Realme Narzo 50A Prime Long-Term Review: A Mixed Bag

The Realme Narzo 50A Prime appeals to users with the holy trinity of camera, design, and display. Should you buy it? Find out in our review.

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Realme Narzo 50A Prime is yet another addition to the Narzo 50 series that consists of Narzo 50, 50i, 50A, 50 5G, 50 Pro 5G, and so on. At a starting price of Rs 11,499, it packs a Unisoc T610 chipset under the hood, a glossy design with flat edge frames, a 50-megapixel triple camera setup, an IPS LCD display and much more. This is the first Realme device that doesn’t ship with a charger inside the box.

We briefly introduced what the Narzo 50A Prime (first impressions) offers in our first impressions. But having used it for a few months after its launch, a few questions popped into our minds. Is it worth buying now when the market has been loaded with many other options? More importantly, should you prefer the Realme Narzo 50A Prime over a 5G device? Find out in our review.

Realme Narzo 50A Prime Review: Design and Build

The Realme Narzo 50A Prime looks like a premium device from the back. It has a dual-tone design in which two-thirds of the rear has a glossy finish with a stripe-like texture design, whereas the area around the camera module is rather plain. This dual-tone finish looks pretty cool on the back, and we quite liked it. This is the first Realme smartphone in this segment to feature a flat frame design with sharply rounded corners. And that makes it easy to hold in hand.

Moving on, the camera module houses three sensors and a LED flash, which, when rotated horizontally, looks like a shocked face with an open mouth (we mean, check out the below picture literally). The camera bump is huge, so it will be inclined slightly from the top when you keep the device on a flat surface.

The Narzo 50A Prime is available in two colours –Black and Blue, out of which we received the latter, and we recommend you get the same.

The back panel of the Narzo 50A Prime is made of plastic but looks premium and appealing. However, during our long-term usage, it attracted a lot of scratches and fingerprints. So, you might want to use a case, but Realme skimps out on that along with another crucial accessory in the box, which we will get to in a moment.

The side frames are made of plastic but feel like metal. We see a power button on the right side that doubles up as a fingerprint scanner. The left side houses two separate volume buttons and a full-sized SIM tray with space for two nano SIM cards and a microSD card. The bottom portion keeps a 3.5mm headphone jack, a type-C port, and a speaker grille. The bottom frame of the Narzo 50A Prime is quite reminiscent of the iPhone 12 Mini.

The Realme Narzo 50A Prime feels hefty because of its 189 grams weight and 8.1mm thickness. We had a hard time using it with a single hand due to its tall body.

Realme Narzo 50A Prime Review: Display and Audio

The Realme Narzo 50A Prime is lit by a 6.6-inch display, one of the largest in the segment. It sports a resolution of 2400 x 1080 pixels and a 90.7% screen-to-body ratio. It has thick bezels around the display, and the chin is thicker. The teardrop-shaped cutout looks outdated and could have been better if it was replaced with a punch-hole camera module instead, but given the price, we would let it slide.

Realme has used an IPS LCD screen which generally doesn’t reproduce punchy colours, but thanks to the tuning, the display feels vibrant on the Narzo 50A Prime. The text also appears sharp on the screen, and the display is quick and responsive thanks to the 180Hz touch sampling rate. If you aren’t a fan of this vibrant screen, you can change the colour tone from the display settings. It is an excellent screen for watching movies and web series.

Sadly, this is a display with a 60Hz standard refresh rate. Most phones in this price segment feature a 90Hz refresh rate. As a result, scrolling through the feed results in a few jitters, and it’s not a smooth experience. The display is also legible under bright sunlight thanks to 600 nits of peak brightness.

The Realme Narzo 50A Prime comes with a single bottom-firing speaker, which is common at this price. The speaker is fine with watching movies or web series. It is loud, but we feel the crispness could have been higher. This can be used for watching movies or YouTube videos but for songs. We recommend using a pair of earphones.

Realme Narzo 50A Prime Review: Battery and charging

Powered by a nice, chunky 5,000mAh battery unit, the Realme Narzo 50A Prime provides a long-lasting battery life. It lasted us for almost a day and a half, providing eight hours of screen time. Our typical usage included media consumption like YouTube videos, Instagram Reels, web scrolling, and gaming sessions. All these with brightness set to 70%.

One of the major letdowns of the device is its charging. The Realme Narzo 50A Prime comes with 18W charging support which is slow considering the segment has started getting 33W now. But here’s the heartbreaking part, this budget smartphone doesn’t come with a charging adapter inside the box. This hurts, Realme!

It takes 2 hours and 11 minutes to charge it entirely from scratch using an 18W charging adapter. Using a OnePlus 67W charging brick, we could charge it within 1 hour and 52 minutes, which is a surprising difference. In addition, we noticed that the top portion of the back panel heats while charging.

Realme Narzo 50A Prime Review: Performance and Software

To keep costs low, Realme has gone for a Unisoc T612 chipset. It is paired with 4GB of RAM and up to 128GB of internal storage, we wish the company had availed an option with 6GB of RAM as well. This device doesn’t feature any RAM expansion technologies. The inbuilt storage can be expanded by up to 1TB via an external microSD card.

We threw a lot of apps, movies, games and much more on the phone which we found hard to manage. For example, while scrolling through Instagram or Google Chrome, we observed jitters and delay while loading an app. In addition, it choked when we tried multitasking by opening multiple apps in the background. So, we recommend you keep your options open if your preference is performance.

On the benchmark platforms, the Realme Narzo 50A Prime scored 2,18,611 in AnTuTu v9. This is a low score for a budget phone in this range. On Geekbench, it achieved a single-core score of 297 and a multi-core score of 1152. Again, a decent score.

The Realme Narzo 50A Prime boots a light software, Realme UI R Edition, based on Android 11. This special version is made for budget phones to provide a stable UI experience. During our long-term usage, we received a total of three security updates which brought minor fixes to the device and updated the security patch to August 2022. The Android 12 update is in the pipeline but not quite there. Realme started recruiting beta testers for Android 12 in July. However, it is yet to roll out the stable version till now.

If you have used the Realme UI 2.0, you won’t notice much difference in Realme R. It looks organised but doesn’t feature many customisation options to revamp the UI experience. If you opt for the phone, you will have to manage the basic features.

The Realme Narzo 50A Prime comes along with some preloaded bloatware, including Moj Lite+, Josh, SoLoop and HeyFun. The good thing is you can uninstall them easily.

Gaming was fine on the Realme Narzo 50A Prime. We played PUBG: New State, Call of Duty: Mobile and Asphalt 9 on it and the performance was mediocre. Call of Duty: Mobile was limited to maximum Medium graphics at a High frame rate, and it was playable at these settings. Although, we noticed multiple stutters while playing on maximum graphics. The Vivo T1x, a hot contender in the same price category, had Very High graphics unlocked on COD: Mobile.

Asphalt 9 was playable on the device at low graphics, and the performance was smooth. We tried PUBG: New State, and we noticed something weird. It could be played on maximum Ultra graphics settings at a Max frame rate, albeit with some strange white lines appearing constantly. Because of this, we had to resort to High graphics. Despite this, it couldn’t handle the initial airdrop sequence of the game, so it seems like the GPU can’t handle heavy gaming.

The phone can be unlocked via a fingerprint sensor and face unlock. Both of them were quick to register inputs and unlock the phone smoothly.

Realme Narzo 50A Prime Review: Camera

The Realme Narzo 50A Prime features a triple camera setup on the back, which comes at the cost of an ultrawide sensor. It has a 50-megapixel primary sensor attached to a 2-megapixel macro and a depth sensor. Honestly, we would have preferred an ultra-wide sensor over the two 2-megapixel sensors.

The camera app has very limited modes, such as Portrait, Burst, Filter, Timelapse, Pro, Panorama, 50M Macro and Night Pro. Here’re the camera samples.

    1. The 50-megapixel primary sensor captures good shots with fairly natural colour. The details are also handled well, but that’s limited only to a well-lit environment. Photos clicked indoors or in low lighting have messed up details and colour tones. In the below camera samples, it can be noticed that the colour of the grass is irregular in each picture, and the details are completely lost.
    2. The portraits didn’t seem so appealing to us. In low light conditions, the depth camera struggles to distinguish between the subject and the background. As a result, it also blurs the edge of the subject. A major letdown of the Realme Narzo 50A Prime is the absence of a portrait selfie mode. We see no reason for Realme to skip this feature on a budget phone.
    3. Selfies captured by the 8-megapixel sensor are slightly off-tone with smoothened skin textures. The colours look faded and lack details. The selfie camera was irregular with indoor shots as it often came back with pictures having inaccurate skin tones. Take a look at the samples below.
    4. The 2-megapixel macro sensor doesn’t do its job all that well. Photos taken with it are usually out of focus and short on details. However, the colours come naturally as to the subject.
    5. Video recordings are capped at 1080p, 30fps for both rear and front. We would restrain you from using the Narzo 50A Prime for shooting purposes as it has a lot of noise, and the details are completely lost. The mic quality is also poor.

Realme Narzo 50A Prime Review: Verdict

The Realme Narzo 50A Prime was a mixed bag for us. On one hand, it is a good-looking smartphone with a decent display and good battery life. But then, it also has slow charging, mediocre performance and a strictly average camera. We are also irked by the lack of a charging adapter in the package.

The Realme Narzo 50A Prime was a decent phone at its launch, but the market is now crowded with competitors offering better value for money. And, with the 5G launch official now in the country, you might want to prefer a 5G smartphone over a 4G-supported device. Therefore, we recommend you check out various options in this segment.

The Samsung Galaxy F23 5G (review) is a balanced 5G phone we have used in this price segment. While its original price was Rs 13,999, during the sale period, you can buy it for just Rs 10,999, which is a steal deal. The Infinix Note 12 5G with an AMOLED display and a 16MP front camera is also a good pick at Rs 12,999.

Realme Narzo 50A Prime

Rs 11,499
7.3

Design & Build

8.0/10

Display

7.5/10

Performance

7.0/10

Battery Life

8.0/10

Camera Quality

6.5/10

UI Experience

8.0/10

Audio

7.5/10

Day-to-Day Use

7.0/10

Value for Money

6.5/10

What Is Good?

  • Premium design
  • Nice display
  • Good battery life
  • Decent performance

What Is Bad?

  • No charger inside the box
  • Slow charging
  • 60Hz display
  • Average cameras