REVIEW: Realme 7 Pro
Need a quick charge - a really, really quick one? This 'Pro'-level device can answer that call
Realme's looking to close 2020 with a bang. And in a span of half-a-year, they've come up with two Pro smartphones (look a little further and it's also roughly the same period between the 5 Pro and 6 Pro).
Which leads us to the latest in that line - the Realme 7 Pro. The folks from Shenzhen have once again cobbled up some nice specs into a device that would be appealing for those who don't want to spend so much. And, as always, Realme is touting the camera and battery systems on this one. Let's find out.
TALE OF THE TAPE
That's two Pros from Realme in the space of half-a-year. What's interesting is that they've ditched the dual selfie camera for a higher-numbered one. Seems to be a trend, if you consider some other brands toning down the numbers in favour of seemingly greater capabilities.
Well, you won't get a headset with this, but you do get a clear case (another standard issue nowadays) and a charger that, as you'll find out later, will come in very handy.
The 7 Pro comes with a 6.4-inch FHD+ Super Amoled display that's marketed as full-screen, because of the punch-hole selfie camera on the upper-left corner. Its bezels are thin enough for you to enjoy its fullness, but its chin is definitely noticeable. The display is super-bright at max brightness; getting your eyes too close might strain it a bit, especially if you have some sensitive lookers.
Controls are scattered, with the power button on the right and the volume rocker on the left. Above the latter is the card tray, which can hold two nano-SIMs and a microSD card all at the same time; the latter can come in handy if you're a heavy user and easily fill up its 128GB internal storage. Below are the USB-C port and a 3.5mm audio port.
Right behind is a simple finish, with a line towards the left side creating a 3D effect. Even its quad-lens camera system is crammed neatly on the upper-left portion and it doesn't protrude that much. Fingerprint smudges aren't that noticeable, but you may have to apply a little more pressure to wipe them clean. And to give it some protection while not hiding its looks, Realme has included a clear protective case right in the box.
It's also fairly light and about your standard weight, and with its 20:9 ratio, it's comfortable to hold and carry around.
Paired with the storage mentioned above is 8GB of RAM, which is pretty generous at this price point. That allows it to make the 7 Pro run smoothly; we didn't encounter any pain-inducing lags.
From the home screen, swiping upwards will reveal the app tray, downwards will take you to search mode, to the left are apps outside the tray and to the right will reveal smart assistant, an easier access to common functions and important info, including from location to your activity (like steps taken) and from messages to your calendar. It's customisable and comes in handy when you don't want to dig in a lot to find something you need at the spur of the moment.
Aside from Realme's own take on apps such as photos and music, there really isn't anything that you can call bloatware around here (thank you). There is, though, Realme's phone manager, which checks stuff like privacy permissions, performs app management, component checks and optimisation, and payment protection. One more useful app is Clone Phone, which, as you might know already, lets you transfer files from another Android device or even an iPhone.
You also get the tandem of biometric unlock options with the fingerprint scanner, located on-screen towards the centre below, and face unlock. Once you lift the phone, the scanner will automatically show itself; this is when the raise to wake function is disabled.
Now, if it's enabled, the screen will automatically turn on and try to detect your face (little fingerprint scanner doesn't want to miss out and still shows itself). Raise to wake, however, doesn't seem to work if you lift the phone slowly. Also, one thing we've noticed is that when you successfully unlock the device with face unlock and then you put the phone down - or at least hold it in such a position that it's lying down on its rear - the screen will automatically turn off again. This is a hassle especially if you'd want to use it that way for some reason. This is inconsistent; sometimes it doesn't happen, most of the time it does. I actually got a kick from watching it go bananas by face-unlocking it, holding it down and then repeating it over and over.
And in case fingerprint scanning is disabled and raise to wake is off, you have to press the power button to activate face unlock. We've also observed that face unlock is quicker than the fingerprint scanner, but the latter takes a little hit in total darkness especially if its brightness is at the lower levels.
Also of note: The 7 Pro now has an on-screen fingerprint scanner compared to its predecessor's side one.
The 7 Pro retains a quad-camera setup behind, which still comes with a lead 64MP sensor. It does, however, swap out the telephoto lens for a depth one, which would mean more clarity on bokeh effects. That also halves the device's maximum zoom capabilities to 10x, compared to the 6 Pro's 20x.
Realme also promises crisper and brighter shots with this rehashed setup.
Under the bright lights, you won't have any concerns. In particular, the zoom works well - clockwise from top-left is 0.5x, 1x, 2x and 10x - and even at the max level detail is clear.
These were taken at 1x and 5x, with the same crisp results.
At night - depending on how much light you can work with, results will vary from fairly bright to bright. The ones on the left were taken with regular mode while those on the right used night mode:
Even going up at 10x reveals brighter shots, though it may seem overexposed:
The next set's taken at a dark alley; regular mode gives a more natural result:
Sure, night mode does light things up, but there are a couple of pains: First, sometimes it'll take several seconds before the shot is processed, and second - and really more annoying - is that there are times when the camera can't focus on the subject. It takes a lot of time before it finally zeroes in on your subject, even if you tap on the screen and/or adjust your position. This is a downer especially if you need to take a quick shot of something.
The selfie camera, meanwhile, is kinda impressive: Its results are natural, has the right amount of lighting and without those irritating face-smoothening features.
In good lights, you shouldn't have a problem. The shot in the middle was taken in a dark alley using regular mode, and the next using night mode; notice that the latter is more detailed. Of course, using night mode even on the selfie shooter will take some time to process.
And remember that depth lens Realme is using now instead of a macro one?
That's another pretty shot there, even if there are some edges that tend to blend off with the blurred background (in this case, the leaves). Again, the focus here comes into play, as there will be times the camera would struggle focusing on the subject.
There's a 4500mAh battery inside the 7 Pro, which is big and is actually found in a number of flagships from the biggies. With mixed use, the device will be able to last you for about a day-and-a-half;
Now Realme is heavily touting the 7 Pro's charging capabilities, thanks to its 65W SuperDart Charge technology. Of course, you'll need to use the wall plug that's included in the box for it. Now we've seen a lot of devices that advertise such fast speeds that end up a bit disappointing, so we just have find out for ourselves if... holy guacamole...
Wow. How's that for when you're in a hurry? We've got nothing else to say about this but... wow. That's a huge plus there. Realme suggests that the 7 Pro can hit maximum power in only 34 minutes, but we'll still take this any day. As a matter of fact, our unit was at 99 per cent in 33 minutes, which gave us some excitement to see if it can match the pegged results, but took a bit of its sweet time to fully charge.
But, and sorry to burst your bubble, despite that speed, that's still not the fastest-charging smartphone around: In January, we found out for ourselves that the Realme X2 Pro zipped to 100 per cent in just 35 minutes - and that was with the Vooc charging system. And, as it stands, looks like the Oppo Reno Ace still holds the crown at just a shade above half-an-hour. Could this be the next great battleground for smartphones?
Saying 'need a quick charge?' would sound cliché, but the message here is clear: Realme's charging capabilities is, well, for real.
We'll say, the Realme 7 Pro is a very good smartphone for the pockets it's targeting, considering the fact that there are some devices that have the same or even lower specs at higher price points. The camera's impressive enough (save for the focusing issue), and how can we forget how fast it charges up to max?
GOODIES: Very decent camera, good battery, hyper-fast charging
GOOFIES: Night mode's focus very inconsistent and slow, no headset included
EDITOR RATING: Unless its battery performance and fast-charging capabilities significantly declines in a short period of time, this is a real deal. So we're judging this by the overall value it gives from the get-go. 4.5/5
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