Realme 5i Review – Best Budget Smartphone?

In today’s review, we are checking out another budget-friendly device. It’s called a Realme 5i and this is a phone that you can buy for about $150 on Aliexpress or Gearbest. This is also the global version of this device.

What do we get for that price? First of all and what impressed me the most is the 5000 mAh battery that we get inside of this device. In one charge you can go for between 2 to 3 days and out of that, you can get about 16 hours of screen-on-time. I have to say, that’s quite impressive for a phone this cheap. Not to mention that it’s better than about 99% of the phone that I’ve tried in the past.

Realme 5i screen-on time

We also get a Snapdragon CPU that’s paired with 4 gigs of RAM. This is a Snapdragon 665 and this is definitely a power-efficient CPU. Even though it’s not the fastest CPU out there, we still get a decent enough Antutu benchmark score. You get a score of about 167000. You know that if you get a score like that Realme 5i will do ok for most applications and for most games available in the Google Play Store.

We also have a 6.5 inches screen. The resolution of this screen is only 720p and of course, that has to do with the great screen-on time that we got. Unfortunately, the screen doesn’t get super bright so if you take the phone outside in direct sunlight – the screen doesn’t look that great. Aside from that, the colors do look great, the viewing angles are good.

Realme 5i backside

Realme 5i body is made out of plastic and in a way that’s a good thing. Because if you’re going to drop the phone it’s not going to break as easily. At the same time, it doesn’t feel as premium as a phone that has glass/metal on the back. Overall it doesn’t look bad for a phone around $150 dollars.

On the back, we also have a physical fingerprint scanner. All you have to do is touch the fingerprint scanner and the screen will unlock.

At the bottom of the device, we have a 3.5 mm audio jack, so you can plug in some headphones. We have the holes for the microphone and the micro USB charging port. I’m not sure why they decided to use a micro USB charging port.

Charging Realme 5i takes about 2h30m. So keep that in mind that if you’re in a rush you’re going to have to give the phone some time to actually charge it. Next to that, we have the holes for the speaker and that’s the only external speaker. The speaker sounds good but whenever you are watching a video or playing a game it’s super easy to cover that speaker

Realme 5i dual SIM card + SD card slot

On the left-hand side, we have the volume keys and the slot for the SIM card. This phone can take 2 SIM cards and an SD card at the same time. I think that’s very helpful.

We have 4 cameras at the back of the device:

  • main lens
  • ultra-wide lens
  • macro lens
  • portrait mode lense

The phone has a night mode as well. I took some pictures some at night and the pictures look decent but of course, you’re not going to be able to compare these pictures with the pictures that you take with the flagship device. The nighttime pictures do look a bit grainy but I like how the pictures taken with the macro lens look. They do look somewhat unique and you don’t usually get the macro lens with a lot of devices these days. The ultra-wide lens pictures do look better than other budget-friendly devices that I’ve seen in the past.

Realme 5i camera photo sample

Realme 5i also supports 4k recordings. If you check the manufacturer’s website it says that the video recordings have video stabilization. However, from my tests for 4k recordings and 1080p recordings, it doesn’t seem to have any type of image stabilization.

Realme 5i runs Android 9 and on top of that, we have Color OS 6. I have to be honest, I’m not a big fan of color OS, mostly because you get a lot of pre-installed apps that nobody is ever going to use and then you get a lot of popups. I would prefer something slimmer than this, like Oxygen OS, something that you find on Oneplus devices.

Realme 5i 4 cameras

Aside from Color OS, the phone does perform quite well for pretty much everything that you’re going to do with it. If you are using the Facebook app it works great, if you’re using any games on it, it does work great. So the Snapdragon 665 is powerful enough for pretty much everything that you’re going to do with it. So really no complaint about the performance aside from that Color OS.

Moving on to the GPS unit inside, it only takes a couple of seconds for the phone to find your location and once your location is found it doesn’t seem to lose it. We have all the sensors that you would find in a more expensive device.

Realme 5i sensors

Unfortunately, the phone doesn’t have NFC so you’re not going to be able to make payments with this phone. It does support dual-band Wi-Fi and 4G. The speeds over the 4G network and Wi-Fi work decent enough as well.


For $150 you can’t exactly go wrong with Realme 5i. We get the 5000 mAh battery that offers amazing screen-on time. We get pretty good performance from Snapdragon 665, even though I’m not a big fan of Color OS. We get cameras that are better than I was expecting. Unfortunately, we get a micro USB charging port at the bottom, I’m not sure why they did that. At least we have a 3.5 mm audio jack. And the screen should have been a bit brighter. But again, if we’d have had better specs, the better screen and so on, then the price of the phone would probably be higher.

Find Realme 5i on Aliexpress or Gearbest

Watch full review in video format:

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