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realme 5 Pro Review: Quad-Camera Goodness For A Lot Less

For a relatively young brand, realme is certainly adept at catching up fast with the big brands. The realme 5 Series is their latest release – and their fourth flagship series – since they debuted with the realme 1 a little more than a year ago. They made their name with their competitively-priced phones and has slowly gained a huge fanbase in Malaysia because of that. Phones like the realme 3 Series and realme 2 Series have been hot-sellers.

With the realme 5 Series, which consists of the realme 5 and realme 5 Pro, the company shows that they are not to be left behind. Here are phones with quad cameras, a feature that only starts gaining traction this year with many manufacturers still experimenting on how best to use all four cameras at the back. The fact that realme is able to run at the same speed with other more-established players is impressive to say the least.

We take a closer look at the realme 5 Pro here with the realme 5 getting a separate review.

The star of the show is no doubt the quad cameras so let us begin with that. The realme 5 Pro puts a 48MP main lens with  f/1.8 aperture alongside a 8MP ultra-wide angle lens (f/2.2), a 2MP depth sensor (f/2.4) and a dedicated 2MP macro lens (f2.4). It is a similar approach to the Honor 20 Pro and the recently-launched vivo V17 Pro. The cameras are vertically-arranged so no wild camera placements and bumps here.

The camera is a big upgrade from its immediate predecessor the realme 3 Pro, which has only two rear cameras. The jump from 16MP to 48MP for the main camera is equally huge, which brings the realme 5 Pro to parity with most smartphones released in the last couple of months. Of course, the realme 5 Pro is going to take better pictures than any of the previous realme phones. Here are some of the shots taken with our review unit, with its Nightscape Mode a particular highlight.

The addition of an ultra-wide lens is one of the best things in the quad-camera system. It works as intended, giving you a wider perspective with 119 degree-wide view with just the tap of a button. It is however somewhat letdown by the placement of the ultra-wide mode toggle at the top row of the viewfinder instead of at the bottom half together with all the frequently-accessed modes like how most smartphones do, which is rather puzzling and counter-intuitive. There is no way someone will be able to switch to the ultra-wide lens when single-handedly holding the phone without resorting to shifting the phone on hand uncomfortably. It is not really a huge problem, but one that nonetheless still feels bothersome for such an important feature.

Main camera lens Ultra-wide angle lens

Main camera lens

Ultra-wide angle lens

The depth sensor is used for the usual portrait shots while the dedicated macro lens allows for some very close-up shots of the subject matter. It does what the main camera can’t really achieve, and does it quite well. Check out the comparison shots below between the main camera and the macro lens, taken at the exact same distance from the subject.

Main camera lens

Macro lens

Main camera lens

Macro lens

Main camera lens

Macro lens

Now on to the rest of the phone. The realme 5 Pro doesn’t look all that different from the realme 3 Pro, or even any of the previous few releases from realme for that matter. There are no surprises here. You have a teardrop notch and a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor (which is very fast and responsive) – fairly standard 2018/2019 smartphone look. It is a pretty big phone in hand while not being the lightest nor slimmest either. Unlike the realme 3 Pro which still uses the legacy micro USB, the realme 5 Pro has been updated with USB Type-C connector and it has a headphone jack. So two plus points there.

On the flipside, the realme 5 Pro’s 16MP selfie camera is a downgrade form the realme 3 Pro’s 25MP selfie shooter.

The device also features a splash-resistant body. Though it does not have any official IP dust-and-water resistance certification, the realme 5 Pro’s chassis is built with three splash-resistant layers from the inside out so it can take on splashes and rain just fine. Just don’t dunk it into a pool of water.

On the inside you will find Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 712 AIE processor powering the unit. Announced earlier this year, the Snapdragon 712 is an iterative upgrade over the Snapdragon 710 with a claimed 10% faster performance. Some of the phones with Snapdragon 712 include the realme XT and Xiaomi Mi9 SE. A flagship-level chipset it is not but for everyday tasks, it is decent enough. Performance is smooth all-around, and gaming on the realme 5 Pro turns out surprisingly well with some of the latest mobile games running with nary a hitch.  

As with any realme phone, the realme 5 Pro is running on the ColorOS skin based on Android 9 Pie. It will be a familiar affair for those coming from Oppo smartphones with all the familiar trappings. Nothing has really changed from the realme 3 phones here. The software is still a bit of a cluttered mess with plenty of pre-loaded third party apps that no one probably asks for.

On the brighter note, the realme 5 Pro has got a great battery package. It boasts a 4,035mAh battery capacity which supports VOOC 3.0 Flash Charge, the renowned fast-charging technology pioneered by Oppo. Coupled with a hardware that is not too power-demanding, you should be able to consistently get more than a day’s worth of battery life on this phone with average to heavy usage. And with VOOC 3.0, charging it back up in a jiffy is not a problem.

The realme 5 Pro is a significant step up in more ways than one. Its quad-camera array puts it in the same league as some of the latest phones that are a lot more pricier as far as feature sets are concerned, and it is far more useful than the rather limiting dual-camera system. The switch to USB-C is long due but it is a very welcome change nonetheless. At RM1,099, it is hard to find faults for what it offers. The proposition is clear  – if you want a quad-camera smartphone with a decent package that doesn’t feel outdated in 2019 and certainly doesn’t deal a massive hole on your wallet, the realme 5 Pro is as good as it gets.


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