Realme 7 Review: Cheaper and quite cheerful, but cheap enough to consider over the Pro?

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When Realme launched the new 7-series, I raved about the 7 Pro, but I haven’t forgotten about the standard model.

While I did talk about it briefly in my Realme 7 Pro review, I’ve finally had a chance to properly use the standard 7 and share my thoughts.

This review isn’t as in-depth as usual, but I will elaborate on the key differences in features and performance, and also highlight an interesting surprise that could entice you to favour this over the Pro.

I strongly recommend reading the 7 Pro review first, allowing you to build a better impression of the two in context with each other.

Design & Build

Like the 7 Pro, the Realme 7 has a plastic rear panel, but unlike the Pro’s in-glass fingerprint reader, this has a side-mounted power button with integrated fingerprint sensor.

This is because the Realme 7 comes with an LCD display instead of AMOLED.

While LCD screens seem a little out of favour of late, the screen is bright and colourful, offers a 90Hz refresh rate that the 7 Pro does not, and is also fractionally larger.

The cut-out for the selfie camera is slightly wider in diameter, but nothing too outlandish. Instead of 32-megapixels, the 7 makes do with a 16-megapixel front-facing camera.

Realme kindly bundles the Realme 7 with a plastic protective case, just like all of its other phones, but the smoked finish does slightly spoil the rear design. And, again this isn’t the first time I’ve said this, making me wonder why they don’t opt for a completely clear case.

I have a hunch that this is because these cases tend to yellow over time, and the smoked finish mitigates this better.

The smoked case does somewhat impact on the reflective (plastic) backing, but does flatten out the camera hump

Given the lack of glass, you might wish to allow the phone to go without a case (there’s a factory fitted screen protector to keep the front glass safe) and this also keeps the thickness down, at the expense of protecting the protruding camera hump that houses the quad-camera array.

At the base of the phone is a single down-firing speaker (it is very loud and clear, thankfully, so still usable for movie watching or listening to music), a USB-C port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

On the left are the volume buttons and a SIM tray that allows for two nano SIM cards and a microSDXC card. This is a 4G only phone.

The memory card slot is good for anyone choosing to buy the £179 model that comes with just 64GB of internal storage, but it also comes with just 4GB of RAM. The more practical model is the 6GB/128GB model, at a cost of £199.

  • I must point out that the model I reviewed is a 8GB/128GB model that is not available to purchase in the UK at the current time.

The Realme 7 is also thicker and heavier than the Pro, but this is to be expected with a larger battery (5,000mAh versus 4,500mAh) to accommodate.

Camera

The Realme 7 Pro’s key selling point is the 64-megapixel Sony camera, which performs extremely well. On this phone you’ll make do with Samsung 48-megapixel primary camera instead.

There’s no optical image stabilisation, but you do get an electronic stabilisation on video recording, a feature that is pretty standard on all Realme phones (as well as Oppo phones using the near identical ColorOS UI).

You have a secondary 8-megapixel ultra wide camera with 119-degree field-of-view, followed by two rather pointless (IMO) 2-megapixel cameras for macro and a black and white sensor for depth-measuring (for bokeh and portrait photos).

Frankly, if it wasn’t for the fact that the industry wants to sell phones with three, four or more cameras, I’d be perfectly happy to have just two decent cameras – or at least a third telephoto camera.

If you’re wondering about the lack of a telephoto lens, the phone uses the 48-megapixel camera to provide a 5X hybrid zoom that isn’t going to set the world on fire, but when taking photos to share on social media will be just fine.

You can see some examples below. Pixel peepers will immediately see the lack of resolution on the zoomed-in photos, but on a phone display it isn’t too noticeable.

Photo Samples

The phone can capture 4K video at 30fps, or up to 60fps at 1080p. There’s slow-motion video recording too, at 120 or 240fps.

Video recording is rather average, and despite the pretty good electronic imaging stabilisation, the focussing was rather off on the panning shot.

This is a phone less for scenic photography and probably better at capturing fun and spontaneous video clips, like the sort of things best done in pubs, theme parks and parties. Anyone remember a time when we could do this sort of thing?

For the money, you’re getting two good cameras and two additional cameras that bring little to the table and exist to allow the phone to be sold as a quad-camera smartphone.

Having them in the phone doesn’t really do you any harm, but I strongly urge you not to bother with the macro camera. Two-megapixel images really are terrible by modern standards, and I hope that next year we’ll see such sensors consigned to the dustbin.

Performance

I won’t go into much detail on the UI itself as it’s the same as any other Realme phone released this year, using Android 10 as its base. Android 11 is due for release before year end, with betas currently running on selected models.

Whereas the Realme 7 Pro uses a Qualcomm chipset, the Realme 7 is using a MediaTek G95 and I was quite surprised to discover that it actually beat the Qualcomm Snapdragon 720 equipped Pro model as shown below on the very popular AnTuTu benchmarking tool.

Like the 7 Pro, you can select a high performance mode for gaming (or perhaps if you wish to edit photos or video on the device) and I did enable this mode to run the tests on both phones.

With its 5,000mAh battery, you’ll actually be able to use the phone for longer too.

When it does come to recharging, you ‘only’ get 30W fast charging here, instead of the crazy 65W charging on the Pro, but look around at a lot of the competition that tops out at 18W and, for all intents and purposes, this is still very rapid charging.

The MediaTek chip runs slightly cooler than the Qualcomm one too, and you get the same Wi-Fi 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5) connectivity that tops out at 433Mbps. This isn’t as fast as many other more expensive phones, but probably ample for most home or office Internet connections well below this speed.

The LTE modem doesn’t support the same level of carrier aggregation for 4G, so you can expect potentially slower data speeds on sites with multiple LTE bands. The network you’re using the phone on, as well as the sites you live and work near, will also play a part.

Overall

The issue I have with the Realme 7 isn’t that it is a bad phone, because it isn’t, but the Pro model beats it in most key areas. Even with the slightly faster processor and bigger battery, the Pro is still the better phone with everything taken into consideration. You’d expect that, and obviously that’s how Realme is marketing both phones.

The lack of RAM on the £179 model makes it hard for me to recommend it over the £199 model that comes with 2GB more. This leaves a price difference of £70, which isn’t to be sneezed at.

Maybe I’m doing a disservice to the 4GB model however. I didn’t have one to see how it fared, and Android is a pretty nimble OS these days. Realme doesn’t fill the phone with bloatware, so maybe the experience is better than I am giving it credit for.

If you’re not likely to be using memory-hungry applications or games, you may well get by without any trouble. And, if that’s the case then you’ve got a difference of £100. Then this perhaps makes choosing a Realme 7 over the Pro a much easier decision to make.

But, all things considered, I’d recommend saving up for the Pro. The Realme 7 is a good phone. The Realme 7 Pro is a great phone.

Finally, I must point out a further potential spanner in the works that might make you want to hold off buying this phone until later in the month. All will become clear from November 19th...


Specifications Comparison

Realme 7 (Reviewed here)Realme 7 Pro (Review)
Size/Weight162.3 x 75.4 x 9.4mm / 196.5g160.9 x 74.3 x 8.7mm / 182g
Screen6.5-inch LCD
FHD+ 1080×2400 pixels
90Hz refresh rate
20:9 aspect ratio
120Hz touch sampling
480 nits
6.4-inch Samsung AMOLED
FHD+ 1080×2400 pixels
60Hz refresh rate
20:9 aspect ratio
180Hz touch sampling
430nits (600nits maximum)
AudioMono speaker (down firing)Stereo speakers (right side and upper middle in landscape mode)
ChipsetMediaTek G95 (12nm)
Max freq 2.05GHz
ARM Mali G76 MP4 GPU
Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G (8nm)
Max freq 2.3GHz
Adreno 618 GPU
RAM4GB or 6GB LPDDR4X8GB LPDDR4X
Storage64GB or 128GB UFS 2.1 Single Channel + microSDXC (max 256GB)128GB UFS2.1 Dual Channel
+ microSDXC (max 256GB)
Camera (front)Punch-hole 16MP Sony IMX471 Fixed Focus
(f/2.1 79 degree Field-of-View)
Video: 1080p 30fps with EIS
Punch-hole 32MP camera Omnivision OV32A1Q Fixed Focus
(f/2.5 85 degree Field-of-View)
Video: 1080p 30fps with EIS
Camera (rear)Primary: 48MP Samsung S5KGM1ST PDAF
(f/1.8)
Ultra-wide: 8MP OV88556 Fixed Focus
(f/2.3 119 degree Field-of-View)
Macro: 2MP OV02B10
(f/2.4)
B&W Portrait: 2MP OV02B1B
(f/2.4)
Video: 4K/30 1080p/60 with EIS
Primary: 64MP Sony IMX682 PDAF
(f/1.8 78.6 degree Field-of-View)
Ultra-wide: 8MP Hynix Hi846 Fixed Focus
(f/2.3 119 degree FoV)
Macro: 2MP GC02K0 Fixed Focus
(f/2.4 83.5 degree FoV)
Portrait: 2MP OV02B1B Fixed Focus
(f/2.4 88.8 degree FoV)
Video: 4K/30 1080p/60 with EIS
ConnectivityDual band Wi-Fi 5 SISO
4G+ with VoLTE, ViLTE and VoWiFi
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC
USB-C 2.0
Dual band Wi-Fi 5 (1×1 MU-MIMO)
4G+ with VoLTE, ViLTE and VoWiFi
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC
USB-C 2.0
Battery5,000mAh
Dart 30W + USB-PD 15W
4,500mAh
65W Super Dart charging + QC 2.0 + USB-PD 18W
0-100% 34 minutes with 65W
Other3.5mm headphone socket
Protective case (clear)
Factory fitted screen protector
Dual-mic noise cancellation
Graphite heat dissipation
3.5mm headphone socket
Protective case (clear)
Factory fitted screen protector
Price£179 4GB+64GB
£199 6GB+128GB
£279 8GB+128GB
More information

Realme 7

£179-£199
7.8

Features

7.5/10

Performance

8.0/10

Camera

7.5/10

Value

8.0/10

Pros

  • Decent sized screen with 90Hz refresh rate
  • Acceptable 48-megapixel camera and ultra-wide
  • Large battery and fast charging capability
  • Chipset actually beats the pricier 7 Pro - just!

Cons

  • Camera and video not as good as Pro model
  • £179 model has just 4GB RAM
  • Mono sound
  • LCD isn't as crisp as AMOLED

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