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Realme Narzo 10A review: an incremental upgrade over the Realme C3

On: May 18, 2020

Realme recently introduced a brand new smartphone series called Narzo with the launch of  Narzo 10 and Narzo 10A. While the former is a rebadged Realme 6i for the Indian market, the latter is essentially the Realme C3 with a fingerprint scanner and extra camera.

Also readRealme Narzo 10 review: a capable gaming smartphone on a budget

The Narzo 10 is positioned as a stop-gap between the Realme C-series and Realme 6. However, the same cannot be said for the Narzo 10A, which is an incremental upgrade over the Realme C3 (review), launched earlier this year. I have been using the Narzo 10A for the past week, and here’s how it fares in comparison to the Realme C3.

What’s different?

Design

The Narzo 10A, while nearly identical to the Realme C3 in terms of hardware, has a coat of fresh paint when it comes to the design. Realme has retained the dimensions and polycarbonate material for the back panel, but has opted for a metallic matte finish with prominent Realme branding that covers the entirety of the right side.

You also get a triple camera module in the top left corner and a capacitive fingerprint sensor towards the middle. The fingerprint scanner is fast and accurate, as is the face unlock.

The remaining elements remain the same as the Realme C3. You will find the power button on the right and volume button with SIM card tray on the left. The SIM tray houses two nano SIM card slots and a dedicated microSD card slot. The bottom edge is home to the 3.5mm audio jack, micro-USB port and loudspeaker. Realme is offering the Narzo 10A in ‘So Blue’ and ‘So White’ paint jobs. I received the latter, and with the conspicuous Realme branding, the handset does grab your attention.

Just like the Realme C3, the Narzo 10A doesn’t get a complimentary case in the packaging. I didn’t miss it however, since the tapered edges and the even weight distribution made handling the Narzo 10A an easy task.

Cameras

The third camera on the back is another distinguishing feature of the Narzo 10A as compared to the existing Realme C3. The setup on the back comprises a 12-megapixel f/1.8 primary camera, accompanied by 2-megapixel portrait and 2-megapixel macro sensors. The last is a new addition, while the first two are retained from the C3. The camera app offers featurs such as 4x digital zoom, HDR, Chroma Boost, Portrait, Time-lapse, Pro, Panorama and a newly-added Ultra-macro mode, among others.

Let’s start with the new addition to the camera setup, the macro lens. This is the same sensor as the one on Narzo 10, and allows you to get as close as 4cm to the subject. It can capture good close-up shots in the daylight, but details get muddled when you zoom in.

Apart from this, the camera performance is the same as the Realme C3. The daylight images are impressive with ample details and good contrast. However, the camera struggles in low light and there’s no dedicated night mode either. The 2-megapixel depth sensor does a good job of detecting edges and creating aesthetically pleasing bokeh shots when there’s enough lighting. As for the video recording, the Narzo 10A can only record in two resolutions – 720p and 1080p, both capped at 30fps.

What’s the same?

Selfie camera

The Narzo 10A is equipped with a 5-megapixel f/2.4 snapper in the waterdrop notch on the front. The selfie camera features AI Beauty and AI HDR features, among others. In daylight, the camera was able to capture skin tones accurately with enough detail. In low light however, the picture quality suffers. While the AI HDR does a pretty good job, I would suggest turning off the AI Beauty mode, which can be pretty aggressive.

Display

The Realme Narzo 10A ships with a 6.5-inch LCD screen with 1,600 x 720 pixels resolution, 20:9 aspect ratio and 89.8 percent screen-to-body ratio. There’s a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass for protection against scratches and nicks.

The viewing angles and legibility in sunlight are commendable for a budget smartphone. However, I felt the display was viewed more easily when I turned off the ambient lighting and cranked the brightness all the way to 100 when outdoors. As a budget smartphone, the phone is missing Widevine L1 support, which means content on OTT platforms is restricted to SD quality.

Performance, software and battery

The Realme C3 was the first smartphone in India to come with MediaTek’s budget Helio G70 gaming processor. The Narzo 10A retains the same chipset and is being offered in a single 3GB + 32GB variant. The Realme C3 on the other hand is available in two variants – 3GB + 32GB and 4GB + 64GB. The handset boots the Android 10-based Realme UI out of the box and is loaded with features like a system-wide dark mode, digital wellbeing, app cloner, game space, split-screen and more. While there is significant bloatware, most of these apps can be uninstalled.

Coming to the gaming peformance, the Realme Narzo 10A boots PUBG in high graphics settings by default. The game plays well on high settings, but is smoother on medium graphics. Less intensive games like Call of Duty: Mobile and Subway Surfer run without any hiccups on the device.

The Narzo 10A retains the 5,000mAh battery from the C3, but unfortunately, the 10W charging and micro-USB port haven’t been upgraded. While the phone takes a while to charge completely, it easily lasts a day and a half with normal usage.

The competition

Realme has priced the Narzo 10A at Rs 8,499, and in India, it competes with the likes of the Redmi 8 and Samsung Galaxy A10s. The Redmi 8 (review) features a 6.2-inch HD+ display, 12MP dual rear cameras and an 8MP selfie shooter. Additionally, the Redmi offering comes with 4GB RAM and double the storage at 64GB, with support for 512GB microSD cards. While the Snapdragon 439 SoC might not be a gaming processor like Helio G70, it performs well enough in day-to-day usage. The phone also offers 5,000mAh battery with 18W fast charging support and a Type-C port.

The Samsung Galaxy A10s on the other hand features dual cameras and fingerprint scanner with up to 3GB RAM and 32GB storage. However, it misses out on a macro lens, has a smaller 4,000mAh battery and a basic Mediatek Helio P22 SoC. You do get a higher resolution 8MP selfie shooter though.

Bottomline

The Realme Narzo 10A is a stylish and powerful smartphone on a budget. If you’re wondering whether it’s a better buy over the Realme C3, the answer is subjective. The Narzo 10A offers a fingerprint scanner and macro sensor, both of which are lacking on the Realme C3. However, the top-end 4GB + 64GB variant of the Realme C3 costs just Rs 500 more, and offers double the RAM and storage. Which device you ultimately buy would depend on your personal usage, but either way, you’d be getting a capable budget phone under Rs 10,000.

Pricebaba’s rating: 8 / 10

What works:

  • Good gaming performance
  • Long lasting battery
  • Runs Android 10 out of the box
  • Fingerprint scanner

What doesn’t:

  • Cameras need improvement
  • Micro-USB port
  • No fast charging
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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.