Realme 6 Pro Review: Good 90Hz mid-range phone, but for Rs. 16999?


realme launched the realme 6 Pro smartphone, successor to last year’s realme 5 Pro, which became popular after the price cut few months back. This has improvements in almost all the departments compared to the predecessor, right from the 90Hz refresh rate screen, 64MP rear camera with a new telephoto lens, dual front cameras, slightly bigger battery with 30W fast charging and lots more. Specs look good on paper, but is the phone worth the price of Rs. 16,999 when you already have the realme X2? Let us dive into the review to find out.

Box Contents

  • realme 6 Pro 8GB + 128GB version in Lightning Blue color
  • 2-pin 30W VOOC Flash Charge fast charger (5V-6A)
  • USB Type C Cable
  • SIM Ejector tool
  • Clear protective case
  • User Guide and Warranty information

Display, Hardware and Design

The realme 6 Pro has a 6.6-inch Full HD+ LCD punch-hole screen with a pixel resolution of 2400 × 1080 pixels, 20:9 aspect ratio 2.5D curved glass screen with gentle rounded corners and pixel density of about 398PPI.

The main highlight of the phone is the 90Hz refresh rate, which can be adjusted to always on 90Hz or choose auto select option to automatically let it select the best refresh rate based on the app. The display is bright, thanks to 400 nits (maximum 480 nits) and the colors are vibrant, thanks to 81.5% NTSC color gamut. Sunlight legibility is good as well. The phone as ultra-narrow border and the narrow bottom bar so it has high screen-to-body ratio of about 85%, even though the company says it is 90.6%. It also has HDR support, which works for supported YouTube videos, but you can’t control it manually. The phone has Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection as well.

Since this has a 20:9 aspect ratio screen, you can pinch to zoom to fill the screen when you use video apps, but the content is cropped. Under the display options there are two options to adjust colors and contrast based on your preference. There is also eye care mode that lets you reduce the display’s blue light emission so it doesn’t cause eye strain when you are reading at night. There is Dark mode as well, which can be scheduled or choose it from sunset to sunrise. You can also choose dark theme for third-party apps that lack the feature, but it is not perfect to view the content. Since the phone doesn’t have an AMOLED screen, you don’t have always on lockscreen features.

Above the display there is an earpiece on the top edge along with the proximity sensor. The ambient light sensor is present under the screen. It also has a gyroscope and a magnetic sensor, otherwise known as a magnetometer. There is also a 16-megapixel camera on the front and a secondary 8MP 105° ultra-wide sensor.

The power button is present on the right, volume rockers and SIM + microSD slot are present on the left and the loudspeaker grill, USB Type-C port, microphone and the 3.5mm audio jack are present on the bottom. On the top there is a secondary microphone. It has dedicated dual SIM slot, similar to the most of the latest realme phones so that you can use dual SIMs and a microSD at the same time.

On the back there is a 64-megapixel camera along with an 8-megapixel 120-degree wide-angle lens, 12-megapixel telephoto lens and a 2-megapixel macro camera.  This has slight camera bump due to the large sensor, but the camera lens is protected by a scratch-resistant glass. Even though the phone has a large screen, it is compact to hold. This has a 3D glass design and uses UV-curing offset printing technology. Hundreds of re-adjustments have been carried out to finally achieve the realme 6 Pro chic lightning pattern design with its rich layers and elegant texture, says the company. It also has Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection. This definitely looks premium to look and hold. The phone comes bundled with a clear protective case in the box which is good. Since it has a glass back, it is recommended to use a case.

Camera

The phone packs quad rear cameras, that includes a main 64-megapixel primary rear camera with single LED Flash, 1/1.72″ Samsung GW1 ISOCELL sensor with Smart ISO and ISOCELL Plus technology, 0.8μm pixel size, f/1.8 aperture, has support for PDAF, EIS along with a secondary 8-megapixel camera with 119° ultra-wide angle lens with f/2.3 aperture, 12-megapixel telephoto lens with f/2.5 aperture for up to 20x zoom as well as 2-megapixel camera for 4cm macro with f/2.4 aperture. It has a 16-megapixel front-facing camera with Sony IMX471 sensor, f/2.0 aperture and a secondary 8MP 105° ultra-wide sensor with f/2.2 aperture.

The camera UI is familiar with other realme smartphones running reame UI with flash, HDR, Chromaboost, Filters and settings on the top. There is option for ultrawide, 1x, 2x and 5x options on the bottom. Below that there are options for Night, Video, Photo, Portrait, 64MP, and more options to choose Time-Lapse, Ultra Macro, Slo-Mo, Expert (Pro) and Pano. You can switch from photo to video and portrait. Beautify option for the front camera lets you adjust several features, in addition to smoothness. There are also option to choose between main and wide-angle front camera. realme has enabled Cam2API by default so you can side-load ported Google Camera APKs for advanced editing including RAW capture.

Coming to the image quality, daylight shots came out well with good dynamic range, thanks to the large sensor. HDR shots are better with improved dynamic range and the Chromaboost uses AI to boost the colors those who like it. The dedicated 2MP macro sensor is just average since it can only shoot from 4cm distance and the colors in the mode are muted. It is better to use the 2x option in the main camera for better closeup shots. Wide-angle shots are decent, and the portrait shots have good edge detection. 64MP mode that offers a lot of details, but images are huge. There is telephoto lens, but it is useful only in daylight offering 2x zoom and even 5x zoom is good and handy, but beyond that details start to reduce since it is digital zoom.

Low-light shots are good, thanks to pixel binning that lets the camera’s sensor hardware combine 4 pixels into a single 1.6μm large pixel, and the nightscape mode is even better making the images brighter offering more details. Images with flash are good and the flash is not overpowering. Daylight front camera shots are good, and low-light shots could have been better. Ultra-wide 8MP front camera is useful for group shots. Edge detection in portrait shots is decent, but could have been better.

Check out the camera samples (Click the image to view the full resolution sample.).

It can record videos at 4k resolution at 30 fps, 1080p at up to 60 fps, and it also has slow motion 720p resolution video recording at up to 240fps. You can also shoot 1080p 30 fps videos using the ultra-wide camera. There is also bokeh mode for video for both front and rear cameras, including wide-angle front camera, which works well only in people, but it is good. Check out the video samples below.

Software, UI and Apps

It runs Android 10 out of the box with realmeUI on top with Android security update for February, 2020. It has a lot of features such as new UI, Customizable Icon Style, Animated Wallpapers, Focus Mode, Screen Recording with Internal Audio Recording, Smart Sidebar, and more. You can check them out here.

Out of 8GB RAM, you get 7.57GB of usable RAM, and about 5.2GB of RAM is free when default apps are running in the background. Out of 128GB internal storage, you get about 108GB of free storage. Since this has UFS 2.1 storage, we got sequential read speeds of about 499MB/s. Apart from the usual set of utility apps, Google apps and realme’s own set of apps, it comes pre-loaded with Facebook, Hot apps and Hot games tab. You can easily uninstall these apps. It also asks you to install a lot off apps from the App Market, which you can skip during set up.

Realme started showing ads in phones recently. This appears in several places, and is turned on by default, but you can disable it by turning off “Get recommendations” option in the settings.

Fingerprint sensor and Face unlock

The phone has a sine-mounted fingerprint sensor, which immediately unlocks phone just by keeping your finger so that you don’t have to press it. You can add up to 5 fingerprints. You can also use the fingerprint for app local and payments in apps. The phone also has face unlock, but it is not as secure as fingerprint since it can be unlocked with a photo, but there are some additional options so that it doesn’t detect when you close your eyes.

Music Player and Multimedia

The realme Music Player is the default music player with usual Dolby audio effects and equalizer. There is also FM Radio. Since the speaker is present on the bottom, audio doesn’t get muffled when the phone is on a flat surface. Audio through earphones is good as well, and the phone also has dual-mode audio in the realme Lab that lets you listen to both wired and wireless headsets at the same time. This is a good feature.

It has Widevine L1 support, and Netflix HD is available after the latest update. realme India CMO Francis Wang has confirmed that the Amazon Prime Video Full HD playback support will be available by the end of March.

Even though the DRM Info app shows that it has Widevine L1 support, we couldn’t play HD content on Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. Realme India CMO Francis Wang recently confirmed that the feature will be enabled via OTA update soon.

Dual SIM and Connectivity

It supports 4G VoLTE for Reliance Jio and Airtel as well as support Dual 4G VoLTE that offers 4G in both the SIM cards at a time. There is Snapdragon X15  Cat-15 LTE modem. Other connectivity options include Dual-Band Wi-Fi 802.11 ac with dual network acceleration, VoWiFi, Bluetooth 5.0 LE and Dual Frequency (L1 + L5) GPS, as it also has NavIC, but it doesn’t work yet. relame might push an update to enable it. It also has USB OTG support that lets you connect USB drives. Since this is a dual SIM phone, you get the option to select either SIMs when calling or sending a text message. Moving on, the call quality is good, and we did not face any call drops and the earpiece volume was loud.

We don’t really mention SAR values for phones in our reviews since most are below 1W/kg, even though the limit in India is 1.6W/kg (over 1 g). Body SAR of the phone 0.921 W/Kg and head SAR is at 1.187W/Kg which is slightly more compared to other realme phones. We would recommend using a headset or a Bluetooth headset if you are making long calls.

Performance and Benchmarks

Coming to the performance, this is the first phone to be powered by an Octa-Core Snapdragon 720G 8nm Mobile Platform, which has 2 x Kryo 465 Performance CPUs (A76-based) clocked at up to 2.3GHz and 6x Kryo 465 Efficiency CPUs (A55-based) at up to 1.8GHz. It has Adreno 618 GPU with support for Open GL ES 3.2, Open CL 2.0, as well as Vulkan 1.1 graphics, 8GB LPDDR4x RAM and 128GB UFS 2.1 storage.

Thanks to the slightly higher clocked larger Kryo 465 cores based on new Cortex A76, this is faster than the Snapdragon 730G that uses Kryo 470 cores. The Snapdragon 720G also features select Snapdragon Elite Gaming features including Game Anti-Cheat Extensions and Game Fast Loader, True HDR Gaming featuring 10-bit color depth and aptX Adaptive audio provides high-quality synchronized sound. We did not face any issues or frame drops in the graphic-intensive games, and PUBG works in full graphics. It gets a bit warm on intensive gaming and 4G data use since it has a glass back, but it doesn’t get too hot to handle. That said, check out some synthetic benchmark scores below.

Battery life

Coming to the battery life, the 4300mAh built-in battery offers brilliant battery life. It lasts for a day even with heavy use and over two days with average use, and I got about 6 hours and 25 minutes of screen on time (SOT) during my use even when 90Hz refresh rate is enabled, so it should be more with 60Hz. Since the phone has support VOOC Flash charge, it takes just 1 hour to charge it from 0 to 100%, and 0 to 50% takes 23 minutes with the bundled 30W charger. With the 20W VOOC 3.0 charger it takes 1 and half hours for 0 to 100%.

It achieved One Charge Rating of 19 hours and 47 minutes in our battery test, which is good for a phone with a 4300mAh battery. This is almost same as the realme 6.

Conclusion

Last year’s realme 5 Pro was a value-for-money (VFM) phone, and it even got better after the price cut, however the realme 6 Pro that starts at Rs. 16999, which is slightly costly. 90Hz is a good thing, and the phone offers brilliant battery life along with 30W charger in the box, which is a good deal, but the company’s own realme X2 with an AMOLED screen and Snapdragon 730G is available for the same price. There are also several other competing smartphones for the same price. Wish the phone was slightly cheaper.

Competition

As mentioned before, the realme X2 is another good choice. Another option is the POCO X2POCO X2 with an 120Hz refresh rate screen at a cheaper rate, but it doesn’t have a telephoto lens. If you spend a bit more there is Redmi K20 with the Snapdragon 730, telephoto lens for 2x zoom and a no-notch display.

Availability

Priced at Rs. 16,999 for the 6GB RAM with 64GB storage version, Rs. 17,999 for the 6GB RAM with 128GB storage version and Rs. 18,999 for 8GB RAM with 128GB storage version, it is available through Flipkart, realme.com as well as offline stores.

Pros

  • Large 90Hz Ultra Smooth Display
  • 64MP camera is good, and telephoto lens is useful
  • Good front camera with wide-angle option
  • Brilliant battery life with 30W Flash Charge fast charging
  • Smooth performance
  • Premium glass body
  • Dedicated Dual SIM and microSD slots

Cons

  • Low-light camera performance could be better
  • No notification LED
  • Macro camera is not impressive
  • realmeUI still needs some work

Author: Srivatsan Sridhar

Srivatsan Sridhar is a Mobile Technology Enthusiast who is passionate about Mobile phones and Mobile apps. He uses the phones he reviews as his main phone. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram