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realme narzo 30A Review - Value for money gaming under PHP 6.5K?

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We share our experience with the new realme narzo 30A after a week of daily use. This is our review of the new affordable gaming phone.
realme narzo 30A Review - Value for money gaming under PHP 6.5K?
narzo 30A

realme announced the narzo 30A for the global market recently and it has finally arrived in the Philippines.


In our first impressions, we shared that we enjoyed the physical look and design of the narzo 30A. Our initial concern is that the phone is slippery and does not include a case inside the box.

To recap, it comes with a 6.5-inch HD+ LCD display, MediaTek Helio G85 SoC, LPDDR4X RAM, 64GB of storage, 6,000mAh battery, and Android 10 built-in.

Let's see how it performs after 2 weeks of use.

Multimedia Experience

Netflix on narzo 30A?
Netflix on narzo 30A?

In front are the 6.5-inch LCD Display with 1600 x 720 resolution and Gorilla Glass 3 protection. It is surrounded by the thin top and side bezels while the chin bezel is somewhat thicker than the other bezels. On top is the waterdrop notch.

Decent 720p large screen

The image produced is a relatively bright display with images that are vibrant in color and are decently sharp. The text is crisp enough but a 1080p panel could be better. But because this phone is aimed more towards gaming, the performance advantages of a lower resolution display do make it better for that use.

Lastly, the 10-point touch screen is quick, responsive, and accurate. We didn't notice any delay, misread taps or gestures. 

We are satisfied with the display overall.
Top and bottom
Top and bottom

On the notch of the display is the front-facing selfie camera. Above the notch is the thin earpiece.

At the bottom of the phone are the speaker grill, USB Type-C, a microphone port, and a 3.5mm audio jack.

The earpiece is exclusively for calls only while the bottom-firing speaker produces a mono sound with a surprisingly high maximum volume. There is some distortion at maximum volume but the directionality, clarity, and separation are good enough. The massive volume is best when playing games where audio plays a big part in the experience. The speaker performance is one of the best things about narzo 30A.

The microphone recording with the narzo 30A. is good. The noise cancellation is good enough that gives our callers little to complain about voice quality.

Cameras

Rear camera module
Rear camera module

At the back of the narzo 30A is the square camera module that is made up of the 13MP f/2.2 main camera, 2MP mono camera, AI branding, and LED flash.

Basic yet decent dual-cam

The camera app includes modes like Photo, Video, Night, Portrait, Time-lapse, slo-mo, expert, and panorama.
Rear camera app
Rear camera app

The Expert mode allows for control of ISO (100-1600), Shutter Speed (1/8000-16 secs), White Balance, exposure compensation (+-2 stops), and focus. There is no control for metering modes. Expert mode has access to 1x, 2x, and 4x zoom. At this price, it is rare to see a robust expert mode. 

Rear Camera Samples

Rear main daylight 1x
Rear main daylight 1x
Rear main daylight 2x
Rear main daylight 2x
Rear main daylight 5x
Rear main daylight 5x

In daylight, the main, 2x, and 5x produce good images that are vibrant and contrasty. But because there is only one real camera and the zoom modes are digital, the 2x and 5x are softer than the 1x daylight images. In fact, in daylight, the 5x is so soft that we think it should only be used in a pinch.
Close-up shot
Close-up shot

The main camera can also take pictures with the subject up close and the minimum focusing distance is moderate. It isn't for macro-like distances but it can work in a pinch. The resulting shots are decently sharp with good color reproduction and decent contrast.
sdsd
Rear main indoors 1x
Rear main indoors 1x
Main indoors 2x
Main indoors 2x
Main indoors 5x
Main indoors 5x

The indoor image quality remains somewhat sharp but because noise and grain have become more apparent, some sharpness is lost and the color accuracy has dipped a bit. Like in daylight, the 5x zoom is softer than the 2x and 1x.
Main low light 1x
Main low light 1x
Main low light 2x
Main low light 2x
Main low light 5x
Main low light 5x

In low-light, all cameras have noticeably more grain which resulted in super-soft images with strong color cast. 
Main night mode 1x
Main night mode 1x
Main night mode 2x
Main night mode 2x
Main night mode 5x
Main night mode 5x

The rear camera's Night Mode is available and is able to reduce the grain and noise to make somewhat cleaner images from the 1x and 2x. In fact, the 1x night mode looks a lot better than the normal low light shot. In the 5x the image is soft and is clean but it is obvious how strong the noise reduction is. We recommend using the night mode on the 1x zoom only.
Selfie camera
Selfie camera

The 8MP f/2.0 front-facing camera is located on the notch. It includes modes photo, video, and portrait.

The camera app also features a screen flash feature if the user wants to improve low-light selfies. It can be harsh and will create white reflections on people wearing glasses or face shields.

Selfie Camera Samples

Daylight selfie
Daylight selfie
Selfie indoors
Selfie indoors
Low light selfie
Low light selfie
Low light selfie portrait
Low light selfie portrait

The front-facing camera is able to produce decently sharp daylight selfies with good color and good contrast. In indoors and in low light, the selfies soften, lose detail, lose color accuracy and more grain is introduced.

There is no Night selfie mode.

The rear-facing and selfie cameras can record up to 1080p at 30fps and is capable of recording slow motion. There is no mention of the resolution and framerate of the slow motion. There is no form of stabilization present as well.

In summary, the front and rear cameras can take decent daylight images but struggle in indoors and low light.

Performance

AnTuTu and GeekBench scores
AnTuTu and GeekBench scores

The MediaTek Helio G85 inside the realme narzo 30A was able to score 202,754 in AnTuTu and to score 354 single-core and 1301 multi-core in Geek Bench 5.

Fast for the price!

During the AnTuTu benchmark run, the narzo 30A's temperature went up by 3 degrees and lost 2 percent of its battery life.
3D Mark Wildlife score
3D Mark Wildlife score

In the new 3D Mark Wild Life benchmark, the realme narzo 30A scored 706 overall with an average of 4.2 frames per second while keeping the temperature at 34 degrees during the duration of the benchmark run.
Genshin Impact graphics
Genshin Impact graphics

With the latest games like Genshin Impact, the Helio G85 pushed the graphics settings to its lowest but with smooth framerates. 
We experience stuttering and frame rate drops when there are a lot of enemies and animations happening on screen. Otherwise, Genshin Impact is playable on the realme narzo 30A but be prepared for framerate drops when there the screen is busy with enemies and animations. The back of the phone gets warm after around 60 minutes of continuous play.
Call of Duty: Mobile graphics
Call of Duty: Mobile graphics

In older games like Call of Duty: Mobile, the user can either push the frame rate to High but be limited to medium graphics only. We recommend switching to low graphics and high frame rates for the best possible performance while maintaining acceptable temperatures. The back of the phone becomes warmer after around 4 rounds of multiplayer deathmatches.
Nearly 20 hours of on-screen time
Nearly 20 hours of on-screen time

Inside the realme narzo 30A is a massive 6000mAh battery that supports 18W fast charging. It does not have wireless charging support.

In our daily usage where we were constantly connected to WiFi, LTE, and 5G (when available) while doing our routine tasks where we use the phone to call, text, web surf, e-mail, stream music, and video, to play games, and to navigate with Waze, the narzo 30A was able to last a full day and a half of use with the little charge to spare. We would unplug the phone from the charger at 8 AM and at 1 PM the next day we would get around 10 percent of the battery left. It can last a whole day and a half for our usage. In our screenshot above, the phone was on for a day and 14 hours. The battery does drain faster when playing games or when streaming Netflix.

The 18W charger takes around 3 hours to charge the battery from empty to full.
realme narzo 30A
realme UI 1.0

Under the hood is realme UI 1.0 that is based on Android 10. realme Philippines says that the narzo 30A will get the realme UI 2.0 based on the Android 11 update when it becomes available.

Visually, realme has decided to use circular icons. The app drawer, notification panel, and settings app have been cleaned up visually with better organization. This makes things look cleaner while making apps and settings easier to find. 

The MediaTek Helio G85 handles realme UI 1.0 well. Navigating thru the OS and opening apps is decently fast enough. It isn't as snappy as more expensive flagships, but at its price, it is more than enough.

Both the face unlock and the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner set-up process is fast and straightforward. The face-unlock tech quickly detects my face and unlocks the phone as soon as the display is active. It is also able to detect my face even if I take off my glasses. It does struggle when you are trying to face unlock in a dim environment or when the user is wearing a mask.

The display brightens up to be able to compensate for this. It would be great if the Face Unlock has an alternative look feature for when the user is wearing a mask. Otherwise, the fingerprint scanner is best used when wearing a mask. The fingerprint scanner is accurate and is not the fastest one around but again, at its price point, we can't complain.

WiFi, Bluetooth, and LTE connections are stable. We've never experienced forced disconnections or the like while the GPS acquires our locations immediately and accurately.

Pros - Lightweight body, solid polycarbonate construction, 6000mAh battery lasts for a day and a half, Surprisingly powerful and good quality speaker
Cons - The main camera suffers in low light, the selfie camera suffers in daylight, indoors and low light, nearly 3 hours of charging time.

realme narzo 30A Specs

Display: 6.5-inch 2.5D curved Gorilla Glass 3 protected LCD (LTPS) screen w/ HD+ 1600 x 720 resolution at 269 ppi
CPU: 2.0GHz 12nm MediaTek Helio G85 octa-core processor
GPU: Mali-G52 2EEMC2
RAM: 4GB LPDDR4X
ROM: 64GB expandable via microSD card slot up to 256GB (dedicated)
Back Camera: 13MP f/2.2 + 2MP mono + LED flash
Selfie Camera: 8MP f/2.0
Battery: 6,000mAh w/ 18W Quick Charge
OS: Android 10.0 w/ realme UI 1.0
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5GHz), 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.0, OTG, FM Radio, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, dual SIM
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic
Others: Fingerprint sensor, face unlock, splash resistance, Dirac HD Sound, USB-C, Colors: Laser Black, Laser Blue
Dimensions: 164.5 x 75.9 x 9.8 mm
Weight: 207 g
Price: PHP 6,490

Verdict

GIZGUIDEPH website
GIZGUIDEPH website

The realme narzo 30A is priced relatively close to the narzo20 but is designed to be more focused on providing better battery life and a better gaming experience. The large 6,000mAh battery is able to endure a day and a half of heavy use while the 720p display and Helio G85 are able to power thru a smooth gaming experience in older games and make Genshin Impact somewhat playable.

Our only concern is that the narzo 30A is that it does not come with a case in the box, the camera performance could improve and the charging time is long.

What surprised us the most is how powerful the bottom-firing speaker. Sound quality is decent but at maximum volume, it can easily overpower other devices in its class and some more expensive phones.

For PHP 6,490, it deserves to be one of your picks at this price point.

To watch our review on YouTube, click here.

Build/Design - 4
Multimedia Experience - 4
Cameras - 3
Performance - 4.25
Average - 3.81/5
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