Verdict: The Realme 7 offers tangible upgrades over its predecessor that’s hard to ignore, at least on paper. It’s an incredibly powerful smartphone for the price, has impressive gaming cred as well as a fast, 90Hz refresh rate for its display. The phone isn’t perfect though, and you will have to contend with a few annoyances that are typical for smartphones in its price range.
Realme is facing serious competition in the space though, especially with the POCO X3 NFC priced so close to its Php 14,990 price tag.
- Helio G95 great for gaming
- 90Hz refresh rate
- Nice-looking body and design
- Solid battery life
- Camera performance could be a little better
- Lackluster display
Just how much of an upgrade can you offer when you have a release schedule as hectic as Realme? Well quite a bit in fact – despite them refreshing their main mid-range line twice in 2020, there’s still plenty of new stuff under the hood of the Realme 7 that makes it quite an upgrade over the Realme 6.
Realme has done a great job in making their new mid-range phones look premium despite using extensive amounts of plastic in the build, and the Realme 7 is no exception to that.
This time around the brand used a new, matte, anti-glare coating that has a split asymmetric design that shimmers when light hits it. It’s not as loud as Realme’s other previous designs, and I personally like the new design direction.
Despite the rear of the phone being constructed mostly out of plastic, it doesn’t feel cheap, and there’s not a lot of give to it. The entire device is pretty solid and is just the right size and weight for one-handed use. The phone weighs in at around 197 grams and is 9.4mm thick.
The button layout is the same with the more expensive Realme 7 Pro – you have the power button on the right, volume rockers on the left, 3.5mm jack, USB Type-C port, and speaker on the bottom. There’s a dedicated microSD slot on the dual SIM tray so you have a choice of using both SIMs and a microSD expansion slot at the same time.
Unlike the Realme 7 Pro, the vanilla Realme 7 uses a regular fingerprint scanner on the side embedded in the power button.
Overall the Realme 7 looks pretty good externally. It uses a plastic body sure, but so does every other device in the same price range.
One of the main differentiating features of the Realme 7 and the 7 Pro is the display. In the case of the Realme 7, you’re looking at just a 6.5-inch full HD+ LCD panel, with a punch-hole notch tucked on the upper left side.
Realme makes up for that by making sure that the panel has a high 90Hz refresh rate, which is on par with the Realme 6. The display has Gorilla Glass 3 layered on top of it for protection against scratches. There’s also a plastic screen protector pre-applied from the factory that helps keep the panel stay pristine. Bezel size wasn’t overly thick but wasn’t overly thin either.
As for the panel itself, it’s alright. The colors are fine and not overly vivid, and black levels were OK too. Aside from the 90Hz refresh rate, it’s a perfectly OK display that has middle-of-the-road quality overall.
Interestingly enough both the Realme 7 and Realme 7 Pro share the same set of optics, though housed in visually different camera modules to differentiate the two. You’re looking at a 64-megapixel Sony IMX682 sensor with an f/1.8 aperture, joined by an 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera, 2-megapixel macro camera, and a 2-megapixel black and white camera for portraits.
You’d think that image quality would be the same for both phones since they both use identical shooters, but that’s not the case. Photos from the Realme 7 look artificially boosted, especially in places where there’s limited lighting, leading to a lot of excessive sharpening which makes photos look unnatural.
Extreme low-light shooting garnered better results, though it’s evident through pixel-peeping that the phone’s camera sensors and software were already at the edge of its abilities.
Interestingly the Realme 7 had trouble stabilizing video that I shot hand-held without moving, which points to a lack of onboard stabilization that the Realme 7 Pro did have.
Performance and battery
The Realme 7 has the honor of being the first phone in the world to get MediaTek’s new Helio G95 processor, along with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage.
The Helio G95 is a slight upgrade to the Helio G90T. The biggest difference between it and G90 is the boosted GPU, which is 100MHz faster than the one in the G90T. While it’s definitely less powerful compared to the Snapdragon 720G on the Realme 7 Pro, it interestingly scored higher in our GPU-focused benchmarks VS its more expensive brother.
That translated to smooth gameplay with the most popular Android games available on the market, which makes the Realme 7 a good option for people looking for a budget-friendly device with better than average performance when it comes to gaming.
The processor is up to the task of keeping the phone nice and smooth while I was using it, though my review unit did come with a TON of bloatware. Realme PH clarified that the Realme 7 lent to us was meant for the Vietnam market, with Philippine devices coming with far less pre-installed bloat out of the box. That’s great news for us, bad news for Vietnamese customers, I guess.
The Realme 7 comes with a 5000mAh battery, which is 500mAh more than the Realme 7 Pro. Does that translate to overall longer battery life VS its bigger brother?
Not really – the Realme 7 clocked in a runtime of 7 hours and 52 minutes from 100% to 20% in our battery rundown test, compared to 12 hours and 42 minutes VS the Realme 7 Pro.
Take note this is using our standard video loop test (YouTube streaming with 50% brightness, 50% volume) and with the refresh rate set on automatic.
The battery endurance was lower than I expected, though it’s not surprising considering the device has a processor and display that gulps more power VS the one in the bigger Realme 7 Pro.
At least you’re getting fast charging on the Realme 7, specifically 30W charging via their Dart fast charging tech. You’re looking around 80-90 minutes full charge time from 0 using the fast charger that’s included in the box, which should be more than enough for a day’s worth of battery on a single charge.
Wrap-up and conclusions
The Realme 7 is a decent upgrade to the model released by the company this year, with a nicer-looking body, slightly better processor as well as a bigger battery as well as an upgraded sensor for the main cameras.
The phone is still capable of delivering solid all-day performance and should perform well when you’re gaming with it, though there are a few quirks to be aware of.
The overboosted, over-saturated photos aren’t great, and video stabilization would have been nice as well. You’re getting a bigger battery this time around, but battery life hasn’t dramatically increased, unfortunately.
The Realme 7 offers good value with its Php 14,990 price tag, though it’s facing serious competition, primarily from the POCO X3 NFC.
The Realme 7 will be available to buy starting today, and customers who order the phone get an automatic umbrella with every purchase as well as a Realme Band that’s worth Php 2,390. The phone will also be available through Home Credit on launch day.