Realme C3 Review

The Ultimate Budget Gaming Powerhouse

This is the Realme C3, a budget phone with a gaming-focused SoC, a 5000mAh battery, and triple rear cameras. Is it the new gaming device you’re waiting for? Here’s our full review.

Realme C3 (Philippines) specs:

  • 6.52-inch 20:9 HD+ 720 x 1600 pixel resolution, 20:9 aspect ratio
  • MediaTek Helio G70
    Mali G52 GPU
  • 2GB, 3GB or 4GB RAM
  • 32GB or 64GB storage, expandable up to 256GB via microSD (dedicated slot)
  • Triple-rear camera setup
    12MP f/1.8
    2MP portrait
    2MP macro
  • 5MP f/2.4 AI Beauty front camera
  • Dual-SIM (nano), 4G VoLTE
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS
  • 3.5mm headphone jack, micro USB
  • Face unlock, fingerprint scanner (rear)
  • Realme UI (ColorOS 7 based on Android 10)
  • 5,000mAh battery
    Reverse charging
  • Colors: Blazing Red, Frozen Blue

An all-familiar, beautiful design from the Realme 5i

The Realme C3, in entirety, is a thing of beauty. This phone easily becomes a long-lost brother of the Realme 5i, or even the Realme 5, with their very identical features. At the front, we have the 6.52-inch display with a U-shaped notch, as well as the call speaker at the upper top corner.

At the bottom, we have the micro USB port, the microphone, the loudspeaker grill, as well as the 3.5mm audio jack.

We have the SIM and microSD card slots, as well as the volume buttons on the left side. The power and lock button stays on the other side. The card slot isn’t that too hard to open up, and the buttons are similar to the Realme 5i with a linear feel.

Once you flip the device on its back, you have the sunburst pattern in the frozen blue finish, but this time it comes from the camera’s corner. This makes the phone aesthetic look a lot better by accentuating the camera setup rather than the logo below.

The triple rear camera setup protrudes a bit over the back shell., but this can be solved with a phone case. The fingerprint scanner is at the center, and the realme logo sits right at the bottom left corner.

Overall the device feels just the same as the Realme 5i: Quite hefty, but not to the point where the device will hurt your hands and arms from prolonged use. It’s also easy to hold with one hand. Also to note here: Realme 5/5i cases do fit well with the 3C, unless you’re nitpicking that missing fourth camera at the back.

Great display. Enough said.

For a budget phone, the C3 has a really nice HD+ resolution display. It’s packed with vivid colors, decent contrast, and enough brightness to be seen even on a high noon. It doesn’t wash out colors when seen in different angles, too, which makes it even cooler.

Sound-wise, the mono speaker can produce loud sounds at a 72db average, while having loud trebles and muddy mids. This doesn’t pack that much bass, but you’ll definitely hear your phone in a moderately noisy, large room.

Decent cameras

To compensate for the cheaper price, Realme got the C3 a triple-rear camera setup at the back. That’s still led by a 12-megapixel shooter, plus two 2-megapixel lenses for depth and macro. You’re not really missing out much with an ultra-wide setup, but if you need to take wider-angle photos on a whim then this isn’t the phone for you. A five-megapixel camera is at the front for all your selfie needs. An Expert Mode and a Pano feature completes the usual set of modes in the camera app.

If there’s anything Realme makes good, it’s their camera photo processing. The photos look near-idential to reality with great details and sharpness, well-saturated colors, and decent contrast. Using the selfie camera seems slower compared to using the rear ones, but gets the job done. HDR is also great, and the portrait effect is accurate at most times, thanks to the dedicated lens. Here are some sample shots:

Videos, on the other hand, are at a maximum of Full HD resolution with 30 frames per second. The quality seems to be worse than how pretty it looks on photo, but is still good enough to be shared online. There’s no stabilization here, so your clips would probably shake a lot like this sample video:

Undeniably Powerful

The C3 is one of the first phones arriving in the Philippines with an Android 10-based Realme UI out of the box. The navigation feels a lot similar to stock Android with an App Drawer enabled by default, as well as the new notifications panel and a more consistent circular app icon layout.

Despite that, you’d still see remnants of the ColorOS 7 in core smartphone apps. No other apps besides a few Google ones are installed by default, unless you opted to have those recommended apps by the phone’s App Market during the initial phone setup process. 12GB of the 32GB internal storage is used when you first open the device, so you’ll really need the microSD to make more room for your stuff.

Despite being a budget phone, per se, the C3 packs in a MediaTek G70 chip, one of the first released in the market that is aimed towards being more gaming-efficient. We tested the device with different synthetic benchmarks, and here are the best scores we got:

  • AnTuTu – 181,310
  • 3DMark – 1,183 (SlingShot Extreme – OpenGL), 1,165 (Slingshot Extreme – Vulkan)
  • PCMark – 8,678 (Work 2.0)
  • Geekbench – 356 (Single-core), 1,259 (Multi-core), 963 (Compute – OpenCL)

True enough, the phone marks its own territory with unprecedented performance prowess, despite having only 3GB of RAM onboard. We played with several casual games such as Zombie Tsunami and Fruit Ninja, to which we did not encounter any issues. Mobile Legends, even, is very smooth with this phone. We did, encounter very few setbacks with other hardware-intensive titles such as Asphalt 9. Warmth can be felt at the upper back part, but it isn’t that much of a heat to worry.

Connectivity-wise, you’re getting well-performing functions. Its 4G reception works well, calls made are really good and audible even in moderately noise environments, and other wireless features such as WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS work well. Driving games are also seamless to play as the phone features gaming-related sensors such as an accelerometer and a gyroscope sensor.

A winning battery (life) streak

The C3, much like the 5i, also boasts of a 5000mAh battery that the company says can last up to 30 days on a single charge. With moderate use of calls, app gaming, SMS, and social media browsing on both WiFi and Mobile Internet, we were able to squeeze out the battery from 100 to 0 in roughly two days. When on standby, the phone does make its efforts to conserve energy, on top of the current power-saving features the phone has.

When we looped the device with a PCMark Battery test, it lasted for 14 hours and 15 minutes. Recharging the phone, though, could be painstakingly slower with the 2A adaptor included. Full recharging from 20% to 100% took around 1 hour and 50 minutes.

Carl writes for WalasTech when he's not working full-time. Give him tips and/or leads at [email protected].