Realme 3 quick review: Gradient design and power-packed features under Rs 10,000
Realme has been one of those rare brands in recent times to make a significant mark in the Indian smartphone market, which is no easy feat to achieve. With brands like Xiaomi, Samsung Oppo, Vivo and Nokia in the game, Realme has been able to grab a small piece of the market in less than a year, which is a pretty big deal. The reason behind this success is thanks to a series of phones in 2018 that managed to offer a combination of good design along with some impressive hardware at very competitive prices. The company hopes to grab an even bigger piece of the market in 2019, and it hopes to get the ball rolling with the Realme 3.
Announced on Monday, the Realme 3 is a successor to the popular Realme 2. And much like any successor, the latest device brings with it a host of new features and upgrades, both to design and hardware. The Realme 3 touts a dewdrop display along with a new unibody design and gradient colours. At the core of the device is a Helio P70 chipset that aims to offer plenty of speed and power in this price segment. This is combined with the latest Android Pie-based ColorOS 6.0, dual cameras and a large battery, among other things. The Realme 3 seems to have all the makings of a winner, at least that's my initial impression after playing around with the device briefly. Here are my thoughts on the new Realme 3.
Right off the bat, we see a new design language that makes the Realme 3 look like it belongs in 2019. The dewdrop display on the front offers a droplet-style notch much like the Realme 2 Pro and Realme U1. The rear panel is now one, seamless cover that extends all the way around the frame and meets the glass panel on the front, which makes the device feel good to hold. The panel is not glass but thanks to an injection molding technique (something we have heard of in the past for budget phones) it looks almost glass-like with a reflective design and a smooth finish. The panel is glossy and will attract quite a lot of fingerprints and smudges as you go about your day.
Realme has joined another mainstream brands now by offering gradient colours on the Realme 3. You get a choice of Dynamic Black and Radiant Blue with the device. The former sees hues of black and purple which shifts in intensity depending on the angle you view it in and the amount of light that hits the surface. The bottom quarter of the panel which is purple-ish also sees some glitter effect as well. The Radiant Blue colour, on the other hand, offers hues of blue that shifts towards green from the top down, which looks equally attractive. There is also a non-gradient Classic Black option, if you prefer a subtle look.
I appreciate Realme's efforts to make the phone look a little bit more premium by adding silver accents around the fingerprint sensor and camera module as well as a copper-coloured ring around the primary camera sensor. The rear panel looks aesthetically pleasing as the camera module and Realme branding are vertically aligned on the left side.
Thanks to the generous amount of plastic being used, the Realme 3 is a lightweight phone at 175 grams, which is impressive considering it comes with a fairly large battery. There is a rear fingerprint sensor as mentioned, while the volume buttons are placed on the left side and power button placed on the right. The bottom sees a speaker grille and a 3.5mm headphone jack on either sides of a microUSB port.
The Realme 3 sports a 6.2-inch HD+ (1520x720) display on the front, and the bezels are thinner compared to the Realme 2. The waterdrop notch is pretty non-intrusive and will make sure it doesn't eat into the content, whether it is while watching a movie or playing games. The panel looks decent for its price with good brightness levels and colours, but one shouldn't expect too much from a 720p resolution. We will have more to say about the sharpness and clarity of the display in our in-depth review, so do stay tuned for that.
Realme's latest handset gets the same 2.1GHz Helio P70 octa-core chipset as the Realme U1. This is a MediaTek chipset with four Cortex-A53 cores and four Cortex-A73 cores along with a Mali-G72 MP3 GPU. This is paired with up to 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. The Helio P70 chipset touts a good amount of speed and power compared to its predecessor, and Realme claims it to be better in some ways to the Snapdragon 660 chipset. Based on a brief hands-on time, the phone does feel pretty snappy as apps open and load fast, while browsing through the UI was lag-free.
The Realme 3 gets a pretty standard 13MP + 2MP dual camera system on the back. It's similar to the Realme 2, but with a wider aperture this time around for better low-light photography. One new feature that the company is offering with the Realme 3 is a Nightscape mode, which aims to offer improved low-light photos by increasing the exposure, and it is certainly something we will test in detail for our full review. Nightscape doesn't ship out of the box and will rollout with a software update. There is also a new Chroma Boost mode that uses AI to recognise a scene and offer better dynamic range and balanced exposure. On the front, the Realme 3 gets a single 13MP f/2.0 selfie snapper housed in the waterdrop notch with AI beautification, as expected.
Based on a few photos captured indoors, the camera does seem to let in more light, offering better detail than what was managed by the Realme 2. Outdoors, the inbuilt AI was able to detect some scenery and was able to automatically boost some colors to make it look rich and vibrant. Again, we will have more to say on the cameras, including the new Nightscape and Chroma Boost modes, after a detailed review.
Another key USP of the Realme 3 is its large 4,230mAh battery, which is pretty large and yet the device manages to stay lightweight. The battery capacity should deliver a full day or perhaps over a day worth of battery on a single charge, but that's something we can only test after using the device for a few days. We will check the battery optimization features and just how energy efficient the Helio P70 chipset is in our in-depth review. Unfortunately, the Realme 3 only charges at an output of 10W, so it may take a while to charge the device to 100 per cent.
Based on my brief interaction with the device, the Realme 3 looks like yet another promising affordable smartphone from the newbie brand that should keep Xiaomi on its toes. The Realme 3 comes with an updated look and a lot of promising specs under the hood for a price that starts at Rs 8,999. We will have more to share about the Realme 3 in our full review so do stay tuned for that.