Realme 3 first impressions: A closer look at new Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 rival | HT Tech

Realme 3 first impressions: A closer look at new Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 rival

Realme 3 takes on Redmi Note 7 with 6.2-inch HD+ display, dual-rear cameras, and Helio P70 processor. Here are our first impressions of the new Realme phone.

By: KUL BHUSHAN
| Updated on: Mar 04 2019, 17:41 IST
Realme 3 goes on sale in India on March 12.
Realme 3 goes on sale in India on March 12. (HT Photo)
Realme 3 goes on sale in India on March 12.
Realme 3 goes on sale in India on March 12. (HT Photo)

Realme 3 is a new budget smartphone in India. Targeted at the 10,000 segment, Realme's latest flagship smartphone comes with improved design and minor specifications upgrade over its previous smartphones.

Set to take on Xiaomi's Redmi Note 7, Realme 3 bets big on its 'next-gen 3D unibody gradient design'. The texture of the back panel is highly similar to Oppo K1 which is priced much higher at 16,990. Gradient back panel is clearly a new trend in the mid-range and budget segment. With Xiaomi embracing the design on its Note 7 series, you can expect more to follow suit.

Do gradient back panels make any difference? Visually, yes. But, the same cannot be said about their sturdiness and durability. In the case of Realme 3, the review unit has already attracted a number of scratches. The glossy finish also makes the phone little slippery - a similar complaint we had with Samsung's Galaxy M20. We recommend users to case on such phones. That said, Realme has already launched 'Iconic Cases' for 500 approximately.

The front is dominated by the display with a much smaller notch on the top. Bezels are strategically slimmer on the sides but are quit thicker at the bottom. The phone boasts of 88.3% screen-to-body ratio which is on par with other phones in this price category.

Volume buttons are located on the right edge. The side also houses a triple-slot for two nano SIMs and one microSD card unlike Redmi Note 7 which has a hybrid sim slot (two SIMs or one SIM and one microSD card). The power/lock/unlock button is on the right edge. The rear houses vertically aligned dual-rear cameras and fingerprint sensor at the centre. The base houses speaker grilles, USB Type-C port, and 3.5mm headphone jack.

A closer look 3D unibody design on Realme 3
A closer look 3D unibody design on Realme 3 (HT Photo)
image caption
A closer look 3D unibody design on Realme 3 (HT Photo)

Realme 3's 6.2-inch HD+ display doesn't go big on resolution which certainly is not a negative for a sub-10,000 phone. The screen, however, is quite reflective, especially outdoors. The autobrightness kicks in as the ambient lighting changes but doesn't really help improve legibility.

Realme 3 offers 19:9 aspect ratio
Realme 3 offers 19:9 aspect ratio (HT Photo)
image caption
Realme 3 offers 19:9 aspect ratio (HT Photo)

We also tried out Realme 3's dual-rear cameras. The 13-megapixel and 2-megapixel combination pulls some really neat shots in daylight. The camera, however, relies too much on software optimisation, especially when using the nightscape or Chrome Boost modes. Image processing in these modes is slower than expected. So far, lowlight images, even in special modes have been near-satisfactory.

A daylight shot from Realme 3
A daylight shot from Realme 3 (HT Photo)
image caption
A daylight shot from Realme 3 (HT Photo)

The biggest strength of Realme 3 is the refined ColorOS 6 which is based on Android Pie. The new UI borrows elements from Apple's iOS with a white background. Nonetheless, it's intuitive and simpler to use. From a new App Drawer to Smart Gestures, ColorOS 6 looks promising. Android purists will love the minimum customisation to the core UI.

Realme 3 comes with 13MP+2MP rear cameras.
Realme 3 comes with 13MP+2MP rear cameras. (HT Photo)
image caption
Realme 3 comes with 13MP+2MP rear cameras. (HT Photo)

For performance, Realme 3 is using MediaTek Helio P70 processor which is said to be equivalent to Qualcomm's Snapdragon 660 chipset. For day-to-day tasks, both chipsets are quite capable. Qualcomm, however, does enjoy superiority when it comes to handling graphic-intensive tasks.

Overall, Realme 3 looks a solid budget smartphone. Stay tuned for our detailed review for more on the new smartphone.

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First Published Date: 04 Mar, 17:40 IST
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