Even before there were 5G flagships, it’s Realme’s Pro series that really stuck its name in people’s minds. The Realme Pro smartphones were probably one of the few smartphones that could compete head-to-toe with Xiaomi’s offerings at the time. Now in its fifth iteration, the Realme 6 Pro takes on the Poco X2 and a Redmi Note 9 Pro along with some of its own siblings like the Realme X2. This is also now the first Realme number range with the Pro tag to go beyond Rs 15,000. Is the walk justified? Among many other choices, is the Realme 6 Pro the one you need? Let’s figure it out –
The Realme 6 Pro is powered by the new Snapdragon 720G. It is a mid-range chipset based on an 8nm manufacturing process and features Kryo 465 Gold and Silver cores clocked up to 2.3GHz. The SoC comes with an Adreno 618 GPU which is also present in the Snapdragon 730G. The G in the name refers to Qualcomm’s Elite Gaming suite of features. In addition, there is up to 8 GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 128 GB of UFS 2.1 storage. We received the top variant for review and right away it feels way too smooth for a mid-range smartphone. Here’s what the benchmarks say:
The Snapdragon 720G performs neck and neck with the Snapdragon 730G. The Realme 6 Pro scored 281462 on AnTuTu, slightly less than the SD730G on the Poco X2, while on the Geekbench 5 CPU it scored 571 and 1676 on single and multicore tests respectively. Even on Mobile Xprt and PCMark Work 2.0, these two smartphones were indistinguishable.
The GPU numbers weren’t available for the Poco X2 (Xiaomi decided to play the bummer again!) But comparing the frames shown on three GFXBench tests shows that the Adreno 618 on the SD730G outperforms the same Adreno 618 on the Realme 6 Pro. Technically it can’t be the same, but since Qualcomm doesn’t reveal too much about its GPUs, there’s no telling what’s going on here. For now, GPU performance follows the hierarchy with SD730G offering more for the rear than the SD720G, at least as far as the Realme 6 Pro is concerned. Let’s see what happens in gaming –
I played Call of Duty: Mobile and PUBG Mobile on the Realme 6 Pro and the results were quite impressive for a phone in this segment. Watch the video for more deets.
Call of Duty: Mobile ran at 60 FPS with a decent 84 percent stability, while PUBG Mobile ran at 30 FPS with an impressive 100 percent stability with all settings maxed out. Interestingly, pushing the graphics on PUBG Mobile to 40FPS but not touching 60FPS.
Looking at the CPU performance while gaming, the Snapdragon 720G seems to have enough resources to reach higher frame rates, but the two primary cores were limited to 1.9GHz while it has a threshold of 2.3GHz. But without knowing the GPU performance, there’s no way to tell, and GameBench doesn’t show stats on Adreno GPUs.
The Realme 6 Pro is indeed quite fast from the get-go, but there are chinks in this armor that seem to be teething problems of the new UI. This one runs on the new RealmeUI, which is basically a fork of ColorOS 7, but refined with flatter icons and a more stockUI-like feel. It doesn’t quite come close to how fast a flagship smartphone from Realme feels, but you get most of the software features in the Realme 6 Pro. That includes a OnePlus-esque focus mode, gaming space, and some impressive privacy-friendly features. Call blocking, personal data protection and payment protection are just some of them.
The app drawer is enabled by default and the 90Hz refresh rate display makes it feel really smooth and smooth. Compared to the Poco X2, it feels a little bouncy, but it’s much smoother than the 60Hz panels we’ve had in this price range before. There’s also not much impact on battery life at a 90Hz refresh rate. I haven’t really seen any significant battery drain during my use.
Now the bad side of this deal. Realme’s UI is packed with pre-installed apps that are mostly duplicates of Google services already offered and common on all Android devices sold outside of China. The phone has its own cloud backup service, an app market, a games market and more. These can be removed and will flood the notification shade (which is also the first thing you see on the lockscreen) with a barrage of headlines, mostly spam and clickbait. Some stink of scams to steal your money! Most of the stinky notifications I got were from the default browser app and you can’t delete it.
What it takes away from an ad-ridden software experience, it makes up for in terms of the camera performance. This is one place Realme has focused hard on with a dedicated cross-border image processing team and showing the results in their camera tuning. There are a total of six cameras on the Realme 6 Pro. Four at the back and two drilled into the display. All six work independently, making it one of the most versatile camera setups on a smartphone in this price range. How are the results? Damn good if you ask me!
Primary lens – 64MP with 26mm f/1.8 lens
The primary sensor from 64 MP is the Samsung ISOCELL GW-1, the same sensor that Realme has used in its flagship and high-end devices. And the optimizations on the Realme 6 Pro result in sharp, well-detailed photos with balanced tones, good dynamic range and plenty of detail.
By default, the camera shoots at 16MP after merging 4-in-1 pixels. The results are, as you can see, quite good. I wouldn’t have thought a mid-range smartphone took this one a year back. If I have to poke holes, it’s against Realme’s Dazzle Color mode. The image enhancement mode seems to have been tweaked to produce more saturation and contrast, often too much. These two pictures show how big the difference is
Dazzle mode is useful if you want to capture lush, green landscapes, but personally I’d like the option to add that extra color to my photos.
Ultra-wide angle lens – 8 MP with 13mm f/2.3 lens
The 8MP ultra-wide angle lens maintains consistency with the primary camera and applies the same color tones and sharpness levels, which are rare in this segment. The ultra-wide mode is also quite responsive and allows you to control the subject you want to focus on. Furthermore, there is very little distortion in the photos, which also means that much of the frame is cropped away to stabilize it.
Telephoto – 12MP lens with 54mm f/2.5 lens (2x optical, 5x hybrid zoom)
(At 2x optical zoom)
(At 5x hybrid zoom)
The consistency in image quality extends to the telephoto lens as well. It is adept at capturing detailed textures on distant objects. We tested it against statues and foliage and the results were above average in both cases.
Macro lens – 2MP with 22mm f/2.4 lens
The 2MP macro lens is the weakest link in this camera setup. It’s the only mode that feels amateurish and seems to have been included for the sake of it. On paper, it is able to approach objects as close as 4cm away, but the results are blurry, noisy images even in natural light with minimal detail.
The portrait photos are good enough for social media. It uses depth information from the telephoto lens and can take sharp pictures of fellow humans and pets. Personally, I’d turn off the beauty filter for more realistic results, but that’s just me. Beauty mode smoothes the skin, removes imperfections and makes you look more beautiful.
The Realme 6 Pro uses
Despite a gaming-heavy processor, plenty of camera sensors and a 90Hz display, the Realme 6 Pro manages to last well over a day. The 4,300mAh battery was a tough nut to crack with our video loop test, with the device able to run for well over 27 hours before dying out. Games like CoD: Mobile drained the battery by 3 percent after 15 minutes of gaming, while a 30-minute binge of Tiger King on Netflix drained the battery by about 4 percent. Both numbers are on the lesser side, and less is better when it comes to battery loss.
The 4300mAh battery also charges in under an hour thanks to the 30W VOOC charger. We managed to charge 50 percent of the battery in less than 30 minutes, which is pretty neat, especially if you have to be on the road for most of the day.
Design and display
The Realme 6 Pro is arguably the most beautiful device the company has made in this price range. This time, Realme has used glass on both sides, Gorilla Glass 5 to be exact and the finish has a lightning flash on the back that radiates when light is shone on it. Stellar stuff, and I believe a lot of people might buy it just based on looks. However, the frame itself is polycarbonate with thick reinforced edges. However, the screen stretches dangerously to the edges, so any drop could damage the panel, Gorilla Glass or otherwise.
The Realme 6 Pro also feels sturdy and firm in the hand. The screen size may have increased, but the body itself feels compact and can be used on the go. The side-mounted fingerprint sensor has its pros and cons. The good part is that you press the power button and scan your finger at the same time, which makes the unlocking process almost instantaneous if you do it right. And it’s terrifyingly accurate. The Fingerprints section in the Settings app has two options: Light Touch and Firm Touch. With the former, even the lightest press will activate the scanner, while the latter requires you to press a little harder, which I think is the better option to avoid accidental unlocking. Which you get when you use the side-mounted fingerprint sensor on the Realme 6 Pro. Just want to take a peek at your lockscreen notifications? New. Home screen it is. There has to be a way to make it contextual.
Speaking of which, the 90Hz display is fast and smooth, but it’s not the brightest. I struggled to read text on the screen in the sun and the colors all looked faded. Inside it’s just too lively. The panel defaults to Vivid Screen mode, which explains the punchy colors. You can make it a little softer if you want by selecting the ‘soft’ screen mode. The panel also has a cooler hue that becomes more apparent in dark mode.
The Realme 6 Pro comes across as a well-rounded device with the right mix of hardware to keep up with the latest market trends. A high refresh rate display, a gaming-oriented processor, multi-camera setups and more make the Realme 6 Pro a tempting purchase. And in its quest to be fashionable, the Realme 6 Pro is about Rs 15,000. More than that, a major downside to recommending the device is the annoying ads and notifications that flood the phone within hours of use. The Realme 6 Pro offers consistent camera performance, long battery life and decent gaming.