realme C3 Australian review: Budget blaster


Realme is promising to bring quality smartphones to the Australian market for a great price, and they certainly did that with the last phone we were able to review, the XT.

Now realme has released its latest device called the C3.

Promising all-day battery life, a big 6.5” screen and triple camera on the back, on paper the realme C3 seems to tick all the right boxes and at $269 it’s definitely quite affordable too.

But how does it stack up when using day-to-day?

What we loved:

  • Runs smoothly most of the time
  • Massive battery
  • Screen is great for the price
  • New UI isn’t bad

What wasn’t so good:

  • Camera isn’t as versatile as others and not the best quality
  • Speaker is tinny when listening to music
  • Outdated data/charging port

Design

This doesn’t feel or look like a $269 phone. I was given the ‘Blazing Red’ colour to review and I must say that this is one of the first phones in a while where people have asked what phone I was using.

There’s a fingerprint sensor on the back, headphone jack for your headphones at the bottom and power and volume rocker within one-handed reach.

However, it’s a little bit baffling that realme has gone for a micro USB port for data and power delivery instead of the now-standard USB-C connector. You do get the cable in the box, but it’s still a little bit random from a device in 2020.

The phone feels great in the hand, and even with such a large battery, it doesn’t feel too heavy. The ribbed finish on the back of the device is really nice, and you won’t have issues with fingerprints showing up as you use it.

realme C3 in ‘Blazing Red’.
realme C3 in ‘Blazing Red’. Credit: Supplied

Camera

Around the back is a triple camera setup (12MP+2MP+2MP) featuring a large aperture and pixel size to allow for more light to be captured in those moments you need it.

There is also 4x zoom and a macro lens. We’re missing a wide-angle option though, but that is the trade-off when buying a budget device.

Photos are ok and I’d say above standard for a device of this price-point.

realme C3 camera sample.
realme C3 camera sample. Credit: 7NEWS
realme C3 camera sample.
realme C3 camera sample. Credit: 7NEWS
realme C3 camera sample.
realme C3 camera sample. Credit: 7NEWS

Daylight photos turn out pretty good, however, the sky does tend to blow-out a little in those brighter scenarios.

When it comes to indoor and low-light shows, the realme C3 starts to struggle. Bright signs over-expose and some blurring starts to occur for objects at a longer distance to the camera.

realme C3 camera sample.
realme C3 camera sample. Credit: 7NEWS
realme C3 camera sample.
realme C3 camera sample. Credit: 7NEWS

But you can still get some pretty good shots out of the phone such as this one that is looking out from a dark area and into the light.

realme C3 camera sample.
realme C3 camera sample. Credit: 7NEWS

The software that is being used on the phone is pre-release so there will likely be updates to the camera that may improve some of the low-light issues.

Screen

Reminding myself about the price of this phone, the screen is actually really good. There are no issues when watching YouTube, Netflix or playing your favourite game.

It won’t have those really deep darks or vibrant colours as some other devices, but those other phones are also $500 more expensive.

There is a little bit of latency when swiping and tapping around on the screen, but it’s not a huge issue and can probably be corrected through a later software update.

Battery & Other Things

The battery inside the realme C3 is massive. It’s actually the same size as the much more expensive Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. I haven’t been able to verify the claim of 30 days on standby, but what I can tell you is that the battery does last… and last… and last.

I was easily getting two days of use from the phone before I’d need to get it back to the charger. That’s decent, and up there with Huawei’s P30 Pro (a phone that is almost five times the price).

I wasn’t expecting too much from the speaker on the phone, and this was the right thing to do. Listening to your tunes on Spotify aren’t the best and can sound quite tinny. If you have a Bluetooth speaker handy, you’re better off to connect the phone to that and blast your music.

When it comes to calls on the loudspeaker there are no issues and they sound very clear. Speaking of calls, mobile reception is exceptional. My house struggles with coverage at the best of times, and where other phones have only provided one bar of service – the realme C3 was showing two bars. This could be a difference in software between devices, yes, but the call quality and number of drop-outs were also less frequent. So take that how you wish.

The phone does tend to struggle a little when multitasking – especially while watching YouTube and browsing the web at the same time, but overall it performed admirably for the price point of this device.

The fingerprint sensor at the back of the phone is very accurate and works well.

There is also expandable storage and dual-sim capabilities, which is always a great feature of any phone. Especially if you take lots of photos, you can store them separately on the micro-SD card.

What we think

The realme C3 is a solid device for people who don’t want to spend a small fortune on their next phone. It’s not for people who play lots of intensive video games, or who need photos to look professional.

When reminded of the low price of the C3, realme needs to be applauded for the amount of features that have been included.

If you’re on a budget the realme C3 is one to keep top of mind.

realme provided this publisher with a loan device for testing purposes. This did not affect our views on the device, and our review remains independent of the manufacturer.



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