There's no denying that the "quad-camera" saying is more of a marketing talk here mostly because you have three actual usable cameras and going by our previous review of the Realme 5, only the main camera is a consistent performer. And with the Realme 5s, we expect the main camera to be better in general too as it uses the popular 48MP sensor coupled with a fairly bright f/1.8 lens. The sensor size is 1/2" with 0.8µm pixels - significantly bigger than the 12MP unit on the previous Realme 5.
The ultra-wide camera remains at 8MP with f/2.2 aperture, and the dedicated macro unit also stays the same - 2MP with f/2.4 opening. The fourth camera is just a 2MP depth sensor.
The selfie camera also remains untouched with 13MP sensor and f/2.0 aperture.
Thea carousel-styled camera menu is still here - swiping left and right switches between camera modes while those that couldn't fit can be found under the "hamburger menu" on the left. In the normal photo mode, you have the option to do a 2x zoom, 5x zoom, and a dedicated button is used to switch to the ultra-wide camera. An AI software does all the scene recognition, and you will notice the HDR icon and the scene optimization popping up on your viewfinder. The Chroma boost feature is still at hand, which tends to boost colors a little along with the contrast.
Advanced settings like fingerprint shooting are available in the general settings menu in the upper right corner of the viewfinder. Touching the fingerprint scanner instantly starts shooting a video or captures a still, depending on which mode you are using right now. It's quite comfortable when doing portrait-oriented shots.
In other words, nothing has changed over the last couple of iterations of the default camera app in the Realmes so off to the actual photo samples.
The Realme 5 had a decent main camera, but the Realme 5s confidently delivers a better experience in this regard with the upgraded 48MP main sensor effectively shooting in 12MP resolution thanks to the so-called pixel-binning. And the upgrade is apparent from the daylight photos themselves. For one, the new camera resolves more fine detail, and images are noticeably sharper. Dynamic range is also pretty good (it was good before too) but we did notice more noise in uniform areas like the sky or the windows on the buildings.
Still, considering the price point of the handset, the daylight camera performance is more than ideal. Moreover, we noticed that the new camera is somewhat wider than before and delivers much better uniformity - edge to edge sharpness is great, whereas the previous model had visible edge softness.
Switching on the 48MP mode doesn't give you much of an advantage. The detail is comparable, and the noise is more prominent so we would advise sticking to the default 12MP mode.
The same 119-degree ultra-wide camera makes its way to the module on the back, delivering much of the same experience, which isn't satisfactory. The detail is poor, and the dynamic range is pretty narrow. The good news is that distortion is handled well.
We've expected more from the macro shots as well. The dedicated macro unit lets you get close to the subject, but the detail is lacking (just a 2MP sensor after all) so we think better results can be achieved by using the primary camera and cropping around the subject.
The image quality in the night has also been improved, but the difference isn't as big. You still get much of the same noise, narrow dynamic range, and poorly-lit scenes are downright soft. The same isn't true for the well-lit parts of the image, though, this is where the 48MP outperforms the 12MP one on the vanilla Realme 5. Resolves a lot more detail on well-lit buildings, for example.
Switching on Nightscape fixes almost all of the issues above. Dynamic range is largely improved as information in the shadows is extracted without clipping the highlights. Highlights and light sources look well-preserved and natural. Images also come out considerably sharper with more fine detail and noise is hard to be seen.
Once again, we are impressed by the night mode's performance, and we strongly recommend using it in almost all environments, except during the day, of course. You can also try shooting with it indoors where lighting is limited.
Oh and the same restrictions on the night mode are imposed here - Nightscape stills come out in 8MP instead of 12MP. It probably has something to do with processing power, but there's no way to know for sure.
As to be expected, the ultra-wide camera struggles to achieve satisfactory results when the light is limited - images come out soft, sometimes blurry, underexposed, and quite noisy. Switching on the night mode doesn't help too.
Now let's take the time to compare the phone to some of its competitors in a more controlled environment.
When enough light is introduced to the scene or the subject, the phone is capable of shooting some nice portraits using the main camera and the so-called 2MP portrait sensor. In reality, it's a depth sensor, but Realme says it uses the camera for adjusting the contrast as well.
The result is a pretty convincing background blur with impressive edge detection. As the light drops, the sensor starts to struggle so you will lose some detail along the way.
With fixed focus, you might get the occasional out-of-focus selfie, but otherwise, it's pretty decent. The detail is good, dynamic range is wide, and portraits are surprisingly good too. Bokeh shots are saved in 8MP, though.
The handset supports 4K recording in 30fps and 1080p recording in 30fps as well. The electronic stabilization works only on the 1080p videos, though, as you'd expect.
The 4K video looks quite impressive with a nice level of detail, wide dynamic range, despite the challenging scene we had to shoot. Colors pop, and contrast is just right while noise can be barely seen. That's definitely one of the best 4K videos in this segment.
Full HD videos look just as nice with expectedly lower detail, of course. But rendering is quite similar. Oh and there's no edge softness like on the previous Realme 5.
And here's how it stacks against some of the alternatives.