Realme C3 Gaming Review: Excellent Budget Gaming Performance with the MediaTek Helio G70
Realme opened shop in India back in 2018 with the Realme 1 — a MediaTek Helio P60 powered budget handset that proved to be the beginning of a remarkable journey for the brand. At first, the brand released a slew of budget handsets aimed at the growing number of first-time smartphone buyers in the country. However, Realme has since matured into a formidable smartphone player in India with a strong portfolio of offerings in a few different categories. In addition, the company has also expanded to several international markets, including Europe, where it offers some of its most popular mid-range and flagship devices. Over the course of last year, Realme launched more than 10 smartphones in the 18 countries where it currently operates, and the company finally entered the value flagship space with the launch of the Realme X2 Pro (review). Realme made yet another bold move late last year with the launch of the Realme X50 5G in China, which is the first 5G-enabled smartphone from the company. While Realme was preparing to launch the X50 and the upcoming X50 Pro internationally, the company kicked off 2020 with the launch of the Realme C3 — an entry-level smartphone in the sub ₹10,000 category.
As its name suggests, the Realme C3 is the third device in the company’s C Series that offers entry-level specifications at a very affordable price point. Much like the Realme C1 and C2, the C3 packs in an entry-level processor, an HD+ (720p) display, and a dual-camera setup. However, while the C1 and C2 packed in tried and true SoCs like the Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 and MediaTek Helio P22 respectively, the Realme C3 is the first smartphone to be powered by the new MediaTek Helio G70 chipset. The SoC was announced earlier this year in January and, at the time, MediaTek marketed the SoC as a chip for budget gaming smartphones. The octa-core CPU features a combination of ARM Cortex-A75 big cores clocked at 2GHz and ARM Cortex-A55 little cores clocked at 1.7GHz. Much like the Helio G90T, which is a more powerful gaming chip from the company, the G70 also features MediaTek’s HyperEngine technology which is meant to enhance gaming performance. We’ve already taken a look at the performance of the Helio G90T in our review of the Redmi Note 8 Pro and in this post, we’ll be taking a look at how the new MediaTek G70 holds up in the Realme C3.
For the purpose of this Realme C3 review, I used the 4/64GB variant which was loaned to us by Realme India. It’s also worth noting that the review unit runs Realme UI v1.0 based on Android 10, making it the first smartphone from the company to include the new UI out of the box.
Realme C3 specifications
|Dimensions & Weight|
Dedicated microSD slot
|Battery||5000mAh, 10W charging, reverse wired charging|
|Android Version||Realme UI v1.0 based on Android 10|
|Colors||Frozen Blue, Blazing Red|
Benchmarks: Realme C3 vs Redmi Note 7 Pro vs Realme 5 Pro
I tested the Realme C3 using a few synthetic benchmarking apps, including Geekbench 4, AnTuTu, PCMark, 3DMark, etc. We compared the scores posted by the Realme C3 with those from the Snapdragon 675-powered Redmi Note 7 Pro (review) and the Snapdragon 712-powered Realme 5 Pro (review). This helps us gauge where the MediaTek Helio G70 stands in comparison to its Snapdragon alternatives. Before we head to the results, however, let’s first talk about the specifications of the three SoCs in consideration.
The MediaTek Helio G70, as mentioned above, packs in a combination of ARM Cortex-A75 big cores and ARM Cortex- A55 little cores clocked in at 2GHz and 1.7GHz, respectively. The SoC is manufactured using the 12nm FinFET process and it includes an ARM Mali-G52 GPU for enhanced graphics performance. In comparison, the Snapdragon 675 inside the Redmi Note 7 Pro packs in two ARM Cortex-A76 big cores clocked at 2GHz and six ARM Cortex-A55 little cores clocked at 1.7GHz. The SoC is manufactured using Samsung’s 11nm LPP process and makes use of an Adreno 612 GPU. Finally, the Snapdragon 712 on the Realme 5 Pro features two Kryo 360 Gold cores (based on ARM Cortex-A75) clocked at 2.3GHz and six Kryo 360 Silver cores (based on ARM Cortex-A55) clocked at 1.7GHz. The SoC is manufactured using Samsung’s 10nm LPP process and makes use of the Adreno 616 GPU.
Note: The benchmark results in this comparison have been collected from the 4/64GB variant of the Redmi Note 7 Pro, the 8/128GB variant of the Realme 5 Pro, and the 4/64GB variant of the Realme C3. For the sake of transparency, it’s also worth mentioning that there’s a significant price difference between the three devices. The 4/64GB variant of the Redmi Note 7 Pro currently retails for ₹9,999 (~$139), the 8/128GB variant of the Realme 5 Pro retails for ₹14,999 (~$208), and the 4/64GB variant of the Realme C3 is priced at ₹7,999 (~$111).
|Specification||Realme C3||Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro||Realme 5 Pro|
|SoC||MediaTek Helio G70||Qualcomm Snapdragon 675||Qualcomm Snapdragon 712|
|GPU||ARM Mali-G52||Adreno 612||Adreno 616|
|RAM and Storage variant used in comparison||4GB/64GB||4GB/64GB||8GB/128GB|
|Pricing at time of comparison||₹7,999 (~$111)||₹9,999 (~$139)||₹14,999 (~$208)|
|Launched in||February 2020||February 2019||August 2019|
Now that we’ve got the specifications out of the way, let’s take a look at the benchmark scores.
CPU and GPU performance
First off, Geekbench gives us an overall look at the phone’s general CPU performance. With a single-core score of 1825 and a multi-core score of 5752, the Helio G70-powered Realme C3 performs almost as well as the Snapdragon 712-powered Realme 5 Pro, but it significantly lags behind the Redmi Note 7 Pro with its Snapdragon 675. This is, most likely, due to the fact that the Redmi Note 7 Pro’s Snapdragon 675 makes use of the newer ARM Cortex-A76 cores on the chipset instead of the older Cortex-A75 cores or derivatives found on the other two SoCs.
Similarly, in the PCMark Work 2.0 system performance benchmark, the Realme C3 performs just as well (sometimes even better) than the Realme 5 Pro. However, this time around, it beats the Redmi Note 7 Pro by a significant margin. The Helio G70 on the Realme C3 consistently delivers better results in the benchmark’s web browsing, video editing, writing, and photo editing tests, but it falls behind the other two devices in the data manipulation test. Overall, the Realme C3 manages to achieve a score of 8587, closely followed by the Realme 5 Pro at 7910, with the Redmi Note 7 Pro lagging behind at 7467.
The Redmi Note 7 Pro continues to lag behind in the 3DMark Sling Shot Extreme benchmark, with the Realme 5 Pro taking the lead this time around and the Realme C3 taking the second spot. This is due to the fact that the Adreno 612 GPU on the Redmi Note 7 Pro isn’t as powerful as the Adreno 616 on the Realme 5 Pro. The ARM Mali-G52 GPU on the Realme C3, however, just manages to outperform the Adreno 612 by a small margin. This means that the Realme C3 can be expected to perform better than the Redmi Note 7 Pro in applications and games with heavy 3D usage.
Now, let’s take a look at the AndroBench scores posted by the three devices, which will give us some idea of the storage speeds on the Realme C3 and its impact on the device’s performance. It’s worth noting, however, that the Realme C3 and the Redmi Note 7 Pro offer eMMC 5.1 storage, while the Realme 5 Pro offers UFS 2.1 storage. As you’d already know, UFS 2.1 storage is considerably faster than eMMC storage which should, on paper, give the Realme 5 Pro an edge over the other two devices. But due to the fact that the Snapdragon 712 doesn’t support dual-channel simultaneous data transfer, the UFS 2.1 read and write speeds on the Realme 5 Pro aren’t all that different from eMMC on the device.
Sure, the Realme 5 Pro takes a lead by a significant margin in Sequential Read speeds, but the device performs just about the same (or even worse) in other tests. The Realme C3, in comparison, performs better than the Redmi Note 7 Pro in Sequential Read speeds and just about the same as the Realme 5 Pro in Sequential Write speeds. The Realme C3 does lag behind both the other processors in Random Read speeds, but it takes a decent lead against the other two in Random Write speeds.
Keeping the aforementioned numbers in mind, it’s safe to say that the Helio G70-powered Realme C3 falls squarely in between the Redmi Note 7 Pro and Realme 5 Pro in terms of performance. However, since there’s a major price difference between the three devices, the Realme C3 delivers a better bang for your buck if we just take theoretical performance into consideration. When compared to other devices in the price range, like the Redmi 8, Redmi 8A, Samsung Galaxy M10s, and Nokia 4.2, the Realme C3 appears to be miles ahead of the competition. This is due to the fact that these devices pack in significantly less powerful SoCs like the Snapdragon 439 and the Exynos 7884B.
Most smartphones these days come equipped with some form of heat reduction. While some pack in hardware level features to dissipate heat more efficiently, all devices include throttling algorithms for the CPU and GPU to limit the components and protect them from overheating-induced damage. This, in turn, results in visibly poor performance when the smartphone heats up and the components thermally throttle. To test if there’s any thermal throttling on the Realme C3, I used an app called CPU Throttling Test, and here are the results.
The graph to the left shows the results obtained when running the thermal throttling test on the Realme C3 without enabling the included Game Space Competition Mode. The one in the middle shows the results obtained when the app is accelerated using the Competition Mode, and the one on the right shows results when the device is put on charging and the Game Space Competition Mode was enabled. In the first run without the Game Space Competition Mode enabled, the CPU usage is throttled at around 86% of peak performance. When using Game Space Competition Mode, however, the CPU is throttled to 94% of peak performance. Lastly, when the test was run with the device on charging, the CPU throttled to 89% of peak performance.
For the unaware, the Game Space Competition Mode in Realme UI claims to improve the performance of games (or apps) at the cost of increasing battery drain. However, in our test, we observed that instead of providing peak performance, as its name suggests, the Competition Mode offers a higher level of performance that is sustained over a longer time frame. This means that the Game Space Competition Mode on the device is theoretically effective at preventing thermal throttling during long gaming sessions. Even while charging the device, you’ll be able to achieve better performance with the mode turned on. In real-life use, the Realme C3 doesn’t heat up a lot while gaming which is a good sign for users who enjoy long gaming sessions. The thermal throttling is rather insignificant if you have the Game Space Competition Mode turned on, and you will be able to continue gaming without any noticeable performance drop, even with the phone plugged in and charging.
Realme C3: Gaming Performance
Speaking of gaming, I played a couple of popular games on the device during my testing and I was pleasantly surprised by its performance. The list included some of the usual picks like Asphalt 9, PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty: Mobile, and Dead Effect 2. Here’s how the device performed in all of these titles.
Starting with Asphalt 9, the Realme C3 delivers stutter-free performance. However, it automatically selects the High Performance setting, which prioritizes gameplay over graphics quality. After switching over to the High Graphics setting though, I noticed that the gameplay wasn’t as smooth. While performing stunts, drifting or taking down opponents, the game feels very choppy. But all of this disappeared as soon as I switched back to the performance setting. So, if you stick to the High Performance setting, you should have absolutely no problems enjoying Asphalt 9 on the Realme C3.
With PUBG Mobile, the Realme C3 automatically selected the HD graphics setting and the High frame rate preset. These are the highest available settings on the device and the game performs quite well on the default settings. I didn’t see any stuttering or frame drops in-game and it was a pleasant experience overall until I tried to adjust the display brightness. Pulling down the notification shade while in-game caused the UI to stutter, but as soon as I closed the notification shade, everything went back to normal. If you’re planning on playing PUBG Mobile on the device, I would recommend that you avoid opening the notification shade unless you’re idling in the lobby.
Call of Duty: Mobile
This aforementioned issue continued while playing Call of Duty: Mobile on the device. Unlike PUBG Mobile, though, COD selected the low graphics quality preset by default, with the frame rate set to medium. All of the other options, including Depth of Field, Bloom, Real-time Shadows, and Ragdoll, were disabled and the game worked flawlessly with these settings. As with PUBG Mobile, the phone’s UI stuttered when I pulled the notification shade down, but other than that, I had no complaints. Sure, the graphics have been dumbed down quite a bit but that’s just something one should expect from a device in this price range.
Dead Effect 2
Finally, in Dead Effect 2, the visual quality was medium by default, with shadows, bloom and anisotropy turned off. With these settings, the Realme C3 managed to run the game without a hitch and I had absolutely no issues with gameplay. Interestingly, the UI stuttering wasn’t as evident while playing the game at default settings. Upon switching all the presets to high though, the stuttering issue reappears, though the gameplay remained just as smooth.
So, in conclusion, if you stick to the default settings in each game on the Realme C3, you’ll have a great time with the device. As long as you keep the notification shade access to a minimum, you shouldn’t experience any stuttering in-game, and that’s definitely quite good for a device in this price range. Of course, one would always prefer not disabling any graphic setting, but you need to temper your expectations with the price you are paying for the device.
Battery life and Charging
The Realme C3 packs in a massive 5,000 mAh battery with support for 10W charging and reverse wired charging. The battery, coupled with the 720p display and battery optimizations in Realme UI, easily lasted me two days on a single charge with a screen-on-time of around 6 hours. After a full day of use, including gaming for about two hours, I was left with almost 50% battery, and that barely dropped overnight. I continued using the device the next day, and it dropped to 17% after the second full day of use.
Sadly, though, the slow charging speed and the massive battery meant that the Realme C3 took fairly long to charge back up to 100%. The device took around two and a half hours to go from 17 to 100%, which means that it would be best to charge it overnight. I wasn’t able to test the reverse wired charging as I did not have a compatible cable. Keep in mind that the Realme C3 has a microUSB port.
Realme C3: A great entry-level device for gaming
The Realme C3 is an excellent entry-level Android device for mobile gamers on a very tight budget. The MediaTek Helio G70 on the device manages to hold its own in day-to-day use and gaming alike, delivering solid performance all around. Other than the unusual UI stuttering issue I mentioned earlier, I have absolutely no qualms about the Realme C3’s performance, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking to purchase a phone under the ₹10,000 mark with a focus on gaming.
Along with great performance, the MediaTek Helio G70 also enables some additional features, like hardware-level bokeh, in the Realme C3 that weren’t available in its predecessor, the Realme C2. And finally, thanks to Realme UI, the software experience also feels very polished and feature-rich.