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Narzo 30 Pro review: affordable 5G smartphone that ticks most boxes

On: March 5, 2021

Realme has been on a launching spree since the start of 2021. The company has heavy competition in most segments, but this year, it is going full speed ahead in the direction of 5G. And that’s where you have the new Realme Narzo 30 Pro fitting in. This is yet another Realme phone out in the market that seeks your attention with its quality set of features and hardware at an attractive price.

Also readRealme GT with Snapdragon 888, 120Hz display launched: price, specifications

What’s interesting about the Narzo 30 Pro though is that it’s currently the cheapest 5G phone in India at a starting price of just Rs 16,999. So, is that enough to establish its lead in the increasingly populated 5G segment in India? We find out more in our review.

Design and display

  • 162.2 x 75.1 x 9.1, 194 grams
  • 6.5-inch LCD, Full HD+, 120Hz refresh rate, 600nits brightness, Corning Gorilla Glass 3

In terms of the looks, Realme has kept it simple and rather boring with the Narzo 30 Pro. You would have probably mistaken it for any other Realme phone that you have seen this price bracket over the past few months. The back body is made of plastic and gets the AG coating touch, but all in all, the x-factor in the design department is missing.

Realme Narzo 30 Pro looks like most mid-range phones in the market right now

And even though Realme claims the back panel will manage fingerprints and smudges, during our time with the phone we realised it does not. The marks are quite prominent and you will have to clean them quite often. So, make sure to use the bundled transparent case. The dimensions are slightly bigger and heavier than what we had with the Realme X7 (review). And you tend to feel the heaviness in the hand, which might not be conducive for everyone’s use.

The fingerprint sensor is built into the power button

The power button is flattened out to accommodate the fingerprint sensor. The performance of the side-mounted fingerprint sensor was effective and it was quick to detect the reading without any failures to talk about. You have USB Type C port as the main connectivity interface that sits between the bottom-facing speaker and the 3.5-mm headphone jack. The volume controls sit on the left side of the phone, and right above it you have the hybrid SIM card slot.

The USB Type-C port sits between the speaker and headphone jack

When it comes to display, Realme has played the classic card of ‘you win some, you lose some’ with the Narzo 30 Pro. This means you get an LCD panel that houses a 6.5-inch display but with support for 120Hz refresh rate. And we’ll be honest – that does make a difference.

Realme Narzo 30 Pro gets an LCD display with a 120Hz refresh rate

Even though the screen does not have the spunk that you see with AMOLEDs, we are more than comfortable with what is on offer. But again the refresh rate settings are limited to either 60Hz or 120Hz, depending on what you are doing on the screen.

The colours light up bright, the hues are high on contrast and watching videos or your favourite shows on this screen will be mostly satisfying. It packs 600 nits of peak brightness that makes the screen more than adequate to be used in bright outdoor conditions.

The punch hole cut out is the biggest we have seen for a while

But it is hard to ignore the larger-than-usual punch hole cut out on the top-left. You tend to get used to it after a while, but surely Realme could have made it a bit smaller.

Cameras

  • Rear: 48-megapixel primary sensor, 8-megapixel ultra-wide sensor, 2-megapixel macro sensor
  • Front: 16-megapixel wide-angle sensor

The Realme Narzo 30 Pro gets a triple rear camera that includes a 48-megapixel primary sensor, 8-megapixel ultra-wide sensor, and a 2-megapixel macro sensor.

The triple rear camera module on the Realme Narzo 30 Pro

At the front, the Narzo 30 Pro has a 16-megapixel camera that can be used to click wide-angle selfies, record video and make video calls. The main sensor gives you advanced features like Ultra 48MP, Super Nightscape mode, Chroma Boost, Timelapse, HDR and more.

From the image samples below, you can clearly define the quality the camera possesses, especially in bright conditions. The details are sharp and the colours look fairly balanced and natural. Having multiple modes allows you to get different results. The ultra-wide lens is capable as long as there is decent light in the background. It is not very effective when the light goes down. Even with the low-light photography we noticed a lot of noise in the image, and the processing images have a pastel-like quality to them.

When it comes to selfies, the front camera manages to keep your features intact. The beauty mode does not go overboard, making sure the tints and tones are retained. The night mode can be a bit cumbersome because you need to hold the phone rock-steady for a while before the image is captured and processed. Not something you want to use for regular shooting. All in all, Realme Narzo 30 Pro performs well when the lighting is adequate.

Performance, software and battery

  • Android 10 with Realme UI
  • MediaTek Dimensity 800U
  • 6GB + 64GB, 8GB + 128GB
  • 5,000mAh battery, 30W Dart Charge

Realme continues to trust MediaTek with its Dimensity chipset for the Narzo 30 Pro and we have no problem with that. This processor not only performs up to its potential, but also deliver in terms of efficiency. The use of Dimensity 800U chipset good overall performance, both for multi-tasking and gaming.

For regular activities, you can throw anything at the hardware and most times the phone doesn’t break a sweat. Opening close to 10 tabs on Chrome and Microsoft Edge each will be good enough to test the best in the market, and Dimensity 800U puts out an impressive reading. And when you couple that with 8GB RAM, multitasking and heavy usage becomes a piece of cake for the setup.

However, playing graphics-heavy games like Call of Duty: Mobile in high settings caused the device to warm up a bit at the back. It did not raise any alarm bells for us, and once we switched back to medium graphics, the house was back in order.

COD Mobile ran without major glitches on medium settings

You get 128GB onboard storage that is further expandable, but to do so you’ll have to sacrifice a second SIM card slot. That is the one drawback of having a hybrid slot instead of a dedicated memory card slot. And for this price, we expect the latter.

The Narzo 30 Pro gets a hybrid SIM slot

Just like every other Realme phone we have used this year, the Narzo 30 Pro also comes running Realme UI built over Android 10. We’re in March 2021 which is long enough for most phone makers to dish out Android 11 out of box with the latest devices.

Still Android 10, Realme?

And considering the brand had talked about its roll out much before the competition, the reasons for delay are baffling. The pre-installed bloatware is also annoying, even though most of the apps can be uninstalled.

We had talked about the heaviness of the Realme Narzo 30 Pro earlier in the review. And the main reason for that is the built-in 5,000mAh battery. The unit supports 30W Dart Charge technology which is fast, but a definite downgrade on the 65W charging speed you got with the Narzo 20 Pro.

That said, the battery manages to find the right equation with the hardware to give you long backup. To get a better understanding of that we ran the phone through our usual video loop test, wherein we stream movies online at full brightness. And during that time, we noticed the phone’s battery went down from 74 percent to 66 percent after well over one and half hour of streaming. Now when you put that in context of regular usage, we got screen on time of over 6 hours on a consistent basis. To make a long story short, the battery delivers with flying colours.

Bottomline

The Realme Narzo 30 Pro is yet another mid-range phone from the brand that comes with the promise of 5G networks thanks to the MediaTek Dimensity chipset. The LCD display with a 120Hz refresh rate is sharp, fluid and bright, and we have no complaints about that. The built-in MediaTek Dimensity 800U processor is fast and powerful, and battery life is great too.

Realme Narzo 30 Pro is the cheapest 5G phone in India

As for the downsides, while the 30W fast charging support is more than enough, it is a downgrade from the 65W charging speeds you got with the Narzo 20 Pro. And while the primary camera does a decent job in bright conditions, it falters when the light is on the lower side.

Unfortunately for Realme, the brand seems to be competing with its own devices these days. The Realme X7 (review) launched just a few weeks ago features the same Dimensity 800U chipset at a higher price, but offers an AMOLED display, 64MP primary camera and faster 50W charging. While the Realme X7 is the better overall device, the Narzo 30 Pro does have price working in its favour.

The Narzo 30 Pro also competes with a host of 5G devices in this price bracket that include the Xiaomi Mi 10i (review), and Moto G 5G (review). However, at the moment it is the cheapest 5G device in India, so if that’s your priority, the Narzo 30 Pro is for you.

What works

  • Crisp, fluid 120Hz display
  • Powerful Dimensity 800U chipset
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Primary camera does well in bright conditions
  • Affordable price

What doesn’t

  • Boring design
  • Android 10 out of the box not ideal in 2021
  • Low light photography can improve
  • Hybrid SIM slot
  • Fast charging speed downgraded from Narzo 20 Pro
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