Home News Realme 3 Full Review – Is it really a Budget King?

Realme 3 Full Review – Is it really a Budget King?

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Realme 3 Review

Realme launched its third smartphone in Pakistan this month – Realme 3, following the first two entrants earlier this year dubbed Realme 2 Pro and Realme C1. While the company entered Pakistani market this year, it had started operations earlier in India and other regions. Hence the Realme 3 is a successor to the company’s Realme 2 which wasn’t launched in Pakistan.

Expecting soon another smartphone, Realme 3 Pro, a successor to the 2 Pro in Pakistan, Realme 3 is currently the company’s most recent contender among the budget market. The phone’s lower variant with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage retails at PKR 23,000. However the company also offered this model for even less during the first sale from Daraz.pk.

There is also another variant of the phone with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage and that costs PKR 29,000. Interesting fact is that the only difference between the two variants is the RAM and storage. Otherwise you get everything identical from both the variants.

If you are still thinking about the brand and its reputation, then I guess you also need to know that it’s like the Honor sub-brand name for Huawei and Redmi sub-brand name for Xiaomi. They same way, “Realme” is the sub-brand of OPPO. It’s powered with OPPO’s ColorOS as well. Now I believe you know the company very well, right?

So the question is, would you prefer a 4GB RAM and 64GB storage with 26% extra cost? Well the answer is not that simple because in the price range you may also have other options from other brands with a bit of trade-offs. However the fact is, the price of 3GB model is attractive because in its price, the Helio P60 processor is a deal-done event.

Realme 3 Review

Though the phone we have here for review, is the 4GB model, you shouldn’t expect a significant difference in performance. However the more the RAM, the more tasks the phone can run simultaneously. On the other hand, the large storage capacity is also a welcome element in today’s date because everybody likes to take pictures and record videos, without even deleting the crap ones instantly.

So I have just told about two factors that may require you to buy an expensive variant. If you are just an easy dude who can manage cleaning the recent apps and does not take a lot of unneeded photos or doesn’t store a bundle of heavy games, you are good to go with a 3GB RAM with 32GB internal storage.

If you haven’t seen our unboxing session of Realme 3, you shouldn’t miss that because we’re not covering that here in detail. Also you would learn about our initial thoughts about the phone.

Right now we have told you the basic and important difference between two variants of Realme 3 that you may choose to buy. You have also watched our unboxing session with our first impressions. But that’s not everything you needed to know before you buy. Sure, you want to learn more about how does the Realme 3 performs in all aspects including system performance, power management, and of course the camera performance. Well, you are just at the right place.

Just before moving, have quick look on the package content you are gonna get with Realme 3.

  • Realme 3 – the device
  • 5V/2A charger
  • Micro USB connectivity cable
  • Silicone back cover
  • Quick User Guide
  • SIM eject tool
Realme 3 Review
Realme 3 Unboxed

Let’s have quick look at the specifications and features of the Realme 3.

Quick Features and Specifications

Realme 3
SoC Chip: Helio P60 (12nm) – MediaTek MT6771
CPU: 4x Cortex-A73 2.0GHz + 4x Cortex-A53 2.0GHz
GPU: Mali G72 MP3
Memory 3GB RAM + 32GB Storage
4GB RAM + 64GB Storage
microSD card dedicated slot (up to 256GB)
OS / Software Android 9 Oreo / ColorOS 6.0
Display 6.2-inch IPS LCD
1520×720 HD+ resolution, 19:9,
Pixel density: ~271 ppi
Screen-to-body ratio: ~81.9%
Rear Camera 13MP 1/3″ PDAF Sensor, f/1.8 lens aperture
2MP depth sensor for portrait mode.
720p/1080p video recording at 30fps
Front Camera 13MP 1/3″ sensor, f/2.0 lens aperture
Battery 4230 mAh
5V/2A (10-watt) charging
Size/Weight 156.1 x 75.6 x 8.3 mm / 175 grams
Sensors Fingerprint sensor, Accelerometer, Proximity, Ambient light, E-Compass, Gyroscope
Connectivity WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n, 2.4GHz
WiFi Tethering, Hotspot
Bluetooth: 4.2, GPS/AGPS, FM Radio,
USB 2.0 micro USB, USB-OTG
Color Options Radiant Blue and Dynamic Black

Realme originally comes in three colors including Radiant Blue, Dynamic Black and Classic Black. But here in Pakistan you will have two options the Radiant Blue or Dynamic Black.

Helio P60 or Helio P70?

Well this is also a big question about the Realme 3 that it was originally launched with MediaTek Helio P70 which was a successor chipset of Helio P60. But the Realme 3, in Pakistan, was launched with the Helio P60 chip. When we reached out to the company for this concern, they literally responded with some logical reason which was the cost.

We already knew that both the chipsets are identical, packing the same CPU architecture, same GPU and APU. But only a minor increase in clock speed of the performance cores of Helio P70 with the claim of better AI performance.

Realme 3 Review

On the other hand, we have trialed a variety of devices running on Helio P70 and Helio P60, both were were pretty much similar in day to day performance as well as on the benchmark scores.

So we believe if you get a significant price impact with only a minor performance difference, you really should go for the lower price.

Should we move on?

Realme 3 Build and Design

Realme 3 has unibody design with a plastic back panel and mid-frame. All the color variants have the back panels with their own certain types. The one we have here for review – the Dynamic Black comes with the “Starry Particles” as an important factor.

Realme 3 Review

The upper parts is all black while the lower part of the panel has that night-blue accent with shinning stars inspired by the milky way. “The precious particles give the phone shell starry surface as well as magical chameleon effect.”

The fingerprint sensor is on the back at the upper part along side the dual-camera module that also hosts an LED flash. You can see a golden circle around the main camera which just for a visual distinction and nothing else.

Realme 3 Review

The grip and handling is comfortable with the less-slippery back panel, while the 3D curved back panel helps better when you need to pick the phone up from some surface.

Components and Ports

Realme 3 hosts the Micro USB port along with the loud speaker and 3.5mm audio jack at the bottom. There is also a mouthpiece (primary mic). The power button is on the right side of the phone but the volume rocker is on the left along side the SIM slot.

I have always liked the power button and volume rocker on the right side of the phone. But it’s a preference, and you may like the way it is on Realme 3. We don’t have anything on the top side of the phone.

The SIM slot serves with a dedicated dual-SIM and one microSD card expansion tray. That means you can use all of them all along at once.

Realme 3 Review

This is something better than the hybrid SIM slot on most phones.

Front and Display

I may have mentioned earlier in previous reviews that the only notch I like on smartphones is the dewdrop one – referred as water-drop by OPPO and Halo by Vivo. As expected, this tiny notch houses a single front-facing camera with an earpiece between the screen and the body.

Thin bezels like these ones are now common as we know already. The bottom chin is still present with some space.

Realme 3 features a 6.2-inch display with aspect ratio of 19:9. It comes with HD+ display resolution of 1520 x 720 pixels serves with the pixel density of around 270 ppi. Realme says it has 88.3% screen-to-body ratio which does not include the the frame outside the screen. But when we include the the full front profile to calculate the display area ratio, it comes out as around 81%.

Realme 3 Review

Realme 3 packs with an IPS LCD panel but its outdoor visibility is also good. Resolution is not something that you might be impressed with but in this price range this is something which you really look for. Higher resolution displays with mid-range processors is not a good combination for long term battery performance as well as gaming.

HD resolution is quite good for most type of content on screen. Not that bad for reading but also helps with the battery. Graphics performance comes out as better as the GPU has to render pixels on the screen.

Software and User Interface

Realme 3 runs Android 9 Pie operating system out-of-the-box. Having its family relation with OPPO, this phone or any other Realme phone comes with OPPO’s ColorOS. Realme 3 comes with the latest ColorOS 6. The new ColorOS has revamped totally that the home screen look like a stock Android one but many other elements are visually changed with large and flat icons.

To give a quick glimpse, here is the notification panel with the large toggle switches.

Realme 3 Review

The phone starts with a lock screen, unlock to go to home screens, the folders, and multitask view and so on. Those who always wished for an app drawer in their OPPO smartphones, or Realme ones, it’s there now. The new ColorOS 6 now offers you an option to switch between the standard mode or drawer mode.

Realme 3, ColorOS 6 – Lock screen, standard home screen, home screen style switcher, home screen with app drawer

The far left screen offers to enable or disable Smart Assistant of ColorOS, however the Google Now app can be opened from settings. Folders on the home screen are just same as before but unlike before now they have sharp and straight user interface with no rounded corners.

Recent apps view is just like before with big cards, however you can opt to display RAM/memory information on this screen from settings.

Realme 3, ColorOS 6 – Smart Assistant, Folder view, Recent Tasks, Recent Tasks with memory information

The new system comes with a new navigation keys layout with no Recent tasks key by default. There is a back key, and home key but instead of recent tasks key, you need to perform a swipe-up gesture on the blank key spot to bring up the recent tasks view. But you can switch back to standard back, home and recent apps keys layout from the settings if you want. By the way, I liked to stay with this and it was easily adaptive.

Realme 3, ColorOS 6 – Default navigation keys layout, navigation layout options or gesture based navigation

Complete gesture based navigation control set is also available like other smartphones. However split-screen function has the impact of default navigation keys layout. You might have been used to with the long-tap recent tasks key to trigger split-screen feature. Well that function is still present if you switch back to the standard navigation keys layout from the settings. But the default keys layout doesn’t offer the recent apps key, you may need to swipe-up and bring the recent tasks view. There you can use the card menu to trigger the split-screen.

Additionally you can use the three-finger swipe-up gesture on the compatible app, to trigger the split-screen.

Here is the completely new notification panel with white background and colorful toggles and switches. I wish there was a dark theme as well, hoping it to ship via a software update soon. It’s only the visually change. Experience wise, it’s just same as before – you can change and rearrange toggles and switches.

Then there is also a Smart Sidebar that you can turn on for quick access to you favorite apps and features.

ColorOS 6 keeps my favorite feature in the File Manager – the ftp based remote file manager that you can access via web browser or the file explorer on your computer. Phone manager with all its features is also present. The security features include App Lock, Kid Space and Private Safe.

For improved gaming experience, there is also a Game Space which is now included in every other Android smartphone. If you didn’t know it actually prioritize the system performance for gaming when you are playing.

Overall the software is good to play with. A special “Realme” touch is not present but you are bound to get everything OPPO builds into the system as long as the system supports it.

Realme 3 does have a fingerprint sensor on its back which is really fast and provides a good experience with accurate recognition. In addition, the phone also support face unlock which is equally and impressively fast.

Realme 3 Review Face Unlock

System Performance

Something that you really need from your smartphone, is the performance. Realme 3 comes with the MediaTek Helio P60 which is comparable with Snapdragon 660 smartphones. Overall the system was fluent with every day task in Realme 3.

The phone features the Mali-G72 GPU along with the 4GB of RAM. The 720p resolution was a good match for the processo. However our previous experience with Helio P60 devices was better in gaming. The famous PUBG Mobile did actually lag in our Realme 3 experience. Considering the fact that we previously didn’t had that kind of experience with this chipset, I believe it’s just a optimization that may fix the issue via simply a software update.

Realme 3 Review

Other titles were just fine playing on Realme 3, However this certain device wasn’t compatible with Asphalt 9. If you are looking for benchmark numbers, then why not take a look at the benchmark scores below.

  • AnTuTu: 132709
  • Geekbench Single-core: 1419
  • Geekbench Multi-core: 5078
  • 3D Mark – Sling Shot Extreme (OpenGL ES 3.1): 1123
  • 3D Mark – Sling Shot Extreme (Vulkan): 1068

If optimized well, the Realme 3 should be good for all kind operations as well as gaming. ColorOS 6 still needs optimization but the day to day usage with almost every kind of stuff was fine.

Battery Performance

The 4230 mAh big battery is really a power pack for this phone. The company’s cheaper Realme C1 also had the same battery but the Snapdragon 450 is little less to manage power due to big size of semiconductor. The 12nm process of Helio P60 is actually helpful making the battery last longer. On top of that, as I told you already, the 720p display did its trick to further increase the battery timing.

Realme 3 Review

A bad thing is that phone doesn’t support fast charging but the bundled 10W charger pulls up the battery power to 20-22% in around 30 minutes. A full charge would take up to 3 hours.

Camera

Realme 3 features a dual camera setup on its back with a 13-megapixel main unit paired with a secondary 2-megapixel depth sensor. The second camera is mainly for portrait mode that simulates blurred background, aka bokeh effect in close up shots.

The 13MP main camera is the main shooter for almost every occasion. The sensor features phase-detect autofocus with 1.12µm pixel size. There is a large f/1.8 aperture lens and an LED flash for it.

The front camera also equips with a 13MP image sensor for selfies with a nice f/2.0 lens aperture. The front camera comes with a fixed-focus lens like most mobile cameras out there.

Camera UI

Camera UI is what has the biggest makeover in ColorOS 6. It’s totally different, and probably simpler too. The main view finder offers with the three main modes – Photo, Video and Portrait. All of which are available with front camera as well.

Further from the hamburger menu button, you can choose options from nightscape (night mode/long exposure), panorama, expert (pro mode), time-lapse and slo-mo. The front camera only supports panorama and time-lapse.

Image Quality

Realme 3 captures decent image detail in daylight for its price value. System enhanced vividness is present but not so aggressively. However there is a Chroma Boost option to further enhance the colors which also maintains the image detail. Noise handling was also impressive but images looked little over sharpened.

Outdoor Shots

Low-light Shots

The camera looses detail in low-light however Night mode comes handy with long exposure shots while hand-held. With standard mode, the camera prefers to stay at 1/25th of the second at minimum for exposure while having the ISO increased. That way you will normally see heavy noise and low-detail in the image. But the Night mode (Nightscape) can go down to 1/9th of a second with low-ISO sensitivity. But you need to be little steady with your hands to get much better night shots.

Video Recording

Realme 3 features 720p and 1080p video recording but no stabilization.

1080p Video Recording

720p Video Recording

Conclusion

Well the one liner would be like – the Realme 3 is an impressive contender among its price range. Specially when if we talk about the 3GB variant that costs PKR 23,000 (or 22k in flash sale). 4GB model is also good in 29,000 but that’s the price tag where we usually see the Helio P60 or similar processor line up.

The same processor, when you get for Rs. 23k, is something that should attract the customer. 32GB storage is not that bad. It should be good for most users out there. 4230 mAh battery is also impressive in this price. No fast charging can be quite disappointing but in this price I guess 10-watt charging shouldn’t bother you either.

Camera is also something above the the price range and we usually see such a quality in mid-range phones. The Realme 3 3GB model is indeed a lower mid-range phone and we are really impressed with its offering.

You may give it a try, specially if you are good with 32GB internal storage.

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