At Realme’s Narzo 20 was a decent budget smartphone for 2020, with a focus on providing the basics at an affordable starting price of Rs. 10 499. As we observed in our review, was bulky and included a plastic body that didn’t look or feel first class. In terms of performance, he struggled a bit while playing games. Now, in 2021, Realme has released a much-needed update. Its price is a bit higher, starting from Rs. 12,499 (4 GB RAM + 64 GB storage), but offers much more than its predecessor, making it a good budget smartphone focused on performance.
However, Realme also has announced on Narzo 30 5G (First impression), a completely different model that offers 5G connectivity, a better processor, a display with a refresh rate of 90 Hz and a 5000 mAh battery in a thinner package. It is at competitive prices of Rs. 15,999 and offers 6 GB of RAM, along with 128 GB of internal memory. So which Narzo should you go for? Or are there better smartphones out there?
Realme Narzo 30 price and options
Realme Narzo 30 is available in two versions of RAM and memory. The base version offers 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage and is available on Rs. 12,499, while the second option offers 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage and is priced at Rs. 14 499. Realme Narzo 30 5G is available in only one configuration with 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage and is priced at Rs 15,999. The price of the Narzo 30 5G seems understandable, considering that it offers improved specifications plus 5G support, but is very close to the price of the higher-end Narzo 30.
Design by Realme Narzo 30
Realme’s Narzo 30 is a stark contrast to Narzo 20, which seemed very basic. This new phone comes in two finishes: Racing Silver and Racing Blue. We got a Racing Silver unit and it looks pretty premium. Both variants have a shiny strip outside the center, passing through the camera module.
The frame and back panel of the Narzo 30 are made of plastic. The shiny back collects dust and easily takes fingerprints. It bends a little when pressed, even with a little pressure. Still, the overall construction feels pretty good and the plastic doesn’t creak. The phone feels a bit thick at 9.4 mm, but not too heavy at 192 grams. The seamless design from the display to the frame and to the back panel gives it a pleasant hand feeling. It is comfortable to hold, offering a firm grip.
At the bottom is a 3.5mm headphone jack, along with a Type-C USB port, main microphone and speaker. The volume buttons are on the left side, while the power button with the built-in fingerprint reader is located on the right.
One of the big changes in Narzo 30 over Narzo 20 is its screen. It is still a 6.5-inch LCD panel, but now has a refresh rate of 90Hz and the resolution has been increased from HD + on the Narzo 20 to full-HD +.
Realme Narzo 30 specifications and software
The Realme Narzo 30 uses MediaTek’s game-oriented Helio G95 processor, which has two high-performance 2.05GHz Cortex-A76 cores and six energy-efficient 2.0GHz Cortex-A55 cores. The graphics are processed by an integrated Mali-G76 graphics processor clocked at 900MHz. The phone has 4GB or 6GB of LPDDR4x RAM and 64GB or 128GB of UFS 2.1 storage space depending on which option you choose, along with expanding the microSD memory to 256GB. Connection 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 the shapes of icons, system colors, fonts and even the shapes of the icons on the notification panel. There were a few third-party apps like Amazon, Snapchat, Facebook, and Soloop pre-installed in my review unit, but they didn’t interfere with my daily use unless I used them. There were also several Realme branded applications such as DocVault, Community, HeyFun, Realme Link and Realme store. Some of them can be uninstalled, but not all. Except for Theme Store, most of them did not issue any promotional notices.
Realme Narzo 30 performance and battery life
The MediaTek Helio G95 processor handled the operating system quite well, without delay or stuttering in everyday use. The applications opened and closed for a moment and multitasking was not a problem with the 6 GB RAM version I tested, as most applications remained in memory for some time. The Narzo 30 did well even in terms of benchmarks, driving 3.56,846 points in AnTuTu and 532 and 1,700 in Geekbench’s single- and multi-core tests, respectively.
The games of the Narzo 30 were smooth and without delay, but this phone heats up when stressed. Call of Duty: Mobile runs smoothly at the standard settings for high graphics and frame rate. The phone remained cool as it played the game at these default settings, but the change in the High to High graphics made it warm up quickly. Asphalt 9: Legends is not available for download. I tried the new Space Marshals 3, which looked stunning on the screen of the Narzo 30. With the level of detail set to Medium (default), the phone works quite hot. Switching the Low setting took care of the heat.
The Narzo 30 has a 5000 mAh battery and easily lasts me a day and a half during the review period. My use included browsing social media apps, email, Slack, multiple photos, hours of games and hours of video streaming. The set includes a 30W adapter made for fast charging, as the battery level of Narzo 30 reaches 55% in 30 minutes, 99% in 60 minutes and full charge in 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Cameras Realme Narzo 30
The Realme Narzo 30 features a triple rear camera setup that includes a 48-megapixel f / 1.8 main camera, a 2-megapixel monochrome camera and a 2-megapixel macro camera. Selfie duties are performed by a 16-megapixel camera f / 2.1. The camera interface is quite intuitive with important controls located just one touch. Other options such as timer setting and frame selection are deeper in the tray. One detail that should be noted about the camera setup is that only two of the three cameras are available to the user – the monochrome camera is activated only in portrait mode to calculate the depth.
Photos taken in daylight come out crisp and saturated with good dynamic range and detail in darker areas of the frame. At twice the digital zoom, this phone also takes decent photos, but with less detail. Photos taken at 3x digital zoom were unusable and looked like oil paintings. The 2-megapixel macro camera captures medium-sized photos with passable details but inaccurate colors. It has a fixed focus, which makes it incredibly difficult to focus on an object if you have shaky hands.
The photos, taken in portrait mode with the rear camera, turned out clear and crisp, with a lot of detail during the day, but average edge recognition. The 16-megapixel front camera has taken decent selfies, but again with edge recognition below average in Portrait mode.
In low light, the rear camera struggled to focus when taking ordinary photos and using portrait mode. The same can be said for the landscape photos, which came out quite blurry and full of noise. Night mode improves the level of detail and brightens the scene, but with mixed results, and the quality depends heavily on the light available in the area.
Videos shot in daylight at 1080p looked too sharp, lacking in detail, but showed decent stabilization. The 4K videos came out better, with good detail, but were very shaky because they lacked stabilization. In low light, videos recorded at 1080p come out full of noise and are mostly unusable. The transition to 4K showed much better details, but there was still a lot of noise.
The decision whether to buy Narzo 30 or Narzo 30 5G comes down to your budget and requirements. This is a smartphone market filled with interesting alternatives from other companies, and with 5G networks yet to launch, you can choose to prioritize cost savings or other features. If you still want a smartphone that is sustainable for the future, then the obvious choice between the two new Narzo 30s is the Narzo 30 5G.
If you have a limited budget and 5G is not a priority, then Realme Narzo 30 (prices start at Rs 12,499) is a good budget smartphone that offers a great everyday user experience, mid-range gaming performance, decent photos and daylight videos and good battery life. However, on Xiaomi Redmi 10S (Review) offers an optional 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, Super AMOLED display, 33 W charging, stereo speakers and an IP53 dust and water resistance rating for just an extra Rs. 500. As a package Redmi 10S would make better sense for many people.
If you are willing to set aside additional Rs. 1500, Poco’s M3 Pro 5G (Review) at a price of Rs. 13,999 is also a better choice. You get a future smartphone with hardware like Narzo 30 5G, but with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal memory.