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Realme 3 review: Can it outshine Redmi Note 7?
Realme 3 is priced at Rs. 8,999 for the 3GB RAM variant and will sell at Rs. 10,999 for the 4GB RAM variant. The key highlights of the device are- Waterdrop notch, MediaTek Helio P70 chipset etc.
Realme entered the Indian budget smartphone market just last year in May 2018 with the launch of Realme 1 smartphone. In a very short span of time, the Chinese smartphone brand has become quite popular and its products are now compared with the current budget segment leader- Xiaomi.
- Appealing design
- Dual camera captures good quality images
- Powerful performance
- Long battery life
- HD+ resolution display
- Dated microUSB port
- No fast charging support
Realme, which is OPPO's former subsidiary, has added a new smartphone to its portfolio with the launch of Realme 3. Priced at Rs. 8,999 for the entry-level variant, the successor to the Realme 2 offers some notable upgrades such as a big display with teardrop style notch, powerful MediaTek P70 chipset, dual rear cameras and more. Being a sub 10K smartphone, Realme 3 directly takes on the recently launched Xiaomi Redmi Note 7, which is already winning battles in the budget smartphone space in India.
We got to use the Realme 3 for a while and sharing our feedback on the device in the following review.
Design: Gradient unibody design; picks up fingerprints easily
Realme 3 brings a major design shift over previous Realme smartphones. The new smartphone ditches the diamond cut design and offers a gradient pattern at the rear panel with dual-tone colors. The corners are now rounded and the back panel features curved edges that for a more comfortable in-hand feel.
Crafted out of a fiberglass material, the dual tone glossy rear panel is a visual delight; however, it picks up fingerprint from the moment you pick it up. The company ships a transparent silicon case in the retail box which can be used to protect it from picking up fingerprints as well as scratches. Also, the rear panel is slippery without the cover on and the chances of accidental drops increases, so make sure, you use a case on with the device. The unit which we received for review is the Dynamic Black variant. As we mentioned it's a dual-tone shade, the black at the top is shimmering while the blue at the bottom glitters when light falls on it.
The use of gradient ink at the back panel facilitates the gradient shade of blue and purple when observed from different angles. The introduction of pearl powders further enhances visual diversity and gives a sense of depth to the back cover.
The primary camera setup is placed at the top left corner of the device and is stacked vertically. An LED flash to assist low light photography is placed below both the lenses. The fingerprint scanner is placed at the center of the rear panel and has an ideal positioning for easy unlock. Setting up the scanner is also easy and it is quick in unlocking the device. Realme logo is engraved at the bottom left of the rear panel giving the device a complete look.
Rest of the design includes a three-slot SIM card tray along with the volume keys placed at the left panel of the device; a power key at the right panel which can also be used to summon the Google Assistant by simply pressing and holding it for few seconds on any page. You get a 3.5mm headphone jack at the bottom panel accompanied with the speaker grills and microUSB port.
Adding on the device's appeal is the big display up front with a teardrop style notch.
If we talk about the overall design, Realme 3 looks good and can surely grab some stares. It feels premium to hold, however, the slippery rear panel which picks up fingerprints is a miss. Though, that can be taken care of by using a case. Moreover, the big form factor adds to its appearance. If we talk about the single-hand operability experience, then the Realme 3 is comfortable with generic tasks at hand such as scrolling, answering calls etc; anything more extensive will need all hands on deck.
Display: Crisp and bright but HD+ resolution display is a letdown
Realme has used a 6.22-inch display panel with an HD+ resolution of 720 x 1520 pixels. The display sports a waterdrop notch on top for the selfie camera and has minimal bezel design with a thin chin. It offers a screen-to-body ratio of 88.3% and a pixel density of 302 dpi. Considering that the recently launched Redmi Note 7 sports an FHD+ display panel with a screen resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels, the HD+ resolution of the Realme 3 is a bummer. It simply means streaming 1080p videos online on platforms like YouTube and others is not an option. Though this doesn't mean that the display is super bad, it just simply fails to deliver what its rival is offering at the moment.
The display brings out colors fairly well in every image or video being played on the device. Brightness levels are up to the mark indoors, however, it is average under the direct sunlight. If you try to play any video under bright sunlight, then you will struggle a bit during the playback; specifically in the scenes with a dark background. It is not the brightest display out there in the market. If your priority is a vibrant and crisp display under 10K, Redmi Note 7 is the best option.
Camera: Dual-cameras capture good details
Packing a dual-lens primary rear camera setup, the Realme 3 makes for a good imaging device at its price range. The dual camera at the rear comprises of a 13MP primary sensor with a pixel size of 1.12um paired with a secondary 2MP depth sensor with f1.8 aperture. Realme 3 does not let us down in the camera department; in fact, the camera has always been Realme's forte. It captures impressive image quality with ample detailing. Bokeh shots are also clear with the background blur not appearing artificial.
The camera UI is neat and you can easily toggle between the video, photo and portrait option for imaging. Amongst the camera modes offered, you can select from Nightscape, Panorama, Expert, Time-lapse, and Slow-motion. It supports 90fps@720P slow-motion video recording. All of these modes functions perfectly without any noticeable glitch or lag. The newly added Chroma Boost mode is quite effective. When enabled, the camera captures images with better contrast, exposure and also keeps noise levels in check.
At the front, there is a 13MP camera to capture selfies and for video calling. The 13MP sensor comes with 5P lens and has an aperture of f/2.0 and a pixel size of 1.12um. It supports various modes such as AI Beauty, Portrait, HDR and Night Portrait, AR stickers etc. The front camera also captures decent selfies with good detailing and balanced colors. Night photography with Realme 3 is an average experience. The images captured in the challenging light situation lacks a bit in detail.
The Nightscape mode captures images effectively. The images captured in the challenging light situations using Nightscape mode offers are better than the standard mode in low-light situations. Though the images do get bright with the Nightscape on, some noise can be seen in the images.
Besides, the front camera of the smartphone also integrates realme U1's Selfie Pro algorithm to further enhance the imaging capabilities of the selfie camera. You get to fine tune the beautification as per your needs on this device. There is also a Group Selfie feature with which the camera can automatically identify the gender of people in a group. This works for an image with up to four people.
Hardware: MediaTek Helio P70 SoC with 4GB of RAM
Realme 3 uses an octa-core MediaTek Helio P70 processor at its core which is a powerful mid-range processor based on 12nm FinFET process. This is the same processor which the newly launched Vivo V15 and the upcoming Oppo F11 Pro offers. Complementing the processor is a 4GB RAM onboard which takes care of multitasking. It offers an internal storage space of 64GB which is expandable to up to 512GB via dedicated microSD card slot.
Using the smartphone for basic tasks such as calling, consuming media and photography is a good experience. Even with extensive gameplay, the device doesn't deliver any latency in performance. The powerful internals makes sure every task is performed with ease and no lags or force shutdowns. Even the graphically intensive games like Asphalt 9 and PUBG can be played on this handset; however, longer gameplay sessions might warm up the device a bit. To aid the high-resolution graphics, the processor on-board is clubbed with a Mali-G72 MP3 GPU which is a good graphics processor. Overall, the processor ticks all the boxes in terms of performance.
Android Pie Stock UI based with ColorOS 6.0 overlay
Realme 3 ships with Android 9 Pie OS based on ColorOS 6.0 overlay and offer a stock Android UI. Swiping up on the home screen pulls up the app drawer which is neatly designed. The UI is smooth to use as what you would expect from the stock Android UI.
Battery: Lasts one day with moderate usage
Realme 3 is fuelled by a big 4,230mAh battery unit which sadly comes with no fast charging support. The device ships with a basic 5V charger which takes over an hour and a half to complete from zero to 100 percent. While the charging might be a bit slow, it packs enough juice to run the device through a day. With easy to moderate usage you can get a backup of an entire day with a single charge. With extensive usage, you will need to plug the device again by the end of the day.
Realme 3 packs some good set of internals making it a good rival against the Redmi Note 7 Pro smartphone. The device lacks in the display department but makes up for it in the performance and imaging. Moreover, the big battery unit is a plus point. However, with a 48MP sensor the Redmi Note 7 steps up the game. Realme 3 is a promising smartphone, but, Redmi Note 7 is going to give this device a tough time out there