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realme C35 Review - Design and substance?

We share our thoughts and experiences with the popular realme C35 after over two months as a daily driver.
realme C35 Unboxing and First Impressions
realme C35's design

To recap, the realme C35 features a large 6.6-inch IPS display with a 180Hz touch sampling rate, 2408 x 1080 resolution, and 600 nits peak brightness.

inside the phone is a 12nm UNISOC SoC, 4GB RAM, 64GB/128GB of storage, and a large 5,000mAh battery.

At the back of the phone are a 50MP primary camera, 2MP macro, and a 2MP monochrome camera with an LED flash while in front is an 8MP front-facing camera,

In the Philippines, the realme C35 starts at PHP 8,499 for the 4GB/64GB model.

Let's dive into the full review.

Multimedia Experience

The display

One of the highlights of the phone is its display. It is a 6.6-in IPS display with a resolution of 2408 x 1080 resolution and 600 nits peak brightness. The result is sharp and detailed images that are visible and readable under direct sunlight. It is bright with vibrant colors too.

Decent display!

It has no 90Hz and above refresh rate, but it has a 180Hz touch sampling rate and 10-points of multi-touch which results in responsive and accurate taps and gestures.

There is no mention of any form of glass protection but it does have a pre-installed screen protector.
Top and bottom
Top and bottom

For audio, realme C35 has a single bottom-firing grille speaker. The sound is decently loud and it is clear enough. My one gripe is that once you cover the speaker grills, the sound becomes muffled.

We used our pair of earphones to try and test its 3.5mm headphone slot. The sound is a better experience than the speakers so we recommend that you use your own earphones.

The microphones pick up sounds from a meter away. It does a decent pick-up of sound while the noise-cancellation for calls is decent.


Rear cameras
Rear cameras

As mentioned earlier, the back camera module is made up of a 50MP primary camera, 2MP macro, and 2MP monochrome camera.

50MP for less!

The stock camera app has the following modes: Capture, Video, Portrait, Timelapse, 50M, Filter, Panorama, Night Por, Burst, Pro, and Macro.

The PRO mode allows for controls of white balance, exposure compensation (+-3), ISO (100-1600), and shutter speed (1/5s to 1/1000s).

Rear Camera Samples

Daylight rear main
 Daylight rear main

realme C35's rear camera takes decent daylight photos. The colors and contrast are great and is sharp and detailed enough. It is not the best in the price range but it is passable.
Rear close-up!
Rear close-up!

The camera is consistent even when taking close-ups.
Indoor rear main
Indoor rear main

Indoors, the images retain the quality of daylight. The colors and contrast are great while being decently sharp and detailed. 
Lowlight rear main
Lowlight rear main

For low light, the images have increased noise and the camera struggles with super-bright areas. If you look at the poison sign, it is over-exposed. Otherwise, the color and contrast are still good. However, it isn't as sharp or detailed as we would like.
realme C35's selfie camera
realme C35's selfie camera

On the notch in front is the 8MP selfie camera.

Only the Capture and Video modes are available. But it does have beautification, screen light, bokeh, and filters.

Selfie Camera Samples

Daylight selfie
Daylight selfie

The selfie camera takes images with vibrant colors and deep contrast. It is sharp enough but there are phones with sharper cameras in the price range. Otherwise, the cameras are good enough in daylight.
Indoor selfie
Indoor selfie

Indoors, we noticed that noise and grain increased which softened the image. However, the color and contrast remain good.
Low light selfie

In low light, realme C35's selfie camera shoots images with a lot of noise and grain. But what is impressive is that to compensate for the low light, the camera extended the shutter speed to brighten the shot. And even though the image has good color and contrast, it is softer than we would like. 

Overall, the rear and front cameras produce images with good color and contrast but struggle with sharpness and in low light.

The realme C35 can take up to 1080p videos at 30fps with the rear camera and can record up to 720p at 30fps with the selfie camera.


AnTuTu and GeekBench
AnTuTu and GeekBench

To recap, realme C35 carries a 12nm 2.0GHz UNISOC T616 octa-core processor, Mali-G57 GPU, LPDD4X RAM and UFS 2.2.
CPDT and 3DMark
CPDT and 3DMark

realme C35 benchmarks:

  1. AnTuTu - 243,012
  2. Geekbench 5 - 367 (single-core), 1,376 (multi-core)
  3. 3D Mark WildLife - 463 at 2.80 average fps 
  4. CPDT - 415.15 MB/s sequential read speeds and 226.94 sequential write speeds
This is surprising as the realme C35's scores are very similar to the realme 9i.

During the benchmark run, the phone did warm up but by a few degrees only.
Genshin Impact settings

The performance is consistent with similarly priced smartphones too! It managed to unlock the lowest graphics settings of Genshin Impact as the default. The gameplay is mostly smooth until the screen fills up with objects and animations. The phone also warmed up after an extended play session.

For security, realme C35 has a side-mounted fingerprint sensor and face unlock. Initial set-up and subsequent uses are almost instantaneous. Either Face Unlock or the fingerprint sensors failed. The sensor only struggled when our fingers were filled with dirt.

In terms of connectivity, we have the following: WiFi, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.0, OTG, FM Radio, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, and dual SIM.

Inside the phone is a large 5,000mAh battery. It managed to last for 16 hours and 45 minutes with our usual PCMark battery benchmark.

In our daily use, it managed to last for more than 6 hours of on-screen time.

The massive battery charges via USB-C with the 18W charger. It takes around 90 minutes to charge from 0 to 100 percent.
realme UI 2.0
realme UI 2.0

It is running on realme UI 2.0 based on Android 11. The UI has been a staple for over a few years now. We hope realme will update the phone to Android 12 soon.

There is a number of preinstalled apps and services that can be uninstalled. It adds to the initial setup. 

Because the phone does not come with a case in the box, we recommend getting one as soon as possible.

Pros - Beautiful design, lightweight and solid body, 50MP main cam
Cons - Low light camera performance

realme C35 Specs

Display: 6.6-inch LCD (IPS) screen w/ 180Hz touch sampling rate, FHD+ 2408 x 1080 resolution at 400 ppi
CPU: 12nm 2.0GHz UNISOC T616 octa-core processor
GPU: Mali-G57
ROM: 64GB/128GB UFS 2.2 expandable via microSD card slot up to 1TB (dedicated)
Back Camera: 50MP f/1.8 w/ PDAF + 2MP f/2.4 4cm Macro Lens + 2MP f/2.8 B&W Lens + LED flash
Selfie Camera: 8MP f/2.0 Sony IMX355
Battery: 5,000mAh w/ 18W Quick Charge
OS: Android 11.0 w/ realme UI R Edition
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 ac (2.4GHz/5GHz), 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, dual SIM
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic
Others: Side-mounted fingerprint sensor, face unlock, TÜV Rheinland Smartphone High-Reliability Certification, USB-C, Colors: Glowing Green, Glowing Black
Dimensions: 164.4 x 75.6 x 8.1 mm
Weight: 189 g
Price: PHP 8,499 (4GB./64GB), PHP 9,499 (4GB/128GB)



realme C35 is in a unique position as it has similar raw performance as the realme 9i but with shorter battery life and slower charging.

What makes this phone stand out is its design. We had so many instances where in people would come up to us and ask which phone we were holding because of how beautiful the phone is.

The display is super bright, vibrant, and detailed while being responsive to touch and gestures. 60Hz refresh rate is good enough.

The camera is decent. The actual performance is quite nice as well. But, there are better-performing phones in the price range. The battery life is strong too.

Our only concern with the phone is the security of future updates. The phone comes with Android 11 and we hope it will get Android 12 too.

What do you think guys?

Build/Design - 4.5
Multimedia Experience - 4
Cameras - 4
Performance - 4
Average - 4.125/5

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