Realme 6 Pro Review: Worth the extra money?

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In the past year, Realme has made a name for itself when it comes to affordable smartphones. We thought the Realme 6 was a fantastic device and the Realme 6 Pro tries to one up that. But how successful is it in doing so?

Design and build quality

The Realme 6 Pro rocks a fairly unique design, available in a blue, orange and red finish. It comes with a centred lightning bolt which is unique and lends for some interesting reflections. In terms of footprint, you are looking at an 8.9mm thickness and a 202g weight, which is manageable in today’s day and age. Something we appreciate is that the front panel of the phone is protected by Gorilla Glass 5 whereas the back panel is also glass, lending for a relatively premium feel in the hand, despite of the phone’s plastic frame.

The lightning bolt in the centre of the phone is a neat design element

In addition to Realme branding on the back, you also find a clean looking quad-camera setup, which we will discuss in detail at a later stage. But little touches like the side-mounted fingerprint scanner doubling as the power button on the right edge of the smartphone are appreciated. It is fairly easy to get used to and the experience is snappy.

In times when it is become increasingly rare, the 3.5mm jack may be a surprise to many

Otherwise, you are looking at a secondary microphone on the top edge and a relatively busy left and bottom edge. On the left, you find fairly tactile volume buttons and a hybrid SIM tray capable of housing two SIM cards and a micro-SD card simultaneously. Rounding off on the bottom, you find a 3.5mm headphone jack, the primary microphone, a Type-C USB port and a single speaker.

Display quality and refresh rate

The front of the Realme 6 Pro packs a 6.6-inch IPS LCD panel with a 2,400 x 1,080 pixel resolution. In most situations, the display should hold up fairly well including media consumption given its 84.7 per cent screen-to-body ratio. Indoors, it does not struggle too much at its 480 nit typical brightness however outdoors, this should prove to be slightly on the lower side. Furthermore, viewing angles of the display are average at best so if you plan to watch something with multiple people around you, it may prove to be difficult.

For general multimedia consumption, there is not much wrong about the Realme 6 Pro’s display

On thing that elevates the display’s experience though is its 90Hz refresh rate. While it may not have HDR certifications nor the saturation of an AMOLED panel, the faster display is a worthy trade-off. Elements of the UI exhibit a good level of fluidity which masks any stutters on the phone due to its hardware limitations. Especially for video watching, you benefit from Realme’s OSIE Vision Effect which makes content look a bit more fluid. This though is a feature that only some may like and varies on personal preference. One key drawback of the experience though is audio. Packing a single speaker, audio quality is underwhelming and given this scenario, using a wired or wireless pair of earphones is recommended.

Hardware and software performance

When it comes to processing power, the Realme 6 Pro is an interesting package. With 128GB of UFS 2.1 storage and 8GB of RAM, it has plenty of space for photos and videos. Not just that, RAM management too is fairly good. But the Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G processor on-board shows some underwhelming performance. This is evident when navigating the UI or when playing games. In some cases, it fell short compared to the MediaTek Helio G90T found on the Realme 6, which could be due to a lower average core clock speed.

Having used Realme UI extensively now, it is not much of an eye-sore anymore

While this is not a deal breaker, it is disappointing to see. Considering the Realme 6 offered some good performance, a ‘Pro’ smartphone would be expected to do better. But with the Realme 6 Pro, it is not necessarily the case. The phone also seemed to struggle with maintaining a strong WiFi connection and when loading a large library of photos. Lastly, it is also disappointing to see that the smartphone comes with no support for NFC, which by today’s standards is a must.

One thing budget smartphones could work on is an improved haptic engine

Despite this, it seems the phone handles software optimisation fairly well. We mentioned that it can load multiple applications and keep them in memory but the suite also offers a good level of customisation. Features such as a dark mode, screencast, Realme Share and its Smart Sidebar are all useful additions and I was able to pick back from the Realme 6 with no problem. This is one area where Realme has done well giving users only the necessary useful features unlike other brands which tend to cram a lot more bloatware. And for that reason, at least in our book, Realme UI on top of Android 10 is one of the better skins.

Camera features

As with most smartphones at this price range, they are capable of some good looking photos in well lit conditions. On the Realme 6 Pro, you find a 64MP primary sensor coupled with a 12MP telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom, an 8MP ultra-wide sensor and a 2MP macro one. Most notably, the addition of a telephoto lens makes far-away objects look much clearer. This is an improvement over the Realme 6’s hardware and photos even at 5x zoom are quite usable.

The 64MP quad-camera setup is quite capable

Using the 8MP ultra-wide sensor results in a quality drop. But as long as you have enough light in the shot, it should not be that drastic. Colour temperatures between the lenses also change however that is something that even high-end flagships struggle with so it is not a big deal. As for night time performance, you cannot fault the smartphone either. Night mode does a good job of enhancing images although its side effect is that introduces a fair bit of noise into the shot. Sometimes, you have to appreciate the camera though. Even in a moving car, it can take some relatively good looking photos as long as you stay stable.

Everyday video capture should also not be a problem, especially at Full HD resolution. Upping this to 4K though does introduce a few more jerks than what is ideal so it may not be worth it. The front of the smartphone comes with two cameras. A 16MP primary accompanied with an 8MP secondary one and while its ultra-wide angle utility is great, quality falls short. Selfies lack dynamic range and struggle with sharpness in low-light conditions.

Battery life and charging

On the Realme 6 Pro, you find a 4,300mAh cell that is easily capable of powering the phone through the day, if not more. In our usage, the phone was able to deliver a screen-on time of up to 9 hours on a consistent basis. This was with heavy use, including video watching, web surfing, a bit of Google Maps and tasks in the background.

You will not have to worry about battery life with the Realme 6 Pro

While you do not find wireless charging support, 30W wired charging is plenty. In our testing, it got us to 16 per cent from flat in 15 minutes, reaching the 34 per cent mark in half an hour. For a full charge, the smartphone took 1 hour and 18 minutes, which is higher than Realme’s claim of a 57 minute full charge. Regardless, daily battery backup is no issue and we can see the smartphone suitable for a variety of people.

Conclusion

In the past, we have praised Realme for its budget smartphone efforts. With the Realme 6 Pro, you get a decent smartphone at Dh1,199. While this may still appeal to a lot of individuals given its feature set and performance, we feel it falls short when it comes to value for money. The phone is a good case presenting how an exceedingly good product from a company can deter potential demand for its other products. And in this case, the exceedingly good product is the Realme 6. There is nothing more ‘Pro’ about the Realme 6 Pro to justify the higher price tag nor the name. So if you are in the market for a Realme smartphone in specific, the Realme 6 should be your choice.