REVIEW | Realme C15 budget smartphone

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The Realme C15 was launched on Aug. 20 after a plethora of fanfare. It boasts a massive 6000 mAh battery, which is a first in the segment. Along with that are 18-watt fast-charging, a quad-camera setup, a gorgeous large 6.5-inch screen, and all at an unbelievable price point of P6,499. Let’s go through our experience of using it for a few weeks.

Design and Ergonomics

Realme as a brand is making quite an effort to engage with its fans, or what they like to call their squad! A part of this was the Doodle Box competition, wherein several fans submitted artwork, and the winning submission was featured for a limited run of 1000 units, exclusively on Lazada. The box pictured here is the attractive Doodle Box.

Box contents include:

  • A fast-charger
  • Some documentation
  • An insert detailing the Doodle Box and competition
  • The pin to eject the SIM tray
  • And the phone unit

The phone is available in two colors: Marine Blue and Seagull Silver; the unit we tested here is the former. Though the rear panel is polycarbonate, it looks gorgeous. The aesthetic is a textured blue, that splits into three quadrants. As with the current trend, it shimmers and shines depending on how the light hits it.  At the rear is a fingerprint scanner; positioning is spot-on, in terms of index finger reach.

The buttons on the right are the Power and Volume rocker; the left side is clean except for the SIM tray. The top is also clean, with the bottom housing a speaker, a micro-USB port, a mic, and a 3.5mm headphone port. The phone feels heavy, which is likely due to the massive battery inside. The rounded edges make it comfortable to hold, though the large size makes it hard to reach the volume button during one-handed use.

In continuing with its bold presence, the Realme C15 has an enormous 6.5-inch IPS LCD screen. Resolution is limited to 720p but is not necessarily lacking in terms of sharpness. The colors are vibrant, and my only noticeable negative was the limited viewing angles. Given that my daily driver is a much more expensive flagship device with an OLED screen, it’s hard to fault the Realme C15 at this price point.

Specs and Performance

Powering the Realme C15 is the MediaTek Helio G35 SoC, which comprises an octa-core CPU and a PowerVR GE8320 GPU. As for memory its available in two variants — 3GB and 4GB — with storage being consistent at 64GB on both options. The Limited-Edition unit being tested here is the 3GB variant.

During our time with the device, it remained responsive, and we were able to comfortably switch between apps even with several loaded. The SoC being used is certainly not the fastest, but it never equated to poor performance. I did occasionally experience some momentary slow-downs but no deal-breaks. While it’s evident that Realme has had to cut some corners, it’s wisely done in places that do not noticeably impact the user.

Battery and Charging

The biggest highlight of the Realme C15 is its gargantuan battery, and in that department, it does not disappoint. With moderate use, it easily lasted well beyond 2 days. With light use and always being connected to Wi-Fi, it lasted almost a week, which was simply amazing. Even once the battery drops below 20%, you can confidently use the phone, as it still has a good deal of juice left in it. Watching 30 minutes of full-screen YouTube videos only took I down from 18% to 15%.

Below is the charge matrix, starting from 1%.

  • 10 mins – 7%
  • 15 mins – 10%
  • 30 mins – 17%
  • 45 mins – 24%
  • 60 mins – 30%
  • 90 mins – 43%
  • 120 mins – 57%
  • 150 mins – 70%
  • 180 mins – 83%
  • 210 mins – 95%
  • 220 mins – 98%
  • 225 mins – 100%

The included charger does feature fast-charging, albeit at a conservative 18 watts. The inclusion was perhaps critical given that it’s a huge battery and charging it to 50% takes almost two hours, and a full charge takes a little over three hours. This should be a non-factor as you could top it up every day since it has such staying power. 

Software and User Experience

The Realme C15 comes with Android 10, and the Realme UI skin. It’s colorful and is reminiscent of Color OS. Navigation and setup are pretty straight forward if you’re familiar with Android. The device comes with a Realme App Market which is similar to the Google Play Store, which is also available on the device.

Something I have appreciated in the past about Realme phones is the limited pre-installed apps, saving you from bloatware. You can also opt to uninstall some unwanted Google apps, thus allowing you to keep the phone as clean as possible. Excluding the OS and some key apps, the phone had 47GB on free space for user apps and files.

Camera and Optics

Another big-draw of the Realme C15 is its quad-camera setup at the rear. This includes a 13-megapixel primary camera, an 8-megapixel ultrawide, a 2-megapixel depth sensor, and a 2-megapixel black and white camera. Realme is trying to keep up with the current quad-camera trend with this implementation, as some of the cameras in this setup are not very useful.

As for camera performance, the primary sensor does very well with daylight photography; it captures good detail, and even zooming into the picture there is good clarity. Indoor lighting such as the shops in the mall was also captured well.

Finally getting to low-light conditions, it’s about okay, but nothing was spectacular. Cameras on smartphones at higher price-points do offer better; Huawei phones are literally magical when it comes to light reflections. The definition in shadow areas was weak. Going back to the cost of this phone, expecting stellar night photography is probably unfair.

Sunset

The Selfie camera is an 8-megapixel unit and is decent. It features AI Beauty Mode, with a slider to adjust the level of face smoothing and clean-up you’d like. The front camera also supports Portrait mode with Bokeh effects.

Selfie

Value and Competition

There is great value, and then there is unbelievable value; the Realme C15 is the latter. At P6,490, the Realme C15 literally redefines the segment, bringing features that were previously reserved for higher-tier midrange phones. Corners were indeed cut, but it was done thoughtfully, to not compromise critical needs, but drop less noticeable comforts that aren’t easily missed.

Add another P 500 and you can step up to the 4GB variant of the Realme C15, which is still incredible value. I’d recommend this!

The only true competition to this phone is the Redmi 9, which features similar but slightly lowers specs: 3GB memory, 32GB storage, and 5020 mAh battery at P 6,990.

Conclusion

Over the last few years, Realme has been launching some great budget phones, making an otherwise low-performance segment interesting. They have been consistently stepping-up their game, and today we have the Realme C15 which is on par with phones from a few tiers above. The battery, screen, design, and functionality that Realme has made possible at this price-point is just incredible. The Realme C15 is so competent that it’s not just for those on a budget, but also for those looking for a good all-rounder that would have previously cost P10,000 to P15,000. 

  • Model: RMX2180
  • P6,490
  • Redefining the segment, with many firsts including the 6000 mAh battery
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