4GB is still enough for casual users and even some gamers.

The unit that we tested is the 8GB RAM variant and it is really fast. We never had hiccups on our actual daily usage. It is smooth most of the time for a mid-range phone.

Just don't expect it to be faster than high-end phones and you will be contented with it.

A mid-ranger phone that is great for gaming!

For games, the unit I have is arguably as smooth or smoother than the M9 SE. It also has better gaming performance even against the PHP 23,990 Galaxy A70.


NBA 2K20 no problem, PUBG no problem. Mobile Legend players will be pleased with their overall performance as well. It can run most of the games with decent frame rates.

In terms of connectivity, WiFi works well. It has 2.4GHz/5GHz support. For LTE, it has Band 28 700MHz for better indoor signal reception unlike other mid-rangers. Bluetooth  5.0 connectivity is mostly stable too. GSM signal is strong enough for me.

This is a phone that is good for browsing the net, sending text messages, and doing calls.

As expected, it has OTG. It is also complete with sensors found on most modern phones.

Both the fingerprint scanner and face unlock are fast and responsive.

For the battery, it has 4,045mAh of juice which is considered as big. Even under heavy usage with 4G LTE most of the time, playing games, listening to music, and using the cameras a lot, it can last for a day on a single charge.

Speaking of charging, it has 
20W VOOC 3.0 flash charge tech. It can charge the phone from 0 to 75 percent in 30 minutes. After that, the charging speed will be slower. Total charging time from 0 to 100 percent is around 1 hour and 30 minutes. Not bad!
The UI
The UI

For the UI, it is similar to what we experienced with realme 3 Pro. It is still neat-looking nad quite optimized. To recall, it has its own 
machine learning features that will freeze the apps in the background instead of shutting them down. It can learn your habit in two weeks to effectively optimize the performance of the phone.
Phone Manager and Theme Store
Phone Manager and Theme Store

However, we noticed that it has more pre-installed apps than ever. Realme even has its own App Market app store and a Game Center which looks like an app store designed for games. Personally, I don't see the point of having too many app stores.
Game Space

For mobile gamers, it has the Game Space app that can allow you to access Competitive (improve performance for games), Balanced (Best balance of performance and power consumption, and Low Power Consumption (Lowers game quality for longer gaming duration) modes. You can also use it to block notifications.

Anyway, ColorOS 6.0 is also complete with gestures, unlocked bootloader, and Camera 2 API support. Still, it doesn't have a system-wide dark mode yet.

Pros - Nice design, capable display, powerful overall specs, strong battery performance, USB-C fast charging, versatile cameras
Cons - Shaky 4K video, huge selfie video crop, a lot of pre-installed apps with multiple app stores

Realme 5 Pro Specs

Display: 6.3-inch 2.5D curved Gorilla Glass 3+ protected IPS screen w/ FHD+ 2340 x 1080 resolution at 409 ppiCPU: 2.3GHz 64-bit Snapdragon 712 octa-core processor
GPU: Adreno 616
RAM: 4GB/6GB/8GB
ROM: 64GB/128GB UFS 2.1 expandable via microSD card slot up to 256GB (dedicated)
Back Camera: 48MP f/1.79 Sony IMX586 + 8MP f/2.25 119-degree ultra wide-angle + 2MP f/2.4 4cm macro + 2MP f/2.4 depth w/ LED flash
Selfie Camera: 16MP f/2.0 Sony IMX471 w/ AI Portrait 
Battery: 4,045mAh w/ 20W VOOC 3.0 flash charge
OS: Android 9.0 Pie w/ ColorOS 6.0
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5GHz), 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5, OTG, FM Radio, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, dual SIM
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic
Others: Fingerprint sensor, face unlock, splash resistance, Dirac HD Sound, USB-C, Colors: sparkling blue, crystal green
Dimensions: 156.8 x 74.2 x 8.3 mm
Price: PHP 11,990 (4GB/128GB), 13,990 (8GB/128GB)

Verdict

For its PHP 11,990 starting price, the realme 5 Pro is a stunner. In fact, it could be the phone to beat for the price.

I like that it has a lot of upgrades coming from the realme 3 Pro like in terms of design, speed, charging port, and cameras without the need for hiking its price.


And at this price point, it is the phone with arguably the best cameras and overall performance.

We highly recommend this product to those who are looking for an all-around phone for less.

What do you guys think?
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