Chinese smartphone maker Realme had an eventful year in 2019. The company launched several smartphones on a quarterly basis and forced the competition to pick up the pace. Realme started in 2020 with an affordable smartphone called Realme 5i, and the company is launching another very affordable smartphone, the Realme C3. The C series is Realme's entry-level model and offers good hardware at affordable prices. Can the Realme C3 develop its own niche in this highly competitive price segment? We put the new Realme C3 to the test to find out.
Realme C3 design
Realme has opted for a new look for 2020, which is called the Sunrise design. We saw it on the Realme 5i (Review) and it is now also used on the Realme C3. The company offers the Realme C3 in two color options: Frozen Blue and Blazing Red. We have the former for this review. The color is definitely catchy and seems to shine out from the camera module, and the back has a texture that you can feel when you run your fingers over it.
Realme has equipped the C3 with a larger display than its predecessor. It measures 6.5 inches diagonally and has an aspect ratio of 20: 9. This aspect ratio makes the smartphone large and slim so that it is relatively comfortable to hold and use. The bezels are thin on the sides, but the lower chin is thicker. Like most other Realme smartphones on the market, this one also has a dewdrop notch in which the selfie camera is located. Immediately above it is the earpiece, which is black and fits into the display.
The frame of the smartphone is made of plastic. The on / off switch is on the right, while the volume buttons are on the left. We found these buttons to be well positioned, but they are a little recessed in the frame, making them difficult to find. Once pressed, they have solid feedback.
The SIM compartment of the Realme C3 is located directly above the volume buttons on the left and has individual slots for two nano-SIMs and a microSD card. This phone has a micro USB port on the bottom, a 3.5 mm audio jack and a speaker grille. Realme could have offered a USB Type-C port since the competition has started offering it in the budget segment. The top of the device is completely empty.
From the back, this cell phone looks very similar to the Realme 5i. This model also has a protruding camera module on the back, which houses two camera sensors. Realme has provided this camera module with a metal rim so that the lenses are not scratched. The Realme C3 has a 5,000 mAh battery, which is ideal for a smartphone at this price, but increases the weight of the device to 195 g.
Realme C3 specifications and software
The Realme C2 (Review) used a Mediatek Helio P22 SoC, and although this was a good processor for the price, it was dated at the time the model was launched. The Realme C3 is equipped with the new SoC MediaTek Helio G70, an octa-core processor clocked at 2.0 GHz. The C3 is offered in two versions – the basic version with 3 GB RAM and 32 GB storage, while the higher version offers 4 GB RAM with 64 GB storage. Realme rated these two options fairly well, with the base variant arriving at Rs. 6,999 and the higher at Rs. 7999. You can expand the storage using a microSD card.
The Realme C3 is a dual SIM smartphone with support for 4G and VoLTE. Connectivity options include Bluetooth 5, Wi-Fi, five positioning systems, and the usual sensors. Just like the Realme C2, the C3 does not have a fingerprint scanner. We recently saw a leak that suggested that a version of this phone called Realme C3s could be launched sometime in the future, but we don't know if or when it could come to India.
Realme has taken a new direction with software. ColorOS is no longer executed on the Realme C3 like on its older siblings. Instead, RealmeUI V1.0 is run, which is based on Android 10. This is the company's first smartphone that comes standard with Android 10. Our unit ran the December security patch, which is acceptable.
The new RealmeUI is very similar to ColorOS 7 and has a number of changes compared to ColorOS 6. The general user interface is similar to that of Android and we like the layout. There is still a certain amount of bloatware, including Facebook, Helo, Dailyhunt, Gaana, Opera News, UC Browser and some Realme apps. The smartphone also has an App Market Store, which is an alternative to the Google Play Store.
If you swipe right from the home screen, you won't get to the Smart Assistant. However, there is no Google Assistant screen here either. Universal search is still available and you just have to swipe down on the home screen to access it.
Realme also offers Dark Mode and it is no longer an experimental feature like the Realme 5i. There is also a focus mode that can be activated via the notification shadow. When you activate focus mode, you are no longer distracted by notifications for a certain time, and you can play relaxing sounds to help you concentrate better. We found it helpful to some extent, but the number of relaxing sounds is limited and we found some of them distracting.
Like other Realme smartphones, this game offers space that allows you to block calls and notifications while playing. Realme also announces a personal information protection feature that fakes blank or bogus information when apps request access to your call history, contacts, and messages.
Realme C3 performance and battery life
We expected average performance for the Realme C3, as it is an inexpensive smartphone. However, the device offers excellent performance. We didn't notice any delay when scrolling through the menus or multitasking. Our test device had 4 GB of RAM and could easily perform multiple tasks without having to end apps in the background.
We set up facial recognition on the device and found that the smartphone can be unlocked quickly in different lighting conditions. The display gets bright enough outdoors, but the viewing angles could have been a bit better.
To test this new processor, we ran our usual benchmarks on the device. Surprisingly, the Realme C3 scored 192,187 points in AnTuTu, which is above the values of the much more expensive Samsung Galaxy A51 (test) and Oppo F15 (test) that we recently tested. In the Geekbench 5 single-core and multi-core tests, the phone scored 354 and 1,260 points, respectively. To get an impression of the graphics performance, we performed the benchmarks GFXBench T-Rex and Car Chase as well as Rhey with 51 fps and 14 fps.
We played PUBG Mobile on the Realme C3 and the default setting was "High", with the graphics set to "HD" and the frame rate to "High". We noticed occasional stuttering at these settings and the game worked better than we refused. The Realme C3 felt a bit warm after playing for 15 minutes in the high settings.
This phone has a large 5,000 mAh battery that offers excellent battery life. It took almost two full days with a single fee. Our use was to play a few games, use an active WhatsApp account, and run Google Chrome to surf the web. In our HD video loop test, the smartphone took an incredible 28 hours and 20 minutes, which is one of the longest we've seen from a smartphone in this test. While the large battery is a blessing, Realme should offer quick charging capabilities on this phone. The 10 W charger that comes in the box takes more than two hours to fully charge the smartphone.
Realme C3 cameras
The Realme C3 is equipped on the back with a double camera, which consists of a 12-megapixel primary shooter with an aperture of 1: 1.8 and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. There is a 5 megapixel selfie shooter on the front. The camera app is unchanged from previous Realme phones and, in addition to the Photo and Video modes, has the Portrait, Time Lapse, Time Lapse, Expert and Pano modes. There are also fast switching options for HDR and Chroma Boost, as is the case with older Realme devices.
When taking pictures in daylight, the Realme C3 was able to quickly save the focus and measure the light appropriately. Photos looked good on the phone's screen, but after zooming in we noticed a lack of detail. However, the quality is better than some other smartphones at this price. When taking close-up pictures, we noticed that the Realme C3 had difficulty keeping focus when it was too close to a subject. There have also been occasional focus hunt problems. Once focused, the Realme C3 delivers a decent shot.
Portrait mode uses the secondary depth camera, and you can set the level of blur on your smartphone before taking a picture. The Realme C3 achieved good edge detection, but we found the output to be flat.
In poor lighting conditions, the Realme C3 produced average photos. These were lacking in detail and were not very sharp. A Super Nightscape mode was initially listed on the Realme official website, but we did not find it in the camera app. When we asked about it, a representative from Realme Gadgets 360 confirmed that it was a bug and that this model did not support such a feature. The website has since been corrected.
Selfies taken outdoors in daylight were slightly inaccurate. They weren't sharp either, and they lacked details. For both the primary and selfie shooters, the maximum video recording speed is 1080p. There is no video stabilization, which leads to blurred footage. In low light conditions, the Realme C3 is well suited for a cell phone at this price.
The Realme C3 is a solid update of the Realme C2 and further strengthens the company's budget series. Realme chose a high-performance SoC that outperforms the competition. As expected, the battery life is excellent and the Realme smartphones have consistently passed our battery tests. Of course, camera performance isn't the best, but acceptable for the price.
Starting at Rs. 6,999 for the basic variant and Rs. 7,999 for the variant we tested, the Realme C3 is an easy-to-recommend smartphone. Realme could have offered a fingerprint scanner like most of its competitors, and we want USB Type C to become the standard.