The realme C55 is a bright and affordable smartphone for young people that offers adequate picture quality, an unusual design and decent performance. We managed to get this new product for testing before the official European premiere, so we publish the review as soon as possible. Let’s take a closer look at the device and decide if it’s worth buying.
Positioning in the range and price
The realme C55 is a budget midget, which in the range of the manufacturer “stands” between the classic midget realme 10 (our test) and the ultra-budget realme C33 (we also tested it). Compared to the realme 10, the C55 has a simpler screen, a weaker processor and camera, but also a lower price.
And compared to the very cheap C33, the chipset and cameras are much better, as well as the display and charging speed. All in all, the range is quite adequate – there is a very affordable option, a more expensive option, and a mid-range one for those who want to save money but still get a decent budget device. You can compare all three models at this link.
- Realme C33 review: what to expect from a $140 smartphone?
- Realme 10 Smartphone Review: A New Mid-Range Hit?
Now for the pricing. The device first came out in Asia for around $160 for the 6/128GB version and around $200 for the 8/256GB version. In Europe, the device costs around 230 euros, and with promos at the start of sales even less. All in all, it’s a good thing we won’t have to go broke on this phone.
Technical specifications realme C55
- Display: 6.72″, IPS LCD, FHD+ 2400×1080 pixels, 90Hz refresh rate, 680 nits peak brightness, 2 nits minimum
- Chipset: Mediatek Helio G88 4G, 12nm, 8 cores (2×2.0GHz Cortex-A75 & 6×1.8GHz Cortex-A55)
- Graphics Accelerator: Mali-G52 MC2
- Memory: 6/128 or 8/256GB
- MicroSD Card Support: Up to 2TB, Triple Slot for Dual SIM & Memory Card
- Data transmission: 4G, Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.2 (A2DP, LE), GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO, USB-C 2.0, NFC (depending on region, available in Europe)
- Cameras: 64MP main module (f/1.8, 25mm, 1/2″, 0.7µm, phase auto focus) + 2MP depth sensor, 1080p@30/60fps video recording, 8MP front camera
- Battery: 5000mAh, SUPERVOOC 33W charging
- OS: Android 13 with realme UI 4
- Dimensions: 165.6×75.9×7.9 mm
- Weight: 189g
In the box of the phone you’ll find a 33-watt charger, a cable, a paper clip for removing the SIM slot, a case and documentation.
Also part of the package is the factory-applied screen protector. However, it is not of the best quality and collects dust and fingerprints, so it is best to remove it.
The case is grey in colour – a plus, it won’t yellow like the usual silicone ones. It fits snugly, protects corners, screen, cameras, looks solid.
In the manufacturer’s renders, the smartphone looks bright and cool. But in real life… When I took it out of the box, I was shocked. Honestly, these huge camera windows are scary! And more importantly, why?! The cameras themselves are tiny, the bezels around them are huge. The realme 10 had smaller bezels, it looked harmonious, but this is overkill.
However, when I showed the smartphone on my social networks, some even liked it, tastes differ. But most readers were amazed and gave out different associations – DJ table with turntables (the most frequent one), minions, old video camera, induction cooker burners… :-). If you have any other ideas, add them in the comments!
It’s even funny now to reread my review of realme 10, where I was scolding it for having too big camera eyes! :-)
Well, if the design catches the eye and the phone is talked about, it’s already a good design.
Apart from the “turntables” and “burners” I can’t help but notice the back panel with a structure of… something like a vinyl plate? It looks super, shimmers perfectly in the light, does not collect scratches and fingerprints, does not slip in the hand. And in general I have not seen anything like that on the “backs” of phones, although I’ve seen everything, so here realme is good.
Here I would like to point out that the glossy backing of the camera unit is too glossy and collects all fingerprints.
Otherwise, the realme C55 looks like the realme 10 – flat side edges, flat rear panel, slim 7.9 mm body. All in all, stylish and modern – an A (even two, the C55)!
The display is large (6.7 inches), but because of its good size and good weight distribution the smartphone lies well in the hand, it is realistic to operate it with one hand. However, it should be noted that I am used to large screens, while someone might find the handset too big.
The screen has relatively small bezels, with only the ‘chin’ standing out. The front camera is in the middle, whereas the realme 10 had it in the corner. There’s not much difference, but the C55 has an interesting little detail to explain this decision (and clearly inspired by the iPhone). See the software section for more details.
The manufacturer doesn’t specify that the glass protects the screen. The realme 10 had Gorilla Glass 5, it’s unclear, so it’s probably nothing special in order to save money. The case is entirely plastic, the plastic is of excellent quality to look and feel. There is no information about moisture protection, not even basic. The assembly is perfect, but that’s all you can find these days.
Let’s look at the phone from all sides. On the right side of the realme C55 you will find only the SIM card slot and microSD (you can use both two SIMs and a memory card).
On the right, the volume key and the power/lock button with integrated fingerprint sensor. It works quickly and clearly. Face recognition is also there, but for me, a fingerprint is the best way to unlock. You pick it up and your finger is automatically in the right place.
There’s nothing on the top end. On the bottom, there’s a microphone, a 3.5mm headphone jack (good thing they didn’t abandon it), speaker holes and USB-C for charging.
We tested the black version (Rainy Night), other versions are available – shimmering gold-pink-blue (Sunshower) and turquoise (Rainforest). Brighter and surely just as cool.
Only the black and gold versions will be available in Europe. We got to meet the gold one in person at the official realme presentation, the colour is cool, the case shimmers beautifully in the light!
Read also: Realme Pad X Review: An Extraordinary Tablet
The first thing we see here is the economy – the display is not Super AMOLED like the “numbered” realme 8, 9, 10, but a conventional IPS LCD. But you can’t say it’s bad – shades are juicy, colour rendering is pleasant, I’ve seen weaker IPS screens even in the 2023 models. Except that the white colour is “dirty” and darkens when you tilt it, but this is not critical for everyone.
realme claims a peak brightness of 680 nits. That’s not as much as the more expensive models, but still enough to use the smartphone on a sunny day. Also, interestingly enough, the minimum brightness is only 2 nits. So if you like to stare into the phone at night – you won’t disturb anyone with the light, and your own eyes will thank you (or rather the Chinese smartphone makers).
There are several colour display modes to choose from: Vivid, Natural mode and Pro. The former is close to DCI-P3 coverage, while the latter offers calmer and softer colours. In the latter, two more modes are available with finer colour reproduction settings.
The screen has a refresh rate of 90Hz – enough for a budget-friendly display. There are three operating modes – the standard 60Hz, 90Hz and auto mode. However, I managed to notice that 60Hz is used more often in auto mode. On the other hand, there is less strain on the battery.
The screen options are the usual: light/dark theme with additional settings for dark mode, screen colour mode selection, vision protection (warmer shades in the evening), auto-rotate, auto-off, refresh rate selection, display/hide front camera cutout and full-screen mode for non-optimised apps.
Hardware and performance of the realme C55
The new Realme C55 is based on the Mediatek Helio G88 processor, which was released in 2021 using an obsolete 12nm processor. So don’t expect anything special from it, and nothing NOT special either. A simple chip for basic tasks, the most striking feature of which is support for screens up to 90 Hz and cameras up to 64 megapixels. In AnTuTu it barely scores 220k points. If you want more intelligible performance, it’s worth paying extra for the Realme 10 with Helio G99.
Well, the C55 is enough for most of the tasks we do on the phone every day – internet browsing, messengers, social networks, taxi apps, shops, deliveries, casual games and so on. Of course, the more serious games will run as well, as they will be optimised for all hardware. But the graphics will be at a low level, there will be lags and delays.
The realme C55 is available in two versions – 6/128GB or 8/256GB of memory. The first one came to our early bird test, but only the second variant, 8/256GB, will be officially available in Europe. And that couldn’t be happier. 8GB RAM is now found even in flagships, and 256GB of data will suffice for most. And if someone doesn’t have enough, there’s the option to use memory cards of up to 2TB. One problem is the aging eMMC 5.1 memory type, not the fastest.
In general, realme calls the C55 a “memory champion” in advertisements, as few models now support 2TB memory cards (flagships might, but there are no such slots there). There’s also a lot of publicity for the 16GB of dynamic RAM, but it’s for the 8/256GB model. We’re talking about a feature that’s now found in almost every smartphone, the so-called “swap file” – adding capacity to the regular RAM through free space in the drive. Clearly, virtual RAM cannot be compared to classic RAM in terms of speed, but the ’16GB RAM in a budget phone’ looks juicy on advertising posters.
As we got a version with less memory for the test, the RAM could only be expanded by 6GB.
I assume that the 8/256GB version will be slightly faster than the 6/128GB test version. But we’re stymied by the processor’s capabilities anyway, so we shouldn’t expect much. However, there is hope for software updates that will better optimise the system.
Cameras realme C55
In advertising for the new product, the manufacturer emphasises the 64MP main camera module and claims that competitors have a maximum of 50MP. OK, but everyone knows that numbers aren’t the point. The iPhone and Google Pixel each have 12 megapixels and it’s OK, the point is to process the photos properly. But we won’t immediately berate the brainchild of realme. The model has the same sensor as the Realme GT Master Edition – 64MP f/1.8, 25mm, 1/2″, 0.7µm.
In addition to the main sensor, there is an auxiliary 2 megapixel depth sensor that is almost useless. There’s nothing else useful, no telephoto zoom lens, no wide-angle module, which is a pity.
However, you have to remember that this is an inexpensive model. And if, for example, the basic C33 took terrible pictures at all, we would recommend the C55 to those who take pictures from time to time. The photos are nice, natural, and it is not a shame to upload them to your friends, upload them to the social networks or leave them in a family album as a memento. We have some complaints about detail and colour rendering, but at the price it’s no big deal.
If the lighting is poor, such as in a flat in the evening, the phone is still able to take bright pictures without digital noise.
As for night photos, it’s fine as long as there are at least some bright light sources available. Without them, the photos will be blurry, indistinct.
Of course, there is a night mode. Creating a photo in this mode takes around 4-5 seconds – you get tired of holding the phone still and out of breath. But the results are worth the effort – the photos become delicately brighter, clearer. Curiously, in night mode the image is slightly closer than in normal mode, examples below:
There is a digital zoom option in the camera interface. The quality is poor, but you can read car numbers or signage from a distance. Here are examples (1x, 2x, 5x, 10x):
It is also possible to create photos in the original 64MP resolution (by default photos are reduced for optimisation), but I would advise against this – such files take up a lot of memory space and the colour rendition and dynamic range are worse. Here are a couple of examples, 64MP mode on the right (in original resolution – at this link):
The realme C55 records video in 1080p resolution at 30 or 60 frames per second. The quality is poor, the video is jerky and lacks a lot of stabilisation. And there is a lot of digital noise in the dark. Examples of videos are available in this folder.
I won’t scold the 8 megapixel front camera, it takes nice photos even if the lighting isn’t ideal.
Portrait mode isn’t bad either, but the background blurs better with people rather than cats :-).
There is also an interesting AI colour option, where the person in the foreground is in colour and the background behind him is black and white. Understandably, such things can be done in a graphics editor, but realme believes that users of budget smartphones are not always advanced and it is important to offer them features out-of-the-box.
The camera app is endowed with a wide variety of shooting modes: photo, video, street (interesting filters and manual focus adjustment), DIS snapshot (sharpest photos in motion, no blur), night, portrait, full 64MP (default resolution is reduced for optimisation), macro, panoramic, Pro, accelerated, slow motion, movies, shift/tilt, text scan. Manual mode, among other things, allows 12MP pictures to be saved in uncompressed RAW format for post-processing.
The realme C55 works in 4G networks and also supports dual-band Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.2, satellite navigation (GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO). NFC for in-store payment is also available, not the usual, but 360°, meaning the phone can be attached to the terminal not only from the backside.
Sound realme 10
A pleasant surprise is the stereo speakers (one on the bottom end, the other is the conversational speaker), whereas with the realme 10 the sound was mono. The sound is not perfect, but the volume is excellent, the treble and midrange frequencies are good, but the lower ones are not enough.
The sound in the headphones is good, you can adjust it in the settings if you want. Real Sound technology offers four profiles: smart, movie, game, music. In the last one, a seven-band equalizer becomes available with several standard presets and the option of manual adjustment.
The aforementioned profiles work for the main multimedia speaker as well, but without the full EQ in the music profile. It only appears when any type of headphone is plugged in and works even with wireless models.
When talking I have no problems – I can hear me well and the people I’m talking to can also be heard perfectly. Problems may occur in a very noisy room or in a strong wind – there is only one microphone, noise cancellation is not the best.
There is also an option for UltraBoom Speaker, where the maximum level goes up to 200%. Useful, for example, for outdoor parties. The sound, even at this level, is decent, no croaking.
The Realme C55 is launched with the latest version of the operating system on board – Android 13. And, as is customary with Realme, it’s loaded on top with the latest version of the Realme UI 4.
Icons have been updated, but overall I don’t see any critical changes compared to realme UI 3. The shell has personalisation tools, many useful features that make it easier to do certain things, an advanced game hub, system cloning, a large set of different gestures, simplified mode, child mode.
There is also a split-screen option (but not all programmes support this), a sidebar for quick access to selected applications and a window mode.
I promised to tell you about the camera cutout and how it relates to the iPhone. As you know, the iPhone 14 Pro has an elongated cutout for the front module, which has been effectively beaten with software – notifications appear there (Dynamic Island). So, the C55 decided to do the same and called it Mini Capsule. At the moment, effects are available when the charger is connected, when the mobile data limit is used a lot, and information about the steps taken. The developers are promising other animations, but more on that later. Nothing fancy, but a nice little thing.
The realme lab item gathers experimental features, such as a sleep tracking mode and the ability to connect two pairs of wireless headphones at the same time.
There is also a familiar innovation for Android 13 phones – the data security panel. In it you can see which apps have access and access to the camera, microphone, location data, hide or block certain apps, and set up a “private safe”.
On the whole the shell is not bad, the only thing that annoyed me was that when opening the list of all apps, the keyboard for text search automatically appeared. But luckily, this can be turned off in the settings. So lots of settings are good!
Battery life of the realme C55
It has a 5000 mAh battery, the gold standard for mid-priced devices today.
I actively used the device with adaptive screen refresh rate – social networking, messaging, web browsing, casual games, listening to music and audiobooks, lots of photos. With all that said, the phone was easily enough for me for the whole day and in the late evening I had about 20-30% of the charge left. So I can confidently say that the phone is resilient. On average the C55 gives 8-10 hours of active screen time.
Various performance and optimisation modes are available in the settings.
The realme C55 is charged relatively quickly with the included 33W SUPERVOOC adapter. It takes approximately one hour to charge the phone from 10% to 100%. When the device is discharged to zero, it takes 30 minutes to reach 50% charge.
Considering the price and other advantages, the smartphone seems to us to be a very good option. The design is quirky, but bright – it makes a statement. The screen may not be OLED, but it is a decent quality IPS 90 Hz. The cameras are excellent for a budget phone, even in darkness night mode does well. Battery life is excellent. Memory capacity is more than sufficient (just a pity that the type is eMMC and not the newer UFS). The only thing that lets you down is the processor – it’s not new and it’s frankly weak, but it’s not critical for everyone, because not everyone likes powerful games and loads the phone heavily.
Against competitors in the budget price range up to $250, the new realme C55 stands out with a decent camera (albeit without extra modules) and decent memory capacity. 33W of charging is also to be commended: it’s not something unseen today, but it’s not uncommon to find only 10W on a budget phone. Fresh Android is also a definite plus.