The Realme 6 Pro was announced at the start of the month in India, today Realme has hosted their first official launch in the UK which includes the Realme 6 Pro, 6 and 6i.
I have had the pleasure of using both the 6 Pro and 6 the past two weeks with both phones offering a significant improvement over the previous Realme 5 series.
The Realme 6 Pro has not launched yet, but the Realme 6 is available from Amazon Spain for just 219-Euros for the base model.
- Display: 6.6 inch IPS 1080 x 2400 90Hz & 120Hz touch-sensing
- Chipset: Snapdragon 720G
- RAM: 6GB or 8GB – my sample 8GB
- Storage: 64GB or 128GB – my sample 128GB
- Upgradable via microSD
- Rear Camera:
- 64 MP Wide
- 12 MP 2x telephoto
- 8 MP ultra-wide
- 2 MP macro
- Front Camera:
- 16MP wide
- 8MP ultra-wide
- Battery: 4300 mAh with 30W charging
While this model replaces the Realme 5 Pro which I reviewed back in October 2019, it arguably has more in similar to the X2 having a similar spec chipset and a big upgrade to the camera and build quality compared to the previous two phones.
Realme 6 vs 6 Pro
Both phones share a lot of features, they both have the same sized display, both running the same resolution and at 90Hz, the primary camera is the same as is the battery spec.
The Realme 6 Pro has a Snapdragon 720G vs Mediatek Helio G90T; technically the Mediatek performs a little better in terms of processing power, but most people won't notice the difference between the two. The SD720G is more battery efficient, though.
Then 6 Pro has a base spec of 6GB/64GB while the 6 has 4GB/64GB.
The most significant real-world difference you will experience is the camera. Both phones have the same 64MP primary lens, 8MP ultra-wide and 2MP macro, but the Realme 6 Pro has the benefit of a 12MP telephoto lens giving 2x optical zoom. It is not quite flagship level, but at this price the level of versatility you get from wide, ultra-wide and telephoto is superb.
Instead of the zoom lens, the standard Realme 6 has a 2MP depth sensor.
Then on the front, they both have the same 16MP primary lens, but the Pro has an elongated punch hole hiding a second 8MP ultra-wide lens.
It is worth noting; the Realme 6 Pro also has a glass back vs plastic of the 6, this gives it a much more premium feel in hand, and also adds over 10g of weight. While this does feel much nicer, it is not something I would base a purchasing decision over.
Design and Display
Last year the Realme X2 and 5 series all felt a little light a cheap, the X2 apparently had a glass back, but it felt the same as the 5 Pro. With the Realme 6 Pro both the front and back are glass, and you can feel this giving it a weighty premium feel to it, being around 20g heavier than either the X2 or 5 Pro.
With this model, you get an IPS display which arguably isn't as nice as an AMOLED option, however, this then has a 90Hz refresh rate and 120Hz touch-sensing giving you an extremely responsive display that is a pleasure to use.
One concern was that an upper mid-range chipset might struggle to drive a display at 90Hz, but during my testing, I experienced no noticeable issues. You can of course manually set the refresh rate should you have any problems with it (or to get a little extra battery).
Fingerprint Scanner and Facial Recognition
It looks like most companies are ditching the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and moving it to the side. It gives a more aesthetic appearance, avoiding the blemish on the rear of the phone. I have had no issues with it, being right-handed it is quite natural for me to use. However around 10% of people are left-handed, and this, therefore, makes unlocking awkward, you either have to pick it up with your right hand or grab your phone so that your index finger can easily unlock it.
Face unlock works well, there is no depth scanner or fancy other technology, so the security of facial recognition is always up for debate, but this is not really an issue for me. I can't imagine a scenario where I will encounter a hacker competent enough to bypass my phone security and have enough time to do any damage before I notice my phone missing.
Impressively, Realme has upgraded the 6 Pro to have almost the same specification of last years flagship device the Realme X2 Pro.
This gives you a 64MP primary sensor, 12MP 2x optical zoom telephoto lens, an 8MP ultra-wide and 2MP macro. It is not exactly the same as the X2 Pro, but close enough.
The primary sensor is a 64MP Samsung GW1 that pixel-bins images down to 16MP to improve image quality.
It is the inclusion of the 12MP telephoto lens that is the stand out upgrade here. I can't think of any other mid-range phone that has launched with a telephoto lens this year. The Xiaomi Mi 9T would be the closest which launched at 399-euros.
The overall performance of each individual lens is excellent for the price of the phone, in good light. This can take superb shots that I would struggle to tell the difference from a premium flagship, even when viewing photos on my large monitor the shots can look superb.
When conditions deteriorate, and light drops it won't fare as well as more expensive phones and in a world of 3x, 5x and even 10x optical zoom this understandably lags being flagship phones.
Realme does seem to have improved their low light performance, while this would never compete with a Pixel or Huawei flagship phone, it is capable of more than adequate low light shots.
Low Light Samples
The below shots were with no light outside and one kitchen light on, then the second shot with no kitchen lights on. The skull was hard for me to see myself, and the phone screen showed nothing but black.
Realme 6 Pro Low Light Shots
Realme 6 Low Light Shots
Huawei P30 Pro Low Light Shots
Performance and Benchmarks
I have done a more details performance analysis of this phone in another post, where I compare how it performs against last years models and the Helio G90t found in the more affordable Realme 6.
For day to day performance, the phone is superb there were no issues with lagging, the display always stays ultra-smooth in 90Hz and in everything other than gaming I doubt many would notice the difference between this and a flagship.
Even in gaming, this happily handles everything I threw at it without major issues. Some games don't support 90Hz, and I would expect that some games will benefit in performance at running the settings a little lower than max.
As far as synthetic benchmarks go, when you compare it to the Realme 5 Pro which it replaces, you are getting a significant bump in performance. There is a 30% uplift in its Antutu results, a 77% improvement on the single-core speeds of GeekBench and a 20% improvement on the Sling Shot Extreme OpenGL test.
However, if you want the best phone for gaming at the best price, the Realme 6 is arguably better with the Helio G90t providing superior benchmark results in many tests.
I am loving the fact almost all companies are launching phones with a massive battery nowadays, the Realme 6 Pro is no exception with a 4300 mAh battery that can then be charged from 0-100% in less than an hour with the 30W charger.
This is a big upgrade from the previous generation, the Realme 5 Pro had a 4035 mAh battery with 20W charging, and the X2 has a 4000 mAh battery with 30W.
Using a synthetic battery test on PC Mark with the phone set to maximum screen brightness and the screen at 90hz, I was able to achieve 6h 37 mins of use until it hit 20% battery.
Dialling down the brightness to 50%, enabling dark mode and switching the refresh rate to 60Hz I was then able to achieve 12 hours and 6 mins reported in the Work 2.0 battery life benchmark; Android reported this as 10 hours 14 minutes screen on time.
In the real world, that translates to me easily getting a full day worth of moderate to heavy use. I don't play many games, but I do spend a long time on social media, streaming music, replying to emails and taking photos.
While the Realme 6 with its Helio G90T outperforms the Realme 6 Pro on many performance benchmarks, the battery performance is one area it falls behind significantly. On the first battery test they were reasonably close with 6h 34min vs 6h 12min, but on the lower brightness test, the Realme 6 Pro stormed ahead with its 12h+ score compared 9h 25 minutes of the Realme 6.
Realme has switched from ColorOS to Realme UI, this is heavily based on ColorOS, to the point where I can't really see much difference between the two but Realme claim:
“Realme’s own customised UI will sport all the new features from the much enhanced ColorOS 7 including system upgrades. Users will experience smoother gaming graphics, better RAM management and seamless video and vlogging experience along with more customisation options.”
The only thing I don't really like is the settings menu, it feels hard to navigate. Though this is mainly due to me using a Huawei P30 Pro as my main phone, which also has its own quirks with the OS.
The only noticeable bloatware is Yandex and the Yandex browser, both of which can be installed easily. I am not sure if this will be included on the official EU/UK launch models as it wouldn't make much sense to have it on these phones.
ColorOS does have some useful additions; there is a dark mode which works well with no UI issues I could find. Then there is also an app cloner for multiple logins on social media and a game assistant which aims to improve gaming performance.
Price and Competition
I don't have official UK/EU pricing yet; I am assuming around £250 with it being more expensive than the 5 Pro, but cheaper than the X2. The Realme 6 has just been confirmed as costing £219 for the base model, so I suspect when it does launch, it may be a little over £250.
There is an insane amount of choice at the mid-range level, but I am struggling to think of a like for like an alternative to the Realme 6 Pro due to its inclusion of a telephoto lens.
The older Xiaomi Mi 9T/Redmi K20 is probably the best bet, but stock of this is dwindling since the launch of the Redmi K30. However, both the 4G and 5G Redmi K30 pro lack a zoom lens.
If you are not fussed about a zoom lens, then the world is your oyster. The Realme 6 is a viable alternative being cheaper and offering similar performance overall.
If you stretched your budget to just over £300, the Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite 5G should be a superb affordable 5G phone.
You could even consider the Realme X2 Pro, the 128GB model is just 395-euros on Amazon Spain so £354 – while this is quite a bit more expensive it a gigantic upgrade. Amazon UK doesn't have this in stock, but if you get it from Amazon Spain, it has free shipping and no other additional costs.
Realme have aggressively been targeting the affordable segment since their launch. This is something Xiaomi/Redmi has typically dominated in recent years, but it is starting to feel like Realme is becoming the go-to brand for big spec phones at affordable prices.
This phone represents a substantial improvement overall to the Realme 5 Pro it replaces, and with little competing with it at this price point it is hard to criticise the phone about anything. The camera could be better, but you can say that about every single mid-range phone, and this does better than most at the same price.
One caveat is wether the telephoto lens, better battery efficiency and superior build quality is worth the extra cash over the Realme 6. I personally prefer the Pro model because battery and a versatile camera are important to me, but this is just a subjective preference.
As usual from Realme, the 6 Pro represents astonishing value for money. As much as I love flagship phones, for your average consumer, it seems mad to be spending £800+ on a phone every couple of years when you can get a phone like this which likely offers everything you want.
The Realme 6 Pro was not launched alongside the 6 and 6i – I was informed it will come at a later date but no word of exactly when or at what price. Purely speculation, but I hope they launch it soon in a joint event with the Realme X50 Pro.
For the time being, the Realme 6 will be available on 9th April at 8am from realme.com/uk and Amazon UK starting at £219 for the 4GB/64GB version.
Realme 6 Pro Review Rating
Overall - 90%
Flagship-like features and performance at a third of the price of premium-priced phones. Any negatives to be said are counter-argued by the price. The one caveat is that the cheaper Realme 6 is probably better value for money.
Last update on 2021-03-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API