Realme’s Narzo 10 smartphone range was launched earlier in the year. These smartphones are designed to be affordable and offer great mobile gaming performance. The Narzo 20 Series will make subtle improvements to the existing series.
This refresh cycle also saw the introduction of the new Narzo 20 Pro. Realme’s Pro model offers the best gaming-grade hardware for a low price.
However, I was unable to convince myself of the Realme Narzo 20 Pro’s “Pro gamer” branding after using it for a week. It is, however, a budget smartphone.
Let’s take a closer look at the features that make this a gaming phone. The gaming-grade MediaTek Helio G95 chipet and 90Hz display are the highlights. Take a look at the camera’s performance.
It displays at 90Hz
The display is adequate for an average LCD panel, but it isn’t very bright and has a slight yellow tint. You can adjust the screen to change the color temperature and to set the whitepoint. There are not presets that let you change the color scheme. The saturated colors will be the default. This display may be suitable for gamers.
Although it isn’t a significant leap to go from a 60hz refresh LCD to a budget display at a 90Hz refresh rate LCD, it is noticeable. Optimizing the software will make the device feel fluid. Realme Narzo 20 Pro is different, as we’ll see in the software section.
The OnePlus Nord is a wonderful example of how hardware and software can both play a critical role in creating a seamless experience. All of this is possible for a higher price. The 90Hz display is not very good so why include it? Realme thought they had something to offer.
It attracts smudges. All smartphones I have reviewed had their screen protectors removed. The same process was used to remove the screen protector on the Realme Narzo 20 Pro review device.
The display lacks an oleophobic coating and turned out to be messy. Keep a small container of lens cleaner handy in case your lenses get smudged.
Worse, the 20 Pro was created to be a gaming smartphone. You will feel sweaty and greasy after hours of playing Call of Duty: Mobile. The smudge patterns can be used to tell me if I was playing Asphalt, or Call of Duty Mobile.
Narzo 20 Pro’s back was finished with a V-shaped texture. It was a nice touch. The Ninja White version of the Ninja White is not white. It isn’t “gaming-y” in any way. It’s a simple, elegant design that looks amazing, but not as radical or industrial as the mobile gaming community would prefer.
Software needs polish
Realme UI didn’t provide the 90Hz refresh rate feeling. This could be because of the stuttery interface.
There might be some hiccups. Swipe from the home screen to the Google News feed. Scrolling through Chrome browser web pages by pulling down the Notifications Bar. These jitters are annoying and common.
Some software optimization issues may be caused by the shiny new MediaTek chipset. These are minor issues and will hopefully be corrected with a future software upgrade. However, as of the time this review was written, there wasn’t one.
Once you are registered, it’s very easy to use the app. It doesn’t really matter what you do, whether you scroll through Instagram or YouTube videos or chat with friends on WhatsApp. It’s a fun experience.
Gaming performance is mixed
Let’s take a look now at the performance of the smartphone in gaming. This is its only purpose.
The MediaTek Helio G90T was well-known for its amazing gaming performance but it also had a tendency to be very power hungry on the Redmi Note 8 Pro. The (12nm), Helio G95 has improved things. The power problem appears to be solved thanks to Realme’s software optimizations.
The new chipset is based on the same architecture, but increases the GPU clock speed by an additional 900 Mhz. This is sufficient for high-end gaming.
I’m done playing PUBG right now so I tried Call of Duty Mobile, Asphalt 9 Legends and Shadowgun Legends. I also tried MudRunner, which is a graphics-heavy port from PC to mobile.
All other games, except COD Mobile ran as expected. All graphics settings were set at max (or high) and all games ran well. Amazingly, the games ran smoothly on a budget phone.
After 20 minutes of gaming, it warms up but you don’t feel the heat at its back. Although the display glass at the front heats up, it is not as hot as the Realme 7 Pro, which is a smaller overall smartphone.
While playing COD Mobile at any level beyond ‘Medium’ graphics, the phone heats up. After playing a few games, it heats up on the front screen. Things such as loading characters and menus start to slow down.
You should also be aware of the touch sampling rate of your display.
High refresh rate screens have one thing in common: most people will use the 90Hz refresh rate for their day-to-day activities. It is likely that you will be switching between apps, scrolling through chats and browsing through news feeds. Mobile gaming does not require a high screen refresh rate. Budget smartphones can’t keep up with 60Hz screens and 40fps. The screen’s touch sampling speed is what really matters. This was an issue with the Narzo 20 Pro.
This problem with touch sensitive was especially evident when playing multiplayer FPS. The display is very slow to keep up with your aim when you aim. I also lost a lot Frontline battles in COD.
Shadowgun Legends also had lag. It didn’t impact gameplay as much as single player missions that can move at a slower pace.
This is a problem that’s common in fast-paced multiplayer games like Fortnite or COD. You must stop the player (not a bot) who is pointing a gun at you.
Although the speaker at the bottom of the box is very loud, it’s not very clear. It’s a smart idea to connect a pair of third-party headphones before you begin playing a game.
The Battery Life is Amazing
The 4,500 mAh battery of this phone is enough to last the entire day. This phone is ideal for heavy gaming. It was always charged to 30% at the end of the day, so I rarely had to take it out after a long day. This enabled me to stream video for hours before I had the urge to plug it in to go to bed.
The Narzo 20 Pro includes a 65W Super Dart charging station. This is an unusual feature among budget gaming phones. It is a bit heavy to transport a thick cable and a charging brick, but I think it is well worth it. In just 38 minutes, it can charge from 0 to 100%. This is an impressive performance for a smartphone less than $100.
The camera doesn’t look terrible
While you might not expect it to be able to take pictures on a gaming phone, it can. The primary 48 MP camera is capable of capturing good quality images with a good dynamic range and high resolution. Even though the colours are not displayed on the phone’s saturated display, they look very natural on a laptop. Similar results were also observed when I used a 16MP selfie camera. The phone’s edge detection works flawlessly, no matter if it is software enabled on its front camera or with the help of the B&W portrait camera on the back. If there’s enough light, the 8MP ultra-wide angle camera can take excellent photos. However, it lacks details. To complete the specification sheet, the macro camera with 2 MP is only there.
No matter what camera you use, low light can blur details. A selfie camera can suffer from severe noise reduction, which results in loss of detail. The ‘Night mode’ doesn’t make things any easier, but it does improve the dynamic range.
Video recording is best used for emergencies and when it is absolutely necessary. While 4K mode offers the best overall video quality, it lacks stabilisation. The 1080p 30fps video has poor detail and tends to shift as you move around a scene. The 1080p 60fps video is more detailed than the 30fps footage, but it suffers from the same exposure problems as the 30fps footage and has focus hopping issues.
Do You Need One?
I chose the top-end Realme Narzo 20 Pro. The price is Rs 16,999. It comes with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. At Rs 14,999, the base model with 6GB RAM + 64GB storage is also available. The base variant with 6GB RAM and 64GB storage is not recommended due to several issues I encountered during my review.
At Rs 14,999, the Poco M2 Pro gaming smartphone is far superior. It is more intuitive today than when it was first launched. The M2 Pro has a solid 120Hz touch sampling rate, 33W charging, and a Snapdragon720G chipset. It also features slightly better cameras, including one of 5MP.
If you are willing to spend an additional Rs 2000, the recently launched Poco X3 could be a good choice. The Poco X3 was priced at Rs 16,999, features a Snapdragon 732G chipset, a touch sampling speed of 240 Hz, and a lithium battery with 6,000 mAh. Check out our review to find out if this is the right product for you.
Another reason the Narzo 20 Pro is not appealing is its sibling, The Realme 7. (review). The Realme 7 is priced at Rs 14,999, and it’s not a gaming smartphone. It is a budget package that offers the same gaming capabilities and features as the Narzo 20 Pro.
The Narzo 20 Pro is in an odd position. Realme 7 has a similar package and hardware. For serious gamers who enjoy playing a lot of FPS games, the Narzo 20 Pro may not be suitable.