REALME C3: ‘C’ for Comprehensive

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By Akhil Kapoor - 
Wed, 4 Mar'20
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Introduction

Chinese smartphone brand Realme, marked its first footprint in the Indian smartphone market back in 2018, with the launch of Realme 1. The budget smartphone promised a great price to performance ratio aiming at the growing number of first-time smartphone buyers in the country. Since then, the brand has emerged as a formidable contender in this budget smartphone race in India. Competing with other known brands in the market, Realme eventually became the fastest-growing smartphone brand in India, selling 15 million handsets in the very first year of its operations (as per company statements). 

 

Although being started as a sub-brand of Oppo, Realme emerged as a standalone entity capable of taking on rivals such as Xiaomi in the ₹7,000-20,000 smartphone price segment.

We saw a great transformation and improvement in the budget smartphone category over the past year as smartphones with powerful specifications and impressive camera performance were introduced at much budget-friendly prices. This made the battle for the most selling budget smartphone brand even tougher, especially given that players such as Xiaomi and Realme are introducing super-budget phones with cutting-edge features.  

 

As another powerful yet intelligent move by Realme, the firm introduced one more really economical mobile phone called the Realme C3 in the second month of 2020. Coming at an affordable price tag of Rs. 6,999, we found the specs more than decent, promising great performance to offer at such a budget-friendly price tag. And here in our review for the Realme C3, we ought to find out if it’s the new budget league star or not.

 

Also read: Best Smartphones under 10000

Box Contents

The unboxing experience of the Realme C3 was nothing special. The box contents were usual, which includes:

  • The Handset itself
  • Charging Adapter (5V/2A)
  • Micro-USB Cable
  • Info Book with Warranty Card
  • Quick Guide
  • SIM Card Tool
  • An applied Screen Protection Film

Specs at a glance

Talking about the key on-paper specifications of the budget Realme c3 smartphone, here is what the device packs:

 

  • Display: 6.52 inches HD+ display, 720 x 1600
  • Processor and GPU: MediaTek Helio G70 processor, 
  • RAM & ROM: up to 4GB, up to 64GB options 
  • Software: Android 10 based Realme UI V1.0
  • Rear cameras: Dual Camera setup, 12MP+2MP
  • Selfie sensor: 5MP
  • Battery: 5,000 mAh capacity, 10W charger
  • Weight: 200g
  • Dimensions: 164.4 x 75 x 8.95 mm

Design & Build

The Realme C3 is no different from other budget smartphones from the company, and we didn’t expect it either, considering the price tag. Available in two variants, Frozen Blue and Blazing Red, the Realme C3 sports the company’s native in-house Sunrise design, which we personally like very much. By taking a first glance at the back, we didn’t feel that the framework of the mobile phone is constructed of plastic. The back comes in a very metal-meets-matte-like finish with the camera module placed on the bottom left. The sunrise design comprises a ray-like texture which seems to be coming out of the camera unit. On the left side of the camera, module is an LED flash as well with the ‘AI Super Camera’ branding while the bottom of the handset boasts the Realme logo. Overall the design feels quite sturdy with the matte texture completely eliminating the chances of getting fingerprints or smudges.

Coming to the front, we get the usual dewdrop notch-design with slim bezels on the sides but a chunky lower chin which makes the front design nothing special. Weighing around 200 grams, the device measures 164.4mm in length, 75mm in width and 8.95mm in depth. We get the power switch placed on the right while the volume buttons reside on the left. The placement of the buttons was appropriate; however, we felt that the buttons aren’t protruded enough to be located easily, but we became used to it after some time. The buttons are tactile and do have strong responses.

 

Over the volume buttons is where you can access the SIM tray as well as has specific ports for 2 Nano- SIMs along with a microSD card. At the bottom, we have a Micro- USB port, 3.5 mm sound jack (lucky enough), and a speaker grille. The presence of a Type-C port is missing as other competitors have now begun using this even in their budget segment devices. 

Display

Considering the price tag, you cannot expect anything exceptional from the display. We get the same old-school dewdrop notch designed LCD display on the Realme C3, which is now larger than its precursor.  The device boasts a tall 6.52 inches HD+ display that sports a resolution of 720 x 1600 pixels, along with a drop notch hosting the front camera. The display is like any other budget smartphone lying in the same price segment.

The display isn’t full HD, but we don’t have any sort of complaint with this. The aspect ratio of Realme C3 is quite admirable. With a 20:9 facet proportion and a screen-to-body ratio of 89%, media streaming was a boon, whether it be on Netflix, YouTube or anywhere else. The output by the display promises vibrancy and detail, which we often get in almost all smartphones from the brand. You also get an option to alter the display as per your preference. You can choose between three useful options — Cool, Default and Warm; with the default being set the out-of-the-box colour.

 

We were really impressed by Realme C3’s display capabilities under direct sunlight. The display was bright enough to be comfortably visible even in bright sunlight, which we do not experience in other smartphones which tend to perform badly due to their low brightness levels. Another interesting thing in the spec-sheet is the Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protected screen alongside a 2.5D curved finish, making the device a robust, well-built and a comfortable one to hold.

Performance

Smartphones in the price tag are often dealt with complaints regarding poor performance due to lack of decently powerful processors. The case may not be the same as the Realme C3. The world’s first MediaTek Helio G70 processor smartphone, which is an octa-core CPU clocked at 2.0 GHz, coupled with either 3 GB or 4 GB RAM and 32GB or 64 GB storage makes the Realme C3 no less powerful than any of its rivals in this price segment.

 

We observed no sign of stuttering or lagging while using the device for making calls, using WhatsApp, watching videos, browsing the web and taking a few photos. Even graphic intense games such as PUBG: Mobile, Call of Duty: Mobile and Asphalt 9 didn’t show any frame drops. We were taken aback as the games, even when set to high graphics performance modes, ran seamlessly and we didn’t experience any major lags or stutters whatsoever. Frankly speaking, we never felt that we were using a budget phone as the overall gaming performance was better than what we had expected for a device priced in this segment. The phone did get somewhat heated, but that was experienced after playing about two hours straight. While running the Geekbench 5 tool, the Realme C3 outperformed rivals such as the Redmi Note 8(315) by scoring 347 points in the single-core test but lagged behind in the multi-core test (Realme C3-1262 points, Redmi Note 8-1339). In the popular AnTuTu benchmark too, the handset defeated the Redmi Note 8.

Talking about storage, if you feel that the in-built space isn’t sufficient, you can expand the external memory up to 256GB.

Software

Realme has tried a new move with its latest offering, the Realme C3, by replacing Oppo’s ColorOS skin present on its older brother or sisters, with the new Realme UI V1.0 which is based upon Android 10. The brand has tweaked numerous changes which we can see in its latest custom UI, to make it look closer to Stock Android. The new UI looks cleaner, refined and mature with new system-wide Dark Mode, customisable app icons, new streamlined sidebar and more fluidic animations. There’s quite some bloatware too, but it’s nothing to worry as most of it can be uninstalled, or their notifications can be disabled.

 

Cameras

Being a budget device, the Realme C3 houses a dual-camera setup that consists of a 12MP primary sensor with an f/1.8 aperture and a 2MP depth sensor. At the front, it has a 5-megapixel selfie shooter. Features such as AI beauty, 4x digital zoom, Chroma boost, AI HDR, Expert mode, Panorama mode, Slo-mo and Time-Lapse mode are also offered.

Coming to results from the rear camera, the photos came out to be pretty decent considering the price point with fair levels of sharpness. The photos were quite vivid, but we did notice an absence of detail in some scenarios. The phone also did sufficiently well in close-ups and portraits, giving decent bokeh in close up shots which were deep and accurate. Portraits were good, but it was a hit or miss as the camera often missed out blurring the background. The AI HDR mode can give you qualitatively saturated images, whereas the chroma boost faculty is another plus. 

 

Coming to low light performance, we weren’t really impressed by the output. But we hadn’t expected it either from a device with such a price tag. The night shots were grainy, and we experienced shaky results with details and colours struggling a little as the lights go down. Overall, the picture quality is much better than what a few of the various other smart devices at this cost factor can create. 

 

The notch at the front houses a 5-megapixel camera with f/2.4 aperture. Just like the main camera, we found the selfies to be quite decent in well-lit conditions but struggles in low light. As we have seen with most Chinese smartphone cameras, the software does smoothen our skin even with beauty mode off, but it wouldn’t bother you much. The colour reproduction was quite decent, with skin tones close to reality. Talking about AI mode, it didn’t seem worth using as it made photos look fancy, thereby removing most of the details.

 

Coming to videos, there’s nothing worth mentioning. Video recording maxes out at 1080p for both the cameras. The device offers decent video recording quality, particularly in day-light and we do get an option to shoot slow-motion videos. However, we do not get any video stabilisation technique which results in shaky videos, but we have no complaints with that.

Must Read: Top Camera Smartphones

Battery

Another not so common yet impressive thing about the Realme C3 is its massive 5,000 mAh battery. The juice is enough to easily give you more than a day’s worth of usage with browsing social media, making calls, light gaming, browsing the web and taking a few photos. Light or casual users can even make out 2 days of battery life from the smartphone, after a full charge. Talking about charging speed, the bundled 10W charger was able to get the device charged within three hours from zero to 100.

The Realme C3 also offers a not so common feature in budget smartphones, i.e. the ability to perform reverse charging. Yes, you can use your Realme C3 to charge other gadgets with the aid of compatible cables. Although the process is quite slow, the feature is there, which is a nice add-on.

Audio & Biometrics

Only a decent audio quality can be expected with the Realme C3 device at such a pocket-friendly price tag. The single speaker at the bottom results in loud audio coming out which is no different from other phones we have seen in this segment. The output quality and loudness from both the speaker and the 3.55mm headphone jack is acceptable with nothing special to mention about.  

 

One feature Realme C3 doesn’t have, which can anyways be a deal-breaker for some is the absence of fingerprint sensor, the same as its predecessor. With no physical fingerprint scanner, you have no option but to use facial recognition or pattern/ PIN to unlock your handset.

Talking about the face unlocking capabilities on C3, the feature works quite well, in the same way, and with the same speed as we have seen on other Realme smartphones. Under sufficient light, the unlocking process is snappy and accurate, and we didn’t encounter any situation in which the face wasn’t detected. We do have the feature to prevent the phone from unlocking with your eyes closed. On the other hand, it didn’t work as well in the dark. But this was expected, as the unlocking technique does not involve any ToF sensor or any technology as such.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Gorgeous design
  • Large and tall 6.5” IPS HD+ Display
  • Realme UI is improved and refined as compared to ColorOS
  • Excellent price to performance ratio
  • Decent camera performance
  • Massive 5000mAh battery 
  • Supports reverse charging

 

Cons

  • Display isn’t FHD+
  • No Widevine L1 certification
  • Low light camera performance isn’t that great

Verdict

The Realme C3 checks all the boxes that you would expect with a smartphone which lies in this price segment. A powerful SoC, excellent battery life, a large screen great for media consumption and an acceptable camera performance surely makes the Realme C3 a bang for the buck. The ability to perform reverse charging can really help in tough situations. With an improved and refined custom UI, the Realme C3 is definitely a strong upgrade to the Realme C2. However, the Type-C port and a Full-HD display resolution will be a major missing. The fact that the fingerprint scanner is a better and more reliable alternative to face-unlock cannot be neglected. Considering all the positives that the smartphone offers, we can say that starting at simply Rs 6,999 for the base variant of 3GB RAM and 32GB storage, the Realme C3 comes across as a good value for money and is a very easy mobile phone to advise. So, do consider this not just good, but a great smartphone, if you are in the market looking for a budget smartphone with a decent design, great performance and impressive battery along with reliable camera setup.

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