Realme 6i Review – Good Quality Isn’t Always Expensive

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Introduction

realme 6i unit_photo (10)Despite being a young brand, realme has managed to continuously set the bar of price to performance with its portfolio of smartphones.

It’s as if they know the closest to perfect formula of capturing the interest of their target audience, with every single release, and that’s despite the existence of hard competition.

Sporting a new SoC from MediaTek, the realme 6i is their newest offering for those who want a can-do-it-all phone without crossing the PhP10,000 price tag.

Specifications
Display 6.5″ HD+, Gorilla Glass 3
Processor MediaTek Helio G80
RAM 3GB/4GB
Storage 64GB/128GB (Expandable)
Rear Camera 48MP Main
8MP Ultra-Wide
2MP Macro
2MP Depth
Front Camera 16MP
OS Android 10 + realme UI
Battery 5,000mAh (18W Quick Charge)
SRP PhP7,990 (3GB + 64GB)
PhP9,990 (4GB + 128GB)

 

Design and Build

Realme has kept the same general design across their portfolio, with a few minor changes here and there. Flat display with a notch, vertical camera module that protrudes, and the realme branding at the back panel with slightly curved sides.

realme 6i unit_photo (2)In fact, the only notable change in the 6i is the back panel, which is now in a smooth matte finish and a design that they claim is “Inspired by Nature.” Well, I’ll call it shiny stripes. It’s not the most attractive take, at least for me, but it goes well with the two colorways for the 6i – White Milk and Tea Green.

realme 6i unit_photo (6)Thanks to the matte finish, you no longer have to concern yourself with wiping the phone’s back panel so often due to smudges. Despite being made of plastic, the device doesn’t feel cheaply made.

As far as handling is concerned, the phone feels perfectly fine on the hand, not too light or too heavy, and the buttons are easily within reach without fancy adjustments.

realme 6i unit_photo (17)The button placement is pretty standard – Power Button on the right, Volume Rocker plus SIM slot on the left.

realme 6i unit_photo (16)You also get a headphone jack at the bottom along with the speaker grille and a USB-C port.

realme 6i unit_photo (8)The realme 6i’s 6.5-inch display would tell you it was most likely designed with gaming and media consumption in mind, but then you look at the HD+ resolution and realize that the screen isn’t as sharp and detailed.

I could say it’s still good enough for your usual binge-watch, and of course, having a lower resolution on a display means there are fewer pixels to push, thus, better battery life.

Synthetic Benchmarks

Realme 6i is the first smartphone to run on MediaTek’s Helio G80 SoC, and as far as Antutu scores are concerned, it stacks pretty well even against more expensive mid-rangers on the market such as the OPPO Reno2 and Reno3 Series, the Vivo V17 Pro, and even the Xiaomi Mi 9T.

realme 6i - antutu

The realme 6i does trail behind the new Redmi Note 9S, which is priced just PhP2,000 more than the 6i’s 4GB+128GB variant. Then again, if you’re on a tight budget, that’s a lot.

Gaming Performance

realme 6i unit_photo (21)Since benchmarks don’t really tell the entire story about how a device will perform in real-life usage, we decided to throw in a slew of games to see how the Helio G80 in the realme 6i performs.

Game Settings
Cod Mobile Graphic Quality Low
Frame Rate Medium
Depth of Field Off
Bloom Off
Ragdoll Off
Asphalt 9 Visual Quality High Quality
Black Desert Mobile Quick Settings Custom
Effects High
Resolution Max Settings
Texture High
Frame Limit 30
UI Size Default
NBA 2K20 Stadium High
Reflection High
Shadow High
Player High
Cloth Simulation Ultra High
Crowd High
Sideline High
Depth of Field Ultra High
Uniform Ultra High
Mobile Legends Shadow On
Damage Text On
HD Mode On
HFR Mode On
Optimize FPS On
Graphics High
BnS Revolution GFX Quality Very High
Effect Quality High
Texture Quality High
Shadow Quality High
Adjust Screen Resolution High
Frame Rate High
Display Max Player Limit 1 Step Shy of High
Background View Distance High
Display Shadows Display All
Display Physics Display All
Bloom Effect On
Anti-Aliasing Off
Animation and Environmental Effects On
Battle Effects All

 

So how did the realme 6i perform? the answer is that the phone was able to handle most of the games in the settings stated flawlessly, except Asphalt 9 and BnS Revolution, wherein I ran into some minor stutters in more heavily detailed areas. The phone did get warm after a few minutes, but not to a point wherein it was uncomfortable.

As for CoD Mobile having only Low + Medium settings available, it could be because of the SoC being relatively new, so the game hasn’t been optimized for it yet. That would be my best guess.

One thing to note is that the realme 6i can only connect to a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network, which means you get less performance but can be further away from your router. Personally I didn’t have any problems with latency or network-induced lag when I was testing these games, so I don’t really consider this as a big deal.

Camera

realme 6i unit_photo (5)The thing about the realme 6i is that it seems to be a more performance-oriented device rather than something that’s for mobile photography. Or so I thought.

realme 6i camera sample 1realme 6i camera sample 26realme 6i camera sample 33Not only does it have a versatile set of cameras, but the quality is actually more than what I expected. It manages to pull off a decent shot even when in a room with close to minimal lighting.

realme 6i camera sample 7

realme 6i camera sample 40

realme 6i camera sample 51

realme 6i camera sample 53

Detail, sharpness, exposure, it’s almost impressive for a device its price. The realme 6i’s macro camera takes a ton of effort to focus but also does a fair job of capturing subjects up-close.

realme 6i camera sample 17The wide-angle camera doesn’t show unwanted barrel distortion. The quality is, of course, a bit less than the main. Exposure could also use some work.

realme 6i camera sample 21As far as night shots are concerned, the realme 6i seems to prioritize softening things up rather than showing noise. Quality-wise, it’s more or less okay until you zoom in.

realme 6i camera sample 16realme 6i camera sample 13It also delivers sharp, detailed, and well-exposed selfies. What’s more impressive is how accurate the edge-detection is, and how convincing the depth of field effect looks.

Software

If you’re looking for new “groundbreaking” features in realme UI, well there’s none. What it has, however, is a set of features that I’ve always found useful. You know, features that are not there just so the list of 19 features can be 20.

realme 6i unit_photo (18)One of which is Game Space, which organizes your games into one hub. You can even set a performance profile and prevent notifications from disturbing you in-game.

realme 6i unit_photo (20)But the most useful for me, apart from, of course, the in-demand system-wide Dark Mode, is the Assistive Sidebar, which lets me take a screenshot, launch apps in split-screen mode, and even initiate screen recording.

As far as performance is concerned, realme UI on the realme 6i runs smooth, animations are fluid, and apps open as fast as you’d expect.

Battery

realme 6i unit_photo (14)Unfortunately, the benchmark tool I used to measure battery life encountered an error as it was about to show the results, but by my reckoning, the phone lasted for around 11 hours in one charge.

Now, if the realme 6i had a 4,000mAh battery, that would be amazing, but for a 5,000mAh power pack, I’d call that as only decent at best.

The benchmark simulated basic data manipulation and video editing, so your mileage may vary depending on the apps you use.

Despite having 18W Quick Charge, it took an agonizing 2.5 hours to recharge the realme 6i from empty to full.

Verdict

realme 6i unit_photo (1)Overall, the realme 6i offers a formula of excellent gaming performance across a variety of titles complemented by decent optics and battery life.

It’s evident that some things had to be dialed down in order to keep the price target, but as far as I’m concerned, the shortcomings on this phone are mostly minor and are not enough to ruin the overall user experience.

Realme has done it again, creating another device that delivers exceptional quality for a very competitive price point.

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Emman has been writing technical and feature articles since 2010. Prior to this, he became one of the instructors at Asia Pacific College in 2008, and eventually landed a job as Business Analyst and Technical Writer at Integrated Open Source Solutions for almost 3 years.

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