Verdict: While its Snapdragon 662 processor is not as powerful as the Helio G80 that is found on its predecessor when it comes to games, the Realme 7i makes up for it with superior specs across the board, at least on paper. The more notable upgrades here are the 64-megapixel main camera, 8GB RAM, and 90hz display—the latter being a rarity in the budget segment.
The Realme 7i retails for Php 11,990.
Launching a few weeks after its brothers, the Realme 7i looks to fill the gap at the lower end of the Php 10K market that the Realme 7 fails to fill. It’s quite an upgrade over the earlier Realme 6i, thanks to a more robust set of features as well as a more modern back panel design. The phone does have quite a number of rivals in the same price bracket though – does the Realme 7i have what it takes to win?
- Great battery life
- Smooth 90hz display
- Snapdragon 662 not as strong as the Realme 6i’s Helio G80
- No 4K video recording
Packaging and contents
Since the Realme 3 series, the brand has been consistent when it comes to packaging its phones in a yellow box and the phone’s model name in front. At the back, you have the phone’s key highlights: Snapdragon 662, 5000mAh battery, 90hz display, and 64-megapixel main rear camera.
Like the Realme 7 and Realme 7 Pro, the Realme 7i has the same contents: silicone case, documentation, USB-C cable, 18w wall charger, SIM ejector tool, and the phone itself.
The Realme 7i deviates from the design language shared by the Realme 7 and 7 Pro, singling it out as an odd duck in the lineup. There’s a rectangular camera module with the cameras arranged in an L-shape. Save for the LED flash placement, the Realme 7i’s camera module looks very similar to the ones used in Samsung’s Galaxy A-series phones like the Galaxy A51 and A71.
Our review unit is in Aurora Green, and it has a subtle line dividing the two different finishes. The polycarbonate panel has a glossy finish making it a smudge magnet. You’d be better off using the included case with the phone to protect it from scratches and unsightly smudges during use.
Compared to its more expensive siblings, the Realme 7i has a slightly different button layout, with the power and volume controls on the right side. The SIM tray is on the left side, while the speaker, microphone, USB-C port, and headphone jack are found at the bottom.
For the display, you get the same 6.5-inch IPS panel as the Realme 7. The resolution may be downgraded to HD+, but you still get a punch-hole notch and a 90hz refresh rate—the latter being a rare feature for a budget phone.
While the downgrade in resolution is noticeable when watching videos, the 90hz resolution does help in making the overall user interface smoother. Given that a higher refresh rate can consume more power, the Realme 7i has a 60hz refresh rate option for better power savings.
If you want the best of both worlds, there’s an auto-select option for refresh rates, which lets the Realme 7i adjust the refresh rate depending on what the app is.
You get a quad-rear camera setup comprising of a 64-megapixel f/1.8 main camera, 8-megapixel f/2.2 ultrawide camera, and a pair of 2-megapixel cameras: one depth-sensor, and one monochrome sensor. Thanks to the Snapdragon 662’s newer Spectra 340T ISP and Hexagon 683 DSP, the Realme 7i makes the most out of its 64-megapixel main camera, delivering a good amount of detail in most lighting conditions. With low-light situations, its night mode feature manages to deliver the most amount of detail possible without resorting to oversharpening—a typical problem with night mode on budget phones.
Comparing shots taken with the 64-megapixel main camera and 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, the Realme 7i manages to be consistent with exposure regardless of what camera you are using.
The main camera’s high-resolution gives the Realme 7i leeway for digital zoom. Photos shot at 2x digital zoom is very usable, while those shot at 5x digital zoom is good enough for social media.
As for selfies, the 16-megapixel selfie shooter captured decent photos, maintaining a good amount of detail while keeping our faces flattering enough without going overboard with beauty filters.
While the Realme 7i does come with the brand’s Ultra Steady Video for software-based video stabilization, its video recording caps off at Full HD. We find that strange considering the Snapdragon 662 is very similar to the Snapdragon 665 (more on that in the next part) and both chips do support 4K video recording.
For the 7i, Realme goes back to team Qualcomm with its use of a Snapdragon 662 processor that is paired with 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage. The RAM/Storage is a strong point for the Realme 7i for its price, while we have mixed thoughts about the Snapdragon 662. As a variation of the Snapdragon 665 that is used on previous Realme phones like the Realme 5 and Realme 5i, both processors have identical architecture.
The only difference between the two is the ISP, DSP, and LTE modem used: the Snapdragon 662 uses a newer Spectra 340T ISP and Hexagon 683 DSP, while the Snapdragon 665 uses a faster X12 LTE modem.
As both have the same CPU core configuration and GPU, the Snapdragon 662’s gaming performance is virtually identical to the Snapdragon 665. With the results we obtained using GameBench, the Realme 7i struggled in delivering stable gameplay with Asphalt 9, while performing generally good with the other 4 games we used for benchmarking.
While it is not a performer for games, the Snapdragon 662 shines when it comes to battery. With the Realme 7i’s 5000mAh cell, we managed to get 16 hours and 40 minutes with our video loop test. That score is quite impressive especially since that is with a 90hz refresh rate.
Accompanying the impressive battery life is a fairly common 18w USB-C wired charging solution. Topping up the battery to 100% takes around 3 hours.
As the most affordable variant under the Realme 7 series, the Realme 7i is set to disrupt the budget segment with a number of compelling features headlined by its copious amount of RAM and a 90hz display. The lack of 4K video recording and debatable performance of the Snapdragon 662 might turn off some people, but the Realme 7i is the ideal phone for those who want that smooth 90hz refresh rate while having a great battery life.
The Realme 7i is priced at Php 11,990. You can get it for less at the online early bird sale in Realme’s Lazada and Shopee stores, where you save Php 1k on the Realme 7i. It will be available at offline stores starting October 24, and those purchasing on October 24 and 25 will get a Realme Band with their purchase. The Realme 7i can also be availed through a 0% 6-month Home Credit plan.