With Christmas fast approaching, I’ve been receiving queries about what types of budget phones can be given as a gift for people who just need smartphones for basic functions. Although there are a lot of options in the market, one of the first few I’d consider when it comes to affordability is realme. Aside from the fact that I’m still using the realme 9 Pro+, their C series also does not disappoint for its price range. The latest that we’ve tried out is the realme C33 – an entry-level smartphone with 50MP AI Camera, 5MP Selfie Camera, a sparkly design, a Unisoc T612 chipset, 5000mAh battery, and 6.5” HD+ LCD display, to name a few. The main selling point now? It used to cost Php 7,499 but it will drop down to Php 5,779 and will come with a free Globe prepaid 5G sim during the brand’s 12.12 Mega Pamasko Sale!
To help you decide on whether to purchase one or not this holiday season, here’s a rundown of our almost 3-week experience:
INSIDE THE BOX
Similar to other models within the C series, you’ll only find the basics inside the yellow realme C33 sliding box: The realme C33 unit, a Quick Guide, Important Information Guide with Warranty Card, SIM ejector tool, 10W charger, and microUSB cable.
DESIGN AND DISPLAY
As always, it’s the back design that initially caught my eye. The sparkly Sandy Gold variant (in photos) fit my silver OOTDs so well, but there are also two other colorways – Aqua Blue and Night Sea. The color looks more like silver to me but it has specks of gold if you look closely, reminiscent of silver and gold Christmas balls on your Christmas trees! Although it’s a real stunner, the downside of this mirror-like back cover is that it’s a fingerprint magnet. Easily solved by adding a clear case, though.
At the back, you’ll also find a realme logo on the lower left corner and one small flash and two large cameras – a 50MP main camera and a 0.3MP depth-sensing camera – on the upper left side. The lenses are protruding so I would recommend that you put a jelly case to avoid getting scratches on it.
On the left side is a card slot for two nano SIM cards and microSD card. While on the right, you’ll find the volume rocker and the fingerprint scanner which serves as a power and lock button. All these sides which measure around 8.3mm thick have a metallic-like paint which makes the realme C33 look more premium than its price point.
The speaker grilles, microUSB port, main microphone, and 3.5mm audio jack can be found at the bottom. I was also surprised when I saw the microUSB port as I’ve already shifted to pure Type-C devices and wearables but considering its price, we still gave it a shot.
In front is the 6.5-inch HD+ LCD screen which gives off a good color register, thanks to its IPS panel. Despite the thick bezels on all sides and the teardrop camera at the top center of the screen, viewing angles remain decent.
Without a jelly case, the realme C33 is also easy to bring and grip because of its 187g weight. The buttons are also placed in easy-to-reach places, regardless if you’re right-handed or left-handed (a different finger can be registered at the fingerprint scanner in case you don’t want to use your thumb).
Since it’s an entry-level device with a dual camera setup, I didn’t really expect much from it but the 50MP main shooter and 0.3MP depth sensor surprised me. I loved the outcome of photos taken under bright lighting, including intense sunlight at 12nn, as the colors remained true-to-life even though I was expecting the shots to be overexposed. It’s almost comparable to the midrange device that I’m using, which is a good thing especially if the photos are for social media use or for remembrance only. Here are some of my favorite shots:
The realme C33 is also capable of taking zoomed photos up to 4x, though I prefer using it only up to 2x to ensure that the outcome isn’t grainy:
On the other hand, indoor photos under not-so-bright lights can be a hit-or-miss, same as night shots (with or without the use of Night Mode) as they tend to come out a bit fuzzy. You’ll also notice more noise as the environment gets darker.
The same can be said for its 5MP front camera which also takes decent selfies under bright lights but gets a bit blurry when in dim locations. The Portrait Mode blur effect also needs a bit of work when it comes to detecting hair but that can somehow be solved by adjusting the aperture.
It also comes with Pro Mode, Panorama, Time-lapse, and a dedicated 50MP Mode. For videos, the realme C33 can take 480p and 720p videos only, good enough for social apps like TikTok, Instagram Reels, or Facebook videos.
STORAGE AND PERFORMANCE
I’ve been using the realme C33 for almost 3 weeks now and during work days, it has been able to keep up and smoothly deliver my usual smartphone needs – Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Word and Excel files, multiple tabs on Chrome, and calls from time to time. I didn’t experience lags even as I watched 1080p YouTube videos while having apps running in the background. It’s powered by a 12nm Octacore Unisoc T612 processor running on Realme UI S, with a refresh rate of 1.82GHz. Of course, it’s still advisable to remove apps that you’re not using in order to keep your phone running smoothly.
For someone whose work doesn’t require a lot of photo and video shoots nor saving a lot of files, the 4GB+64GB may be enough. I would also suggest downloading hypercasual games on this smartphone as heavier games such as Mobile Legends may not run at its best resolution. It’s a decent device for binge-watching Netflix shows and KDrama, though!
As for the battery life, the 5,000mAh battery is enough for a full 8-hour work day but it usually requires charging whenever I stay outside for around 12 hours (e.g. dinner outside, afterparty, late-night workout) with data on. Pretty acceptable for an entry-level smartphone. The main downside for me would really be the absence of fast charging for this device as it still uses a microUSB port. I leave it charging around two hours to ensure that it’s fully charged before I go to work.
PRICING AND AVAILABILITY
The realme C33 was released in the Philippines last October at Php 7,499 and has been available both online via e-commerce sites and offline via realme stores and kiosks nationwide, but for a limited time this 12.12 Mega Pamasko Sale, they will be offering the realme C33 with a 15% discount, bringing the price down to Php 5,779, along with a free Globe prepaid 5G sim via Shopee. To make a purchase, simply click this link and don’t forget to apply the voucher!
|Display||6.5-inch LCD HD+ 720 x 1600 PPI: 269 Sceen-to-body ratio: 88.70% Refresh Rate: 60Hz Touch Sampling Rate: 120Hz Brightness: 400 nits|
|Dimensions||164.2mm x 75.7mm x 8.3mm (L x W x H) Weight: 187g|
|System||OS: realme UI S Edition, Android 12 Processor: Unisoc T612 Processor Voice Assistant: Google Assistant|
|Memory||4GB + 64GB|
|Cameras||Rear: 50MP + 0.3MP Front: 5MP|
|Battery||5000mAh (10W charging)|
|Audio||Bottom-blasting speakers Audio port: 3.5mm Headphone Jack|
|Connectivity||2.4GHz WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0 2G/3G/4G|
|Colors||Aqua Blue, Night Sea, Sandy Gold|
Taking everything into consideration, we’d say that the realme C33 is a decent budget smartphone to consider if you’d like to give someone a smartphone this Christmas. It would also be a good first phone choice for teenagers who need to focus on productivity apps rather than games, too. For only around Php 6,000 during the sale, it’s a steal deal except if you prefer Type C ports or gaming phones.