Realme C33 Review: A Decent Budget Smartphone?

The Realme C33 is powered by a Unisoc T612 and boasts a 50-megapixel rear camera setup, but how does it fare in daily usage? Find out in our review.

Realme again aims at the budget segment with its ‘C’ series of devices. After successive launches with Realme C31 and C35, the company seems ready to launch yet another device in the market. The newly-launched Realme C33 takes an entirely different approach in terms of its design with a glittery back panel. The company claims the C33 is the only device in its price segment to sport a 50-megapixel camera setup at the rear. With a 5,000mAh battery and Android 12 out of the box and a starting price of Rs 8,999, how does the Realme C33 fare in our day-to-day usage? Find out in this review.

Realme C33 Review: Design and build quality

The Realme C33 goes for a rather unorthodox back panel design – It has a glossy finish with some eye-melting glitter. It is made of plastic, and it does not feel very premium when holding the device in your hand. The panel does not attract many fingerprints but does register some smudges.

While this is not the first time that Realme has pulled off something of this sort, it’s nearly the same design as the Realme 9i 5G, and we have mixed feelings about it.

The Realme C33 is available in three colour variants: Sandy Gold, Aqua Blue, and Night Sea. We received the Sandy Gold variant for this review, which sports shimmery glitter on the back panel. If flaunting your device isn’t your thing, the Night Sea — which is essentially a black trim, might be something of your liking.

With this design, Realme seems to be aiming for a young audience. Rest assured, it is going to grab some attention in public. It also sports a dual-rear camera setup without a camera island. The individual lenses protrude a bit, making the device wobble when kept on a flat surface. The lens placement kind of reminds us of the recently launched Asus Zenfone 9. We feel that this kind of protrusion without a dedicated camera island can be harmful to the lens at the time of an unfortunate drop. It’s recommended that you buy a case for the device as there is none provided in the box.

The frame of the device is flat with a good touch and feel. The right side houses the volume rockers, and the power button doubles up as a fingerprint sensor. The bottom side of the device is home to a speaker grille, a primary microphone, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a micro USB port. To the left, we have a full-sized dual SIM tray which can carry two SIM cards and a microSD card simultaneously. The power button and volume rockers have soft feedback as opposed to the standard ones you usually find on smartphones. The device does not feel heavy and one-handed use is totally possible.

Realme C33 Review: Display and audio

The front of the Realme C33 sports a 6.5-inch LCD display with a selfie camera at the top. It has chunkier bezels at the bottom, which seems standard in this price range. The first clear indication of a lower resolution display is the rough edges on the text and icons throughout the UI. While viewing content, the colours on display look fine, but it’s not as vibrant and crisp. It should not be an issue to watch movies and TV shows on it. If you are someone who prefers a more saturated or vibrant look for their display, Realme has a bunch of settings that you can tweak around with.

The Realme C33 has a peak brightness of 400 nits. While it’s not one of the highest in that price bracket, reading content in daylight as possible, it struggles in direct sunlight. Realme claims the device has a 120Hz touch sampling rate, and in general usage, we did not notice much jitter, but the lack of a lower refresh rate display was obvious. However, this will not be a dealbreaker for many. The video viewing experience on display was decent; however, the front camera with the waterdrop notch eats up screen real estate. As for the speakers, the Realme C33 comes with a single bottom-firing speaker, and they get loud enough when watching movies or listening to music. However, the sound tends to distort slightly at higher volumes, and there’s not much depth to it.

Realme C33 Review: Performance and battery

The Realme C33 is powered by the Unisoc T612, which is based on the 12nm fabrication process. The same chipset can be found on the Realme C31. This is paired with either 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage or 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Considering the Realme C33 is the successor to the C31, it would have been good to see a different and probably slightly superior processor. At Rs 13,999, the Realme C35 comes with a Unisoc T616 processor and 6GB of RAM with 128GB of storage. So, in a way, the Realme ‘C’ series is competing with itself. However, this doesn’t change the fact that they have managed to optimise the performance of the device well. In our day-to-day usage, the smartphone worked well and did not cause any major issues.

We did notice minor frame drops when the notification panel was bombarded with messages, but it wasn’t very consistent. Scrolling through the UI and switching between apps was not an issue for the device. Besides, the Realme C33 uses UFS 2.2 storage standard, which is rare to see in this price range. It is relatively faster than eMMC 5.1. The same standard was used on the Realme C31. This is a good development, and we would like to see other OEMs adapt to this in the near future. The Realme C33 comes with a bunch of bloatware, which is nothing new at this point. These apps can be uninstalled if not needed. The fingerprint sensor and face unlock work flawlessly and are very fast.

The Realme C33 runs on Android 12 out of the box, making it the first in this series to do so. It is based on the Realme UI S Edition. Realme says that the C33 will receive software updates for 2 years and security patches for 3 years, which is good. We ran our usual stress test on the Realme C33 with Google Maps running on PiP and a video running on YouTube Premium. The device did not struggle much, which was good.

We also ran a bunch of benchmark tests on the device, with AnTuTu 9 registering a score of 209418. Geekbench 5 scored 341 and 1379 in single-core and multi-core tests. Gaming on the Realme C33 was an average experience, but then again, this device is not built for that purpose. Nevertheless, Apex Legends Mobile managed to run on Normal graphics settings and High frame rates and gave us an average of 30fps. It did drop frames when using Octane’s stim or getting into squad fights. Switching things to Call of Duty: Mobile, we were able to play on Medium graphic settings and High frame rates. The game ran fine, and we did not notice any major frame drops while playing Team Deathmatch. Overall, the Realme C33 performs decently when taking into consideration the price at which it retails. The device is not built for gaming, but it can handle casual and light games at low graphic settings.

The Realme C33 packs in a massive 5,000mAh battery inside. The device is capable of running well over a day with normal usage. During our test period, we watched movies, played a couple of games, and tested the cameras. Usual browsing and scrolling on social media were also a part of this. The battery should last you for about a day and a half, or maybe more if you are a light user. As for charging, this is where it hugely disappointed us. The Realme C33 comes with a 10W charger in the box with a Micro USB cable. It took the device 3 hours to charge from dead to full, which according to 2022 standards is very poor.

Realme C33 Review: Cameras

The Realme C33 sports a dual camera setup at the rear. The company claims the C33 is the only device in its price segment to boast a 50-megapixel primary camera. It also has a portrait lens as the secondary camera. As for the front camera, it has a 5-megapixel shooter for selfies. The camera UI looks pretty much like the traditional Realme design, with everything at arm’s length. It also features some filters and beauty modes for people that are interested in it. The ‘More’ section consists of other camera modes that can be used in certain scenarios.

Photos taken in daylight on the Realme C33 were average, and images look good at first glance, but zooming into the pictures shows the absence of adequate details. Trees in some of the camera samples tend to portray the watercolour effect. It seems like the C33’s post-processing slightly favours the greens. The contrast in the images also looks good, but it tends to crush the shadows. It also has a 50-megapixel mode which lets you capture images in full resolution — these images are slightly sharper. We also took a bunch of images using portrait mode, and photos had decent edge detection, but it wasn’t very consistent. In some cases, it managed to blur out strands of my hair and the edges of my hands.

Photos taken in low light didn’t have adequate details, and the images contained a bunch of noise. Switching to the night mode slightly helps salvage the picture, but the lack of details is still persistent. Light sources in these images were also overblown. Night mode also tends to saturate the image a bit. As you can see in the sample, the yellow light gets more vibrant in comparison to the low light capture.

Selfies taken on the Realme C33’s 5-megapixel front camera were decent. Images had a good amount of detail, and the skin tones also looked natural. However, photos taken against the light disorients the Realme C33’s front camera. In some of the camera samples, the sky looks overblown, and the dynamic range is all over the place. Nevertheless, considering the price, the cameras are still usable for your daily purposes. The Realme C33 can capture videos at 1080p 30fps. Footage captured with the device was decent but lacked stability.

Realme C33 Review: Verdict

The Realme C33 is targeted at a young audience, at least, that’s what the design language of the device exudes. While we are not big fans of our Sandy Gold colourway, we’ll leave it up to you for judgement, as looks are always subjective. Nonetheless, it’s good to see companies experimenting with designs and other aspects to keep the market alive. The Realme C33 performs well in our day-to-day usage, and light gaming was also somewhat possible on it. However, we wouldn’t recommend getting this device if gaming is your priority. The massive 5,000mAh battery is a huge plus, but slow charging can be a dealbreaker for some.

Cameras on the Realme C33 are fine and should be adequate for most people. We would have loved to see thinner bezels on the C33, especially with the bottom chunk and the waterdrop estate at the top. Besides that, the video viewing experience was also decent. If you are someone who is looking for a device for casual use and not for performance-focused tasks, the Realme C33 could be of use to you. Other devices in this price range also consist of the Realme Narzo 50A and Infinix Hot 12 that can be considered.

Realme C33

₹8,999
7.4

DESIGN & BUILD

6.5/10

DISPLAY

7.0/10

PERFORMANCE

7.5/10

BATTERY LIFE

8.5/10

CAMERA QUALITY

7.5/10

SOFTWARE

7.0/10

AUDIO

7.0/10

DAY-TO-DAY USE

7.5/10

VALUE FOR MONEY

8.5/10

What Is Good?

  • Quirky design
  • Good battery life
  • Decent performance in day-to-day usage
  • Good value for money

What Is Bad?

  • Very slow charging
  • Pre-installed bloatware

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