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Realme Narzo 10A Review: Good Gaming Performance On A Budget
Realme has stirred up more confusion for price-conscious consumers in India with the launch of the Narzo-series of smartphones, especially with the Narzo 10A. The sub-10K handset is essentially the Realme C3 with a new look and feel, an additional camera sensor, and a fingerprint scanner. Other important specifications such as the underlying chipset, battery size, front camera and connectivity remain as it is.
Realme has very smartly priced the Narzo 10A to boost its sales. At Rs. 8,499 for the lone 3GB+32GB variant, the Narzo 10A sits right in between the two variants of the Realme C3. The 3GB + 32GB version of the Realme C3 is currently selling at Rs. 7,999 and the 4GB + 64GB variant will cost you Rs. 8,999. I am glad Realme decided to launch the Narzo 10A in just one configuration. This eases confusion for buyers to some extent because when you look at pricing, you realize that the brand is offering three products in Rs. 8,000 to Rs. 9,000 price-bracket.
- Good Value For Money
- Trendy Design
- Display Has Adequate Brightness
- Clean And Feature-Rich Software
- Long-Lasting Battery Life
- Decent Gaming Performance
- Dated Micro USB Charging Port
- Underwhelming Audio Performance
- 2MP Macro Lens Only Good For Outdoor Photography
- Sluggish Touch Response
- Poor Haptics
- Camera Needs Tuning
This brings us to the big question. Should you buy the new Realme Narzo 10A or go with the older Realme C3? And if you plan to buy the Realme C3, then which variant should you go for? The following review might put an end to your confusion.
New Design Looks Trendy But The Big Bold Logo?
Realme hasn't changed the overall design footprint but the new back panel manages to give the Narzo 10A a distinctive look. The giant Realme logo at the back panel, which was first seen in the company's power bank line-up is hard to miss. The excessive dose of branding is not my personal favorite; however, it doesn't look awful on Narzo 10A from a design perspective.
In fact, the Narzo 10A come across as a better-looking handset than the Realme C3. The typography and the color combination create a subtle effect. The Narzo 10A is available in two color options- So Blue and So White. We have got the Blue color variant and it is indeed ‘So Blue.'
Plastic Build But Robust Construction
Realme claims that the plastic back panel has a scratch-proof texture. It does seem resistive to scratches and the overall built quality of the phone is very good. The Narzo 10A features a traditional rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and a triple-lens camera setup, two things that add value to the overall package. We will talk about their performance later in the review.
Dedicated MicroSD Card Slot But Dated USB 2.0 Charging Port
Like the Realme Narzo 10, the Narzo 10A also offers a dedicated microSD card slot that allows you to expand the 32GB internal memory to up to 256GB. Sadly, the Realme Narzo 10A skips on a Type-C port and ships with the traditional micro USB charging port. A 3.5mm headphone jack is placed at the bottom along with a speaker grille.
6.5-inch Dewdrop720p Resolution Display
The Realme Narzo 10A sports the same 6.5-inches (1600 x 720 pixels) HD+ 20:9 mini-drop screen seen on the Realme C3. The dew-drop notch houses a 5MP front-facing camera. Realme claims that the Narzo 10A offers an 89.8% screen-to-body ratio, even though the display is surrounded by thick bezels and the bottom of the screen has a prominent chin. The LCD display gets fairly bright and offers decent outdoor visibility. The color vibrancy is not outstanding but it is good enough for daily media consumption.
Display Lacks Good Touch Responsive
I found the display slightly lagging in touch response, which is also the case with the Realme Narzo 10 handset as both the devices use the same LCD panel. I really appreciate that Realme has offered the Corning Gorilla Glass protection at such low price-point; however, some clarity on the glass generation used would have been better. Overall, the sub-10K smartphone offers a decent 720p display for the price-point.
Enough Power For Smooth Day-To-Day Performance
The Realme Narzo 10A is powered by the same 12nm Octa-Core MediaTek Helio G70, which supplies power to the Realme C3. It's a pretty powerful chipset for a sub-10k smartphone. You won't feel any major performance issues with day-to-day operations. The phone only stutters when you run too many heavy apps at once. I was able to edit pictures in Snapseed, run more than 5 tabs in Google Chrome, scroll through my Instagram and Twitter feed and quickly shuffle between these apps through multitasking pane without any lags.
The slight sluggishness is due to the display's poor touch response and phone's underwhelming haptics. Also, audio performance is rather underwhelming via speakers so make sure you use 3.5mm headphones for better sound output while streaming multimedia content. As far as the fingerprint scanner is concerned, it is snappy and effectively unlocks the phone in a jiffy.
How’s The Gaming Performance?
The Narzo-series is aimed at young gamers who want to experience good gameplay in a strict budget. The company chose the entry-level game-centric MediaTek Helio G70 SoC to address the task. Based on FinFET technology, the octa-core chipset uses two big Cortex A75 cores operating at up to 2.0GHz and six Cortex A55 cores clocked at 1.75GHz. The chipset features Arm Mali-G52 graphics processor operating up to 820MHz to handle the gameplay.
To test gaming performance, I played the popular game titles like PUBG and Asphalt 9. This budget handset runs PUBG with graphics set to HD and frame rate set to ‘High' by default. I didn't see any stuttering or frame drops and the overall gameplay experience was enjoyable. It is only the display's underwhelming touch response that slightly hampers the gaming experience.
It is worth mentioning that the phone's thermals perform wonderfully. The Narzo 10A did not show any major heat signatures with continues gameplay even in a non-ac room in peak summers in Delhi NCR. In Asphalt 9, the gameplay was automatically set to ‘High Performance' to emphasize gameplay over graphics and the phone did a decent job in running the high-performance game. Some other engaging games like World War Polygon, Monument Valley 2 and Spiderman Unlimited ran without any glitches.
Overall, this budget phone has impressed me with its gaming capabilities; however, the experience could have been more enjoyable with a better touch-responsive display.
RealmeUI Works just Fine On This Budget Smartphone
As far as software is concerned, the RealmeUI is working smoothly on the budget handset. Based on Android 10, the proprietary user interface from Realme is feature-rich and visually appealing. The Narzo 10A boots up with several pre-installed apps but thankfully you have the option to uninstall them anytime.
Does That 2MP Macro Sensor Make Any Difference?
Realme has tried to offer a feature-rich photography experience to masses by giving an additional 2MP macro lens. The dedicated macro lens is a good marketing pitch but the real-life performance is rather underwhelming. It allows you to get as close as 4cm to tiny subjects, which is quite good from budget smartphone standards; however, the low-resolution images fail to impress, especially when you don't have ample lighting to capture tiny objects. Moreover, the 2MP macro shots have color grading issues and objects fail to show realistic colors.
The 12MP primary lens with 5P lens works on f/1.8 aperture and is paired with a 2MP depth sensor. The camera app offers a lot to experiment by featuring modes such as AI HDR, AI beauty, Chroma boost, Filters, Panorama, Expert mode (Pro), Time-Lapse, Ultra macro mode, Portrait mode and 120fps slow motion. The camera app skips on the Night mode. For selfies, the Realme Narzo 10A sports a 5MP front camera with f/2.4 aperture. The selfies come out good in ample lighting and you can also play around with the filters and other interesting modes.
12MP Primary Sensor Image Quality
The 12MP primary camera can shoot 1080p videos at 30fps. The 12MP sensor captures well-lit shots in daylight with decent dynamic range. You can also enable the Chroma Boost to make shots look slightly more contrasty.
The 2MP depth sensor adds little value to the camera setup. Some portrait shots turned out decent whereas some showed highly inconsistent blur effect, especially with people as subject.
Perhaps a 16MP primary lens or a 5MP depth sensor would have added more value to the overall camera performance than the 2MP macro lens.
Last but not the least, the 1080p video output, slow-motion and time-lapse videos do justice to the phone's budget price point. Overall, I would not recommend the Narzo 10A if photography is the top priority.
Long-Lasting Battery Life
The dual-SIM Narzo 10A is backed by a massive 5,000 mAh battery that can easily last more than a day with moderate-to-heavy usage. Realme claims a standby time of up to 30 days. The phone supports the reverse charge feature allowing it to work as a power bank to recharge other devices. The Realme Narzo 10A supports 10W charging power and the company ships a 10W charging adaptor in the box. As far as connectivity is concerned, the handset offers support for 4G as well as VoLTE, Wi-Fi, latest Bluetooth 5.0, and GPS/A-GPS/Beidou/GLONASS.
Should You Buy The Realme Narzo 10A?
The Realme Narzo 10A is a very good option for avid gamers who are on a strict budget. The smartphone can run the most popular game titles and the gaming performance justifies the price-point. The Narzo 10A also performs day-to-day operations without any major issues. The new design touchups look good and the fingerprint scanner is a welcome addition to the package.
What fails to impress is the camera performance. The new 2MP macro sensor is mostly insignificant and the 12MP and 2MP sensors also deliver below-average performance. It's not a smartphone for photography enthusiasts. The audio performance is also subpar. The Narzo 10A excels in battery life and also delivers a solid connectivity performance. The same can be said for the Realme C3 also which has the same camera, audio and battery specifications.
Summing up all, the Narzo 10A comes across as a better overall handset than the lower variant of the Realme C3 in all aspects. You are paying Rs. 500 extra for a new fit and finish, an extra security layer via traditional fingerprint scanner and only the feel-good factor of owning a smartphone with a triple-lens camera setup because its real-life performance is highly debatable.
The big question is- should you spend another extra Rs. 500 and get the 4GB + 64GB variant of the Realme C3? We would say ‘Yes' if you are an avid gamer and also want better overall computing and multitasking performance. The 4GB + 64GB Realme C3 offers better overall performance and double the storage at a slightly extra price. Don't account the 2MP macro lens in the equation because you are not missing out much.
If you can extend the budget to some extent, you can go for the Narzo 10 or the Redmi Note 9 Pro as these handsets offer much better overall performance than the Realme Narzo 10A. We are also testing the Galaxy M21, which seems another good option in the sub-15K price-point. Stay tuned for its detailed review on GizBot.com.