Realme 10 brings an attractive design, big battery with fast charging for Rs 13,999; but there’s a catch

The new phone is being billed as a “performance terminator” with some competitive specs.

Realme 10 launch in India
The new phone is being billed as a “performance terminator” with some competitive specs.

Realme launched the Realme 10 smartphone in India today at a starting price of Rs 13,999 (4GB/64GB). The top-shelf model will set buyers back by Rs 16,999 (8GB/128GB). The new phone is being billed as a “performance terminator” with some competitive specs –for the asking price— including a 90Hz AMOLED screen and 5,000mAh battery. So far so good. But hold your horses because there’s a catch. The Realme 10 is 4G-only.

Now before you ask, what’s the problem, well, the devil lies in the detail. Realme India CEO (also VP, Realme and president, Realme International Business Group) Madhav Sheth had promised in July 2021 that going forward, all Realme products above Rs 15,000 will be 5G only. Technically, the Realme 10 is a phone that starts at under Rs 15,000 (and Realme has launched several 4G phones around a similar price point before, too), but the real question is, is it a good idea in 2023— something that buyers will decide, obviously.

Stepping aside from Realme’s own promises, media reports have previously suggested that the government of India has asked stakeholders— smartphone companies, telecom operators, etc— to expedite 5G rollout in the country whether it be through compatible devices or general network expansion.

Also Read | Realme 10 Pro Plus review: Almost a masterpiece

Smartphone companies, in particular, have been asked to stop making/selling 4G-only phones above Rs 10,000 slowly and gradually and while we’re yet to get a formal timeline for complete transition, Realme’s prior announcement to make 5G-only phones above Rs 15,000 (from two years ago), and the fact that it has launched a 4G phone that can go as high as Rs 17,000 in 2023, seems little out of place and difficult to digest (even if the Realme 10 does technically start below Rs 15,000).

It is possible that Realme wouldn’t have been able to hit the kind of potent spec-sheet that it has with the Realme 10 had it chosen to go with a 5G chipset and service support. We can take the Redmi Note 12 5G as an example. The classic Redmi Note, which started at under Rs 10,000 a few years back, now starts at Rs 17,999. The “5G tax” seems inevitable for now and while you shouldn’t rush into 5G just because the networks have gone live, at some point, the buyer will have to make a choice. As more and more people start to onboard the 5G bandwagon, the prices should come down sooner rather than later. But we digress.

The Realme 10, as we mentioned earlier, is still a competitive phone. It has a 6.4-inch AMOLED display with a 1080p resolution and 90Hz refresh rate, MediaTek’s Helio G99 chip paired with up to 8GB of RAM and up to 128GB of storage, Android 12-based Realme UI 3.0 software, dual cameras headlined by a 50MP main sensor, and 5,000mAh battery with 33W fast charging. Whether or not the lack of 5G turns out to be dealbreaker, only time will tell.

The phone will go on sale starting from January 15 (12am) and available across, Flipkart, and mainline channels.

Also Read | Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus 5G review: Return of the value champ?

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First published on: 09-01-2023 at 15:00 IST
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