Lightweights punching up
We currently live in a weird juncture when it comes to mobile tech whence while devices sporting mid to high end specs become more ubiquitous, the prices of these gadgets seem to have risen as well. The Apples and Samsungs of the world are to be blamed here, as these brands painted an illusion that price equates to quality.
While that point does hold water to a certain degree, the folks at Oppo decided to throw the formbooks out of the window and in comes Realme. Just like the Hardy Boyz during WWE’s Attitude Era, both phones may appear lightweight but do pack a punch when put alongside other heavyweights in the market.
A sub-brand of Chinese-based telecommunications company Oppo before separating themselves as an independent entity earlier this year, two of the company’s first four offerings are worth looking at and are in our sights for today’s review.
The Look, Feel and What’s Underneath the Hood
For the past couple of weeks or so, we have in our hand the Realme 2 (R2) and the C1. Let’s be frank, yes? – Both phones look very identical to one another and sport a very similar silhouette to Apple’s iPhone X. Released a month apart (R2 in August, C1 in September), they sport same dimensions (156.20 x 75.60 x 8.20mm), weighs about 170g and comes with a 4230mAh battery capacity.
This means both devices feel great in the hand and while it ticks all the boxes with their bright and wide screens, does feel a tad plasticky. Then again, these are sub-MYR1000 phones we are talking about here. And once you take that point into consideration, feels like a bargain of a purchase.
But being in the lower end of the price point does not mean these phones are slouches. Both are decently powered by Snapdragon 450 1.8GHz octa-core processors and boasts expandable storage of up to 256GB via microSD. Although the Realme 2 has got a higher RAM & base storage (3GB RAM & 32 GB storage vs 2GB RAM & 16GB storage), these differences are hardly noticeable during our daily usages and it is safe to say, negligible.
In the hand, both feel premium for their price point and we believe it’s mostly due to the manufacturer’s decision to include glass backs for both models. The phones feel durable enough in hand yet still act as fingerprint magnets to our annoyance. However, quoting Zack of JerryRigEverything, “Glass is glass” and we fear for their durability once dropped, even from waist high. Thankfully, Realme included rubber cases with each unit purchased.
As daily drivers, the decent-sized batteries both phones come with would take you through the day, and we don’t see any need to lug around an extra battery pack – unless you are a super heavy user. The phones, however, tends to get hot when playing graphically-demanding games – and while we do not see a jarring drop in performance e.g lag or frame drops, the heat generated may be a bother to some. So do take note if you intend to use them for mobile gaming marathons.
We tested PUBG and Real Racing 3 on both models and didn’t encounter any issues apart from sound-related grievances. Both models come with speakers at the bottom of the chassis so don’t expect extraordinary audio performances when it comes to playing movies or YouTube videos on them. Speaking of videos, both sport 6.2-inch screens with a 19:9 ratio. Not the best out there, but does the job in delivering crisp images.
You get 3.5mm headphone jacks (yay!) on both models so if you’re looking to use it for PUBG, get your headsets on – it’s almost impossible to call out directions if you solely rely on the phone’s loudspeakers.
Another major bummer is the manufacturer’s decision to go with micro USB instead of the more current USB-C. For those who are so used with rapid charge, you’d be disappointed here but then again, considering both models would last you a day, – we see an average of 20% of battery left by the day’s end – you’d find yourself charging them overnight in most cases anyway.
Camera-wise, the R2 is a wee bit beefier of the two as it comes with a dual camera setup on the rear with 13-megapixel (f/2.2, 1.12-micron) + 2-megapixel (f/2.4, 1.75-micron) vs a 13-megapixel + 2-megapixel setup on the C1. For selfies, the 5-megapixel camera of the C1 is dwarfed by the 8-megapixel front-facing camera of the R2.
Picture quality for both phones are decent and we can’t say much apart from that both serve their respective purposes in perfect lighting conditions but their qualities dip significantly once you take it to less favorable conditions. Here we compare the snaps taken on the R2 and C1 compared to a Pixel 2XL.
While photos on both the R2 and C1 appear to be a tad overexposed, their overall performances are decent when it comes to point-and-shoot and snapping pics of landscapes and general subjects. Do note that the photos above are merely comparisons with the Pixel 2XL, which is considered to be one of the best camera phones in the market right now.
One over the Other?
To the uninitiated, both phones are very similar but once you get your hands on them, they are two separate devices with distinct features. For a start, the C1 is on a lower price point compared to the R2. Justifying this gap are several main drawbacks which include lesser RAM, smaller in-built storage and the lack of a physical finger print scanner on the back of the device. The C1 does come with a facial recognition feature for security purposes and we have to applaud on how responsive they are.
The same can be said on the same feature on the R2. Whether it’s the facial unlocking feature or its finger print scanner on the back, there’s almost no delay in unlocking the R2 which in return belie the market value of this device.
While the build quality of both phones leave a lot to be desired, the built-in software is almost on par with other phones that are a few thousand ringgits more expensive and that alone makes them great options for those in the hunt for a sub-MYR1k smartphone.
Both phones are good: plain and simple. Right off the bat, we’d recommend them. If we are to judge both phones purely on their specs alone compared to other makes in the market, we’d probably give rate both of them around the sixes or sevens out of a ten scale.
However, once we take into account the retail prices of these phones, we can’t help but bump the score up to the high eights to nines. They are simply the best bargain phones you can get in the market at the moment. Value-wise, both are hard to beat.
The Realme 2 retails from MYR 599 for a 3GB RAM + 32GB storage and can be purchased now from most major retailers. If you’re on a tight budget and don’t mind skipping the finger print scanner, Realme C1 first sale will be taking place on Lazada starting 10am on 22 November 2018 at a special promotional price of RM 399 (Regular retail price is RM 449).