In a sea of flagships and upper midrangers clambering onto higher ground, it’s easy to forget that the budget phone battle is still raging on. The realme C series is one of the top contenders in this warzone, deploying affordable and reliable smartphones for budgetarians everywhere.
Through the years, realme has stepped things up–both in the specs and aesthetics. This year’s C55 model deviates from last year’s C33, and bears almost no resemblance to 2018’s C1–realme’s first in the lineup. But just how much of an overhaul was done here?
It’s about time we took the realme C55 for a spin as a daily driver, peeked under the hood, and saw how it fares as one of the modern budget beasts with a household name.
Right out of the box, it was nice to get my hands on something fingerprint-resistant. The Rainy Night colorway features a nice, dark “shower” pattern on the back which is more reminiscent of blackened hardwood–which is quite classy, to be honest.
Everything is hard plastic, with the sides featuring a simpler, smooth texture. You get a 3.5mm headphone jack below alongside the speakers, and the volume rocker with a power button/fingerprint scanner combo on the right side. There’s a bit of wobble on the power button, but it was never an issue in terms of functionality.
Front and center, we have the 6.72-inch IPS LCD with a 90Hz screen refresh rate with a punch hole 8MP selfie camera which expands into the C55’s mini capsule. More on that later.
Flipping things around and looking up top, we get two large circles housing the 64MP main shooter and 2MP depth lens, both of which are placed inside a glossy box. The TPU case makes way for this, care of a large square cut out. One could argue that overall, it’s a look that belies its price range.
The 6.72-inch display fares rather well for watching videos and browsing photos. With a brightness of up to 680 nits, it’s neither too dim for comfort, nor a mobile flashbang. It’s also worth noting that compared to last year’s model, the C33, they shaved just a teensy bit off the bezel’s chin, giving more screen real estate. Personally, the punch hole was never an issue for me, but might be a concern for teardrop loyalists.
Having a 60Hz refresh rate for mobile phones in this day and age should be considered a mortal sin, and I will die on this hill. While 120Hz should be the standard for brands to strive for, 90Hz can be the sweet spot for now. That being said, there were certain moments of jittering whenever I’d bring up the app drawer. I’d close all apps to “refresh”, and that would usually fix things. But I’d come across the problem every now and again. Hopefully, this can be fixed in future updates, as everything else works fine.
So, yes, your Netflix binge and Youtube rabbithole adventures won’t be affected. You’ll get the same decent quality when it comes to viewing Blue Lock–the hottest sports anime of 2023.
Budget range phones usually struggle against any game that isn’t named Mobile Legends, so it was nice to see that this wasn’t entirely the case for the C55. We could also factor in the Mediatek Helio G88 chipset and our variant having 8GB of expandable RAM instead of the default 6GB, so results will definitely vary.
You’ll need to curb your expectations and tweak your game settings a bit to get a smooth experience. This means turning graphic rendering to low, turning off motion blur, and keeping everything at 30 fps. I know, it’s neither the best solution, nor the best gaming experience, but not having to drop everything to its lowest settings on a budget device is a small step in improvement.
Genshin Impact is our usual stress test, so what about less demanding games like Goddess of Victory: NIKKE? Well, you’ll be psyched to know that waifu gun simulator can run well even on its higher settings. Cranking them lower makes the game run even smoother.
So, if you’re more of a competitive esports gamer, then this phone can indeed help you on the go.
Geek Photoshoot Capabilities
Having one less main camera may not sound as appealing, but it’s a pretty good decision. The realme C55 can focus (pun intended) more on delivering quality photos than introducing gimmicks. Besides, that’s what the upper midrange is for.
The 64MP shooter captures great photos under decent lighting, and there’s quite a bit of detail in each shot. Chroma Boost does a great job in making the colors pop–even at X5 zoom. While it’s no telephoto lens, you do get serviceable photos even if you crank the zoom up to 10. Just don’t expect it to be crystal clear.
The 2MP depth lens requires a bit of positioning to get that perfect bokeh effect, but they look pretty good right off the bat.
Selfies are still the bane of my existence, but a nice surprise on the C55. Beauty mode notwithstanding, photos come out clear, courtesy of the 8MP camera. Same goes for portrait mode. We’d get to see how well it works if I had longer, messier hair, but for the most part, the photos came out fine.
Street mode is back, but just as a quick loadout, as you don’t get the choice to shoot between JPG and RAW, and you don’t get a separate watermark for it. As for night mode, you get some fairly good shots under low to even lower lighting.
Lastly, video features. The ability to shoot at 1080p/60 fps with the main camera is definitely a huge blow against then competition. While you can’t expect 4K on a budget phone, and 30 fps is industry standard both up front and at the back, those 60 frames are a nice feature to have. Personally, it makes up for the lack of ultrawide.
Budget phones are the workhorses of the mobile world, and the C55 is no different. The 5000 mAh battery coupled with 33W charging ensure that your day is set, with about half a day more for fun.
The modern expandable RAM craze is more than just a gimmick–and that goes for all phones. Having the capability to switch between apps and windows without your phone conking out is a must nowadays–especially on tight deadlines. Whether you sport the 6GB or 8GB model, having more than your usual RAM helps in a pinch.
In terms of how the components all work together alongside realme UI 4.0, you get efficiency for days–every day.
Final Geek Lifestyle Verdict
The realme C55 is a top contender in the budget battle royale, and rightfully so. From aesthetics to specs, you get a device that punches slightly above its weight class–and we’re looking forward to other brands doing the same. We’ve come along way from cutting corners for price. Instead, we see certain standards being set, and a few qualities from up top tricking down.
While the prices may be a bit more steep than usual, you get your money’s worth. If you’re in the market for a phone that can game, take good photos, shoot 1080p at 60fps, and can last you for days, then you might want to check out the latest entry into the C series.
The realme C55 is priced at PHP 8,999 for the 6GB/128GB variant and PHP 10,999 for the 8GB/256GB model. It’s currently available via realme’s Lazada Flagship Store, the realme e-store, and your nearest retail outlets.
realme C55 specs:
- Mediatek Helio G88 (12nm)
- Mali-G52 MC2 GPU
- 4GB, 6GB, 8GB RAM
- 6.72 inch IPS LCD, 90Hz
- 64, 128, 256GB Storage
- 64 MP, 2 MP, (depth) dual rear camera setup
- 8 MP front camera
- LTE, Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, fingerprint scanner (side-mounted), USB Type-C
- 5000mAh battery with 33W charging
- Android 13, Realme UI 4.0