Initial Verdict: Our first impressions of the realme C53 were fairly positive due to its capabilities as a well-rounded smartphone. It has a decently powerful processor, passable camera system, a screen ideal for content consumption, and other huge wins. There are small niggles though: namely some software glitches and a mediocre single-speaker arrangement.
- Colorful, bright display with 90Hz refresh rate
- Smooth scrolling
- Passable processing power and camera quality
- Tinny audio at high volumes
- Lots of software optimization needed
realme’s been on a roll as of late, releasing entry-level and midrange hits at an unprecedented pace. We were even surprised to find a unique implementation of Apple’s Dynamic Island on the realme C55 released earlier this year. Can this upcoming device keep the momentum going? Read on to find out about our first impressions of the realme C53 device.
Unboxing and Packaging Contents
Inside the box, you get everything you need and not much else. That includes the phone itself, a jelly transparent case, the necessary paperwork, and the 33W charging brick. We’re still happy to see chargers being included on these entry-level devices when flagships from popular brands have packaged these separately in 2023.
Legally speaking, this “accessory” is necessary for the operation of the device itself, so it’s a necessary inclusion to protect consumers’ rights. However, the focus nowadays seems to be more on mandating all smartphones to be charged by USB-C by 2024. If so, then this C53’s on the right track.
For some reason, realme calls this aesthetic on the C53 the “Champion Design.” Maybe that’s why it’s finished in this gold-esque color, symbolic of victory and “first place.” The rear panel is constructed of a plasticky material as expected but there’s some heft to it that adds a touch of personality. The sparkly pattern definitely switches up the look under various lighting conditions. As usual, the minimalistic “realme” branding runs up the side.
If the camera module seems quite familiar, you’re wouldn’t be the first to think so. We can’t help but comment that it appears very iPhone-like in its arrangement and choice of shapes. There’s no tacky text to be seen anywhere here – ending up with a clean, streamlined appearance.
Another point of pride for realme here is that its frame is its claim to fame. That’s because it’s extremely thin at just 7.49mm. It beats out a lot of smartphones within the segment and makes it easier to hold, especially since all the edges have been rounded off for the sake of ergonomics. So was the hype real? Yep, it was! We don’t think anyone will have any difficulty holding this phone for prolonged periods of time. The buttons themselves are easy to press too.
We’ll get to the display specifics in a bit, but the realme C53 boasts an impressive 90.7% screen-to-body ratio leading to our positive first impressions. Sure, some may say that the dewdrop notch dates the phone a bit, but everything else fits well for a modern-day device.
Display And Sound
Moving onto the actual display itself, the specs come in at a 6.74-inch LCD panel with an HD+ resolution. This results in a PPI of 260, paired with a smooth 90Hz refresh rate. Overall, we enjoyed using this smartphone thanks to its sizeable screen. Content consumption was a treat, and you wouldn’t really notice the resolution if you aren’t a pixel-pincher. The lack of chunky side bezels also played a significant part in the immersion of the overall experience.
Despite not being an AMOLED panel, nothing was washed-out. Colors were even punchier than we expected. As such, vibrant scenes like the one seen above still manage to pop out and produce visual characteristics that appeal to the mainstream. The maximum brightness for this panel is rated at 450 nits. If you’re the type to be outdoors most of the day, then you may find yourself cranking up the brightness settings to the max most of the time. It’s surely not going to be flagship-level, but content was still legible in our testing even under direct sunlight.
Sadly, the awesome visual experience isn’t matched by what you get on the audio end of things at all. A single bottom-firing speaker just isn’t going to cut it for any type of portable cinematic viewing in this day and age. While it’s surely enough for casual video-watching and social media browsing, you’re better off connecting a pair of headphones or earbuds.
That’s why we’re thankful that this still comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Want a cool function though? This has the Mini Capsule too – but once again, its utility is limited to just when the phone is charging.
Much to our surprise, the realme C53 features a dual-camera setup on the rear despite what the three lenses imply.
The main sensor is a 50-megapixel snapper capable of AI enhancements and supported by software wizardry. It has a standard Photo Mode, Night Mode for more light, 50-megapixel mode, and other shooting modes for various conditions. The secondary sensor is an undisclosed 0.8-megapixel add-on.
Sheltered within the notch is an 8-megapixel selfie camera. The company heavily advertises its 78-degree FOV and f/2.0 aperture, ensuring that every single one of your subjects is part of the stellar photo. The same array of software enhancements made available to the rear sensor is also present here.
Here are some sample photos. You be the judge.
The realme C53 comes equipped with a Unisoc T612 processor, grouped together with 6GB of expandable RAM (12GB total) and 128GB of expandable storage. You heard that right, it still has microSD card compatibility, so we don’t think that you’d have any concerns with storage for a long, long time.
When it comes to the Unisoc T612, it has a reputation of being the tried-and-tested budget chipset of choice. It was even used in last year’s realme C33, as well as many other devices out there. That’s why we expected the same reliable performance here and it delivered for the most part. Apps don’t open in a snap like they would on a flagship or top-shelf midranger – but they do begin after a bit, and it’s stable once things are up and running. Moving through the UI and doing everyday tasks shouldn’t be an issue at all. There’s no lag even when watching Full HD videos on YouTube and doing other tasks on the side too.
However, the realme C53 itself does need much more software optimization that impacted our First Impressions. There were occasional bugs and stutters that would cause some applications to crash. It wasn’t the most pleasant user experience around. However, we’re fairly certain that realme will fix these glitches before releasing the phone out to the public. Seeing as the hardware is nothing new, we ascertain that things should be fixable via over-the-air updates. Or better yet, update them before they’re shipped.
We haven’t done much gaming on this smartphone but we’ll add those insights to the full review.
Should the 5,000 mAh battery throw in the towel, the smartphone’s marketed to reach 50% in just 31 minutes and 100% in just 88 minutes.
Wrap Up And Initial Conclusions
Finally gathering our thoughts and first impressions, the realme C53 is still a fantastic go-to option for those looking for an affordable smartphone. It could even be someone’s very first. It’s rocking an interesting design, workable cameras, and a display you’d enjoy watching content on. Although there are some niggles in the software department for now, these should be ironed out by the time this device hits store shelves.