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Realme Book Slim Review

The new offering has a lot going for it, such as the premium design, a nice 1440p screen with a 3:2 aspect ratio, and an excellent quality trackpad and keyboard.

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The Realme Book Slim made its debut in India along with Realme GT and Realme GT Master Edition on August 18 in India. This is also the first-ever laptop from the house of BBK Group (Oppo, OnePlus, Realme, Vivo, iQoo). The Realme Book Slim doesn’t feel like a first-gen product from the company as it comes with a class-leading display and a premium design. You are getting a 2K resolution 3:2 screen which is excellent and can get bright enough even for outdoor usages. It sports aluminium construction which adds a premium touch.

Further, the keyboard and trackpad experience is also excellent on the Realme Book with ample spacing and key travel - you can work all day long. The performance is good too considering the price tag, but don’t expect too much from gaming and video editing as this isn’t a laptop made for that purpose.

Except for the plastic bezels surrounding the monitor, the whole laptop is painted the same colour – blue or grey, depending on the model you choose. The Realme Book (Slim) is stylish, and the Real Blue model we got is appealing. Natural grey is the other colour choice, appealing to those who want something more professional, better suited for work situations, business meetings, and presentations.  

The Realme Book (Slim) has a clean, pattern-free lid with the Realme trademark on the left side. Suppose you wish to cover the branding or have a different design on the top. In that case, you can get skins from Capes India, who collaborated with Realme to develop a creative Realme-themed skin, but there are also other possibilities. Another reason to use leather on the lid is that it is susceptible to scratches and collects fingerprints.      

The Realme Book (Slim) has rubber cushions on the bottom to offer grip, and it was astonishing to notice that the larger one, above the vents, has the inscription “Dare To Leap” on it. Unlike its smartphones, where the firm has experimented with different sizes and positions and garnered backlash for it, Realme chose to put its tagline where it will rarely be observed.  

Like the notebook's lid, the area surrounding the keyboard has a matte-ish finish, and Realme tells us that the laptop is designed in such a way that the heat is directed towards the region above the keyboard so that the palm rest area remains cool, providing a comfortable typing experience. And I must say Realme did a nice job at that because while the portion above the keyboard does get hot to touch when charging or doing resource-intensive tasks, the region where you keep your palms remains cooler. It does get warm at times but nowhere near as hot as the other side of the keyboard.   

Display, Speakers, and Web Camera & Battery Life.

The Realme Book (Slim) packs a 14" IPS LCD with a 2,160x1,440-pixel resolution, which is one of its headline features. The screen has a 60Hz refresh rate, 100% sRGB coverage, a 1500:1 contrast ratio, and a 170° viewing angle, which I found to be good enough.

The display has a 3:2 aspect ratio and 90% screen-to-body ratio, achieved together with slim bezels on the top (8.45mm) and sides (5.3mm). This combination offers an immersive visual experience and ample screen real estate in a small form factor than the traditional panels having 16:9 aspect ratio, letting you view more information on the screen, which should also help increase the productivity when working with documents or surfing a webpage since you don't have to scroll as often as you would on a traditional display.

The product branding, a couple of HARMAN speakers with DTS Stereo Surround Sound compatibility, and air vents for cooling can all be found on the laptop’s opposite side, the bottom. The Dual-fan Storm Cooling System, which uses 8mm diameter dual heat pipes and a wing-shaped design to optimize the notebook’s cooling capacity, is behind them.

However, the 3:2 aspect ratio results in videos sandwiched with black bars, but you should get used to them after some time. And if you don't, the overall quality of the panel should make up for it.

The battery life isn’t class-leading, but it is good enough for 5 to 6 hours of continuous usage. A 65W fast charger can fuel up to 50% battery in just 30 minutes offering up to 3 hours of usage. Overall, the Realme Book Slim (i3+8GB) is a solid package and is definitely one the best laptops you can get in India for under Rs 50,000.

Keyboard and Trackpad

The Realme Book (Slim) doesn't come with a full-fledged keyboard you usually see on bigger laptops, meaning you don't get a numpad or the Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down keys. The direction keys are small, too, and the function keys double up as shortcut buttons. While the latter itself isn't an issue, the problem is there's no way for the user to toggle the behavior of the function keys, meaning pressing the F5 key will reduce the screen brightness instead of refreshing the system or a webpage, for example.

Therefore, you always have to press the "Fn" key placed between the Ctrl and Windows keys to use Windows shortcuts, such as Fn+Alt+F4 to close a window instead of just Alt+F4, and Fn+F5 to refresh the system instead of only F5. This might not be that big of an issue for those who've used similar keyboards before, but I find it very inconvenient since the increased hand gymnastics slow down the workflow to some extent.

Most brands allow you to change the function keys' behavior from the laptop's BIOS or other programs, but not Realme. However, Realme has acknowledged the issue and told me that it is working on an update to fix it.

I also find the lack of Page Up and Home keys to be a hindrance to my workflow since those buttons allow me to quickly reach the top of the webpage, document, or the beginning of a sentence, and without them, I have to rely on the mouse/trackpad and move the scroll wheel/fingers multiple times to reach the top.

All this hampers the experience and is the reason why it took me a few days to get used to the keyboard, but of course part of that is I've used 15.6" laptops with full-sized keyboards for years now, and if you are used to keyboards on 14" and smaller laptops you shouldn't have many issues with it.

After all the keys have a nice travel and provide good feedback. The typing experience on the keyboard was enjoyable, and the backlit keys with 3-level brightness adjustment allow you to type with ease in dim lighting conditions or even in a pitch dark room.

The PTP multi-touch trackpad is also large enough, smooth, and nicely responsive, allowing easy navigation. We don't get the split keys here, but pressing the left and right areas in the bottom portion of the trackpad let you perform the left and right clicks, respectively. Alternatively, you can tap with two fingers to mimic a right-click in addition to using other gestures since the Realme Book (Slim) comes with Windows Precision Touchpad support.

Hardware and Performance

The Realme Book (Slim) comes in two memory configurations in India - 8GB RAM + 256GB storage and 8GB RAM + 512GB storage. The former is powered by Intel's 11th Gen Core i3-1115G4 dual-core processor paired with Intel's UHD graphics, while the latter has an 11th Gen Core i5-1135G7 quad-core processor at the helm joined by Intel's Iris Xe Graphics. Neither of these has a dedicated GPU onboard.

Microsoft Office comes pre-installed, pre-activated

That reminds me, this laptop also comes with an activated copy of Microsoft Office pre-installed—making it easier for students to get their work done right away. Even though this i3 CPU has respectable single-core performance, its dual-core setup is bad news for any sort of demanding workload.

Single-click login

For biometrics, Realme has gone with a single sign-in fingerprint reader that resides on the top-right corner of the keyboard deck. From its unlock speed to ease of use, this Windows Hello-login certified fingerprint reader does everything right. Having said that, I do have a few complaints about this onboard keyboard.

Realme Book Slim price and availability:

The Realme Book Slim comes in two variants in India. The i3 variant with 256GB of storage is priced at Rs 46,999 while the i5 variant of the Realme Book Slim with 512GB of storage is priced at Rs 59,999. As a part of the introductory offer, the Realme Book Slim will be available for Rs 44,999 and Rs 56,999 respectively.It is available on Flipkart and Realme.com in Real Blue and Real Gray colour options.

Realme Book (Slim) specs and other details

Specs    Intel Core i3 model    Intel Core i5 model

CPU    11th Gen Core  i3-1115G4 dual-core quad-thread    11th Gen Core i5-1135G7 quad-core octa-thread

GPU    Intel UHD    Intel Iris Xe

Connectivity    Bluetooth 5.1, 802.11 a/b/g/n/Wi-Fi 5 (2.4GHz and 5GHz, 2x2 MIMO)    Bluetooth 5.2, 802.11 a/b/g/n/Wi-Fi 5/WI-FI 6 (2.4GHz and 5GHz, 2x2 MIMO)

Ports    2x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, 1x USB-A 3.1 Gen 1    1x Thunderbolt 4/USB 4 (Data: Max.40 Gbps), 1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, 1x USB-A 3.1 Gen 1

Web Camera    HD (up to 720p photos and videos)

Audio    2x microphones with Vocplus AI Noise Cancellation Algorithm, 2x HARMAN speakers with

Stereo Surround Sound By DTS

Battery    54Wh (6,952 mAh) with 65W PD fast charging

Colors    Real Blue, Real Grey

Misc    3-level backlit keyboard, Multi-touch trackpad, Power Button with Fingerprint Scanner embedded, Intel Evo certification, PC Connect, Licensed version of Microsoft Office 2019 Home and Student Edition

Display    14", 2,160x1,440 pixel IPS LCD, 3:2 aspect ratio, 100% sRGB, 1,500:1 contrast ratio, 170° viewing angle, 400 nits peak brightness

OS    Windows 10 Home Edition, upgradeable to Windows 11

RAM    8GB dual-channel LPDDR4x (3,733 MHz)    8GB (16GB in China only) dual-channel LPDDR4x (4,266 MHz)

Storage    SanDisk 256GB PCIe SSD    Samsung 512GB PCIe SSD

Dimensions    307.21 x 228.96 x 14.9 mm (15.5mm at the thickest point)

Weight    1.38 kg


Price    Rs 56,999    Rs 44,999

Packaging

The retail box includes the user manual and other self help guide with the laptop and its charging accessories. The box comes with Charger Dock, Charing Wire and user manual, and its design is reminiscent of the Apple MacBook line-up’s boxes.

Conclusion

The Realme Book (Slim) is a first-gen product, so I didn't really expect it to sweep me off my feet. But, Realme managed to deliver a good product considering it is its first time in this category.

The Book (Slim) has a lot going for it, such as the premium design, a nice 1440p screen with a 3:2 aspect ratio, and an excellent quality trackpad and keyboard. Although the latter could take some time getting used to if you have used full-sized keyboards previously.

The laptop's performance shouldn't be an issue as long as you aren't going to play heavy games or do advanced-level photo/video editing.

Moreover, the fingerprint scanner on the Realme Book (Slim) is fast and accurate, and the 65W charging allows you to quickly top up the battery when you are on the move. But the battery endurance could've been better.

I would have also liked to see the Book (Slim) with more I/O ports onboard, and Realme could've launched the 16GB RAM variant outside China since the RAM isn't user-upgradeable and doesn't make the purchase future-proof.

(With inputs from Nitish Rampal)


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