Realme launched the Realme Narzo 10 in India last month. Narzo is a brand new series by Realme. Realme is propositioning the Narzo series as a youth-centric series with a focus on delivering performance in a stylish form factor. The Narzo 10 and the Narzo 10A are the first phones to launch under this series. Realme had been hyping up the Narzo launch for quite some time with a peppy marketing campaign which even included a music video. But the company had to delay the launch twice owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. The phones were finally launched in a virtual event on 11th May.
With all these big proclamations regarding a youth-centric series, one would expect Realme to really give some thought on designing the smartphones. But curiously, the Narzo series currently consists of a couple of rebranded phones. The Narzo 10A is a rebranded version of the Realme C3 (Malaysia) while the Narzo 10 is a rebrand of the global Realme 6i. While this does feel like a cop-out, both the phones do have a decent spec sheet with respect to the prices. The Realme Narzo 10 is the more powerful of the two and has been priced at Rs. 11,999. We will take a look at it today –
Build & Design
Realme needs to be commended for their experimentation with designs. In the short time, the company has been in existence, they have brought all kinds of design to the market. And there have been some designs that have truly stood out. Narzo 10 is one of those. Realme has worked with the Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa on the design here. He is a frequent collaborator with Realme and has worked on custom editions for the Realme X as well as the Realme X2 Pro. Here, the Fukasawa has taken inspiration from beverages, with the That Green color inspired by green tea and the That White color inspired by milk.
Both the colors look pretty great and the vertical stripes on the back add to its personality. The Realme Narzo 10’s design stands out among other similarly priced phones. The build of the phone, on the other hand, is strictly run of the mill. You have a poly-carbonate (a fancy way of saying plastic) build. That means that the back can get scratched rather easily so using a case is highly recommended. But the plastic construction helps keep the weight of the phone in check. The phone weighs a 199g which is decent considering the big battery inside.
The Realme Narzo 10 sports a 6.5-inch IPS LCD display. This is one area where Realme has clearly cut corners. The display resolution is only HD+. This is disappointing as most phones in this price range now sport Full HD+ displays. Couple that with the reasonable large screen, and the lack of sharpness may be apparent in some cases. There’s a dewdrop notch on the top and the aspect ratio is 20:9. The front is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 which again is something that could have been improved. Overall, the display of the Narzo 10 leaves a lot to be desired.
The Realme Narzo 10 is powered by the MediaTek Helio G80 processors. This is the first phone in India with this processor. After years of lagging behind, MediaTek bounced back in a big way with the Helio G90T last year. The processor was roundly praised for its great gaming performance. The G70 has also been appreciated for delivering great performance on a budget. The G80 slots right between these 2. The benchmark scores reveal that it is closer to the G70 than the G90. It is also less powerful than Snapdragon’s new 720G but handily beats the Snapdragon 665 and the 712. This would ensure that the Narzo 10 is a decent performer both of day to day tasks as well as casual games.
The Narzo 10 runs Realme UI based on top of Android 10. Realme UI is Realme’s custom skin built on top of Color OS 7. While it is no Oxygen OS, it is closer to Stock Android than Color OS. Realme UI has been found to be smooth on most devices and that should be the case here as well. Some reviewers have mentioned that they did notice some lags on the Narzo 10. But we believe that it may be due to the Realme UI not being properly optimized for the new processor. We have no reason to believe that a software update won’t fix it. On top of that, Realme’s track record of delivering security patches to its phones is also very good.
As is the case with most phones in this price segment, the Realme Narzo 10 uses a quad camera setup. And as is the case with most phones in this price range, only 2 of them are practically usable. The primary here is a 48 MP, f/1.8 sensor with PDAF. This sensor has been used by Realme in a lot of its phones and the performance from this sensor has been very decent. The dynamic range on Realme phones is generally on point and you also have the Chroma Boost option which can be used to bump up the saturation on the photos.
The secondary sensor here is an 8 MP, f/2.3 ultra-wide with a field of view of 119 degrees. While the details won’t be as sharp as the primary, it does provide a nice different perspective option. The other 2 sensors are a couple of 2 MP depth and macro cameras. The depth camera should result in some nice portrait shots. The 2 MP photos from the macro camera are barely usable and companies should really bump up the macro camera to at least 5 MP if they insist on giving it to the consumers. Selfie duties are handled by a 16 MP, f/2.0 sensor. Overall, the cameras on the Narzo 10 get the job done.
The Realme Narzo 10 boasts of a sizable 5000 mAh battery. This, coupled with the fact that the battery needs to drive only an HD+ screen should result in some great battery life. This should be at least a 1.5-day phone for most people. When the battery does die out, you can use the included 18W charger in the box to top it at a decent clip. Interestingly, this is the first time that we see an 18W charger from Realme; the company previously used to include its 20W VOOC charging on its devices.
The Narzo 10 only has a single RAM storage variant, which is a rarity to see in this day and age. There is 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The storage especially is very generous here and may actually be the ace up the Narzo 10’s sleeve. The phone has a back-mounted fingerprint sensor, unlike the side-mounted one that has suddenly become all the rage nowadays. There is also a USB C port for charging as well as the good old headphone jack. Finally, there’s a triple card slot that supports dual SIM and a dedicated microSD card.
The budget to mid-range segment had 2 major price points in India until recently. One started at Rs. 10,000 while the other started at Rs. 15,000. The GST increase and some recent launches have muddled those waters somewhat with the prices being more fluid. The Narzo 10, priced at Rs. 11,999 is thus placed at a weird position. Currently, the only phone competing directly at this price point is the Redmi Note 8. But that phone is a generation old now and its successor, the Redmi Note 9 should land in India soon. We expect the Redmi Note 9 to be priced between the 10K – 12K mark. When the Note 9 does come to India, it will pose a formidable challenge to the Narzo 10 with it rocking a slightly superior processor (G85 vs the G80) and a Full HD screen.
But things become much more interesting you can stretch your budget a bit more. At just a couple thousand more, we have the Realme 6 and the Redmi Note 9 Pro. Both of them are much superior phones than the Narzo 10. The Realme 6, especially, boast of some premium features like a 90Hz screen and 30W charging. But this is where the Narzo 10’s ace comes into the picture. You do get a superior phone after spending a couple thousand more bucks, but your storage would get reduced by half. The 128GB storage on the Narzo 10 is a great addition and if you are someone who absolutely wants the maximum storage on a budget, the Narzo 10 should be right up your alley.
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So what do we have to say about the Narzo 10. It’s fine. It’s a decent phone with great design and battery life, and good performance. The display is kinda disappointing but the generous storage is a nice addition. The question that really needs to be asked is, Does this phone need to exist at all? We firmly believe no. With the Realme 6 starting at 14,000 and the Narzo 10A starting at Rs. 8,499, it does seem like there is a gap in Realme’s portfolio. But when you take into account the fact that there have been rumours that Realme is also going to launch a slightly downgraded Realme 6 soon, it really puts into question the Narzo 10’s existence. There are much better options than the Narzo 10 if you can slightly stretch your budget, and there are very good options if you want to save some money.
The Narzo 10 is a decent phone. It is an especially good buy if you want lots of storage. We are just not going to go out of our way to suggest it to someone though. If someone comes to us regarding advice about the Narzo 10, we would most probably advise them to stretch their budget a bit and opt for the Realme 6.