[Review] Realme 3 Pro – The Outstanding Midrange Marvel

  • Design
  • Performance
  • Display
  • Battery Life
  • Camera
  • Value

Realme 3 Pro

The Realme 3 Pro is a surprisingly full featured phone that punches above its weight class with exceptional battery life paired with blazing fast VOOC Flash Charge 3.0 charging, great performance and pleasantly good camera performance. If you are looking for exceptional value and a top-shelf phone for just over RM1,000, look no further.

Realme 3 Pro Review – specifications and performance

Previously, we took a look at what was in the box for the Malaysia retail version of the Realme 3 Pro and gave it a once-over in terms of its build quality, design and aesthetics as well as a quick look at what it has under the hood. This time around, we’ll run through how the Realme 3 Pro fares in terms of performance in regards to its price point. For a look at the unboxing and our hands-on, swing by here.

In Malaysia, the Realme 3 Pro comes in two different colours and two different storage configurations though they are otherwise identical. The Realme 3 Pro comes in 4GB RAM/ 64GB of storage that retails at RM899 while the high end Realme 3 Pro with 6GB RAM/128GB storage retails at RM1,099.

Storage configuration aside, all versions of the Realme 3 Pro come with a 6.3-inch Full HD+ display (2,340 X 1080 pixels) with a dewdrop notch at the top for the selfie camera and a respectable 19.5:9 aspect ratio. There’s nary a button on the front but for verification purposes, you can opt for the rear mounted fingerprint reader and face unlock functionality.

Under the hood, the Realme 3 Pro runs Android Pie 9.0 overlaid with their ColorOS 6 user interface on a Snapdragon 710 2.2GHz octacore processor built on a 10nm FinFET process paired with an Adreno 616 GPU. On paper, the Snapdragon 710 is rated to provided about 20% better performance across the board for gaming, web browsing and the like against midrange workhorse phones packing the Snapdragon 660 processor and the fact that it is made on a newer, more efficient 10nm FINFET process also offers comparably better battery endurance as well. Of particular interest is that the Realme 3 Pro is one of a select few range of phones that are currently eligible to download the Android Q beta, the successor to Android P with a host of upgrades including the long-awaited dark mode settings.
The large 6.3-inch display proved to be one of the better ones around and delivered pin-sharp text and good colour rendition along with decent clarity under direct sunlight if you ramp the brightness settings up near to maximum. If the colours don’t quite appeal, you can tweak them slightly towards the warmer or cooler side of the colour spectrum but you’re not able to finetune red, green or blue levels. You can also selectively tweak apps to omit the notch though there’s no universal setting to do so – you’ll have to do so on a per application basis which gets tedious on occasion but it’s fortunately not something you have to redo again and again.

As a user interface, ColorOS is up there with the better ones with a the inclusion of an app drawer, a generally fast and clean interface as well as a generally understandable layout bar some odd quirks with necessary commands nested deep into some menu trees. There’s still a bit of bloatware lying around like Lazada and Opera but they’re something we use on a regular basis so it’s not a big deal. Others are of dubious utility like Webnovel and ShareChat though you can junk them after you get the phone. Of particular note is that the Realme 3 Pro also ships with Widevine L1 DRM certification so you can use this to indulge in a spot of Netflix or two.

When subjected to synthetic benchmarks, the Realme 3 Pro was an admirable contender in its price range. In Geekbench 4.3.2, it got a single-core score of 1,494 points and a multi-core score of 5,884. In PCMark’s Work 2.0 performance score, it got a very respectable score of 6,655. In Antutu Benchmark, the Realme 3 Pro managed to get 155,202 points. In 3DMark’s Sling Shot Extreme – Open GL ES 3.1 test, it got a score of 1,815 and a Sling Shot Extreme – Vulkan score of 1,736. This bears out the claims that it outpaces the Snapdragon 660 SoC and it does so by a modest but convincing margin.

Under more practical real world testing, the Realme 3 Pro manages to handle everything thrown at it in a competent fashion. Overall performance was generally snappy and it managed to tackle PUBG on medium settings without keeling over while Asphalt 9 and Honkai Impact 3 managed to run in a very smooth fashion without any discernible frame rate drops. Most important of all, it managed to run Fortnite; somewhat of a feat for phones in this price category.

The Realme 3 Pro also has an interesting High Performance mode nestled in the battery settings though it’s not something that you can find off the bat. Fire it up and you get ostensibly higher frame rates and performance as it maxes out the processor but at the tradeoff of faster battery drain and increased heat though we really didn’t detect any increased cook-off even with an hour or two of intensive gaming.

The sole speaker at the base of the phone is perhaps the only quibble in an otherwise competently made setup. For what you pay for, the speaker is excellent with good volume and clarity for casual use though the nature of its placement means that it is altogether too easy to block when you’re playing games in landscape mode. In any case, none of its compatriots in its price range have stereo speakers either so it’s not a major downer. As far as performance is concerned, the Realme 3 Pro punches a notch or two above its price category which is an impressive achievement to say the least.

Realme 3 Pro Review – Camera Performance

The Realme 3 Pro sports a rear dual camera array that comes with a 16-MP primary camera that uses Sony’s flagship IMX519 sensor paired up with a secondary 5-MP sensor for depth data. This setup is also capable of capturing 4K video as well. There is no OIS but the camera array does that advantage of AI algorithms that identify what you’re aiming it at to improve image quality.

The camera UI for the Realme 3 Pro is fairly straightforward though several modes aren’t immediately obvious. There’s an Expert mode that lets you tinker with exposure, white balance, autofocus and exposure value (EV) setting along with a competent auto mode. It also has HDR baked in that you can set on or off as well as a Chroma Boost mode that helps to increase the dynamic range and bumps up saturation. The camera also has a Nightscape mode specifically for capturing epic scenic vistas in low light.

In general, we left HDR on auto and Chroma boost on though under specific circumstances in low light scenarios such as when we took a few snaps around Penang, we swapped over to Nightscape mode. Nightscape itself improves dynamic range and makes night shots pop more though it takes a couple more seconds for you to hold the angle for best results.

Shots under daylight were excellent with good dynamic range and contrast with pretty good detail as you can see in this cityscape shot. Shots captured under low light look surprisingly good given the Realme 3 Pro’s price tag with less noise than you’d expect for a camera in its price range.

Yes, that cat was winking at us

Shots of Penang and Singapore taken with Nightscape mode were particularly noteworthy with very shareworthy results and beautiful lighting; pixel peepers will likely quibble over the softness of the shots but the fact that you’re only paying a grand for these kind of results is impressive indeed.

The rear camera is also capable of capturing decent 4K video. It’s also able to snag 960FPS slow-mo video at 720P resolution, stretching out 0.1 seconds of action into 10 extended seconds of action. At present it’s only able to capture each segment individually and the nature of slow-mo means you’ll need daylight or fairly bright lights to clearly capture the action though having this feature at this price point is already a substantial achievement.

Selfies on the front camera are generally good with a modestly restrained approach towards defocusing the background.


Realme 3 Pro Price, Battery Life, VOOC Flash Charge 3.0 and Conclusion

The Realme 3 Pro comes with a 4,045mAh battery that includes VOOC Flash Charge 3.0 tech and a compatible 5V/4A UK-style 3-pin charger and cable. Assuming you aren’t kicking in High Performance mode willy nilly, the Realme 3 Pro performs in a superb fashion with exceptional endurance. With an average use case of an hour worth of casual gaming on Clash Royale, Command & Conquer: Rivals and PUBG, all-day WiFi or data on, constant use of social media as well as liberal use of Google Docs on top of constant use of the camera average a good hundred or so shots across the course of the day, the Realme 3 Pro managed to have more than enough juice to last all the way to the next day.

The addition of the aforementioned VOOC Flash Charge 3.0 charger is amazingly generous of Realme and with it, the phone is able to charge up by at least 50% in just 30 minutes. This was borne out in field testing and the phone was able to fully charge from dead zero in just over an hour. That’s a darned good result in our books by any measure of the word.

The midrange smartphone segment is as competitive as it gets with manufacturers fine tuning their offerings to offer as much bang for the buck as possible. The Realme 3 Pro takes the lead straight out of the starting gate with a generous assortment of bundled kit – you’re getting a VOOC Flash Charge 3.0 compatible charger straight out of the box along with a TPU casing. Combine this with solid build quality, good overall performance that allows it to tackle gaming duties in a very competent fashion along with an excellent rear camera array and you have one of the best midrange phones currently available. If you have the cash to spare, chunk out for the top-end 6GB RAM/ 128GB version that will serve you well for a long time to come.

What we liked Retains 3.5mm audio jack, delightful build quality and finish, VOOC Flash Charge 3.0 capabilities and bundled charger, solid performance for price, good low light capabilities for rear camera
What we didn’t Still uses a microUSB port, finish is a fingerprint magnet, middling speaker
We say The Realme 3 Pro is a surprisingly full featured phone that punches above its weight class with exceptional battery life paired with blazing fast VOOC Flash Charge 3.0 charging, great performance and pleasantly good camera performance. If you are looking for exceptional value and a top-shelf phone for just over RM1,000, look no further.

Price 4GBRAM/64GB(RM899),6GBRAM/128GB(RM1,099)
Display 6.3-inch, IPS LCD Full HD+, 2,340 x 1080 pixels
Processor Snapdragon 710 2.2GHz octacore
Memory 6GB RAM/ 128GB + triple card slot
Camera 16-MP F/1.7 + 5-MP w/ LED flash (rear) / 25-MP (front)
Battery 4,045mAh
Size/Weight 156.8 x 74.2 x 83mm /156g
Review unit courtesy of Realme Malaysia

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