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Realme 3 Pro Review: Excellent value for money deal
The battle for the best budget smartphone in the Indian market has intensified with the recent launch of Realme 3 Pro. Priced at Rs. 13,990 for the entry-level (4GB RAM + 64GB ROM) variant, the smartphone directly takes on the widely popular Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro. Both smartphones offer class-leading specs and impressive cameras.
- Vibrant LCD display with Gorilla Glass 5 protection
- VOOC 3.0 is really fast
- Excellent daylight camera
- Dedicated microSD card slot
- 4K video recording and super slow-mo at 960 fps
- Smooth performance
- Plasticky design
- Dated MicroUSB 2.0 port
- Sub-par audio delivery
Realme 3 Pro ups the ante by offering a snappier chipset-GPU combination- Snapdragon 710 octa-core CPU paired with Adreno 616 graphical processing unit. The smartphone runs the latest Android Pie, offers a dual-lens rear camera that can record 4k videos and can also shoot super slow motion videos at staggering 960 fps. These are brilliant on-paper specifications for a handset which is priced aggressively at just Rs. 14k.
After testing the Redmi Note 7 Pro, I am using the Realme 3 Pro for over a week now. Here's how Realme 3 Pro fares as a daily driver. Is it a better buy than the Redmi Note 7 Pro? Let's find out in the following review.
Polycarbonate design with colourful gradient patterns
If you fancy a glass-metal design, Realme 3 Pro will slightly disappoint you. It sports a polycarbonate frame and has a back panel made out of injection-moulded plastic. The use of Polycarbonate and other forms of plastic doesn't mean Realme 3 looks cheap. The smartphone has a very pleasing and functional design; however, Redmi Note 7 Pro with glass at both front and back comes out as a slightly more premium-looking handset.
As far as colour variants are concerned, Realme comes in Carbon Grey, Lightning Purple and Nitro Blue gradient shades. We are using the Nitro Blue colour variant and it's slightly more vibrant than our liking. If you also prefer subtle colours, go for the other two options.
Design- Realme 3 Pro vs Redmi Note 7 Pro vs Galaxy A50
The above image shows Realme 3 Pro, Redmi Note 7 Pro and Galaxy A50. Realme 3 Pro's design language is somewhat similar to Galaxy A50, minus the triple-lens camera setup and fingerprint scanner. Realme 3 Pro easily rests in your palm. It's also easy to carry the handset in denim's pockets. The smartphone weighs 172 g and measures 8.3mm in thickness, which is slightly thicker than the Redmi Note 7 Pro. What makes the overall design ergonomic is the curved back panel. The rear panel tapers towards the edges and blends seamlessly with the frame.
There are no sharp edges and the width of the phone has been kept in control for better one-hand use. However, I would recommend you to use both the hands for the best fit as the handset is quite taller, courtesy- big 6.3-inches LCD panel. The rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and the buttons are placed at convenient spots.
Realme 3 Pro's non-removable back panel houses a massive 4,045 mAh battery unit. A dedicated microSD card slot is offered along with the standard 3.5mm headphone jack. The dated microUSB 2.0 port is offered to offer faster-charging speeds via OPPO's VOOC 3.0 fast charging technology.
Display- 6.3-inch Full HD+ display with Gorilla Glass 5 coating
Coming onto the display, Realme 3 Pro sports a 6.3-inches Full HD+ IPS LCD screen with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection. The standard Full HD+ resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels scattered on a display with a 90.8% screen-to-body ratio creates a pixel density of 408 PPI. This is one-of-the finest LCD I have tested on a sub 15K smartphone. The display on Realme 3 Pro is at par with Redmi Note 7 Pro's display in terms of colour reproduction, brightness level and sunlight visibility. It slightly, just slightly lacks in contrast. Videos and games look immersive and the screen also offers widevine L1 certification to stream videos in HD resolution on popular streaming apps.
Camera Performance- Excellent daylight camera
Realme 3 Pro boasts a 16MP+5MP dual-lens camera setup. The primary camera is powered by Sony IMX519 sensor with F/1.7 aperture lens. This is the same sensor that we had tested on the flagship OnePlus 6T. The 5MP depth sensor works on a f/2.4 aperture. The combination makes for an excellent camera for everyday use that captures well-lit and detailed images in daylight. The colours look punchy, slightly saturated than the usual but if you prefer vibrant images, you will love the camera performance of this budget smartphone. When compared to Redmi Note 7 Pro's camera output, the images shot by Realme 3 Pro shows slightly accurate colours but lacks in sharpness. Redmi Note 7 Pro's camera takes sharper images.
Good HDR, Macro and Portrait performance
The camera on Realme 3 Pro also features Auto HDR that works really well. The HDR shots show good detailing in darker spots of the frame. The overall HDR colour tone is also maintained very well. The macro shots also come out good from Realme 3 Pro's camera. As for the portrait images, the 5MP depth sensor creates an impressive bokeh effect. The contrast seems at point, colours look vivid and shadows are also maintained brilliantly. The Chroma boost mode adds more contrast and appeals to the images. You can switch it off to maintain a natural image output.
Low-light Camera Performance, 4K video and super-slow motion
As far as low-light camera performance is concerned, the Realme 3 Pro once again does a good job, even slightly better than the Redmi Note 7 Pro in some instances. The camera is able to deliver well-lit images with very good control over noise. Detailing does take a hit in low-light but that's quite acceptable in this price-segment. You can enable Nightscape mode to compensate for some loss. With Nightscape mode turned on, the camera captures brighter shots as the long exposure algorithm brings in more details. Images shot in Nightscape mode brings out hidden details in darker spots and also add sharpness to the overall image. The noise is also controlled very well in Nightscape mode, even better than the Night mode on Redmi Note 7 Pro in many cases.
Interestingly, this budget camera smartphone also supports Super slow motion- 960fps at 720p, first in its class. The output is decent when might conditions are favourable. You can also capture 4K videos at 30fps; however, the EIS won't work at max resolution. The 1080p 60fps with EIS offers crisp video output. Overall, Sony's IMX519 sensor based rear camera on Realme 3 Pro is one-of-the best camera smartphone in sub 15k price segment. It will definitely impress shutterbugs.
Selfie Camera Performance
Realme 3 Pro also boasts a massive 25MP front-facing shooter that once again beats the Redmi Note 7 Pro in the selfie department. The selfie camera works on f/2.0 aperture and has a 1/2.8 inch sensor. The camera interface also offers a variety of software tweaks to play around with selfies. The camera AI allows you to change skin tone, increase the size of your eyes, chin, slim your face, etc. to tweak the output as per your preference. You can turn off the AI beautify mode for more natural image output. If selfies are in your priority list, Realme 3 Pro is a better buy than Redmi Note 7 Pro.
Hardware- Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4 & 6GB RAM
Realme 3 Pro once again betters Redmi Note 7 Pro by offering the best-in-class chipset at its respective price-point. The smartphone is backed by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 CPU, which is an octa-core SoC built on the 10nm process. The 10nm fabrication process makes SD710 slightly more power efficient; however, SD675 comes out as a slightly faster processor due to newer Kryo 460 cores. In general usage, I have not experienced any major changes in speed and performance during everyday tasks. Both phones feel equally snappy and powerful.
Compared to Snapdragon 675 chipset, the SD710 brings along a better GPU performance as the CPU is aided by the powerful Adreno 616 GPU. Heavy games like PUBG ran in higher settings by default. The gameplay was without any glitches and even after 30 min of continues gameplay, Realme 3 Pro maintained an optimal temperature. Interestingly, this budget smartphone would also run Fortnite as the company has recently announced a collaboration with the game franchise.
In general use case, the SD710 is more than capable to run multiple apps simultaneously and can also run high-end games without major performance slowdowns. For multitasking, Realme 3 Pro offers two RAM variants- 4GB and 6GB. Both the variants can run multiple applications simultaneously.
Software- Latest ColorOS based on Android Pie
It was not just in the hardware department where Realme 3 Pro shows an edge over Redmi Note 7 pro. The smartphone also managed to steal the thunder in the software performance to a good extent. Realme 3 Pro runs the company's latest ColorOS 6.0 which now offers an app drawer. The UI is also visually intuitive and buttery smooth. During similar usage duration, Redmi Note 7 Pro did show some lags but Realme 3 Pro ran without any such issues. Moreover, unlike Redmi Note 7 Pro's annoying ads that keep popping throughout the UI, ColorOS on Realme 3 Pro is completely ad-free.
In terms of look and feel, the new ColorOS has improved quite a bit. The notification and quick settings panel are very colourful and offer a good glimpse of the required information. However, they also look highly animated and might not please everyone. Besides, a variety of useful features are added in the custom skin such as Clone apps, Gamespace, Smart driving, quick sidebar, Universal search etc. Overall, ColorOS is constantly improving but could use some improvements in terms of visual elements to make UI more subtle and functional.
Audio, Battery Life and Connectivity
Realme 3 Pro struggles to deliver a good audio delivery. The mono speaker unit placed at the bottom is not powerful enough to give you an immersive audio experience while streaming videos or playing games. You would need a pair of earphones to make the best out of big 6.3-inches Full HD+ display.
Realme 3 Pro offers a solid battery life. The big 4,045 mAh battery unit easily lasted for a day on one single charge even with heavy usage. If you don't stream many videos and use the phone within an optimal limit, you can easily derive 36-40 hours of battery life on a stretch from this phone. The VOOC 3.0 fast charging is the icing on the cake as it is really fast. The 20W bundled charger in the box can fully charge the phone in about 90 minutes. It refuelled the battery from zero to 23% in the first 15 minutes, which is impressive and comes really handy in the day-to-day routine.
For connectivity, the handset offers 3.5 mm headphone jack, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, GPS, dated microUSB 2.0 port but a dedicated microSD card slot. You can use two active nano-SIM cards and one microSD card at the same time.
Pricing and Competition
Realme 3 Pro is available in two variants- 4GB RAM + 64GB ROM at Rs. 13,999. The 6GB RAM + 128GB ROM variant of the handset is priced aggressively at Rs. 16,999. The smartphone takes on Redmi Note 7 Pro, Galaxy M30, Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 and other sub 18k handsets in the Indian market.
Realme 3 Pro is the best value for money budget smartphone in the Indian market at the time of writing this review. The smartphone offers the best spec-sheet that does translate to a solid real-life performance. As for the competition, Realme 3 Pro easily takes on Redmi Note 7 Pro and even beats it in many aspects such as expandable storage, selfie camera performance, charging speeds and even software performance to some extent. It also offers slightly better gaming performance.
Redmi Note 7 Pro, on the other hand, offers the latest Type-C port, premium design, slightly better display and camera performance as a whole. The audio performance is slightly better on Xiaomi's budget handset. Overall, I believe expandable storage and a selfie camera can be the deciding factor. If these two features are your priority, Realme 3 Pro is a better buy.