Realme Narzo 30A Review – setting the benchmark

Call it a vacation or working in the silent mode, but realme is now back in 2021 after a month-long break. The company since its return has introduced two new smartphones, realme X7 and X7 Pro. Today, they have launched two new smartphones, Narzo 30A and Narzo 30 Pro.

The successor to the Narzo 20A has arrived in our hands, and we have been using it for less than a week. I have a lot of thoughts about Realme’s new smartphone in India. Let’s dive into the details. 

Realme Narzo 30A – Design & Build 

The Narzo 30A’s style is defined by trendy diagonal stripe design, which is said to break directional conventions. It’s a fresh approach when compared to the predecessor’s design. Further, the brand has moved to the square from the rectangle camera module. The Narzo branding is still the same, though, only the placement is different. It’s now moved closer to the camera and fingerprint sensor. 

Wallpaper Credit : Joshua Karthik

Talking about the body, it is made entirely of polycarbonate, as most smartphones these days. Despite that, it’s built so well, reeks solidarity. The dimensions are more or less similar with a tiny bit of change since the successor comes with a larger battery capacity, but the same display size. More on that later! The rear looks imbalanced but that’s what quite interesting about it. A visual sensation of motion and freestyle. 

Looks like realme has dialed it up a notch in terms of the visual appeal of its third edition in the Narzo series. This fairly tall phone is gentle on the hands as the slanted curves make it easier. Further, the weight distribution of the phone is fairly even. For the record, it weighs 207 grams and has a thickness of 9.8mm, which is thicker than the last year’s model.  

Speaking about the fingerprint sensor, which is placed on the rear, is easy to reach and fairly fast to unlock. I have no complaints about FPS. The one thing that I noticed that has not been implemented on any realme phone, is the Google Assistant button. I would love to see this happen. As far as the tactile feedback, Narzo has impressed us, the power button, and volume rocker keys offer a satisfactory click feel. 

Wallpaper Credit : Joshua Karthik

For fantastic wallpapers, reach out to Joshua Karthik on Instagram. Follow him at @joshuakarthhr

Notably, you also get a headphone jack and dual mics on the bottom edge alongside the type-C port, and a speaker grille. The only complaint I have is with the placement of both mics at the bottom. Keeping one mic at the top would have much wiser, I will tell you why when I talk about connectivity. Overall, the Narzo 30A is a well-put-together smartphone in a typical realme style.  

Realme Narzo 30A – Display

As for the display, the Narzo 30A has a 6.5-inch IPS LCD panel with a 720p resolution and a 60Hz refresh rate. It’s an average-looking panel with a mini-drop design, as realme would like to call. It’s not too bright of a display at 570 nits peak brightness. Plus, one could easily spot the light bleeding around the corners, like in most LCDs. Forget about the HD streaming on Netflix and Prime, except for YouTube. It’s almost witchcraft that you can stream 1080p content on YouTube on a 720p screen.  

There might be better displays out there, but they don’t belong to this price category. Realme is offering a vibrant display with wonderful colour reproduction and slightly underwhelming brightness level, because of close to poor sunlight legibility. The adaptive display setting works great. I had it turned on almost all the time during my review. As I have stated before, I prefer using phones at 50% brightness, but I didn’t mind cranking this one to 100% on most occasions like gaming or media consumption. 

Realme Narzo 30A – Hardware – Specs & Performance 

The Narzo 30A comes with MediaTek Helio G85 SoC and 3/4GB of RAM with 32GB/64GB of internal storage with eMMC 5.1 speeds to go along with it. Further, the triple slot tray gets you a dedicated slot for storage expansion. Talking about the performance of Helio G85, most of the audience is familiar with its performance. It is a fairly powerful chipset to get your daily tasks done. It has been responsive to all my daily activities. I kept it on my toes with consistent usage of Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Spotify. We have the 4GB RAM model, and I didn’t find any load time issues, as RAM management wasn’t aggressive. 

Notably, I used it as my Wi-Fi hotspot for a daily office commute of a total of 4 hours back and forth. Nor the screen or the rear panel heated even after hours of hotspot service being used to surface Google Maps and Spotify. As for the gaming, it does a pretty decent job in keeping up with frame loads. I installed and played a bunch of heavy-duty games and found myself playing Asphalt and COD without any significant stutters. 

You can see the Geekbench score below. Tell you what, I don’t prefer judging the performance of devices using such tools. Draw your conclusions from these scores. 

Realme Narzo 30A – Software – App & UI

Realme has been adding bloatware by the speed with which they launch smartphones. For someone like me who prefers barebones, that’s a great deal. The Narzo 30A comes with at least 10 apps that are not system apps, which won’t bother you if you just don’t open them at all. Picture a meme of Bernie Sanders sitting in his chair and you shall be fine with those apps. While I’m a spoiled stock Android user, I didn’t mind a range of custom-built features that you necessarily don’t see on barebones UI. 

Wallpaper Credit : Joshua Karthik

Speaking about the user experience, realme UI operates smoothly, thus offering a lag-free experience. It’s all fine, but we don’t get why Realme didn’t offer Android 11 out of the box. This is when realme 2.0 UI based on Android 11 was unveiled last year in September. By this time, we had hoped to see 2.0 UI being shipped out of the box. Unfortunately, it seems we would have to wait much longer than expected. 

Overall, the software experience on Narzo 30A has been quite appealing and satisfactory, to say the least. There’s no denying that realme could cut down the bloatware. But we guess not everyone wants a bloatware-free experience.  

Realme Narzo 30A – Camera

Coming to the cameras on Narzo 30A, it’s a dual-camera setup on the rear. This stack includes a 13MP main camera and a B&W lens with an f/2.4 aperture. Comparing it to the predecessor, it’s a step-down. On Narzo 20A you get a triple camera setup on the rear. The main lens is a 12MP sensor with an f/1.8 aperture. There are two more lenses, a B&W lens, and a retro lens, both having f/2.2 aperture. On the front, you get an 8MP selfie shooter. 

Let’s check and talk about the camera samples from Narzo 30A. 

Starting with human subjects, the default camera offers true-to-life captures as the colour reproduction value is good. When portrait mode is turned ON, the colour reproduction level is maintained. Unlike seen on my recent Nokia 5.4 review. Now, speaking about the bokeh effect, here we don’t have a dedicated depth sensor. Instead, realme is doing the software trick. And suffice it to say that depth sensor absence is being missed. The cut-outs on shoulders inconsistent, and they are visible without even cropping/zooming the image. We are not happy with the outputs. 

I went out to capture some daylight shots around a golden hour to test the Chromaboost feature. And I wasn’t let down by it. There is a significant improvement in the colours, saturation, and overall brightness of the capture post Chromaboost. But the sharp detail remains the same on pre and post captures. Realme could have added a large 48MP primary lens here for better detail output. We believe it’s not too much to ask at this price range. 

We took multiple food shots in the daylight and artificial light at the restaurant. Talking about the best shots, the colouring, and texture came out good in this daylight shot of what was supposed to be a homemade pancake. Moving to the artificial light shot at the restaurant. It came out decent with a hint of blurriness. Because of the f/2.2 aperture, the primary lens is not equipped to capture light and be fast at the same time. Thus, we ended up with poor food shots at the dinner table. 

Realme here has offered 4x Digital Zoom and going into zoom, we didn’t have a high expectation with its 13MP main camera. But to our surprise, Narzo 30A pulled off some decent details even at the 4x. Notably, these camera samples you see were shot around golden hour. Now, if you crop the regular shot to match and compared it with the 4x Digital Zoom sample, there are slightly better details and increased contrast. Again, software-level optimisation by realme has done the trick here. 

Moving on to the night shots, I took four different samples of Realmeow to judge the night photography capabilities of the phone. Here you can see the cat captured in the frame in four settings including regular mode, night mode, regular mode with fill-light, and regular model with a flashlight. The colour improvement can be seen in the night mode coming from the regular. The filling light does a pretty decent job of focusing on an object, while the flashlight brightens up the whole picture tenfold. 

Speaking about the selfies, under artificial light source I found them to be doing a decent job. Considering the megapixel count and aperture size, it’s not bad at all. It’s a good sum-of-it-all. The bokeh effect inconsistencies can be seen in the selfies, as did from the rear camera module. I’ve shared daylight selfies in normal and portrait mode for you to draw your conclusions. There’s a beauty mode in this and that should be renamed to make up mode. I’m not going to share those samples here to be a laughing stock.  

Realme Narzo 30A – Connectivity & Battery Life

For the past five days, I have been using my JIO 4G Sim on the Narzo 30A, and it has shown good results. For both calls and mobile data, it’s been a smooth ride so far. There are no significant call drops or poor audio quality to report. Well, except for the part when I kept the phone on a stand, that’s when the dual mics get closed and makes it difficult for another party to hear your voice at all. This is why we did not like the placement of both mics at the bottom edge. 

Notably, this phone supports a 5 GHz Wi-Fi band, which is a relief coming from Nokia 5.4, priced higher at Rs 13,999. Further, Bluetooth 5.0 has been giving rock-solid connectivity to the buds Air 2 I have been testing alongside this new realme smartphone. 

Now, about the battery details, it has a massive 6000mAh capacity battery, which is more than sufficient to last two days on heavy usage and up to 3 days on average usage. It has been a fantastic ride as I commute to the office daily. I have no complaints whatsoever about the battery life. Further, the 30A has been showing incredible standby time performance as well. I noticed only a 1% drop over the night. Yes, I know that’s mind-blowing. 

Speaking about the battery charging speeds, Narzo 30A comes with an 18W charging adapter. So far, I have charged it twice, and it took around 2 hours 45 minutes for the battery to reach from 20 to 100 percent. Note that it’s a big battery. But what’s interesting to note is that it took less than 2 hours for the battery to charge from 20 to 80 percent. The last 20 percent took close to an hour of charging time.  

Verdict – Should You Buy Narzo 30A? 

The Realme Narzo 30A does not have the best camera and the displaying its segment. But you know what? Holistically speaking, the sum-of-its-parts makes the Narzo 30A a very desirable phone in its segment. And coupled with the best battery life, unique design, and powerful gaming chipset, it offers an unrivaled experience. 

Now obviously, there are some very good smartphones under Rs 10K bracket. But if you want stupendously good battery life along with excellent processor performance, you can choose the Narzo 30A. It’s that simple!  

Pros

  • Dazzling design
  • Brilliant battery life
  • Excellent performance 

Cons

  • Average cameras
  • No widewine L1 support 

 

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Vishal Toshiwal
vishal.toshiwal@u2opiamobile.com

Vishal is the Swiss-knife at Mr. Phone, he takes pride at his behind the camera skills of shooting poor portraits. He’s a creative thinker who comes up with the weirdest ideas. You can find him posting on Instagram or tweeting his thoughts on south Indian music and cinema.