The mid-range segment is getting introduced with lots and lots of brands making the competition a fierce one, with every brand trying to offer the latest features thereby meeting the latest market trends. The mid-range segment has always been dominated mostly by Chinese players as they are making mid-range smartphones better and more competing as technology progresses.
And now as another powerful step in the budget smartphone segment, Realme introduced us to its new Realme 6 series of smartphone. Making the device available in the third month of 2020, the Realme 6 and the 6 Pro have gone out of their pricing categories to enter the upper-budget and mid-range segments respectively, by offering more than a decent spec-sheet while promising great performance at a budget-friendly price tag. The 6 series line-up gets face to face in the battle with the upcoming Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 pro and the previously launched Poco X2. We were impressed by the offerings that we get in this new Realme 6 series, especially the boosted 90hz refresh panel, which we have only seen on higher-end smartphones such as the OnePlus 7T. Coming at a price tag of Rs. 12999 for the baby Realme 6 and Rs. 16999 for the Pro variant, the devices are worth looking for if you are in the market looking for a worthy upgrade for your existing smartphone. If you want to sell your smartphone, do check out Cashify to get a decent resale value of your device.
Since both the smartphones have minor things which make them different, we decided to put up a single review to check out whether the Realme 6 series is the new budget league king or not.
Prices in India, Variants, Availability
Realme has launched the Realme 6 with a price that is starting at Rs. 12,999 for the 4GB/64GB model. You can also get the 6GB variant with the same 64GB storage by spending another Rs. 2000. There’s also an 8GB RAM model at Rs. 15,999 to boost the spec-sheet. With only two-colour options – Comet Black and Comet White, the Realme 6 is available from Flipkart, realme.com as well as offline stores starting from March 11th.
You can also compare the Realme 6 series with other smartphones in the similar price segment and decide which one delivers the features that you need the most.
The Realme 6 Pro comes in two colours – Lightning Blue/Lightning Orange. There are three versions available — one with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage for Rs. 16,999; another with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage for Rs. 17,999; and the top-end variant with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage for Rs. 18,999.
The unboxing of the Realme 6 and 6 Pro is pretty much the same as any other device in the segment. The box contents of the device include:
- The device itself
- Micro USB Type-C cable
- SIM ejection tool
- 2-pin 30W Flash Charge fast charger
- User manual and documentation
- Silicone Protective case
Specs at a glance
Talking about the key on-paper specifications of the all-new Realme 6 series, here is what the device packs under the hood.
- Display: 6.5-inch dynamic AMOLED panel, 1080 x 2400 pixels, 525 PPI, 90Hz
- Processor and GPU: Helio G90T, ARM G76
- RAM & ROM: 4GB/6GB/8GB, 64GB/128GB
- Software: realmeUI, Android 10 OS
- Rear cameras: 64MP AI Quad module
- Selfie sensor: 16MP in-display selfie
- Battery: 4300mAh capacity, 30W flash charging
- Weight: 191g
- Dimensions: 162.1 x 74.8 x 8.9 mm
- Price in India: starts from INR 12,999
With key specifications cleared out of the way, let’s see how the device performs in real-life usage scenarios.
Design & Build
Realme, following the 2020 smartphone trend, has introduced the punch-hole front camera design to its Realme 6 series. Both the front and the back look stunning. The back design is refreshing as the Realme 6 comes with a polished finish, polycarbonate back panel and plasticky-aluminium frame that the company calls ‘Comet design’; as it features shiny streaks of lines that resemble the design, we have seen on the Realme XT. The comet white is the one with lighter shades whereas the Comet Blue’ colour version gets a little darker shade than subtle white colour tone.
On the other hand, the Pro version swaps the plastic back for a glass one, while the front bumps up the Gorilla Glass version to 5, giving a premium and sturdy feel. A major upgrade from the Realme 6 is the dual selfie cameras that let you swap to a wider field of view to get more people in the frame. The middle frame remains plastic and Realme doesn’t say if there’s any protection on top of the back glass. The Realme 6 and the 6 Pro have just the right weight and size, despite getting a big battery.
Another not-so-common but one of the most practical features we have got in any smartphone is the side-mounted fingerprint reader, which Realme nailed it although introducing it for the first time. Both the smartphones get the right edge of the device housing an indented power button that has been flattened to accommodate a fingerprint sensor. The left edge of the devices gets the volume rockers. We also get to see the slot for the tray with space for dual 4G SIM cards and an SD card slot. The bottom edge is where Realme has put the 3.5mm jack, USB-C charging port, 2 small holes for microphones and the speaker grill.
The display is the USP for the newly introduced Realme 6 series, as it checks almost all the boxes that you would wish to get in a budget smartphone. Both the Realme 6 and 6 Pro get a large 90hz refresh panel with the punch-hole camera mechanism at the front. The Realme 6 houses a 6.5-inch LCD-type FullHD+ display with a resolution of 1080 x 2400 resolution and an aspect ratio of 20:9. For the first time in any budget smartphone, we get to see a higher refresh rate panel on the Realme 6 that is capable of refreshing at 90Hz, as compared to other smartphones that feature the old-school 60hz panel. With a maximum brightness of 480 nits, the display works well in direct sunlight with decent visible enough. Realme has improved the contrast on its 6 series smartphones by offering a ratio of 1500:1 and it is quite impressive as we found the display to be gorgeous with nice colours and good viewing angles, which we normally don’t get to see in budget smartphones with an LCD screen.
The Realme 6 Pro, on the other hand, features a 6.6-inch LCD display with a dual hole-punch cutout, which gives this phone a modern appearance. The cutout is in the upper left corner of the display. There’s Gorilla Glass 5 here at the front too and luckily you get a screen guard pre-applied.
Talking about the enhanced refresh rate panel, we get to choose between three options for the phone’s screen refresh rate; 60Hz, 90Hz and Auto Select. Boosting the refresh rate did improve experienced but it is not that fluent and buttery as we found it on the 90Hz screens that OnePlus offers. This may be possibly due to the presence of an LCD instead of OLED, which is acceptable considering the price tag. Overall, we enjoyed using the smartphone and we found the display on both devices perfect for media consumption. Gaming on the 90hz panel was an apparently better and enjoyable experience.
Although the design might be similar, the internals for the Realme 6 and the Realme 6 Pro are quite different. For the Realme 6, we get the same MediaTek Helio G90T processor, which was reviewed by us on the Redmi Note 8 Pro last year. The processor coupled with 4GB/6GB/8GB RAM options and 64GB/128GB UFS 2.1 storage gives a flawless report regarding performance. Multitasking was breezing and we felt no complaints regarding the performance as it was more than we expected from a device at this price tag. You do get the option to expand the storage up to 256 GB via a micro-SD card if in case the internal storage seems less.
Talking about Realme 6 Pro, it is the world’s first phone to feature the Snapdragon 720G mobile platform. Built on the 8nm manufacturing process and employing an octa-core CPU consisting of 2x 2.3GHz Kryo 465 Gold cores and 6x 1.8GHz Kryo 465 Silver cores, the 720G lies right between the Snapdragon 730G and the Snapdragon 712 in terms of raw performance. The processor coupled with 6GB or 8GB of RAM gave seamless multitasking without bothering to close useless applications in the background. Playing games such as PUBG-Mobile for long stretches didn’t cause any heating issues and we were able to get absolutely no lag or frame drops as they ran smoothly.
Talking about software, the Realme 6 series runs on Realme UI pre-installed, which is based on Android 10. We have seen the newer Realme UI seems to be more refined and isn’t cluttered like ColorOS. The custom UI packs more and more functionality as compared to stock Android, but still, some users feel it as a compromise on Android experience. Yes, there are some useless pre-installed applications, but most of them can be uninstalled. Usual utility features along with support for dark mode and Android 10 gestures are present. Other third-party applications from Realme are also present which include features like a smart assistant, App cloner, Game Space and more.
Both the Realme 6 and the Realme 6 Pro have a similar rear camera setup with both sporting a quad-camera module placed vertically at the top-left corner. The main sensor is 64MP paired with an f/1.8 aperture, which we get to see on both the devices. The Realme 6 Pro gets a 12MP telephoto lens with f/2.5, replacing the depth sensor on the Realme 6 while we get the same 8MP ultra-wide camera with f/2.3 aperture that is capable of shooting with 119.1° field-of-view and a 2MP macro snapper on both of the devices. In the front, the Realme 6 gets a 16MP f/2.0 Samsung S5K3P9 CMOS sensor while we have a 16-megapixel primary camera and a second 8-megapixel wide-angle camera on the Realme 6 Pro.
Coming to real-life camera performance, the Realme 6 performs very well when coming to day-light camera tests. There is a 64-megapixel shooting mode, where you can get much more detail but the phone takes 16 megapixels shots by default. The colours came out to pop and made pictures very vivid. While the ultra-wide and portrait mode worked as we desired, the macro mode was a bit of a let-down as we found ourselves often struggling to get the subject in focus. One area regarding cameras where the Realme 6 lags behind is the performance in low light. We found the images to be struggling in low light conditions as they turned out to be hazy and grainy. However, Night mode does help to improve the scenario, but it isn’t up to the mark. Similarly, Realme 6’s front camera takes good selfies, just stick to well-lit environments, and you will not be disappointed. The phone comes with beauty mode on by default which you can turn off if you want.
You can shoot up to 4K 30fps and slo-mo videos up to 120fps at 1080p on the Realme 6. For stabilisation, the phone uses Electronic Image Stabilisation (EIS).
The Realme 6 Pro, on the other hand, tried to cover all the weak areas in which the Realme 6 didn’t perform as expected. Landscapes and close-up photographs on the Realme 6 Pro will definitely grab eyeballs as the camera performance is upgraded as compared to the Realme 6. Objects had pretty good details, colours had been nicely represented, and HDR worked very nicely. Shooting on the full 64-megapixel provides the flexibility of zooming in much more to crop one thing out, although the results weren’t always better. Like any other smartphone, we still wish to get an improved and refined image quality with the ultra-wide and telephoto lenses too as the images from these lenses were sometimes not that great. Unlike the Realme 6, low-light performance was stunning, thanks to Nightscape 3.0 mode. There’s also an additional Ultra Nightscape mode for stills in extremely dark environments. For videos, UIS and UIS Max gimbal-grade video stabilization modes come handy using the main and the ultra-wide cameras, respectively. We also get a live bokeh video effect on the Realme 6 Pro.
Front camera performance is as good as the rear camera performance. The additional wide-angle lens is great for taking a group selfie. We also get support for slow-motion selfies with the primary selfie camera on the Realme 6 Pro.
Also read: Top Camera Smartphones
Another department where the Realme 6 series outshines its rivals is the battery. The Realme 6 is backed by a 4,300mAh battery with support for 30W fast charging. Despite the presence of a 90hz refresh panel and a decently powerful chipset, both the Realme 6 and the 6 Pro easily lasted from morning through night. The supplied 30W fast charger was able to charge the Realme 6 up from 0 to 50 in just 22 minutes, and 0 to 100 in an hour, which is insane.
Realme 6 Pro is also backed by a 4,300mAh battery with support for the 30W fast charging technology. Just like the Realme 6, the Pro variant gets enough juice to provide a full day of usage without any worries to charge the phone in between. While the battery of both devices is capacious and one of the strong pursuits, the charging capabilities are also impressive; which gives no areas to pick flaws.
Audio & Security
Like any other budget smartphone, you get to see a mono speaker grille at the bottom of both the Realme 6 and 6 Pro. The audio quality from the speaker and the earpiece of both smartphones is decent with nothing special to mention about.
A differentiating thing from other smartphones in Realme 6 series is the presence of a physical fingerprint scanner, which we nowadays see being replaced by face-unlock, especially in budget smartphones. The power/lock button doubles up as a physical fingerprint scanner which is a plus in both design and functionality books for us. Being a capacitive sensor, it is more snappy, reliable and faster than in-display fingerprint sensors or face-unlock found on other phones. We also have face unlock as an alternative which is not that fast and accurate, also being less secure when compared to the fingerprint sensor.
Pros & Cons
- Quad-camera setup
- Large battery with 30W flash charging
- 90Hz display
- Side fingerprint sensor
- Realme UI bloatware
Real-life usage of the smartphone truly justifies the expectations that you would have by looking at the spec-sheets of the Realme 6 series devices. A higher 90hz refresh rate panel along with punch-hole cameras make these devices modern and worth considering. Powerful chipsets, impressive battery life, fast charging support along with a decent camera performance surely makes the devices as nominees for the best budget smartphones.
However, there are still many things that went missing on these devices. Firstly, the camera performance on the Realme 6 isn’t appealing as even its predecessor devices such as the Realme 5 offer near-same or sometimes better results. Another deal-breaker could be the Realme UI, which for many users is quite annoying and too chunky thereby ruining Android experience. The 6 Pro, even with so many modern features and powerful configuration, the device doesn’t get uncontested. If you are fond of features such as an AMOLED panel or an in-display fingerprint scanner, you can add a few more bucks and go for the company’s Realme X2 too. However, by sacrificing these for flagship-grade fast charging, a big screen with 90Hz refresh rate, big battery, and versatile camera setup, the Realme 6 Pro truly stands as the most righteous phone for you.