The price of an item is usually a good measure of what you can expect to get. You hear the saying, “You get what you pay for” often and a lot of times, that holds true. But sometimes you end up getting more than what you ask for. And that is what the Realme 3 sets out to do. Realme Philippines attaches the tagline, “Discover the real value” to this budget smartphone. And we’re here to tell you whether it does or not.


Splattered paint or starry sky. The Realme 3 comes in two distinct color variants: Dynamic Black and Radiant Blue. The former is the test unit I got. And while the blue is distinct and “radiant,” I liked the subtlety of the black. Because it isn’t entirely black. It tapers off into a bit of a black to blue gradient as you look further down the device. Someone described it as looking like blue paint got splattered on it. I see that but also I see a starry sky with the very light hint of blue at the bottom one-third of the device. It’s stylish but not in your face. I like the yellow accent circle surrounding the main camera. You can easily identify the Realme 3 as a Realme device.

Realme used a unibody design approach for this phone, meaning the back and the sides are one piece. This adds to the illusion of a more premium device. But you won’t be completely fooled. It still has a plastic build, which does make the phone seem lighter. But at the same time, it reminds you that you are using an entry-level phone. It is also a smudge magnet, so either use the included jelly case or prepare to wipe it down constantly.

A lot of screen to work with. The Realme 3 comes with a big 6.2-inch screen with a tiny dewdrop notch. They kept the body of the phone smaller thanks to the minimal bezels and that small notch. Realme claims you get an 88.3-inch screen-to-body ratio with this phone. After using the phone for a while, you’ll forget that the notch is there. You’ll only pay attention to it when you extend videos to take up the entire screen or in games. Some apps aren’t optimized to handle notches on Android phones yet, so it’s going to be a bit of a struggle to tap on menus that take up the corners of the screen. It’s not the brightest nor crispest display out there, but color reproduction is good. Its visibility under direct sunlight takes quite a hit, though. It’s not something I use a lot when I’m outdoors during the day.

Bringing some extra security. You don’t often see a fingerprint sensor in an entry-level device, so I welcome the addition here. It adds that extra layer of security to this phone. Plus, it works well. It recognizes my fingerprint easily and unlocks the phone promptly. You also get face unlock here, if you want that option. It’s quick, too, but I still find biometric options to be more secure.

Performance upgrade. We didn’t get Realme’s full slate of devices when they launched here. The company launched in the Philippines with the budget-friendly C1. It was an inexpensive option that I struggled with a bit, mostly because its processor and specs couldn’t exactly keep up with what I needed it to do.

The Realme 3 dispels this issue by packing in a better processor. The phone packs in a MediaTek Helio P60 processor, which is a chipset you’d commonly find in midrange devices. I also tested the most powerful variant with 4GB of RAM and 64GB internal storage.

I noticed right from the get-go that it could keep up with constant app switches and fast-typing. During my three-week testing period, the lag was minimal. I could play PUBG and CSR2 in medium setting without the games freezing on me. The phone heating up isn’t much of an issue here.

Close to stock. For fans of stock Android interface, the Realme 3 offers ColorOS 6 skinned over Android Pie. It offers a clean interface with the standard Android swipe gestures. And yes, you get an app drawer.

Take it into the night. One feature Realme 3 brings into the entry-level segment is a new (at least to this segment) night mode. Called Nightscape, it’s a software algorithm that stitches data from four images taken in succession to get a more balanced shot than what you usually get from night shots.

It works best in cityscapes with street lights or even when taken into events with lots of bright lights. I know the latter seems to defeat its purpose. But I find that it tones down the highlights to make it easier to see things like neon signs and street lights. It’s a fun feature to play around with. But it’s not something you can use for quick snaps. You need to hold up the phone for around three seconds for the photo to be taken.

Comparing a shot taken with Nightscape mode (top) and one with just Auto (bottom)
Trying Nightscape indoors in a dimly lit restaurant
Nightscape even works for early mornings to make some interesting, balanced shots

For regular snaps. With a 13-megapixel main camera + 2-megapixel secondary shooter, you can get some good photos taken during the day. Albeit, these can be a bit on the dull side, but nothing a quick edit can fix. Or you can enable its AI recognition feature to get a bit of a boost. Realme also brought Chroma Boost into the Realme 3 but it tends to punch up the colors a bit too much for my liking.

Portrait mode is a hit or miss affair for both the rear and front camera. Sometimes it would blur out the edges that aren’t supposed to be blurry yet. I noticed this when it comes to the hair. Focus area for the macro shot is small but you can get pretty close.

Without turning on its beautification features, selfies look pretty natural. The photos do come out a bit on the softer side, either way.

It just keeps going, doesn’t it? It’s impressive how long smart battery optimization and a sizeable 4,230mAh battery can go. It gets me a day and a half of use a lot. There’s room to eke more out of the battery if you aren’t constantly on your device like I am. If you value a long-lasting battery, you won’t be disappointed here.

Something had to give. I listen to music all the time, so I pay attention to how audio quality is on a device. Plus points go to this phone for a headphone jack. But the single speaker is a different story. Try to max out the audio and it sounds tinny. It’s best to keep the volume in the mids or again take full advantage of that headphone jack. You’ll be better off that way.

Also, I wish Realme was able to put in a USB Type-C port here. Charging is under two hours for me, and I was hoping for it to be quicker. But perhaps, I’m asking too much now.


FORM FACTOR 9.25

BUILD QUALITY 8

EASE OF USE 9.5

PERFORMANCE 9.5

VALUE FOR MONEY 10

OVERALL RATING 9.25


VERDICT

Realme wasn’t kidding around when they said you could “Discover the real value” with this phone. It ticks a lot of the boxes—a nice design, fun camera features, powerful processor (for its price), and great battery life. You certainly get a whole lot of phone at a bargain with the Realme 3.


SPECIFICATIONS

Display: 6.2” IPS LCD, 1,520 x 720 resolution, 19:9 aspect ratio, Corning Gorilla Glass

SIM: Dual nano, dual standby

Operating system: ColorOS 6, based on Android 9.0 Pie

Processor: MediaTek Helio P60

GPU: Mali-G72 MP3

Memory: 4GB RAM

Storage: 64GB internal storage, expandable up 256GB via microSD (dedicated slot)

Cameras: Rear – Dual 13MP (f/1.8 aperture, 1/3″ sensor, PDAF) + 2MP, depth sensor, 1080p@30fps video; Front – 13MP, f/2.0 aperture, 1/3″ sensor, 1080p@30fps video

Connectivity & I/O ports: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, hotspot; Bluetooth 4.2, A2DP, LE; GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS; USB OTG, microUSB 2.0; 3.5mm audio jack

Other features: Rear-mounted fingerprint sensor

Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 4,230mAh, fast charging 10W

Dimensions & weight: 156.1 x 75.6 x 8.3mm, 175g

Price: P9,990

About The Author

Nicole Batac
Managing Editor

Nicole calls herself an accidental techie that has learned to love all things consumer tech since she started with this line of work around seven years ago. In her spare time, she devours books, TV shows, movies, and a large amount of Japan-related entertainment.