realme budget phones are getting really better and better. As someone who got to experience using a realme C33, I can say that the realme C55 is definitely an upgrade — better look, more screen space, faster charging, and bigger storage option. Not to mention the new gimmick called “Mini Capsule”, which is similar to a software feature in flagship smartphones that cost a fortune (IYKYK).
As an overview, the realme C55 is the first C-Series model to offer 8GB+256GB of storage together with a 6.72-inch 90Hz FHD+ screen and 33W SUPERVOOC Charging. Is it something that will fit your lifestyle? Keep reading to find out.
Staying true to the description that the brand has been using in its advertisements, “Stylish Champion” seems fit as the realme C55 definitely doesn’t settle for basic. Unlike the glossy C33, the C55 has a matte surface which makes it resistant to fingerprint smudges. The cameras are still boxed inside a glossy accent that reflects light, though! Despite the matte look, realme was able to incorporate vertical rain-like designs that complement the iridescent back panel. I got the Sunshower color, which is a stunning mix of blue and green on one angle and yellow and orange on another. When there’s not enough light source to illuminate the design, it looks like a clean purple-silver color. Never a dull moment with this color variant! For those who prefer something a bit more muted, realme also offers a black Rainy Night color and a green Rainforest color.
While the design is eye-catching on its own, the huge rear cameras are also scene-stealers. I’m not 100% comfortable with its size, knowing how often I drop my phone, but I’d let it slide given how nice the photos turned out (more about that later). This can also easily be addressed by buying a better phone case.
With or without the free jelly case that comes in its box, it’s easy to hold since it only weighs 189.5 grams and it’s just 7.89mm thick. It has flat edges and curved corners, which I personally prefer over those with semi-sharp ones. Also judging based on my small hands, the unlock/power button and volume rocker are easy to reach while using one hand even if they’re both on the right side of the smartphone. Since the left side only houses the card slot, the realme C55 can easily be mounted on phone holders without worrying about stability or accidentally pressing buttons.
The top surface is smooth, while at the bottom, you’ll find the 3.5mm headphone jack, USB Type-C port, microphone, and speaker grille. I continue to be a 3.5mm jack apologist since I still use wired earphones more often. I charge a number of devices before heading off to work so Bluetooth earphones are the least of my priority. Thankful that realme continues to bear this feature for people like me!
In front, you’ll get a 6.72-inch IPS LCD with a smooth 90Hz refresh rate and a punch-hole front camera that I personally prefer over the teardrop camera with bigger bezels. Speaking of bezels, it has decent-sized ones – the kind which isn’t distracting even if the bottom part is thicker than the rest. After all, we’re talking about a smartphone under the Php 10,000 mark here so bezel-less isn’t something that I’m expecting.
In terms of colors and brightness, it does a decent job on all conditions except when viewing the screen under direct sunlight (think around 12nn), but not bad for 680nits. It won’t be a problem if you don’t like walking outdoors while it’s scorching hot anyway.
The realme C55 is also the first ever budget Android device to add a “Mini Capsule” – a software feature that displays battery charging status, low battery warnings, data consumption, and step count on top of the screen. It adds an expanding overlay surrounding the punch-hole camera to make the notifications more noticeable. Same as my first impression, I still feel like this feature isn’t necessary but more of a nice-to-have since a lot of people are after the premium features of expensive phones.
While I’ve been seeing mixed reactions about this online, some even calling it a “copycat” version, I think it’s good that realme has its own take on the Mini Capsule and at a very affordable price. It’s only a matter of time before other brands start rolling out a similar function at lower prices. If you don’t like that extra expanding notification on top of your phone, it can easily be turned off anyway.
In the future, I hope realme could add more uses beyond battery, data, and step counting. It would be nice to see message and email notifications in there, too!
On to the camera, the huge rear shooters consist of a 64MP primary and 2MP depth camera. As always, the photos look great under bright lights. My sample shots came out really clear and vibrant, unless zoomed 5-10x. I was pretty impressed with how well it brightened the subject if the photo is taken against the light, too.
In front, you’ll find an 8MP camera which is also good enough for selfies and video calls. I’m not a fan of night photos as it can be a hit-and-miss, though. Photos at night sometimes appear grainy but to address this, the realme C55 is also equipped with Night Mode to help illuminate the subjects under minimal lighting. Not perfect but definitely good enough for its price range.
While the realme C55 has zoom capabilities up to 10x, you can only find 1x, 2x, and 5x buttons visible on screen. You’ll have to long-press the option in order to manually zoom it to your liking. No ultra-wide shot available here, but realme packed quite a lot of features — Night Mode, Street Mode, Portrait, 64MP, Panorama, and Pro for manual controls.
To make shots more creative, there’s also an AI Retouching option, Chroma Boost, HDR, and 18 different filters to choose from.
The main downside? I still encounter some issues with its Portrait Mode, same as the other C-Series models. As much as I’d like to capture my full face and outfit, parts of my glasses and hair still get blurred out in a harsh way which somehow ruins the overall look. realme could really work on its edge detection in the future. On the bright side, I like how Portrait Mode is able to capture non-human subjects like toys and flowers.
As for videos, the realme C55 can only take 720p and 1080p videos.
STORAGE AND PERFORMANCE
There are times when I forget that I’m reviewing an entry-level phone, especially since the realme C55 performs as good as some of the mid-range ones I’ve tried. For its storage, it’s available in two variants — 6GB+128GB and 8GB+256GB which can be expanded up to 8GB in Dynamic RAM and up to 1TB via microSD. That’s the biggest one we’ve seen in the C Series! Big enough to store photos, HD videos, files, and hypercasual games.
The realme C55 is powered by a MediaTek Helio G88 which I think is not an issue despite the existence of newer chipsets. It’s capable of providing a smooth experience with little to unnoticeable lags. I was able to switch from task to task with ease and keep multiple tabs running in the background. As for the OS, it runs on Android 13 with realme UI 4.0 which has easy-to-use widgets and a side bar for multitaskers.
I wasn’t expecting much from the gaming department but the C55 was able to run the likes of Pokemon UNITE, Pokemon Go, and light games like Pocket Champs with no issues. However, I encountered frame drops and the device did feel a bit hot to touch while playing Ragnarok Origin at the highest resolution for a prolonged period. Definitely not for heavy games and apps.
I still prefer using this device to watch videos vs play games, though! Audio may come out a bit muffled from time to time since it’s only a bottom-firing speaker but this can be addressed by plugging in or connecting earphones.
As always, I peg my tests based on work/school hours. Happy to say that the 5,000mAh battery can keep up for around 10-12 hours for the hustlers and students. That’s a mix of heavy social media use, some messaging and video playback, and minimal gaming. My favorite part about this, however, is its 33W SUPERVOOC fast charging feature which can fully charge your phone in just an hour. And yes, it uses a USB Type-C cable! No need to worry about charging issues as well because the realme C55 is equipped with a High Voltage, Low Current Charging Technology and other safety features to ensure battery health. That’s time-saving for busy bees!
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
The realme C55 is already available on their official TikTok Shop starting today (April 18, 2023) for only Php 7,999 (6GB+128GB) and Php 9,999 (8GB+256GB), that’s Php 1,000 off the original SRP which is at Php 8,999 SRP for the 6GB + 128GB variant and Php 10,999 SRP for the 8GB+256GB variant. Freebies worth up to Php690 will also be up for grabs starting 11:30 PM. Limited units available, though!
For those who prefer purchasing via other platforms, you’d have to wait until April 19 for it to be available on Lazada. Free shipping and Php 1,000 off are also applicable for both variants until April 21, until supplies last. Alternatively, you can also purchase via the realme e-store with a 5% upfront discount and a free TechLife Power Bank worth Php 799 from April 19-25.
Official offline stores will also be offering their own freebies and discounts from April 19 to 30: Aside from the free power bank and earbuds, the first ten customers of realme’s 30 Concept Stores will be receiving a free realme Power Bank 2 (10,000mAh) upon purchase of any realme C55 variant.
Given the price of Php 7,999 (assuming you’d be purchasing right away), it’s a good deal already for a budget smartphone. Since it’s not really a gaming device, parents may want to consider this as a starter smartphone for their teens. It does everything that you’d need in a phone, takes decent photos, battery doesn’t get drained easily, has fast charging, and it has a Mini Capsule and appealing design that you can show off, similar to more expensive brands.
For the specs sheet, visit our previous blog here.