The Realme 7 Pro shows Realme continuing to push out decent quality phones that are very affordable – it's been in this game a few years (as the '7' suggests), and it's getting good at it too. Here we'll take a look at one of its new offerings in all the key categories.
The Realme 7 Pro arrives alongside the even cheaper Realme 7 – check that phone out if you want to spend even less and don't mind a drop in performance and camera quality in return – and can be picked up unlocked right now in the UK for not much money at all.
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The starting price for the phone is just £279, which undercuts even affordable mid-rangers like the iPhone SE 2020 and the Google Pixel 4a by some distance. The question is whether you get enough back in return – which we'll look at in this detailed Realme 7 Pro review.
With even top-tier phone makers putting out more affordable handsets in recent years, buying budget no longer necessarily means settling for poor performance and sub-par build quality, but there's still a balance to be struck between price and everything else.
Realme 7 Pro review: price and availability
Your only option for buying the Realme 7 Pro is buying direct, either from Realme (opens in new tab) or from Amazon (opens in new tab), for £279. The phone doesn't go on sale until October 13, but you can book your preorders in with Realme in advance if you want to. For the time being, Realme isn't selling its phones in the US.
Realme 7 Pro review: design and screen
We've got absolutely no complaints about the Realme 7 Pro from a design perspective. Sure, the likes of the top-tier iPhones and Galaxys are better looking, but this phone is very nicely designed for its price point – it has a bit of a cheap, plastic feel to it, but it's not a handset that you're going to be embarrassed to pull out at family gatherings. It features an in-screen fingerprint sensor too, which helps keep the rest of the design nice and clean.
The 6.4-inch, 1080 x 2400 OLED display is really appealing, with thin bezels (the chin is slightly thicker) and excellent brightness and contrast levels – it's a better screen than you might expect for this amount of money. There's just a standard 60Hz refresh rate, but that's no problem really (the Realme 7 offers 90Hz, but via the slightly inferior LCD display technology). Movies, games, websites and more all look great on this display.
Certain compromises have to be made on budget phones of course, and the Realme 7 Pro is no exception. You don't get an IP68 rating for waterproofing, for example – it's just listed as having a "water-repellent coating" instead. We are pleased to see a 3.5mm headphone jack here though, which means you can bring along your old wired headphones without having to fork out for a wireless pair.
Thankfully even budget phones are using USB-C now, and the Realme 7 Pro is one of them. It's available in rather fetching blue or silver colours (the back casing has a neat shimmer effect), and there's support for a dual SIM setup here as well. There's even a memory card slot if you want to boost the amount of on-board storage.
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Realme 7 Pro review: camera and battery
The Realme 7 Pro comes rocking a quad-lens, 64MP wide + 8MP ultrawide + 2MP macro + 2MP depth camera on the back, and a 32MP wide selfie camera on the front – perfectly fine specs on paper, but camera quality is one of the areas where you can tell this is a phone towards the lower end of the price spectrum. It's by no means terrible, but it's not on a par with the mid-range phones that cost a little bit more.
You'll have absolutely no problems taking photos for social media and casual sharing around friends and family – the resolution is good, most details are sharp in good lighting conditions, and colours are reasonably well reproduced. The ultrawide lens is really handy too, if you feel you need to fit even more into a scene. As we've said, it's not a bad rear camera, it's just that better ones are available.
Low light performance is a bit hit and miss – you can get some decent shots, but sometimes the night mode processing seems to go a bit awry. Still, when you're comparing this camera against the cameras on other phones at the same price, the Realme 7 Pro can definitely hold its head up high. The shots you get won't let you down most of the time, and that's fair enough from our perspective.
Battery life is one area where the Realme 7 Pro really excels – the 4,500mAh battery packed in here can run and run, and we were getting well into a second day with medium usage on a single charge. Our two-hour video streaming test at maximum brightness knocked the battery down from 100 percent to just 90 percent (suggesting 20 hours of streaming total), and while wireless charging is absent, the phone also packs in cutting edge 65W fast charging tech that can get you a full charge in a little over half an hour.
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Realme 7 Pro review: other specs and features
The internal specs of the Realme 7 Pro won't wow you, but they might not disappoint you either considering the price of the handset: a Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G processor, 6GB or 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of internal storage. We've definitely run Android on worse than that in the past, so it's a decent offering (you get Android 10 out of the box, with the Realme UI slathered on top).
In terms of performance, Geekbench scores of 570 (single-core), 1784 (multi-core), and 1245 (OpenCL) tell you that this is not a phone that's going to blow you away in terms of performance. It's not a terrible set of results though, running just behind something like the OnePlus Nord mid-ranger, and it's definitely enough to do everything you want to do on your phone (albeit at a slightly slower speed).
Benchmarks only tell part of the story of course, and in day-to-day use the Realme 7 Pro is perfectly slick and snappy. Only a few extra milliseconds delay when jumping between multiple apps, or loading demanding games, or opening up complex websites tell you that you're not running the very best silicon under the hood here. Gamers might want a bit more in terms of frame rates, but for most people it's fine.
At this price, you don't get 5G, which is worth bearing in mind considering that a lot of mid-rangers come with the tech now (the Moto G 5G Plus can be had for around the £300 mark). That won't trouble a lot of people shopping at this price point, and 4G is certainly going to be good enough for the next few years while 5G networks roll out more widely. Audio is provided by stereo speakers built into the casing, and it's perfectly adequate.
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Realme 7 Pro review: price and verdict
Summing up phones is always a bit tricky because we don't know what your budget is or what exactly you want from a phone. Obviously the Realme 7 Pro isn't as powerful, as well built or as good in the photography department as the iPhone 11 – but it's around a third of the price of Apple's handset. It all depends what you're looking for.
With the Realme 7 Pro, it's a case of come for the affordability, and stay for the rather decent performance, camera quality, and design – and for the excellent battery life. If you don't want to spend very much on your next smartphone but still want something that'll impress, then get the Realme 7 Pro on your shortlist. This isn't the first excellent budget handset Realme has put out, and it's getting very good at it.
We have minor reservations: a little bit more money can get you a lot more phone, because the mid-range is so strong at the moment. We're also not huge fans of the Realme UI software, which is a bit flamboyant and loud for our tastes – we'd much prefer something closer to stock Android (as you get on the superb budget Nokia handsets), but your mileage may vary as far as software goes.
Both the Realme 7 Pro and the Realme 7 give thrifty smartphone shoppers something new to think about, and as it gets increasingly difficult to justify the cost of the very top-end flagship smartphones, Realme and its competitors have a good chance of carving our a niche down at the affordable end of the market. An impressive all-round package – for the price.
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