Smartphone maker Realme has been one of the best performing companies in the Indian smartphone space for the past three years. The company is widely known for its great value options and provides Android smartphones in different price ranges. The realme 10 Pro is its new 5G handset with a base price of Rs. 18,999. Does it deliver? Let’s try to figure it out.
Design: The 10 Pro 5G has a 6.72-inch LCD screen on the front with thin bezels on the sides and top, but slightly thicker on the bottom (chin). The phone weighs about 190 grams with a thickness of about 8.11 mm and has flat sides and a blocky design that many people might like. The back of the phone has a polycarbonate body with a matte finish. I found the device comfortable to hold and noticed almost no fingerprints and smudges while using it. The dual camera cutouts protrude from the back without a single rectangular housing, as we often see on phones these days. The left side has the dual SIM card tray (plus microSD card) on the top, while the right side has the volume buttons and Power/lock key in the middle. The keys don’t feel cheap and have enough travel that requires decent pressure to be pressed. The bottom contains the 3.5mm audio jack, primary microphone, USB type C port and speaker, while the top has the secondary microphone. The main standout of the device is that misty blue back with changing colors depending on the light on it and the angle you hold it. The ear speaker grille on the top is a bit of an eyesore, but it’s not a deal breaker. So, design and build quality are definitely a strong point of the phone here.
Display: The phone has a 6.72-inch (1080×2400) IPS LCD display with support for a refresh rate of up to 120 Hz. The screen is really bright and usable in direct sunlight without much fuss. It doesn’t support HDR, but it’s fairly sharp and has somewhat vibrant colors for viewing videos and images. The 120Hz refresh rate also aids in navigating the UI and, of course, more in games. The punchole for the front camera on the screen isn’t too big either, so that helps a bit when viewing your content too.
Cameras: There’s a 108MP (f/1.75) camera (Samsung HM6 sensor) and a 2MP portrait camera on the back. The portrait camera isn’t much to write about, if you’re into portrait shots on a regular basis you might want to look elsewhere. However, the main camera is quite good in most conditions. I found the camera to have less shutter lag than the 9 Pro+, but the camera quality isn’t much better. The photos looked detailed, decent contrast and white balance in good lighting conditions, both outdoors and indoors. In low light, the photos are okay and not too great. They can have good colors, but often come out grainy or too blurry on the subject, even when you’re not moving. There’s also support for RAW mode if you want to tinker with your shots later in Street mode. The front-facing 16 MP camera performs well for your selfie needs as it can take detailed, colorful shots, but I preferred the no filter and retouch mode for a more realistic shot.
Performance and Operating System: The phone packs a Snapdragon 695 chipset (2.2GHz octa core processor, Adreno 619 GPU) along with 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 128GB of UFS 2.2 storage. It runs on realme UI 4.0 based on Android 13 with the November security patch. The phone can handle day-to-day tasks well enough most of the time. The 120Hz refresh rate is useful in games like Asphalt 9 Legends, it handled them just fine (very few dropped frames) at the highest settings, although the phone warmed up slightly after about an hour. One thing where realme UI seems to have improved with 4.0 is less aggressive killing of apps and services in the background, apps resume much faster and from where they left before more often than what we’ve seen on realme phones before. But one thing where it could improve further is showing ads and additional app installation options for the user after installing an app or while setting up the phone. This often happens when you install a new app, and it hinders the user experience to some extent. Most irrelevant ads and notifications can be disabled in Settings or during initial setup. It supports 5G mode (NSA + SA), and I noticed it stuck to 5G quite often on Jio (not yet available on Vi), but every now and then, even sitting in the same spot, it goes to 4G LTE. On 5G I got this high at 650mbps download speeds and 100mbps upload speeds with 30ms latency. The chipset is far from the latest and greatest for this price segment, something Realme could have thought about a bit more, but it’s not that outdated or low on power.
Battery life and other stuff: The phone has a 5,000mAh battery and comes with a 33W charger in the box (with a USB type C to A cable). The phone lasted a full day more often than not – with 30% brightness, two email accounts, lots of music playback, an hour of videos, Wi-Fi connected for about 12 hours, 5G + hotspot for almost 5 hours. The phone charges from 1% to full in about 100 minutes using the included charger. The WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity (supports aptX) was pretty much good and showed no issues. Dual stereo speakers are quite loud and punchy, providing ample multimedia experience, not distorting unless played at full volume for some mid to high notes. The call quality, even with 5G enabled, is really top notch, something a 5G handset sometimes struggles with. The fingerprint scanner on top of the Power/lock key, although it’s in an unusual place, is fast and reliable for frequent use and I didn’t really miss it on the front.
Verdict: The realme 10 pro 5G is an all-round budget Android smartphone that offers satisfying 5G performance (when available), great battery life, an improved software experience that can definitely be improved, and that gets the basics right. The phone is in a very competitive price segment and if you want the main rear camera and the front camera of your phone to be more than good enough then you should consider this device, otherwise you may have to look elsewhere with many 5G devices on the shelf these days.