For a relatively new entrant to the smartphone game – having only launched here in Australia last October, and as an independent brand for just two years – realme have really hit the ground running, coming up with a bargain basement powerhouse with their latest phone, the realme 6.
That’s a pretty strong statement out of the gate when you read a review, and I stand by it. The realme 6 has a literal powerhouse with great battery life, in an eye-pleasing package, and at $469, it’s a bargain.
The realme 6 isn’t going to stand out in a big crowd when it comes to design, it’s very similar to previous realme phones which have come before it, but it’s a phone, so it doesn’t really need a distinctive hook, especially when it’s at this price. But it does have a design aesthetic, realme use a plastic rear on the phone, but is renowned as tougher than glass, and using plastic keeps that RRP down as well and that colour is just amazing.
The design may not be earth shattering, but I love the new colours that keep showing up. The review unit sent over was the Comet Blue, but I have to tell you the Comet White just looks stunning.
The phone is fairly large, but still feels good in the hand thanks to realme shaving down the bezels surrounding the 6.5-inch FHD+ resolution display. The display has a small punch hole notch for the 16MP selfie camera and the bezels are pretty small on the top and sides, but you still get that chin at the bottom.
It’s not the size or resolution of the display that make the display on the phone that little bit special, it’s the 90Hz display and on a sub-$500 smartphone that’s pretty good value. It’s off by default as it uses more power, but it’s worth it.
A higher Hertz (Hz) display means it refreshes faster – which makes all your animations on your phone and in apps, games etc. look a lot smoother. In practical terms the smoother display thanks to the 90Hz refresh looks amazing, pure and simple.
The higher refresh rate is very pleasing, though the colour could be better if realme used an AMOLED panel, it’s still a decently sharp screen. The display isn’t overly bright either, even amped up to the max it was a little dim, but it’s still a nice screen.
The phone comes with a TPU case, and I mention it here because when it’s used the case sits just above the display, which is great for protection, but detection of swipes or gestures from the edge can get a bit iffy at times – but then again, free TPU case included in the box is a big tick.
The phone has impressive specs under the hood as well, with realme using a Mediatek G90T processor – the G90T is designed specifically for gamers says realme, and it’s also got 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. The processor may not be the usual brand you’re used to but the phone handles great with a Mediatek processor, games, apps, everyday tasks and even app switching was smooth.
The performance was good, but the absolute winner for me was power. The realme 6 has a 4,300mAh battery, but it was an absolute champ when it came to surviving not one, not two, but three days on a single charge. Admittedly I pushed it to the limits, but the phone responded with over 3 days of life, which included over 12 hours of screen on time. One of those days was spent at home on Wifi, but it’s impressive nonetheless.
The battery life was incredible, but charging is even better. OPPO, realme’s older sibling, has included VOOC charging on their phones for some time and if you haven’t used it before – you should, because it’s great. You can get a full charge in just an hour, or you can get 68% in just 30 minutes says realme. In practical terms my experience matched what realme and OPPO claim, the included 30W charger just charges your phone so fast it’s amazing.
One note on the charger and cable supplied is the use of yellow highlights – the realme trademark colour used for all their branding – on the tips. Nice.
The fingerprint scanner on the realme 6 is fast, and built into the power button meaning you barely think about scanning your fingerprint, it just happens as part of unlocking the phone. It’s fast, and accurate, and despite a small software glitch in setup – there’s realme AND Google fingerprint setup – it’s great, if you don’t like it though, realme have a decent face unlock option built-in, and it’s fast and accurate to boot.
realme 6 specs:
- 6.5-inch FHD+ (2400×1080) resolution 90Hz LCD Display
- Meditek Helio G90T (MT6785) CPU
- 8GB LPDDR4X RAM
- 128GB storage + microSD card slot (up to 256GB)
- 16MP Front-facing camera
- 64MP main camera
- 8MP ultra-wide angle
- 2MP macro lens
- 2MP B&W portrait
- Dual-band Wi-fi 802.11b/g/n/a/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS: GPS/AGPS, Beidou, Glonass
- Fingerprint sensor (in power button)
- 4,300mAh battery with 30W VOOC FlashCharge (charger included).
- realmeUI with ColorOS 7, based on Android 10
- 162.1×74.8×8.9 – 9.6mm @ 191grams
The realme 6 isn’t sold on contract, so you’ll also find it has a SIM tray that can accommodate not only two SIM cards, but also a microSD card to expand your phones storage. There’s a number of benefits to having a dual-SIM option, including having your work SIM in there, a handy option with many people working from home now.
The final word on the realme 6 hardware is that it’s good. There’s some features like wireless charging, or IP68 dust/waterproofing would be good, but you’ll also find the price going up – so for me, realme have struck a good balance between price and features.
Of course the big question for every new phone is ‘How is the camera?’ and the answer is, it’s decent, but not outstanding.
In terms of hardware, realme has stacked the deck with the rear camera array which includes four sensors on the rear: a 64-megapixel (f/1.8) sensor with wide angle lens, an 8-megapixel (f/2.3) with ultrawide lens, a 2-megapixel macro lens which can take shots from 4cm focal length, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. The key exception here is the lack of optical zoom on their cameras, there’s a digital zoom, but we all know how that goes.
The quality of photos is decent from most of the sensors. The main 64MP camera creates a stacked 16MP image, with pictures taken in good light looking decent but not outstanding. The ultra-wide angle lens is very handy when you want to take that wide shot.
In terms of the Macro camera, I like the idea, but it doesn’t quite get to the level I was wanting and I found an optical zoom was getting the same, if not better results.
While it does ok in broad daylight, the realme 6 struggles in low-light conditions. There were several shots which turned out simply black, but the option is there.
Here’s where the realme hits a small snag. The realme 6 runs realmeUI over Color OS 7.1, which is based on Android 10 – that’s three levels of Android to be updated. Not an ideal situation.
The phone did receive two over-the-air updates in quick succession after turning the phone on, and then one just prior to publishing this review so that’s promising. The phone is currently on the April 5th security update, so it’s fairly recent.
Some of the features included in the realme updates included camera improvements, so there’s still work being done there.
I’ve used Color OS extensively previously and found a number of bugs, but realme has managed to deliver an OS which is fast, responsive and despite a few peculiarities, runs really well.
There’s still some weirdness in the way realme do things, the notification panel isn’t active to start with and you get a global search when you try to swipe down. You can change this easily in settings, but it’s just one of those things to be aware of.
Should you buy this phone?
At $469 the realme 6 is a bargain. This is a good phone, with very few ‘cons’ and quite a few ‘pros’ on its tally sheet.
Sure the camera could be better, but the battery, performance and overall feel of the realme 6 are definitely big winners for me. The software too could be improved, but it works, and it’s up to date, and that’s important.
Realme continue to impress with their phones, and while they may only be selling the realme 6 through retailers and online for now, with this sort of quality you can bet the Australian telcos are taking note and it surely can’t be long before you can pick up a realme phone from your carrier.