Technophile

Realme 6 Pro review: Half a dozen cameras and a lot of features

Mala Bhargava | Updated on April 28, 2020 Published on April 28, 2020

When smartphones come out of lockdown and are delivered to your doorstep again, here’s one in the affordable category to add to available options. Realme, which was going great guns before the coronavirus came along and interrupted it, had just launched the Realme 6 Pro and Realme 6, duo of budget and budgeter phones in the Indian market. The version we’re looking at costs ₹19,999, increased now after GST went up, sadly. It’s a big broad slippery phone — and believe me you feel the slipperiness because the size makes it more so. Along with being on the large side, the phone is also heavyish because of its 4,300mAh battery. Whether you think the trade off between heft and battery size is worth it, depends on your preference.

But it’s a nice enough looking phone with a pattern on the Gorilla Glass 5 back that looks shot through with lightning and which the company says was actually inspired by lightning. I have the blue one that looks like a stormy monsoon night sky and there’s an orange one that looks fiery and sizzling from the photographs I’ve seen of it. From reactions online, I see that people give the thumbs up to the look of the back. It doesn’t seem very easily smudged or scratched which is a really nice bonus point. The 6 Pro is supposed to have three layers of waterproofing and can be considered splash-proof though I wouldn’t risk plopping it too confidentially into the goldfish bowl.

Display

 

In front, the 6.6-inch screen is an LCD one and generally adequate though not as bright as an AMOLED display. There’s an immediately visible rectangular camera cutout on the top left, and whether that’s bothersome or not depends on individual tastes and tolerance. I’ve become used to much tinier cutouts, so it does bother me, like seeing a gash marring an otherwise clean surface. But if you’re coming to this device from phones with notches or anything else annoying, it will most certainly do. The 90Hz refresh rate trick comes to this relatively affordable phone too, which means it moves along with fluidity and speed as you scroll and navigate around. You can also drop down to 60Hz if you like and extend battery life, or let the device auto select.

The 6 Pro has done away with the in-display fingerprint sensor and frankly, I don’t miss these at all as they seem to be to require a non-intuitive and extra movement. You’re picking up the phone anyway, so your finger or thumb lands on the power button, which is what houses the sensor. Fine. Face recognition also works, if you need a fraction of a second more of speed. On the side, other than the usual buttons we also have a three-section SIM tray which means you can use a memory card in addition to two SIM cards and add to the device’s 128GB storage. The phone also does retain the 3.5mm headphone jack. The 4,300mAh battery comes with 30W VOOC Flash Charge 4 so the battery is not just large but fast-charging.

Processor and interface

The Realme 6 Pro works on the Snapdragon 720G and is the first phone to crop up with the chipset. It’s obviously a step below the 730G and more of a middle-of-the-road processor though it does bring support for Bluetooth 5.1 and support for India’s NavIC sat. Our review unit is the one with 8GB RAM, but there are three variants in all: 6GB RAM with 64GB for ₹17,999; 6GB RAM with 128GB for ₹18,999; and 8GB RAM with 128GB for ₹19,999. Really, 64GB is way too little in these times, even though there’s a memory card slot ready at hand. I can’t say there’s any specific reason to be overjoyed with the 720G at this price, but the phone performs most stuff fine. It’s power users who will need to do some fine tooth comb comparisons with other phones in this crowded segment.

Realme UI, the company’s take on ColorOS 7 on top of Android 10 is still not one of my favourite interfaces. While it’s neater overall than it was, what I intensely dislike is the arrangement of all the settings which don’t seem intuitive to me. Why would peripheral infrequently used items like About Phone be somewhere in the middle instead of down, in a peripheral place, and instead placed above App Management which should be a frequently used item? Why do settings have names that un-savvy users won’t understand: like App Cloneror HeyTap Cloud? And of course there are endless push notifications cluttering up the pull down menu at just about all times from the browser and the app market. Someone else’s mileage may vary but I still find the interface messy and un-classy. Add to this the fact that there are no end of unnecessary preloaded apps eating up the meagre space available. Despite this, there are tons of features and functionalities including FM radio etc, ensuring there’s enough for the Indian user to like.

Camera

And then there are six cameras. The primary is a 64MP Samsung sensor, an 8MP ultra-wide, and a 12MP telephoto with 2X optical zoom, and a 2MP macro lens. That’s for the four on the rear. In front, housed in that big cutout, are a 16MP camera and an 8MP wide-angle. The cameras work pretty well and flood an image with light, sometimes over-exposing but otherwise quite sharp and detailed. Night mode images can get some weird colour streaks or tinges in objects but if your idea of night photography is to shoot at a light source, it should work fine except for slight fuzzy edges. The wide angle lens is quite free of distortion. The macro lens however results in lots of colour-noise and yellow tinges, so you need good light to use it. The zoom goes into hybrid mode after 2X but by the time it’s at 5X there’s no end of noise, which is expected really. The 6 Pro shoots 4K video at 30 FPS.

With a recent update on the phone we have a new app called Soloop which lets you select a bunch of your photographs and strings them together into a video set to effects, text and music. There are presets you can try out and finalise for your selection.

The Realme 6 Pro would be just fine had it not been for so much overlap with some of Realme’s own phones and several other models from other companies.

Price: ₹19,999

Pros: Good set of cameras, stable fast performance including with gaming, fluid screen, many features

Cons: Unnecessary preloaded apps, annoying push notifications, slight dull edge to display, heavy and clunky plus slippery

Published on April 28, 2020
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