realme 3 (RMX1821) Review: Best-Value Mid-range Worker

For sure, we were introduced to the realme brand in the latter part of 2018. Now, more than six months down the line, the company is getting more fans due to its brand philosophy. The realme 3 is one of its essential smartphones which offers capable hardware in a more affordable price.

realme 3 Review

Does the realme 3 has what it takes to be your next smartphone? Will this phone take credit in cementing the realme brand in the local market? Let's find out in this review of the realme 3.

realme 3 Review


  • Great build
  • Solid Battery Life
  • Capable Camera (Nightscape mode)
  • Balanced Performance


  • microUSB port
  • Duplicate Apps

Design, Construction

We got the gradient blue variant as our review unit which is quite a stand out. The blue hue from the top of the back panel transitions to a green tone as it goes down the handset. It's cool to see this kind of color patterns under different lighting and angles.

The style factor is actually very good. Complementing the glossy, gradient finish is a 3D curved design which makes the phone even more attractive. The curved edges allow the user to have a pretty good grip of the handset; but sometimes, it could be a bit slippery. Just like the brand's previous release, it's a plastic phone, but durable nonetheless. The downside, within just a week of use, the handset already picked up small scratches, and it's also very prone to smudges.

The realme 3 comes with a dual-camera set up consisting of a 13MP primary sensor and a 2MP depth sensor which are aligned vertically with the LED flash on the upper left side of the rear panel.

The fingerprint scanner is centered at the upper part just below the cameras. It has a metal ring around it, and I find it easy to reach with my thumb. Plus, the realme branding is in white text opposite the cameras at the lower left side.

On the front panel, we are greeted by a dewdrop-style notch which houses the 13MP selfie camera sensor - just like what we had seen on the regionally-exclusive realme 2 Pro. This is an upgrade to the rectangular cutout of the wildly popular realme C1, as it gives the display more real estate, and is less distracting in any way.

realme 3 Review

Positioned at the upper left side of the device are the triple-slot SIM tray and the volume keys. On the right side is the lone power button. It's actually very easy to reach using one hand.

realme 3 Review

At the bottom side, you will find the loudspeaker, microUSB port, microphone, and 3.5mm audio jack.

The phone's dimensions are 75.6mm (width), 156.1mm (height), 8.3mm (depth), and weighs at 175 grams. For me, it is lightweight and thin notwithstanding that it has a high battery rating.


The realme 3 is framed with a 6.2-inch IPS LCD display with HD+ (1520 x 720p) resolution. As compared with smartphones with Full HD+ or higher-rated screen, having a smaller resolution allows the phone to conserve more battery. Also, you will not really notice the difference if you are not being nitpicky.

realme 3 Review

It's not an edge-to-edge display in contrast to other smartphones which capitalize thinner borders. There are still thin bezels on either side of the display, a thin forehead, and a thicker chin. It boasts a 19:9 aspect ratio, enabling the brand to pack the large display on a small body.

realme Philippines says it has a screen-to-body ratio of 88.3%. Upon calculating, it only yields 81.2% screen-to-body ratio. The front glass is sealed by Gorilla Glass 3. It does not entirely protect it from scratches that will accumulate over time, but there's a factory-applied screen protector to add an extra layer of protection. It's entirely up to you whether you want to keep it or not. The handset gives off a compact look, and overall, it is a solid device when we talk about build and construction.

What's Inside the Box?

Before we continue with the review, let us discuss the realme 3 "unboxed" items. In contrast to earlier release in which the box and branding are in combination of red and white colors, realme has now redesigned its packaging for this new generation smartphone. The box comes in gray (cover) and yellow (base) colors. The branding is now printed in yellow color in contrast to the black and red texts of its predecessor.

Inside the box comes a small rectangular box which houses the SIM ejector, TPU flexible case, guide, and warranty card. Then, there's the handset. You have the option between getting a Radiant Blue or Dynamic Black variant. My personal choice is actually the Dynamic Black because for me it looks more classy and premium-ish.

You'll also find the standard 10W power adapter and microUSB cable inside the box. Unfortunately, the package does not include earphones. To recapitulate, here's the list of items inside the box:

  • SIM ejector
  • Information Guide, Warranty Card
  • Jelly case
  • realme 3 (Radiant Blue or Dynamic Black)
  • Screen Protector Film
  • 5V2A Adapter
  • micro USB cable

Performance, Benchmarks

The realme 3 is powered by MediaTek Helio P60, fabricated on a 12-nanometer process. It runs on an octa-core processor (ARM Cortex-A73x4, ARM Cortex-A53x4) with speeds up to 2GHz. This chip is specially designed for mid-range phones packed with AI features that works seamlessly across CPU, GPU, and Mobile APU within the SoC.

The phone has three variants: 3GB RAM + 32GB ROM, 3GB + 64GB, 4GB + 64GB. We got the latter, the higher end variant for review. The available ROM configurations are quite low for a power user like me who loves to take photos, videos, run a lot of apps, as well as download movies, podcast, and music. Thus, the use of microSD is very handy for me. The expansion option offers additional memory of up to 256GB.

The phone runs smoothly for the most part. Although sometimes I encountered lags and there were few incidence of app crashes. Launching an app takes a little bit of time to load but multitasking between apps is a breeze.

realme 3 Review

  • Antutu score: 131069

realme 3 Review: Antutu Benchmark

  • PCMark Work 2.0 Performance score: 7715

realme 3 Review: PCMark Benchmark

realme 3 Gaming Review

Surprisingly, for its budget price, you can have a decent gaming experience using this phone. I use realme 3 when playing Mobile Legends and it actually performs fairly well. The phone handles thermal excursions well. In my time playing Mobile Legends, I haven't had any complaints of heat accumulation, even in "high settings".

WATCH: Sample Gaming Test with Marvel Super War

Sound and Call Quality

I am also impressed with realme 3's sound quality. Its speaker is loud enough for streaming and playback purpose. Likewise, call quality and cellular reception are just fine.


As far as the battery is concerned, the realme 3 carries a 4230 mAh non-removable battery with AI Power Master. This tech helps conserve the phone's battery by smartly apportioning processor resources between running and background apps, thereby reducing overall power consumption. It also comes with power saving option to help extend the battery life.

Unfortunately, realme 3 does not support fast charging. The package comes with a standard 10W power adapter and microUSB port. From zero, the phone hit 50% after an hour of charging while the phone is turned off. For the phone to get 100% fully filled, it took a total of 2 hours and 55 minutes.

For a single charge using medium settings, I performed common activities like placing / receiving calls, texting, reading / sending emails, occasional gaming, made a few dozens of photos using the camera, social media, Netflix, and YouTube streaming - things we normally do with our smartphone. I could manage to get some 12 hours with the phone.

Based on PCMark Test, which measures battery life using tests based on common, everyday tasks and activities, the realme 3 battery life is 6 hours and 45 minutes. When we subjected the device to this test, brightness and volume were set at their maximum levels.


The realme 3 camera is also one of the most interesting cameras in this price range. The rear module packs a combination of 13MP with f/1.8 aperture and 2MP sensors. The handset could detect 16 different scenes which it can optimize using AI algorithm. Image quality is great for a phone in this price. Plus, realme 3's images are sharp and comes with good color reproduction.

realme 3 Camera Review | Pinoy Metro Geek

Its Nightscape mode is even more capable. In this setting, photos pull more details from shadows which translates to a clearer output but with minute build up of noise. Nightscape allows your camera to expose images for about three seconds to get better shots. This feature uses long exposure to get more light in your photos.

The Chroma Boost is also a great feature tailored in the camera app. While most of the shots are great, I could tell that colors tend to be over-saturated. But all in all, this feature is still cool. The 2MP depth-sensing camera is very useful in portraits. Though pictures register with great quality, its edge detection could struggle sometimes.

Sample photos:

realme 3 Review: Sample Photo

realme 3 Review: Sample Photo

realme 3 Review: Sample Photo

realme 3 Review: Sample Photo

realme 3 Review: Sample Photo

realme 3 Review: Sample Photo
From Left to Right: Natural Selfie, Beautification Selfie, Portrait Mode Seflie

You can check out this link for the sample photos in full resolution.


The realme 3 runs with ColorOS 6.0 based on Android 9 Pie. This software version is a great improvement from what we have been accustomed to with the realme C1 and other OPPO smartphones. It's more cleaner and a minimalist. The notifications shade also contains the control center. It's now easy to control quick settings like screen brightness and volume by just sliding iOS-like control bars.

realme 3 Review: Software

realme 3 (RMX1821) Review: Software

You can also access the app drawer by just swiping up from the bottom of the screen. This also means that installed apps go straight to the app drawer. Of course, there are also a number of bloatwares present in this version of ColorOS. Initially, you'll get duplicate browsers (Chrome and Opera), emails, etc. You can uninstall most of them but there is a bunch that you have to live with.

Fingerprint and Face unlock functions are also snappy. Between the two, I prefer the conventional rear-mounted sensor for easy access and unlocking.

realme 3 Review: Best-Value Mid-range Worker

Should You Buy The realme 3?

The realme 3 is a well-thought smartphone that has many hooks for the masses. Its powerful performance on top of a solid battery life gives other brands a run for their money. Overall, the handset has its own strengths and weaknesses; but I could definitely say that this is a balanced phone.

The realme C1 was a hit for the company; but the realme 3 seals its position in the local smartphone scene. Though there are a number of competitive smartphones in this price segment like the Redmi Note 7, Huawei Y7 Pro or Samsung Galaxy A20, it's definitely a big mistake to count the realme 3 out of your list.

Key Specifications:

  • 6.2-inch HD+ IPS LCD display, Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • MediaTek Helio P60 SoC
  • 2.0GHz Octa-core processor
  • Mali-G72 MP3 GPU
  • 3GB RAM + 32GB ROM, 3/64GB, 4/64GB
  • Rear Cameras: 13MP+2MP, PDAF
  • 13MP front camera
  • 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS
  • micro-USB, OTG
  • ColorOS 6.0, based on Android 9 Pie
  • 156.1 x 75.6 x 8.3 mm, 175 grams
  • 4230mAh Li-Ion battery (5V 2A)
  • PhP 6,990 (3/32GB), ₱7,990 (3/64GB), ₱9,990 (4/64GB)
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