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Realme 3 review: Great performance, excellent camera and a large battery in a stylish design

This is one of the cheapest smartphones with a tiny notch.

, ET Bureau|
Apr 12, 2019, 05.15 PM IST
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Agencies
RealMe3
To unlock the phone, both face unlock feature and fingerprint scanner are fast and work reliably.
Price: Rs 8,999 (3GB/32GB), Rs 10,999 (4GB/64GB)

Specifications: 6.22-inch IPS display, 1520 x 720 pixels, octa-core Mediatek Helio P70, 3/4GB RAM, 32/64GB storage, 13MP + 2MP dual rear camera, 13MP front camera, dual SIM slot, dedicated microSD slot, rear fingerprint scanner, 4G, VoLTE, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, 4,230mAh battery, Android 9.0, 175 grams

Pros: Value for money, stylish gradient finish design, bright display, good camera performance, useful night scape mode, excellent battery life

Cons: 720p resolution display, low audio output from speakers and the headphone port, plastic body, no wide vine L1 (will not stream HD video)

Rating: ****

Realme 3 is the brand's latest budget smartphone offering and successor to last year's Realme 2. The company has added some much-needed upgrades and that too without raising the price. It's a competitive segment after all.

Realme 3 has a 6.22-inch screen with a dewdrop style notch. This is one of the cheapest smartphones with this tiny notch and we like it because you get more screen in the same device size. While we liked the brightness levels of the display, rich colours and slim bezels, the resolution is 1520 x 720 pixels. This is disappointing for the price because others have a full HD display. Design is another area where Realme 3 stands out. It has a gradient finish back panel and unibody design which looks premium and stylish. Our review unit is the Radiant Blue colour which was appreciated by a lot of people. Trouble is that it's a plastic body with glossy finish and therefore prone to smudges and scratches. In fact, the phone picked up numerous small scratches within just a week of use.

RealMe3


Performance has been given a major boost with the Helio P70 processor. We used the 4GB RAM variant and faced no issues with day-to-day use. It can smoothly run PUBG at medium graphics - gamers on a budget will appreciate this performance. What impressed us more was the fantastic battery life. A full charge regularly lasted a day and a half. You get a fast charger in the box too which takes about two and a half hours to charge the battery from 0 to 100%.

Around the back, the phone has a 13MP primary sensor combined with a 2MP depth sensor. The primary camera has a f1.8 aperture for low light and it delivers impressive photos with good detail. A Chromaboost mode makes the colours pop and while the photos look great, we didn't like the 1-2 second processing time for which we had to wait. Portrait mode results have pleasing bokeh but the edge detection is not up to the mark. Special mention goes to the Nighscape mode which captures clearer pictures in low light with improved dynamic range and less noise. Note that this is the first phone from Realme with Camera API2 enabled for third party apps - this means you can get advanced features (not provided by the default camera) by using third party camera apps. Up front is a 13MP selfie shooter with HDR support which impressed us with clarity, details and minimal noise. You also have a portrait mode for the front camera which delivers images similar in quality to the rear camera - edge detection is again not the best we have seen but most users will find that photos are good enough to use as a profile photo or for sharing on social media.

Realme 3 is the first phone from the company that comes with Color OS 6.0 based on Android 9.0. There are a number of useful features including the near-stock interface, smart assistant, shortcut sidebar, hold power button to wake Google Assistant, payment protection for wallet and bank apps, harassment and fraud prevention features, kid space, game space for improved gaming performance and dual apps. There are a few preloaded apps on the phone but these can be uninstalled. However, the phone skips Widevine L1 support which means that it will not be able to stream DRM content in HD from services like Netflix.

To unlock the phone, both face unlock feature and fingerprint scanner are fast and work reliably. What we found odd was the low volume output while using headphones. We tried it out with wired and wireless headphones - even at maximum volume, the output was low compared to other phones.

Overall, Realme still has a winner on their hands with this phone. It delivers features and performance not available in the sub-`10 segment. When it comes to the 4GB variant, the price puts it in a very competitive segment where the Redmi Note 7 exists. The Redmi has a more premium design with Gorilla Glass 5 front and back, a full HD display, a more powerful Snapdragon 660 processor and USB Type-C port.


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