Chinese smartphone brand Realme’s budget-centric series Narzo made a debut on Monday with the launch of two smartphones — the Realme Narzo 10 and Realme Narzo 10A. The series was originally expected to hit the market in late March but was delayed by India’s nationwide lockdown to control the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
We used the Realme Narzo 10 for some time to see how it fares in everyday use. Now that the series is official, let us take a look at what we found:
The body of the Realme Narzo 10 is made mostly of plastic, which makes it less appealing than glass bodies of many peers. However, it is durable, sturdy and has good ergonomics. It also has a better finish than other Realme smartphones that have a plastic build.
Realme has a history of experimenting with gradient-design back covers, irrespective of the material they are made of. The Realme Narzo 10 also has a gradient plastic back cover. It reflects vertical lines which merge into one another as you turn the phone sideways. The back cover has a matte finish, which makes the phone easier to hold and operate, and its back less susceptible to fingerprints and smudges. However, the back cover is prone to scratches without any protection.
The Realme Narzo 10 has a 6.5-inch IPS LCD screen of an HD+ (1600 x 720p) resolution. The screen has a waterdrop-shaped notch on top, accommodating the phone’s front camera and sensors. Though the screen has limited bezels on three sides, the bottom one is prominent. The screen has a Gorilla Glass covering for protection against accidental scratches and damages.
For a budget smartphone, the screen seems satisfactory, if not exceptional. It has decent colours, viewing angles and contrast. However, the brightness is muted which makes it difficult to use in bright outdoors under direct sunlight. Though the screen is decent for most day-to-day operations, its HD+ restricts its utility, especially with regard to multimedia and gaming.
The Realme Narzo 10 has a quad-camera set-up on the back, featuring a 48-megapixel primary sensor, an 8MP ultra-wide sensor, a 2MP depth sensor and a 2MP macro sensor. On the front, the phone has a 16MP sensor for selfies.
Technical details aside, the phone’s primary sensor is a capable one for a budget smartphone. It takes images with decent dynamic range and details, and produces natural colours. The ultra-wide sensor is decent but not the best in the segment; it struggles with dynamic range and detailing information. In low light, both sensors struggle to capture details. Thankfully, the phone has a dedicated night mode that increases the sensors’ exposure time to capture more light. Though the night mode makes a big difference to the phone’s low-light imaging, it does compromise on details and noise levels for exposure value. For low-light shots, the phone’s manual mode works very well, but it might not work for everyone as it requires you to have some knowledge of manual camera settings.
Camera sample: Primary
Camera sample: Macro
Camera sample: Primary
Camera sample: HDRThe front camera is good for selfies. But, like the rear cameras, it struggles in low light, and there is no night mode here for artificial output enhancement.
Camera sample: Low-light[A caveat: Given the ongoing restriction on movements in the country in view of the Covid-19 outbreak, the Narzo 10’s camera has been tested in a restricted environment. The conclusions might not be accurate.]
Performance and battery life
Realme has a long-standing partnership with MediaTek. Its first smartphone had a MediaTek processor, and the Narzo 10 is another of the company’s phones to use MediaTek system-on-chip. The phone is powering by MediaTek G80 system-on-chip, paired with 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal storage.
The Narzo 10 boots the RealmeUI user interface based on the Android 10 operating system. The UI is a huge improvement over the Oppo ColorOS 6, which it used in previous-generation smartphones. It looks neat and gives you several options to customise the skin based on your preference. However, it is still full of bloatware.
Realme UI - BloatwareThe phone’s performance is sleek and good for handling everyday tasks without any hiccups. It is pitched as a gaming budget smartphone, and it does handle popular graphic-intensive gaming titles like PUBG and Asphalt 9 well – at default graphic settings. Not all games run at their best graphic settings, and the multimedia editing experience is also sluggish.
Realme UI - Settings interfaceThe phone is powered by a 5,000 mAh battery, which is good enough for more than a day of on-battery time on regular usage — a mix of calls, messages, casual gaming, social media, multimedia streaming and internet browsing. The phone comes bundled with a fast charger of 18W rated output. It takes around three hours to fully charge the phone’s battery.
At Rs 11,999, the Realme Nazro 10 is a budget smartphone that ticks most of the boxes. It has a solid build, attractive design, capable cameras, decent performance and a stellar on-battery time. The phone would have been a competent package if it had a high-resolution and bright screen, and better low-light imaging. Considering its price, these limitations cannot be ignored.