⏰ Don’t have time to read the full review? Go directly to the Conclusions section to know what I liked the most and the least about the Realme 8i.
realme is a fairly young Chinese manufacturer that, after establishing itself as an independent company on May 4, 2018, arrived in Spain at the end of May 2019. Its history dates back to 2010, when it debuted as a sub-brand of OPPO, a manufacturer belonging to the same BBK conglomerate.
At the beginning of September, the company presented the realme 8i , which arrived in Spain in October to become an economic alternative for those looking for a mobile to play with.
The realme 8i has a 6.6″ 120Hz LCD screen, Helio G96 processor, 4/6GB of RAM, 64/128GB of storage, wide-angle rear camera (50MP, f/1.8) + macro (2MP, f/2.4). ) + monochrome (2MP, f/2.4), front camera (16MP, f/2.05) and 5,000 mAh battery with 18W fast charge.
The realme 8i arrives in Spain with an official price of €199 (4/64GB) and €219 (4/128GB), but you can find it at cheaper prices on Amazon and, for a limited time, on sale on the realme website for €149 and €199 respectively.
Next, I bring you my in-depth analysis after trying it for a few weeks.
- biometric security
- Price and competitors
Design and Construction
The realme brand has always been characterized by smartphones with designs that attract attention and, with the realme 8i, the company has opted for a rather eye-catching rear design.
The back cover is made of glass that is curved on the sides with a texture that strikingly reflects light when you turn the phone left and right.
The phone is available in two colors: black or space purple . This last one is the most daring finish and, also, the one that I have had the opportunity to try for this analysis.
In my experience these days, this finish attracts quite a bit of fingerprints, so you’ll have to get in the habit of wiping it off from time to time.
The phone’s chassis is made of plastic, so it doesn’t feel as premium to the touch and to the eye as other smartphones made of aluminum. The same degree of shock resistance cannot be expected either.
On the back, we find the cameras and flash in a 2 × 2 arrangement on a rectangular module that protrudes slightly from the surface.
Since the module is located in a corner, the phone dances slightly when pressing on the screen when it is placed on a flat surface.
If we look at the front, we find a 6.6″ flat screen with the front camera in a hole in the upper left corner. The diameter of the hole is larger than what we find in other more expensive smartphones, but it is not annoying.
The bezels around the screen are fairly symmetrical, although the bottom bezel (commonly known as “the chin”) is thicker than the rest.
The frames are not particularly narrow, but they are within the normal range for a device in this price range. In fact, its screen-to-body ratio is 85% according to GSM Arena (90.8% according to realme).
The company does not refer to any glass protection, so it can be assumed that it does not use any generation of Corning Gorilla Glass for the screen. This means that we must take some care so that the screen is not scratched.
realme 8i is 8.5mm thick, but the back is slightly curved on the sides, making it appear thinner than it really is. Its weight is 194 grams, so it is not very heavy.
Next, we are going to review the different elements that we find on the sides of the phone.
On the right side we find the power button, which has a good feeling to the touch.
On the left side we find two volume buttons, as well as the triple tray for two nanoSIM cards and a microSD card.
The upper part of the phone is free of any element.
The bottom of the phone has a USB-C connector, the speaker and the 3.5mm headphone jack.
Realme has not provided the phone with water protection , although in reality no smartphone in this price range offers this feature.
realme 8i has a large 6.6″ IPS LCD screen with a 20:9 elongated ratio. The resolution of the screen is Full HD + (2,412 x 1,080 pixels), which implies a high pixel density of 400 dpi.
An attraction of the panel is its 180 Hz sampling rate and, above all, its 120 Hz refresh rate. This higher rate translates into a more fluid viewing experience, especially when moving around the interface or scrolling in applications . such as the web browser, Twitter, Instagram or the photo gallery.
A higher refresh rate also implies a higher battery consumption. Fortunately, the realme 8i offers three operating modes: normal (60 Hz), high (120 Hz), and automatic selection.
Both high rate (120 Hz) and auto select modes are adaptive. This means that the most appropriate refresh rate for each application is set from among six possible ones: 30Hz for static content, 48Hz for movies, 50Hz for TV content, 60Hz for games, and 90/120Hz for certain applications.
In my experience, the difference between high rate and autoselect is that the interface moves at 120Hz in high mode and “only” 90Hz in autoselect mode . Therefore, no great differences can be expected in terms of autonomy when choosing one or the other mode.
Some smartphones are even more advanced and can reduce the refresh rate to 1 Hz if, for example, you are viewing a static image, but in the price segment in which we find ourselves, realme 8i more than complies.
The panel’s sub-pixel array is of the RGB type , as is usual for LCD panels. This means that the sub-pixels are lined up with the same number of sub-pixels of each color. Therefore, the effective resolution of the panel is really Full HD +.
In contrast, the OLED screens that other phones have have Pentile arrays, where the sub-pixels are placed in a diamond arrangement that causes the effective resolution to be lower than advertised.
According to the company, the screen covers 100% of the sRGB and Display P3 color spaces . If you’re not familiar with color spaces, sRGB (Rec. 709) is the standard for Android (and the computing world in general), while Display P3 space offers a wider range of colors and is used in the film industry.
There is an even wider color space called Rec. 2020 , which covers 76 percent of the spectrum visible to the human eye.
No current panel is capable of displaying this last full color space, instead typically sticking to around 60 percent.
realme 8i offers two screen calibration modes: Vivid and Soft .
Vivid color mode is enabled by default and displays slightly over-saturated colors. Many users prefer vivid colors over realistic colors, so it is no coincidence that this is the default mode.
Soft color mode displays more true-to-life colors, making it best suited for situations where color fidelity matters: photo and video editing, clothing shopping, and more. In both modes, we can adjust the color temperature to our liking.
As I have mentioned, by default the Intense mode is active , which points to the DCI P3 color gamut (it covers 98% of this color space according to my measurements), so the colors can be seen as oversaturated when using standard apps, since that these normally use the sRGB space.
This mode has an important advantage when using the phone in broad daylight since, in the sun, the colors lose their strength.
In Vivid mode, the average error in color fidelity relative to the DCI P3 gamut is very good , 2.8 dE (below 4 dE is considered excellent and above 9 is considered unacceptable), and the maximum error is be 8.2 SD.
The color temperature is 7,496ºK, well above the reference level of 6,500ºK, so a bluish tint can be seen in apps with a white background, such as the browser.
- DCI P3 color fidelity
- Gamut coverage DCI P3
- color temperature
Results with Vivid display mode
Smooth mode is intended to more closely reflect the sRGB gamut, which is commonly used in the smartphone and computer industry.
This is the mode to choose if you’re looking for maximum color fidelity in app and game content according to how the developer designed it — although colors are perceived as duller than with Vivid mode.
With sRGB mode active, the screen covers around 99% of the sRGB gamut. The average error in color fidelity is excellent, only 2.9 dE and the maximum error turns out to be 8.8 dE. The color temperature, 7,577ºK, is well above the reference value, 6,500ºK, so a bluish tint is perceived on the screen.
- sRGB color fidelity
- sRGB color gamut
- color temperature
Results with Natural screen mode
The maximum brightness with the brightness control in manual mode is 394 nits according to my measurements. This brightness value has been measured with 100% of the screen illuminated (known as APL 100%).
In auto brightness mode, when in strong light like the sun, the brightness increases to a maximum of 498 nits , which is not a very high value. realme speaks on its website of a maximum brightness of 600 nits, which is more than what I have managed to measure.
In the following graph, the maximum brightness is reflected with 100% of the illuminated screen, which is how this parameter is usually measured. Compared to other (albeit more expensive) smartphones, the maximum brightness of realme 8i is low
The black color is not too deep, since it is around 0.28 nits. This means that the contrast is 1,400:1. Viewing angles are wide, although brightness is reduced when viewing the screen from an angle.
This panel is not compatible with HDR content , so you cannot enjoy high dynamic range videos on streaming services like YouTube or Netflix.
The panel does not offer Always On Screen functionality, so when the phone is not in use the screen remains completely off.
In the Display and Brightness settings we find an option to activate the Eye Comfort mode , which activates a blue light filter to reduce eye fatigue by limiting the amount of blue light emitted by the screen. This mode can be activated manually, at certain times, or from sunset to sunrise, making it possible to control the intensity of the effect.
Another option available is Video Color Enhancer , which expands the color gamut to convert SDR content to HDR (although, as I said, the panel doesn’t support HDR). This mode is disabled by default as it increases battery consumption.
realme 8i has the Helio G96 chip, a chip that has 2 A75 performance cores at 2.05 GHz and 6 A55 efficiency cores at 2 GHz. It also incorporates a Mali-G57 MC2 GPU.
This chip is a joint venture by realme and Mediatek and is in fact the only chip in Mediatek’s G9 series that can power 120Hz displays.
The phone arrives with 4 or 6 GB of LPDDR4x RAM . It is not a very high amount in these times, but it should be enough for most users who are targeting this phone. It’s also not the fastest type of RAM, although we didn’t expect LPDDR5 in a smartphone in this price range.
As a novelty, the phone has DRE technology — Dynamic RAM Expansion, for its acronym in English — thanks to which up to 5GB of internal storage can be used as virtual RAM, although only in the 6GB/128GB version.
Access to this functionality is a bit hidden since you have to go to Settings > Phone information > RAM . Although I have had it active, I cannot say if the use of this functionality has made any difference, since its operation is invisible.
The phone has 64 or 128 GB of UFS 2.1 storage, which is a somewhat old type of storage and therefore not very fast.
Next, we are going to see the results of realme 8i in various benchmarks , which will give us an idea of the power of this terminal compared to other smartphones.
In the AnTuTu v9 benchmark , it has achieved a result of 341,450 points , a modest score typical of an affordable range smartphone.
In the Geekbench 5 benchmark focused on processor performance, it has achieved 537/1,846 points in the single/multi-core tests, which are rather low results.
In the PCMark 3.0 general performance test that measures performance when performing everyday tasks, it has obtained a score of 8,194 points , a fairly limited value.
In the storage section, the phone obtains rather poor results in the AndroBench read and write speed tests since, as we have mentioned, it has UFS 2.1 storage.
In the CPU Throttling test that measures the drop in CPU performance after 15 minutes of sustained load, the phone has obtained an improvable result since the performance has dropped by 25% in said period. This means that performance when running highly demanding apps can suffer after long periods of use.
As expected, realme 8i has performed better in performance tests , as it has hardware that is quite inferior to other smartphones we have tested, although these are generally more expensive.
In any case, the phone moves quite smoothly. I have not experienced any signs of lag, although obviously the response to keystrokes is not as fast as other smartphones with more powerful hardware. The apps that I use regularly such as WhatsApp, Twitter, Telegram, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Netflix or Google Maps open and move normally.
I have not had problems with multitasking either, although it is true that the version I have tested has 6 GB of RAM.
Next, we are going to see the results in various graphic tests to check the expected performance in games.
In the GFXBench test with traditional APIs, the phone has achieved modest results.
In GFXBench tests based on modern low-level, high-efficiency APIs (Metal/OpenGL and Vulkan), it also achieves rather poor results.
In the new 3DMark Wild Life Unlimited test , the phone has achieved a result in the low range.
To check the graphics performance on a day-to-day basis, I have tested several demanding 3D games — Real Racing 3, Asphalt 9 and Call of Duty Mobile .
Using GameBench software , I have been able to measure various performance parameters on these games in actual play.
Do you know GameBench Pro? GameBench Pro is the industry’s leading tool for measuring game performance on Android and iOS smartphones. If you want to know more, you can visit their website .
All three games get a stable rate around 60 FPS in Real Racing 3 and Call of Duty , and 30 FPS in Asphalt 9 with hardly any frame drops. Now, keep in mind that, for example, Call of Duty is automatically set to low graphic quality.
Despite its high refresh rate panel, none of the games I’ve tested have gone above 60 FPS / 60 Hz — possibly due to hardware limitations, as the next jump would be 90 FPS / 90 Hz.
|Play||FPS (median)||FPS stability||Min. FPS Min.-Max.||%CPU
|Real Racing 3
|Call of Duty||59||100%||44-60||16%|
(*) Game quality settings:
Asphalt 9: Graphics quality set to “default”
Real Racing 3: Graphics quality default
Call of Duty Mobile: Graphics quality “low” and frames per second set to “medium” speed
In addition to the occasional graphics performance, it is important to know if the phone is capable of sustaining this performance over time or if it is reduced by the increase in processor temperature. The 3DMark Wild Life Stress Test precisely measures the variation in graphics performance after 20 minutes of running the test.
The phone has obtained an excellent result of 98.5%, which means that the graphics performance does not deteriorate after a long period of use.
realme 8i arrives with 64 or 128 GB of storage , an amount that is not very high, but it can be enough for many users who do not plan to install heavy games or capture many videos. Also, luckily, realme has added the ability to expand the storage via a micro-SD card.
In terms of connectivity , it is compatible with Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac at 2.4 and 5GHz, Bluetooth 5.1 and USB Type-C 2.0. The USB-C port is OTG compatible, so we can connect a USB key or hard drive to access its storage from the phone.
The phone supports LTE/4G networks, but it is not capable of connecting to 5G networks . The SIM compartment offers space for two nano-SIM cards, as well as a microSD card, so you can make use of Dual SIM functionality. Now, it is not compatible with eSIM.
An element that is not present is an NFC chip , so we cannot make payments with the mobile.
realme has embedded a fingerprint reader in the power button . In my experience, it is very fast to unlock the phone and you don’t need to turn on the screen to start the unlock.
Fingerprint recognition occurs by placing your finger on the button without having to press. Fingerprint recognition is reliable as long as we place most of the finger in the reading area.
realme has also incorporated its facial recognition system , which allows us to unlock the phone simply by using our face. Face identification takes place very quickly, allowing us to access the smartphone without having to do anything except look at the phone.
The phone offers an option to illuminate the screen in order to cast light on our face so that recognition can occur even in the dark. It also includes choosing whether we want to stay on the lock screen or go directly to the desktop when the recognition is complete.
Now, we must bear in mind that facial recognition is simply 2D, so it is not as secure as the 3D facial recognition that other devices incorporate and could be fooled by a photo or video. In this regard, realme has added a control that forces your eyes to be open for the phone to unlock.
For this reason, facial recognition is not available for certain sensitive actions such as banking operations or confirming mobile payments.
realme allows you to individually choose whether you want to use face unlock to unlock the device, access password-protected apps, or access the safe.
The realme 8i battery has a capacity of 5,000 mAh , which is more than enough for its 6.6″ screen.
To check the autonomy, I have carried out the battery test of the well-known PCMark test: Work 3.0.
Info: How we carry out autonomy tests
Given the importance of the screen in battery consumption, it is important to calibrate the screens with a colorimeter (or a similar instrument) at the same absolute level of brightness (it is not valid to set it to 50%) if you want to obtain comparable autonomy results. between devices.
Otherwise, the results may be greatly affected by the brightness level of each smartphone’s screen and are therefore not comparable. I mention this here because not all analyzes take this into account and in this test you sometimes see absurd values.
In the case of PCMark: Work 3.0, the test itself indicates that the test must be performed with the screen calibrated at 200 nits for the results to be comparable. This is how we carry out the autonomy tests on smartphones.
PCMark Work 3.0 tests the autonomy of the terminal when performing a mixture of daily and demanding tasks, since the test simulates browsing web pages, writing texts and inserting images, applying filters to photographs, editing videos and data manipulation.
Given the impact that the refresh rate has on the autonomy of smartphones, I have carried out this test twice: once with the frequency at 60 Hz and another with the frequency at 120 Hz.
In the test with the screen set to 60 Hz I have obtained a result of 9 hours and 58 minutes, which is a good result. If we adjust the refresh rate to a frequency of 120 Hz , the autonomy is reduced by around 10% to 8 hours and 53 minutes .
On a day-to-day basis, the autonomy of the phone is good and you should have no problem getting to the end of the day with fairly intense use.
In the Battery section, we find a Save energy button that proposes actions to reduce battery consumption. In my case, it has suggested me to disable some battery consuming apps and disable GPS.
It also offers a power saving mode that optionally reduces screen brightness, changes the screen auto-off time to 15 seconds, disables background sync, and reduces the screen refresh rate.
It is possible to indicate that the energy saving mode is deactivated when the battery exceeds 90% charge. It is also possible to configure the power saving mode to activate automatically when reaching a certain battery level.
Another option is super battery saving mode which reduces system performance and only allows you to run a limited number of applications simultaneously.
realme offers a setting called optimize battery usage that automatically optimizes apps that are draining the battery in the background. Another feature called Quick App Freeze automatically freezes inactive apps so they don’t drain battery power and you can’t send or receive messages or read phone information.
We also find the optimized standby functionality with three options: ultra standby mode (with the screen off, some apps are closed in the background to reduce battery consumption and, in fact, consumption is reduced even more if it is inactive), balanced mode (consumes less battery and reduces notifications when you sleep) and off .
realme 8i has 18W fast charging and unlike other smartphones, the company has included a fast charger in the box so you can quickly charge the battery.
As you can see in the following graph, the loading process is very fast. The entire charging process takes 2 hours and 9 minutes , which is not particularly fast. The good news is that 50% is achieved in about 40 minutes and 90% is achieved in 1 hour and a half.
Finally, realme has incorporated the optimized overnight charging. To reduce battery aging, the phone memorizes the daily charging routine so you can control the charging speed at night to prevent overcharging.
Interface and functionalities
realme 8i runs Android 11 and on top of the operating system, Realme has incorporated its own realme UI 2.0 customization layer.
With realme UI 2.0, memory usage has been optimized by 45 percent, response speed has increased by 32 percent, and FPS rate stability has increased by 17 percent.
The appearance of realme UI 2.0 is quite different from the usual stock Android design and, as usual in Chinese layers, it adds a good amount of software functionality on top. There will be users who will find these improvements interesting, but there will also be others who would have preferred a version of Android closer to the original.
Starting with the appearance of the interface, the icons of the apps have, by default, a square shape with rounded corners, but you can choose between several icon styles and even customize the appearance.
On the desktop, we can choose if we want a grid of icons with 2 to 5 rows and 4 to 6 columns.
It is also possible to select a color scheme for the interface, modify the style and size of the font, and even modify the appearance of the icons for quick adjustments.
realme UI 2.0 allows you to display all apps on the desktop or, if you prefer, use the app drawer. However, it is not possible to create folders or hide apps in the app drawer.
If we drag the desktop to the right, we access a board called Smart Assistant where content relevant to you is displayed, such as events, favorite contacts, weather forecast, quick functions or a step counter.
I would have preferred Google Discover news to be displayed.
Dragging the screen from the center down while on the desktop opens the search that allows you to locate content in applications, contacts, messages, etc. and even suggests some apps.
realme 8i displays a bottom navigation bar with the usual virtual buttons – Back , Home and Tasks . If you don’t like the order of the buttons, you can flip them.
realme has also included a gesture navigation mode that, if activated, allows us to use the usual Android gestures to navigate and, incidentally, gain some space on the screen.
realme 8i does not have a notification LED but it is possible to have the screen wake up when a notification is received.
It is also possible to soften notification sounds and reduce vibration intensity when using an application in full screen, for example when you are watching videos or playing games.
Dark mode has been on Android for a while now, and realme has added customization options to this mode. With realme UI 2.0, it is possible to choose three styles for dark mode: Enhanced, Medium, and Smooth.
The Enhanced style is the default, the Medium mode has softer tones, and the Soft mode adopts gray tones. The system adjusts the appearance of the wallpaper and icons based on the option you choose.
It is also possible to reduce the contrast in low light conditions, which reduces the brightness even more when the brightness setting is low and Dark mode is activated, which is useful for using the phone in the dark. Dark mode can also be scheduled to come on at certain times or from sunset to sunrise.
realme has included gestures on the screen being turned off. We can press twice to turn on the screen, draw an «O» to start the camera, draw a «V» to turn on the flashlight, draw «||», «<» or «>» to change the audio track and even it is possible to create custom actions (unlock, call or launch an app) by performing certain additional gestures.
Sticking with gestures, it’s also possible to automatically answer a call by holding the phone to your ear, switch from speakerphone to headset by holding the phone to your ear, or mute incoming calls by flipping the phone over. Finally, we can turn on the screen just by picking up the phone and taking screenshots by swiping 3 fingers or by pressing and holding the screen with 3 fingers.
To the right of the screen there is a tab called smart sidebar that, if we drag it towards the center, displays a panel with several quick accesses to tools (screenshot, screen record, translation, file manager, calculator).
We can customize these accesses to place the apps that we use most frequently, which can be useful for apps such as WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter or others that you use regularly.
The notification area shows six shortcuts at the top, which expand to a few more if we drag the screen down. Realme has reduced the size of the icons compared to previous versions since they used to take up too much and did not leave space for notifications.
Below these accesses we find the screen brightness control and then the latest notifications.
It is possible to show only important notifications , either because we mark them manually or because the system determines it automatically.
If you choose to reply to a notification when you’re using the smartphone horizontally, the default keyboard (and also Gboard) opens in a floating mode that doesn’t take up the entire screen. And if you get a notification when watching full-screen content, like a video, the notification is displayed in a small, almost transparent bar.
When accessing Tasks through the virtual button or the gesture, we can see the recently opened apps in the form of cards arranged horizontally.
If we drag one of the thumbnails up, we close the app, while if we click on the icons located above the app we can lock an app, activate a floating window or mini window or access the app’s settings.
While Lock allows you to keep an app in memory when you click the Delete button in the Task view, but it doesn’t really prevent the app from being closed by the system if it needs to free up memory.
- notification panel
- open apps
- floating window
- mini window
realme 8i is a large smartphone, so using it with one hand can be challenging. Luckily, the one-handed mode makes it easier. Once activated, the screen shrinks to the bottom left or right corner, drastically reducing the distance you have to stretch your thumb to touch the screen.
Unlike other one-handed mode implementations, you won’t accidentally exit this mode by tapping outside the reduced area. The only drawback is that the way to activate this mode is through one of the shortcuts in the notification bar, which is not very useful because it is a difficult area to access with one hand.
The Share panel integrates realme Share, a file sharing solution that supports fast sending and receiving of files to and from OPPO, realme, Xiaomi, Vivo, OnePlus, Meizu, and Black Shark devices. This functionality has less utility since Google implemented Nearby Share on all Android smartphones.
realme has made the panel scroll horizontally instead of vertically, which can make sharing content slower if you have a lot of apps installed.
The company takes user privacy seriously and has incorporated features such as secure keyboard.
When you enter sensitive information such as passwords, the system automatically switches to the secure keyboard , which does not record your entries or connect to the network.
When using privacy features such as secure keyboard, the system prevents screen capture or recording.
If any of the background applications use the microphone to record the system, this fact is indicated in the status bar.
Similarly, if any app in the background uses the camera to take photos, the system indicates it with a pop-up warning asking for permission.
We can also set rules to block calls and messages, as well as block certain numbers from contacting us.
Another cool option is File Protection , which displays an alert if an external app tries to delete camera images or screenshots.
It is possible to individually manage the permissions of each application for different purposes :
- Energy consumption: It is possible to choose for each app if we want to allow or prohibit it from running in the background, as well as leaving the decision in the hands of the phone.
- Notifications: It is possible to choose for each app if we allow notifications, and, if so, if we want them to be displayed on the lock screen and/or in the status bar, if we want balloons with notifications to be displayed on the icon of the app, if we want to hide the content of notifications if it is blocked, if we want to set them as unimportant notifications, if we want to allow notifications in Do Not Disturb status, etc.
- Network access: It is possible to choose for each app if we want it to use WiFi and/or mobile data, as well as if we allow it to use data in the background.
In this way, we can have total control over the applications , and adjust their use to our needs. For example, we can decide that Twitter cannot run in the background to save battery power, or that a game cannot use the mobile data connection at all.
If you are used to taking a lot of screenshots , you will be glad to know that realme comes with quite a few screenshot tools. For example, you can choose to delete the original screenshot after editing and saving it, take scrolling screenshots, use gestures to take screenshots, and take a partial screenshot.
Clicking on the mini screenshot preview that appears takes you to an editing interface with 5 options: Send, Crop, Scribble, Edit or Scroll . The Scribble option allows you to quickly draw on the image without opening the full screenshot editor. The Edit option takes you to the Photos app where you can edit the screenshot by cropping, rotating, blurring, and more.
The Scroll option takes a scrolling screenshot: instead of having the system start scrolling slowly down until you tell it to stop. You can also initiate the Scroll action by swiping up or down respectively on the screenshot preview.
As a novelty, when taking a screenshot, a Translate option appears that uses Google Translate to translate the text that appears in the image and replace the text in another language with text in Spanish.
realme offers another interesting feature called App Cloner which allows you to log in with two different accounts on the same app at the same time. This is useful for apps that don’t allow you to set up multiple accounts. Unfortunately, this functionality does not allow you to select any app, but only some such as Messenger, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Google Pay, Telegram or WhatsApp.
Another functionality related to privacy is Safe , which allows you to keep photos, videos, music and any other content away from outside eyes. realme allows you to protect access to this content using a PIN or fingerprint.
If we only want to restrict access to one or more apps, we can make use of Application Lock , which allows us to protect access to an application by means of a PIN, fingerprint or facial recognition. It is even possible to hide the app icon on the home screen and app drawer. For it to appear, it is necessary to enter a numeric code with the pound sign at the beginning and at the end (for example, #123456#) on the telephone dialer’s numeric keypad.
One of the ringtone options when setting an alarm in the Clock app is “Adapted to time”.
This option changes the tone of the alarm depending on the weather conditions when the alarm is activated. It’s a good way to vary the sound of the alarm so you don’t get too used to it, while also preparing you for each day’s weather conditions.
realme offers a feature called Clone Phone that allows you to quickly transfer all data saved on your old phone (including photos, contacts, and apps) to your new phone.
If you have kids around, you’ll appreciate a feature called Kid’s Space that lets you restrict access to a few apps, limit usage time, and control what kind of settings changes kids can make on the phone.
realme incorporates Do Not Disturb functionality , which puts the phone in silent mode (without vibrations) at certain times/days.
It is also possible to allow notifications (from any app, filtering is not possible), messages or calls from certain contacts, mute multimedia content, as well as not mute a second call from the same number within a 3-minute interval. What is not possible is that this mode is activated automatically based on calendar events.
realme has added a functionality called System Cloner that allows you to use two different passwords (or fingerprints) to access two different systems, so you can save private data on one of them that will not be accessible from the other.
In the absence section, realme does not provide a desktop-like interface in the style of Samsung’s DeX or Huawei’s EMUI Desktop.
When it comes to enjoying games, realme includes a functionality called Game Space. This feature improves gaming performance by allocating more hardware resources to the game (at the cost of decreased battery life and increased heat), limiting background applications’ network access to improve latency when gaming network, and prevent automatic brightness adjustments.
It also allows you to block notifications and reject incoming calls if you want to concentrate on your games without external interruptions.
Three performance modes can be selected:
- Game Mode , which improves CPU and GPU performance, but increases battery consumption.
- Balanced mode , which maintains a balance between performance and battery consumption.
- Low Power Mode , which reduces the visual quality of games to decrease battery consumption.
The Games Space functionality is intended for gamers
During games, you can swipe from the top left corner to the center to open the Game Space settings quickly, as well as open the Messenger, Discord or WhatsApp app in a small window without leaving the game.
You can select Distraction-free gaming to block notifications, incoming calls, alarms, quick settings, tools, and gesture navigation. and/or Block notifications to prevent pop-up notifications from appearing at the top of the screen.
realme also allows you to record the screen during games including the sound of the system or the microphone (you cannot record both at the same time), as well as the image of the front camera and the presses on the screen. Unfortunately you cannot pause recordings and resume them later.
realme 8i does not offer stereo sound as it has a single speaker at the bottom of the smartphone, to the right of the USB Type-C charging connector.
This position has the drawback that it is quite easy to accidentally cover the speaker with your hand when holding the smartphone horizontally.
The sound that is emitted has a fairly powerful volume, although a greater richness of tones is missing, especially in the bass, as is usual in smartphones due to the small size of their speakers.
realme has had the wisdom to include the 3.5mm connector , so you won’t have to resort to a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter as is the case with other smartphones.
realme 8i includes Real Sound technology jointly developed by realme and Dirac Research AB.
Allows you to apply four possible sound effects: smart (aware of the situation and apply the optimal sound effects), movie , game and music .
realme 8i uses its own Music app as the default music player. This app organizes music into four tabs: Songs, Artist, Albums, and Playlists .
It is a fairly simple player, without the possibility of downloading covers or song lyrics. It is also not possible to play music stored on an external device (such as a NAS drive) or a cloud service.
- Music app
- Music app
- Music app
- Music app
When viewing photos, realme 8i uses its own Photos app that displays all the images stored on the phone and allows you to edit them.
This app is capable of creating memories (videos) from photos taken in the same place/date and can identify people in the photos that you can name to later search by person.
Both of these actions occur in the background when the phone is connected to power with the screen turned off.
- Photo Apps
- Photo Apps
- Photo Apps
- Photo Apps
Video playback is good and the phone is able to play compatible files smoothly thanks to its processor.
I’ve tried playing some 1080p videos, both encoded with both H.264 and the more modern and efficient HEVC (H.265), and all four played smoothly.
You can also enjoy streaming services like YouTube or Netflix on the big screen of your smartphone. Of course, it has the necessary library to obtain Widevine L1 certification and I have verified that it is capable of playing YouTube and Netflix content in HD, but not in HDR.
realme 8i has a triple rear camera:
- 50 MP (1/2.76″, 0.64µm) wide-angle main camera (26mm) with f/1.8 aperture and PDAF
- 2MP macro camera with f/2.4 aperture
- 2MP depth camera with f/2.4 aperture
In this set of cameras, there are some important absences. For one thing, the main camera lacks optical stabilization, so expect poorer low-light performance. On the other hand, the ultra wide angle and/or telephoto cameras are missing, although that would have significantly increased the price of the smartphone.
The camera offers a Pro mode that allows you to modify various parameters such as white balance, focus, exposure time and ISO sensitivity. We can even save the image in RAW format.
Main camera (wide angle)
Starting with the main camera, realme has incorporated a 50 MP Samsung ISOCELL S5KJN1 sensor, although by default the photos are taken at 12.5 MP using pixel binning technology that combines 4 pixels in 1 to reduce noise and improve performance in low light conditions.
It is possible to activate a 50MP super high resolution mode . Below, we can see an example of the same photo taken at 12.5 and 50 MP, as well as a crop of both. With four times as many pixels, the image looks sharper.
- 12.5 MP (crop)
- 50MP (crop)
The main camera offers good image quality in good light conditions, as we can see in the following photographs.
At night, the image quality noticeably worsens as the lack of optical stabilization takes its toll. In really low light situations, the resulting images are practically unusable, as you can see in some of the following screenshots.
realme incorporates a night mode called Night that captures better photos in very low light conditions at the cost of a longer processing time (several seconds).
In practice, however, the result is unexpected. Sometimes an image is even worse than the original photograph, while other times it improves the image.
- No night mode
- With night mode
- No night mode
- With night mode
- No night mode
- With night mode
- No night mode
- With night mode
Photographs in normal mode and in Night mode
realme has incorporated an AI scene recognition system that adjusts some photo parameters (for example, color saturation) to improve the image. When activated, the camera interface indicates the name of the scene it has recognized.
My advice is to use it carefully as the resulting images can look too artificial as it tends to make the colors much more vivid.
- With AI (bouquet)
- no AI
- With AI (vegetation)
- no AI
- With AI (food)
- no AI
Second, we have the macro camera that allows you to take pictures at a distance of about 4 centimeters.
Its GalaxyCore GC02M1 sensor with low 2MP resolution and limited f/2.4 aperture means that image quality is not great and, furthermore, the result is quite similar to what we would get by taking the same photo with the main camera and cropping the 2MP central. In my opinion, it is an expendable camera.
Here are some examples of photos taken with the macro lens.
Photographs with the macro camera
realme 8i is capable of taking pictures in Portrait mode by detecting the outline of the person we want to photograph using a depth camera with an OmniVision OV02B1 monochrome sensor.
Unfortunately, Portrait mode only allows you to adjust the depth of field during the capture, but not afterwards, so we take a chance that the crop will work.
Portrait mode uses the main wide-angle camera, so the face tends to look distorted, with a prominent nose, especially if you get up close for a close-up. Other smartphones allow you to activate a 2X zoom mode that, even being a crop, helps you not have to get so close to the person.
Below, we can see several example portraits and, if we zoom in on any of them, we can see that it does a good job of separating the person from the background , even in the hair area.
Here are some examples of photos taken in Portrait mode:
Photos taken in Portrait mode
The front camera has a 16MP (1/3.0″, 1.0µm) SK Hynix Hi-1364Q sensor with f/2.1 aperture that offers a beauty mode that allows us to smooth the skin, increase/reduce the size of the face, retouch the chin, enlarge the eyes, reduce the nose, etc. An interesting aspect of the front camera is that it can illuminate the screen to illuminate our face and be able to take selfies in low light conditions.
Although it does not have autofocus, the image quality is correct. The captures offer a good sharpness, as we can see in these example selfies, although its wide angle (26 mm) makes the faces captured up close look deformed with a fisheye, with a nose larger than reality.
One aspect that I liked is that the front camera offers HDR , so the background is still visible even though it’s brightly lit. On other smartphones, the background becomes a large white spot if you are backlit (which is usually the case so as not to go out with your eyes half closed).
Selfies taken without Portrait effect
The front camera also allows you to take selfies with Portrait mode , which does not offer a very successful result when it comes to separating the subject from the background.
Selfie with Portrait effect on
realme 8i can record 1080p video at 30fps with the main camera, but it is not capable of recording in [email protected] nor [email protected] resolution
Below we can see some videos captured by the phone, which offers a good and stable image quality during the day, but with a lot of noise at night.
Videos recorded with the main camera
In the tests that I have carried out , the quality of the voice during the calls is correct and I have been able to hold conversations perfectly in moderately noisy environments without difficulties.
Price and competitors
The realme 8i arrives in Spain with an official price of €199 (4/64GB) and €219 (4/128GB), but you can find it at cheaper prices on Amazon and, for a limited time, on sale on the realme website for €149 and €199 respectively.
An interesting option on the market is the POCO M3 Pro 5G ( €205 ), which has a 6.5″ 90 Hz LCD screen, MediaTek MT6833 Dimensity 700 5G processor, 4/6 GB of RAM, 128/256 GB of storage, 5G connectivity, wide angle rear cameras (48MP, f/1.9) + ultra wide angle (2MP, f/2.4) + depth (2MP, f/2.4), 8MP f/2.0 front camera and 5,000 mAh battery with charge at 18W.
Another option is the Redmi 10 ( €179 ), which has a 6.5″ 90 Hz LCD screen, MediaTek Helio G88 processor, 4/6 GB of RAM, 128/256 GB of storage, wide-angle rear cameras (50MP, f/1.8) + ultra wide angle (8MP, f/2.2) + macro (2MP, f/2.4) + depth (2MP, f/2.4), 8MP f/2.0 front camera and 5,000 mAh battery with 18W charging .
realme 8i is not a very bulky device, but it is not one of the thinnest and lightest you can find either, since its thickness reaches 8.5 mm and its weight is 194 grams.
The front is occupied by a 6.6″ screen with a hole for the front camera in the upper left corner .
The frames surrounding the screen are as narrow as you would expect on a phone in this price range, with the bottom one (the “chin”) being a bit thicker.
The back is available in black and violet finishes, with a finish that reflects light quite conspicuously, although fingerprints are quite marked.
The phone has an LCD panel with FullHD + resolution , which implies an abundant pixel density of 400 dpi.
The screen offers a refresh rate of up to 120 Hz, so the contents scroll very smoothly. In addition, there is an automatic mode that adjusts the rate from 30 to 120 Hz depending on the content to save battery life.
Display color fidelity is good, both in Natural mode (vs. sRGB gamut) and Vivid mode (vs. DCI P3 gamut), although both show a certain bluish tint that can be corrected with manual temperature adjustment color.
Being an LCD panel, the blacks are not deep, so the contrast remains at 1,400:1. The maximum brightness of the screen is somewhat fair since it only reaches 498 nits with the screen illuminated at 100% and the brightness in automatic mode.
realme has included the ambient display, which turns on the screen when a notification arrives, but the lack of an OLED panel means that it does not have an always-on screen.
The phone incorporates a fingerprint reader on the power button that allows you to unlock the phone just by placing your finger on it. This reader is very reliable when it comes to identifying the fingerprint and the unlocking process is very fast.
realme has also incorporated facial recognition that, again, is very fast when it comes to identifying us, although it is not as secure a system as the fingerprint when it comes to 2D recognition.
In terms of hardware, realme 8i with the mid-range Helio G96 chip, which has been jointly developed by Mediatek and realme.
This chip is accompanied by 4 or 6 GB of LPDDR4x RAM , which can be a bit fair if you plan to keep a large number of open apps in memory. realme has incorporated the possibility of using part of the storage as virtual RAM to add up to 5 GB, although to tell the truth it is difficult to say if it makes a difference on a day-to-day basis since its operation is invisible.
We also find 128 or 256 GB of UFS 2.1 storage, which is not particularly fast. Fortunately, it can be expanded via micro-SD.
In benchmarks, realme 8i has achieved rather low scores in all tests , especially when compared to other higher priced smartphones. On a day-to-day basis, realme 8i moves smoothly, without worrying stutters or long waiting times when using common apps, although it obviously doesn’t respond as fast as a more powerful smartphone when switching between tasks, loading heavy games, etc. .
In terms of graphics capacity, I have been able to measure fairly stable rates of 30 FPS in Asphalt 9 and 60 FPS in demanding games such as Real Racing 3 or Call of Duty — although it auto-sets itself to low quality.
It is worth mentioning that realme incorporates a Game mode that allows us to concentrate better in our games (for example, by deactivating notifications and incoming calls) and even increase the performance of the device while we play.
realme 8i comes with a large 5,000 mAh battery which is enough for a smartphone with a screen of its size.
In the battery test, the smartphone has achieved quite very good results. and generally you shouldn’t have a problem getting to the end of the day.
realme incorporates fast charging at 18W, which is capable of charging 100% of the battery in just over 2 hours. It’s not particularly fast, but at least you get 50% in about 40 minutes.
realme 8i features a single speaker at the bottom that offers modest sound compared to other smartphones with stereo speakers. Also, the bottom speaker is in a position that is easy to cover with your hand when holding the phone horizontally.
The company has included a 3.5mm headphone jack, which means you won’t be forced to use USB-C or Bluetooth headphones. However, it does not include FM radio.
In terms of connectivity, realme 8i comes with WiFi 802.11b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.1 and 4G connectivity with Dual SIM support without occupying the microSD slot. What we do not find is an NFC chip to, for example, make payments from the mobile.
In the photographic section, realme 8i has a triple rear camera made up of a wide-angle camera (50MP, f/1.8), macro (2MP, f/2.4) and monochrome (2MP, f/2.4). Ultra wide angle or telephoto cameras are missing, although these would have increased the price of the set.
In good light conditions, the images taken by the main camera (wide angle) are good, but in low light conditions, the lack of optical stabilization and the small size of the sensor causes noise to appear and the result is unusable in some cases.
The macro camera has limited resolution and is in my opinion an expendable lens as the result is similar to zooming in with the main camera and cropping.
The depth camera allows the capture of photos in Portrait mode, blurring the background of the image quite accurately. Portrait mode uses the wide-angle camera without any type of zoom, so it is necessary to move away a little from the subject to be photographed so that the face does not look deformed and the nose looks very large.
The camera app offers a Pro mode (only for the main camera) with many manual control options and the possibility to save in RAW, as well as a Night mode that, in my tests, has given unpredictable results: sometimes improving the image, but in others making them even worse.
As for video recording, you can record at 1080p resolution at 30fps with the main camera, and 1080p at 30fps with the front camera.
The front camera has a 16MP sensor with an f/2.05 aperture and offers acceptable quality, although its wide viewing angle makes the face appear somewhat deformed if you don’t move your hand far enough away. This camera also offers the functionality of Portrait mode, which offers a good result.
At the software level, realme 8i comes with Android 11 and, above it, the Realme UI 2.0 customization layer, which is the same layer as OPPO’s ColorOS.
This layer adds a number of added features such as granular app permissions, multi-account app cloning, screen off gestures, smart sidebar, app lock, secure keyboard, hide apps on desktop and a safe for protect files.
realme 8i arrives in Spain with an official price of €199 (4/64GB) and €219 (4/128GB), but you can find it at cheaper prices on Amazon and, for a limited time, on sale on the realme website for 149 € and €199 respectively.
Is it worth buying the realme 8i? If you are looking for a smartphone with an affordable price but offering a smooth experience and competent battery life, realme 8i is a good choice, although it cannot compete with more expensive smartphones on screen, performance or cameras.
- Design with reasonably narrow bezels around the screen and a striking back finish.
- LCD screen with good sharpness, wide color gamut and refresh rate at 120 Hz that adapts to the content displayed.
- Decent performance thanks to the Helio G96 processor, 4/6GB of RAM expandable via virtual RAM and 64/128GB of storage expandable via microSD.
- realme UI 2.0 software based on OPPO ColorOS with features that extend Android capabilities: app cloning, app encryption, screen gestures, safe, hide apps, game space, system clone for a second private space, etc. .
- Fingerprint reader on the power button that unlocks the phone quickly, as well as 2D facial recognition.
- Support for dual SIM without taking up space on the microSD card
- Good autonomy and fast charge at 18W with charger included in the box
- 3.5mm headphone jack.
- Screen with a somewhat limited maximum brightness, a certain bluish tone and without Gorilla Glass protection.
- Main camera quality can be improved in low light conditions. Absence of telephoto and ultra wide angle cameras.
- Without NFC for mobile payments.
- No stereo speakers.
- No FM radio.
Note: The realme 8i phone has been kindly provided by realme for this review.