The budget smartphone market is a saturated market with tons of options, and buyers will definitely be overwhelmed by the variety of choices. There’s Oppo, Vivo, Redmi, Samsung, and Huawei, and it seems like all the brands are just another smartphone on the market. Nothing outstanding from each other.

We have a new player in the market. It’s the RealMe 3 and it’s pretty impressive.

The phone is aimed at the younger crowd and with the younger crowd comes mobile gaming and everything revolving around social media.

I’ve had the phone for quite a while for a number of uses. It became my camera, my navigator, my Spotify machine and mainly, my portable gaming device. These activities require tons of juice, and you’ll be needing a powerful battery so that you won’t be constantly needing to fetch the chunky and cumbersome power bank everywhere you go.

Bear in mind that I’ll be focusing the phone on gaming since that’s our raison d’être and because I spent quite some time on gaming. The unit that we have here is the 4GB/64GB model.

The Body

The RealMe 3 smartphone features a 6.2-inch display, with an 88.30 per cent screen-to-body ratio. The display has a 19:9 aspect ratio and has a resolution of 1520 x 720 pixels. On top of the display sits a dewdrop notch.

While the bezels have been narrowed on the top and the sides of the phone, it still has a pretty prominent chin at the bottom end. The back of the phone sports its dual camera setup and a fingerprint reader. The bottom sports a downward firing speaker, a micro USB slot and a headphone jack.

RealMe 3 UI

The body features a unibody design, meaning it is one, single piece. RealMe has ditched the age-old sandwich-like structure formed by the screen + middle frame + back cover commonly adopted by other smartphone brands and has gone for a more elegant design.

To achieve this design language, RealMe 3 uses the injection moulded unibody that removes the middle frame and thus produces a much better feeling of grasp and visual effect.

Visually, the phone has only one seam between the screen and the body and that makes it look premium. The back cover reserves and extends the gradient effect to the maximum extent, ensuring a smooth lighting transition and a strong sense of wholeness.

Also, the use of injection moulding allows more flexible exterior design. The resultant introduction of the waistline makes the entire phone look smoother, lighter, and thinner. As there are no resultant seams from joining different materials, the phone boasts a sense of smooth touch and a perfect fit for the holding hand to give a tighter and more comfortable feel.

The phone has a great build, and it feels great in the hand. The contour and the texture are welcoming to the touch, and it looks great too.

The device I’m using features a Dynamic Black gradient colourway that’s visually striking and pleasing to the eye. It shimmers and has a pearly look.

RealMe back

Although it looks great and all, there’s one tiny little problem here. It attracts fingerprints and that is a huge problem for me. Fortunately, they have provided a clear case that avoids the fingerprint issue while still giving you the opportunity to show off that beautiful back.

RealMe 3 fingerprint magnet
It’s a fingerprint magnet.

The Camera

The phone sports a 13 MP + 2 MP camera setup at the rear, which features a PDAF fast focusing and f/1.8 aperture.

RealMe Camera
The camera has yellow accents, reflecting it’s brand language.

I’ll make it simple, it’s above decent at best. You won’t be shooting documentaries or making professional photos, but it’d be a great tool to boost your likes on social media accounts.

Despite the dual camera setup, the colours produced in the images by this phone are not as impressive as you see in phones in this price range. And it gets worse when you are shooting under the booth lighting with a yellow tint as the images tend to burn out, and look brown.

In general, the images from this phone have an inherent yellow tint in them. Besides that, the RealMe 3’s camera does not do a very good job of capturing the details when you shoot photographs in low light.

It’s a hit-and-miss for me. Some shots are great while others seem to be slightly off.

Here are some sample shots of the camera:

It’s true that it tends to highlight brownish tones, although certain shots like bright shots get the Chroma Boost treatment making the colourful shot more vibrant than it is.

Using AI technologies, scenes in photos are recognized and optimized accordingly into a larger dynamic range, with more enriched details in highlighted parts and shadows, and more balanced exposure. Also, certain colours can be optimized based on scenes to look brighter and more appealing.

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Details are seemingly lost in photos, even in brightly lit environments. Take a look at the photos below, and try to zoom on my cat’s luscious ginger coat.

You can see that the details on the fur are muddled up, although you can see that the colours are rich and saturated.

Here’s an example of the front shooter. It makes a decent selfie phone especially with the software bokeh effect and the beauty enhancements.

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Gaming

As we are a gaming site, we’re definitely going to talk about games. So here’s the main discussion of the article.

The phone plays well in modern popular titles such as PUBG Mobile, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang. The RealMe 3 definitely aces casual games.

I’ve been casually gaming on the phone for a while now and I have to say it handles applications way better than what I’m rocking now; an Xperia Z5.

The Xperia Z5 plays games flawlessly thanks to its Snapdragon 810 but falters when it starts to overheat, and the Z5 does that a lot, and at one point the phone becomes too hot to the touch. Like literally too hot to hold and play games on.

Meanwhile, the RealMe 3 plays flawlessly from start to the end without cooking the users hands, maintaining temperature around 40 degrees, while pushing a steady 30 frames per second on PUBG Mobile while playing on a mix of medium and high settings.

We’ve tried pushing Mobile Legends: Bang Bang to its graphical limits, setting everything on Ultra, and the RealMe 3 manages to churn out 30 fps without any dips. The only tradeoff here is the reduced battery life.

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Another game I’ve been playing on my free time is Real Racing 3, and as the name implies, it’s another racing sim with relatively proper physics and realistic graphics. In other words, it’s right up my alley.

The phone manages to run the game flawlessly well. I used a mixture of touch controls as well as motion controls and the phone responded gloriously, flinging my Ferrari LaFerrari through Monza’s double right-hander Lesmo turns. It’s an instantaneous phone.

Here’s a clip of me driving through Suzuka.

All this great gaming prowess, but the phone never gets hotter than 40 degrees Celcius, which is warm to the touch.

Game Space

Another feature poised for gamers. The feature automatically adds game apps into a category whenever a new game app is installed, it will be recognized and included in Game Space.

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At the same time, relevant game optimization functions will be turned on, so as to facilitate game management for the user. Basically, it clears the phone of its precious RAM and focuses resources to the game so you can game better.

It also provides game optimization functions, such as the performance mode, do-not-disturb mode, brightness lock.

One thing to keep in mind is the speaker placement. Because of bottom firing speakers positioning, often more than not, I find the speakers covered by my own hands.

The Battery

No phone review is complete without the mention of its battery, and here I can proudly say that the RealMe 3 nests one hell of a beast.

I’ve used the phone to cover events such as the SEA Games Selection. The 4,230 mAh battery manages to handle all the tasks without draining itself too quickly.

I’ve also used the phone to catch up on Game of Thrones. To make matters interesting, I usually watch shows on the vibrant screen while connected to a Bluetooth speaker for a heightened experience. Streaming takes a huge toll on a phone’s battery, but the RealMe 3 handled the task with low drain. It’s such a magnificent phone.

I could finish two episodes at 15% battery and the phone still won’t die. Mind you, no spoilers, please!

With a full charge, it would last more than a day easily.

Conclusion

I’ve previously said in my mobile gaming article that the RealMe 3 is a good phone at this price point

The Realme 3 has enough features to qualify itself as a powerful phone. It might not be a Samsung Note 9 killer, but it is a viable option for budget-oriented buyers.

The 3GB RAM + 32GB ROM version is priced at RM599 while the 4GB RAM + 64GB ROM is RM699. Priced well below the thousand ringgit mark, it is a great option for buyers who are aiming for a decent phone at that price point, especially budget-conscious teens who like to play games with their phones or catch up with friends on social media.

This phone does it’s job so well that I would recommend it for socialites, especially in a market where choice is abundant.

Pros

  • Pretty design
  • Decent camera
  • Great gaming performance
  • Affordable
  • Long-lasting battery

Cons

  • Weak speaker
  • No 1080p playback
  • Fingerprint magnet

FINAL SCORE: 80/100

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