Realme 6 Pro Review: A well-rounded affordable smartphone with a few premium features
Realme’s number series, which started off with the launch of the Realme 1 back in 2018, has been known to offer some great budget devices. But with the Realme C series now targeting the same price segment, Realme has upgraded the number series to offer mid-range specifications at an affordable price. Following the launch of the Realme C3 (review) in India earlier this year, Realme unveiled the Realme 6 and Realme 6 Pro in the market. The latest devices in the number series packs in some impressive hardware, like high refresh rate FHD+ displays and 64MP primary cameras, which were previously limited to higher-end devices.
The updated specifications, coupled with the affordable price tag, make the new Realme 6 series a compelling buy in the mid-range smartphone segment. The devices directly compete with Xiaomi’s recently launch Redmi Note 9 Pro series and the POCO X2, with the latter distastefully targeting the Realme 6 Pro on social media. So, if you’re in the market for a new mid-range Android smartphone and find yourself overwhelmed by the variety of different claims made by both Xiaomi and Realme on various platforms, then you’ve come to the right place. In this review, we’ll be taking a close look at the Realme 6 Pro to find out if it’s actually worth buying and how it stacks up against the competition.
Realme 6 Pro Specifications
|Specification||Realme 6 Pro|
|Dimensions and Weight|
|RAM and Storage|
|Battery & Charging|
|Android Version||Realme UI based on Android 10|
Realme 6 Pro Design
Realme has been making some bold choices when it comes to smartphone design in recent times. The Realme C3 from earlier this year had a Sunrise Design on the back with a grippy anti-fingerprint surface that gave it a very unique look. With the Realme 6 series, the company has taken things up a notch and the devices feature a lightning inspired design with a glossy finish that changes depending on the angle at which you look at the device. The Realme 6 Pro unit that I’ve been using has the Lightning Blue finish that looks quite eye-catching. The Lightning Orange variant, which I haven’t seen in person, also looks rather stunning in pictures. However, the Lightning finish on the back might not be everyone’s cup of tea and for that reason alone, some might prefer the cleaner, more minimal look of the POCO X2 or the Redmi Note 9 Pro.
Moving on, the back panel is protected by a layer of Gorilla Glass 5 and while it may feel plastic-y, you can rest assured that it won’t scratch up as easily as other plastic-backed phones. Unlike the POCO X2 and the Redmi Note 9 Pro, the Realme 6 Pro goes for a more traditional, vertically aligned quad-camera module on the back with a dual-tone LED flash right next to it, along with the AI Quad Camera branding. The Realme logo, which is vertically aligned with the camera module, rests right underneath it and it’s less of an eyesore than the one found on the company’s flagship Realme X2 Pro (review).
Over on the front, we have the 6.6-inch 90Hz display with a dual hole-punch cutout for the selfie cameras. The earpiece rests within the minimal top bezel and it’s protected by a perforated metal grate. Speaking of bezels, Realme has done a decent job of keeping the bezels slim on the Realme 6 Pro, at least on the top and sides. However, the bottom bezel is still quite chunky, but that’s a compromise we’re willing to make for a smartphone in this price range.
In terms of ports, the Realme 6 Pro features a USB Type-C port for charging and data syncing on the bottom edge, which is flanked by a 3.5mm headphone jack on one side and a single downward-firing speaker on the other. The primary microphone rests between the headphone jack and the Type-C port.
The device’s power button, which has a capacitive fingerprint scanner built-in, rests in a recess on the right edge. The recess makes the power button easy to locate when you’re not looking, and while I’m a fan of side-mounted fingerprint scanners, I don’t particularly like the placement of the one on this device as it leads to continuous accidental touches while I’m holding it.
This was a major annoyance as the device would often not unlock using the fingerprint scanner due to several incorrect inputs and I had to use the pin to unlock the device. The volume rocker can be found on the opposite edge, along with the triple-slot SIM card tray right above it.
Realme 6 Pro Display
The 6.6-inch hole-punch display on the Realme 6 Pro has a resolution of 1080×2400 pixels, with a 90.6% screen-to-body ratio and an aspect ratio of 20:9. While the Redmi Note 9 Pro also features a similar display, albeit with a hole-punch cutout in the center, what sets the Realme 6 Pro apart is the higher 90Hz high refresh rate support. In this regard, the POCO X2 takes things up a notch and offers a 120Hz high refresh rate display, which is one major reason why some would pick it over the 6 Pro.
Display brightness is another area where the Realme 6 Pro’s display trumps the Redmi Note 9 Pro. While the Redmi Note 9 Pro boasts a peak brightness of 450nits, the Realme 6 Pro offers users a peak brightness of 480nits. While the display brightness is still a bit lower than POCO X2’s advertised 500nits, users won’t face any visibility issues in direct sunlight.
While the high refresh rate support is great for users who are looking to purchase the device for gaming, those of you who are more interested in content consumption might be left a bit disappointed. The display doesn’t come with any HDR certification, like the one on the POCO X2, and while Realme claims that the device supports Widevine L1 certification, it currently doesn’t support Full HD playback on OTT apps like Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. In my testing, I also found that the DRM Info app displayed Widevine L3 support, instead of the claimed Widevine L1, which is rather disappointing. Even though Realme has already rolled out an update with a fix, the issue persists even after installing the update.
In conclusion, the display on the Realme 6 Pro is quite satisfactory for a device in this price range and it easily one-ups the one on the Redmi Note 9 Pro, especially because of the high refresh rate support. However, the lack of Widevine L1 support means that it won’t offer the best experience while watching videos on apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
Realme 6 Pro Performance
Powering the Realme 6 Pro is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G SoC, which you’ll also find on the recently released Redmi Note 9 Pro series. The Snapdragon 720G mobile platform was introduced just a few months ago and the Realme 6 Pro was the first device to make use of the new chipset. The Snapdragon 720G comes with a few minor improvements over last year’s Snapdragon 730/730G, including a higher clock speed for the performance cores. The chipset supports dual-frequency GNSS including India’s NavIC and Bluetooth 5.1 with aptX Adaptive.
In terms of performance, the Snapdragon 720G is at par with the Snapdragon 730/730G with some minor benefits in certain cases. I tested the Realme 6 Pro using the usual set of synthetic benchmarking applications in order to get an initial idea of the device’s performance. I also compared the results with the Redmi Note 9 Pro and the POCO X2, and here are my observations.
Since AnTuTu has now been removed from the Google Play Store, we’ll be kicking things off with Geekbench 5. In the cross-platform CPU benchmark, the Realme 6 Pro delivers a score of 565 in the single-core test and 1749 in the multi-core test. In comparison, the Redmi Note 9 Pro delivers slightly better results with 570 in the single-core test and 1780 in the multi-core test. The POCO X2, despite POCO’s several claims on social media, lags slightly behind with a single-core score of 550 and a multi-core score of 1742.
In the PCMark Work 2.0 benchmark, which simulates day-to-day tasks like editing documents, photos, videos, etc., the Realme 6 Pro takes a significant lead in most cases. The device delivers a score of 10437 overall, with the Redmi Note 9 Pro lagging far behind at 8314 and the POCO X2 falling in between the two at 9802. In the Web Browsing 2.0 test, once again, the Realme 6 Pro takes the lead with a score of 10211, followed by the POCO X2 at 9621 and the Redmi Note 9 Pro at 6984. The trend continues in the Writing 2.0 and Photo Editing 2.0 tests with the Realme 6 Pro taking the lead with 11103 and 22792, respectively. The device falls behind the POCO X2 in the Video Editing and Data Manipulation tests however, delivering a score of 6576 and 7289 respectively. In all cases, the Redmi Note 9 Pro lags far behind, however, it’s worth noting that the results showcased were taken using a 6GB RAM variant of the Redmi Note 9 Pro and 8GB RAM variants of the Realme 6 Pro and POCO X2, which is probably the main reason behind the Note 9 Pro’s comparatively poor performance.
Moving on to a more GPU-centric benchmark, the Realme 6 Pro manages to deliver a score of 2527 in 3DMark’s Sling Shot Extreme OpenGL ES 3.1 test and 2334 in the Vulkan test. Due to the fact that it uses the same Adreno 618 GPU as the Redmi Note 9 Pro, the scores delivered by the two devices are almost the same. While the POCO X2 also utilizes the same GPU, we weren’t able to run the benchmark on the device and therefore, it was dropped from the comparison.
CPU Throttling Test
In order to check the Realme 6 Pro’s thermal performance, I used the CPU Throttling Test app. The app repeatedly runs multiple threads (20 in our test) written in C language over a period of time (15 minutes in this case) to check if the CPU performance is throttled to prevent overheating. While the device doesn’t feel warm to the touch under intense load, we noticed minor throttling (5%) when running the test at 50 percent battery. In comparison, the throttling is more pronounced when the battery is low or when the device is charging.
Finally, to test the storage performance I ran the Androbench storage benchmark on all three devices. Since all three phones in the comparison come with UFS 2.1 NAND storage, there’s only a minor difference in their performance. As you can see in the graph above, the Realme 6 Pro managed to post Sequential Read speeds of 504.32 MB/s, Sequential Write speeds of 196.64 MB/s, and Random Read speeds of 128.98 MB/s, which were quite comparable to the competition. However, due to some reason the device lagged far behind in the Random Write test, posting speeds of just 14.81 MB/s, in comparison to Redmi Note 9 Pro’s 117.34 MB/s and POCO X2’s 130.82 MB/s.
Based on the aforementioned results, it’s safe to say that the Realme 6 Pro is among the best performing devices in this price segment. I didn’t notice any jitters or lags in daily usage and the gaming performance was also satisfactory. In games like PUBG, the Realme 6 Pro supports the “Ultra” frame rate (40fps), but it doesn’t include support for the HDR setting. COD Mobile runs at the “Max” frame rate (60fps) at High graphics settings and “Very High” frame rate at “Very High” graphics. In both of these titles, I noticed no frame drops of any sort, even during long gaming sessions. In less demanding titles like Alto’s Odyssey and Breakneck, the 6 Pro barely breaks a sweat and if you’re a fan of similar arcade-style titles, you won’t face any issues with the device.
Realme 6 Pro Battery Life
The Realme 6 Pro packs in a respectable 4,300mAh battery with support for 30W VOOC Flash Charge 4.0. While the battery is definitely smaller than the ones found on the Redmi Note 9 Pro and POCO X2, the device easily lasted me well over a full day of use on a single charge. I consistently got a screen-on-time of over 5.5 hours with the 90Hz display option turned on and well over 6 hours with the option turned off with my daily usage. I was always left with close to 40 percent battery at the end of the day, which lasted me another half day as there was minimal battery drain overnight. At times when I pushed the device by binge-watching videos or playing several games of PUBG, the device was left with around 20 percent battery towards the end of the day. When it comes to charging, the included 30W charger works quite well and takes just about an hour to charge up from 10 percent to 100 percent. However, the device does become slightly warm to the touch when it’s charging.
Realme 6 Pro Cameras
The Realme 6 Pro packs in a quad-camera setup with a 64MP Samsung ISOCELL Bright GW1 primary sensor, coupled with a 12MP telephoto camera, an 8MP ultra-wide camera with a 119º field of view, and a 2MP macro camera. On the front, the device has a 16MP Sony IMX 471 sensor, coupled with an 8MP ultra-wide camera with a 105º field of view.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic precautions, I wasn’t able to test the Realme 6 Pro’s cameras to their full potential which is why I’ll be skipping the detailed camera review. However, I was able to capture a few images before the lockdown and I do have to say that the night mode performance was quite spectacular. Here are a few images I clicked with the various cameras on the Realme 6 Pro.
Primary 64MP camera
Night mode selfie
Based on all the information shared above, the Realme 6 Pro is a compelling buy for anyone looking for an affordable Android device with a high-refresh-rate display and good performance. The Lightning-inspired design may be quite polarizing, but it’s bound to attract the attention of onlookers. In terms of specifications, Realme is offering a well-rounded package that should address all your needs. The Realme 6 Pro is undoubtedly a massive upgrade over the Realme 5 Pro from last year, thanks to the high refresh rate display, the Snapdragon 720G and 30W fast charging support. On top of that, the recent improvements to Realme’s operating system make it a better buy than similar MIUI powered devices, but that boils down to personal preference.
If you’re in the market for an affordable Android smartphone and want the best bang for your buck, then the Realme 6 Pro offers a better package overall when compared to the Redmi Note 9 Pro (review). However, in case you’d much rather go for an even better display and a great camera, you can’t go wrong with the POCO X2 (review) which packs in an impressive 120Hz display and Sony’s flagship 64MP IMX686 primary sensor.