realme 7i hands-on first impressions [review]

Back flatlay - realme 7i (Philippines)
Back flatlay - realme 7i (Philippines)

realme 7i is here! Following the commercial success of the realme 6 and realme 6i, realme is ending the year by launching the newest addition to its numbered series. Like its predecessors, the realme 7 series comes in three flavors, with realme 7 acting as baseline to the beefier realme 7 Pro. We review the realme 7i, which the realme 7 experience at more modest specs for customers on a budget.

Check out the specs below, or skip ahead for our realme 7i hands-on review.

realme logo - realme 7i (Philippines)
realme logo – realme 7i (Philippines)

realme 7i specs

  • Display: 6.5 inches; 720 x 1600 pixels; IPS LCD; 90Hz; Gorilla Glass
  • Chipset (SoC): Qualcomm Snapdragon 662
  • Memory (RAM) + storage: 8 GB + 128 GB
  • Camera: 64MP (wide) + 8MP (ultrawide) + 2MP (macro) + 2MP (depth), 16MP (selfie)
  • Features: 2.4/5 GHz Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac; USB Type-C 2.0
  • Battery: 5,000 mAh; 18W fast charging
  • Price (Philippines): TBD (Oct 21, 2019)

realme 7i finally brings high refresh rate screens to the budget mid-range line with its 90Hz IPS LCD display and 120Hz touch sampling rate. It also moves away from the centered “dot drop” notch, opting instead for the hole-punch type notch just like what we have on the realme 7 and the realme 7 Pro. They call this the “in-display selfie”, which is a reference to the 16MP Sony IMX471 front-facing camera.

16MP selfie camera - realme 7i (Philippines)
16MP selfie camera – realme 7i (Philippines)

We were hoping to get a full HD screen this time around, but realme opted to stick to HD at 1600×720 pixels. No matter, this can only be good for the battery with its lower power draw. Like its predecessor, the realme 7i comes with a 5,000 mAh battery with 18W fast charge.

Moving to the rear, we are greeted with the new, duotone multi-layered plastic chassis with a glossy finish. There’s a diagonal splitting line that is the hallmark of the realme 7 series. The top quarter is highly reflective, acting like a mirror which harkens to the glass-and-metal sandwich era of 2019. The bottom half is more matte, providing contrast the top area of the phone.

Back handheld - realme 7i (Philippines)
Back handheld – realme 7i (Philippines)

It’s a interesting and nice to look at, but experience has taught us that such coatings tend to be fingerprint and smudge magnets. Only time will tell. The overall feel and styling is quite feminine, even on our Artic Green unit. The realme 7i is also available in Polar Blue, which is lighter in color but still quite chic and stylish.

Speaking of style, the camera module also gets a new design, sporting the new rounded-rectangular look that has been the trend for 2020 with an upgraded 64MP sensor.

Triple SIM card tray - realme 7i (Philippines)
Triple SIM card tray – realme 7i (Philippines)

Everything else remains mostly the same: rear fingerprint camera, 3.5mm audio jack, single bottom-firing loud speaker, and a USB-C port.

It is nice to see that realme is staying faithful to its market by keeping the triple-card slot, so users can slot dual SIM cards and a microSDXC expansion card at the same time.

3.5mm audio jack, USB-C port, loud speaker - realme 7i (Philippines)
3.5mm audio jack, USB-C port, loud speaker – realme 7i (Philippines)

Another interesting change on the realme 7i is the move to the Snapdragon 662 chipset. While the the realme 6, realme 6i, and realme 7 all run on the MediaTek Helio G-series platform, the 7i runs Qualcomm’s mid-range platform instead. This is the same chipset that powers the OPPO F17 and the Galaxy Tab A7 2020.

It runs Android 10 with realme UI 1.0 out of the the box which, paired with the 90Hz display and the generous 8GB of memory, is buttery smooth and snappy. Android 11 with realme UI 2.0 is currently in beta phase, and select smartphones will start rollout by next year. There was no mention of the realme 7i, but we’re really hoping it will come soon as well.

Front handheld - realme 7i (Philippines)
Front handheld – realme 7i (Philippines)

We finally get support for 5GHz Wi-Fi (802.11 ac) standard, something that has eluded the budget line for some time now. It doesn’t come with NFC though.

For photography, the realme 7i sports a quad-camera system with a 64MP main sensor. It doesn’t have OIS (optical image stabilization), though it does come with realme’s proprietary solution called the UIS (ultra image stabilization) to reduce camera shake and take steady-looking videos at 1080P 30fps.

If that’s not enough, an advanced mode called “UIS Max” can be activated to take even steadier videos, as well as slow motion videos although there’s a noticeable decrease in resolution for both.

realme 7i’s built-in stock camera come with the new filters first seen on the realme 7 and realme 7 Pro: Flamingo, Cyberpunk, and Modern Gold. The filters can be activated on any of the three usable lenses: wide, ultra-wide, and macro.

For selfies, the 7i is endowed with a 16MP Sony IMX471 sensor which animates whenever you switch to the front-facing camera.

Click on the un-edited sample photos to view the full image.

How much will the realme 7i cost in the Philippines?

realme Philippines will be revealing the price of the realme 7i at the livestream launch on October 21 at 6PM, however, we can make a few educated guesses:

  • The realme 7 (8GB + 128GB) was priced at Php14,990
  • The realme 6i (4GB + 128GB) was priced at Php9,990 when it came out 5 months ago
  • The realme 7i (8GB + 128GB) was priced at Rs 13,999 or ~Php9,271 when it came out in India early this year

Given these factors, we can guess that the realme 7i should be priced around Php10,000-11,500 when it finally launches in the Philippines.

Check back here on October 21 for the full review and price reveal!

64MP quad cameras, fingerprint scanner - realme 7i (Philippines)
64MP quad cameras, fingerprint scanner – realme 7i (Philippines)

realme 7 technical specifications (Philippines)

  • Display: 6.5 inches; 720 x 1600 pixels; IPS LCD; 90Hz; Gorilla Glass
  • SIM: Dual SIM (nano-SIM, dedicated slots)
  • OS Android 10 (Q); realme UI 1.0
  • Chipset (SoC): Qualcomm Snapdragon 662
  • CPU: Octa-core (4×2.0 GHz Kryo 260 Gold & 4×1.8 GHz Kryo 260 Silver)
  • GPU: Adreno 610
  • Memory (RAM) + storage: 8 GB + 128 GB
  • Expansion: microSD (dedicated slot)
  • Main camera (rear): 64MP f/1.8 (wide) + 8MP f/2.3 (ultrawide) + 2MP f/2.4 (macro) + 2MP f/2.4 (depth), UIS
  • Selfie camera (front): 16MP f/2.1, Sony IMX471
  • Connectivity: 2.4/5 GHz Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac; Bluetooth 5.0, A2DP, LE
  • I/O: USB Type-C 2.0; 3.5mm audio jack; fingerprint scanner (side)
  • Battery: 5,000 mAh; 18W fast charging
  • Colors: Aurora Green, Polar Blue
  • Price (India): Rs13,999 (8GB + 128GB) ~Php9,271
  • Price (Philippines): TBD (Oct 21, 2019)

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