Realme C3 Review: An Affordable Workhorse

Realme is adding another entry in their budget-oriented C series. The Realme C3 builds on the foundation of its predecessors by offering a large battery and a better processor. But will these improvements in the Realme C3 be enough to get the attention of the average consumer?

Realme C3

Chipset MediaTek Helio G70
Screen 6.5-inch HD+, 1600 x 720, Gorilla Glass 3
RAM 3GB/4GB
OS Android 10 with Realme UI
Rear Camera 12MP f/1.8 Main, 2MP f/2.4 Depth Sensor, 2MP Macro, LED Flash
Front Camera 5MP f/2.4
Storage 32GB/64GB
Network Dual-SIM, 4G LTE
Connectivity WiFi 802.11n, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, A-GPS MicroUSB
Battery 5,000mAh, 10W Battery Charging
Colors Frozen Blue, Blazing Red

Unboxing

We’ve already taken a look at the packaging of the Realme C3. For the sake of being thorough, however, we are going over them again in this review.

The Realme C3 is encased in the now iconic bright yellow box that most of their smartphones come in. As is customary with the Realme C series, the C3 only comes with the necessities such as the smartphone itself, a few documentation, a wall charger, and a MicroUSB cable.

The basic package is pretty much expected from a value-oriented smartphone. At this point, we can forgive the removal of the earphones but it would have been nice to have a silicone case thrown in the accessories list.

Design and Features

The Realme C3 has a familiar design reminiscent of the other entries in the brand’s C series. The front comes with a 6.6-inch 1600 x 720 Dewdrop screen protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The uniform design of the front is only broken up by the notch at the top that houses its 5MP f/2.4 selfie camera.

The brand says that the smartphone’s screen can produce 480nits of brightness. Based on our experience, the screen is bright enough to be used outdoors even under direct sunlight albeit with some difficulty. The brightness can be turned down easily and offers a dim enough experience that it won’t immediately blind you when you use the smartphone in a dark environment.

The Realme C1 and C2 came with a glossy finish on their rears. The Realme C3 is breaking tradition by incorporating the Sunrise Design initially found on the Realme 5i. Easy to grip and on the eyes, the design gets its name from the sun rays that radiate out from the camera module if you look at the rear from an angle. Though looks can be subjective, we really like the matte finish of the new design.

India’s variant of the C3 only comes with two cameras. Fortunately, the one we’re receiving in the Philippines is the global version. This means that it comes with three cameras: a 12MP f/1.8 Main camera, a 2MP f/2.4 Depth Sensor, and a 2MP Macro lens. You can find an LED flash resting just beside the camera module as well as a fingerprint scanner.

Popping out the SIM tray at the left-hand side reveals a Triple-cut SIM tray. This will allow you to use two SIM cards at once as well as expand the 32GB internal storage via a MicroSD card.

Even though there’s a large 5,000mAh battery inside the smartphone, it still has a thin profile at just 9mm. At the right-hand side of the device is its power button while on the other side rests the volume rocker.

The bottom houses the customary set of ports such as its MicroUSB port and 3.5mm audio jack. The grilles for the bottom-firing speaker and the microphone can also be found here as well.

Like most of its contemporaries, the Realme C3 keeps everything simple and elegant. Although it doesn’t reinvent the entry-level smartphone market with its design, its solid and good-looking enough to appear more premium than it actually is.

User Interface

The Realme C3 is the company’s first smartphone to ship with their brand new Realme UI out-of-the-box. It is based on the Android 10 OS and does come with a few callbacks to ColorOS.

The Realme UI is simple enough to use that anyone who hasn’t used a Realme smartphone can quickly learn the in-and-outs of the OS. Multi-window mode is included as well as a system-wide Dark Mode that can be quickly turned on or off via the drop-down control center.

Camera

The camera app on the Realme C3 has most of the basics covered. Modes include HDR, Portrait, Ultra Macro, Slow Motion, Expert, and Panorama. It’s almost the full suite of modes that we have come to expect but there are a few important omissions such as Nightmode and Chroma Boost. We expect to see these features to make its way into the C3 via an update.

The 12MP f/1.8 Main camera takes adequate photos given the smartphone’s price point. Colors are decent but not overpowering though certain indoor lighting situations looks a bit washed out to our liking. HDR works great allowing the smartphone to take detailed photos in spite of contrasting lighting situations.

The 2MP f/2.4 Macro lens is more for the spec sheet instead of actual use. Colors look washed out and the low megapixel count means that details are lost when capturing photos. You’re better off getting a decent shot with the main camera and cropping the subject for a macro photo.

Selfies taken with the 5MP f/2.4 front-facing camera came out natural-looking under good lighting conditions. It’s obvious that the camera struggles with low-light conditions as the amount of grain introduced is quite significant.

Performance and Benchmarks

Providing the processing power to the Realme C3 is the Helio G70, one of the newest chipsets from MediaTek. This new chipset uses an 8-core setup composed of two Cortex-A75 processors clocked at 2.0GHz and six Cortex-A55 chips at 1.7GHz with a Mali-G52 MC2 GPU.

This new chip makes the Realme C3 surprisingly fast for its price point. Multitasking and basic use such as browsing the Internet, watch videos, and answering emails went without any hitches or any slowdowns with the C3. A few rounds of Call of Duty: Mobile also went without any problem, although graphics settings were defaulted to low. Despite the low graphics settings, the game was as smooth as silk while playing.

The smartphone pumped out high numbers for its price range. Running AnTuTu and PCMark Work 2.0 yielded a score of 180,903 and 8587, respectively. 3DMark confirmed the top numbers of the smartphone scoring 1,188 in Sling Shot Extreme OpenGL.

Battery

The Realme C3 gets its juice from a 5,000mAh battery reserve, which is the constant battery capacity across all the Realme C series. With medium use with mobile data usage and WiFi during the day, the smartphone is able to last us until the end of the day with quite a few hours left on the battery to carryover until half of the next day.

PCMark Work 2.0 battery benchmark puts the Realme C3 at around 12 hours of intense usage with the volume and brightness turned up to 50%.

Since the smartphone doesn’t have any quick charging tech of its own, it relies solely on the standard 5V/2A charging that we’ve seen in most standard smartphones. But since it has a large 5,000mAh battery, filling it up to 100% can be a bit of a wait. Charging from 0 to full took us around 2 hours of being plugged into the wall with the stock wall adapter.

Conclusion

The Realme C3 ticks all the boxes to be part of the brand’s C series. Priced at PhP 5,990, it is one of the most affordable smartphones in the market to carry this kind of power under the hood.

What really makes the Realme C3 shine is its design and its new chipset. Its new Sunrise Design is clearly distinct among its peers only being matched by the Realme 5i in terms of design. The Helio G70 inside the C3 is also a surprise allowing this measly entry-level smartphone to pump out benchmark numbers higher than its price point.

The only real downside of the C3 is some of its cameras. While the 12MP f/1.8 can carry the load of being the work mule of the triple camera setup, the 2MP f/2.4 Macro secondary is nearly useless compared to the former.

Camera software can also use a bit of an update. Though some of the essentials can be found on the camera app, Night Mode and Chroma Boost are sorely missed for their ability vastly improve the camera experience.

All in all, the Realme C3 is still a solid choice for an entry-level smartphone. Although it does have its downsides

Although it does have its downsides, the Realme C3 is still a solid choice for an entry-level smartphone. With a beefy chipset, and a large screen and battery, the smartphone can be a workhorse that can get you through the day. Which is why we are giving the Realme C3 our Seal of Approval.