Over the past couple of years, Realme has competed real hard with Xiaomi, particularly in the midrange smartphones segment, and in the process, raised the performance bar several notches. Realme has had at least one competing model for almost every release from the rival camp. But over the past couple of quarters, they seem to have overdone it. So much so that one of their new models may struggle to carve itself a niche in the segment.
The company recently released its new budget midrange Realme 6 series in India that comprises the Realme 6 and 6 Pro for now. Today, we take a closer look at the Pro model and see what it has to offer.
There's nothing strikingly bad about Realme 6 Pro, but there's nothing great either, except the back.
For starters, the Realme 6 Pro isn't exactly a successor to the Realme 5 Pro, especially given its higher price tag. Realme 6 seems like a better fit for that position in more ways than one. Nor is the 6 Pro a logical progression of the Realme XT. So where does it fit in, if at all? Let's find out.
Realme 6 Pro Design: A tad bulky and heavy
I have been fond of Realme designs to date, but I didn't find the Realme 6 Pro that appealing. There's nothing strikingly bad about it, but there's nothing great either, except the back. The Realme 5 Pro had a plastic back, and though the design was visually appealing, it was prone to scratches. The Realme 6 Pro not only has an uber-cool back panel with a lightning bolt optical effect, it's also made of glass, which is a lot more resistant to scratches.
However, there is no mention of any scratch-resistant protection for it. Unlike the Realme XT and X2, Corning Gorilla Glass is limited only to the screen here. But I couldn't see any scratches on the back after two weeks of testing. Though it isn't exactly free of smudges, the Lightning Blue variant manages to conceal fingerprints and smudges pretty well.
Realme 6 Pro could have easily been more compact, slimmer and lighter, without missing out on a single feature.
Smartphones seem to be getting bigger and bulkier these days, and Realme 6 Pro joins that bandwagon with a large 6.6-inch screen, over 9 mm thickness, and a weight close to 200 grams despite a plastic frame. And it's not just in theory, the phone does feel quite bulky and heavy when you hold it; not a pleasant feeling. This phone could have easily been more compact, slimmer and lighter, without missing out on a single feature.
This phone can accommodate two 4G Nano-SIMs along with a dedicated micro SD card in a single tray along its left edge. The volume keys are placed just below that. The power button can be found along the right edge and also doubles up as a fingerprint scanner. On the face of it, this sounds cool, but it's not. The location of the scanner is not a problem as it's easy to reach with the thumb (at least for right-handers) while holding the phone. The problem is that it's placed on the power button " so every time one wants to check the lock screen for notifications, you end up unintentionally unlocking the phone.
The scanner is highly responsive though and it often unlocks the phone even before you can press the power button fully. So, you need to press the button with some other finger (ideally on the other hand) which hasn't been registered with the scanner to check the lock screen. It's too much gymnastics and gets irritating after a while.
The camera placement is exactly the same as it was in the case of Realme 5 Pro, XT or X2, with all four sensors vertically aligned at the back, near the edge, on a slight elevation. The elevation makes the phone wobble a bit when you place it on its back. If you use the bundled (transparent) back cover, it sits steady.
There is a half-inch long cutout at the top left of the screen for front cameras. And it's not exactly in the corner either, thus wasting a good thumb's width of screen real estate where you are generally used to seeing the time and notifications. A small notch at the center of the screen still feels like a better position for front cameras. But it is a matter of individual taste.
Lastly, a USB Type-C port, 3.5 mm audio jack and the speaker grille can be found along the lower edge of the phone.
Realme 6 Pro Key specifications
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G SoC " 2 x 2.3 GHz Kryo 465 Gold cores + 6 x 1.8 GHz Kryo 465 Silver cores
GPU: Adreno 618
RAM: 6 GB or 8 GB
Storage: 64 GB or 128 GB UFS 2.1 internal storage + dedicated micro SD slot
Display: 6.6-inch Full HD+ display with 90 Hz refresh rate and Corning Gorilla Glass 5
Cameras: 64 MP (main) + 8 MP (ultra-wide) + 12 MP (telephoto with 2x optical zoom) + 2 MP (macro) quad cameras; 16 MP (wide) + 8 MP (ultra-wide) selfie cameras
Battery: 4,300 mAh battery with bundled 30 W VOOC 4.0 fast charger
OS: Android 10 with Realme UI
Misc: Bluetooth 5.1; Dual-band WiFi a/b/g/n/ac
Realme 6 Pro Price in India
- Rs 16,999 for 6 GB Ram with 64 GB internal storage
- Rs 17,999 for 6 GB Ram with 128 GB internal storage
- Rs 18,999 for 8 GB Ram with 128 GB internal storage
Realme 6 Pro Display: A sharp screen with 90 Hz refresh rate
The company has opted for an LCD display on this phone, unlike Super AMOLED on some of its siblings available in this budget. The 6.6-inch Full HD+ display with a resolution of 2400 x 1080 pixels is pretty sharp, despite the pixel density dropping a shade below 400 PPI. The black levels and contrast aren't exactly as good as that on the Realme XT's AMOLED screen, but the difference in quality isn't huge. More importantly, the colour reproduction is pretty much on the money and colours look natural.
Realme touts a screen brightness figure of 480 nits and it doesn't feel like an exaggeration. The screen can get quite bright and is legible even under bright sunlight. The standout feature here is the 90-Hz refresh rate that makes it flicker-free while scrolling through compatible apps. Scrolling through content and social media feed does feel smoother as compared to a regular screen. However, do not expect the 90 Hz benefit to extend to gaming.
The screen is protected by a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 5. On the flipside, the screen feels a bit too big and one-handed operation is out of the question. But those who like big screens won't be complaining. The camera cutout on the screen can be a bit of a distraction initially and takes a while getting used to.
Realme 6 Pro Performance: Good all-round performance for the segment
We all know by now that the Realme 6 Pro is powered by Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 720G SoC. They made sure we know. The 720G is supposed to be a slightly scaled-down version of the Snapdragon 730G used in the Realme X2 and Poco X2.
It is an Octa-core chip with two Kryo 465 Gold cores running at 2.3 GHz each and six Kryo 465 Silver cores running at 1.8 GHz. The 730G uses bit more powerful Kryo 470 cores. However, both chipsets use the same Adreno 618 GPU, which is good news for gamers.
(L-R) 3D Mark Vulcan score and Open CL score
There was absolutely no lag in day to day operations or even when switching between multiple apps running at the same time. My test unit had 8 GB RAM, but I don't think there would be any noticeable difference even on the 6 GB RAM variant. In performance benchmarks, it posts some impressive scores that are right between the Mediatek Helio G90T and Snapdragon 730G (though that gap is very narrow). In Geekbench 5, it recorded a single-core score of 571 as opposed to 498 on the Redmi Note 8 Pro (with the G90T). The Multi-core score was also nearly 10 percent higher at 1,699 vs 1,552 on the Redmi. The G90T itself is a fairly powerful chip and providing 10 percent extra muscle in system benchmarks is an impressive feat for the 720G.
However, the scene in graphics benchmarks is a bit different. The Snapdragon 720G cannot beat the OpenCL performance of the G90T in Geekbench 5. It managed to score 1,167 which is a marked improvement over hte 936 on the Snapdragon 712 chip in the Realme XT/5 Pro, but nowhere near 1,827 that the Helio G90T chip could manage. In the 3DMark Sling Shot Extreme " Vulkan benchmark, the Adreno 618 GPU comes close with a score of 2,345, but cannot go past the 2,412 scored by the Mali-G76 MC4 GPU (on the G90T).
Ironically, the cheaper Realme 6 also uses the Helio G90T SoC, which, as per these test results, would be a better alternative for gamers, theoretically, as compared to the 6 Pro.
Let's not forget that these are synthetic benchmarks, and should be looked at as reference points only and not the word of God. To test real-world gaming performance, I tried PUBG Mobile on it with fairly high settings. I managed to play the game smoothly without any hiccups. The same goes for Asphalt 9 too. The phone didn't heat up much either after 15"20 minutes of gaming, which is another plus. So, I think the Realme 6 Pro is a good option for gaming enthusiasts on a budget.
Call quality is good with nothing unusual to report. The phone can deliver hi-res audio that is Dolby Atmos compliant. Unfortunately, I did not have any high-end earphones handy to delve deeper into the audio department. The phone speaker is pretty loud with more than decent clarity.
Realme 6 Pro Battery performance: Good battery life, even better fast charger
The Realme 6 Pro has a non-removable 4,300 mAh battery that easily lasts a day and a half of normal usage that includes generous use of messaging and social media apps, browsing, clicking a few photos and half hour of watching videos and gaming each. That is more than decent battery life, I would say. What's even better is the bundled charger.
The company bundles a 30 W VOOC 4.0 charger that charges the phone from 0 to 100 percent in just 65 minutes. That is as good as it gets in this segment. To put things into perspective using numbers, the Realme XT's 4,000 mAh battery goes from 0 to 100 percent in about 87 minutes using the VOOC charger bundled with that phone. It takes 25 percent less time here despite the Realme 6 Pro having a higher capacity battery. Great job!
Realme 6 Pro Camera performance: Impressive photography and 2x optical zoom
The Realme 6 Pro cameras are pretty good for the segment and produce some crisp shots in most conditions. The rear camera department has a combination of four cameras comprising a 64 MP primary shooter, a 12 MP telephoto camera that facilitates 2x optical zoom, an 8 MP ultra-wide camera, and a 2 MP macro camera. As you can see, there is no separate depth sensor here, which is a good thing; it's almost redundant in this age anyway.
The primary camera allows you to capture images in 64 MP if you wish to, but in standard mode, it captures in 16 MP with pixel binning. The 64 MP mode doesn't offer major improvements over the standard mode, but you may use it if you want to print the captured images or crop a certain section of the image. However, you will have to deal with three to four times larger file sizes " upwards of 20 MB per image.
In standard mode, the quality of captured images is quite good, with vibrant yet natural colours and ample detail. Noise levels are kept well in check. HDR works well here and it's best to leave it in Auto mode. The camera app lets you choose between normal, ultra-wide, 2x and 5x zoom. You can switch between standard Photo, Video, Night, Portrait and 64 MP mode. Macro mode can be found under more options.
The Portrait mode works very well with good foreground and background separation. The camera app also allows you to manually adjust the level of blur. The images come out pretty good, be it human subjects or other objects. Interestingly, the standard photo mode also does a good job of automatically blurring the background in certain scenarios.
As with most mid-range phones, the 8 MP ultra-wide camera here doesn't exactly set the world on fire. It is a good option to have when you need a broader field of view, but details in captured images are nowhere close to that of the main camera. Images shot in bright light manage do retain a decent amount of detail, but as the light drops, quality drops quickly.
Moving on to the telephoto camera, you get 2x and 5x zoom toggles. The 2x mode gives you optical zoom, while 5x is essentially a hybrid/digital zoom. Images captured using 2x zoom come out sharp with good amount of detail. Surprisingly, images shot using 5x zoom in bright conditions look pretty decent too on the phone's screen, if you plan to use them on social media. You need to have a very steady hand for that though, or a tripod. The phone also brags about a 20x hybrid zoom; it is best left untouched.
The 2 MP macro camera has been around on Realme phones since the Realme 5 series. Captured images are strictly OK at best, with average details. You cannot really expect miracles from a 2 MP camera. That is one mode I would like to see evolving on phones this year. Redmi has bumped it up to 5 MP on their Note 9 series.
Low light photography on the Realme 6 Pro is actually quite good for the segment, even when you do not enable night mode. Images turn out quite sharp and manage to retain a good amount of detail on most occasions. You will also encounter a few focusing issues from time to time, especially when focusing on nearby objects. The night mode works well too, making the images brighter without going over the top. You need to stay steady for an extra couple of seconds when using the night mode for best results. And all this without turning on the LED flash.
Selfie enthusiasts will love the front cameras on this phone. You get a combination of 16 MP (wide) and 8 MP (ultra-wide), and you can easily switch between the two with just one tap. Captured images are sharp and the skin tone looks natural. The ultra-wide camera comes in handy when taking group selfies. The front cameras also capture good quality portrait shots with excellent background separation. They can also record videos at 1080p Full HD resolution.
Speaking of videos, the rear cameras on the Realme 6 Pro can record videos in 4K resolution at 30 fps and 1080p videos at 30 and 60 fps. Captured 4K footage looks sharp, but there is no stabilisation. 1080p videos shot on the main camera look quite sharp too and there's electronic image stabilisation that does its job well. The phone lets you shoot with the ultra-wide and telephoto cameras too, which is a fun option to have (in good lighting only). But for best results, stick to the main camera.
OS and user interface: Fairly clean UI but with preinstalled bloatware
The Realme 6 Pro runs Android 10 out of the box with Realme UI 1.0 on top. It got updated to the March 2020 security patch recently. This is not too different from Color OS 6 found on older Realme phones; it's just the next iteration and a bit more polished.
It is one of nicer phone user interfaces around. It is fairly clean, snappy, and easy to use, and you get an app drawer. If you have used stock Android UI before, you will adapt to Realme UI pretty quickly.
One issue here though is that the phone comes bundled with too much bloatware. Thankfully, you can uninstall most of it and block a lot of unwanted notifications. I didn't see any intrusive ads during the course of my testing, except a few in the default browser. You cannot uninstall the browser but you don't need to use it as you also get Google Chrome preinstalled on this handset.
Final words: A good all-round phone that may get lost in the Realme clutter
All said and done, is the Realme 6 Pro worth your hard earned money? I will answer this in two parts.
Firstly, as a standalone device, there isn't much wrong with the Realme 6 Pro and it won't disappoint a majority of the buyers. It has competent hardware, a sharp display, good cameras, great battery, fairly clean UI, and a reasonable price tag. What more can one ask for in a midrange phone? Ironically, this is one of the very companies that raised the expectations of users in this budget. And therein lies the second part of my answer.
The Realme 6 Pro may be good, but there are others like it or better that you can buy for a similar price, and most of them from Realme itself. For just a thousand Rupees more, you have the Realme X2 with similar features, a more powerful Snapdragon 730G SoC, and a Super AMOLED screen, though not with a 90 Hz refresh rate. The Poco X2 from the rival camp offers a 90 Hz display as well as a Snapdragon 730G for a thousand Rupees less. The biggest threat, though, comes from its own sibling, the Realme 6, that offers pretty much everything that the Pro variant offers (but with a Mediatek Helio G90T chip) at a good Rs 3,000 lower.
The only noticeable thing lacking in the above three phones is 2x optical zoom, which isn't that big a deciding factor among the majority of buyers. Thus, Realme 6 Pro, despite being a good phone, may not be able to stand out in the crowd and carve a niche for itself. It may probably end up being a victim of Realme's strategy of releasing too many phones too frequently.
Having said that, if you happen to buy this phone, it won't disappoint you (especially the 6 GB RAM / 128 GB storage variant). But the Realme 6 (non-pro) would still be a smarter buy as it offers better value for money overall without losing out on any key features.