Realme is a little over a year old, and it has already achieved a milestone by entering the top 10 global smartphone vendor list. The company offers smartphones from entry-level ones to the upper mid-range segment. The Realme 3i was launched last month, and during the first sale, Realme managed to sell 150,000 units in 30 minutes. The smartphone is available starting at Rs 7,999, and sits between the Realme C2 and Realme 3.

The Realme 3i shares a lot of similarities with the Realme 3, except two key differences. The smartphone ditches the laminated plastic back for a diamond textured pattern finish. It looks good and offers a good grip too. In fact, I prefer this finish over the shiny and slippery one on most phones today. Secondly, the Realme 3i comes with a 12nm MediaTek Helio P60 octa-core SoC, compared to Helio P70 on the Realme 3.

Placed in the affordable segment, the Realme 3i directly competes with the Xiaomi Redmi 7. But is it worth going for the Realme 3i or should you spend Rs 1,000 extra and go for Realme 3 or any other phone? Read my Realme 3i review to find out.

Realme 3i Review: Design and display

From the front, there isn’t much of a difference that you can tell looking at Realme 3i, Realme 3 and Realme C2. They all flaunt a 6.22-inch HD+ display with a waterdrop style notch. The screen offers good color reproduction, it is quite bright and viewing angles are good too. You get a thick chin at the bottom, whereas the forehead is very thin.

realme 3i

The difference between the phones can be easily told when you hold the phone, and especially, turn to the back. The Realme C2 and Realme 3i feature diamond textured pattern. The new smartphone also comes with a fingerprint scanner, and a vertically placed camera module. The Realme C2 lacks the scanner and has horizontal placement of the camera modules.

Realme 3i Review: Cameras

In the photography department, you get dual cameras at the back. This includes a 13-megapixel primary camera along with a 2-megapixel depth sensor. The cameras are backed by AI to help you click better photos. There is support for Nightscape (low-light) mode, time-lapse, slow-mo and more.

Talking about the quality, the cameras are able to capture good photos in day-light. The colors are a little on a punchier side, but that’s just how a lot of users like, so no complains there. Close-up shots have a bit of focusing issue and you really need to click a couple of times to get the shot right. Portrait mode works decently.

Low-light conditions are where the camera takes a hit. There is a nightscape mode, but it doesn’t do any good. The graininess is clearly visible. But given the under Rs 8,000 price point, it won’t be fair to complain too much. Up front, is a 13-megapixel selfie snapper and it produces good results in ample lighting conditions. Below are some camera samples.



Realme 3i Review: Performance

Coming to performance, the Realme 3i draws its power from a Helio P60 SoC, which is a slightly underclocked version of the Helio P70. During my week-long usage, I didn’t come across any major issues. The performance was smooth. I had no issues multi-tasking between apps like Slack, Feedly, and Google Chrome. Even social networking apps like Facebook and Instagram were smooth.

Coming to gaming, PUBG Mobile Lite runs well without any issues. Even PUBG Mobile with default graphics setting at “Medium” had no issues and I was comfortably able to get a Chicken Dinner. Of course, there were moments where I felt some frame drops but you can’t really expect too much given its price point.

Battery and software

Battery life is good. The 4,230mAh battery ensures that you get a full day worth usage on a single charge. With moderate usage, including some use of Instagram and Facebook, and PUBG Mobile for an hour, the battery easily lasted a little over a day. I did have to juice up the battery the next day in the afternoon, but it is very capable.

Coming to the software, you get Android 9 Pie with ColorOS 6. The phone runs on the latest July security patch. It is good to see companies like Realme, OnePlus and Nokia ensuring that even the entry-level models run the latest Android Security patch. This wasn’t something we were used to seeing a couple of years ago.

ColorOS 6 also brings some goodies along such as the Theme Store that lets you customize your phone with a bunch of themes and wallpapers to choose from. You get ORoaming, which offers you affordable mobile data when roaming in several countries abroad. There are smart services such as Smart Driving mode. You get two options – Driving Mode turns on Bluetooth to connect with your car music system for hands-free calling. Then there is Riding Mode that mutes incoming calls by default, thus ensuring no disturbance while riding.

Verdict: Should you buy the Realme 3i?

The Realme 3i is a good smartphone for those on a budget. Unlike Xiaomi, where you have two devices overlapping, the same isn’t the case with Realme. Each and every device has been aimed at different price segments.

The textured back finish, software, and battery life are some of its strengths. The camera performance of the Realme is a hit and miss. You won’t be disappointed in the daylight, but as the sun sets, the quality deteriorates. But other than that, there aren’t many complaints with the Realme 3i. That said, if you are getting the base model, go for Realme 3i. If you can spend Rs 1,000 more, better go for the Realme 3 which has a slightly better chipset.

It closely competes with the Redmi 7 in the price segment. With the Realme 3i, you get 1 gig of extra RAM, a slightly bigger battery and a marginally better 12nm chipset compared to 14nm. Also, Xiaomi’s MIUI has ads within the apps and UI, the same isn’t the case with the Realme smartphone.

FeaturesRealme 3Xiaomi Redmi 7Realme 3i
ChipsetMediaTek Helio P70Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 SoCMediaTek Helio P60
OSColorOS 6 (Android 9 Pie)Android 9 PieAndroid 9 Pie
Display6.3-inch HD+, 19:9 aspect ratio-1520×720 pixels6.26-inch display -720x1520pixels6.22-inch HD+
Internal Memory3GB RAM with 32GB storage2GB RAM + 32GB storage3GB RAM + 32GB storage
Rear CameraDual – 13MP + 2MP12MP + 2MPDual – 13MP + 2MP
Front Camera13MP8MP13MP

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