Realme C55 Review: The new budget king?

The Realme C55 starts at Rs. 10,999 and brings some exciting features such as a 90Hz display, 33W fast charging and a high-res camera system
The rear panel of the Realme C55 is made of polycarbonate, but has a matte finish
The rear panel of the Realme C55 is made of polycarbonate, but has a matte finishRealme India

The Realme C-series smartphones have always had good value-for-money propositions. The all-new C55 is a lot different from the other C-series smartphones primarily because of its higher starting price of Rs. 10,999. For the price, the C55 features some good specs which include the 6.72-inch 90Hz FHD+ IPS display, 33W fast charging capability, a 64-megapixel camera, and a lot more. However, there are some shortcomings which we have experienced in our brief time with the smartphone. 

Realme C55 design impressions

The Realme C55 gets an upmarket design and stands out from the crowd of budget smartphones around the price range. In the Rainforest colourway with the rainbow-inspired effect on the matte-finished back panel, the phone definitely grabs attention. The straight lines and flat edges are a nice touch too and complement the relatively large camera island. Talking about the camera island (like the ‘island’ on the front that we will get to in a bit), it gets a bit of differentiation with the use of a different colour and finish. Both the frame and the rear panel are made of polycarbonate, something which is common at this price point, but the material used does feel nice to the touch. The dual-tone striped/ribbed design at the back works for the phone and doesn’t attract any fingerprints. At 7.89mm, the phone is fairly slender despite packing a 5000mAh battery under the skin. However, the weight is on the higher side at 189g.

Realme C55 display and software impressions

One of the major attractions of the Realme C55 is the 6.72-inch 90Hz 2400x1080 IPS display.  It has a punch-hole cutout in the centre for the selfie camera, which is new to the C-series. The display supports 680 nits of peak brightness for use outdoors (except that it heats up a lot). Also, the C55 comes with Widevine L1 certification out of the box, which will allow you to watch full-HD content on OTT platforms. 

As for the software, the C55 runs Realme UI 4.0 over Android 13. While the overall OS is feature-rich, it is plagued with ads. The stock apps like the file manager,  the radio app, the music app, etc. have ads baked in. However, these shortcomings are common in this price range, and the C55 is no different. Also, there are over 15 bloatware apps installed. On the flip side, the OS bundles many features such as split screen, flexible windows, smart sidebar, and many more. Realme also implements the Dynamic Island animations from the iPhone 14 Pro. Called ‘Mini Capsule’ here, the feature is half-baked and isn’t very useful, working only for a handful of situations. I would prefer larger capsule-like notifications that offer you a lot more information like on some other smartphones. 

Realme C55 performance and camera impressions

For the price point, the C55 offers decent hardware. Running the show here is a MediaTek Helio G88, backed by up to 8GB RAM and up to 128GB of EMMC storage. For a low-end chip, you wouldn’t prefer running benchmarks, but we did. The C55 scored 428 in single-core and 1438 in multi-core in Geekbench 6. Overall, the experience is par for the course but not particularly smooth, even if you simply scroll through the app tray. Also, we think that the OS is not optimized very well with the chip. We also played Call of Duty Mobile, and at low graphic settings, the game was majorly playable without major frame drops. 

As for the camera, the C55 truly impresses, considering the budget. It packs a 64MP main camera and a useless 2MP depth camera. In addition, the selfie camera is an 8MP unit. The performance of the rear camera is pretty good with decent dynamic range and details. As expected, the low-light performance is nothing exciting. Do note that the main 64MP camera is from the Realme GT Master Edition, but the output of the camera does not match the latter because of the weaker ISP (Image Signal Processor) of the Helio G88. 

To wrap things up, yes, the Realme C55 is a great phone for the price, but the lack of 5G connectivity makes the phone less futureproof. There are 5G phones available at a similar price point in the market like the Poco M4 5G, which starts at 11,999 and the Infinix Hot 20 5G which starts at 11,499. However, if you don’t want to shell out extra cash for 5G connectivity, or you don’t need 5G as of now, then you will be happy with the Realme C55.

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