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Realme 6 Pro review: a pro in every sense of the word

Last year brands went overboard with the use of monikers like “Pro”, “Plus” and “Ultra”, in a bid to market their phones as powerful. However, as a reviewer, I came across many mid-range devices that didn’t live up to the performance their names suggested. Therefore, when Realme expanded its number series with the Realme 6 and 6 Pro, I must admit I wasn’t that enthused about the duo, but if you read my review of the Realme 6, you would know that the new launch changed my opinion completely. I have also been using the Pro variant for the last week, and as you can tell from the title of the review, I feel this is the “Pro” that everyone deserves. Without any further ado, let’s dive in and find out why I say so.

Design and display

Realme is known to be conservative in terms of design. With the Realme 6 Pro, the brand has opted for a familiar glass sandwich construct, camera and button placement, but has revamped the back panel with a new gradient pattern. The Realme 6 Pro has a design that the brand is calling “lightning” and it’s inspired from, you guessed it right, thunder and lightning. The rear panel has a pattern shaped like a bolt, which changes its direction when the phone is tilted.

Realme is offering the 6 Pro in two attractive paint jobs including Lightning Blue and Lightning Orange. I received the former and it looks more like steel grey than blue. I personally prefer the Lightning Orange variant as it pops more and should be less prone to smudges than the blue paint job. Tipping the scales at around 200g, the Realme 6 Pro also has considerable heft to it but thanks to the even weight distribution, the handset sits comfortably in hand. Moreover, the back panel is protected by a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 6, which is reassuring, unlike the Realme 6’s plastic back. Therefore, I didn’t use the phone with the provided case, which again is same as the high-quality smoky case that comes with Realme X-series devices.

Just like the Realme 6, the 6 Pro also gets a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, which is embedded in the power button. I have already established it in my review of Realme 6 that I prefer side-mounted biometrics to in-display or rear one. This is because the placement of the fingerprint scanner aligns perfectly with my thumb when I pick the phone up. There’s a little muscle memory involved here if you are using it for the first time but once you get used to it, it becomes second nature. The volume buttons are located in the opposite direction on the left side along with the SIM tray. The SIM tray can take in two nano-SIM cards and a microSD card at the same time.

At the bottom, you will find the USB Type-C port with 3.5mm audio jack and speaker grill. There are noise-cancelling mics on the top and bottom.

The Realme 6 Pro gets the same 90Hz Ultra Smooth LCD display, but with a larger 6.6-inch panel with FHD+ resolution and 90.6 percent screen-to-body ratio. There’s also support for Widevine L1, which means I could stream videos on Netflix and Prime Video in high resolution. The LCD display looks sharp and also offers good colour reproduction. The viewing angles are also pretty good but I did find myself struggling to see anything in direct sunlight, even after amping up the brightness to max. There’s a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 6 on top of the display to safeguard against scratches and minor nicks.

Cameras

Coming to cameras, the Realme 6 Pro flaunts a quad-camera setup with a primary 64MP Samsung GW1 sensor with f/1.8 aperture. The main lens is backed by an 8MP ultra-wide-angle lens, 12MP telephoto lens and 2MP macro lens. This is the same setup as Realme 6 except for the telephoto lens, which is a 2MP mono lens on the standard model. For selfies, there is an oval cutout housing the 16MP Sony IMX471 sensor along with an 8MP ultra-wide-angle lens. The camera app is pretty straight-forward with most used modes laid at the bottom of the viewfinder and standard features like HDR, Chroma Boost, flash etc. on the top. You get features like portrait, 64MP, ultra macro, slo-mo, expert, chroma boost and more.

Similar to the standard variant, the primary lens on the back captures 16MP pixel-binned photos in regular mode, but there’s a dedicated 64MP mode as well. The latter is ideal for those who prefer to take prints of their shots. The daylight pictures were highly detailed with impressive colour accuracy. The camera was able to hold its own when I tried capturing shots against and in front of the sun, thanks to the superior dynamic range handling. However, if you prefer natural-looking shots like me, I would suggest turning off the Chroma Boost and AI scene recognition as they tend to jack up saturation level.  The AI scene recognition was able to accurately detect every frame and adjust settings.

Coming to the dedicated lenses of the smartphone, the telephoto lens offers a 20x hybrid zoom. The camera captures good pictures but as is the case with all zooming cameras, you either need a tripod or very stable hands to get decent results. The Realme 6 Pro also uses the telephoto lens for portrait shots, and thus overcomes the only issue I could find with the camera on the Realme 6. The edge detection is good with great details and colour reproduction. As for the wide-angle and macro lens, they get the job done, but the picture quality takes a hit when it gets dark. There’s a slight fish-eye effect while using the wide-angle camera but that’s expected from a device in its price range.

The Realme 6 Pro features Nightscape 3.0, which comes with improved tripod and ultra nightscape modes. The ultra nightscape mode does what it is intended to and captures low light images with impressive details. I personally prefered the tripod mode, which is basically a long exposure mode and captures even more details to produce stunning night shots. However, you will need to perch your phone on a tripod to keep it extremely still, and also have patience since the mode takes longer to process.

As for video recording, the camera offers real-time bokeh video, 4K/30fps regular and 1080P/120fps as well as 720p/240fps slo-mo. Unlike the Realme 6, the Realme 6 Pro already has the UIS (Ultra Steady) and UIS Max video stabilisation for super steady and smooth video recording. The phone also gets the slow-motion selfie recording.

Moving on to the selfie cameras, the 16MP + 8MP dual setup really comes through with natural skin tones and impressive details. Once again, the camera setup is better equipped at handling portrait modes because of the presence of the second sensor. You get stunning portrait shots with good edge detection and just the right amount of blur in the background. The AI beautification mode from Realme 6 with face tweaking feature from the Realme 6 is also present here.

Performance, software and battery

The Realme 6 Pro is the world’s first smartphone to come powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G processor. The chipset is manufactured with the 8nm fabrication process. It comes with Kryo 465 CPU with a maximum clock speed of 2.3GHz, and a powerful Adreno 618 GPU. Accompanying the processor is up to 8GB LPDDR4X RAM and up to 128GB internal storage expandable up to 256GB. The chipset comes with 5th Gen Qualcomm AI Engine, Qualcomm Snapdragon Elite Gaming features and Qualcomm Location Suite. The latter is designed to support NavIC.  NavIC has been developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to provide accurate location performance both in urban and remote areas of India. We can expect the company to roll out NavIC support to the Realme 6 Pro soon as it has already announced that the Realme X50 Pro 5G (first impressions) will receive the same in April.

Coming to the actual performance, our 8GB review unit handled multitasking really well. Additionally, the 90Hz refresh rate makes scrolling on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and general browsing incredibly smooth. As for gaming performance, PUBG starts in High graphics setting by default with HD graphics and high frame rate. Despite being set to the highest possible graphics, the handset plays the graphic intensive game smoothly consistently. Unlike the Realme 6, I didn’t find the Pro variant heating up even after a while of playing PUBG, which is a bonus.

On the software front, Realme 6 Pro boots the Android 10-based Realme UI out of the box. Realme UI is symbolically ColorOS but with better icons, notification shade, dark mode and themes. There is still bloatware present on the device, but most of this can be removed. You also get quintessential features like digital wellbeing, app cloner, game space, split-screen and more. I personally like the clean interface of the Realme UI over ColorOS of the past. On the flip side, the default browser on the smartphone sends tons of notifications frequently, and at one point I received atleast 15-20 of these in a period of one hour.

The Realme 6 Pro gets the same 4,300mAh battery with support for 30W VOOC fast charging, which charges the phone from zero to 100 percent in less than 60 minutes. I had a similar experience with the Pro variant as well as by the end of the day I had 20 percent charge left. However, I am pretty sure if I opt for 60Hz or Auto Refresh Rate mode in setting, I can get more out of the battery.

The competition

The Realme 6 Pro has been priced at Rs 16,999 for the base variant and as such goes up against heavyweights like the POCO X2 (first impressions) and Redmi Note 8 Pro. The POCO X2 is slightly cheaper and offers higher 120Hz refresh rate, better selfie camera and a very slightly bigger battery. The Redmi Note 8 Pro loses out on the dual selfie camera, and 30W fast charging. The smartphone comes with the same processor as Realme 6 and a slower 18W charging but is also a lot cheaper. To summarise, the Realme 6 Pro can easily take on its closest contenders and I personally feel it is the better looking of the three.

Bottomline

It’s common knowledge that Realme is really gunning for Xiaomi’s crown and with the Realme 6 Pro, it’s not fooling around. The smartphone offers a 90Hz dual punch-hole display, 64MP AI quad-cameras, dual punch-hole selfie cameras, 30W fast charging and more. For the price tag, it’s everything you can ask for and more. It will be interesting to see if the upcoming Redmi Note 9 Pro can offer a much better proposition, given that it’s tipped to come with the same Snapdragon 720G chipset.

Pricebaba’s rating: 8.5 / 10

What works:

  • Decent cameras
  • Good performance
  • Smooth 90Hz display
  • 30W fast charging

What doesn’t:

  • Annoying notifications from the default browser

Photos by Raj Rout

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Abhiman Biswas

Abhiman is obsessed with all things tech. His hobbies include reading on his Kindle and clicking random pictures on his phone. His secret superpowers happen to be mixing great cocktails and lip reading. In his spare time, you are likely to find him cleaning his aquascape, researching new species of aquatic fishes and planning which aquatic plants to buy next.