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March 12, 2021
Realme has been big in India and China for years now, but its efforts in other regions have felt a little half-hearted and confused - that's about to change with the Realme 7 Pro, which - alongside the Realme 7 - feels like the company's first concerted effort to take on the budget phone market.
Realme has been increasingly making the midrange/budget segment its own, combining with far more wallet-friendly prices with the features you would expect to find in more expensive phones.
The Realme 7 Pro is the latest effort, borrowing flagship-grade charging tech from stablemate Oppo and squeezing it into a handset costing a quarter of the cash. And bar one or two omissions, the rest of the spec sheet is just as impressive.
You'd easily position the 7 Pro among rivals from a distance that would cost twice the price. Even if the plastic framework tells a different story, the skinny screen bezels, hole-punch front camera and lens-packed camera bump on the back all shout “Premium".
It's physically on par with the OnePlus Nord, which also owns the 6.4-in screen. Realme has not skimped on features. With an on-display fingerprint sensor that is impressively quick to detect your digits and quick, perhaps less secure, face unlocking. The former is a welcome step up from the side-mounted scanner that doubled as the power button on Realme 6 Pro.
Last year's Realme 6 Pro had a 90Hz LCD - this successor model sticks to 60Hz, while the cheaper Realme 7 gets the high refresh rate treatment. It turns out Realme did a poll with its customers on social media asking them which they'd prefer, and OLED won - so no silky-smooth scrolling here, but that's hardly a deal-breaker for this kind of cash, and the screen itself is pretty tasty.
The Samsung-sourced Super AMOLED panel offers the kind of inky blacks and expansive contrast we expect from OLED (2,400 x 1,080 pixels) without being too saturated, the tones are punchy, and when you step outdoors, it can get properly bright. Viewing angles are spot on, too. It won't trade blows with proper flagships, but for less money, good luck finding a better show.
Realme’s mantra of not fixing what isn’t broken rings true with the Realme 7 Pro as well. The phone continues to use the exact same Snapdragon 720G chipset as the Realme 6 Pro. The 8nm Octa-core chipset is paired up with an Adreno 618 GPU that keeps the phone running smooth. This is a very reliable chipset, providing a high degree of stability and performance in most situations. In reality, it outperformed the MediaTek Helio G95 in most day-to-day usage. A comparable chipset adopted by many of the 7 Pro's competitors. Switching between applications, loading big files, and scrolling web pages and social media were all very easy for Realme 7 Pro. In daily usage, you're unlikely to encounter hiccups.
With the Realme 7 Pro, the company once again re-engineered the camera system. In fact, compared to the Realme 6 Pro, the 7 Pro completely avoids a telephoto lens. In addition, the secondary ultra-wide camera at the front is no longer included. The Realme 7 Pro instead uses a 64MP main sensor paired with an 8MP ultra-wide lens, a 2MP macro lens, and a 2MP depth sensor. There’s a 32MP lens in the front. Primary shooter photographs are very good, with an impressive amount of detail and true-to-life colors. Though there's a touch of over-sharpening, Realme hasn't gone over the top here. Compared to Realme 7, the firm did a slightly better job at balancing the science of pigments.
The biggest step forward with the Realme 7 Pro comes on the battery front, and more importantly with charging speeds. The 4,500mAh cell is a step up from the 4,300mAh battery on the Realme 6 Pro and that phone already delivered excellent battery life.
The Realme 7 Pro comes with a headphone jack, which is one thing that is becoming rare each day on new smartphones. Audio sounds pretty good even when paired with high-end headphones. The Realme 7 Pro is one of the few phones at its price point to offer a dual stereo speaker setup, powered by Dolby Atmos + Hi-Res Dual Stereo Speakers.
The Realme 7 Pro runs Realme UI based on Android 10. If you’ve ever used an Oppo device, you’ll notice striking similarities between the Realme UI and ColorOS. It’s not quite as clean and user friendly as the Vanilla Android OS found on Pixel devices, but it’s still a smooth experience. Security-wise, you can unlock the phone with the on-screen fingerprint scanner and/or with your face. Both are simple to set up and responsive.
All in all, the Realme 7 Pro has made some key improvements over its predecessor, image quality is solid. The Super AMOLED display combined with the stereo speaker setup and the headphone jack make the Realme 7 Pro a rare combination in today’s smartphone world. The Dart 65W charging support is an excellent addition to have, especially if you frequently have to use a charger. All the spec sheet on the Realme 7 Pro makes it a welcome addition to the ever growing Realme family and also in the budget segment of the smartphone market.
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