While the budget smartphone market in India is still dominated by Xiaomi, Realme doesn’t leave a chance to give its Chinese compatriot a run for its Renminbi. Realme competes with Xiaomi’s line-up at almost every price point. Moreover, it also has Narzo series phones for a good measure. The latest device in its kitty, the Narzo 50 5G, comes with a 90Hz display, 48MP camera, 5,000mAh battery, and 33W fast charging. With a starting price of ₹15,999, it not only takes on the Redmi Note 11 but also challenges in-house Realme 9 5G. But, is it any better? Let’s find out.
Like most recent budget smartphones, the Narzo 50 5G has a flat design. The straight lines and sharp edges look nice. However, these are somewhat unpleasant in terms of ergonomics. For instance, the flat sides dig into your palm. Moreover, I feel the slightly curved back would have offered a better grip.
Our review unit has a reflective blue paint job, which is quite common these days. If you prefer something sober, there’s a grey option, which Realme calls “Hyper Black”. Both hues have a lattice pattern that fades from bottom to top. Overall, there’s nothing to get excited about here.
Subscribe to OnsitegoGet the latest technology news, reviews, and opinions on tech products right into your inbox
The phone is 8.1 mm thick, which excludes the camera bump. Speaking of which, the camera module comprises two lenses and twin LEDs. The Narzo 50 5G comes with a recessed lock button embedded with a fingerprint scanner, which is impressively fast.
According to Realme, the handset comes with stereo dual speakers. Since the Narzo 50 5G has only one speaker grille, I guess the device uses an amplified earpiece for secondary sound output.
The 6.6-inch LCD screen with Full HD+ resolution. Realme has tuned the display for a 90Hz refresh rate. For gaming, the display supports a touch sampling rate of 180Hz. Packing in 1080 x 2408 pixels, the screen has a pixel density of 400 ppi, which is quite good for a budget phone. On the flip side, the screen’s waterdrop notch looks dated.
As per Realme, the display has 600 nits of peak brightness. If you crank up the brightness manually, it can go as high as 400 nits. On auto mode, the screen can go as bright as 550 nits under the afternoon Sun.
This IPS (In Pane Switching) panel delivers decent colour reproduction. However, it is no match for the vibrancy offered by OLED screens. So, those who prefer a great display, are better off with the likes of the Redmi Note 11.
The Narzo 50 5G runs Android 12 out of the box with Realme UI 3.0 on top. The company’s Android customisation is quite good. The icons are uniform and the widgets are restrained. There’s no shortage of personalisation options. This includes some nice touches such as automatically applying wallpaper colour to system elements. It is reminiscent of Finnish brand Jolla’s ill-fated Sailfish OS.
The multitasking and app opening animations are quite fluid. You get a split-screen option to run two apps side by side. Furthermore, the Realme UI 3.0 offers a floating window feature for video playback. Some pre-installed apps such as File Manager and Phone Manager are useful. On the other hand, Realme forces some unwanted apps such as Josh, Moj, Dailyhunt, and Mx Takatak on users.
Performance-wise, MediaTek’s Dimensity 810 5G chipset delivers on its promise. For a budget phone, the Narzo 50 5G is quite swift. The majority of apps run without any noticeable slowdown. Paired with the Realme UI 3.0, MediaTek’s chip offers good stability too.
Moving on to gaming, the phone only offers Low and Medium graphics quality in COD: Mobile. By default, the frame rate is set to Medium but you can take it a notch higher at High. At these settings, the game runs at 60 fps.
For those interested in numbers, here are popular benchmark scores.
The device’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios worked as they should. The 4G VoLTE worked fine on the Jio network in Mumbai circle. The phone supports multiple 5G bands including n1, n5, n8, n28, n41, n77, and n78.
They say, “looks can be deceiving”. That’s pretty much the case with Narzo 50 5G’s large camera module, which gives you a false sense of hope about its photography chops. In reality, the handset sports a primary 48MP camera along with a mere 2MP depth sensor. The setup lacks a wide-angle lens. As a result, you get a standard and 2X zoom option in the viewfinder.
Coming to the subject of quality, the main camera pulls off good results in well-lit scenes. It captures a good amount of detail. What’s better is that the colours look punchy without coming across as exaggerated.
Things go south in low-light conditions. The detail gets fuzzy around the lamps. You can notice smearing in the dark areas. Furthermore, the camera produces an unwanted lens flare effect.
Things are quite disappointing when it comes to video recording. The highest video quality Narzo 50 5G can deliver is 1080p @30fps. It also lacks optical as well as electronic stabilisation. Therefore, videos look quite jittery unless you have completed sniper training.
The 8MP selfie camera captures very good images in daylight. The separation of subject and background is mostly accurate when using the portrait mode. The low-light selfies are good too save for a bit of noise.
The Narzo 50 5G packs in a 5,000mAh battery, which can easily get you through an entire day. If you game a lot, you may have to juice up the device in the evening. Speaking of which, the bundled 33W fast charger tops up the battery from 1 to 50 percent in around 35 minutes. After that, the charging slows down to protect the battery’s health. To fully charge the drained battery, the phone takes roughly one and a half hour.
The Narzo 50 5G is a mixed bag. It is neither good nor terrible. The phone is well-built but has an uninspiring design. The LCD screen is no match for the quality of OLED panels you can easily get in this price range. On the other hand, Realme has done a good job in terms of battery life. While the phone’s day-to-day performance is good, it can run games such as COD: Mobile at just Medium graphics quality.
All in all, the handset is unlikely to stand out in the crowded budget smartphone market. For those planning to purchase a budget smartphone, the Redmi Note 11 is still your best bet. If you want to stick with Realme, the 9 5G is a very good option.
Realme Narzo 50 5G
- Sturdy build
- Runs Android 12 out-of-the-box
- Long battery life
- Supports 5G networks
- Lacks wide-angle camera
- Cameras struggle in low light
- Video recording capped at 1080p 30fps
- Dated waterdrop notch
- Lacklustre LCD
- Uninspiring design