Lately, Realme introduced its first smartphone in the “i” series, dubbed as the Realme 3i, alongside the Realme X in India. And as you’d acknowledge, the Realme 3i is a sibling to the previously launched Realme 3 that came with Helio P70 chipset for the Indian market.
For starters, both the Realme 3 and Realme 3i offer the exact same set of specifications & features except for the processor which is a tad better on the former. Furthermore, there’s also a noticeable difference between design & ergonomics of both phones. Having said that, we are here with our full Realme 3i review for you to decide if it’s worth considering amidst the fierce competition.
Connectivity: Dual SIM (4G), Bluetooth 4.2, GPS/GLONASS, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, FM radio, micro USB 2.0
Cellular: Dual SIM
Fingerprint Scanner: Yes, capacitive
Battery: 4,230 mAh, Li-ion Polymer, non-removable
Price: Rs. 7,999 for 3/32GB | Rs. 9,999 for 4/64GB
A complete list of items you get inside the box:
Transparent Silicon Case
Sim Ejector Tool
Realme 3i Review
Indeed, the very first thing you’ll notice about the Realme 3i is that the gradient paint job has now been replaced by a diamond-cut texture, similar to the Realme C2. In fact, the only difference between the back of both the devices is the camera placement and the presence of a fingerprint scanner.
As it might be already clear by now, the panel is made out of plastic and has a light stripy texture laid out in diamond patterns running all over it. The Diamond Blue colour we have here looks rather subtle and premium while you can also opt for Diamond Black and Diamond Red options.
While the phone doesn’t look flashy as the ones with gloss, we are sort of liking this design provided that the textured finish offers slightly better grip and we don’t have to keep it rubbing with a cloth all the time. Overall, the phone seems to be well-built and can handle minor drops. Anyways, it does come with a transparent silicon case in case if you are not very good at handling stuff.
The front, however, has nothing much to surprise. There’s a full-view display with a water-drop notch on top. It is followed by a broad chin at the bottom and thin bezels running all around the corner.
Talking of the ports and placements, the volume rockers are given to the left while the power button sits to the right. The speaker grille, micro-USB port, and 3.5mm audio jack, as expected are placed at the bottom. The phone comes with a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and face unlock feature, both of which are fast enough and convenient to use.
The display used here is a 6.22-inch IPS panel with an HD+ resolution of 720×1520 pixels and 2.5D curved glass on top. As far as the quality is concerned, the screen produces good colours, and the viewing angles are fine as well. However, sunlight legibility takes a hit, and it’s quite challenging to use the phone under harsh sunlight.
Note that just like the Realme 3, the Realme 3i skimps on Widevine L1 certification. Hence, you won’t be able to stream videos in HD from services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
Under the hood, the phone gets powered by the same MediaTek Helio P60 SoC used on the very first Realme 1, coupled with 3/4GB of RAM and 32/64GB of internal storage. For starters, the Helio P60 was launched at MWC 2018, and it is based on the 12nm FinFET technology which incorporates a multi-core AI processing unit (mobile APU), accompanied by NeuroPilot AI technology.
As far as the day to day performance is concerned, the Realme 3i runs quite smooth and handles all the tasks, including browsing, using social media apps, and photo editing very well. We didn’t face any issues even while multi-tasking or running resource-intensive apps.
In fact, the phone even shines when it comes to gaming. We played PUBG Mobile at medium graphics settings, and it managed very well for the most part, except for minor frame drops here and there. Undoubtedly, Realme 3i is simply one of the best performers in the segment, given that its closest rival, i.e. the Redmi 7 (Review) comes with a lesser powerful Snapdragon 632 for the same price.
Indeed, the company’s custom skin, i.e. ColorOS, tends to be one of the biggest limitations on its smartphones. However, it has gone through specific changes in recent times to comply with user feedback. As a result, it’s now relatively easier to get habitual to than it used to be a few months ago.
With the latest ColorOS 6 (based on Android 9 Pie) you now get an App drawer which can be revealed by a simple swipe on the home screen. Furthermore, you get to choose between Pixel-styled pill gestures or the new full-screen gestures for a more immersive experience. The UI also includes several motion and screen gestures to play around. And there’s a good amount of bloatware like DailyHunt, Opera, UC Browser, ShareChat, Web novel, etc. which, fortunately, can be uninstalled in the settings.
Notably, the phone gets a fantastic feature dubbed as Realme Share, which is quite similar to Apple’s AirDrop. The UI is further loaded with handy features like Smart Driving, Smart Assistant, Game Space, Clone Apps, Private Safe and more.
Evidently, the UI is a highly skinned and customizable version of Android. Hence, if you’re someone like me who loves stock Android, then you’re definitely going to have a hard time getting used to the ColorOS.
For photography, the Realme 3i gets a 13-megapixel primary sensor paired with a 2MP depth sensor at the back. While on the front, it has a 13MP shooter for selfies. The camera app is quite easy to use and incorporates nifty features like time-lapse, panorama, HDR, expert, slo-mo, Chroma Boost, and NightScape.
As far as the camera performance is concerned, the Realme 3i takes perfect pictures in bright light with accurate colour reproduction. There’s also a good amount of detail and images look pleasing to eyes. Moreover, the built-in Chroma Boost mode does a very good job in producing vibrant and saturated photos, especially while shooting landscapes.
Unfortunately, the phone starts to struggle in low-light situations. Images lack detail, have inaccurate colours and exhibit a lot of grains. And while the Nightscape mode helps add more brightness to the scene, noise is still a major problem. Same is the case with selfies. While it produces excellent results in ideal lighting, things start to deteriorate in darker environments.
Battery & Charging
The built-in 4,230mAh battery on the Realme 3i efficiently manages to last over a full working day on a single charge, thanks to the low-resolution display and the power-efficient SoC. The phone takes nearly about 2 hours to charge from 0 to 100, which is a decent number considering the large capacity and lack of fast charging.
Eye-catchy, smudge-free design
Great battery life
Poor sunlight legibility
Realme 3i Review Verdict: Should you buy it?
The Realme 3i turns out to be an all-rounder smartphone that’ll suit almost everyone, including mobile gamers, budget photography enthusiasts and those who prioritise battery life over everything else.
Following the same, if you’re someone looking for a well-balanced phone with gaming-friendly performance, above-average cameras, long-lasting battery life and a smudge-free design in the budget, the Realme 3i is undoubtedly what you should seek for at a price of around Rs. 8,000. However, ColorOS isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and the screen’s sunlight legibility too is a disappointment, so keep a note of that.