Realme 7 Pro is now available for sale in the UK. Realme has been on a phone launch spree lately and only six months after Realme 6 Pro we now have a newer version for review.
After seeing almost 25% growth YoY in India, Realme has decided to replicate the same story in Europe. Realme produces phones with quad-cameras, superzooms, 5G phones, high refresh rate HDR OLED screens, and more. But one thing Realme consistently does is that they don't charge big bucks. Realme 7 Pro continues the low price trend with a retail price of £279 including tax in the UK.
For the price the Realme 7 Pro spec sheet is impressive. The Realme 7 Pro has a big beautiful AMOLED screen, Snapdragon 720 processor, 4500 mAh battery, 65W SuperDart charge, quad-camera array with a 64MP main Sony sensor, stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos, and even a headphone jack! With this kind of specs, you might mistake this to be a device almost twice its price.
The beautiful hardware works well with realme UI software which offers a lot of useful features on top of Android 10. Throw in stellar battery life and ultra-fast charging times for good measure. And suddenly the Realme 7 Pro begins to look like a runaway winner in this price segment.
Let's unbox the Realme 7 Pro
Inside the box are the phone, 65W SuperDart charging brick, USB-C cable, SIM ejector tool, a clear TPU case, and paperwork. And of course, Realme has a factory-installed film screen protector which is a nice bonus. At first glance it doesn't seem like any corners were cut to achieve the retail price point.
Realme 7 Pro hardware design is gorgeous
The build quality is terrific as usual and the device feels premium despite having a plastic back and a plastic frame. The Realme 7 Pro shrinks slightly in all dimensions compared to the 6 Pro. Personally, I think this results in better one-handed use. But better ergonomics come at a loss of screen size going down by 0.2 inches.
I like the new camera module design which gives the phone a more modern look. Although the protrusion from the new camera module makes it more prone to wobble. Best to use the case in the box to overcome this problem.
The clean look in the back with the two-tone treatment and a subtle 'realme' logo looks quite appealing. To me, the design looks modern and elegant. Additionally, the back surface finish is grippy and doesn't feel like cheap plastic at all. Just keep in mind that the back surface is still a fingerprint smudge fest if you are not planning to use a case.
Button tactile feedback is spot on and the location of the buttons did not cause any accidental presses during my time with the phone. The in-screen fingerprint sensor is fast and accurate. Overall in-hand ergonomics are excellent due to the smooth edges, rounded corners, and superb weight distribution.
Bezels on the top and sides are thin and uniform. The bottom bezel is a bit chunkier and that is the first telltale sign that this isn't a flagship device. Display panel is now AMOLED but is smaller by 0.2 inches and we only get a 60HZ refresh rate. Also, the display panel protection changes from Gorilla Glass 5 to Gorilla Glass 3+.
These subtle changes of one step forward and one step backward continues with one selfie camera cutout instead of the dual front camera. While we still have a quad-camera in the back, the telephoto lens is gone. And lest I forget, the water repellent coating is still there which is good news.
Realme is only offering two colors this time around though – Mirror Silver and Mirror Blue. My test unit is silver in color and I really like it.
So looks like there's some give and take going on in comparison with the Realme Pro 6. But overall I still think this is a well-built device that looks gorgeous and punches a bit above its price category.
Realme 7 Pro gets an AMOLED display but loses 90Hz refresh rate
Realme Pro 7 sports a 6.4" Super AMOLED screen with 1080 x 2400 pixels giving it a 411 ppi density. While we get a beautiful Super AMOLED display we lose the 90Hz refresh rate and the screen size shrinks by 0.2" resulting in a slightly worse screen-to-body ratio than before. Overall I am bummed about losing the buttery-smooth visual experience with the 60Hz refresh rate.
The 20:9 display ratio is quite mainstream these days so expect a bit of pinch-to-zoom in some apps. But the display panel is of good quality and you get good color reproduction and fairly respectable viewing angles. Outdoor visibility is excellent in broad daylight.
As usual, Realme has quite a few software features to tweak the display settings to your liking. Dark mode, eye comfort mode, and multiple color settings to choose from – this lets you customize the display to your liking. And the slightly controversial OSIE Vision Effect – tracking eye movement in certain apps via AI is still here. FWIW, I did not use that feature during my test drive.
There is one slightly larger punch hole for a single selfie camera which still has a light-up camera ring from the previous generation. Gone are the slightly dark areas around the camera cutout from the previous generation.
So while the display is slightly smaller and loses the 90Hz refresh rate, I am happy to see that Realme has made the effort to replace it with a good quality Super AMOLED panel.
Performance on the Realme 7 Pro is identical to its older brother
Realme 7 Pro uses the same Snapdragon 720G chip as the previous Realme 6 Pro. Pairing this 8nm processor with 8GB RAM means performance is quite snappy. Realme continues to offer "High Performace Mode" in the Battery settings menu. Additionally, you can add select games to the Game Space setting to boost gaming performance as well. This is a unique feature to realme UI. It is AI-driven which lets you adjust performance to battery life ratio, lock in a brightness setting, and even screen resolution. Last but not least, you can use it to get rid of interruptions in games at well.
If you plan to use the phone for heavy photo or video editing/formatting expect some slowdown compared to top-shelf processors in flagships. Other than that in day-to-day use you should not see any issues in terms of loading apps or switching between apps. Some graphics-intensive games might take a few seconds to load up but nothing out of the ordinary.
For my daily use, Chrome, Gmail, Twitter, Slack, Tapatalk, Spotify, YouTube, and occasional gaming there wasn't any perceptible lag while switching between apps or using them on a daily basis compared to my S20 FE 5G.
An interesting sidebar is that this phone compares well in benchmark testing versus the Google Pixel 4a. This should equate to fairly good performance in everyday use for an average smartphone user that also plays games occasionally.
Software on Realme 7 Pro is feature-laden
The review Realme 7 Pro is running realme UI Version 1.0 on top of Android 10. Android security patch for October 2020 was available as soon as the phone was booted and setup.
While I prefer Google's interpretation of Android, I must say that Realme hasn't tweaked Android to the tune of what Samsung/LG do. Realme has taken a path where the launcher and the rest of the phone function similar to stock Android while most of the customizations and features are tucked away in the Settings menu.
Most of the unique features are for performance and battery life optimization which are a carryover from ColorOS which is a good thing. Another great feature is Game Space which provides for a great uninterrupted gaming experience.
There is some bloatware but you can uninstall these apps and select Google to be your default search engine. Additionally, all of Google's Android 10 features are included such as Digital Wellbeing, Dark Mode, and Google Assistant.
Realme has a reasonable track record of providing security patch updates. It will be interesting to see when the next version of the realme UI is available or when Android 11 will arrive on the 7 Pro.
Summarily, my impressions are not any different from Daniel's when he reviewed the Realme 6 Pro earlier in the year. The software on the device works without any hiccups or issues and you have the option of uninstalling the apps you don't like or hide them away.
Battery life is amazing and SuperDart 65W charge tops phone up in 34 minutes!
One thing Realme did better with the 7 Pro is to bump up the battery capacity to 4500 mAh. This phone is very easily a 2-day battery life device with moderate use. I could not manage to drain the battery down in one day during my entire review period. Screen-on-time was easily 6+ hours consistently. Of course, you can stretch the battery life even more by toggling on Super power-saving mode in the Battery settings.
Overnight the phone can go into sleep standby optimization mode which further helps in extending battery life. This does however delay notifications but they pop right up when you wake up in the morning.
Another great thing Realme did is to bump up the charging speed by including their 65W SuperDart charging brick and power management onboard the Realme 7 Pro. You can fully charge this massive battery in 34 minutes flat. A 10-minute top-up will give a 42% charge which should be enough for a day's use for an average user. Realme claims you can get to 43% charge in 30 minutes even while gaming with the SuperDart charging technology which is impressive.
The battery life and charging is one area where I think Realme 7 Pro directly outclasses its predecessor.
Audio output from the headphone jack is fantastic!
The audio output from the headphone jack is fantastic. I tried this out with various wired headsets from the cheap ones to fairly good ones and I must say the quality of the output is almost pretty close to that coming out from LG devices. If you like listening to music on a wired headphone you will not be very happy with the Realme 7 Pro.
As far as onboard audio is concerned you get dual speakers which result in stereo output. The speakers are loud and clear but fall just a tad bit short of what you would get from a flagship device. For everyday general YouTube or social media videos the speakers are fine. If you want better audio quality the headphone jack is a great option.
Pairing with my Bluetooth earbuds was quick as easy and I didn't notice any audio output quality difference between wired and wireless headphones. One thing to note is that this device does not have aptX codec support. The Realme 7 Pro also has Dolby Atmos support and I left that setting on during my review period.
All in all this phone is definitely one of the better ones in terms of audio output quality compared to many devices in this price range.
Let's talk about the cameras
With the Realme 7 Pro, the company has tweaked the camera system and the two big changes are both downgrades. The biggest change is the omission of the telephoto lens on the rear camera module. And in the front, the ultra-wide selfie camera is also gone.
Realme decided to equip the Realme 7 Pro with a 64MP Sony IMX 628 sensor for the main camera. The main camera is f/1.8 with a 1/1.73" sensor which supports Quad Bayer and pixel size up to 1.6μm. Sony IMX682 sensor has proven to have incredible light-sensing ability, so definitely expect reasonable performance in terms of low light photography.
The other three cameras on the rear include an 8MP ultrawide camera with f/2.3 and 119° Field-of-View (FOV), a 2MP macro lens, as well as a 2MP depth sensor. Both the 2MP sensors are f/2.4. Meanwhile, in the front, there is only a single 32MP f/2.5 camera.
Pictures in daylight from the main camera are surprisingly good and have very good color reproduction with lots of detail. There is good texture/noise balance as you zoom in on the pictures from the main camera. As far as the ultrawide camera is concerned the results are quite good with little distortion despite a very wide FOV.
Since there is no telephoto lens anymore, the 5X zoom is now just digital cropping from the main sensor. There is a significant amount of shake in the telephoto mode due to this cropping and best to use a tripod if you decide to use this feature often.
Once the sun starts to set though the story changes a bit. Images look fine on the device screen but when reviewing the pictures on a computer monitor you can see a lot of noise reduction and over-sharpening. However, the low light results are still quite good considering the price point. The various gradient tones in low light photography are actually quite fun to use. I can definitely see myself using this feature if I was still traveling instead of being cooped up at home.
The 2MP macro camera was the biggest surprise for me. For close-up pictures, I got decent results but did need to have a steady hand. In addition, it took about 2 or 3 tries but final results in each case were more than acceptable.
Moving to the front 32MP selfie camera, the photos have a lot of detail and a good color profile including skin tones. Portrait mode is available for the selfie camera but edge detection is mediocre at best. And FWIW this comment about portrait mode applies to the rear camera as well.
You can see the results from the various camera for yourself in our Flickr gallery via the link below.
The biggest surprise in terms of camera performance was night astrophotography dubbed "Starry Night" mode. I went out to see the Lenoid meteor showers and decided to take the Realme 7 Pro and a tripod. Each picture takes 4 minutes to finish up but the overall results are quite impressive for a phone that isn't labeled Pixel.
As far as video is concerned the main camera can take videos in 4K, 1080p 60fps. But the ultrawide can only support 108op 30fps. Additionally switching between ultrawide and main camera even if 1080p 30fps resolution is chosen is not available. So you need to make up your mind which camera you plan to use before turning on video capture.
As far as focusing in video mode is concerned there were no issues with the rear main camera, ultrawide or front selfie cam. The test video clips indicate good audio quality thanks to the two microphones onboard. And in good lighting, the video quality is good to share on social media. There is a separate Ultra Nightscape video mode that can come in handy in certain situations.
To conclude, Realme has put fairly capable cameras into an attractively priced phone. It covers the basics very well – photos and videos are generally properly exposed and in focus. Images also show a wide dynamic range, allowing you to shoot in challenging high-contrast situations.
Connectivity was actually quite good for a non-US device
Realme 7 Pro has dual SIM support. Here in Southern California on T-Mobile, I mostly got 4G and HSPA+ with about 2-5 Mbps download speeds. So for a non-USA device, I would chalk the data speeds to be quite good. However, there is no support for VoLTE or Wi-Fi calling at least on T-Mobile. I believe this is carrier dependent and I hope this is not the case with the carriers in the UK.
Phone call quality was excellent via handset or speakerphone modes. Every day calls, texts, downloading apps, watching YouTube videos, or streaming music via Spotify didn't present any problems. My Enacfire E60 earbuds paired seamlessly via Bluetooth 5.1.
Last but not least there is NFC support onboard making contactless payments via Google Pay in these COVID-19 times very easy. You can also use this feature for file sharing via Android Beam. Quick settings menu has Screen Cast, Realme Share, and Nearby Share as well. So there is no dearth of connectivity options.
Realme 7 Pro is one of the best budget phones out there
With the 7 Pro, Realme has taken an incremental improvement approach when compared to the 6 Pro. Image quality is very good, and overall device performance is the same or slightly better. Additionally, 65W SuperDart charging support is a genuine improvement. However, one can argue that the cameras are a slight step backwards. And while the new Super AMOLED display is great there are some who will bemoan the loss of a 90Hz refresh rate screen.
I personally like the slightly smaller size, the AMOLED screen, and the bump in battery capacity along with the 65W SuperDart charging. And for our UK/EU readers, you will be happy to learn that this is the first smartphone to have cleared the TÜV Rheinland Smartphone Reliability Verification tests. Realme also includes a 3-year warranty with the device so that is a definite bonus.