The Realme Narzo 10A is the more affordable model in the new Narzo series, and is garnering a lot of attention for a high-profile launch. Priced under Rs. 10,000, the Narzo 10A doesn’t promise as much as the Narzo 10, but if you’re looking for a new budget phone, this should be a solid addition to your list of likes. Even before we got the phone, we could say with some confidence that the Narzo 10A will do well in our review, as it is almost identical to the Realme C3, which was launched earlier this year and dominated our buying guide. Is.
Luckily for Realme, major competitor Xiaomi is yet to launch its Redmi 9 series in India. The company may have chosen 10 as its product name to mess with Xiaomi, as the Narzo 10A will go up against the Redmi 9a whenever it is launched.
However, anyone who recently bought the Realme C3 (Review) would probably be annoyed as the Narzo 10A costs just Rs. 500 more and fixes a major complaint we had. Read on for our full review.
realme narzo 10a design
The Narzo 10A is exactly the same size and shape as the Realme C3, and is in fact markedly thinner than the Narzo 10 (Review). It would be impossible to tell any of these devices apart when viewed from the front. That said, Realme has gone in a dramatic new direction with the rear shell of this phone. The bold patterns, textures and gradients of the other Realme models are gone – in their place you’ll find a completely flat white or blue with a giant Realme logo split across the entire length of the device.
The logo looks really prominent realme ads And marketing materials, but it’s actually quite subtle personally on our So White review unit. If the light isn’t hitting this phone at right angles you can’t even see it. The texture of the lettering is slightly raised and overall it is quite unobtrusive.
We like the fact that the Narzo 10A is built tall and relatively narrow, with a 20:9 aspect ratio display and 89.8 percent screen-to-body ratio. The back isn’t slippery which is a good thing as you’ll have to turn the phone around in your palm to reach all the corners of the screen. There is a waterdrop notch at the top, and Realme ships this phone with a pre-applied scratch protection film. Unfortunately you don’t get a plastic case in the retail box.
The power button is on the right, and the volume buttons are on the left, along with a triple-slot card tray. We’re disappointed to see a micro-USB port on the bottom instead of the more modern Type-C port. There’s also a single speaker and a 3.5mm audio socket. A very interesting feature is the fingerprint sensor at the back, which the Realme C3 lacks.
The only other noticeable difference between these two models is the third camera in the bump on the Narzo 10A. This is a 2-megapixel macro camera, which combines the 12-megapixel main camera and 2-megapixel depth sensor that are also found on the Realme C3. The vertical camera bump itself is something we have now seen on several generations of Realme phones.
If you are looking for sleek design in sub-Rs. 10,000 price segment, the Narzo 10A delivers. It looks fresh, even though it’s essentially the same old Realme C3 (or at least its international version) with a different rear shell. Not everyone will love the huge logo on the back, but a protective case will easily hide that.
Specifications and software of Realme Narzo 10A
At the heart of the Narzo 10A is the MediaTek Helio G70 processor, and Realme touts its “ultimate gaming performance”, even if it’s an obvious stretch considering the segment we’re talking about here. In our review of the Realme C3 with the same processor, we noticed some stuttering while gaming, and we would expect the same here. There’s only one configuration – 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage – but of course you have to consider that the phone itself is just another smaller version of the Realme C3.
There is a 5000mAh battery but doesn’t support quick charging beyond 10W. Wired reverse charging is available, which will require a USB-OTG adapter. There’s also Bluetooth 5, Wi-Fi 802.11n, and GPS.
We have a 6.5-inch HD 720×1600-pixel screen that’s perfectly adequate for this price and our level of expectations in terms of brightness, sharpness, and color reproduction. You only get Widevine L3 DRM support for video streaming quality less than HD.
Overall there are a few surprises here. The Narzo 10A’s hardware represents great value. On the software front, we have the exact same Realme UI as on other recent Realme phones, running on top of Android 10. Our unit had an April 2020 security update. The Realme UI looks somewhat like stock Android, but offers a lot of visual customization and a number of value-added features. You can read all about these in our recent review of the Realme Narzo 10.
As with other budget Realme phones, there isn’t a huge amount of bloatware, but the browser app is full of promotional material and sends 3-4 spammy, sensational and sponsored “news” notifications every day. Hot Games and Hot Apps Store are also unnecessary.
realme narzo 10a performance
We didn’t face any major problems while using the Realme Narzo 10A for several days. The UI was generally smooth and fluid enough for day-to-day tasks. We did experience some stuttering while launching heavy apps and even scrolling through our photo albums. Switching between apps wasn’t always very fast, but that’s to be expected. The level of performance and finesse you get is still great for a sub-Rs. 10,000 phones.
The AnTuTu benchmark gave us a score of 180,905, and the results in Geekbench’s single-core and multi-core tests were 386 and 1,304, respectively. 3DMark gave us 1,612 points in our Slingshot test, and we saw frame rates of 52fps, 27fps, and 15fps in the T-rex, Manhattan, and car chase scenes, respectively. The Narzo 10A seems to do a similar business with the Realme C3, scoring only slightly better or worse in each test, although we tested that phone’s version with 4GB of RAM.
As far as gaming is concerned, which is one of the selling points of Realme for this phone, we had a pretty decent experience. PUBG Mobile ran relatively well on the High graphics preset, though we found the gameplay to be smooth and the quality down a bit. Asphalt 9: Legends wasn’t completely fluid in spots, but enjoyable nonetheless. Ten minutes after playing these games, the back of the phone got a little hot.
The fingerprint sensor and face recognition both worked quickly and seamlessly. We enjoyed games and videos on the screen, though of course the size and resolution aren’t exactly ideal. The sound from the single speaker was a bit rough and not that loud.
Where the Narzo 10A really stands out is the battery life. We were repeatedly surprised to see how slowly the battery level percentage dropped during our review period. Especially when left alone, standby power drain was minimal and if your usage pattern includes less than 2-3 hours of screen-on time per day, you could go several days without needing to recharge .
We streamed movies, played games, used the cameras, and browsed the Internet full time with the Narzo 10A, and we could last a charge in as little as a day and a half. Our HD video loop test lasted 26 hours, 20 minutes. It’s a pity that more modern fast charging isn’t supported, but 10W isn’t too bad.
Realme Narzo 10A Cameras
Once again, we find ourselves repeating what we have said about the Realme C3. The Narzo 10A packs a 12-megapixel f/1.8 primary camera with PDAF and AI Beautification, as well as a 2-megapixel depth sensor. The big change is the addition of a 2-megapixel macro camera. It’s not necessarily very useful due to the low resolution, but it can be fun to play with. The 5-megapixel f/2.4 front camera is also common to both the models.
Realme’s camera app is generally well-crafted, but there are a few quirks, such as the macro camera switcher being buried in the spillover menu. There are fewer shooting options than we saw on the Narzo 10 – the less expensive Narzo 10A doesn’t offer a night mode, and there’s certainly no pixel binning from the larger sensor, so no full-resolution mode either. That said, you still get pano, pro, and slo-mo video modes.
The primary camera is capable of capturing some decent landscapes and closeups in daylight, but don’t expect good quality. Details were lacking and objects looked a bit artificial even at a distance. Exposure was handled well even in direct sunlight, but colors were dull and detail wasn’t sharp, especially in shadows and highlights. Portrait mode was almost fine, but it took some time and some effort to focus on the subject. Macros were just acceptable.
At night, the focus speed slowed down and we noticed that the Narzo 10A often failed to achieve focus lock unless we tapped the viewfinder itself. Detail was fuzzy and noise was unavoidable, even with plenty of ambient light in the frame.
The front camera is almost average during the day, but not worth trying to use at night. Beautification is on by default and there’s only one slider, as opposed to the individual adjustments for facial composition that you get on the Narzo 10.
Video looked overprocessed and colors were a bit blurry in bright sunlight, but overall the quality wasn’t too bad. There’s no stabilization at 1080p and so you won’t get good results while on the go. Details aren’t great at night but you’ll get usable footage if there’s enough artificial light.
Realme has done a good job with the Narzo 10A considering the price of just Rs. 8,499. It’s pretty powerful considering its price, and it’s not missing any key features. Battery life is excellent, the cameras are workable, the display is big, and the overall look is quite sleek.
However, this phone is virtually identical to the Realme C3 and hence the positioning of the Narzo 10A within a new, gaming-focused, youth-focused series is confusing. We think a lot of people who bought the Realme C3 back when it was first launched, would have preferred the Narzo 10A option for just Rs. 500 more – and it would have been even more disappointing if the Narzo series had been launched at Target in March.
If you don’t need a fingerprint sensor or a macro camera, then by all means save bucks. 500 and go for the base variant of the C3 instead. On the other hand, the C3 with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage costs just Rs. 500 and on Rs. 8,999 and seems to be a slightly better value, but you lose out on two additional features of the Narzo 10A. Of course, it’s also worth keeping in mind if you prefer the style of one of these models over the other—you really can’t go wrong, whichever one you choose from all three.
Is Redmi Note 9 Pro Max the best affordable camera phone in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts either RSSDownload the episode, or just hit the play button below.