fevereiro 22, 2024

PROS:

  • Fun design effectively showcases Coca-Cola’s energy
  • Meticulous attention to detail, from packaging to charging animation
  • Bright and vibrant display
  • Large, fast-charging battery

CONS:

  • Mediocre performance
  • No telephoto or ultra-wide cameras
  • Limited market availability

RATINGS:

SUSTAINABILITY / REPAIRABILITY

EDITOR’S QUOTE:

Delightfully fun at every turn, the Realme 10 Pro 5G Coca-Cola Edition successfully conveys the spirit of the brand, but the phone’s mediocre specs could give some pause for thought.

While some people want their smartphones to look mature and business-minded, there will always be people who prefer to let their personalities and interests shine through their mobile devices. From skins to cases to themes, there are countless ways to personalize one’s smartphone, often without permanently altering their outward appearance. Still, fans of brands and franchises will always be tickled pink when a manufacturer caters to their interests with a limited edition phone that unambiguously shouts that admiration for the world to see. Realme, whose target audience is exactly this group of people, is always game for some branding love, so we take a close look at its latest sweet edition to see if the “Coke Phone” is all fizz or if The Real Thing after all.

Designer: Realme

Aesthetics

When people put branded skins, cases, or even stickers on their phones, it’s a sign of affection for those particular things or people. Often that involves company logos, fictional characters, bands, or even animals. Few would probably use their phone as a walking advertisement for a particular food or beverage, no matter how much they love it. That, however, is exactly what makes the Realme 10 Pro 5G Coca-Cola Edition refreshingly novel, boldly smashing two totally unrelated brands in a way that is full of surprising details.

The most obvious is, of course, the Coca-Cola colors and name on the back of the phone, creating a 30/70 black-to-red ratio. While the Realme 10 Pro’s back is actually made of plastic, this rather impressive Matte Imitation Metal coating process really makes it look like the familiar brushed aluminum of the soda cans. Contrary to what you might have expected, Coca-Cola’s name isn’t displayed in full, giving it a somewhat edgy and dynamic personality that matches the beverage’s bubbly texture. Given how well-known it is anyway, your brain easily fills in the missing parts, too.

Realme is great at paying close attention to the minutest details, and it shows once again in this limited-edition phone. While most will be content just slapping on a brand’s name or color scheme, Realme really goes overboard with things you might not notice but appreciate when things finally set in. The halo rings around the dual cameras, for example, are tinted with the same metallic red hue, making it look like small Coca-Cola cans viewed from the top. There’s also the most adorable SIM ejector pin you’ll ever see, looking like a soda bottle crown that you will never want to throw out.

The rest of the phone is pretty much the same Realme 10 Pro 5G, except in darker black than the black Dark Matter color option. The side edges are completely flat, save for the chamfered corners where the front and back meet the frame. There are almost no bezels either, except for the usual chin, providing a full view of the Coca-Cola-themed custom interface that Realme created for this edition. All-in-all, every part of the phone, including its packaging, screams “fun,” which is exactly the kind of message that Coca-Cola probably wants to send through this Realme phone.

Ergonomics

The first thing you will probably notice when you finally finish gawking at the phone’s rear and put it in your hand is how light it is. It might even feel too light as if there’s nothing inside at all. That’s mostly due to the plastic rear and frame that Realme has used for this mid-tier device, and some might find that a little off-putting. Thankfully, it’s actually comfortable to hold in your hand, and the chamfered edges don’t bite into your palm, either. As a bonus, the Matte Imitation Metal surface is resistant to scratches and fingerprints, unlike real metal.

Just like the normal Realme 10 Pro 5G, the Coca-Cola Edition bucks the trend and puts the fingerprint scanner on the side power button rather than beneath the lower half of the display. It might not be popular anymore, but it’s actually a more convenient position since one of your fingers will always land there, no matter how you pick up the phone or hold it. There are fewer risks of accidentally dropping the phone while your thumb stretches to reach the in-display fingerprint sensor. Optical fingerprint scanners also tend to be more accurate and faster, but that advantage is slowly disappearing.

The one disadvantage of trying to imitate metal is that the phone’s back is actually a bit too smooth and slippery despite having “matte” in its name, so you’ll want to have a solid grasp of the sides when holding it. Realme does throw in a transparent case so you can still enjoy and flaunt the Coca-Cola design without sacrificing the phone’s safety.

Performance

Despite its very dynamic appearance, the Coca-Cola Edition phone shares almost everything else with the regular Realme 10 Pro 5G when it comes to the specs. The short of it is that it is what you’d label as a mid-range phone, but the lines between tiers have been getting blurry. In practice, it isn’t really as bad as it may sound, and the Realme 10 Pro 5G can definitely meet most phone users’ needs and then some.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 5G gives the phone its muscles, and it is paired with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Both of the latter are expandable, one through the phone’s settings and the other with a microSD card up to 1TB in capacity. This is definitely enough for average use cases, from Web browsing to social media. You’ll have to set your expectations a bit low when it comes to gaming, though, but it’s definitely doable and might even be enjoyable, thanks to the phone’s other hardware.

For one, there is the 6.72-inch 2400×1080 FHD+ display that is really bright and vibrant, making the phone’s red theme pop out even more. The 120Hz refresh rate and 240Hz touch sampling rate are figures that gamers will want to take note of in this case. There is no advertised support for HDR, though, but the screen quality helps make up for that missing feature. Despite the phone’s lightweight and slim figure, it houses a large 5,000 mAh battery that can charge up to 50% in a little over 20 minutes. In other words, it is well-equipped for entertainment, as long as you don’t try to push it too hard with max settings.

The Realme 10 Pro’s 108MP camera is also no slouch, and it captures clean and crisp images whether in the default 12MP “Nonapixel Plus” mode or the full 108MP resolution. It does, however, lean more towards oversaturating photos, so you might have to switch to Pro mode if you want more natural colors. The second camera, despite its large lens, is actually a 2MP depth sensor, just there for additional data rather than other camera modes. That does mean that there is no dedicated telephoto or even ultra-wide camera, which could disappoint some mobile shutterbugs. Coke fans, however, might be delighted to find an “80s Cola” filter available on Realme’s dedicated Street Photography mode.

The Coca-Cola theme actually extends inside the phone experience, unsurprisingly. Perhaps as a testament to the flexibility of Realme UI, almost every nook and cranny of the user experience has nods to the beverage. Not only is the color theme very red, even the custom red icons have a pop culture thing going, referencing real-world objects that might seem obscure to some younger people today, like a cassette recorder or a gaming joystick. The phone’s notifications are also themed around the Coca-Cola experience, like how the camera shutter sounds like opening a soda bottle. There’s almost something to be discovered in every corner, making it a fun treasure hunt for the brand’s fans.

Sustainability

The Realme 10 Pro 5G Coca-Cola Edition, at the end of the day, is a Coke-branded Realme 10 Pro, which means it shares many of the same perks and flaws. That’s especially true when it comes to sustainability, and, to some extent, this edition does a little bit worse in that regard. Unlike more expensive phones that use glass and metal on the outside, the phone’s body mostly uses plastic. Regular phones are not easily repairable, and special editions are even more so, especially when replacement parts with custom designs aren’t available later on.

While the packaging and bonus items are delightful, they take a detour from the very space-efficient and sustainable trend that some phone makers are embracing. Stickers and the Realmeow figure add a bit more plastic content to the overall package. Fortunately, this is a limited edition product, so its overall impact will not be as drastic as a mass-produced phone. Still, it bears noting how some special editions come with hidden costs like that, especially on the environment.

Value

Realme’s first Coca-Cola phone is undoubtedly just as bubbly as the beverage it represents, and it will perhaps resonate with a lot more people around the world compared to anime-inspired editions. Brand recognition definitely plays a huge part in its impact, but Realme’s attention to detail and craftsmanship is nothing to scoff at, either. It’s a phone that carries Coke’s spirit to great effect, giving you more enjoyment when using the phone, at least until the novelty wears off.

Of course, it isn’t an easily accessible phone either. As a limited edition, only 6,000 of these will be sold worldwide, and the package includes a soda can-shaped card that indicates your special place in that group. The Realme 10 Pro 5G Coca-Cola Edition costs 20,000 INR, roughly $254, which isn’t that far from the regular edition’s retail price. In other words, you’re really not missing out on anything. And even if you’re a die-hard Coke fan, the mid-range specs on the phone, decent as they may be, might give you second thoughts on making this your daily driver.

Bonus: The Realmeow

Realme’s limited edition branded phones often come in special packaging, so the Realme 10 Pro 5G’s Coca-Cola Edition might look a bit underwhelming on the outside. Other than its size and the same black and red Coke branding, the huge box might seem plain and too big for the phone it holds. Of course, looks can be deceiving, and it’s more like a treasure box than a phone package.

The star of the show, of course, is Realme’s feline mascot, Realmeow, naturally themed to match the special edition. The heavy glass figure is filled with a type of reddish resin that tries to imitate the soda’s bubbly appearance and the emotions associated with it. It’s definitely a worthwhile decoration for your desk or shelf, regardless of whether people will be able to make the connection with Coca-Cola.

The phone box also includes two sheets of stickers with various Coke and Realme images and slogans. In addition to the bottle cap ejector PIN, the box also holds a pocket for documentation with an outline of a bottle, and the underside of the phone box cover has Coca-Cola images as well. It’s definitely impressive how far Realme goes when creating these special edition phones and packaging, a testament to the company’s commitment to its customers and their favorite brands and franchises.

Verdict

As a product designed to showcase or promote a certain brand, the Realme 10 Pro 5G Coca-Cola Edition is close to perfection. From its broad color scheme to small details like icons and ejector pins, Realme has gone above and beyond to craft an experience that gets the bubbly and energetic character of the beverage across. Admittedly, some might find it a bit overwhelming given how many details there are, but it’s a well-crafted and impressive design nonetheless.

Of course, a Coke phone still has to be a phone, and that is where the Realme 10 Pro’s strengths and weaknesses show. While its performance is decent and its price tag is affordable, it will be hard to justify it as a primary phone, especially when there are plenty of better smartphones around for almost the same price, if not a little bit more. Then again, if you’re a collector of any sort and have nothing but love for the sweet, brown beverage, you can try grabbing one if you can.


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