realme 10 4G Review: Fantastic or a luckluster upgrade?

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realme 10 4G review

Not too long ago, realme launched the realme 9 series. We wrote a few articles and reviews that detail our thoughts about the series. Overall, the former series did not drift too much from its predecessor, but introduced a few ones that made it an “acceptable” upgrade from the realme 7. In the end, realme 9 was intended for those who bought the realme 6 and 7, but definitely not to those who just got their realme 8.

I consider realme 8 as one of the best in the series, and this is the very reason why Grant – who is now currently the custodian of the unit – has been loving it so far. With the introduction of the realme 10, I wonder if it is something that is worth upgrading to for those who are currently using a realme 8. In this review, I will attempt to answer this question; and give you my unbiased take on this latest numbered iteration smartphone of realme.

realme 10 Specifications

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Display Size

Display Type

Display Resolution

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Chipset

Internal Storage

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RAM

Operating System

Number of Camera

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Video Resolution

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Front Camera

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Battery Capacity

Battery Type

Sim Cards Slot

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Notable Features

Design and Form Factor

Realme 10’s design hits differently. Corners are slightly rounded, but the bezels are flat with very minor chamfering on the sides. It’s available in 2 colors: Clash White and Rush Black. The back panel of the phone looks enchanting. They call this Light Particle Design, and its design really plays around with light that shines upon it.

realme 10 4g review

All buttons are located on the right side. The sleep/wake button is a little bit more recessed than the other buttons, which gives it a different look and feel. The wake button also functions as a fingerprint sensor. It’s quick and responsive; but not too much different from previous generations. Overall, I find this button placement much better compared to its predecessor.

realme 10 4g review

The SIM tray, which can house two SIMs and a microSD card up to 1TB, is located on the left side of the phone. This is a good setup especially for those who are looking for a single phone that can accommodate up to two networks. The addition of storage expandability adds more value to the phone.

Display

The new phone sports a 90Hz AMOLED Display. This isn’t something inherently new compared to the previous generation. I am definitely okay with this design and engineering choice as it provides relatively good and responsive performance. Plus, the panel they used on the realme has a touch sampling rate 180Hz. Brightness is at 600 nits, which is more than good enough for both indoor and outdoors. We still have yet to know from realme about its peak brightness, but based on my experience, I am happy with its performance.

realme 10 4g review

Colors look punchy and texts are sharp on the realme 10’s display. Props to realme for maintaining this level of quality that carried from realme 8 to 10. However, I would have wanted to see realme 10 sporting a display with any display calibration certification to make it more appealing for prosumers and content creators, and add value to its already attractive price.

We also managed to confirm from realme that the phone’s display is protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 5, which is impressive for a midrange smartphone.

Audio

This smartphone is loud.  I’m not sure how realme made its speakers perform louder than other equally-priced phones, but it’s impressive, to say the least. realme calls the speakers “Ultraboom”, and it’s resoundingly accurate on the realme 10.

realme 10 4g review

Apart from this, phone has 3.5mm headphone jack plus Bluetooth 5.3 compatibility that offers added transfer bandwidth and smarter rapid switching between low and heavy duty cycles.

Hardware and Performance

realme 10 packs a 6nm MediaTek Helio G99 processor with an ARM MALI-G57 GPU. The unit we reviewed has 8GB RAM and 256GB of internal storage. While this doesn’t offer significant performance boost from realme 9’s 12nm chipset, its performance and battery optimization features make it (still) a good upgrade.

realme 10 4g review

Overall performance of casual games is beyond my expectations. Torchlight Infinite run at 56-60fps at Ultra UHD settings. Call of Duty Mobile and Metal Storm, which usually require much beefier specs, run at average of 60fps at Medium Settings. CODM does not give option for higher graphics settings than medium, and at default, only ‘real time shadows’ is activated. There are very occasional frame rate dips, but definitely not a deal breaker. As the phone only has 8GB (+3GB virtual) RAM, you’ll sometimes find it a bit lacking when opened apps start piling up. So, when playing games, keep in mind that the phone has a way of clearing up unused apps prior to opening a game.

Before I forget, I’d like to point out that when you are playing games, there is a chance that your fingers will slightly cover the speakers. This will obviously muffle the sound, which takes away some of your gameplay immersion.

Performance Benchmark

Benchmarks below also shows realme 10’s (MediaTek Helio G99) performance versus the realme 8 and 9 for your reference. This bump translate to minor performance upgrades, but software and battery optimization is clearly experienced on the new one, overall.

ANTUTU 3D BENCHMARK
Geekbench SC
Geekbench MC
PC Mark

Camera Performance

Camera performance is very decent too as seen in the sample photos beow. Nightscape and Street Mode 2.0 look much better this time around. he improved UI of the camera allows better user experience. It has a special emphasis on taking selfies as well, which makes it a lot easier to do this time around. 

It has a dedicated 50MP mode that allows you to maximize its 50MP lens. Apart from using its main lens that capture more details, it utilizes AI to help the phone take better shots. You’ll get improved lighting and color reproduction in this mode at the expense of slightly bigger file size. I honestly do not normally use 50MP as the normal photo mode is surprisingly more than enough especially for quick photo shots for social media posting.

realme 10 has Pro photo mode with zero cropping,. This gives users additional functions to put them in control of their photo composition. There is also a “pro” mode for video, which realme calls Film mode. Unfortunately, the UI is optimized for horizontal shooting and you’ll noticed small cropping, which is likely forced by electronic stabilization.

Sample Photos

Software

Realme 10 runs Android 12 and features the most recent Realme UI 3.0. The snappy AMOLED 90Hz display, improved software, and MediaTek Helio G99 processor make it easy to navigate through settings and switch between apps.

RAM is 8GB but since the device supports RAM expansion where it uses storage space as virtual memory, you can increase it to 5GB, at maximum. This means that if you use applications that hogs a lot of memory, you may want to get yourself the 256GB version, and compensate the storage with a micro SD card.

realme 10 4g review

Part of the software package are optimization and special features built into it. It supports Split Screen, Flexible windows, Smart sidebar, Kid Space and Simple Mode. It also has Game Toolkit, which is the central hub of all the installed games on the phone. If you’re a massive gamer, I suggest that you look for ‘game’ at the homescreen to bring you to Game Toolkit. I was trying to look for this in Settings, but then I realized that realme does it differently, much like what OPPO and vivo do.

Battery Life

In terms of battery life, I was expecting more from realme 10. Using PC Mark 10, it managed to run for 12.48 hours with Smart Performance mode enabled. Then, I checked with my review peers if this if I was just expecting too much. It turned out that my standards was just very high.

realme 10 4g review

With the new chipsets and software optimizations that go along with it, you can further tweak its performance to match battery performance expectations. There is an option under Battery settings where you can turn off any performance modes to prolong battery life.

Verdict

realme 10 4G packs small but necessary upgrades from realme 9. If you’re coming from the latter, this is not the upgrade you’re looking for. This is not categorically a major upgrade from realme 8 either since that was only released early last year. However, if you are coming from realme 7, then you may want to check this out. Apart from its aesthetic flair, realme 10 4G a serious midrange competitor albeit bearing some features that can easily be matched by slightly cheaper alternatives.

realme 10 4G is also an affordable upgrade if you’re coming from a budget smartphone. You have an option to get the 8GB + 128GB for PhP12,999 (PhP10,999 only during 11.11 Mega Sale), or the 8GB+256GB for PhP14,999. I recommend that 256GB variant, but that will can only be pre-ordered on November 26 to December 2 at realme’s Shopee official store page. Again, if you are into storing A LOT of files on your device, plus you want to maximize up to 5GB virtual memory, the 256GB variant is a sweet choice.

7.6Expert Score
realme 10 4G: Incremental Upgrade, Same Price

realme 10 4G packs small but necessary upgrades from realme 9. If you’re coming from the latter, this is not the upgrade you’re looking for. This is not categorically a major upgrade from realme 8 either since that was only released early last year. However, if you are coming from realme 7, then you may want to check this out. Apart from its aesthetic flair, realme 10 4G a serious midrange competitor albeit bearing some features that can easily be matched by slightly cheaper alternatives.

realme 10 4G is also an affordable upgrade if you’re coming from a budget smartphone. You have an option to get the 8GB + 128GB for PhP12,999 (PhP10,999 only during 11.11 Mega Sale), or the 8GB+256GB for PhP14,999. I recommend that 256GB variant, but that will can only be pre-ordered on November 26 to December 2 at realme’s Shopee official store page. Again, if you are into storing A LOT of files on your device, plus you want to maximize up to 5GB virtual memory, the 256GB variant is a sweet choice.

Design
7.2
Display
8.7
Camera
7.3
Performance
7
Battery
7.8
Price
8
Positive
  • Bears incremental upgrade
  • Very loud speakers
  • Good gaming performance
  • Camera performance is acceptable
  • Display is one of the best in its class
Negatives
  • 4G only
  • No OIS (EIS only)

Giancarlo Viterbo is a Filipino Technology Journalist, blogger and Editor of gadgetpilipinas.net, He is also a Geek, Dad and a Husband. He knows a lot about washing the dishes, doing some errands and following instructions from his boss on his day job. Follow him on twitter: @gianviterbo and @gadgetpilipinas.

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