Realme Narzo 10A review – buy the Realme C3 instead

After many delays, Realme’s new Narzo series of phones is finally here. And, of the two phones launched, Narzo 10A is the more affordable one. However, after watching the launch and using the phone, I am a little confused about the need for its product positioning. Especially considering the Realme C3 exists. There are only three differences — minor and major included — between the phones and I will get to them in due course. 

Design

With the Narzo 10A, Realme is going for a bold look. And, the new design identity is the first difference between the 10A and the Realme C3.  

There is a massive Realme logo on the back, which is very similar to the style first adopted by Realme powerbanks. I feel it looked cool on a powerbank but not so much on a phone. I’ve always been an advocate of subtle branding. Plus I’m sure Realme has a long way to go before creating that sort of brand identity to be able to plaster its logo all across the phone. Although, I must admit it doesn’t look too bad and sometimes bold steps are rewarded well. Maybe, the consumers like it. Do you? Let me know in the comments below. 

As for the rest of the design, it is standard Realme fare. I like this really catchy blue colour and the matte plastic finish is nice too. Unlike the C3, you now get a fingerprint scanner and that’s the second difference between the two phones. This scanner is blazing fast but the vibration motor is really bad. It rattles the entire body of the phone even when you are typing. I sincerely feel that any manufacturer, not just Realme, should avoid including the vibration motor in budget phones. The buttons offer an average tactile feedback and you also get a proper triple SIM tray, fwiw. 

Overall, the Narzo 10A has a bold design element that helps distinguish from its competitors. But, that design element is going to split opinions far and wide. I find it overdone but you could like it. 

Display

As for the display, you get the same 6.5-inch IPS LCD screen with an HD+ resolution. It is an average quality panel that attracts a lot of smudges especially if you have oily fingers. The oleophobic coating on budget Realme phones is generally bad and same is the case for the Narzo 10A. Plus, the touch response rate is not good. The good thing about the display is that it can get fairly bright for a sub-9k phone, but so can the C3. 

Realme Narzo 10A -11

As for Netflix, Hotstar, and Prime, you can watch all of these in SD considering you get only Widevine L3 certification. 

Software

The phone runs Realme UI and I have spoken in length about the new update. If you haven’t seen it yet, then check it in the card that pops up right now. In fact, I even compared it recently to MIUI 12. My take is that Realme UI on a phone under 10k, is a very refined software experience. What’s better is that I didn’t notice too many annoying ads either. 

 

Camera 

The third and final addition to the Narzo 10A in comparison to the Realme C3 is the new 2MP macro camera apart from the 12MP primary and 2MP depth camera. To be honest, the pictures from this macro camera were disappointing to say the least. And, it feels like an addition just to spruce up the marketing collateral.

Anyway, I tested out the cameras, and here’s what I think:

  1. The primary camera is a fairly decent shooter in good light situations. My only concern is the camera fails to hit the right focus many times. The end result is soft pictures. Even otherwise though, don’t expect to be blown away by the details or anything. 
  2. The colours are vibrant and the dynamic range performance is good enough for the asking price. 
  3. The Portrait camera took soft portraits in spite of trying a number of times.
  4. The 5MP selfie camera on the other hand is crisp and detailed, provided you give it ample light. And, the portrait selfies are fairly accurate too with a believable edge cutout. You can also adjust the level of blur pre shoot. 
  5. The 2MP macro camera always shot soft images and I couldn’t get a good shot despite multiple attempts. Therefore, defeating the purpose of this dedicated camera. 
  6. As for the video recording chops, you can shoot 1080p 30fps videos without stabilisation. The audio recording is bad, though. If you plan to make TikToks with this phone, prop it up on a tripod and use your own audio recording equipment. Oh also, find ample light to shoot. 
  7. Now, when it comes to the low light shots, the Narzo 10A struggles, obviously. I didn’t expect any better either. Also, let it be known that there is no night mode here.

Narzo 10A – Camera Samples -1
Narzo 10A – Camera Samples -4
Narzo 10A – Camera Samples -3
Narzo 10A – Camera Samples -9

The Narzo 10A’s cameras are good enough for a quick picture here and there but I feel that you can spend a couple of thousands more and get the Redmi Note 8 instead for much more improved picture quality. If camera performance is all you seek. 

Performance

Just like the C3, the Narzo 10A also uses a Mediatek Helio G70 chipset. But unlike the C3, the benchmark numbers were not as good, which is weird considering the Narzo 10A is the more expensive phone. For example, the AnTuTu and Androbench numbers are lower. Geekbench is fine though. And, I ran these tests multiple times. As a matter of fact, playing PUBG and COD were not as smooth and jerk-free as I remember on the C3. Thankfully, everyday usage was fairly smooth with rare hiccups here and there, which is par for the course for 

Looks like it is an optimisation issue for the first batch of phones. Hope Realme can at least bring the performance to the level of the C3. 

Moving on, I am glad you get a working headphone jack on the phone but it is just that. The quality of sound, despite the use of RealSound technology, is not too great. I could hear distortion at higher volume levels. The mono speaker at the bottom gets adequately loud but it doesn’t sound very full. It serves the purpose though. 

Battery and call quality

Inside the phone you get a 5000mAh battery with reverse charging support. You also get a micro-USB port at the bottom with 10W charging support. I could manage to charge the phone from 0 to 100 in around 2 hours and 20mins, which is similar to what we benched with the Realme C3 as well. And, the phone can easily last you 2 days of usage on average use. So, battery performance-wise there is nothing to complain about Narzo 10A. 

As for the network performance, it was rock solid on 4G and the earpiece quality was great too. However, let it be known that you cannot get 5GHz Wi-Fi on this phone. 

Should you buy the Narzo 10A?

So, is the Narzo 10A worth the additional money over the Realme C3 just for the fingerprint scanner and the Macro camera. Absolutely not. Just buy the C3 and save you money. Everyone can live without a Macro camera and the fingerprint scanner easily. 

What do you think? Let me know. 

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Ershad Kaleebullah
ershad.kaleebullah@u2opiamobile.com

When Ershad isn't writing, he spends time killing virtual zombies on his PS4. Having worked with a slew of renowned publications like PCWorld, Channelworld, CIO, NDTV Gadgets (now Gadgets360), MySmartPrice, The Inquistr, and 91Mobiles, Ershad brings a whole world of experience to Mr. Phone. He is trying hard to convert all the team members into Apple fans but is facing a lot of resistance. Is anyone willing to help?