At this point, Realme has announced so many phones in the budget segment that it is hard to keep track. The Narzo 50A Prime, priced at Rs 11,499, is an upgrade to the Narzo 50A (review) from last year but in terms of specs and design, it resembles the recently-launched Realme C35 (review). I believe that the Narzo 50A Prime places itself in a highly concentrated segment with a few phones in contention from Realme’s own stable while the rest come from Xiaomi, Motorola, and more. Let’s find out in this review if the 50A Prime can be top of your list under Rs 12,000.
The Realme Narzo 50A Prime relies on its sturdy build quality and reasonably nice display to wade through the budget smartphone segment’s murky waters. The chipset used is decent enough and so is the battery life, but you can get better specs from devices that are similarly priced.
- In terms of design, the Narzo 50A Prime tries to replicate a glass-like finish from its polycarbonate construction. It does look more premium than quite a few budget phones but just as a personal choice, I would’ve loved a matte finish more. The phone has a boxy design with sharp corners that jut into your palms. In general, the Narzo 50A Prime is a bit heavy and also thick, making it less than ideal to carry around in a jeans pocket. The camera housing is slightly raised from the chassis, the fingerprint sensor is integrated with the power button and on the bottom, there is a headphone jack and speaker unit along with a USB C port.
- The Narzo 50A Prime has an LCD display that refreshes only at 60Hz but offers FHD+ resolution. It measures 6.6-inch diagonally and has chunky bezels on all sides including a water drop-style notch on the top. The viewing experience on the device is nothing out of the ordinary with average colour reproduction and viewing angles. Brightness levels do feel adequate to me at 600nits and there is WideVine L1 certification for HD content on OTT platforms.
- The triple-camera setup on the device consists of a 50MP primary shooter alongside a 2MP macro and a depth shooter. Photos from the main sensor are passable with sharpened-up details, low dynamic range, and slightly saturated colours. Focus speeds were acceptable but the exposure levels were not handled quite well. The 50A Prime can take somewhat decent shots in low-light conditions. Noise levels are lower than I had expected and with assisted lighting, details in the subject can come out quite well. As for the portrait mode, background separation generally remained good but made a lot of mistakes when the lighting dropped. The macro shooter does a worse job for the most part and its low-resolution shots are not going to appear great on a bigger screen anyway. Finally, there is the selfie shooter which takes overprocessed images with slightly off-putting skin tones and facial smoothening.
- Processor-wise the Narzo 50A Prime joins a long list of smartphones that have recently opted for the services of Unisoc. In this case, it is the Unisoc T612 that has been made using a 12nm fabrication process. Budget phones don’t really push the boundaries of processing capabilities and the Narzo 50A Prime is no different. It works well with light to medium usage like Chrome or app switching. However, on more intensive tasks it will falter quite a bit. The device comes with up to 4GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 128GB of UFS 2.2 internal storage that can be expanded to 1TB using a microSD card slot.
- As for the speaker setup at the bottom of the device, it is nothing great and the headphone jack provides little solace. The fingerprint sensor does have fast authentication speeds and the phone works reliably on the Jio network in Noida. In terms of software, a stripped-down version of the Realme UI, called R Edition, is running on the device. It works quite similarly to Android Go in that it removes excess apps that clog the performance and, in turn, provides a much cleaner UI. You can read about it here in my Realme C35 review. The device has a 5,000mAh battery that can charge at 18W. It can easily last the entire day on normal usage and on PCMark’s Battery test the phone got a healthy score of 16 hours 15 minutes. However, Realme has not provided a charger with the box.
The Realme Narzo 50A Prime and the Realme C35 are identical phones save for the use of a Unisoc T612 SoC being employed on the former as compared to the T616 SoC on the latter. Budget phones have consistently gotten quite better over the years and Realme does have a significant bearing on that success. However, crowding the market with multiple phones does make things quite confusing. At Rs 11,499, several options such as the Infinix Note 11 (review), Moto G31, and others offer better specs, while the 50A Prime’s redeeming factors are its design and relatively clean software. Also, the phone doesn’t come with a charger inside the box, which all other competing products provide.
Editor’s rating: 3.5 / 5
- Good design
- Nice display
- Solid battery life
- No charger inside the box
- Macro sensor is poor