The Realme 7 and Realme 7 Pro are two new budget phones — the Realme 7 starting at £179, while the Realme 7 Pro costs £279. However, both carry some surprisingly high-end tech, the most exciting of which is the 7 Pro's 65-watt charging ability.
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Realme is one of the younger members of BBK Electronics, the parent company that owns OnePlus, Oppo, Vivo and some other Chinese phone makers. Its target market is younger users who want flagship-like features for a low price, and that's exactly what the Realme 7 and Realme 7 Proare aiming for. Both are available to preorder in the U.K. right now.
Testing 65W charging
The Realme 7 Pro is not the first phone to use this charging system, since it initially appeared on the Oppo Reno Ace last year. Yet it is certainly one of the cheapest, and more importantly unlike Oppo’s device is available to U.K. customers. Americans will have to wait until the OnePlus 8T to experience similar charging speeds, as Realme doesn’t sell its products west of the Atlantic.
After unpacking the Realme 7 Pro, naturally I wanted to test just how quick 65W charging was. Once I had run the phone's 4,500-mAh battery down to empty, I stuck the USB-C cable into the device and plugged the smart-looking power brick into the wall socket, and set a 10-minute timer. When I came back, the Realme 7 Pro had charged to 38% — and my mind was blown.
Once I'd emptied the battery again, I decided to test how much power a 30-minute charge would provide. After half an hour, the Realme 7 Pro was 97% full. Once again, I was astonished.
By comparison, the Galaxy S20 FE ships with a 15W charger, which is notably slower than the 25W charger that comes with the regular Galaxy S20. On our testing, the S20 FE reached just 16% charge in 15 minutes and 35% in 30 minutes.
To bring things back to earth, the Realme 7 Pro was actually a little slower than expected, since Realme claims you can get to 42% in 10 minutes and a full 100% in 30. But forgiving a little variation in battery status and test conditions, this is still the fastest I’ve ever seen a phone charge.
OnePlus confirmed a few weeks back that the OnePlus 8T will employ 65W charging when it launches on Oct. 14. The 8T figures to be a far more expensive phone than the Realme, but having spent time with the 7 Pro, I have very high hopes for the OnePlus 8T when we get it in for testing.
This little experiment also provides a good sense of how valid OnePlus’ claims are, as the upcoming 8T will also pack a 4,500-mAh battery, just like the Realme 7 Pro, in addition to a 65W adapter of its very own. OnePlus has stated that the 8T will need just 10 minutes to get to 40% capacity from empty.
Flush with premium features
I like other aspects of the Realme 7 Pro too, beyond just the charging performance. Like its cameras, for example,, which are quite fully-featured despite the phone’s low price.
The main lens uses a 64MP sensor, taking in much higher resolution shots than many phone cameras on the market currently and allowing for better detail. Joining it on the back is an 8MP ultrawide camera, a 2MP macro sensor and a 2MP depth sensor. While there is no dedicated telephoto optic, you are able to get some decent digital zoom thanks to the wealth of megapixels captured by the main camera. There's also a 32MP front-facing shooter too, for high-resolution selfies.
The Realme 7 Pro boasts a large 6.4-inch full-HD display, which should be a perfect size for the average phone user. What's weird is that it's a 60Hz panel, while the cheaper Realme 7 gets a 6.5-inch 90Hz display. That’s the same refresh rate as far more expensive phones like the Pixel 5 or OnePlus Nord. The only reason I suppose Realme decided to leave the high refresh rate off of the 7 Pro was to give it a brighter and more-colorful AMOLED panel. The standard Realme 7 has to make do with plain-old LCD.
Audio is also a strong point for the Realme 7 Pro. You get stereo speakers, which is a relative rarity at this price, as well as a headphone jack, which is a rarity on modern smartphones in general. Whether you like listening to music with wireless headphones, wired headphones or without headphones at all, the Realme 7 Pro is able to satisfy.
Where Realme cuts costs
However, Realme cut some corners to achieve its low price. The 7 and 7 Pro’s plastic backs looks to be the main one, which feels a lot less premium than the glass-backed phones that become more common as you increase your budget. It's still handsome though, with both the Mirror Blue (pictured) and Mirror Silver colors offering an attractive matte finish, highlighted by a stripe on the left side that offers some pleasing contrast.
Another place you'll find cheaper parts relates to the screen. The Realme 7's display is made of Gorilla Glass 3, while the 7 Pro gets Gorilla Glass 3+. While still fairly tough, these glasses won't prevent damage as well as the flagship Gorilla Glass 6, or the recently-debuted Gorilla Glass Victus.
The basic Realme 7 doesn't have the 7 Pro's rapid charging tech or the same cameras. Instead, this model focuses more on its gaming-focused Helio G95 chipset, its larger 5,000-mAh battery and the 90Hz display I mentioned before.
The regular Realme 7’s cameras are still quite effective, though. It only has a 48MP main rear sensor, but it does use the same 8MP/2MP/2MP ultrawide, macro and depth sensors, along with a 16MP sensor in the front camera notch. And while it doesn’t support the Pro model’s 65W charger, the 30W charger that the Realme 7 gets in the box is still more than fast enough.
Realme 7 and 7 Pro outlook
The Realme 7 and the Realme 7 Pro will launch in the U.K. on October 21 and October 13, respectively, but can be pre-ordered now. Phone shoppers who want a new device on a tight budget should obviously take a look, but even if you have more money to play with, either of these phones could be your bargain-price ticket to some very impressive specs — depending on whether you prefer a rapid-charging battery or a large, high-refresh-rate screen.