Tuesday , 19 November 2019

Realme 3 Review: Budget Low-light Monster?

Should You Buy the Realme 3?

After stepping out of OPPO’s shadow, Realme has been gaining a ton of steam with a lot of budget offerings that have won a lot of people over. Lea was able to attend one of their product launches where they showed of a trio of phones, which included the Realme 2 Pro, but only one device made its way to our shores — the Realme C1. The budget-offering was more than enough to stir up curiosity for the Realme 3, which has finally arrived in the Philippines.

We’ve already spent time with this new device that packs quite the punch for something that costs less than Php 10,000 but is it worth it? Before we get to that, let’s take it out of the box first.

What’s Inside the Box?

The first thing that a lot of people noticed when we posted a photo of the box as a teaser on social media is that Realme has changed up its packaging and overall branding. Gone is the white and red box that you saw on the C1 and, in its place, is the company’s new grey and yellow color scheme.

Aside from that though, it’s your standard unboxing experience with the usual suspects. You’ve got the phone and our review unit came in the Dynamic Black color variant but Realme was kind enough to send us a Radiant Blue unit to show you guys as well. Of course, there are the accessories, which include the various documentation, SIM ejector, a jelly case, a micro USB cable, and the charger.

Sweet, Subtle Gradient

While there are few devices that buck the trend when it comes to devices that cost less than 10-grand, the Realme 3 uses polycarbonate plastic as its main material of choice but uses a unibody build and it definitely works to the phone’s advantage given the beautiful gradient that they’ve chosen with their device.

As mentioned above, you can get the phone in either Radiant Blue and Dynamic Black. While both color variants look incredible, we felt drawn to the subtle tones of the latter because, perhaps, we’re getting a little fatigued with the whole gradient trend.

The overall ergonomics of the Realme 3 were okay. The curves make it easier to hold and there’s just enough weight to make it feel substantial but it did feel a little awkward to clasp since the display doesn’t meld seamlessly into the phone’s construction. Thankfully though, this all goes away when you slap on the included case.

No Need to Rely on Face Unlock

Most phones at this price point have pretty much abandoned the capacitive fingerprint scanner and have depended on facial recognition to unlock the device more conveniently. Unfortunately, we don’t think that’s very secure and that’s why we’re so glad that the Realme 3 has a physical fingerprint scanner.

Sure, there’s the usual margin of error and the phone does unlock faster when using facial recognition but we’ll definitely take the scanner over face unlock any day of the week.

A Serviceable Display

To view content on, you’ve got a 6.2-inch IPS Display that tops out at HD+ resolution. The pixel density of 271 ppi has definitely left us wanting after being spoiled by devices that are at Full HD+ but it does perform admirably and we still happily went down the YouTube Rabbit Hole plus watched a couple of Netflix shows on our downtime.

The panel itself is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 plus a pre-installed screen protector. We still wouldn’t place the phone in the same pocket as your keys but it does offer some assurance that it’ll stand up to your usual wear and tear.

For audio, you’ve got the lone speaker on the bottom of the device. It gets the job done but we advise you to keep it about 80-percent to keep the highs from sounding too tinny. If you want to really immerse yourself in content, there’s always the 3.5mm headphone jack.

Familiar Hardware Configuration

Under the hood of the Realme 3 is a Helio P60 octa-core processor. Yup, that’s not a typo. While the phone that launched in India received the newer Helio P70, the global version of the device will be getting the SoC that we first experienced on the OPPO F7. While you can consider it to be a little dated, the Helio P60 still hums along nicely on the device that’s has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of expandable storage to go along with it.

Asphalt 9 on High Quality. Average of 25 frames per second at 82% stability.
Mobile Legends. Average of 30 frames per second at 95% Stability.
NBA 2K19 on High. Average of 34 frames per second at 83% stability.

You’re getting a pretty solid gaming experience with the Realme 3 even with the settings turned up to the highest we could. The lower resolution of the display definitely comes into play as it does give you more stable frame rates.

The Realme 3 runs on Android Pie 9.0, which is a breath of fresh air since some of its competition and a few phones at a higher price bracket are still running on Oreo. Of course, you have ColorOS on top of it that has less of an iOS influence this time around and adds a few functionalities that we’ve seen in Samsung devices. It’s a whole lot cleaner than previous versions of the UI overlay.

Low-light Photography Anyone?

For the cameras on the Realme 3, you’ve got a 13-megapixel main shooter and aperture of f/1.8 along with a 2-megapixel depth sensor. You’ve got your standard AI scene recognition that we see on a lot of phones these days but it takes a little while to kick in. The resulting photos are pretty good — all things considered — with a decent amount of sharpness to them but the colors do come out a little too saturated at times and that’s with one of the key features turned off as well.

Realme has included Chroma Boost on this phone, which is supposed to give colors a bit more pop and your photos a bit more dynamic range. While it does accomplish the latter, we would really advise you guys to use this sparingly since we did mention that colors may turn out too punchy in certain situations.

The other feature that the company was really harping on was Nightscape. If you’re familiar with the one on the OPPO R17 Pro, it’s pretty much the same thing. While you generally want to avoid low-light photography with phones at this price bracket, you’re definitely going to want to see what you can do with this device as the output was really surprising.

Great Battery Life

Running our usual battery benchmark test on the Realme 3 had it clock in at 11 hours and 4 mins going from 80 percent down to 20. Despite the results and given our time with the device, it gave us nearly two days worth of juice in between charges. Of course, your mileage will change depending on how much you use your device

When you do need to plug it in and recharge, it’ll take a little over 2 hours from 0 to 100%.

Verdict: Big Value Despite Its Shortcomings

The Realme 3 has been one of the phones that have been constantly popping up in our comment section and for good reason. There’s a lot of value to have with this device. Yes, it has its shortcomings but all its good parts make for a very compelling case for itself that makes it one of the phones to check out; especially since we missed out on the Realme 2 Pro. While there are a lot of options in this tough price bracket and some that have hardware that packs a more powerful punch, the Realme 3 is definitely one of the more solid options and you definitely shouldn’t sleep on its Nightscape feature.

The starting price for the Realme 3 is Php 6990 for the 3GB/32GB configuration, Php 7990 for the one with 3GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, and — if you’re looking to get the top variants — Php 9990 that will give you 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. The 3/32 and 3/64 versions of the Realme 3 are available via Home Credit’s Easy Plan or you can get the top variant at 0% interest for 6 months.

There will also be a flash sale on Shopee for the Realme 3 on March 25 where you will be able to get it at 10-percent off.

One comment

  1. Avatar

    This may just be the best phone under P8K. Then again, the Redmi Note 7 launch is just around the corner. It’s really a good time for buyers of lower-end phones!

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