Realme has been doubling down on its smartphone offering in India to compete with the likes of Xiaomi and Samsung for a while now. The company has launched a number of smartphones this year expanding its portfolio and recently came up with an update to the Realme 6 series that was launched earlier this year. The new Realme 7 and Realme 7 Pro offer a nice mix of features with various configurations available from Rs 15,000 to Rs 22,000 which is substantially higher than the previous generation.
Talking specifically about the 7 Pro, it sounds like Realme has taken out certain features in favour of some new ones. But does that help in making this phone a valuable upgrade? Here’s what we think…
The Realme 7 Pro is quite a handy device compared to the variety of phones available in this segment. It feels fairly compact and the company has managed to keep the overall weight of the device lesser than the Realme 7 and even its predecessor, the Realme 6 Pro. There is a frosted finish at the back with a vertical-strip on one side that makes space for the company logo. It’s a unique finish that Realme calls a ‘Mirror Design’ but sadly there is no glass involved, rather it makes use of plastic. Despite that, it looks and feels good to use while the matte finish helps in reducing fingerprints and offering a decent grip. The rectangular camera module sitting on the top left has rounded corners and comes with four camera lenses and an LED flash.
The frame in the middle is made out of metal while the screen at the front sits slightly higher. Realme has used Gorilla Glass 3 and offers a pre-applied screen protector as well, which isn’t very good in terms of quality, but it should last you for a while. The punch-hole for the front camera is placed on the top left of the display and while the bezels aren’t too big, there is a small chin at the bottom. The power button gets a nice golden accent and the volume buttons are on the other side that offers nice tactile feedback. Also, there is a headphone jack on this phone as well as stereo speakers. Nice touch.
I think Realme has put in a good effort even though there is no premium glass at the back. The phone feels comfortable to use and at the same time looks sharp.
The Realme 7 Pro is one of the few phones that offers an AMOLED panel under the Rs 20,000 price segment. Now you may or may not like the higher saturation and contrast levels, but personally I think it’s a good choice. Of course, there is a slight trade-off as you get a standard 60Hz refresh rate. Personally I don’t see this as a huge deal-breaker unless you prefer a faster and smoother experience. Notably, there is a special ‘smooth scrolling’ option hidden under the Realme Lab options settings, although I didn’t see a huge difference after enabling this. You can opt for the more affordable Realme 7 or the newly launched Narzo 20 Pro that makes use of a 90Hz LCD panel.
Now the panel on the Realme 7 Pro is nice and punchy when it comes to rendering colours. It isn’t a high-grade AMOLED panel as was evident from the outdoor visibility which is above average. It’s not a bad display by any means as I loved the high contrast and deep blacks. There are also some settings to fine-tune the display as per your liking. You can either choose the ‘Brilliant’ profile which is a standard-setting or the ‘Vivid’ profile that makes the colours a bit more vibrant. Of course, you also get options to fine-tune the colour temperature on the display.
There is also the option of an Always-on Display, although customisations are limited. The in-display fingerprint scanner is accurate, but it isn’t as quick and responsive as the face unlock feature. Hence, it is better to use both to unlock your phone faster.
Realme is offering the Snapdragon 720G processor on the phone and while there are other options on the market that offer the same chipset at a more affordable price, I think it’s a good choice. One has to consider the fact that smartphones are no longer cheaper in India thanks to the increased GST that was introduced earlier this year.
You can opt for either 6GB or 8GB of RAM while the internal storage is fixed at 128GB UFS 2.1. There is a dedicated slot in the SIM tray to expand the storage using a microSD card. I was sent the 8GB RAM variant and overall it performed quite well when it came to multitasking, while the SoC offered a good performance package. Day-to-day usage felt good and games ran fairly smoothly. It is notable that the phone struggles or is unable to render certain high-end gaming titles at the highest settings, although I was satisfied with the overall graphics performance.
The smartphone runs on Android 10 with Realme UI on top. I think Realme is finally heading in the right direction when it comes to its software offering though it is mostly making use of OPPO’s ColorOS 7. I didn’t notice any annoying pre-installed apps, and overall features and functionality offered with the user interface seems justified, especially the focus on certain Google apps. It isn’t my favorite custom user interface for Android, but I think that the company is definitely making solid progress.
Other performance areas like network and connectivity seemed pretty much in order. For audio you get a dual-speaker system with one unit next to the earpiece and one at the bottom. The quality is decent, but it doesn’t match up to some of the premium phones offering a similar system. You do get a headphone jack though, which is great if you appreciate wired headphones with the good old 3.5mm jack.
The Realme 7 Pro comes with four cameras at the back and a single unit on the front for taking selfies and making video calls. The rear camera comes with a 64-megapixel Sony IMX682 sensor with an f/1.8 lens, an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera with an f/2.3 lens, a 2-megapixel monochrome portrait camera, and a 2-megapixel macro camera. The front camera comes with a 32-megapixel camera that primarily produces an 8-megapixel photo and uses pixel-binning. Notably, Realme has dropped the telephoto camera on the back as well as the ultra-wide-angle selfie camera that were seen on the Realme 6 Pro. The 64-megapixel primary does however offer 2x zoom.
Like most smartphone cameras in this range, the primary sensor is the champion here as you get great-looking pictures in broad daylight. Colours mostly look natural with a wide dynamic range and contrast. You start losing details as you move indoors or in low light but there is a night mode that works well. As for the wide-angle camera, it isn’t as impressive when it comes to picture quality and same is the case with the macro camera as well. The front 32-megapixel selfie camera can take decent pictures provided you have proper lighting. You get a bunch of modes and some interesting-looking filters to enhance your pictures but overall, I think Realme needs to work on the camera app itself as it feels a bit sluggish.
As for video recording, the rear camera can go up to 4K resolution at 30fps and offers electronic stabilisation. You get decent quality and while the stabilisation is just passable, you can further use the Ultra Steady mode which reduces shakes further but reduces quality and increases the crop factor.
The company has given a priority to the battery on the Realme 7 Pro. Now it comes with a 4,500mAh battery which doesn’t match up to the large units on devices like the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max or Samsung’s Galaxy M51. However, you get the company’s 65W fast charging which is not available on any other phone at this price range. This is one of the best features on this phone as the battery can fully charge in just 35-minutes. Of course, you need the bundled charger and cable to get those speeds. In my testing, I was able to go from 10 to 60 percent in just 13 minutes. As for the battery backup itself, I was able to get almost an entire day but your mileage may differ depending on your usage patterns.
As an overall package then, the Realme 7 Pro is a decent effort from the company. I think the highlights for me were the AMOLED display and the super-fast charging capabilities. Additionally, there’s the use of stereo speakers which is not usually seen in this price segment, and I think the cameras are not bad, although there is some room for improvement that can be fixed with a software update. The handset is definitely recommended from our side but do note, there are a bunch of other options to look at like the recently launched Poco X3, the Samsung Galaxy M51 and even the company’s own Narzo 20 Pro. The Realme 7 Pro is available for Rs 19,999 for the 6GB RAM variant and Rs 21,999 for the 8GB RAM model.