Realme Narzo 30 Pro review: A regular midrange phone with 5G as a bonus

The Realme Narzo 30 Pro looks similar to its predecessor, except that its rear-camera module has a smaller footprint
Realme is one of the smartphone brands that regularly upgrade their product lines. But the changes in new devices are often incremental in nature. One such Realme smartphone upgrade is the recently launched Narzo 30 Pro. Among the smartphone’s noticeable upgrades are the 5G network support, a screen of 120Hz refresh rate and Dimensity 800U mobile processor. Other than these upgrades, there is barely anything new worth mentioning. Moreover, you will be surprised to notice that industry-leading 65W fast-charge technology, which was part of the Narzo 20 Pro, has been replaced by a 30W fast-charge technology. So how do these changes affect the Realme Narzo 30 Pro experience? Let’s find out: 

Design

The Realme Narzo 30 Pro looks similar to its predecessor, except that its rear-camera module has a smaller footprint. Starting with the back profile, the smartphone has a minimal design with a smooth frosted glass-like finish on the back cover. Though the build quality is top-notch and the in-hand feel is good, the choice of construction material leaves one asking for more as the back cover gets easily gets fingerprint smudges. It, however, is quite resilient to scratches and handles everyday abuses with ease. The chassis is thick but not unwieldy. The phone sports a capacitive fingerprint scanner-cum-power button on the right, volume rocker keys and dual-SIM slots on the left, secondary microphone opening at the top, and a 3.5mm audio port, primary microphone, USB-C port and primary speaker at the bottom of the chassis. Overall, the Narzo 30 Pro looks like any other Realme-branded smartphone. It lacks the novelty factor but that is compensated for by a durable and sturdy build quality.

Display

The Realme Narzo 30 Pro sports a 6.5-inch fullHD+ resolution LCD screen of a 120Hz refresh rate and 180Hz touch sampling rate. The screen is stretched to dominate the phone’s entire front profile, yet it leaves a thick bezel at the bottom side that looks out of place. The screen is colour-rich but struggles with contrast. The peak brightness levels are good and so is the screen sunlight legibility. The touch response is fairly good too, but, despite featuring a 120Hz refresh rate, the screen skips frames at times. It is good to see Realme adopting an adaptive refresh rate, which automatically adjusts the screen refresh rate based on on-screen content requirements. However, that seems unpolished and requires further improvements for a better experience. Thankfully, the screen does not skip frames when set to 120Hz and 60Hz. But it does consume slightly more battery.

Upgrading the screen from 90Hz refresh rate in the predecessor to 120Hz is a good move, but Realme should have also considered including support for high dynamic range (HDR) to make the screen upgrade wholesome. In its current form, it is just an incremental upgrade.

Camera

This is an area where the upgrades are mostly software-related, such as night filters and an improved night mode. That said, the optics are covered by a familiar triple-camera array on the back, featuring a 48-megapixel primary sensor of an f/1.8 aperture, an 8MP ultra-wide-angle sensor of an f/2.3 aperture and a 119-degree field-of-view, and a 2MP macro sensor of an f/2.4 aperture. On the front, the phone has a 16MP sensor of an f/2.1 aperture. Without the 2MP mono sensor on the back, the optics set-up is similar to the one in the predecessor. Therefore, there is not much that has changed here either.

As for output, the primary sensor is good but not class-leading. It captures frames with saturated colours and optimal details but struggles to perform as well in lowlight conditions. The ultra wide angle is good, but the frames it captures lack detailing, especially on the sides. Moreover, the shots lack the colour depth and minute details like dynamic range, highlights and shadows are not prominent. In low light, the sensor struggles to capture details and suffers from prominent noise across the frame. The macro camera is there for novelty but it does not add any real utility to the camera set-up. The front camera is good but heavily dependent on beauty features to improve the output. Thankfully, there is an option to disable the beauty mode for a natural-looking output. 

The camera performance might not be perfect but the software-level add-ons lift the experience by enabling new ways to look at the world around. For example, the night filters are great even for daytime imaging. It adds new dimensions to the otherwise regular-looking frames. Similarly, the ‘Cinema Mode’ for video recording is not common in smartphones in the midrange segment. This mode lets you record videos in the cinematic 21:9 wide format, which may seem something of interest to content creators. Speaking of video recording capability, the Narzo 30 Pro supports 4K resolution videos at 30 frames per second through its primary sensor. The ultra-wide-angle sensor can go up to 1080p at 30fps. The front camera is limited to 1080p at 30fps but supports software-level stabilisation. 

Performance

Powered by MediaTek Dimensity 800U system-on-chip, paired with up to 8GB RAM and 128GB on-board storage, the phone is a big improvement with regard to performance when compared with its predecessor and some of its peers. It handles every task with ease. It works fine as a daily driver for most tasks and handles processor- and-graphic-intensive jobs well. There are no thermal issues here and the graphic-intensive gaming performance is as good as you get on any other midrange smartphone. Rounding up the swift performance is the 5G network capability, something that may not mean anything until the supported network services roll out in the country. On the bright side, the 5G connectivity makes the Narzo 30 Pro future-proof. 

While the performance is good, the fact that the phone boots the now-dated Android 10 operating system-based Realme UI is a dampener. The UI is not bad, but it lacks the goodies that Realme UI 2.0 promises to bring along with the Android 11 generic pack.

Battery

The Realme Narzo 30 Pro ships with a 5,000 mAh battery, supported by 30W Dart-Charge technology for fast charging. The phone easily sails through a day on a single charge on regular usage but it has to be plugged in once in the evening for about 15 minutes if used extensively for power-heavy tasks like continuous video recording, gaming, video streaming, etc. As for charging, it is fast but nowhere close to the 65W fast-charging of the predecessor. Nonetheless, it is a decent fast-charging solution and people with no prior experience of 65W fast-charge would find the 30W fast-charge tech effective.

Verdict

Priced at Rs 16,999, the Realme Narzo 30 Pro does not offer anything unique or different from what others already have in the midrange segment. But it is the cheapest 5G smartphone in the country, even if not the best 5G smartphone to go for. Aimed at gamers, the Narzo 30 Pro has a good performance but it is not as good in design, display, and imaging. That said, consider the Narzo 30 Pro for its sleek performance. Look elsewhere if you are in the market for an all-round midrange smartphone.


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