Realme is barely over a year old, but in this short span, it has managed to grab a huge chunk of the market. While Xiaomi has established itself as the king, Realme wants to take over this title and its coming with all its might. This young brand is targeting the youth, but does it have everything that everyone wants?
Going by the name, you’d expect it to be a flagship but it’s an affordable phone that aims to get everything right. An all-new design, powerful processor, and fancy pop-up camera, what more does it have to offer?
An all-new design that looks exceedingly premium
Our Polar White unit gives a very refreshing vibe. Metal builds and gradient backs have become mainstream and Realme has something new in store. A ceramic texture along with mild colors at different angles, coupled with a glass build is unmatchable in this segment. It isn’t very slippery to hold and the weight distribution is on-point. Lastly, subtle edges make it very comfortable to hold for long durations.
AMOLED doesn’t mean a hefty price
Majority of the phones in this segment come with an LCD display along with a notch. Realme has eliminated the notch to offer a high screen-to-body ratio of 86 percent. The front looks immersive and many might mistake it for a flagship phone. The 6.53-inch panel is sufficiently bright and colors are well saturated. Adding to this, an in-display fingerprint scanner has been incorporated and it’s super fast.
The notch is often intrusive and the brand has opted for a pop-up selfie camera. This feature has been limited to mid-range and flagship phones so far.
Old on paper, but still packs a punch
Many have been disappointed with Realme’s choice of Snapdragon 710 chipset since its more than a year old. But just like Xiaomi’s romance with the Snapdragon 625, it’s a capable processor that fares well. With eight cores clocked at 2.2Ghz, it can breeze through demanding apps and games.
You can also choose to lock apps onto the RAM and multitasking is usually handled smoothly. Overall, it performs on par with our expectations from an affordable phone and the average Joe will never have any complaints.
A standardized camera setup
On the rear, it has a 48-megapixel camera that’s pretty much become a norm in the segment. It’s coupled with a 5-megapixel depth sensor for portrait photos. For selfies, the sliding module houses a 16-megapixel lens. The camera app has a plethora of built-in features like beauty mode, auto scene recognition, stickers, as well as a night mode.
The same ‘ol colorful skin
It runs on ColorOS 6.0 based on Android 9 Pie out of the box. We expect the company to roll-out updates quickly because it has used the same processor on the Realme 3 Pro. Hence, the skin can be universally customized and pushed out to users.
A battery that charges at lightning speed
Backing these internals is a 3765mAh battery that may be smaller than the competition, but comes with a secret weapon. Thanks to VOOC 3.0 fast charging technology, it can charge up to 65 percent in just half an hour. We recorded a screen-on-time of approximately five hours. This is also the first phone from Realme to embrace a USB-C port.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
If you’re looking for a phone that gets everything right, this should be your first choice. It’s built keeping everyone in mind, and this includes the gamers, photographers, casual users, as well as entertainment addicts. Realme has cleverly cut costs since there are no gaping shortcomings. The standard 4GB+128GB configuration costs INR 16,999 and the 8GB+128GB option is priced at INR 19,999.
For now, the only phone that comes close to it is Vivo’s Z1 Pro. However, it lacks a pop-up module which is a flaunting factor for many. At the end of the day, Realme has again created a product that has rattled Xiaomi’s sky-high ceiling.
Nokia 3.2 Hands-On: Basic but classy
Nothing fancy but really speedy
Nokia has been stepping up its lineup of budget smartphones. Early in 2019, the brand launched a plethora of budget smartphones that are under the Android One program. One of the budget-friendly smartphones introduced was Nokia 3.2. Eager to have that Nokia experience, I took the phone out for a spin.
It’s cheap… but classy
I had high hopes when I first got the Nokia 3.2 in its box. Seeing it earlier in MWC 2019 made me appreciate its look and vibe. Compared to other budget smartphones, it’s classier and sexier. However, the phone feels a little bit downgraded when compared to its predecessor.
Nokia the 3.1 with an aluminum frame, a plastic back, and corning gorilla glass while the 3.2 used only a polycarbonate unibody design. Its plastic back is smudgy and slippery, but the phone has a tighter grip, thanks to its subtle curved edges towards the front.
Even its buttons are subtly protruding on its sides. On the left is a dedicated Google Assistant button, and on the right are its power buttons and volume keys.
Found on its back are the 13-megapixel main camera, LED Flash, and fingerprint scanner. On the other hand, its top side features a headphone jack, while the micro USB port and speaker grilles are found on the bottom.
It also features a 6.2 inches LCD panel on its front display, with a tall 19:9 ratio. It might be disrupting, but the Nokia 3.2 still sports a small notch, housing its 5-megapixel selfie camera capable of AI face unlock. Even though it might be bigger and taller this time, the Nokia 3.2 is definitely a joy to hold.
Stock Android on a budget
The saving grace for Nokia’s disappointing build (at least for me) is its clean version of Android One. That means there’s no bloatware to take up your limited memory and storage.
Additionally, the Nokia 3.2 comes with Android 9 Pie out of the box. This makes it feel faster than its competitors in the budget segment despite having a 3GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage. Fortunately, it provides a microSD card slot up to up to 400GB of storage.
An entry-level performance
Powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 429 processor, the Nokia 3.2 performs better compared to its predecessor which carried a MediaTek chipset. In addition, its GPU runs on Adreno 504.
This made the Nokia 3.2 handle graphic-intensive games like Mobile Legends even if it was set on the highest graphics setting possible. There were no delay and lag spikes, ensuring smooth gameplay all throughout.
Decent cameras for your everyday needs
Featuring a 13-megapixel main camera with an f/2.2 aperture, and a 5-megapixel selfie camera with an f/2.0 aperture, the Nokia 3.2 takes decent photos. Depending on the lighting, both of its cameras can either take a vibrant, lively reproduced color during daylight or a slightly desaturated photo on indoor and low-light conditions.
Of course, we can’t really expect budget smartphones to have flagship-like cameras. It won’t have quick auto-focus or any fancy features like blurring your background, but it’s the compromise we’re getting when we follow our tight budget. At the very least, make use of natural light and other camera tricks to improve your photos.
Lasts longer than your partner
If there’s one thing I enjoyed with this smartphone, it’s the humongous battery. Packing a 4000mAh battery, the Nokia 3.2 can definitely last a day on a single charge. It can handle your multimedia use and everyday tasks throughout the day, yet it will still have enough juice left to carry you through the night.
However, for a phone carrying a huge battery, it charges slowly at 10W. This phone might just be good for those who love to charge their phones overnight.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
The Nokia 3.2 is a contender in the budget segment. It might have a disappointing build and design, but the phone packs with power, performance, and speed, thanks to Google’s Android One program.
With a starting price of PhP 7,990 (US$ 154) for the 3GB/32GB model, Nokia loyalists will find this a real treat. For people looking for a secondary phone, or a primary phone with no frills and just functions to handle your everyday needs, the Nokia 3.2 could be your GadgetMatch.
However, there are still far better options in the budget category, like the Redmi Note 7 and Realme 3. If Nokia wants to come back in its former glory and capture people looking for an affordable powerhouse, they need to join the battle and beat Realme and Redmi in their game, just like Samsung bending over to compete in the tough budget battlefield.
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