The sub-Rs. 4,000 segment for smartwatches has still not been tapped into properly. Most devices in this price range are essentially a glorified fitness band with some smart features. However, lately we have seen some action by companies to capture this space. The Noise Colorfit Ultra Buzz Smartwatch and boAt Watch Primia have both tried to diversify the space with their Bluetooth calling and feature-heavy offering. And now comes the Realme Watch 3 to make the competition even tougher.
Following the above-mentioned devices, now the Realme Watch 3 has also jumped on the Bluetooth calling bandwagon. Alongside, it also brings its largest display at 1.8-inch. It also flaunts 110 sports mode, health tracking and smart features. For a smartwatch under Rs. 3,500, that is impressive. But as always, the spec-sheet doesn't impress us much. It's how it performs in real life conditions. And after using it for a week, here are our findings. As the Realme Watch 3 went on sale yesterday, make sure to read this review before making the purchase.
The Realme Watch 3 comes with a rectangular plastic polycarbonate body with curved edges and standard 22mm silicone straps. The sides have a reflective metallic texture frame which is also made up of plastic. At a weight of just 40 grams, the watch feels pretty lightweight and is comfortable to wear for long periods of time. However, the plastic body takes away from a premium touch and feel to the device.
The smartwatch features a 1.8-inch TFT display (240 x 286 pixels), which is almost as large as the display of a feature phone. Although there are significant bezels on all sides, the display is pretty large and reading information is really comfortable. Plus, at 500 nits of brightness, outdoor usage is also never an issue. However, unless you have a big wrist, the smartphone might feel a little oversized. The screen-to-body ratio of 67.5% is a major upgrade from the Realme Watch 2, however, the previous generation device had a higher pixel density (323 PPI vs 207 PPI).
If a large rectangular dial with LCD display is not what you’re after then you can take a look at boAt Watch Primia which comes with an AMOLED display and a smaller, round dial.
The smartwatch features a multi-function button on the right side which can be used to wake up the watch, open the menu, pause workouts and go back. There is a small microphone right underneath the button and there are two tiny speakers on the left side.
Overall, I think it is a decent display and a large dial definitely helps in getting a better view of the information. An AMOLED display would have been a big upgrade but at this price range, it can’t be complained about.
The Realme Watch 3 has plenty of health tracking and fitness features to play around with. It offers 110+ built in sports modes, trackers for heart rate, SpO2, steps taken, calories burnt, stress, menstrual cycles along with sleep monitoring and drinking water reminders.
The company has increased the total number of supported sports from 90 in Realme Watch 2 to 110+ in the third generation with some fun additions like kite flying and sledding. However, at any given time, the smartwatch only displays 16 sports modes. If you want to access the other sports, you will have to manually replace it from the companion app.
Coming to the health trackers, the step counter was fairly accurate and just waving the arm around did not add extra numbers. The heart rate monitor is also pretty accurate as I was able to access medical equipment and the results did not vary much (± 5 beats). However, we would not recommend this as an alternative to a medical equipment and if you face any issues you should only consider what a professional medical practitioner advises. Unfortunately, I was not able to verify the accuracy of SpO2, calories or stress trackers.
I did face some issues with the sleep tracker as on two consecutive days, it showed that I slept for 16 hours while I slept for about 6-7 hours. On those two occasions, I took an afternoon nap and the watch did not think I woke up till the next morning, even as I worked out in the evening and it tracked that. I’m not sure if it is a recurring issue since I did not take any afternoon naps on other days and the sleep tracker worked just fine. But this is something you should consider.
Overall, I was impressed with the trackers, bar the sleep tracker. I also liked that you could see additional information besides the tracking number directly in the watch. And yes, a detailed view is available on the companion app.
The Realme Watch 3 comes with the Bluetooth calling feature and you can dial a number, access call history and frequent numbers and receive a call, all using just the smartwatch. This is a very convenient feature and in this price range is definitely a rare sight. And the feature works very reliably. However, I do have a couple of issues with it.
I found that speakers were very inefficient in listening to anything the person on the other end is saying during a call. While you can still understand what they’re saying if you focus enough and are in a quiet room, in an outdoor situation it becomes very incomprehensible. The microphone works better than the speaker but again, its performance is dependent on background noise and how close to your mouth it is kept.
A larger issue I faced was when you make or get a call, you cannot go back to the home screen or the screen you were earlier unless you hang up. This means, if you decide to pick a call during a workout or simply while walking, you will not be able to view any of the tracking information till you hang up. The tracker does run in the background so none of your workout is missed, however, it is annoying that a person cannot simultaneously watch their running data and attend a call.
A better alternative is Noise Colorfit Ultra Buzz smartwatch. Although it also has the speaker issue, the rest of the issues are not present in it.
While the Bluetooth calling let me down, the smart features of the device impressed me. The smartwatch comes with 100+ watch faces and they are diverse enough to fit most people’s preferences. The software experience of the watch is also pretty nice as most apps display additional information apart from the tracked number. The clean and intuitive UI was also easy to learn and fun to use.
Coming to the companion app, the Realme Watch 3 comes with the Realme Link app which is a very clean and minimalistic UI. The app connects very easily with the watch and I never noticed any glitches or issues. The app shows detailed information from every tracker and also combines information from multiple trackers to give a better analysis of the performance. For example, after my run, I was not only able to see workout specific information like pace, calories burnt, duration and cadence, it also showed me a detailed view of my heart rate.
Apart from that, the smartwatch also comes with a music player and a weather app which are fairly useful when you are on-the-go and do not want to reach out to your smartphone.
The smart features work just as advertised and I did not face any issues in them.
The Realme Watch 3 comes with a 340 mAh battery. The company claims that the smartwatch can typically last about 7 days on one charge. If you do not turn on continuous tracking or raise to wake features, that number might be reachable. However, I used the smartphone with those features turned on and I got around 5 days on a single charge. At the same time, there were some features I did not turn on which could drain the battery faster.
The watch takes about two and a half hours to charge completely.
I found the Realme Watch 3 to be a good option in the price segment. The smartwatch does a great job at both fitness tracking and smart features. Combine that with a large display and a lightweight body, it checks a lot of the right boxes for me. Adding it with its breeze of a companion app and I think it is definitely a smartwatch you can invest into.
However, I would recommend not to buy it if your priority is Bluetooth calling. While the feature is serviceable, unless you want to use wireless earphones to eventually answer the call, it will always be a hassle to speak and hear. But if you are someone who uses wireless earphones heavily anyway, the issues with the Bluetooth calling will not be a problem.
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