realme C11 Review – the best entry-level smartphone with specs you didn’t expect

Over the past few years, the realme C series has satiated the needs of the majority of budget-oriented smartphone lovers. First, there was the realme C1, then C2, and C3. And now, introduced in mid-2020 is the realme C11, another entry-level phone in the segment positioned below the C3. The phone looks fancy and all, but how does it stack up? Let’s find out with this hands-on review.

Unboxing realme C11

realme C11 sports a bright yellow rectangular box that carries the phone, its accessories, and the paper documents. The box contains:

  • The phone itself, with pre-installed screen protector
  • SIM Ejector tool
  • 10W USB adapter
  • Quick Guide
  • Safety Guide
  • Micro USB cable

The phone uses a 5V/2A or 10W charger. Unlike other phones, it does not come with a case for extra protection, but that can effortlessly be obtained.

Design

If you ever laid your hands in the realme C3, then the texture feel of the realme C11 will be familiar. realme did not compromise on the quality despite the C11 being another entry-level smartphone. The phone’s back features a solid polycarbonate backplate whereas the front is equipped with Corning Gorilla Glass technology to make it scratch-resistant and resilient against accidental falls.

The texture has a nice grip with an elegant finish that prevents smudges and keeps it from slipping off your hands. Additionally, realme added the P2i splash resistance coating.

Notably, realme C11 carries a ‘Geometric Art Design’, where the vertical camera alignment is in a square-shaped module housing the dual 13MP+2MP cameras. Then there is a vertical strip that carries the phone’s logo, which blends too well with the colours and the design. The front has an IPS 6.5-inch screen and a gentle notch for the 5MP camera. With nothing on top, the bottom carries the 3.5mm headphone port, two holes for the microphone, a micro USB port, and the speaker grille. realme C11’s left side features a pinhole for the SIM cards and a microSD slot. The power and volume buttons are on the right. In general, the look is elegantly refreshing and reassuring to the touch.

Display

realme C11 boasts a 6.5-inch with an HD+ 1600 x 720 resolution, same as the realme 6i. The 20:9 mini-drop display with the 269 dpi, 88.7% screen-to-body ratio and the Corning Gorilla Glass 3+ protection, give this phone an exquisite look.

The resolution guarantees vivid colors and amazing viewing angles. Better yet, you can customize these settings from the color temperature option, which offers three adjustable choices; Cool, Default, and Warm.

The HD+ panel makes the phone a champion in rendering sharpness on top of sticking averagely in outdoor visibility. What this means is that the C11 renders images and videos with true colors that are punchy with good contrast as well as decent levels of brightness.

Performance

The performance of realme C11 has been enhanced by the 12nm architecture carrying the MediaTek Helio G35 Octa-Core processor. With a Cortex-A53 CPU clocked at up to 2.3GHz (4x 2.30 GHz, 4x 1.80 GHz), a 2GB LPDDR4X RAM, the 32GB eMMC 5.1 internal storage that can be expanded with a microSD up to 256GB with microSD, and the IMG PowerVR GE8320 GPU for the graphics, we can safely say that the C11 does well in its segment.

The phone offers good enough performance to handle several apps and some games, thanks to the powerful MediaTek Helio G35 processor. realme has improved the chip to stack up well against the competition.

My quibble, however, is the 2GB RAM. I believe that the phone would have performed even better than it does with a 3GB RAM. Nevertheless, with the fast processor, speedy refresh rates, and its GPU, you can still enjoy many games without significant loss in frame drops.

In terms of response to touch, realme C11 comes with 10 points of touch making it highly responsive.

Audio

realme C11 comes with a bottom-firing speaker that is fairly loud with a good quality better than most of the other smartphones in its category. The clarity is surprisingly awesome, even at its loudest. However, as is the norm with down-firing speakers, be careful when using it in a portrait orientation as it can easily be obstructed by your palm.

The sound quality is even better for wired headphones. It is loud, warm, and does remarkably well on the bass emphasis. The vocals are clear and with the Real Sound Technology co-developed which delivers a wide soundstage.

Camera

I love the simple configuration of the realme C11’s cameras. The primary system features a PDAF focus 13MP f/2.2 main shooter, a 2MP f/2.4 depth camera, and a LED flash. The camera carries modes such as Auto HDR, Chroma Boost, Filters, Night, and other photo effects and settings such as Beauty, Bokeh, Panorama, Expert modes, and Digital Zoom of up to 4X.

For those who love to adjust their photo settings, the Expert Mode of the realme C11 has an ISO range of between 100 – 6400, 1/10s – 16s, White Balance (WB) of between 2000K – 9000K, Manual Focus (MF), and Exposure compensation (EV) of +-2.

Based on my experience, with the PDAF focus, the autofocus speed does well in well-lit scenarios, and its shooting speed is pretty fast for an entry-level phone.

The shots are detailed and vivid, thanks to the wide dynamic range, but to enhance the colours, the details and the exposure, I would suggest one uses the Chroma Boost.

Daylight shots are crisp and the background blur is beautiful. In an indoor shot, images carry the right exposure with clear details and true colours as well. This put my worries to rest as it tells me that the C11 takes nice pictures.

For a budget device, the realme C11 renders night images fairly respectable. It does, better than other phones in the category that are lacking in colors and dynamic ranges. realme C11’s night photos are not that noisy nor softer.

To shoot better at night, I used the Nightscape mode to take brighter images with better details, color, and reduced noise.

realme C11 also takes decent selfies with the single 5MP f/2.4 camera. The modes include Auto HDR, Filters, Photo with Beauty, and Portrait with Blur and Beauty modes. And for a budget phone, realme C11 takes nice selfies.

For videos, it shoots 1080p 30fps videos using the primary camera. Without the EIS, the videos can be shaky if you are not steady enough. The selfie videos, on the other hand, are not that narrow and even with a 5MP lens, you can shoot something quite enjoyable.

Connectivity and Sensors

Realme C11 supports Dual 4G SIM cards, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n standard (not the 5GHz band, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS/ GLONASS, 4G VoLTE and Wi-Fi calling. When it comes to the sensors, realme C11 has a Bosch Sensortec BMA253 accelerometer, Game Rotation Vector (MTK), Geomagnetic Rotation Vector (MTK), Light sensor, Magnetic Induction sensor (Asahi Kasei akm09918), Proximity sensor, and the Gyroscope is virtual (virtual_gyro).

Battery

The best part about realme C11 is the battery. It packs a massive 5000mAh non-removable battery whose standby drain is negligible. It can effortlessly last a day and a half with casual social media usage and light browsing alongside other functions like voice calling among others. In a ‘super long standby’ mode realme C11 can last for up to 40 days.

With this battery capacity, you can heavily browse and use the phone on days end without worrying about it running flat. And when it does, you can charge it at speeds of 10W, which takes less than 3 hours from 0 to 100% charge.

User Interface

realme C11’s UI is the same and is based on the Android 10 OS technology. It comes with plenty of functions such as Screen Recording, customized icons, Drawer/No Drawer mode, Gestures, themes, Private Space, Digital Wellbeing, Dual Mode Music Share, and Icon Customization.

realme C11 Specs in Summary

  • Display: 6.5-inch 2.5D curved Gorilla Glass 3+ protected IPS (LTPS) screen w/ HD+ 1600 x 720 resolution at 269 ppi
  • CPU: 2.3GHz 12nm Helio G35 Octa-Core Processor
  • GPU: PowerVR GE8320
  • RAM: 2GB
  • ROM: 32GB eMMC 5.1 expandable to 256GB (dedicated)
  • Back Camera: 13MP f/2.2 w/ PDAF + 2MP f/2.4 depth + LED flash
  • Selfie Camera: 5MP f/2.4
  • Battery: 5,000mAh w/ 10W charger
  • OS: Android 10.0 w/ realme UI 1.0
  • Connectivity: WiFi 802.11b/g/n/ac, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.0, OTG, FM Radio, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, dual SIM
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic

Others features include: Face unlock, P2i splash resistance, Dirac HD Sound, Colors: Mint Green, Pepper Gray

Dimensions: 164.4 x 75.9 x 9.1 mm

Weight: 196 g

So, is realme C11 worth a buy?

Yes, realme C11 is perfect for the price. I love the design, the monster battery, the decent specs, the large screen, the cameras and the elegant performance. All these features are sufficient for the majority of the needs of entry-level smartphones lovers. It is the best budget smartphone that lets you enjoy beautiful features without breaking your bank.

That said, I would recommend realme C11.