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Manila, Philippines

Let’s be frank: What makes realme one of PH’s top smartphone brands?

In November 2018, a young smartphone brand arrived in the Philippines. It was poised to offer phones for the youth, coming with specs that could keep up with the biggest smartphone brands and a price point on the more wallet-friendly side. The brand is Realme, and it's been one of the Philippines' top smartphone brands in the past couple of years.

For the 1st quarter of 2021, Realme was named as the No. 1 smartphone brand in the country by analyst firm Canalys and the International Data Corporation (IDC)—an impressive feat in the midst of a pandemic. But this wasn't the first time the 3-year-old brand bagged the title. Realme first reached that top spot in Q3 of 2020.

How then has this brand, which came into our shores as an unknown, grow into such a popular name among Filipinos?

a Real bang-for-your-buck

What do you look for in a smartphone? Generally, people use them for work, scrolling through social media, watching movies, snapping photos, and gaming. A good phone must be well-rounded to do all these tasks. Sure, any smartphone from any brand will fit the bill, but Realme has a certain edge: their devices can do all these for a lower price. The young brand prides itself in creating devices that are a bang-for-your-buck. These phones might come with a cheaper price tag, but performance-wise, they exceed expectations.

The brand's flagship devices, like the X3 SuperZoom, are priced lower than your typical flagships from the biggest smartphone makers. This phone, in particular, boasts 12GB of RAM, a Snapdragon 855+ chipset, and 64MP quad cameras paired with a price tag under P25k while its other competitors (with the same tech configurations) from other brands are priced at around P30k. Most smartphones under P30k don't even have these features!

realme also makes tech like 5G within people's reach—the 5G-ready realme 8 is priced at under P12k.

Design-wise, Realme stands out in the sea of smartphones, too. Each smartphone series from this brand dons unique, eye-catching rear designs. I know they're going for an on-trend design, but sometimes simple is the best way to go.

An Honest review

While I was writing for a local tech magazine, I've had the privilege to get my hands on a few Realme phones across different segments. I tested out their entry-level C series, their midrangers, and a couple of other gadgets in their AIoT ecosystem. And during these times, I was thoroughly impressed with the specs and performance of these low-priced devices.

Sure, they weren't my favorites design-wise—I'm not a fan of the plastic build and gradient-toned rears—but my experience with the phones was always pleasant. They worked as well as any Android I've tested and they performed all the smartphone daily driver tasks with ease. In fact, when someone asks me for recommendations for smartphones under P15k, Realme is the first brand on my lips. The main reason being value for money.

It knows what people want and need in a smartphone and makes it affordable. The cameras on the entry-level devices aren't the best, but they're serviceable. They're good enough to use to capture memories. And the processors on the cheaper phones might not be the most high-tech, but they can handle crowd-favorite games like Mobile Legends and Call of Duty Mobile. For this reason, Realme has been dubbed the entry-level king.

Making its mark

Specs and price aside, Realme has a strong user community in the Philippines, strengthening its foothold locally. They have a Realme Community app, an official community forum, where users with queries about their devices can freely ask questions and get tips and advice.

This yellow marque continues to expand its local offerings, too, as it brings in AIoT devices like its own smart TV, wireless earbuds, smartwatches, soundbars, and even electric toothbrushes and smart scales. Realme might not be the first to do something like this (brands like Xiaomi did it in the country first) but the young label seems to be making a name for itself, not just in the pockets where smartphones live but also in Filipino households.

What are your thoughts on Realme?

Realme's Official Website:


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