The Realme C53 is a budget-focused smartphone that boasts the segment’s first 108MP camera, setting it apart from the competition. On top of that, the phone is equipped with a fluid 90Hz refresh rate display, a long-lasting 5,000mAh battery, and a convenient side-mounted fingerprint scanner. With storage options of up to 128GB and more exciting features, the Realme C53 shines on paper. In our review, we delve into how it performs in real-life scenarios and, most importantly, whether it can outperform its rivals, including the POCO C55 (review) and Moto G13. Read on to find out.
Table of Contents
The Realme C53 feels just about right for its asking price of under Rs 10,000. It provides adequate performance for basic everyday activities and even outperforms its competitors in benchmarking scores. The device boasts respectable battery life and a good display. However, the cameras on the device fall a tad short of expectations.
Design and display
- The Realme C53 design may look familiar to those who have been keeping track of the brand’s smartphones. The handset is fashioned out of plastic and features a dual-tone design at the back, with the top portion being glossy and the bottom portion having a matte finish. I received the Realme C53 review unit in Champion Gold, which is too glittery for my taste. Personally, I would have preferred the Champion Black colour variant.
- Nevertheless, the handset is fingerprint and smudge-resistant, except for the top shiny portion, which also houses three huge camera rings for 108MP+B&W sensors and an LED flash. The camera rings protrude quite a bit from the surface, causing the device to wobble while typing on it on a flat surface.
- That said, the device is quite ergonomic to hold, with its flat edges and a relatively lightweight design weighing 189 grams. As for the I/O, the Realme smartphone features a USB Type-C port and a 3.5mm headphone jack, along with a speaker grille, at the bottom edge. The fingerprint scanner is embedded in the power button on the right spine. It may not be fast, but the fingerprint scanner is quite accurate in unlocking the device.
- As for the viewing experience, the Realme C53 sports a 6.74-inch LCD panel with HD+ resolution and 90Hz refresh rate. While the display is not exactly bezel-less, it still boasts a respectable 90 percent screen-to-body ratio, especially for a budget smartphone. The display quality is satisfying for enjoying multimedia content indoors.
- The phone’s sunlight legibility is also good, but it is best suited for reading text. Moreover, the viewing angles on the device are decent, while the icon and colours look punchy in default settings. The 90Hz refresh rate works well across UI and supported apps. That said, there is no Widevine L1 certification on the device to stream content in HD resolution from streaming platforms.
- Coming to the meat of the matter — Realme C53’s 108MP primary camera. It outputs 12MP images by default. Of course, you can also click high-res 108MP images from the phone. The camera demonstrates swift focus and shutter speeds, especially in areas with adequate lighting conditions. However, the shots that you get may leave you wanting more. While the camera is good at picking up details in bright sunny conditions, it struggles to maintain a proper contrast ratio, resulting in oversaturated colours. Moreover, even with the HDR mode enabled, the images lack dynamic range.
- The indoors and lowlight shots from the camera look average. The details are often crushed by the level of noise introduced in the frame, and even the dedicated night mode can’t seem to restrict it effectively. Moving on to the Realme C53’s 8MP front-facing camera, it simply gets the job done. However, you won’t be entirely happy with the selfies due to the lack of facial detail and natural skin tones. Portraits look good in daylight, but the device could have done better with edge detection.
Performance and software
- On the performance front, the Realme C53 is equipped with an entry-level Unisoc T612 SoC paired with 4GB or 6GB RAM. Interestingly enough, the 6GB RAM variant has 64GB storage onboard, whereas the 4GB RAM option is available with 128GB storage. Both storage options are user-expandable via a micro SD card for which there is a dedicated slot in the phone.
- The device performs well for basic usage, including communication, social media browsing, and streaming. While it can handle multitasking and gaming to some extent, the overall experience is average. Unfortunately, when playing BGMI with its maximum HD graphics and high frame rate settings, noticeable lag and stutter issues arise.
- The Realme C53’s benchmarking scores reinforce this observation. It achieved 2,50,983 points on AnTuTu, whereas on the Geekbench multi-core test, it returned a score of 1,490 points. On the CPU Throttle test, the handset did reasonably well with its peak performance dropping 81 percent while running 50 threads for half an hour. The Realme C53’s connectivity options include dual SIMs, dual-band Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, GPS, and Bluetooth v5.0.
- As for the software, the Realme C53 comes with the Realme UI T edition atop Android 13 out of the box. The UI largely resembles the regular version of Realme UI, but there are some subtle changes under the hood. Notably, the app icons, quick settings panel, and settings menu have been redesigned to resemble stock Android. It also has the dynamic mini-capsule feature, which was introduced with Realme C55 earlier this year; however, its functionality is still limited to charging or battery information.
- Furthermore, Realme has taken the initiative to reduce the number of proprietary apps pre-installed on the device. That is not to say that there is no bloatware. The Realme C53 comes with its share of pre-installed apps; but the good news is that many of these can be removed, allowing users to customise their app selection according to their preferences.
Battery and charging speeds
- The Realme C53 houses a 5,000mAh battery, which gets you more than a day’s battery life on light usage. This is evident from the handset’s PCMark 3.0 battery test where it landed a score of 18 hours and 30 minutes. However, navigation and some gaming might reduce the phone’s battery life till the end of the day.
- As for the charging speeds, the handset can take approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes for a full charge from nothing with the 18W charger provided in the box.
The Realme C53 is a budget-focused smartphone, just like any other device in its segment. It could do with some improvements, especially in terms of cameras where it boasts the largest sensor among its rivals. While the battery life is impressive, and the display is respectable, the device’s performance tends to feel sluggish when handling anything beyond basic tasks.
Taking everything into account, recommending the 6GB RAM variant of the Realme C53 becomes quite challenging, especially considering its price in India at Rs 10,999. For the same budget, there are better options available, including Realme’s own C55 (review) smartphone, which comes with twice the storage, a better chipset, and a 33W fast charging solution instead of 18W. However, if you happen to be a dedicated Realme fan with strict budget constraints, the Realme C55’s 4GB RAM variant might be a suitable choice. Priced at Rs 9,999 in India, this variant provides reasonable performance and features within its price range.
Editor’s rating: 7 / 10
Reasons to buy
- The handset’s display is good to look at both indoors and outdoors.
- Performance is good for everyday tasks like communications.
- The smartphone can last you more than a day on light usage.
Reasons not to buy
- Cameras on the device fail to live up to expectations.
- The handset comes with a bunch of pre-installed apps.