Realme has launched yet another 5G smartphone in India, and this time it's in the sub-Rs. 20,000 price segment. This new smartphone is the Realme 8s 5G, and it's positioned slightly higher than the Realme 8 5G which was launched a little over four months ago. This new smartphone brings a new processor, improved camera sensors, and support for faster charging. So is the Realme 8s 5G the phone to buy under Rs. 20,000? I put it to the test to find out.
Realme 8s 5G price in India
The Realme 8s 5G starts at Rs. 17,999 in India for the base variant which has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, while the higher variant with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage is priced at Rs. 19,999. Interestingly, these are the same prices and RAM/storage configurations that the Realme 8 Pro sells for, though there are many other differences between these two models. You can buy the Realme 8s 5G in Universe Blue or Universe Purple.
Realme 8s 5G design
The Realme 8s 5G looks nearly identical to the Realme 8 5G, which might have been the base to build this new smartphone on. Just like the Realme 8 5G, this new phone sports a 6.5-inch display with a camera hole in the top left corner. It has thin bezels on the sides but a slightly thicker chin. Realme has pushed the earpiece right into the gap between the display and the plastic frame.
The Realme 8s 5G has a side-mounted fingerprint scanner on the right, which is easy to reach. The volume buttons are on the opposite side and are easily reachable too. The bottom of the frame has the 3.5mm headphone jack, speaker, primary microphone, and USB Type-C port, while the top only has the secondary microphone.
The Realme 8s 5G has a 6.5-inch display with a hole for the selfie camera
I found the smartphone to be comfortable to hold thanks to the curved edges of the back panel. My Realme 8s unit was the Universe Blue colour, which is a deep blue shade and is uncommon on smartphones, making this one stand out. It has a matte finish and the blue colour pops when it catches light. The Realme 8s 5G has a triple camera module which protrudes enough to cause the device to rock when kept on a table.
Realme 8s 5G specifications
The Realme 8s 5G sports a 6.5-inch display with a full-HD+ resolution and a 90Hz refresh rate. This 90Hz refresh rate is a little surprising since the more affordable Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G (Review) sports a 120Hz display. Powering the Realme 8s 5G is the MediaTek Dimensity 810 5G processor, and it's offered with either 6GB or 8GB of RAM. Both these variants have 128GB of storage which is expandable using the dedicated microSD card slot. Realme also has a Virtual RAM feature which lets you use 5GB of storage to extend RAM. You get a 5,000mAh battery and a 33W charger in the box.
You get dual 5G as well as 4G VoLTE connectivity on the Realme 8s 5G. It has support for Bluetooth 5.1, Wi-Fi ac, and six satellite navigation systems.
The Realme 8s 5G has a 3.5mm headphone jack at the bottom
Realme ships the 8s 5G with Realme UI 2.0 running on top of Android 11. The UI is familiar since I've used it on other Realme smartphones. There a number of preinstalled apps on this device, including Facebook, Dailyhunt, Community, HeyFun, Josh, and Moj. You can uninstall most of these bloatware apps. I also found stock apps such as Theme Store and Realme Store to be spammy, pushing notifications a few times a day.
Realme 8s 5G performance
The Realme 8s 5G is a capable device and can handle medium to heavy workloads with ease. I did not notice any lag or stutter while using the smartphone, and the 90Hz refresh rate makes scrolling look smooth. I found the display to have good viewing angles and adequate brightness, even when outdoors. The side-mounted fingerprint scanner and face recognition both worked quickly. I had the 8GB RAM variant of the Realme 8s and multitasking was easy.
I ran our suite of benchmarks to see where the new Dimensity 810 5G SoC stands with respect to the competition. In AnTuTu, it scored 383,775 points which is higher than the 335,689 points scored by the Dimensity 800U-powered Realme X7 5G (Review). It managed 616 and 1,831 respectively in Geekbench 5's single-core and multi-core tests. It also ran GFXBench's Car Chase and Manhattan 3.1 graphics tests at 14fps and 25fps respectively.
While it looks like a quad-camera setup, the Realme 8s 5G only has three sensors.
Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) ran at the HD graphics and High frame rate settings without any stutter. I played the game for 30 minutes, and that caused a six percent drop in the battery level. The phone wasn't too warm after gaming. Realme UI's Game Space feature allows you to reject incoming calls and block notifications so you aren't disturbed while gaming. It also provides shortcuts apps you might need.
Battery life on the Realme 8s 5G was good, and the phone easily lasted me about a day and a half before needing to be plugged in. In our HD video loop test, the Realme 8s 5G managed to go on for 17 hours and 47 minutes. Charging the 5,000mAh battery with the supplied 33W Dart Charger got the phone to 51 percent in 30 minutes and 94 percent in an hour.
Realme 8s 5G cameras
Realme doesn't seem to be running the specifications race with the 8s 5G, as it only has three basic cameras compared to the competition pushing quad-camera models. The 8s 5G sports a 64-megapixel primary camera with an f/1.8 aperture, a 2-megapixel B&W portrait camera, and a 2-megapixel macro camera. The camera app has toggles for HDR and AI Scene Enhancement, as well as different filters that you can apply before taking a photo.
Daylight photos shot with the Realme 8s 5G had good colour reproduction. These photos also had adequate details and the phone switched on HDR automatically while shooting against the light. There is no ultra-wide-angle camera on the Realme 8s 5G, so you won't be able to take those wide field-of-view shots. However it does let you shoot at the full 64-megapixel resolution using the primary camera.
Realme 8s 5G daylight camera sample (tap to see full size)
Close-up shots turned out well with the subject sharp and in focus. The smartphone also adds a soft blur to the background. With AI Scene detection enabled, the smartphone was quick to detect the scene correctly. Portrait mode lets you set the level of blur before taking a shot. The camera managed portraits well with good edge detection. Macro photos taken with the dedicated camera were good and allowed me to get close to the object. These photos were limited to 2 megapixels in resolution.
Realme 8s 5G close-up camera sample (tap to see full size)
Realme 8s 5G portrait sample (tap to see full size)
Realme 8s 5G macro camera sample (tap to see full size)
Low-light photos shot with the Realme 8s 5G were average and did not capture much detail in darker areas in the frame. Night mode helped with this, capturing a brighter image overall, and there was a noticeable difference in darker areas. However, it takes longer to take a shot with Night mode, so you'll need to hold your hands steady.
Realme 8s 5G low-light sample (tap to see full size)
Realme 8s 5G Night mode sample (tap to see full size)
Selfies taken with the 16-megapixel selfie shooter were sharp, and the phone managed to capture good details in daylight. Low-light selfies with a light source nearby also turned out well. You have the option to shoot portrait selfies, and you can set the level of blur before taking a shot. Portraits were sharp with good edge detection.
Realme 8s 5G daylight selfie camera sample (tap to see full size)
Realme 8s 5G low-light selfie camera sample (tap to see full size)
Video recording tops out at 1080p for the primary as well as the selfie shooter. This phone has Electronic Image Stabilisation (EIS), and while it managed to reduce shakes for videos shot during the day, low-light footage had some shimmer.
Realme keeps launching new smartphones, often with overlapping prices. While this results in more options for consumers, it might also cause confusion. The Realme 8s 5G has one of the most powerful processors available at this price point and will appeal to consumers looking for performance. However, to keep the price in check, Realme has gone for a 90Hz display instead of the 120Hz panel that it offers on the Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G (Review), and has cut back on the usefulness of the cameras.
The triple camera setup on the Realme 8s 5G is good, but I would have preferred an ultra-wide angle camera over the macro camera. The Realme 8s 5G could be a good option for the price but you might also want to consider the slightly more affordable Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G, or the Realme 8 Pro at the same price. Those looking at the top variant of the Realme 8s 5G could look at the iQoo Z3 as a more powerful alternative.