There's no denying the sheer power of the Realme Narzo 30 5G when it comes to performance. Whether you're a light user or an avid gamer, the phone will keep up with almost anything you throw at it. The phone also has a massive battery, fast refresh rate support and 5G connectivity, making it a lucrative offering at this price point. However, the phone is clearly a Realme 8 5G clone with some extra RAM thrown in, so it is confusing why Realme chose to release this phone in India.
The Indian smartphone market is seeing a boom in the affordable smartphones category, with new launches coming in at lightning speed from various companies. Realme is one of the companies at the forefront of this massive influx of budget smartphones in the Indian market, with several releases in 2021 alone. The latest budget smartphone from Realme is the Narzo 30 5G, a budget 5G-enabled device that is eerily similar to the Realme 8 5G (review) that released just a couple of months ago. The phone is priced at Rs 15,999 for the sole 6GB RAM and 128GB storage variant. The launch of the Realme Narzo 30 5G in the Indian market is a surprising one since it basically has almost identical specs and features as the Realme 8 5G. The question that needs to be answered is if both devices have their own place in the Indian market or if the newly-launched Realme Narzo 30 5G is just competing with, or perhaps eclipsing, its own brethren.
Realme Narzo 30 5G: Specifications
Much like the Realme 8 5G, the Realme Narzo 30 5G is powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 700 SoC that is based on the 7nm process. The CPU features two ARM Cortex-A76 performance cores clocked at 2.2GHz and six ARM Cortex-A55 efficiency cores clocked at 2GHz. For graphics, the Dimensity 700 chipset comes with the Mali-G57 GPU. This is paired with 6GB LPDDR4x RAM and 128GB UFS 2.1 storage. The RAM is one of the few differences between the Realme 8 5G and the Narzo 30 5G where the former comes with 4/8GB RAM while the latter has a fixed 6GB of RAM. You also get RAM expansion technology where internal storage or ROM gets converted into vRAM or virtual RAM.
The phone houses a 5,000mAh battery with support for 18W fast charging, which is the same as the Realme 8 5G. Something to note is that the 4G variant of the Realme Narzo 30 comes with 30W fast charging support, so it’s slightly disappointing to not see that on the 5G version. Moving on to the display, the Realme Narzo 30 5G houses a 6.5-inch IPS LCD panel with Full HD+ resolution and 90Hz refresh rate. As for the optics, the Realme 8 5G comes equipped with a triple camera setup consisting of a 48-megapixel primary lens, a 2-megapixel Portrait lens, and a 2-megapixel macro shooter. For selfies, you have a 16-megapixel selfie camera. This exact camera setup is seen on the Realme 8 5G.
So, when it comes to hardware, the Realme Narzo 30 5G and the Realme 8 5G are unmistakably identical. We spoke to Realme about the similarities and we were told that while the hardware is almost the same, the phones are positioned differently. The Realme Narzo 30 5G is more performance-focused while the Realme 8 5G is positioned as a phone for the youth, so it focuses on the camera, display, and battery. Nevertheless, when both phones have all the same hardware except for the RAM, it's hard to see why they're positioned differently.
Realme Narzo 30 5G: Performance
Let’s get right into the meat of the matter, which is the performance of the Realme Narzo 30 5G. Since the company says the phone is a performance-focused device, it’s only right to start here. The Realme Narzo 30 5G houses the MediaTek Dimensity 700 SoC, the same chipset used in the Realme 8 5G that impressed us with its commendable performance. This is paired alongside 6GB RAM and 128GB storage.
In our benchmarking tests, the Realme Narzo 30 5G delivered outstanding results for the price. The phone clearly outshone both the Redmi Note 10 (review) and Redmi Note 10s (review) in most benchmarks. In AnTuTu, the Narzo 30 5G beat the Note 10S by a decent margin while absolutely decimating the Redmi Note 10. In GeekBench 5, the Realme Narzo 30 5G scored a 569 in the single-core test and 1777 in the multi-core test, easily outshining both the Note 10 and 10S again. The phone scored 11,515 in PCMark Work, leaving both the Note 10 and 10S considerably behind. These benchmarks, however, should be taken with a grain of salt though since MediaTek SoCs are sometimes linked with boosting performance for benchmarking tests.
Moving to GPU performance, the Realme Narzo 30 5G delivered convincing results yet again. The phone beat both the Redmi Note 10 and 10S in 3D Mark Wild Life. However, in GFX Bench, the Redmi Note 10S managed to beat the Narzo 30 5G in all the tests we ran. We also played Call Of Duty: Mobile for our gaming test where the Narzo 30 5G recorded an average FPS of 60 running at 91 per cent stability. The Redmi Note 10S showed similar results but the regular Note 10 lagged behind with an average FPS of 48 at 58 per cent stability. Benchmarks aside, the Narzo 30 5G does swimmingly when it comes to mobile gaming. The gameplay was super smooth with no signs of lag or stutter whatsoever. The device did heat up slightly during gaming, but it's manageable amounts of heat.
When it comes to using the phone for day-to-day tasks, the phone rarely falters. Performing basic tasks such as calling, texting, browsing the web and social media happens without any hitches and multitasking is a smooth affair as well. You can keep several apps running in the background and switch between them effortlessly. The phone also appears snappier due to the 90Hz refresh rate. All the games we played ran smoothly, so the phone is something we'd definitely recommend to a mobile gamer. Even if you're not into mobile gaming, the phone's performance is reliable for almost anything you throw at it.
The software isn't our favourite though since it is loaded with bloatware. While Realme UI looks pretty clean, it comes with a plethora of third-party preinstalled apps such as Amazon Music, Booking.com, Duo, Netflix, Soloop, and others. There are numerous Realme apps preinstalled on the device as well that cannot be uninstalled. Nevertheless, Realme UI does provide a lot on the customisation front. Users can do a lot within the settings of the device, so if you like tinkering with your phone's looks and abilities, you'll be happy with the options Realme UI provides.
Realme Narzo 30 5G: Build and display
The Realme Narzo 30 5G is a sleek, good-looking 5G smartphone that is sure to turn a few heads with its unique rear panel design. The device is pretty lightweight for a 5G device, weighing merely 185g, and isn't too thick either at 8.5mm. The rear panel is made out of polycarbonate and features a glossy texture that, unfortunately, ends up being a fingerprint and dust magnet. The back panel has a striking design with a raceway pattern strip with reflects light. There's a pretty simple Narzo logo at the bottom of this strip.
The back also houses the rectangular camera island that juts out only slightly. While the phone felt good in the hand, we preferred to use it with the silicone case provided in the box to prevent creating a fingerprint mess at the back of the device. The phone comes in two colours – Racing Silver and Racing Blue, both of which look pretty aesthetically appealing.
The Realme Narzo 30 5G houses the power button on the right side of the device. This button also doubles as a fingerprint sensor. The sensor's response is impressive and the button itself is very tactile. On the left, you have the volume buttons and the SIM tray. The tray can house two NANO SIMs and a microSD card expandable up to 1TB. The bottom of the device features a single speaker, a USB-C charging port, and a 3.5mm audio jack. It's disappointing to see the lack of dual stereo speakers on the phone since competitors such as the Redmi Note 10s come equipped with it. While the audio output of the device is decently loud, stereo speakers would have definitely cranked up the auditory immersiveness when watching content or gaming.
Moving on to the display, the Realme Narzo 30 5G comes packing a 6.5-inch display with Full HD+ resolution and 90Hz refresh rate support. The fast refresh rate ensures that scrolling and flicking between apps appear buttery smooth. There's also adaptive refresh rate support, where the display selects the adequate refresh rate for the app and applies it. This goes a long way in conserving battery. The panel also has a punch-hole cutout for the selfie camera on the left side of the screen. The panel's output is vivid and crisp, however, it is not the most colour accurate. Also, the readability of the display goes down in harsh sunlight since the max brightness, in our tests, was only 276 nits.
Realme Narzo 30 5G: Camera
The Realme Narzo 30 5G houses the exact same camera setup as the Realme 8 5G. The camera setup is headlined by the Samsung GM1 48MP sensor alongside a 2MP portrait lens and a 2MP macro shooter. The phone misses out on an ultrawide lens which is present in competitors such as the Redmi Note 10S. You also get a 16MP selfie camera on the front.
Despite the Narzo 30 5G and Realme 8 5G housing the exact same primary lens, our experience with both cameras were significantly different. The Realme 8 5G didn't have the best dynamic range with shadows being crushed and detail being absent even in daylight shots. This was not the case with the Narzo 30 5G and the dynamic range was significantly better. It's still not the best we've seen in this segment, but it's a considerable improvement. Realme told us that this was the result of software optimisations for the camera. Here are some camera samples from the Narzo 30 5G. Do note that these images have been resized for the web.
The primary camera of the Narzo 30 5G also produces good colour and detail overall, making it a pretty capable shooter in daylight. However, in photos with tricky lighting, the camera still struggles at times. Close up shots in daylight look detailed and crisp with a decent amount of natural blur. Portrait mode shots are not the best though, with poor edge detection, unnecessary smoothening of textures, and inaccurate colour.
Night Night off (Left) vs Night Mode on (Right)
In low light photography, the camera’s performance is decent. There is some noise in the shots and the camera does struggle to lock focus on subjects at times, but it generally produces pretty serviceable shots, especially with Night Mode turned on. Realme's NightScape mode does a good job at brightening up shots and returning some amount of detail.
The macro lens on the phone is pretty decent but it doesn't take good shots consistently. This is largely since the lens struggles to lock focus on subjects. The 16-megapixel selfie camera shoots good selfies with ample detail, however, be sure to turn off the beauty filters before using the selfie camera. The filters aggressively alter your face's shape and tone, so if you like natural images, it's best to turn off beauty mode. Moving on to video, you get pretty decent video output in daylight, however, there’s no stabilisation so they suffer from shake when you're walking or running. Low light videos are not up to the mark since they have quite a bit of noise and lack detail.
Realme Narzo 30 5G: Battery
The Realme Narzo 30 5G houses a massive 5,000mAh battery that performs decently well for the price. The phone also comes packing a 90Hz refresh rate display that cuts down the battery life considerably if kept on at all times. However, if you use the adaptive refresh rate mode or simply default to 60Hz, you're looking at a phone that can easily last more than a day with moderate usage, and a full day with heavy usage.
In our tests, streaming Netflix for half an hour drained the battery by merely 5 per cent and 15 minutes of COD: Mobile brought it down by only 4 per cent. The phone supports 18W fast charging, which is slightly underwhelming. The phone took 2 hours and 10 minutes to charge from 0 to 100% battery, so it’s definitely not the fastest in this price segment.
Realme Narzo 30 5G: Verdict
There's no denying the sheer power of the Realme Narzo 30 5G when it comes to performance. Whether you're a light user or an avid gamer, the phone will keep up with almost anything you throw at it. The phone also has a massive battery, fast refresh rate support and 5G connectivity, making it a lucrative offering at this price point. However, the phone is clearly a clone of the Realme 8 5G with some extra RAM thrown in. It is downright confusing why Realme chose to release this phone in India when it could just be a fourth storage variant of the Realme 8 5G. Regardless of the slightly confusing choice to release the device, if you're looking for a budget 5G smartphone, the Narzo 30 5G is a great all-rounder at a compelling price that we can’t really ignore. However, if you're looking for the same phone but with different storage configurations, just go for the Realme 8 5G since it is essentially the same device