Realme 7 5G Review: The fastest 7-series phone in the family

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Realme has added a 5G enabled phone to the 7-series range, and it is quite the performer…

Earlier this year, when Realme announced the Realme 7 and Realme 7 Pro, I was hopeful that we might also see the X7 and X7 Pro models (each bringing 5G to the table). Instead, Realme has gone in a different direction, offering a cheaper 5G model instead – its cheapest 5G phone in the portfolio.

But is it any good, and can it be a viable alternative to the Realme 7 Pro? Given it has the exact same retail price (although early birds can get this phone for £50 off), there are going to be some tough decisions to make, and it will likely come down to your personal set of priorities.

Design & Build

In much the same way as my Realme 7 review, I am not going to repeat myself unnecessarily by going over every single feature that is shared across the range (you can check the key specs in my table below).

In these reviews you can learn the finer details of the design language, and discover more about Realme UI and so on.

The Realme 7 5G is a step up from the standard 7, adding not only 5G to the mix, but also a different camera layout that more matches the Pro. Be under no illusion though, the cameras themselves are the exact same as the Realme 7.

The LCD display is also almost identical to the entry level phone, but gains a 120Hz refresh rate instead of 90Hz.

This is partly down to the fact that the Realme 7 5G has a faster, more powerful, MediaTek 5G chipset that comes with support for higher refresh rate displays becoming increasingly common, and gradually finding their way down to ever cheaper models.

The other things shared with the Realme 7 is the side-mounted fingerprint sensor, and a single down-firing mono speaker instead of the stereo sound you’ll get with the Pro model.

Camera

As stated above, the camera setup is the same as the Realme 7. That means you’re getting a primary 48-megapixel on the rear, and a 16-megapixel selfie camera on the front.

You also get an 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera, alongside rather irrelevant 2-megapixel portrait camera (B&W) and macro cameras. Their existence is really just to allow Realme to say the phone has a quad-camera, and for most of the time you’ll be using the two main cameras.

The performance from the cameras is pretty decent, and the phone also works well in low light, giving it a good degree of flexibility. There’s the same electronically stabilised video modes, and a large number of additional models that include panoramic photos, slow-motion, and an all-important pro mode if you want maximum control of all the settings.

The camera quality isn’t as good as that of the Realme 7 Pro however, and given the same recommended retail price, you’ll be deciding on whether to buy based on the photographic ability, or a bigger battery and 5G.

It’s a shame that such a choice is necessary, but here we are.

Photo Gallery

Performance & Battery

With the Realme 7 Pro having a still very decent 4,500mAh battery, as well as 65W fast charging (the Realme 7 and 7 5G are 30W only, although this is still excellent and competitive against far more expensive rival phones), you may not choose this model solely because of a bigger battery.

What might convince you is the performance of the MediaTek Dimensity 800U chip, which out performs the Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G SoC in the Pro by quite a bit.

Indeed, even the entry-level Realme 7 outperforms the Pro. This is quite extraordinary, even if the differences are still quite slight (and benchmarks don’t tell the whole story). What I can say is that the Realme 7 and 7 5G perform day-to-day tasks admirably.

And the phone performs equally admirably when it comes to 5G too, with the phone supporting Dual SIM, Dual Standby 5G out of the box with no future firmware updates necessary, as has been the case with Qualcomm 5G handsets launched this year.

Okay, so many people are yet to experience 5G at all, so having two 5G accounts might seem a little extravagant, but it’s all about being prepared for what you might want in the future too.

What this means is you can have two 5G SIM installed, with both able to connect to 4G or 5G networks at the same time. Swapping which SIM is used for data can be set to be a flip button on the pull-down menu.

I did notice that the number of carriers you can connect to at the same time (to offer the best speeds) seemed to be limited if two SIMs are in use at once, perhaps suggesting a limitation of the modem/antenna setup.

With just one SIM installed, I was able to enjoy 4CA on EE – bringing speeds of up to 200Mbps without using 5G at all. For 5G, things get a whole lot better as you can see here:

I managed to get speeds closer to that of a phone using a Snapdragon 865 SoC (with X55 modem) than those using Snapdragon 765G, so I’d have no qualms in recommending this for anyone who perhaps wants 5G access not only for use on the phone itself, but also perhaps as a 5G portable hotspot.

That 5,000mAh also makes it perfect for this purpose, and if you actually purchased this phone purely to use as a hotspot, you’d likely pay less than actually buying a standalone mobile broadband device!

Overall

The only real issue with the phone is price. At the same price as the 7 Pro, you are left having to consider what you want more; 5G and better battery life, or faster charging and a better camera proposition.

The performance of MediaTek’s 800U chipset outperforms the 7 Pro, but I can see that if a choice has to be made between two phones at an identical retail price (excluding special offers) then the AMOLED display (even with just 60Hz), stereo sound, 64-megapixel camera, plus an in-glass fingerprint sensor, will almost certainly tip the balance towards the Pro.

However, if you are looking to future proof yourself with support for 5G, or even looking to use the phone to tether 5G data to a laptop or tablet on the go (and the 5,000mAh battery makes it a perfect mobile hotspot), you might see things differently.

I think Realme probably needs to look a little more carefully at its pricing going forward, as it makes little sense to have two models appealing to a different customers having an identical price.

The Black Friday deal is for just a few days, and even if similar deals are repeated occasionally (perhaps Christmas or New Year), it would still make more sense to have positioned the Realme 7 5G in-between the 7 and 7 Pro price wise, permanently.

I would also have preferred it if Realme had decided to bring the X7 Pro to the UK instead, offering the same key features as the Pro model – but with the addition of 5G on top. That would have cost more, so Realme has opted to go for a cheaper offering instead – sort of.

It’s good that Realme is at least giving people a decent range of options, even if the pricing makes it a little more difficult than it otherwise needed to be. As long as you can read my reviews, or others, to help you decide based on your priorities, there is a model for everyone in the 7-series range; all of them considerably cheaper than much of the competition, and bringing some class-leading features to a whole new audience.

Another takeaway from this review is that MediaTek is rapidly becoming a force to be reckoned with, and Qualcomm better wake up to the competition. Think Intel and AMD, and you may well be looking at ensuring your next phone is powered by MediaTek if you want the best blend of power and performance.

Specifications Comparison

Realme 7Realme 7 5GRealme 7 Pro
Size/Weight162.3 x 75.4 x 9.4mm / 196.5g162.2 x 75.1 x 9.1 mm / 195g160.9 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
6.5-inch LCD
FHD+ 1080×2400 pixels
120Hz refresh rate
20:9 aspect ratio
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)Mono 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
MediaTek Dimensity 800U (7nm)
Max freq 2.4GHz
ARM Mali G57 MC3 GPU
Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G (8nm)
Max freq 2.3GHz
Adreno 618 GPU
RAM4GB or 6GB LPDDR4X
Single Channel
6GB LPDDR4x Dual Chanel8GB LPDDR4X
Dual Channel
Storage64GB or 128GB UFS 2.1 + microSDXC (max 256GB)128GB UFS 2.1 + microSDXC (max 256GB)128GB UFS 2.1 + 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 16MP Fixed Focus
(f/2.1 79.3 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: 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 SISO
5G NR (SA & NSA) Sub 6
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
5,000mAh
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
3.5mm 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 6GB+128GB£279 8GB+128GB

Pricing and Availability

The Realme 7 5G is available in Baltic Blue for a retail price of £279, with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage.

For Black Friday, this will be reduced to just £229 between November 27th and November 30th, exclusively at Amazon.

More information

Realme 7 5G

£279
8

Features

8.0/10

Performance

9.0/10

Camera

7.5/10

Value

7.5/10

Pros

  • Large, decent LCD display with 120Hz refresh rate
  • Excellent 5G performance with Dual 5G capability
  • Impressive CPU and GPU performance from MediaTek chipset
  • Large battery with fast charging

Cons

  • Weird to be priced the same as the Pro model
  • Inferior camera to Pro model, and no AMOLED
  • Mono sound

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