At a time when every brand is working on expanding its product portfolio, it is usually the budget smartphone segment that takes a hit. There are no surprises since the mid-range segment is the more aggressive and demanding market. At this time, Realme has launched the C55. An outright budget device with the bells and whistles of a standard Realme experience. The C55 is a solid product on paper. As you may expect, some compromises have been made here, which are substituted by adding some neat features on the UI front. But is it enough? And can the Realme C55 be a value champion? I answer that in my full review.
Price & Availability
Realme C55 is available in three variants. There is a variant with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage priced at ₹10,999. Then there is a variant with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage priced at ₹11,999. Finally there is a variant with 8GB RAM variant with 128B of internal storage priced at ₹13,999. You can buy the Realme C55 from Amazon India and Realme’s D2C website.
Realme C55 takes a different route in terms of design from what I have seen so far from the brand in the budget category. My last encounter with the Realme 9i 5G impressed me with the design, even though I didn’t like the Metallica gold color. The C55 builds upon the same theme with flat edges and a sandwich design. Something I am a fan of since it allows one to maintain a solid grip around the device.
I have the Sunshower color, which is refreshing with this design. I generally do not like bright colors on a smartphone, but it’s been executed well here. But in case you like a more formal color, you can check out the rainy night color variant, which is a fancy term for black.
This big smartphone stands tall at 6.72 inches, yet the weight distribution is commendable. The smartphone feels lighter and only imposes its size with one hand. Consider this a heads-up if you have small hands.
As you may expect, like most devices at this price point, C55 skips on an official IP rating. I have mentioned it before, but I hope certain characteristics should be standard on smartphones now. IP rating being one.
Otherwise, the fit and finish of the device are appropriate with its price tag. On the right-hand side, you will find the volume rockers, which are of good quality and do not wobble. Then aligned neatly under them is the power button, which doubles up for the fingerprint reader. Although a bit slow to register the impression, it quickly unlocks the device.
As a budget device, C55 doesn’t skip on the 3.5mm headphone jack. An endangered feature on smartphones these days. And yes, it works well.
The smartphone supports two nano SIMs and a micro SD card. The C55 supports 4G connectivity only, which is a point of contention, I will share my opinion about this characteristic in the performance section.
The Realme C55 features a 6.7-inch IPS LCD with a screen resolution of 2400×1800 pixels. Before I move to the visual experience, I would like to highlight the execution here. This is a punch-hole notch with very thin bezels, something brands usually skip in budget devices. Generally, we get to see the teardrop notch, including devices from Realme.
Moving to the visual experience, the display, with its 680 nits of peak brightness, is decent. Reading texts and registering animations from the panel is easy, especially indoors.
However, I covered the display with my palm to read under sunlight.
Watching content on display is mostly satisfactory. Of course, it doesn’t feature HDR, which I was mindful of while forming my opinion. The experience of watching content here is wholesome.
Where it needs to catch up is color reproduction. The images on display can be undersaturated at times, I noticed this mostly with greens. Another area where it could have done better is the black levels.
That said, a general user will be okay with watching content here since it has a big screen and a sound set-up to support it. Although a mono speaker, the audio output here is loud, and I have no complaints.
Like the Realme 9i, the C55 also features a 90Hz max refresh rate on display, which is commendable for this price. The execution here is also quite good, and you will thoroughly enjoy reading content on a web page or scrolling on social media with it. It also features an auto-select that allows the device to switch the refresh rate according to the content. I suggest sticking to 90Hz since the auto-switch sometimes misses out, especially when you switch from a web page to a game.
Otherwise, the screen responsiveness is top-notch, and I do not have anything here to complain about.
Realme C55 comes with Android 13 out of the box with a Realme UI 4 skin. I want to get the most talked about software feature out of the way first – the mini capsule.
In their briefing, Realme said they wanted to make the experience better when pitted against iPhone 14 Pro’s Dynamic island. Of course, no names were thrown, but we know what they were talking about.
Over at the iPhone 14 Pro line-up, there is still some time before we can utilize the complete potential of the feature. Until then, it stands out for some users and hinders the visual experience, especially while watching content. Moreover, you cant turn it off, considering it is essentially a hardware spec.
The mini capsule on the C55 solves one of two issues right away. It’s not a hardware spec; hence it can be turned off when you don’t want it. Also, considering it is essentially a notification pop-up, it won’t affect your experience for now either.
The execution is straightforward, with the mini capsule encompassing three key areas – charging, data consumption, and steps stats.
It changes its shade to green when the device is fully charged, blue when charging, and red when the battery is lower than 5%. Aesthetically, it looks very interesting, but I prefer looking at the battery percentage to see where the device is standing.
The light changes to orange when we reach 90% of our data consumption limit. This is one notification that I had to wait and observe, but it was worth it.
The Realme mini capsule has fewer applications for now than the dynamic island, but the execution is commendable. Given, this is a UI-based solution, we should be seeing it on more Realme devices down the line.
For now, this is an exciting addition for a smartphone, especially at this price point. However, third-party apps are available on the Google Play Store, like Dynamicspot, which is more versatile.
In C55’s case, the Realme mini capsule can be a highlight, but there’s some time before it can be deemed a USP. I will sincerely look forward to what else Realme can offer here, considering the brand’s track record is solid.
Beyond this, the Realme UI offers the standard features we are used to, including the bloatware. As we expect, a buffet of applications here can be uninstalled, including Moj and Josh.
Once you get rid of them, you can focus on the strengths of the UI, particularly the aesthetics and animation. I have always maintained that Realme UI is easy to understand and aesthetically appealing. Of course, you get many customization options here, including widgets for emails, calendars, and messaging apps.
The Mediatek Helio G88 SoC powers Realme C55. Before I proceed with the performance review, I must highlight that this is a 4G processor. It’s been five months since 5G services were rolled out in India, and the consumer shift is apparent. In this situation, recommending the C55 to a mass set of consumers becomes very difficult. Especially since another device in the Realme portfolio has been my suggestion in this price range – the 9i 5G. A device with decent specifications, an attractive design, and, most importantly, 5G support, starting at ₹14,999.
That being said, I have tried to see the merit of the C55. And I can’t deny the large set of consumers who will find this attractive, particularly college students and perhaps people who are not keen on switching to 5G yet because of the premium in pricing.
The smartphone’s performance is respectable, and it delivers on what I had expected.
It was consistent with its performance when I was not pushing it beyond its limits. This remains true for both graphics-heavy tasks, among others.
Consistent performance if you are careful with your choices. By that, I mean you need to understand the graphic limitations of the device, among other factors because if you are aware of them, you have a winner in your hands.
I want to start with the most obvious use case – gaming. Yes, the C55 can game, although at a moderate graphic setting. I have played long sessions of COD: Mobile on this one, and I am impressed by the performance. Impressed because I didn’t face any lags or ugly frame drops that might spoil my experience. Frankly, at this price, consistency matters more than graphic capabilities. So, if you are a gamer, you won’t be disappointed.
Basic usage like watching videos, surfing the web, and scrolling social media is not an issue. Yes, you won’t find the smoothness we see in medium-range or flagship devices. But the animations and aesthetics make up for it, balancing the experience out.
For reference, I ran a GeekBench score on the C55, and the results met my expectations. The single-core score was 423, while the multi-core score was 1401. Reconfirming this is not a performance-heavy device but provides a balance for output.
The RAM on my variant is 8GB which can be expanded by another 8GB with fusion memory. Usually, it doesn’t add much to the experience, but with C55, I noticed quicker boot-up speeds in games.
Otherwise, the RAM can retain lighter apps for prolonged periods, which is good news. The storage in my review variant is 128GB, which might hinder long-term usage. So, you can opt for a micro SD card or look into cloud storage solutions for media files.
The battery is a strong quotient for the Realme C55, as it should be, considering the 5000mAh cell is powering up modest hardware. In my testing, I have been getting a screen on time of up to 6 hours on a heavy day, sometimes six and a half hours if I am careful. For a generic consumer, this is a symphony to the ears. The 33W charger in the box takes 1 hour and 15 minutes to charge the battery for 0-100% with active internet.
Realme C55 features a dual camera set-up, which aligns with the devices in this price category. The primary camera here is a 64MP shooter with a 2MP depth sensor. And, I am genuinely surprised with the camera results, partially because my expectations were pretty low.
I want to start with some casual shots taken in bright outdoors. As you can see in the images below, the camera has registered natural skin tones and precise color detection of the surroundings. The HDR was also impressive, and the sensor can maintain decent details in the output.
This is further enhanced when you click images in the 64MP mode. I have cut out PNGs of the below image, and even in the post, it didn’t lose out on detail. In the picture below, the pink on my t-shirt is well intact and matches the source color.
The dedicated 2MP depth sensor on the device takes its sweet time to process an image, but the results are stunning. In the portrait shot below, the edge detection is crisp and precise.
No dedicated telephoto lens exists, so all the zoom-in and out activities are digital. That being said, the camera does hold well. Below is a collage for reference. This was shot at 1X, 2X, 5X, and 10X zoom. In the final image, details are out of the window, but the device has provided a respectable zoom.
This means the streak of the camera takes a dip under low lighting. Even with the dedicated night mode, the sensor finds it difficult to maintain details, and there is a considerable amount of noise in the image.
Video performance is fairly decent, with the camera recording 1080P videos up to 60fps. The video situation is at par with what we saw in the images, with well-lit conditions being a stable ground for the camera. The audio recorded from the internal microphone is also crisp. Here I am pointing out that the camera app requires us to go into a dedicated menu to change the video settings. This is inconvenient and something I haven’t seen in a while.
The 8MP selfie camera is underwhelming, providing under-saturated images and completely missing the mark in portrait mode. It’s not bad, though, since the AI here works perfectly. So if you like tweaking your facial features, you are in for a good time.
The selfie camera can record 1080P videos at 30fps and performs decently for casual video. However, I suggest relying on the primary setup if you plan to make content with the device.
After my testing, I can safely say that the Realme capsule can’t be a USP for this device, considering the applications are limited. Why you should consider the C55 is simple – display, performance, and camera set-up. If you have a limited budget, the C55 is a value deal, especially for performance-hungry users.
However, I can’t write off that it’s indeed a 4G device. So going in, you should be aware of the implications. If you want to stay updated on the connectivity front with 5G and on the same budget, I recommend the Samsung Galaxy M13 5G.