The Realme 8 5G has smartphones like the Redmi Note 9T with a recommended retail price of 199 euros in its sights, while it is packaged in a 5G-capable SoC. This means you can finally take advantage of your 5G contract offered by your cellular network operator without breaking the bank for a flagship device. However, the question remains: is it worth buying the 5G-enabled Realme 8? Let’s take a deeper dive into the Realme 8 5G.
- ✓5G speeds of up to 600 Mbit / s in Berlin
- ✓Beautiful IPS panel with a refresh rate of 90 Hertz
- ✓5,000 mAh battery
- ✕The triple camera does not have an ultra-wide angle lens
- ✕Camera bump is unsightly
- ✕The maximum charging time is 18 watts
First impressions: Cheaper price is chargeable
The most interesting thing about the Realme 8 5G is the suggested retail price of 199 euros – and that’s not a bad thing at all! The Chinese manufacturer offers a viable alternative to devices such as the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T or the recently launched Redmi Note 10 5G in Europe. In some ways, this is a smart move as the company targets its competitors.
However, Realme has reduced its latest version far too much compared to the Realme 7 5G, which once went on sale at a suggested retail price of 280 euros. The display has a refresh rate of 90 Hz instead of 120 Hz as well as a less powerful SoC and offers fast charging with only 18 watts instead of 30 watts. An ultra-wide-angle lens is missing in the triple camera setup.
So you should think twice about maximizing your 5G contract with the previous model, which has already seen a drop in prices. However, I’ll be using the Realme 8 5G for a few more days to see if the savings are worth the price of admission. Read on when I’ve piqued your interest in Realme 8 5G!
Design & display
The Realme 8 5G measures 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.5 millimeters and weighs 185 grams. Realme has built in a 6.5-inch LCD display with a decent resolution of 2,400 x 1,080 pixels and a refresh rate of 90 Hz. While the front is only made of glass, you should expect a polycarbonate with the Realme 8 5G, which Realme is duly committed to.
I would like to:
- Slim and thin form factor.
- Very bright LCD display.
- A refresh rate of 90 Hz is always welcome.
I didn’t like that:
- Missing refresh rate of 120 Hz, which was found in the predecessor (Realme 7 5G).
- The design of the quad cam camera is eye-catching.
- Fingerprint sensor on the side.
At first glance, the panel of the Realme 8 5G caught my attention. This is because it does an impressive job in everyday use rather than just seeing the details on the datasheet. LCD displays are often seen as a significantly inferior alternative to OLED, but this is by no means the case. The 6.5-inch panel of the Realme 8 5G has exceptional brightness as it offers a high contrast ratio.
At first glance, I even suspected that Realme was using an OLED panel. I only became skeptical when I realized that the refresh rate is 90 Hz, as this is a feature that can be found on LCD displays in smartphones that don’t exceed the price of 200 euros. 90 Hz is sufficient for this Realme handset, especially if you are scrolling through lists.
Overall, the processing of this smartphone is decent. As with the Realme 7, the manufacturer mainly relies on plastic as the material of choice for both the sides and the back plate. It’s not that bad to execute, and it’s nice to note that Realme also spared us the huge “Dare to Leap” words emblazoned on the Pro model. Well that’s gaudy, if anything!
Compared to the previous model, I think it’s a shame that Realme only offers a refresh rate of 90 Hz instead of 120 Hz. However, since the Realme 7 5G was also a bit more expensive, this is a sensible cost-cutting measure that most of our readers will not be affected by. The camera push could have been done better, however. By putting the letters “AI” in a circle it misleads some of the less observant that there is a fourth camera when in reality there are only three cameras available. See for yourself!
Decent performance and technology
The 5G version of the Realme 8 is powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 700 chipset that allows you to access 5G networks. Apart from that, it is an entry-level processor. So don’t expect too much performance. In addition, the SoC supports Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity.
I would like to:
I didn’t like that:
- The slower processor than its predecessor carried the faster Dimensity 800 SoC.
Not much can be said about the Realme 8 5G’s performance with just a short hands-on session. Of course, the integration of a 5G processor is worth mentioning given the relatively low price. However, all the positive impressions that I had evaporated when I looked at the rest of the hardware specifications.
This is because the Realme 7 5G is powered by the more powerful Dimensity 800 SoC from MediaTek. In the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T 5G smartphone, which has a similar price, you will find the Dimensity 800U SoC, which is more geared towards games. Since this didn’t turn out to be all that powerful in our Redmi Note 9T test, I’m curious about the benchmarks of this Realme handset.
In our Berlin office, however, 5G’s performance seemed quite promising. As with my 5G test with the Redmi Note 9T, I was able to reach dizzying heights of 605 Mbit / s download speed. So if you live in the right place and have a suitable cellular plan, you can surf the Internet very quickly with the Realme 8 5G.
Apart from the 5G support, the remaining functions of the smartphone usually fall into the mid-range market. This means that using Wi-Fi 5 you can connect to Wi-Fi networks and connect to your Bluetooth 5.1 enabled headphones.
Camera: Make a fool of me once, be ashamed!
At first glance, the Realme 8 5G impressed me very much with its visual illusion. I say it because Realme’s design suggests a quad camera setup when looking at the back when in reality there are only three cameras. This design doesn’t make the 48-megapixel triple camera setup look any better as it contains inoperable 2-megapixel macro and depth cameras.
I would like to:
- Decent photos taken during the day.
I didn’t like that:
- The triple camera configuration has no additional focal length.
- 2 megapixel macro camera.
During my hands-on experience, I was blessed to be in Berlin at the beginning of summer so that the Realme 8 5G could take photos in optimal lighting conditions. Below are some impressions of the 48 megapixel triple camera, of which I’ll add a few lines of comment for additional context.
Let’s start with a 48-megapixel image from the main camera. I cropped this to 16: 9 for upload and presented it in 4K resolution. What I liked were the beautiful colors and the good exposure, which offered pleasant contrasts. However, when you zoom in, you quickly see a watercolor effect that causes details to become blurred.
Instead of using the zoom function in Photoshop, let’s try the zoom function on the smartphone. Everything is purely digital, from which you can check the results yourself. Even when magnified twice, the level of detail drops drastically. I would highly recommend you just get closer to your subject!
I don’t want to moan and moan, but the HDR mode surprised me personally. Even in such extreme situations, including very bright backlighting, details can be seen on the balcony above me. The result doesn’t look very natural, but it does show the efficiency of the Realme software and the dynamic range of the sensor.
Finally, a few more selfies. On the left you can see the work of the front camera in portrait format and on the right the main camera. The most significant difference between the two would be the different skin tones, which Realme’s algorithm probably found my skin way too wrinkled! I’ll be sure to find out if you can turn off this beauty filter in the extensive review!
Battery: 5,000 mAh with slow fast charging
Realme has a large battery capacity of 5,000 mAh integrated into the Realme 8 5G, which is only 8.5 mm thin. While the Realme 8 Pro was characterized by its 50 watt fast charging capability, this 5G model only offers 18 watts of fast charging. In other words, expect significantly longer loading times.
What I liked:
What I didn’t like:
- Fast charging at just 18 watts.
- No wireless charging support.
Since I was only able to use the Realme 8 5G for a full day in the office, I can’t say too much about the battery life just yet. You have to wait a few more days for this as I naturally use the smartphone longer.
However, if you read Ruben’s Realme 8 Pro review and see how 50W fast charging is supported on this handset, the 18W fast charging capability of the Realme 8 5G pales in comparison. I consider it a waste as it was a real plus for the Pro model. This was yet another cost-cutting measure Realme had to take to keep the price below the € 200 mark.
Price below € 200 as a result of many cost-cutting measures
When you put the Realme 8 5G in context and look at the Pro version, its predecessors and other models on the market, one thing becomes clear: Realme really had to take a lot of cost-cutting measures to hit a sub-€ 200 price point. Of course, everything has become necessary to make room for a 5G processor in its case.
You are therefore at a crossroads with all the compromises that have been made. Would you like 5G support or would you like to live with LTE and a range of superior hardware features? If you prefer the former, the Realme 8 5G is an interesting entry-level model that should be suitable for simple users. Otherwise, you may be better off with an LTE model with better hardware specifications.
After all, 5G networks are still not widespread, so you would probably opt for a new 5G-enabled handset a few years later anyway.
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