Realme C65 5G Review: The perks of 5G with minimal compromises

Realme C65 5G Review: The perks of 5G with minimal compromises
VERDICT:

The Realme C65 5G provides exceptional bang for your buck. At a low price of just ₹10,499, the phone provides smooth performance, class-leading battery life, and impressive photos in daylight. This takes care of the three pillars of a smartphone that most users covet – performance, battery, and camera. Competing phones such as the Lava Blaze 2 and POCO M6 Pro fall short in terms of camera and GPU performance. However, all is not perfect. The Realme C65 – like most budget Realme phones – has excessive bloatware. Additionally, the base variant’s 64 GB storage is lacklustre by 2024 standards.


The rampant democratisation of 5G in India is birthing a new era of affordable 5G-enabled phones with a few compromises to keep the costs in check. The Realme C65 5G joins the pack of bang-for-your-buck 5G phones, which consists of phones like the Lava Blaze 2 5G (review) and POCO M6 Pro 5G (review). The C65 5G succeeds the popular Realme C55 (review). Since its predecessor was a 4G-only device, it automatically makes the upgrade to 5G one of the C65’s most prominent upgrades.

That aside, the Realme C65 features an array of improvements such as a more powerful processor, IP54 protection, an improved primary camera, and a faster 120 Hz refresh rate. There are also some downgrades too. Notably, the reduction of fast charging speeds. So, will the Realme C65 make an impact in the budget 5G smartphone market, or will it crash and burn because of stronger competition? Let’s delve into the review to find out. 

Realme C65 5G Review: Build and Design

Equipped with a pleasing design, the Realme C65’s Feather Green colour variant mimics the feather-like rear panel design of the recently launched Realme P1. Soft feather strokes grace the phone’s matte plastic back, making it stand out from the crowd at first glance. Realme’s signature circular camera island makes its way to a C-series phone for the first time as well. This is also one of the slimmest and lightest 5G phones in this price range, beating out competitors such as the Lava Blaze 2 and POCO M6 Pro.

Realme C65 5G Review

The phone’s frame is also made of polycarbonate and the edges are completely flat, much like its predecessor. While the phone is lightweight, the sharp edges make it uncomfortable to hold for longer periods. However, if you plop on the included transparent case, the issue is resolved. The phone houses a side-mounted fingerprint sensor that’s one of the fastest I’ve tested at this price. Additionally, you also get IP54 dust and water resistance; the POCO M6 Pro 5G also offers ingress protection, but it is limited to IP53.

Realme C65 5G Build and Design Review

The C65 doesn’t upgrade to a stereo speaker setup, but the single speaker is loud enough for indoor usage in small to medium-sized rooms. The phone also features a 3.5 mm audio jack and an expandable memory slot for SD cards. 

Realme C65 5G Build and Design Review

Realme C65 5G Review: Display

The Realme C65’s display is a mixed bag. It flaunts a 6.67-inch IPS LCD panel with 120 Hz refresh rate support. Sadly, the resolution is bumped down from Full HD+ to HD+, which means it is not as sharp as the C55’s display. The POCO M6 Pro provides a Full HD+ display at a similar price but has only 90 Hz refresh rate.

Realme C65 5G Display Review

Personally, the upgrade to the refresh rate justifies the sacrifice of display quality at this price. The phone doesn’t support HDR, but Widevine L1 allows you to stream HD content on OTT platforms which the phone is perfectly capable of running well. The 120 Hz refresh rate makes the phone feel smoother, which is imperative at this price point where processors are not as powerful.

Realme C65 5G Display Review

So, the Realme C65’s display is not perfect – viewing angles are mediocre and the brightness only touched 528 nits on HBM in our testing, but the smooth 120 Hz refresh rate makes up for some of these misses.

How good is the performance?

The Realme C65 5G is powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 6030 processor and features up to 6 GB LPDDR4X RAM and up to 128 GB UFS 2.2 storage. However, the base variant that costs ₹10,499 (without discounts) only has 4 GB RAM and 64 GB internal storage. While the RAM is acceptable for the price, 64 GB storage is far too dated for 2024 when our storage needs are skyrocketing.

Realme C65 5G Review

The phone does support external memory via a microSD card, it is almost guaranteed that most users would need to shell out extra money for an SD card since 64 GB simply doesn’t cut it now. I hope Realme defaults to 128 GB going forward as many brands are doing in 2024.

The performance of my 6 GB + 128 GB review unit was more than satisfactory though. The phone breezes through day-to-day tasks with ease; you can confidently run common apps such as WhatsApp, YouTube, Facebook, and more without the worry of excessive lag. Multitasking on the 6 GB unit was also great for the price. 

In benchmarks, the Realme C65, once again, had a strong showing. It got a solid score of 4,30,291 in AnTuTu v10 which was only beaten by the POCO M6 Pro by a slight margin. In GeekBench, the phone got a decent Single Core score of 785 and a Multi Core score of 1962. However, in PCMark Work, the Lava Blaze 2 beat it by a significant margin.

Moving on to GPU benchmarks, the Realme C65 stunned me with its performance. It scored over 1300 points in 3D Mark Wildlife which was more than double the POCO M6 Pro’s score. The phone also came out with top-notch scores in all GFXBench tests I ran. It can run BGMI and COD: Mobile on Low-Medium graphics with ease but I did notice frame drops after 45 minutes of continuous gaming.

The phone also does well under sustained workload as depicted by the CPU Throttling Test where the phone showed no throttling whatsoever. However, the storage read and write speeds are very low and need to be improved.

Realme C65 5G Review

As for the UI, the Realme C65 runs Realme UI 5.0 with the latest Android 14 on top. The company has promised two years of software updates and three years of security updates, which is excellent for the price. The bloatware issue continues to persist though. There’s third-party apps galore including the likes of Snapchat, Amazon, LinkedIn, Agoda, Netflix, and Public that come preinstalled on the phone.

The camera exceeds expectations!

The Realme C65 5G has a modest two-camera setup which includes a 50 MP primary sensor and an auxiliary camera. It has an 8 MP front camera for selfies and records video at 1080p at 30 fps on both cameras. The cameras are basic but decent enough for daylight photos.

Realme C65 5G Camera Review

The primary camera delivers well-exposed images with good levels of detail and contrast. The dynamic range is passable but shadows are a bit too crushed for my liking. Close-up photos look fantastic though with great colour reproduction and sharpness. 

One of the best things about the Realme C65’s camera is its ability to click unrivalled portrait photos for the price. Portrait photos on the C65 have one of the best skin tone representations I’ve seen on budget devices. The level of detail and texture on human skin is also unparalleled. The edge detection is passable but nothing great. 

Overall though, the Realme C65’s camera exceeds my expectations. It delivers much better results than competitors such as the POCO M6 Pro. My only critique is the subpar low-light photography. In low light, photos come out looking a bit soft and noisy.

Realme C65 5G Review: Battery Life

If you’re looking for a phone that will dilute your battery drainage woes, the Realme C65 is an excellent option. The phone is equipped with a 5,000 mAh cell. Coupled with the power-efficient Dimensity 6300 6 nm processor, the phone lasts a good two days on light usage. Heavy users will see a respectable screen-on time of six to eight hours, which is excellent. 

Realme C65 5G Battery Review

In our 4K video loop test, the Realme C65 powered through a whopping 15 hours from full charge to empty. 15 minutes of Call of Duty: Mobile only depleted five per cent of battery during my testing, which is great. However, the 15 W charger takes more than two hours to charge to full.  

Should you buy the Realme C65 5G?

The Realme C65 5G provides exceptional bang for your buck. At a low price of just ₹10,499, the phone provides smooth performance, class-leading battery life, and impressive photos in daylight. This takes care of the three pillars of a smartphone that most users covet – performance, battery, and camera. Competing phones such as the Lava Blaze 2 and POCO M6 Pro fall short in terms of camera and GPU performance. However, all is not perfect.

The Realme C65 – like most budget Realme phones – has excessive bloatware. Additionally, the base variant’s 64 GB storage is lacklustre by 2024 standards. Nevertheless, the Realme C65 has made minimal compromises even though it has brought 5G to the masses at a very affordable price point, and therefore, it gets our stamp of approval.

Dhriti Datta

Dhriti Datta

Perpetually sporting a death stare, this one can be seen tinkering around with her smartphone which she holds more dear than life itself and stuffing her face with copious amounts of bacon. View Full Profile

 
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