review

Realme C3 Review: Another Real Contender in the Budget Segment

A Real headache for Redmi...again

In a very short span of time, Realme has become a real headache for many smartphone brands in the country. The brand has especially gained a strong grip over the budget segment in the smartphone market. And one of the series that has helped the name become a brand is Realme’s C series. The budget series has become one of the go-to names for people transitioning from feature phones to smartphones. Both Realme C1 and Realme C2 added a lot of numbers to the company’s sales figures, and to take this even further; it has now added the third C in this family, the Realme C3. Following in the footsteps of its predecessor, the Realme C3 comes with an affordable price tag of Rs. 6,999 and specs that seem more than decent for it. But will the same old combination of great price and decent specs make the Realme C3 the new budget league star?

Solid, sturdy, smart design

When a smartphone comes with a starting price of around Rs. 7,000, you generally do not expect the design to turn heads, and the Realme C3 is no exception in this matter. It comes with a tall 6.52 inches HD+ display with a drop notch to host the front camera. The bezels on the sides are impressively thin for smartphones at this price, but there is a more than visible chin right below the display. The tall, thin bezel-ed, drop notch-ed display goes in line with the idea of a contemporary smartphone in today’s day and age.

We received the Blazing Red color unit of the device (it is also available in Frozen Blue). The back of the phone sports a very metal-meets-matte-like finish. It comes with what Realme terms a sunrise design with ray-like textures seemingly coming out of the capsule-shaped camera unit (placed on the top left). The company has placed a tiny LED flash outside of the camera unit, while a vertical Realme logo rests near the base. The metallic matte feel of the back with lines and patterns almost completely eliminates the chances of getting fingerprints or smudges. It also adds a lot of grip and gives the phone a very solid, sturdy feel.

The left side of the frame holds the dual SIM and microSD card slot (yes, dedicated) tray and volume buttons while the right side carries the power/lock button. The top of the phone is plain while the base houses the 3.5 mm audio jack, the micro USB port, and the speaker grille. Measuring 164.4 x 75 x 9 mm, the phone is definitely on the bigger side, but then big phones have become so mainstream that we do not see too many people being bothered by it. That said, it would require both hands for a comfortable experience. With a weight of 195 grams, the C3 is definitely on the higher side of the scales and feels heavy, but that is just a price one has to pay to house a big battery, we think.

There is nothing exceptional about the design of the Realme C3, but the phone definitely punches above its weight in the category and does not look or feel cheap. It might not get crowned as the best looking phone in a smartphone beauty pageant, but in its price band, it can very easily hold a respectable rank.

New processor, sub par performance

The Realme C3 is the world’s first MediaTek Helio G70 processor smartphone, and our unit came paired with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage. The device is also available in a 3 GB/ 32 GB variant. Realme claims that the octa-core Helio G70 processor is one of the fastest and the latest chipsets in the price segment, but the performance of the device told a slightly different story.

The phone did handle our routine performance needs but did not feel swift enough. It was rare, but we did experience it stuttering even while handling some really basic tasks. If you have a number of apps running in the background, you would feel the need to close them to add a little snap to the phone. It handled casual games like Subway Surfer and Temple Run 2 with ease, but do not expect it to run high-end games like PUBG or Asphalt well. They are not a complete disaster on the device but face frequent lags and crashes.

That said, the phone offers a big display which makes viewing content and playing games fun. It may only be HD+ resolution but still works well. The audio over the speaker is loud enough. It breaks slightly on maxed out volumes but does not get too disturbing.

The smartphone does not come with a fingerprint scanner, which in this day and age, feels like a bummer. However, you do get face unlock feature, which works fast and is mostly accurate. There also is good old fashioned pattern/pin locks on the phone to keep it secure.

The smartphone also allows you to connect two headphones, one using a 3.5 mm audio jack and other using Bluetooth, at the same time, which can come in handy if multiple people are viewing content on it.

Depending heavily on light

One of the USPs of the Realme C3 is the primary dual camera unit that the brand is offering at this price point. One generally does not get to see a dual camera set up in this price range, but the C3 offers a 12-megapixel main sensor with f/1.8 aperture bundled with a 2-megapixel depth sensor with f/2.4 aperture.

The primary camera setup shines in good light conditions. Take the smartphone out on a sunny day, and the Realme C3 will not disappoint you. It particularly impressed us in landscape mode, where it took pictures with a good amount of detail and often reproduced close to real colors. The phone also did sufficiently well in other modes like close-ups and portraits, but nothing could really come close to its landscape shots. While taking close-ups, you might have to adjust your distance with the subject at times, but organic bokeh in close up shots was deep and accurate. It is equipped with Portrait mode, which is moody, to say the least, and often misses out blurring the background.

The low light performance of the phone is inconsistent as it produced some good shots at times but often handed us grainy and shaky results. Image quality takes a hit even if the light conditions go from good to slightly dim. Both detail and color struggle a little as the lights go down.

On the front, the Realme C3 has a 5-megapixel camera with f/2.4 aperture, which, just like its primary sibling, takes good pictures in well-lit conditions but struggles in low light. It did smoothen out our skin even with beauty mode off, but the color reproduction was quite close to reality. The camera app on the phone is pretty basic and easy to use as well. Everything is placed right up front, easy to access, and understand. However, we did struggle with the autofocus on the device as it would often go missing in certain conditions, but moving the phone a bit resolved that issue easily.

Massive battery, massive results

Thanks to the low-resolution display, decent specs, and the obviously massive 5,000 mAH battery, battery performance is the real star of the C3 show. We easily saw two days of usage from a single charge, which improved a little when we used the phone a bit more carefully. That said, there is no support for fast charging, and it comes with a 10W charger, which means charging the phone completely also takes a good while.

Clean, clutter free, Realme

The Realme C3 is also the first phone from the brand to come with Realme’s own UI. Prior to this, the brand was using ColorOS, which basically was borrowed from Oppo. The Realme C3 runs on Android 10, which is topped with Realme’s own Realme UI 1.0, which is still based on Color OR but now looks more distinct. This skin is closer to Stock Android. It looks clutter-free and simple. It does not bombard you with third party applications (there are some basic ones like Facebook, Opera, etc.) or does not overwhelm you with complicated features, making it perfect for transitioning from a feature phone to a smartphone without intimidating users too much. It also comes with some neat touches like a focus mode to help you relax (the phone even plays soothing music) and the option to change the size of icons, if you like that sort of thing.

A Red(mi) flag rising

With a starting price of Rs. 6,999, the Realme C3 comes across as a good value for money option for anyone looking to step away from the feature phone world and move into the smartphone one. The phone offers a big display, solid design, good cameras, long battery life, and clean OS, all of which make it a very tough competitor to beat in the price segment. That said, Redmi 8A poses a great threat to its survival, simply because it offers slightly smoother overall performance in a similar price segment. Yes, we will be comparing the two shortly, and we have heard the news of perhaps the Redmi 9A being launched shortly as well.

All said and done, the Realme C3 is definitely a great phone for the price but will have to work really hard to make space for itself in a world which right now feels more Red(mi) than Real(me).

Pros
  • Dual cameras
  • Big battery
  • Solid build design
  • Clean UI
Cons
  • Stuttery performance
  • Slow charging speed
  • Inconsistent cameras in low light
Review Overview
Build & Design
Performance
Camera
Software
Price
SUMMARY

Realme's C series of devices has been running up some impressive sales numbers in recent times. And now the brand has added a new product to it - the Realme C3. It comes with a brand new processor and a huge display and battery. But will they be enough to sustain its challenge in a Red(mi) world?

4.0