Realme’s Narzo 20 was a decent budget smartphone for 2020, and focused on providing basic information at an affordable starting price of Rs. 10,499. As we observed review, it was big and had a plastic unibody that didn’t look or feel first class. In terms of performance, it struggled a bit during the games. Now, in 2021, Realme has released a much-needed update. It is priced slightly higher, starting at Rs. 12499 (4GB RAM + 64GB storage) but offers much more than its predecessor, making it a good budget smartphone that is focused on performance.
However, Realme also has announced Narzo 30 5G (First impressions), a completely different model that offers a 5G connection, a better processor, a 90 Hz refresh rate display, and a 5000 mAh battery in a thinner package. It is competitively priced at Rs. 15,999 and offers 6GB of RAM as well as 128GB of internal storage. So where to go to Narzo? Or are there better smartphones out there?
Realme Narzo 30 price and options
The Realme Narzo 30 is available in two RAM and storage options. The basic option offers 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage and is priced at Rs. 12499, while the other version offers 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage and is priced at Rs. 14,499. The Realme Narzo 30 5G is only available in one configuration with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage and costs Rs 15999. The price of the Narzo 30 5G seems understandable given that it offers better specifications and 5G support, but it is very close to the price of the higher level Narzo 30.
Realme Narzo 30 design
Realme’s Narzo 30 is a stark contrast to the Narzo 20, which looked very basic. This new phone is available in two finishes: Racing Silver and Racing Blue. We got a Racing Silver unit and it looks pretty high. Both options have a glittering off-center tape that runs through the camera module.
The body and back panel of the Narzo 30 are made of plastic. The shiny back collects dust and easily takes fingerprints. It bends slightly when pressed down, even at low pressure. Still, the overall texture feels pretty good and the plastic doesn’t tighten. The phone feels a little thick at 9.4mm, but not too heavy at 192g. The seamless design from the screen to the frame and back panel gives it a comfortable feel. It is comfortable to hold and offers a firm grip.
At the bottom is a 3.5mm headphone jack next to the C-type USB port, primary microphone, and speaker. The volume buttons are on the left, while the power button with the embedded fingerprint reader sits on the right.
One of the biggest changes to the Narzo 30 over the Narzo 20 is its display. It’s still a 6.5-inch LCD panel, but it now has a refresh rate of 90 Hz, and the resolution has been dropped from the Narzo 20’s HD + to full-HD +.
Realme Narzo 30 specifications and software
The Realme Narzo 30 uses MediaTek’s game-oriented Helio G95 processor with two high-performance 2.05 GHz Cortex-A76 cores and six energy-efficient 2.0 GHz Cortex-A55 cores. The graphics are handled by an integrated Mali-G76 graphics card with a clock frequency of 900 MHz. The phone has either 4GB or 6GB of LPDDR4x RAM and 64GB or 128GB of UFS 2.1 storage, depending on the version you choose, as well as a microSD card storage expansion of up to 256GB. Connectivity options include dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5 and NFC.
Narzo 30 runs on Realme UI 2.0, which is based on Android 11. The software allows you to customize icon shapes, system colors, fonts, and even notification tray icon shapes. My inspection unit had a few third-party apps pre-installed, such as Amazon, Snapchat, Facebook, and Soloop, but these didn’t interfere with my daily use unless you used them. There were also several Realme branded apps such as DocVault, Community, HeyFun, Realme Link and Realme store. Some, but not all, of these can be removed. Save the theme store, most of them did not give any promotional ads.
Realme Narzo 30 performance and battery life
The MediaTek Helio G95 processor handled the operating system quite well without any delay or stuttering in daily use. Applications opened and closed in an instant, and multifunction was not an issue with the 6GB RAM conversion tested, as most applications remained in memory for a while. Narzo 30 also performed well in terms of benchmarks: it dominated 356846 points in AnTuTu and 532 and 1700 in Geébench single-core tests.
Playing on the Narzo 30 was smooth and delay-free, but this phone warms up in stress. Call of Duty: Mobile went smoothly with the default settings of high graphics and frame rate. The phone stayed cool while playing the game with these default settings, but changing the graphics to very high made it heat up quickly. Asphalt 9: Legends was not available for download. I tried the new Space Marshals 3, which looked great on the screen of the Narzo 30. When the detail level was set to Medium (default), the phone became quite hot. Changing the setting to low handled the heat.
The Narzo 30 has a 5000 mAh battery and it easily lasted me a day and a half during the review period. My use included browsing social media apps, email, Slack, a few photos, hours of gaming, and hours of video streaming. The included 30W adapter is for quick charging, the Narzo 30’s battery reaches 55 percent in 30 minutes, 99 percent in 60 minutes, and full charge in 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Realme Narzo 30 cameras
The Realme Narzo 30 has a triple rear camera configuration that includes a 48-megapixel f / 1.8 main camera, a 2-megapixel monochrome camera and a 2-megapixel macro camera. Selfie tasks are handled by a 16 megapixel f / 2.1 camera. The camera’s interface is fairly intuitive, with important controls just a tap away. Other options, such as setting a timer and selecting a frame, are deeper than level in the slider. One noteworthy detail about the camera settings is that only two of the three cameras are available to the user – the monochrome camera is only activated in portrait mode to reduce depth.
Photographs taken in daylight became sharp and saturated with good dynamic range and detail in the darker areas of the frame. With 2X digital zoom, this phone also took decent photos but less detail. Photos taken with 3x digital zoom were not usable and looked like oil paintings. The 2-megapixel macro camera captured average photos with detailed details but inaccurate colors. It’s fixed focus, so it’s very hard to focus on a subject if you have trembling hands.
The photos taken with the rear camera in Portrait mode became sharp and clear, with lots of detail of the day, but average edge detection. The 16-megapixel front camera captured decent selfies, but again with below-average edge detection in the vertical position.
In the twilight, the rear camera tried to focus when taking regular photos and using Portrait mode. The same can be said for landscape photos that became quite dim and full of noise. Night mode enhances the level of detail and brightens the view, but the results vary, and the quality depends greatly on the light in the vicinity.
In daylight, videos taken at 1080p looked sharp, lacking in detail, but well-established. The 4K videos looked better, in good detail, but were very unstable because they lacked stability. In low light, 1080p recorded videos became full of noise and were mostly unusable. The move to 4K showed much better detail, but there was still a lot of noise.
Buying a Narzo 30 or Narzo 30 5G will decide your budget and requirements. This is a smartphone market that is full of interesting options from other companies as well, and since 5G networks are not yet up and running, you can prioritize cost savings or other features. If you still want the smartphone of the future, the obvious choice between the two new Narzo 30s is the Narzo 30 5G.
If you have a tight budget and 5G is not a priority, the Realme Narzo 30 (prices from Rs 12,499) is a good budget smartphone that offers an excellent everyday user experience, mid-range gaming performance, decent photos and videos in daylight and good battery life. Xiaomin Redmi 10S (Review) offers an optional 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, Super AMOLED display, 33W charging, stereo speakers, and IP53 dust and water resistance class for additional R-discs only. 500. As a package, the Redmi 10S would make more sense to many people.
If you are willing to give extra Rs. 1500, Pocon M3 Pro 5G (Review) priced at Rs. 13999 is also a better choice. You get a future-proof smartphone with hardware like the Narzo 30 5G, but 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage.