If you’ve been following the news lately, you’d know that the sub-Php10k smartphone market has become more saturated than ever. That’s probably one of the reasons why you are here today, checking out this review.
A lot of brands, old and new, have improved their game and has begun coming up with bang-for-the-buck smartphones. Heck, even Samsung has joined the game with their Galaxy M series.
In the pool of available options, what we’re showing you here is the Realme 3, the latest release from the OPPO sub-brand. And here in our Realme 3 review, we ought to see if the Realme 3 is the right smartphone for you. Let’s start!
Realme 3 Specs
- Android 9 Pie, ColorOS 6.0
- Dual SIM, Dual Standby
- 6.2-inch HD+ IPS display, 1520 x 720 pixel resolution, ~271ppi
- Corning Gorilla Glass, 88.3% screen-to-body ratio
- 2.0GHz MediaTek Helio P60 octa-core processor (International)
- 3GB/4GB RAM
- Mali-G72 GPU
- 32GB/64GB internal storage, expandable via microSD up to 256GB
- 13-megapixel front camera
- 13-megapixel + 2-megapixel rear cameras, f/1.8, PDAF, LED flash
- Nightscape, 9-fps slow-mo
- Fingerprint scanner, Face unlock
- HSPA+, 4G LTE
- WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, 2.4GHz
- Bluetooth 4.2
- GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- Dimensions: 156.1 x 75.6 x 8.3mm
- Weight: 175g
- Colors: Radiant Blue, Dynamic Black, Classic Black
- 4,230mAh non-removable, 5V/2A charging
Design and Build Quality
Realme 3 is one of the most attractive smartphones in its category, but it’s definitely not the most imaginative. Probably the reason why it looks good is that it has a similar design to a lot of devices in the industry today.
It’s available in different color variants. The one we have here is the Radiant Blue, which has a Blue and Teal color gradient that is identical to the Huawei Nova 3i. There’s also the Dynamic Black option, which has a Black and Violet tone that’s reminiscent to the Starry Night variant of the Vivo V11. A Classic Black option is also available for a more subtle look, although we don’t have that variant here.
But nonetheless, as stated earlier, the Realme 3 is definitely a stunner for a device at this price point. The shiny back panel, although a fingerprint-magnet, provides a premium look. It does feel a little thick at 8.3mm, but it feels relatively lightweight at 175g, and ergonomic in the hands thanks to its heavily curved sides and corners.
On the front, we have a large 6.2-inch HD+ screen. Since it uses an IPS panel, the chin is a bit thicker than what OLED devices have. However, the bezels on the sides and top are really thin. Plus, the small Dewdrop notch that houses the selfie camera allowed the Realme 3 to reach a decent 88.3% aspect ratio.
A SIM card slot tray is found on the left side, which can accommodate two nano SIM cards and a microSD card (up to 256GB) for storage expansion. Right below it is the volume controls, while on the right we have the lock/power switch.
The buttons feel a little mushy and are definitely not the most satisfying thing to press, but they get the job done. They also don’t feel like they’re going to break easily.
There’s nothing to see on the top, but at the bottom, we have the loudspeaker, a headphone jack, built-in microphone, and disappointingly, a micro USB port. A more dated Type-C input could have been better, but I guess we really can’t have it all in the low-end department.
On the back, we have the dual camera setup and the LED flash — all of which are housed in a single glass with a very minimal, almost unnoticeable camera bump. A fingerprint scanner can then be found in the middle.
Overall, I’m satisfied with the design of the Realme 3. Although it definitely has tons of lookalikes in the market, the fact that it looks good, feels sturdy, and easy in the hands is enough for me.
As what we’ve said earlier, the Realme 3 has a large 6.2-inch IPS screen, which has an HD+ resolution of 1520 x 720 pixels with around ~271 pixel-per-inch.
The device’s resolution is definitely not the most ideal setup for its screen size. And for someone who has been reviewing smartphones for a while, I can easily notice how poor the sharpness is. But for average consumers, I don’t think they’d even notice it.
Unless you’re really looking for it or comparing it with a Full HD display, I don’t think you’d even bother complaining about its pixel count. Small texts are still visible with good clarity, and movies and games have great details.
Speaking of multimedia, the IPS panel can provide acceptable colors and saturation, which makes multimedia content enjoyable with acceptable quality. The huge screen space is also great for productivity and playing games.
The audio feature is probably one of the most overlooked departments in almost all smartphones, especially for a device at this price. Unfortunately, the Realme 3 is one of them.
Realme 3’s bottom-firing speaker can be easily muffled if you’re holding the device in landscape mode — a more usual scenario when you’re playing games or watching movies. But on the upside, it outputs decent audio with no ear tingling treble and noticeable bass. The volume is reasonably loud, too — perfect for listening in a small room or with a couple of friends.
The Realme 3 can also transmit acceptable audio through a pair of headphones via its 3.5mm port. However, clarity is a bit underwhelming. This is something that can be easily fixed with a software update and we hope to see it as soon as it hits the market.
See also: Realme 3 Gaming Review
Hardware and Performance
The Realme 3 is available in different models. The device that’s available in India comes with a MediaTek Helio P70 processor, while here in the Philippines we will be getting the Helio P60 variant. The compromise is a bit acceptable considering that it’s one of the cheapest smartphones to come with this type of processor. Another thing to consider is its relatively cheaper because of the trade-off.
On the upside, we will be getting flexible pricing options as we can get the Realme 3 with either 3GB/32GB or 4GB/64GB of RAM and storage configurations. For your reference, the unit that we’re reviewing here is the top-of-the-line model.
The performance of the Realme 3 is really great and reliable. Everything is a breeze — from using social media apps like Facebook and Instagram, taking pictures, launching different apps, and more.
You can also switch between apps easily and multitask swiftly with its 4GB of RAM, which I think is the optimum memory capacity you’d need to have a really seamless user experience.
The gaming capability of the Realme 3 is also great. Usual favorites like Mobile Legends ran smoothly, NBA 2K19 is playable with great quality and fluid frame rates, and PUBG can be played at Medium settings without noticeable lags and frame drops.
Fingerprint scanners are one of the standard inclusions in smartphones today. The Realme 3 has one on the back and it works incredibly fast. There’s nothing really much to say about it, except that it’s working as it should.
What I want to focus on is its face unlock feature, which worked really well. Thanks to its 13-megapixel front-facing camera and intelligent software, it can instantly unlock your smartphone in a snap.
You can even enable its ‘Raise to Wake’ feature so every time you pick up your Realme 3, the device lights up and detects your face. The Realme 3 is immediately ready for you before you even reach the fingerprint scanner.
The Realme 3 also offers other security measures in the software level. There’s the Anti-harassment/Fraud that lets you block calls, messages, and input blacklist of undesired contact numbers.
Individual app encryption is also present, as well as private Safe, Kid Space, and app permissions.
The Realme 3 runs on a 2019-appropriate Android 9 Pie operating system, which is dressed with the company’s own ColorOS 6.0 user-interface similar to OPPO.
Realme 3’s interface looks identical with the previous iterations, but with a few changes in key areas. For one, the buttons on the control centers are much taller and wider, making them easier to press and utilizes the available space of its huge screen.
I also like the pre-set navigation keys. There’s the back button and a single key that acts as a home button and doubles as a recent apps key when you swipe it up. You even use it to browse through your recent apps by swiping it from left to right.
But if you want the more traditional Back-Home-Recents layout or the iPhone X-like full-gesture controls, you can simply enable them in the settings menu.
The Realme 3 home screen is identical to stock-Android. You can swipe up to access the app drawer, with the commonly used apps lined on the first row for easy access. You can also swipe from the far left of the screen to access the smart assistant, which provides you relevant information like the date, calendar, step tracker, and a search tab for easy internal and external searching.
It also has Smart Driving features. Enabling the Riding Mode (Motorcycles) mutes all notifications except for calls, so you won’t be distracted while on the road. The Do Not Disturb mode is also available in the Driving Mode (Cars) and automatically connects to your car’s Bluetooth Kit if available.
Realme 3 also has the Game Space app, which basically tunes the system to provide the best possible performance when playing games. It also gives you quick access to screenshot and screen recording features while in-game, plus, it lets you see if you have existing notifications.
I also like how every time you get a notification or take a screenshot, the system will only show a small tab that prompts you of the said activity and doesn’t entirely takes up the entire screen, which can be distracting when playing games.
Other usual inclusions include Split-Screen, so you can use two different compatibles at once. You can also clone apps for better multi-account management. It also uses Google’s own keyboard, which is easy to type on and has a built-in search tab in case you want to fact-check first before sending a text.
Overall, I’m pretty satisfied with the operating system that’s running on the Realme 3. The entire interface really compliments its large screen and all its features.
Much like most smartphone manufacturers today, Realme wants to center everyone’s attention to the camera on the Realme 3. This handset boasts a 13-megapixel selfie-snapper on the front and a 13-megapixel + 2-megapixel primary cameras on the back.
The quality you can get from its rear shooter is really good. The sharpness is on point and the colors are well-balanced. The exposure is also great, thanks to its wide-aperture of f/1.8, although the contrast is slightly failing at some scenarios due to overblown highlights.
If you want a more Instagram-ready image, you can enable its Chroma Boost feature, which amplifies the saturation a bit to make colors pop a bit more. If you’re a casual picture-taker who don’t do a lot of post editing, you might want to leave this setting on.
The secondary 2-megapixel extra sensor also does a decent job of isolating the subject from the background, thus creating a believable shallow depth-of-field effect. However, it does instruct you to really distance the camera from the subject for the effect to work well, which is a little annoying.
But as you can see, it was able to detect the foreground, without any noticeable cut-out look on the edges, unlike what most devices deliver.
Another great camera trick that the Realme 3 has is the Nightscape mode, which is identical to the pretty much all the night modes that a lot of smartphones have these days. The device takes a three-second long-exposure shot, tries to remove any blur caused by shakiness at a software level, and outputs more acceptable low-light shots.
The 13-megapixel front-facing camera also takes great selfies. The details are there, although it’s a bit softer than what the rear camera captures. Both the colors and contrast are also acceptable.
Realme’s AI Face Beauty mode delivered on this device. You can adjust the face smoothness, size, and chin shape, or let AI do it for you for a more natural look. The Portrait Mode is also here and works well despite the absence of a dedicated depth sensor.
Other than its large display and a capable processor, the Realme 3 also has good battery performance — making it a really reliable smartphone for day to day use.
The Realme 3 sports a 4,230mAh battery, and partnered with its power-efficient processor and low-resolution screen, it’s not surprising that it was able to provide impressive battery longevity.
Realme 3 was able to provide almost 12-hours of screen-on time after a day of casual use until the battery percent reached 20%. That’s with light to moderate social media browsing, taking pictures, playing music through Spotify, and watching clips on YouTube.
We also ran PCMark’s battery benchmark test and it got a score of 10-hours and 47-minutes, which is better than most smartphones that we have tested, which had an average score of 8-hours.
Realme has already impressed us with their previous budget-friendly and value-oriented smartphone in the past. And with the Realme 3, the company is telling everybody that they’re not stopping there.
The Realme 3, despite its affordable price tag, was able to cover all the essentials that you’d need from a smartphone — plus a few more extras.
Once you hold it, you’d immediately appreciate the device thanks to its overall look and feel. It has a sleek and ergonomic design, with a flashy paint job that is really eye-catching.
That first impression will only improve as you spend more time with it. Despite its good looks, the Realme 3 has reliable performance, long battery life, and a great set of cameras. Those are the things that would make you want to pull out your phone a lot more.
If we were to nitpick, we do wish that Realme used a USB Type-C implementation instead of microUSB. We’re not entirely sure if this is a price limitation, but since this Realme 3 shares the same body with its 3GB model, that is probably the case.
In addition, the HD+ resolution is a little inadequate for a large 6.2-inch such as this. However, I highly doubt that the average consumer would notice at all.
Overall, the Realme 3 easily made this price category a lot more exciting. And if you’re looking for a reliable smartphone with great camera prowess under this budget segment, then you should really consider this device.
Realme 3 pricing and availability in the Philippines
The Realme 3 3GB/32GB will be available online starting March 25 for a price of Php6,990. But as an official treat to their fans, the said model will debut through Shopee’s flash sale on for a special introductory price of Php6,290.
Both the 3GB/64GB and 4GB/64GB will then be available offline in retail store beginning April 6th for a price of Php7,990 and Php9,990, respectively.
If you want more value, you can pre-order Realme 3 from March 30 to April 5 and get Php1,290 worth of freebies that includes a selfie stick, rain holder, and a water container.
Realme 3 will also be available through Home Credit, with the base model attainable through a 9 or 12-month installment plan, and the top-of-the-line variant at a 6-month 0% installment plan.
- Shiny and ergonomic design
- Large display, thin bezels
- Reliable performance
- Fast face unlock
- Good cameras
- Long battery life
- microUSB instead of Type-C
- HD+ resolution not ideal for the screen size