Realme 3 Pro Review: Take ‘Note,’ Xiaomi

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Realme 3 Pro Lead

Xiaomi has dominated the budget smartphone segment for quite a long time. Not that it hasn’t faced challenges from other brands. Take, for instance, last year’s Zenfone Max Pro M2 (Review), Honor 10 Lite (Review), and Realme 2 Pro. These were solid smartphones. However, let’s face it, none of these devices could outdo what Xiaomi had to offer. Things are a little different this year. For the first time, Xiaomi’s latest Redmi Note Pro has met an intimidating opponent – the Realme 3 Pro. We have already seen how this handset has made Xiaomi India quite defensive about its Note 7 Pro on Twitter. But, is the Realme 3 Pro just a paper tiger, or knows how to hunt down its competitor? Let’s find out.

Realme 3 Pro

9

Design and Build Quality

8.5/10

Display

9.0/10

Rear Camera

9.0/10

Front Camera

9.0/10

Performance

9.5/10

Software

9.5/10

Battery Life

8.5/10

Value for Money

9.0/10

What Is Good?

  • Sturdy build and snazzy colors
  • Excellent IPS screen
  • Best gaming performance in its class
  • Superb cameras
  • Great battery life
  • Ships with 20W charger

What Is Bad?

  • Dated micro-USB port

Realme 3 Pro Design

From the get-go, Realme proved its willingness to experiment with design. Its first phone featured a striking diamond pattern at the back. In the second iteration, Realme gave consumers more choice by offering a gradient option in addition to the diamond pattern. For the Realme 3 Pro, the company has gone with a trendy dual-tone gradient, which looks attractive. The phone also has an S-shaped pattern that looks very similar to the ripple design found on the Vivo V15 Pro. The company says that it has been inspired by a racing track’s curves.

For the Realme 3 Pro, the company has gone with a trendy dual-tone gradient, which looks attractive.

Realme 3 Pro Back

The Realme 3 Pro is made from injection molded plastic. It is quite rugged and can easily withstand a few drops. However, its arch-rival Note 7 Pro feels more premium owing to its glass back. The Realme 3 Pro’s camera assembly has a metal accent surrounding it. Thankfully, the protrusion does not cause significant wobble when kept on a table. The fingerprint reader sits higher than it should have been, though. As a result, you have to stretch your finger a bit to reach the sensor. Moving onto the sides, both devices settle for a plastic frame. The power and volume buttons are also plastic and their tactile feedback is quite underwhelming.

The front sports a large screen with a tiny dewdrop-shaped notch. It is less obtrusive than the large display notches seen on many expensive phones in the market. For a budget phone, the bezels are impressively thin, too. With a screen-to-body ratio of around 83 percent, the Realme 3 Pro is quite compact considering its screen size.

Realme 3 Pro Display

Realme 3 Pro UI

 

The Realme 3 Pro’s 6.3-inch screen offers rich colors compared to most LCD panels in this price range.

The Realme 3 features a quality IPS (In-Plane Switching) panel. The 6.3-inch screen offers rich colors compared to most LCD panels in this price range. Packing in 2340×1080 pixels, this display offers an impressive pixel density of 409ppi. The screen gets quite bright as well. With settings cranked up, the panel retains legibility even under direct sunlight. The screen tends to lean on to the colder side. Thankfully, you can offset it using the color temperature settings. Thanks to the onboard ambient light sensor, the Realme 3 Pro fine-tunes the brightness levels on its own.

Realme 3 Pro Software And Performance

Realme 3 Pro Gaming

The Realme 3 Pro runs Android 9 Pie with ColorOS on top. I was never a fan of ColorOS, but it has improved massively in its sixth iteration. It looks neat, like stock Android UI, and also comes with a few additional features. Be it an app drawer or universal search, Realme has added a nice transparency effect to most UI elements. The notification panel is customized with large toggle buttons. The gesture navigation option works even when the screen is off. For instance, you can control music playback without turning the screen on.

The best part is that unlike MIUI, Realme’s ColorOS never nags you with ads.

Like every other Android device these days, the Realme 3 Pro offers split-screen multitasking. The task switcher has a card interface, which is quite like that of the iPhone. Realme has added a bunch of useful features such as the App Lock, Clone Phone, and Phone Manager. In addition to that, you get a few preinstalled apps such as DailyHunt, Webnovel, UCWeb, and Wync Music. Thankfully, you can remove every bit of this unwanted stuff. The best part is that unlike MIUI, Realme’s ColorOS never nags you with ads.

Backed by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 chip, the Realme 3 Pro runs quite smooth. This 10 nm processor ensures smooth transition effects and other animations. The chipset comprises of two performance Kryo 360 Gold CPU cores clocked at 2.2GHz and six Kryo 360 Silver CPU cores running at 1.7GHz. The Adreno 616 GPU exceeds expectations when it comes to gaming. It handles PUBG Mobile incredibly well. I could run the game on High settings without any sign of a slowdown. With consistent high frame-rates, the Realme 3 Pro gives you a high chance of making it to a PUBG Mobile match’s final circle. The company has also added the Game Space feature, which keeps nagging calls and messages at bay. It also ensures that games get as much as system resources as possible.

With consistent high frame-rates, the Realme 3 Pro gives you a high chance of making it to a PUBG Mobile match’s final circle.

For security, the Realme 3 Pro offers two biometric solutions. First up, the fingerprint sensor works like a charm. Its detection along with the screen unlock speed is impressive. The face recognition feature is equally quick too. However, due to the lack of a depth sensor, I don’t think it is very secure.

The single loudspeaker on the Realme 3 Pro is a surprise package. It is insanely loud for its size, at least in its price segment. This power-packed speaker doesn’t even distort at high volume. In short, you won’t have to reach for your earphones to watch a few random YouTube videos. And for music aficionados, Realme has retained the 3.5 mm audio jack. With earphones plugged in, the phone’s output is quite good. Nothing out of ordinary, but then you get what you pay for.

The Realme 3 Pro is a 4G VoLTE handset with dual-SIM support. For storage expansion, it offers a dedicated slot. Other features include dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, and A-GPS. During the testing, most connectivity features worked well except for cellular reception. But that’s because of Airtel’s horrendous network coverage in Hyderabad.

Realme 3 Pro Cameras

The device sports a dual-camera in 16MP+5MP configuration. The Realme is equipped with the same primary Sony IMX519 sensor found on the OnePlus 6T (Review). It does, however, lose out on Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS). The camera UI could have been better. Especially, the AI mode is marked by an icon that looks like beauty mode. And a few modes are hidden behind the hamburger menu. In addition to HDR, the Realme’s camera offers a new Chroma Boost option that enhances light and color saturation.

Realme 3 Pro Camera

Expert mode let’s play around with shutter speed, white balance, focus, and exposure. You can also enable the Ultra HD option that produces 64MP shots through multi-frame stacking and interpolation. This increases the file size from around 3MB to 12MB, but I found close to no difference in the image quality. Not sure why did they even bother putting it together (maybe to compete with Redmi Note 7 Pro’s 48MP resolution number *wink, wink*).

It captures plenty of detail while keeping noise in check. The colors look nice and punchy.

To get the best results without putting in a lot of efforts, simply leave the AI and Chroma boost options on. Point, shoot, and the Realme 3 Pro takes care of the rest. It captures plenty of detail while keeping noise in check. The colors look nice and punchy. If you are a purist type, you can dial down the AI enhancements.

The Realme 3 Pro isn’t afraid of the dark either. For a budget phone, it produces great low-light shots with its Nightscape mode. The images come out well-lit and with plenty of detail. You can, however, notice the crayon effect around the corner in bad lighting conditions. But let’s be realistic, this is one of the best cameras in the budget category.

Moving onto video recording, the Realme 3 Pro records excellent quality 4K videos at 30 fps. The amount of detail in these videos is quite impressive. Though due to the lack of OIS, the videos turn out to be quite jittery.

To serve the narcissists, Realme has thrown-in a 25MP selfie camera. It performs quite well. There’s an elaborate beauty mode, which offers options such as skin smoothening, thinner face, smaller nose, and every other cosmetic surgery in a virtual sense.

Realme 3 Pro Battery Life

The Realme 3 Pro draws power from a 4045mAh battery. The company has bundled a 20W VOOC 3.0 charger. This chunky charger can fully charge the battery in just 1 hour 20 minutes. This makes the Realme 3 Pro the fastest charging phone in its class. Thanks to a power efficient 10nm chip from Qualcomm, the Realme easily last over a day. The only gripe here is that the device features a dated microUSB port. I’m wondering how many millions is Realme going to save by making customers put up with this inconvenience.

Bundled 20W VOOC 3.0 charger makes the Realme 3 Pro the fastest charging phone in its class and it easily last over a day.

Realme 3 Pro Package

Should You Buy The Realme 3 Pro?

Yes, you should definitely consider the Realme 3 Pro. For months, Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 7 Pro (Review) was a no-brainer in the budget segment. Finally, it has met a worthy opponent. The Realme 3 Pro takes the Redmi Note 7 Pro head-on in all departments. The Realme phone offers sturdy build, impressive IPS screen, great cameras, and excellent gaming performance.

With aggressive pricing, it challenges Xiaomi at its own game. It is difficult to choose a winner between the Realme 3 Pro and Redmi 7 Pro. However, if you are looking for a stylish phone, the Redmi Note 7 has an edge over the Realme 3 Pro. On the other hand, those into gaming are better off with the Realme device. While it is a tie on the hardware front, Realme’s ColorOS gives it a lead in the software experience. Not because it is superior to MIUI in terms of features, but the fact that it doesn’t nag you with annoying ads or push notifications.

Realme 3 Pro

9

Design and Build Quality

8.5/10

Display

9.0/10

Rear Camera

9.0/10

Front Camera

9.0/10

Performance

9.5/10

Software

9.5/10

Battery Life

8.5/10

Value for Money

9.0/10

What Is Good?

  • Sturdy build and snazzy colors
  • Excellent IPS screen
  • Best gaming performance in its class
  • Superb cameras
  • Great battery life
  • Ships with 20W charger

What Is Bad?

  • Dated micro-USB port