Realme 81 test: offered for less than 200 €, is it up to the realme 8?

The realme 8i smartphone is one of the only ones, at this price, to offer a screen refresh rate of 120 Hz which allows for smooth scrolling for long pages and in video games. It completes the realme 8 series which already includes Pro and 5G versions available on the market. Supporting 4G, does the realme 8i have a single advantage, that of 120 Hz? Is he more versatile than he wants to say? We got to test it for a while and here are our impressions.

Main technical characteristics of realme 8i:

  • 6.6 inch LCD screen, 1080×2412 pixels 120Hz
  • Mediatek Helio G96 Chipset
  • 4 or 6 GB of RAM
  • 64 or 128 GB of expandable internal storage
  • Triple 50 + 2 + 2 megapixel photo sensor
  • 16 megapixel front sensor
  • Profile fingerprint reader
  • 5000 mAh battery compatible with 18 watt charge
  • Operating system: Android 11 with realme UI overlay

Realme 8i design

The realme 8i smartphone offers a design that resembles the realme 8 in every way. He is covered with a particularly shiny plastic shell which leaves no chance for fingerprints. The manufacturer delivers a silicone case to protect it immediately out of the box. The device offers proportions in the average smartphone. It is 164.5mm high, 75.5mm wide and 8.5mm thick with a weight of 194 grams on the scale. The realme 8i is thus a little bigger and a little heavier than the realme 8. The back of the realme 8i therefore reflects the slightest source of light which lands on it. There is the optical unit in the upper left corner which is in the form of a rectangle with 4 circles integrating the 3 photo sensors and the LED flash. They have the same diameter, which gives a nice symmetry to the whole.

Back of the realme 8i

On the profiles of the mobile, there is the power button which integrates the fingerprint reader while it is under the screen for the other realme 8, realme 8 Pro but also on the profile for the realme 8 5G. In opposition, on the other side, there are two buttons to manage the volume. There is also the drawer for memory cards and SIM cards. The device can support two SIM cards and one memory card simultaneously which is always a good thing to be able to expand the storage capacity.

Profile of realme 8i

Finally, on the lower part, there is a audio port for connecting headphones, the USB-C connector and one loud speaker. The realme 8i offers mono sound which therefore comes out through the orifice located at the bottom or on the right if the device is held in the landscape position. It is correct, but imbued with a fairly significant distortion as soon as you go up the level. Listening through headphones is pleasant, offering satisfying power. The fingerprint reader is in a fairly natural position, not too high, ensuring a good grip and a little constrained gesture. It was found to be effective opening only to our one tester despite having subjected it to many other fingerprints.

Realme 8i connectors

In terms of connectivity, the realme 8i offers access to networks 4G and Wi-Fi 5. Also note the presence of a module NFC, convenient for contactless payment andpairing with other compatible devices. It is quite rare in this price range.

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Buy a realme 8i at Fnac

Buy a realme 8i from Rakuten

Screen, having 120 Hz is good, but …

As mentioned in the introduction, the realme 8i has a 6.6-inch diagonal LCD screen displaying a definition of 1080×2412 pixels on a panel refreshed at 120 Hz. Recall that the realme 8 offers a 6.4-inch AMOLED screen of much better quality, but with a refresh rate of 60 Hz.

Realme 8i screen

The frequency is adjustable to 60 or 120 Hz and may vary automatically between the two depending on the applications used. This is what we could call semi-adaptive since there is no plateau between the proposed values. The IPS screen of the realme 8i is drilled in the upper left corner for the front photo sensor. It offers a fairly high brightness, which allows outdoor use without having too many problems. Note that it is possible to play on the color temperature for a warmer or cooler side. You can also choose between Vivid or Soft mode and activate the color enhancer for videos. An eye comfort mode is also available. The 120 Hz frequency actually provides a plus, but the contrast is less since using an LCD panel.

Realme 8i screen settings

Sufficient performance for everyday tasks

While the realme 8 has a Mediatek Helio G95 chip, the realme 8i takes advantage of the next generation, the Helio g96. It comes with 4 or 6 GB of RAM. Note that our 6 GB test model has the RAM increase function to add, 2, 3 or 5 GB to it taken from the storage memory. In use, the mobile has proven to be quite pleasant on a daily basis even if it must necessarily be recognized that it can sometimes lack a little responsiveness. It is faster than a Vivo Y21s or Vivo Y33s and also slightly compared to the realme 8 especially in everyday tasks. In order to compare its raw performance, we subjected it to several measurement tools, the main results of which are below.

Realme 8i benchmark results

The interface: Android 11 with a realme UI overlay

Like the brand’s other smartphones, the realme 8i comes with Android 11 with a realme UI software overlay. It is about the same interface and the same functionalities that we could see within the realme GT Master Edition, for example or realme 8 5G. This is quite close to the ColorOS overlay used on Oppo smartphones and soon also on OnePlus. Realme UI offers many customization options. You can change the wallpapers, apply different themes, modify icon styles, fingerprint styles, colors, the appearance of the notifications drawer or even the lighting colors on edges to see when a notification arrives. Also note the presence of a sidebar to place shortcuts to certain applications in order to access them much more quickly. The application manager is quite classic. You can switch between them with a swipe of your finger, lock one or split the screen in two to display two applications at the same time to be more productive. Several comfort options are available concerning navigation (gestures or from virtual buttons), gestures for taking a screenshot, for taking calls. You can activate a quick launch function immediately after unlocking the screen to immediately execute a device option or a particular application chosen in advance. It’s very useful.

Realme 8i interface

Realme 8i parameters

There is thePlay area that we also find on more and more smartphones allowing you to place yourself in a bubble so as not to be disturbed during a gaming session and to optimize the resources of the device to deliver the best possible performance.

At the level of preinstalled apps, there are several applications including Booking, the Russian Yandex browser, realme community, Clone Phone, Facebook, PUBG Mobile, Soloop, realme Link, WPS Office, WhatsApp, TikTok in addition to Google tools. Like the most recent realme smartphones, the 8i will be able to upgrade to Android 12 when this version becomes available.

Preinstalled apps

Realme 8i suite interface

A main photo sensor that does the job

For multimedia playback, no worries about enjoy HD quality content from streaming platforms. For the photos, the realme 8i is on board a 50 megapixel main sensor opening at f / 1.8 while it is a 64 megapixel on the realme 8. It is accompanied by a monochrome sensor and a lens for macro shots of 2 megapixels each.

camera realme 8i

The first “small” sensor is used to optimize portraits for better depth. With its main module, the realme 8i offers fairly good shots especially outdoors and when the light is sufficient. The details are well marked and the stitching is pleasant. The colorimetry is rather satisfactory. The app is pretty classic in its interface with the main options at the top and the different shooting modes at the bottom. From left to right: Night, video, Photo, portrait, 50M and More. The latter provides access to other functions: Dual view video, slow motion, time-lapse, film, expert, pano (ramic), text scanner and ultra-macro. It is possible to customize the modes to add the most frequently used at the bottom of the main interface. For the digital enlargement, there is direct access to the 1x, 2x and 5x levels. No question of ultra wide-angle here which is a bit of a shame.

Realme 8i camera photo settings

To be more precise, you can use the dial. It does not move too much when you release the finger avoiding losing the adjustment made and having to start over. The Google Lens application is immediately accessible. In addition, find in the image editing tools the Erase function which allows you to remove an unwanted element from the image like the magic eraser that you find on the new Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro with a little less quality all the same at realme. Google’s tool is actually more efficient.

Photo with realme 8i

Color photo with realme 8i

Good battery life, but slow charging

The realme 8i has a battery with a capacity of 5000 mAh which allows it to last in rather moderate use for a little over a day with the display frequency set to automatic mode. This means that if you stay in 60 Hz, you can get more and less if you go continuously to 120 Hz. Too bad the battery only supports one load at 18 watts, today the minimum while the realme 8 offers the possibility of faster charging at 30 watts. With the power supply supplied with the mobile, we were able to gain 35% in 30 minutes.

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Buy a realme 8i at Fnac

Buy a realme 8i from Rakuten

Our opinion on the realme 8i

Available for less than 200 €, the Realme 8i makes several concessions compared to the rather balanced Realme 8 whose AMOLED display panel traded for LCD, a slower charge, an absent ultra-wide-angle photo sensor, but it gains a slightly larger screen as well as ‘a 120Hz refresh rate which is very appreciable at this price and overall, the device is quite versatile without being really excellent.

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Realme 81 test: offered for less than 200 €, is it up to the realme 8?