RealMe 6 review: It's about time Oppo got some Real competition

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  • realme RealMe 6
  • realme RealMe 6
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

Pros

  • Consistent performance
  • Generous display
  • Headphone jack

Cons

  • Quad-lens camera doesn't seem worth the trouble
  • Glastick feel
  • No wireless charging

Bottom Line

The RealMe 6 isn't the best phone you can buy under $500 but it's certainly the brand's best effort yet.

Would you buy this?

Should You Buy The RealMe 6?

Potentially. For those keen on a cheap Android handset that lacks flavor but provides plenty of value, the RealMe 6 is the brand’s best bet yet. It’s not the best Android phone you can buy on a budget but it is a good one.

For more about our smartphone review process, click here.

Price when reviewed

In Australia, the RealMe 6 is priced at a recommended retail price of AU$469. You can buy it through the RealMe website here. You can buy it through Amazon here.

Design - Look, Feel, Features and Camera

The pictures don’t do it justice but, held in your hands, the RealMe 6 is a deceptively nice smartphone to look at and to use. 

At a glance, it might look more or less indistinguishable from last year’s crop of RealMe devices but, in many ways, the better reference point here is last year’s Samsung A70. 

Like that device, the RealMe 6 has a ‘glastic’ back and generously-sized 6.6-inch LCD display. The bezels here aren’t thinnest I’ve ever seen and the resolution is only FHD+ but they’re modest enough that it doesn’t feel like you're missing out. 

Credit: Fergus Halliday

The most eye-catching detail here is the holepunch-notch on the top-left of the Realme 6’s screen. It houses a 16-megapixel selfie camera and is otherwise subject to the same pros and cons of all similar notches. For more on notches, click here

The headliner here is that the screen on the RealMe 6 is clocked at 90Hz - bringing an otherwise premium feature firmly into mid-tier territory. The device isn’t IP-rated but it is splashproof. RealMe have also eschewed an in-display fingerprint sensor here for a side-mounted one. There’s also a USB Type-C port on the bottom-end used for charging plus a trusty headphone jack. 

Overall, the form-factor and build quality here aren’t quite premium but they do feel like a significant step in the right direction compared to last year’s RealMe 5 or this year’s RealMe C3. 

As for the camera, well, it’s the same old story. It’s no tragedy but you’ve probably heard it before. 

Credit: Fergus Halliday

Like RealMe’s other phones, the RealMe 6 stacks the deck with no less than four lenses. On paper, this works out to include a 64-megapixel (f/1.8) wide angle lens, an 8-megapixel (f/2.3) ultrawide lens), a 2-megapixel macro lens and a 2-megapixel depth sensor.  

Credit: Fergus Halliday

In practice, however, the results yielded by this fearsome-sounding setup are a little underwhelming. The main lens itself is pretty impressive. In decent light, you can get some decent results out of it. However, the macro lens is pretty limited and the ultrawide struggles in low-light settings. 

Credit: Fergus Halliday

The autofocus on the device is also frustratingly inconsistent. During my time with the device, more than a few shots that seemed fine in the moment ended up blurry after the fact.

There’s no also telephoto lens here, so you’re stuck with digital zoom - which degrades in quality fast once you go past the comfort-zone of 2x zoom.

Credit: Fergus Halliday

Overall, rhe RealMe 6’s camera system provided better results than I expected given the price-tag but, for all the many megapixels involved, it fails to offer much competition against the heavyweights of the mid-tier like the Google Pixel 3a and the new iPhone SE.

Performance - Specs, Software, Benchmarks and Battery Life

Specs

Credit: RealMe
  • Processor: MediaTek Helio G90T 

  • Operating System:  Android 10 + RealMe UI 1.0

  • RAM: 4GB

  • Storage:  128GB

  • MicroSD slot: Yes

  • Headphone Jack: Yes

  • Fingerprint sensor: Yes

  • SIM:  Dual

  • Battery:  4300mAh

  • Connectivity:  Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, GPS, 4G

  • Rear Camera: 64-megapixels (f/1.8) + 8-megapixels (f/2.3) + 2-megapixels (f/2.4) + 2-megapixels (f/2.4)

  • Front-Facing Camera: 16-megapixels (f/2.0)

  • Dimensions: 162.1 x 74.8 x 8.9 mm

  • Weight: 191g

Software 

Credit: RealMe

When I first encountered RealMe’s take on Android with the budget-grade RealMe C3, I didn’t come away particularly impressed. Thankfully, I’m thrilled to report that, powered by the beefier processor inside the RealMe 6, the brand’s take on Android plays a lot better. 

Aided and abetted by the 90Hz display, juggling between apps on the RealMe 6 was an unexpected treat. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it one of the better Android skins out there but it feels like a substantial improvement nevertheless.

Performance

Benchmarks

Credit: Fergus Halliday
  • PCMark (Work 2.0): 10431

  • 3DMark SlingShot Extreme (OpenGL): 2548

  • 3DMark SlingShot Extreme (Vulkan): 2603

  • GeekBench (Single-Core): 544 

  • GeekBench (Multi-Core): 1732

  • GeekBench (Compute): 2061

Battery Life

As with all phone reviews produced during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are a number of caveats here. 

My regular testing for this phone wasn’t as intensive as it would have been in ordinary circumstances. Still, we’d usually get multiple days of usage out of a single charge and it took the RealMe 6 nine hours and 21 minutes of streaming video to burn out from 100% to nil. 

The Bottom Line

The RealMe 6 doesn’t fully escape it’s budget phone roots but it’s a more respectable effort than previous RealMe devices in a noticeable. 

Where I struggled to find reasons to recommend last year’s RealMe devices, the RealMe 6 distinguishes itself. It’s not quite a must-buy but there’s a lot to like here. On the whole, the RealMe 6 feels like a tremendous improvement on where last year’s hardware and software fell short. 

I wouldn’t call it the best phone you can buy for under $500 and RealMe hasn’t quite escaped the shadow of Oppo but the brand’s latest wallet-friendly flagship shows serious signs of improvement. 

Credit: RealMe

Right now, they’re in the conversation. In time though, they could be a real competitor to the likes of Oppo and Motorola.

If the RealMe 6 isn't the sub-$500 smartphone you're looking for, check out our guide to the best smartphones you can buy for under $500 here.

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