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Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G Review: A Powerful Phone at an Aggressive Starting Price

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Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G Review: A Powerful Phone at an Aggressive Starting Price
Budget 5G smartphones are all the rage right now, even though 5G isn’t available in India yet, and yet we’re seeing brands launching 5G offerings by the dozen. The latest entrant now is the Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G which launched on February 24. It started as a trickle last year and in 2021, and we already have a handful of really good smartphones under Rs. 30,000 that are ready for the next-gen, high-speed network.

The challenge among manufacturers seems to be who can offer the most affordable 5G smartphone and for now, that title goes to the Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G. With a starting price of Rs. 16,999, it’s currently the least expensive 5G phone in India. Add to that a high refresh rate display, a large battery with fast charging and a powerful SoC — and you have yourself a pretty feature-packed smartphone.

It’s time to find out if it’s a worthy upgrade over the Narzo 20 Pro (Review) and just how much value does it offer.

Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G price and variants

For Rs. 16,999, you get 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage in the base variant of the Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G. The higher-end variant costs Rs. 19,999 and here, you get 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, which is the variant that I’ll be reviewing. Both variants offer LPDDR4X RAM and UFS 2.1 type storage.

Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G design

We’ve talked about the design in my first impressions piece and my opinion hasn’t changed much even after a week of using it. The all-plastic body has held up well so far, ergonomics are good, and it doesn’t feel very heavy even though it weighs about 194g. The Blade Silver colour that I have looks nice and it does a good job of hiding fingerprints, although it would have been nice to see some sort of a design here as without it, it ends up looking a bit bland.

The side-mounted fingerprint sensor works very well. All that’s needed is a quick tap to unlock the phone. Face recognition is equally quick. All the physical buttons are placed within the reach of your fingers, with good tactile feedback.

The Realme Narzo 30 Pro is built well but looks a bit bland without the usual pattern on the back panel

I quite like the display too, which is large and vivid. It’s a 6.5-inch full-HD+ LCD panel with good levels of brightness and colour saturation. I would have liked an AMOLED panel on the Pro model, but I think the inclusion of a 120Hz refresh rate makes up for it. One thing I noticed is that on the default ‘Auto’ setting, the display runs at 90Hz and not 120Hz, which seems to be by design according to Realme. You’ll have to manually set the refresh rate to 120Hz to get the smoothest effect, which is fine since even on this setting, the refresh rate will adapt to what’s on screen and switch between 120Hz, 90Hz, and 60Hz.

Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G specifications and software

The Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G runs on the MediaTek Dimensity 800U SoC, which has a built-in 5G modem, and is quite powerful and power efficient. It’s also present in Realme’s own X7 (Review) smartphone, which happens to be priced exactly the same as the variant of the Narzo 30 Pro 5G that I’m testing. We’ll get into the value prospect of both phones later on.

You can expand the internal storage of the Narzo 30 Pro 5G via the hybrid SIM slot, but this means sacrificing the use of a second SIM card. There’s dual-band Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.1, and the standard suite of sensors and support for multiple satellite navigation systems. There’s no NFC or any official IP rating for water resistance, although Realme claims that it can survive light splashes of water.

realme narzo 30 pro 5g first impressions screen aa

The display on the Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G is bright and has good colour saturation

Software on the Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G is a bit of a letdown since it’s still Android 10 and not 11, which is what many others are offering. It’s not a deal-breaker since it should be one of the first phones in line to get the Realme UI 2.0 update which is based on Android 11, soon. The current version is still highly functional and I don’t really have any complaints with it. There’s plenty of shortcuts, gestures and options to customise your experience of the phone. Some of the pre-loaded apps have the tendency to clutter your notification shade with alerts but you can disable this or simply uninstall most of them.

Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G performance and battery life

Performance of the Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G has been pretty solid all around in the short time I’ve been testing it. The Dimensity 800U is a powerful SoC and it easily handles multitasking or demanding tasks such as gaming, pretty easily. I didn’t notice any heating issues either, except for maybe gaming, where the back of the phone gets a bit warm. The interface feels snappy thanks to the high refresh rate and scrolling through most system menus or even apps feels very fluid. The display has excellent legibility too making it easy to view content even under sunlight.

The bottom firing speaker gets failry loud and the volume is amplified a bit thanks to Dolby Atmos, which is permanently enabled for the loud speaker. While the sound quality is good, don’t expect any surround effect from this single speaker. The vivid colours of the display also makes it a good device for watching movies and TV shows. Games such as Call of Duty: Mobile and others also ran smoothly, with very playable framerates.

realme narzo 30 pro 5g first impressions fingerprint sss

The side-mounted fingerprint sensor on the Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G is quick at authentication

Overall, the Narzo 30 Pro 5G is a dependable smartphone for everyday use. As I mentioned in my first impressions piece, there’s nothing really brand new here that we haven’t already seen before on Realme smartphones, which makes the experience feel very familiar, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. 5G is new for a phone at this price, but since 5G networks aren’t commercially live yet in India, I wasn’t able to test it out.

This brings us to battery life, which is also pretty solid. The Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G features a 5,000mAh battery which easily lasts for more than a day with heavy to medium usage. The phone also supports 30W Dart Charge fast charging, which is a big downgrade from the 65W charging on the Nazro 20 Pro, but gets the job done. It takes a little more than an hour to fully charge the battery, which is still pretty quick. The phone lasted just shy of 17 hours in our battery loop test, which is a good sign.

Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G cameras

The cameras on the Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G are your run-of-the-mill setup. There’s a primary 48-megapixel camera, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera, and a 2-megapixel macro camera. In the front, you get a 16-megapixel selfie camera. As far as the rear cameras go, you’ll most likely end up using the primary camera for a majority of your shots since it’s the most competent. The ultra-wide camera has its uses but it’s best left untouched in low-light situations.

Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G main camera sample (tap to see larger image)

Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G ultra-wide camera sample (tap to see larger image)

Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G Portrait mode camera sample (tap to see larger image)

During the day, the main camera captures good details and colours in landscape shots. The AI scene enhancer has the tendency to boost colours when it detects the sky or foliage so if you want natural colour tones, then leave it off. Close-ups have excellent details too with a smooth bokeh effect for the background. You only get a 10x digital zoom for stills but instead of doing this, cropping your subject from a native 48-megapixel photo generally yields slightly better results.

All the staple shooting modes that we’ve seen on past Realme phones are present, such as Portrait, Expert, Slo-mo, Pano, etc. The macro camera is not great so I’d recommend using it only if you absolutely need to.

Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G Night mode camera sample (tap to see larger image)

Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G ultra-wide camera sample with Night mode (tap to see larger image)

I found low-light performance to be a bit lacking, especially for landscape shots. The lack of details is very evident in the photos, even without magnifying the image. Close-ups fare a bit better but provided there’s decent amount of light on your subject. Night mode helps in improving the exposure but not so much when it comes to details.

Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G selfie Portrait mode camera sample (tap to see larger image)

The selfie camera is not bad if you’re shooting outdoors on a bright, clear day. Details and exposure are handled well and the default skin smoothening isn’t too aggressive. Skin tones are a bit of a mess if you’re shooting in low light and using the screen flash. This could have been better.

For video, the autofocus system in the Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G works very well as long as there’s ample light around your subject. Video quality is decent during the day although not great. Stabilisation works at 4K and 1080p 30fps but there is some visible jitter in the footage. Sadly, you don’t get any stabilisation with the ultra-wide camera. Low-light video quality is quite poor unfortunately. Footage is generally grainy and details are below average.

Verdict

The Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G is a fairly competent all-rounder from the company and a modest upgrade overall compared to the Narzo 20 Pro. The weak low-light camera performance is probably its biggest negative point, among other minor niggles, but it does have quite a few redeeming features. The 120Hz display, 5G support, good performance, and strong battery life are some of the main reasons you should consider the base variant at Rs. 16,999, which offers very good value.

The top-end variant offers comparatively lesser value since it competes with many other, good 5G smartphones in the Rs. 20,000 segment. Realme’s own X7 starts at the same price as the top-end Narzo 30 Pro 5G and offers the same MediaTek 5G SoC. While the Realme X7 (Review) lacks a high refresh rate display and a similar capacity battery, it makes up for it with an AMOLED screen with in-display fingerprint sensor, 50W fast charging, and a slimmer and lighter design. You also have the Xiaomi Mi 10i (Review), which offers even better features compared to the Narzo 30 Pro 5G for a bit more money.

The bottom line is, if you’re considering the Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G, I’d recommend sticking to the base variant.


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Microsoft Partners With Inworld to Bring AI Game Development Tools to Xbox

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Microsoft Partners With Inworld to Bring AI Game Development Tools to Xbox


Microsoft is teaming up with Inworld AI to create game development tools for Xbox, enabling developers to create characters, generate entire scripts and quests, and more. The multi-year deal brings an AI design copilot and an AI character runtime engine to the forefront, both of them being totally optional to use and to varying degrees. Of course, the use of AI in art has been criticised by many for simply lacking originality, in addition to running the risk of fewer jobs for artists — a growing fear among many considering the alarming number of layoffs seen at game studios this year in an attempt to cut costs.

“At Xbox, we believe that with better tools, creators can make even more extraordinary games,” Haiyan Zhang, GM, Xbox Gaming AI, said in a blog post. “This partnership will bring together: Inworld’s expertise in working with generative AI models for character development, Microsoft’s cutting-edge cloud-based AI solutions including Azure OpenAI Service, Microsoft Research’s technical insights into the future of play, and Team Xbox’s strengths in revolutionizing accessible and responsible creator tools for all developers.”

The aforementioned AI design copilot is a toolset that will help game designers turn prompts into scripts and dialogue trees. In contrast, the character runtime will enable dynamically generated plot beats and quests. We’ve already seen heavy AI integration in games by way of procedural generation — a more recent example being the 1000+ planets in Starfield. Not to mention, enemy AI has been around for way longer.

Inworld made headlines in August when it launched a modded story mode for Grand Theft Auto V, Sentient Streets, in which players had to investigate the rise of a bizarre AI-worshipping cult — a segment loaded with characters that spoke in AI-generated dialogue, on the fly. The mod was later taken down by publisher Take-Two, leaving a permanent strike on the creator Bloc’s YouTube channel. As per The Verge, Inworld’s AI technology can also be used for narration in top-down RPGs to warn players about any events awaiting off-screen and respond to questions like we’ve seen in the past year with AI chatbots like ChatGPT and Bing Chat. Microsoft has also been heavily banking on artificial intelligence, having made a $10 billion (about Rs. 83,254 crore) investment in OpenAI. The company has also integrated AI tools into its popular suite of services and also added an AI copilot to Windows.

Despite being a Microsoft-affiliated AI toolset, it would be interesting to see whether titles using them will be allowed to thrive on other platforms. In July, Valve claimed that it would be cracking down on games that included AI-generated assets if the developer didn’t own the copyright to the piece of art. For the uninitiated, when you insert a prompt to create something in AI, the software simply repurposes existing assets found online and mushes them together — basically stealing from other artists and writers without appropriate commercial licenses. Infringing them would lead to the game not being distributed on Steam, forcing the developers to seek proper licenses for the asset by reaching out to the AI companies involved. It’s unclear how Microsoft’s partnership will play out — as long as AI content is being used as a catalyst to innovate and create something new, it should be fine.


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BSNL Offers Free 4G SIM Upgrade: Here’s How to Get It

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BSNL Offers Free 4G SIM Upgrade: Here’s How to Get It


BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited) is a state-owned telecommunication company in India. Earlier this year in May, the government said that the firm started rolling out 4G services in the country. By December, the networks were said to be upgraded to 5G. However, at the India Mobile Congress, BSNL chairman P K Purwar said that the company will launch 4G services in December and then roll it across the country by June 2024. The chairman added that the 5G upgrades will take place after June next year.

In a post on X shared by BSNL’s Andhra Pradesh (@bsnl_ap_circle) unit, the company confirmed that BSNL users can upgrade their older 2G or 3G SIMs to a 4G SIM for free. Not only will the upgrade be free, but a promotional image shared with the post suggests that users who opt for the upgrade will also receive 4GB of free data that will be valid for three months. It is speculated that BSNL is aiming to boost its upcoming 4G services with this offer. The announcement was first spotted by Telecom Talk.

To access the free data offer and the free upgrade, BSNL users are requested to get in touch with executives at BSNL’s Customer Service Centre, franchisee or retailer stores, or contact one of their Direct Selling Agents (DSA). The promo image also adds in a finer print that the offer is available with certain terms and conditions, but hasn’t detailed any, so far.

Reliance’s Jio recently launched the 4G-supported Bharat B1 feature phone in India. The handset is priced at Rs. 1,299 in India. Alongside 4G connectivity, the phone comes with JioCinema and JioSaavn applications pre-installed.

The Jio Bharat B1 is equipped with the JioPay application, which is said to allow users to make UPI payments. Aiming to increase accessibility, the phone supports 23 languages overall, including multiple regional languages.


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Realme GT 5 Pro Teased to Feature 3,000 Nits Display; More Details Revealed

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Realme GT 5 Pro Teased to Feature 3,000 Nits Display; More Details Revealed


Realme GT 5 Pro’s launch date is not far away. The Chinese smartphone brand on Tuesday (November 7) confirmed the arrival of the new GT series smartphone in its home country. The Realme GT 5 Pro is teased to come with a display with over 3000 nits of peak brightness. It is also confirmed to pack a larger heat dissipation area for thermal management. The handset will ship with Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC. The Realme GT 5 Pro is expected to come as a successor to the Realme GT 5 that debuted in China in August.

Realme, via Weibo, announced the arrival of the Realme GT 5 Pro in China. The display of the handset is confirmed to offer 3000 nits peak brightness. It has also been teased to offer heat dissipation with a surface area of around 10,000mm2. It is confirmed to ship with Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC. The post doesn’t specify the exact launch date of the smartphone, however, given the release of the teasers, the launch could be just around the corner.

The Realme GT 5 Pro has been in the news a lot lately. It is expected to feature a 6.78-inch (1,264×2,780 pixels) AMOLED display and is tipped to come in 8GB, 12GB, and 16GB RAM options along with 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB inbuilt storage options.

For optics, the Realme GT 5 Pro is said to have a triple rear camera unit comprising two 50-megapixel sensors and an 8-megapixel shooter at the rear. The camera setup might include a Sony LYTIA LYT808 sensor, an OmniVision OV08D10 secondary sensor, and a Sony IMX890 telephoto sensor. For selfies, there could be a 32-megapixel sensor at the front. It is said to carry a 5,400mAh battery with support for 100W wired charging and 50W wireless charging.

The Realme GT 5 Pro is expected to come with upgrades over Realme GT 5. The latter was launched in China in August with a price tag of CNY 2,999 for the base model with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.


The Motorola Edge 40 recently made its debut in the country as the successor to the Edge 30 that was launched last year. Should you buy this phone instead of the Nothing Phone 1 or the Realme Pro+? We discuss this and more on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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