Realme 6 Pro first impressions: Five things we liked and four things we didn’t

Over the past couple of years, there has been one brand in particular that has gone toe to toe with Xiaomi in the smartphones market and raised the performance bar in the midrange segment, and that’s Realme. Realme has had at least one competing model for almost every release from the rival camp. Now, the Oppo sub-brand has just released its new budget midrange Realme 6 series in India that currently comprises the Realme 6 and 6 Pro.

I’ve been testing the Pro model for the past couple of days and here are our initial thoughts about the new Realme 6 Pro. A detailed review will follow soon after putting it through a few more paces.

The Realme 6 Pro is powered by a Snapdragon 720G and features a 64 MP primary camera on the rear. Image: Anirudh Regidi/Tech2

What I liked about the Realme 6 Pro

A bright, 90 Hz display

High refresh rate displays have now arrived in smartphones selling around 15K too. Though the Realme 6 Pro is not the first to bring a 90 Hz display to this segment, it’s good to see one on this phone. Scrolling through content and social media feed does feel smoother. Though we do not have an AMOLED screen here, the display can get fairly bright and go as high as 480 nits, making it easily legible outdoors on a bright day — another big plus.

Higher capacity battery and a faster charger

One thing I have admired about the Realme phones is their charging solution. The company has been generous enough in bundling a VOOC fast charger even with some of their sub-Rs 15,000 phones. So I wasn’t surprised to see one here, but things just got even better. Not only does the Realme 6 Pro have a higher capacity 4,300 mAh battery, you now get a 30 W VOOC 4.0 charger with it that charges it from 0 to 100 percent in just about an hour. This segment of smartphones continues to get richer.

Even more attractive glass back

One issue with the Realme 5 Pro was its plastic back. Though the design was attractive, it was prone to scratches. The 6 Pro not only improves on the back panel design (the lightning bolt looks damn cool) but you now have a glass back that is a lot more resistant to scratches. You don’t need to hide the funky back behind a cover anymore.

Telephoto lens for 2x optical zoom

I have never been a fan of increasing the number of camera modules at the back, especially when some of them are present just to make up the numbers for the marketing team. Case in point — a separate depth sensing module, which is almost redundant in this day and age. Thankfully, there’s no dedicated 2 MP depth sensor here (as on the Realme 6), that’s been replaced by a far more useful 12 MP telephoto lens that facilitates 2x optical zoom. The 64 MP primary camera, 8 MP ultrawide camera, and a 2 MP dedicated macro camera retain their places. I’ll delve further into image quality in my review.

It’s good to have 6 GB RAM + 128 GB storage as an option

This combination for me is probably the most ideal for phones in the 15K to 20K range, especially those with a midrange to upper midrange SoC. Unfortunately, it was missing in the Realme 5 Pro as well as the Realme XT. Either you had a 6 GB RAM + 64 GB storage option or you had to go with an 8 GB RAM variant if you wanted 128 GB of internal storage. 8 GB RAM is overkill for midrange chipsets and you pay for something you may probably never utilise. So it’s good to see a 6 GB RAM with 128 GB internal storage option available here on the Realme 6 Pro.

What I didn’t like about the Realme 6 Pro

Confusing nomenclature

Word on the street is that the Realme 6 is the successor to the Realme 5 Pro, and the Realme 6 Pro is a further enhanced version of the Realme 6. While that’s not a big issue, there seem to be too many Realme phones that are not very different from each other, crowding the Rs 16,000 to Rs 19,000 budget range. You have the Realme XT, X2 and now the 6 Pro all selling for more or less the same price. It is bound to confuse the consumer. Too many options is not always a good thing.

Phone feels bulky

Phones seem to be getting bigger and bulkier for no apparent reason. The 6 Pro joins that bandwagon with a large 6.6-inch screen and weight close to 200 grams. And it’s not just on paper, the phone does feel quite bulky and heavy when you hold it; it’s not a pleasant feeling. A larger screen doesn’t mean a sharper display either. Case in point, even the lower priced Realme 6 or the last generation 5 Pro or XT have a higher pixel density than the 6 Pro. This phone could have easily been more compact, slimmer and lighter without missing out on a single feature.

Dual punch-hole camera placement will take getting used to

This point is a bit subjective, but a half-inch black blob for front cameras at the top left of the screen feels a bit disconcerting. 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 centre of the screen still feels like a better option. But as always, I guess we have to get used to it as a lot of phones this year are opting for that look.

Awkward placement of fingerprint scanner

The Realme 6 Pro has a fingerprint scanner along the right edge of the phone on the power button. The placement itself is not a problem as it’s easy to reach with the thumb (for a right hander) while holding the phone. The problem is that it’s placed on the power button — so everytime I wanted to check the lock screen for notifications, I would unintentionally unlock the phone. You have 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 gets quite irritating.

That’s about it for first impressions for now, my full review should be coming soon enough.

Realme 6 Pro price in India: Rs 16,999 for 6 GB RAM / 64 GB storage; Rs 17,999 for 6 GB RAM / 128 GB storage; Rs 18,999 for 8 GB RAM / 128 GB storage.