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Realme C11 First Impressions: Not An Upgrade We Were Expecting
Realme has taken wraps off its new C-series budget smartphone for the Indian market. The new Realme C11 is not touted as the successor to the Realme C3 and is more likely a new addition to the realme C series for price-conscious buyers in India. It is the first smartphone to incorporate the all-new entry-level MediaTek Helio G35 chipset. Priced at Rs. 7,499, the C11 is available in just one variant- 2GB RAM + 32GB ROM. The smartphone will go on sale on July 22 from noon on realme.com, Flipkart.com, and selected partner stores.
The budget Realme C11 smartphone flaunts a 6.5-inch HD screen with 720p resolution and is juiced by a big 5,000mAh battery unit. The smartphone features a 13MP + 2MP dual-lens rear camera setup and runs on the company's Realme UI based on Android 10. We spent a day with the Realme C11 to evaluate its performance as a budget smartphone. Here's what we found out.
Decent Camera Performance
The Realme C11 boasts a traditional dual-lens camera setup featuring a 13MP primary sensor and a 2MP depth sensor. The dual-lens camera delivers a satisfactory performance in daylight. The camera captures vivid shots when light conditions are favorable. The colors look natural and dynamic range is also good. You can also enable the Chroma Boost mode to crank up the contrast and saturation for vivid image output.
2MP Depth-Sensor For Portraits
The Realme C11 can capture pleasing portraits. Like the Realme C3, the Realme C11 also features a 2MP depth-sensor that with the help of software manages to capture decent bokeh shots. You would need a good amount of light to capture good portraits on this budget handset. The camera can record 1080p videos in 30fps, slow-motion videos and time-lapse videos. The camera app also features a Pro mode for photography enthusiasts.
Dedicated microSD Card Slot
Realme always gets the storage part right with its budget and mid-range smartphones. The Realme C11 also features a triple-slot SIM card tray that allows you to expand the 32GB internal memory to 256GB. You can also use two SIM cards at the same time without any compromises. The dedicated microSD card is a savior for consumers who like to store gigabytes of data on their device rather than relying on the internet for online media consumption.
Big Screen Works Well For Media Consumption
The Realme C11 flaunts a big 6.5-inch HD display with 20:9 aspect ratio. It is essentially the same IPS LCD panel that was offered with the Narzo 10A. Although the handset lacks a high-resolution panel, the good real-estate serves well for media consumption and will please price-conscious buyers. The display offers an impressive 88.7% screen-to-body ratio allowing users to comfortably watch movies, play games and browse web pages on the large panel. The IPS LCD is bright enough to be comfortably used indoors and outdoors but not under direct sunlight.
Powered by the all-new entry-level 12nm MediaTek Helio G35 chipset and meagre 2GB RAM, the Realme C11 simply feels underpowered. The phone lags even with basic UI navigation and general tasks let alone gaming and intensive jobs. Apps take time to load and the handset stutters when you try to shuffle through multiple applications. This is not something we expect from a smartphone in the year 2020 even if it is a budget device, especially when the handset comes from the house of Realme which has given some amazing budget smartphones in the past two years.
The choice of CPU is questionable. Now the brand says that the C11 is not a successor to the Realme C3 but it is difficult to not compare the two devices when they are from the same series and share most of the specifications.
That said, the CPU powering the Realme C11 is largely a downgrade from the MediaTek G70 SoC that powered the Realme C3. The Helio G70 offers two Cortex-A75 performance cores clocked at 2.0GHz and six Cortex-A55 cores clocked at 1.7GHz. On the other hand, the eight-core 12nm processor Helio G35 uses power-efficient A53 Cortex cores with peak speeds of 2.3GHz. The new MediaTek SoC and has a very low-end GPU to handle graphics. The focus here is on power efficiency and not on performance.
Realme should have offered at least 3GB RAM for smoother multitasking as the MTK G35 chipset is fairly weak even for everyday use. The clean Realme UI tries to make things better to some extent but the overall user-experience is still far from being good.
720P Resolution IPS LCD Panel Lacks Good Touch Response
I also found the display slightly lagging in touch response, which was also the case with the Realme Narzo 10 handset. Both these devices use the same screen which seems to be a poor grade IPS LCD panel. The screen takes time to register inputs and the weak chipset further deteriorates the response time. Combined, the Realme C11 just feels super laggy even if you are using the handset without a microSD card.
Dated Micro USB Charging Port
The Realme C11 lacks a Type-C charging port and still comes equipped with the dated microUSB charging port. This shouldn't concern you if you have been a budget smartphone users all this while and your phone has a microUSB charging port. However, if you have moved the transition to the modern-day Type-C port ecosystem, the microUSB charging port on the Realme C11 will just let you down.
No Fingerprint Scanner
The budget Realme C11 lacks a biometric scanner. As there's no fingerprint scanner on the device, you have to rely on the software-backed face unlock which is not quite safe in protecting the device from unwanted access.
The hefty 5,000mAh battery is undoubtedly the X-Factor of the Realme C11. The brand claims that the Realme C11's battery can last for 40 days on standby. Besides, the phone also supports OTG reverse charge which will allow you to use the Realme C11 as a power bank to recharge other devices such as smartphones and wearables. The reverse charging can come handy in some situations and is a good addition to the overall package. As far as the battery life is concerned, the 5,000mAh battery seems promising and will easily last more than a day with heavy usage. We will talk more about the battery life in our detailed review of the smartphone.
Should You Buy the Realme C11?
The answer is No. The Realme C11 has failed to impress us with its rel-life performance. It feels underpowered even when you try to perform the most basic tasks and even the clean Realme UI with good optimization fails to counter the effect. It is only the long-lasting battery life and a decent screen and camera's daylight performance that managed to impress us to some extent. But as an overall package, the Realme C11 let us down. We will discuss more on the smartphone's real-life performance in our detailed review.