realme 10 first impressions: Still no 5G, but … [review]

Buy it now

When it comes to smartphones, the two most popular options for buyers are relatively expensive flagships or cheap devices that get the job done. However, in between these two options there’s a whole world of phones that we often overlook because they’re not trying to compete with the best out there. That’s where the realme 10 comes into play – it doesn’t have any crazy features, but it gets more than enough done.

realme 10 now official: Specs, global launch date confirmed

realme still refuses to put 5G on its baseline numbered series models, with the realme 10 only packing a 4G chipset. This may be a strategy to get us to buy the higher models, perhaps on the realme 10 Pro or the realme 10 Pro Plus.

Flatlay back – realme 10 (Philippines)

This might indicate that the realme 10 is the new 4G budget model in the realme 10 Series, so hopefully it will come at a very affordable price. Keeping our fingers crossed on this one.

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With Christmas just around the corner, there’s no better time to shop around, so here’s our hands-on first impressions review as well as some camera samples to give you a taste of what’s in store in the realme 10!

Hit play to watch our realme 10 unboxing video, or head over to the TechKuya channel on YouTube for more!

Display and design

Notch closeup – realme 10 (Philippines)

When it comes to the display and design of the realme, it’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into making this phone look and feel great.

The 6.4-inch display is bright and colorful with its Super AMOLED display running at 90Hz. Visually the realme 10 looks like its predecessor, sporting a hole-punch notch at the top-left corner and a slightly thicker chin.

Side – realme 10 (Philippines)

At only 7.95mm thin, realme 10 sports the flat, edgy look that follows the trend seen in phones coming out in 2022, the most popular of which is the iPhone 14. It’s so flat in fact that you can lay any edge on a flat surface and it will stand on its own.

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However, its rear panel sports a multicolored, glittery style topped by a glossy finish which realme calls “Ultra-Slim Light Particle Design”. It has a color changing effect and particles that simulate the image of light colliding with one another. The design really brings the device to life, even on our white-colored review unit called Clash White.

realme logo – realme 10 (Philippines)

We’re really digging this lovely, elegant vibe and we won’t trade it for anything else. If that’s not your cup of tea, however, check out the Rush Black colorway for a more toned-down style.

Entertainment and mobile gaming

When it comes to entertainment and mobile gaming, the realme 10 is a great phone for both. For starters, the phone has a large 6.4-inch display that’s perfect for watching movies or playing games.

YouTube playback side bars – realme 10 (Philippines)

It runs Android 12 with realme UI 3.0, powered by the 6nm MediaTek Helio G99 chipset. This means that under the hood is an octa-core CPU and a powerful GPU, the Mali-G57 MC2. Our review unit came with 8GB of memory and 256GB of storage, but it’s also available in a slightly lower, 128GB variant.

Additionally, you can boost memory using virtual RAM expansion by up to 5GB more. By default it is set to 3GB, and you can bring it down to a minimum of 2GB. This should help the phone handle even the most demanding games.

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Game Toolkit – realme 10 (Philippines)

For audio, the phone touts what is called the “200% UltraBoom Speaker”. According to realme, it is an optimized and fine-tuned single downward-firing speaker designed to produce louder audio with more clarity both on treble and bass.

We discovered that the system-level volume indicator has been modified to show a red-colored zone for when the volume is at 200%. A message saying “Ultra volume mode on” also comes up to warn you that things might get loud.

Bottom USB-C 3.5mm port loud speakers – realme 10 (Philippines)

At 200% it sounds marginally louder than 100%, though not necessarily twice as loud. It also loses a bit of fidelity while introducing a noticeable amount of noise.

Practically speaking we see a lot of utility for using your built-in speakers in noisy environments or in playing back recordings where the source audio itself is too soft.

Camera and content creation

Rear camera closeup – realme 10 (Philippines)

The camera on the realme 10 is strange. If you will recall, its predecessor, the realme 9 – had a triple camera system which included a 108MP f/1.8 main sensor, an 8MP f/2.2 ultrawide sensor, and a 2MP f/2.4 macro lens. It also featured a 16MP selfie camera.

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However, on the realme 10, we see two camera holes: one of them packs a 50MP f/1.8 main sensor, while the other packs an unknown sensor – possibly a DOF / TOF sensor. It also packs a 16MP f/2.45 selfie camera.

 

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Not much has changed in the the stock camera software, which still comes with beloved features like HDR, portrait mode, and night mode. Street mode is still there, but alas – no light painting mode, though it still has the usual set of filters to bring your images to life or change its mood.

Overall, the cameras on this phone feels like a downgrade, but do check out these sample photos and tell us if you get the same impression.

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Battery life

Chin closeup – realme 10 (Philippines)

When it comes to battery life, the realme 10 packs a 5,000mAh battery that will last you all day long. So far we were able to clock 14 hours in our benchmarks.

Additionally, the realme 10 supports 33W fast charging so you can quickly charge up your phone when you’re low on battery, up to 50% in just 28 minutes. It’s the same configuration as the realme 9, which also runs a 6nm chipset, so we expect its real-world longevity to be roughly the same.

We will publish our practical results in the full review, so stay tuned.

realme 10 price and availability

Back landscape – realme 10 (Philippines)

realme 10 is set to launch in the Philippines and worldwide on November 9, and the company plans to announce its price by then. However, we expect it to be priced around P12,000-P15,000 which should be within the ballpark of most mid-rangers today.

For reference, its predecessor the relame 9, came out at a launch price of P14,999 for the 6GB+128GB variant.

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realme 10 technical specifications (Philippines)

  • Display: 6.4 inches; 1080 x 2400 pixels; Super AMOLED, 90Hz
  • SIM: Dual SIM (nano-SIM, dedicated slots)
  • OS Android 12; realme UI 3.0
  • Chipset (SoC): MediaTek Helio G99 (6nm)
  • CPU: Octa-core  (2×2.2 GHz Cortex-A76 & 6×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55)
  • GPU: Mali-G57 MC2
  • Memory (RAM) + storage: 8 GB + 128/256 GB
  • Expansion: microSD (dedicated slot)
  • Main camera (rear): 50MP f/1.8 (wide) + unspecified second camera
  • Selfie camera (front): 16MP f/2.45
  • Connectivity: 2.4/5 GHz Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac; Bluetooth 5.1
  • I/O: USB Type-C; 3.5mm audio jack; fingerprint scanner (under-display)
  • Battery: 5,000 mAh; 33W fast charging (50% in 28 minutes)
  • Colors: Clash White, Rush Black
  • Expected price: ~P14,999 (Philippines) / Rs. 16,999 (India)


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