realme 6i review: Plenty of power

Much like realme’s previous smartphone releases, the realme 6i is a budget-friendly feature-packed smartphone. What makes it stand out vis-à-vis realme’s other budget offerings, however, is its new chipset. This phone is packed with the world’s first Helio G80 chipset that promises to deliver plenty of power. Add to that the quad camera setup with a 48MP main shooter and a huge battery, and you’ve got one compelling device.

Design

The realme 6i comes in two colors: White Milk and Green Tea. It’s designed by Japanese industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa, the man behind the award-winning realme X series Master Edition.

The polycarbonate back panel has a matte coating and vertical reflective lines that appear depending on how light strikes the surface. It’s easier to see this design on the Green Tea variant. Shooting our White Milk unit was a bit challenging as we had to find the right angle and lighting to show the Rimowa-like pattern.

The quad camera module is stacked vertically on the left side, while next to it is an LED flash. A fingerprint scanner can be found at the upper center of the back panel. Said scanner works pretty fast and allows you to easily unlock the phone.

Despite its large-ish size (it comes with a 6.5-inch display), the 6i is easy to handle thanks to the matte finish and ergonomic curves.

A waterdrop notch at the top of the display houses the front camera.

The power button sits on the right, while the volume controls and SIM card slot sit on the left.

At the bottom is a USB-C port flanked by a 3.5mm audio jack and a single loudspeaker.

Display & sound

The realme 6i sports a 6.5-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1600 x 720 (HD+). Layered on top of this is Corning Gorilla Glass 3 to protect it from scratches and scuffs. The resolution is at HD+ so it’s not the sharpest out there. Still, watching movies and TV shows on it is still a pretty decent experience thanks to the screen’s brightness and color output. Text also appear sharp enough and there was no pixelization whatsoever.

Sunlight legibility is a different story, however. Even when set to maximum brightness, you’ll hardly see what’s on the screen when you’re outside and the sun is shining brightly.

When it comes to audio output, the single bottom-firing speaker is fairly loud, but lacks both in bass and high-pitched sounds. If you’re watching a movie or catching up on your favorite series, you’d be better off using your favorite earbuds or connecting the phone to an external speaker.

Camera

The quad camera setup on the realme 6i is composed of a 48-megapixel main shooter with f/1.8 aperture lens, an 8MP ultra wide-angle lens (119°), a 2MP portrait lens that supports the new realme color filter system, and a 2MP ultra-macro lens with 4 centimeter shooting distance.

Like other realme devices, the 6i’s native camera app includes Chroma Boost, which enhances the vibrancy and saturation of colors. Images shot with the main lens produce well-detailed pictures with good colors and saturation. If you want a bit more pop of color, turn on Chroma Boost to do the magic.

The 8MP ultrawide camera doesn’t capture details as much as the main snapper, but color and contrast are still pretty good.

Where the realme 6i’s camera struggles is shooting in low light. On auto mode, the main camera shoots soft and noisy photos. With Night Mode on, low light shots appear much brighter, but the images still lack detail.

Meanwhile, selfies are sharp and detailed, with natural-looking skin tones in good lighting conditions.

Performance & battery

The realme 6i is the world’s first phone to use the MediaTek Helio G80 chip. This new chip enhances the device’s power efficiency and smoothens the performance of heavy-loading game engines. This is supported by a Mali-G52 GPU for more advanced image rendering.

This makes the 6i a very capable daily driver. Switching between apps is fast and snappy and the phone hardly hesitated in performing whatever task I throw at it.

The massive 5,000mAh battery of the 6i can last for over a day on a single charge with medium to heavy use. It also supports 18W fast charging, which restores about 35% of the battery in 30 minutes. Topping up from 0 to 100% takes a little less than two hours. It might not be that fast, but it’s still pretty good for a budget phone with a huge cell.

Speed says

realme has done it again—that is, come out with a budget smartphone that offers quite a lot of value for its price. It packs a good chip, a sizable battery, and even a Type-C port.

With a starting price of P7,990 for the 3GB + 64GB variant (the 4GB + 129GB model goes for P9,990), this phone hits the sweet spot for those looking for a very reliable phone but are on a tight budget. The phone isn’t perfect—its camera performance is a mixed bag and the display isn’t outstanding—but all in all, this phone offers plenty of power in a reasonably priced package.

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