Realme Narzo 10 Review: Budget gaming phone with few compromises


The sub Rs. 15,000 smartphone segment is becoming crowded, thanks to new smartphones being launched by OEMs in a quick span. While this offers more choice to consumers, it becomes confusing as well on the other hand. New series of smartphone from brands with minuscule changes are competing with their own lineup and on similar lines, Realme introduced its new Narzo series of smartphones – Narzo 10 and Narzo 10A recently. We tested the Narzo 10 for quite some time and in this review, let us find out if the Narzo 10 is worth your money or should you check out the alternatives.

Table of contents

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Specifications
Design and Build Quality
Display
Camera
Software
Performance
Connectivity
Battery
Conclusion
Realme Narzo 10 Specifications
  • 6.5-inch (1600 x 720 pixels) HD+ 20:9 mini-drop display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3+ protection
  • Octa-Core MediaTek Helio G80 12nm processor (Dual 2GHz Cortex-A75 + Hexa 1.8GHz 6x Cortex-A55 CPUs) with ARM Mali-G52 2EEMC2 GPU
  • 4GB LPDDR4x RAM, 128GB eMMC 5.1 storage, expandable memory up to 256GB with microSD
  • Dual SIM (nano + nano + microSD)
  • realme UI based on Android 10
  • 48MP rear camera with f/1.8 aperture, LED flash, PDAF, 1080p 30fps video recording, 8MP 119° ultra-wide sensor, 2MP 4cm macro and 2MP B&W depth sensor with f/2.4 aperture
  • 16MP front-facing camera with f/2.0 aperture, 1μm pixel size
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Dimensions: 164.4 x 75.x 9.0mm; Weight: 195g
  • 3.5mm audio jack, FM Radio
  • Dual 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 5, GPS/ GLONASS/ Beidou, USB Type-C
  • 5000mAh battery with 18W charging
Design and Build Quality – Minimalistic, yet Refreshing!

Realme has brought in a refreshed design on the Narzo 10, especially on the back. The front is similar to recent realme smartphones with a notch, but things get interesting on the rear of the smartphone. We got the white color variant of the Narzo 10 and the matte finish back with subtle vertical stripes is minimalistic and at the same time, amazing. Spray painting process has been carried out in designing the back by Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa. The rear design is not entirely new and in fact, it is strikingly similar to the realme X smartphone that was launched back in July last year. The Narzo 10 comes in two color choices – ‘That White’ and ‘That Green’, and although color is a personal preference, we’d suggest you go with the white color variant. 

Button placements and ports are the usual affairs – Volume rockers to the right, USB Type-C port, primary microphone, speaker grille to the bottom, Volume rockers, and Hybrid SIM tray to the right, and Quad rear cameras and physical fingerprint scanner to the back. However, the top side is left empty. 

The minimalist design comes with its own set of cons as well. Firstly, the back is slippery and doesn’t offer a good grip, and using a protective case is strongly recommended. Secondly, the white color variant attracts more dust and stains compared to the green color variant. Having said that, realme hasn’t compromised on the build quality-Solid, well-built, and even weight distribution. 

Display – Nothing new this time

The Narzo 10 flaunts a 6.5-inch HD+ 20:9 mini-drop display with a resolution of 1600 x 720 pixels and is protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3+. Narzo is a new series from realme, and new/improved elements were expected, especially the display. The display quality is the same as the realme 5s, 5i, and C3, and our take on the display holds the same for the Narzo 10 as well – Good quality panel with vibrant colors, but not the sharpest display we have seen in this segment. The resolution is still HD+ and the pixels are noticeable if you take a close look on the display. There is no support for HDR video playback, HD playback on Amazon Prime Video, NetFlix (WideVine L3 certification), and the multimedia experience isn’t the best. We would have wished to see a higher resolution display on the Narzo 10, considering this is a new series and of course, the price point.

Camera – Capable Setup

The Narzo 10 sports a quad rear camera setup that’s stacked up vertically and is quite similar to the realme 5s, except the fact that the 5s has a Sony sensor and the Narzo 10 has a Samsung sensor. The quad cameras are a combination of a 48MP primary lens with f/1.8 aperture + 8MP 119° ultra-wide lens + 2MP 4cm macro lens + 2MP B&W portrait lens with f/2.4 aperture. There are different modes like Night, Time-Lapse, Slo-Mo, Pro, Panorama, and has AI scene recognition, Filters, Chroma Boost, Beautify, HDR, etc.

The pictures shot on the primary 48MP sensor in daylight come out bright with a good amount of detail. There is support for Chromaboost as usual, but if you don’t like too much saturation in pictures, it is better to turn it off. The dynamic range is good as well and it holds up well in tricky backlight pictures. Similar to other 48MP camera phones, the pictures by default are in 12MP resolution as a result of pixel binning and you can get some good-looking shots with the primary lens. The low-light shots lack detail and are strictly average. But, the night mode helps to an extent by producing brighter images, but with noticeable noise.

Coming to the other three lenses, the ultra-wide-angle lens offers a different perspective, but it is not the best we have seen in this segment. The wide-angle images aren’t the sharpest, and we have noticed that it tends to crush the shadows around the edges. But, the macro lens is fun to use and you can get some good-looking macro shots with this. The results are best achieved in 4cm distance and it allows you to get more creative with the shots. The portrait lens performed surprisingly well, at least with objects and definitely, the edge detection has improved compared to previous realme phones in this segment. Lastly, the 16MP front-facing camera takes good selfies, but it is to be noted the exposure is not consistent and regarding video recording, the maximum resolution is 1080p at 60fps.

Check out the camera samples below

Software – realme UI

The Narzo 10 runs on realme UI v1.0 based on Android 10 with May 2020 security patch. realme UI is on top of Color OS 7, but is a major departure in terms of design from Color OS 6 and comes with a revamped user interface, customizable icon style, animated wallpapers, dual earphone connection, personal information protection, focus mode, system-wide dark mode, screen recording with internal audio recording, smart sidebar, floating calculator, screen light effects, and more.

We encountered ads in the theme store and Security Check page when a new app was installed from the Play Store. The ads are not intrusive and thankfully, users can choose to turn it off by going to Settings → Additional Settings → Get Recommendations →Turn off. 

Performance – Good Gaming Experience

Powering the Narzo 10 is the new MediaTek Helio G80 Octa-Core SoC that is built on the 12nm architecture. There are Dual 2GHz Cortex-A75 + Hexa 1.8GHz 6x Cortex-A55 CPUs paired with 4GB RAM and 128GB internal storage. The Helio G80 is a powerful SoC and is slightly better than the Helio G70 that powers the Narzo 10A and the realme C3. Coming to the performance, the Helio G80 on the Narzo 10 handles casual tasks (in our case it was continuous browsing, social media, accessing documents, and a few hours of voice call) with ease with no lags or whatsoever. But, the apps loading time isn’t the fastest we have seen and since realme has used an eMMC 5.1 storage, the apps don’t load quickly, which is disappointing. We would have wished to see a UFS 2.1 storage since the competition in this price segment offers faster storage.

With intensive tasks like video rendering with Premiere Rush, Photo Editing with Lightroom, InShot, the Narzo 10 fairly decent. For reference, a 1080p video of size 207.3 MB exported in 1min 53sec on InShot. But, there were random noticeable lags and strangely, the touch response was not the fastest we have seen. This could get annoying especially during multitasking or scrolling through a feed.

Having said that, the Helio G80 on the Narzo 10 shines in the gaming department. Casual games like Leo’s Fortune, Temple Run and Ludo King run with ease and same goes with graphic-intensive games like Asphalt 9, PUBG, Call of Duty Mobile, etc. PUBG can be played in HD graphics and the Gyroscope option works fine as well. The Graphic settings available in PUBG Mobile on the Narzo 10 are

  • Smooth+Low/Medium/High/Ultra
  • Balanced+Low/Medium/High/Ultra
  • HD+Low/Medium/High

There is no support for HDR and Ultra HD, and in our testing with continuous gameplay, the zone right below the rear camera felt warm to touch, but it was not uncomfortable. (It is to be noted that, the temperature depends on the environment you are playing in)

Check out the synthetic benchmark scores below

Connectivity – Compromised

Coming to the connectivity, the realme Narzo 10 supports Dual SIM (nano + nano + microSD) with support for Dual 4G VoLTE. On the Wi-Fi front, it supports only 2.4GHz (single band), and it is disappointing that there is no 5GHz (dual band) Wi-Fi support on this phone. Other connectivity options include Bluetooth 5.0, GPS/ GLONASS/ Beidou. The call quality was excellent and there were no issues with network reception. Realme has compromised on the Wi-Fi bands, which is disappointing.

Battery – Solid battery life

Backing up the realme Narzo 10 is a 5000mAh battery and finally, realme has switched to USB Type-C on this phone. We are stressing this because all the recent budget realme smartphones came with a micro USB port.

In terms of battery life, the Narzo 10 can easily last one to one and a half days with casual usage, and with moderate to heavy usage, it can last around 18-19 hours on a single charge.

Switching to USB Type-C is a step in the right direction and finally, there is support for 18W fast charging as well. The huge 5000mAh battery charges from 0 to 100% in 2hr 27min with the bundled charger, and 0 to 50% takes less than an hour.

The realme Narzo 10 achieved FoneArena One Charge Rating of 20 hours 03 mins which is better than all the realme smartphones with a 5000mAh battery, thanks to the optimization.

Conclusion

Realme Narzo 10 is priced at Rs. 11,999 for the single 4GB+128GB variant and is available for purchase from Flipkart and realme.com. Narzo is a new series from the company and stands for N: Next-Level Camera, A: A Class Processor, R: Remarkable Battery, Z: Zenith of Design, O: Outstanding Display.

The design is minimalist, yet refreshing (Zenith of Design) and for sure, it packs a gaming-centric SoC (A Class Processor). The Narzo 10 gets the basics right, but at the same time, the company’s realme 6 which is priced Rs. 2000 more, packs even more powerful MediaTek Helio G90T SoC, a far superior display, and much better camera setup compared to the Narzo 10. So, if you are in a strict budget of Rs. 12,000, Narzo 10 provides a decent experience, but there are compromises. If you are willing to spend a tad more, the realme 6 is overall a much better phone in terms of value for money.

Pros

  • Clean and simple design
  • Very good gaming experience
  • Capable optics
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • Lower resolution display for the price
  • Not the best touch response
  • Lack of Dual Band Wi-Fi

Alternatives

  • Redmi Note 8
  • Realme 6
  • Redmi Note 9 Pro

Author: Manoj Nagendra

Manoj Nagendra is passionate about smartphones and the latest technology. He likes to write and explore the latest tech and you can often find him with an Android phone. You can follow him on Twitter @manojshesh24 and also mail at manojnagendra@fonearena.com