Realme 7 Pro review: Further progress
For a relative newcomer in a super competitive market, Realme is doing pretty well – it already claims 45 million users worldwide after launching in 2018 – so it has to be taken seriously. It wants to deliver quality smartphone technology at a reasonably cheap price point – a more than worthy ambition.
And it isn’t short on updating its models. The Realme 7 Pro is the latest in a line of Realme phones that have generally got better with each iteration. What we have here is a good phone but not a great phone. Let me explain why before burrowing into some specs.
Let’s start with that price point: $599. For comparison’s sake that’s around half the price of an iPhone 12 – not the Pro. Don’t expect miracles but do expect to be quite impressed. What you get for your money is a better than average phone that feels a bit like it still wants to be an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S20 or one of those big brother beasties. It’s a nagging feeling I’ve had since I first picked it up and turned it on.
My gut feeling though is that Realme is very close to delivering a definitive standard-setting – for the company and the price-point – phone. But this just isn’t it.
It feels good in the hand. Looks damn good. Has great screen colour. Bops its way around the internet, emails, messages with no apparent problems at all and has quite good cameras that will deliver Instagram worthy images for social networkers. And it has stunning battery charging.
What I don’t like about it, for instance, is the very small button at the bottom that takes you back to the homescreen – it looks like a random small circle in a field of screen, and the associated same-size-too-small back button icon and screens icon; the fact the way it operates doesn’t quite seem intuitive despite the fact the review copy was running Android 10 with Realme UI.
And it still looks a bit like an iOS clone ( a comment that’s been tossed up for successive generations before the 7 Pro) no matter the tweaks that have gone into it. To be fair, some people say it does look more like an Android 10 phone now. Either way it doesn’t look truly original. But looks don’t determine a phone’s worthiness – and to be fair it’s finish is great.
Maybe it is just me but the 7 Pro is a little bit fiddly and so much of the OS seems hidden. I’m sure if you spent a couple of months getting to know it this one would seem second nature too but I’m not convinced it’s quite as co-ordinated as it should be.
What you will find is there is a lot of surprising detail and good stuff in the layers below the skin. Explore the 7 Pro and you will come away reasonably impressed.
Stunning battery charging
Most impressive of all is the 65W SuperDart Charge. The company claims Realme 7 Pro powers up from zero to 100 per cent in just 34 minutes – mine took a tick over 37 minutes. Fifty per cent is a claimed 12 minutes (13 on mine). That is very impressive for a phone under $600.
Performance-wise nothing has changed from the Realme 6 Pro. It uses the same Snapdragon 720G shipset and the 8nm octa-core is paired with an Adreno 618 GPU. And that’s just fine.
Mostly happy snapping
Its camera system, however, has changed significantly from that of its predecessor and, to be honest, I’m quite impressed with it. A bit of less is more in this case. It loses – when compared with the Pro 6 – both the telephoto lens and the front ultra-wide. That should be enough to give it a thumbs down. Not so!
The Realme 7 Pro has a 64MP main camera, an 8MP ultrawide (that produces acceptable landscapes), a 2MP macro lens and a 2MP depth sensor. The front just has a 32MP camera (fine for selfies!).
The main lens is very good. The colours are great, it has more than acceptable sharpness and detail, and photos look quite smart and real. I didn’t miss the telephoto, perhaps because as a semi-pro photographer I always have a DSLR with me so I don’t rely on my phone for that kind of work. Incidentally, that little macro isn’t bad at all.
Night shooting is okay if you are happy to keep your photos small but that’s a problem for a lot of smartphones, and it’s one Apple, amongst others, may claim it is on top of, but really it isn’t it. The night shots from my iPhone 11 Pro aren’t that jaw-dropping.
Realme offers night filters, Pro Nightscape Mode and Starry Mode in the 7 Pro which is impressive in a phone of this price. They didn’t blow me away but I’m yet to find a smartphone that legitimately shoots at night and does. Its overall photo editing software suite isn’t that exciting but neither is similar software on any other camera at this price. I get the feeling though that the Instagram crew will be happy enough with the outcomes here.
The 6.4” super Amoled fullscreen renders everything very nicely and the 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage means there is plenty of room for apps aplenty including photo editors and games.
The Realme 7Pro also has light sensor in-display fingerprint technology for quick and accurate fingerprint identification. It is fully NFC enabled and comes with Google Pay to ‘tap and go’.
The phone is equipped with a triple-card tray, allowing for dual SIM cards and a separate Micro SD card that provides up to 256GB of storage. That’s a nice touch.
The Realme 7 Pro sees the company take another step forward and will attract a solid clump of new users and fans. It isn’t the world’s greatest smartphone but it gives much pricier models a real run for their money.
It is available from the Realme e-store, JB HI-FI, Officeworks, Bing Lee, Make it Mine, mobileciti, 5GWORLD, Essential Appliance Rentals, Amazon, Kogan, eBay and Catch.com.
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