Hands-on with Realme UI 3.0 based on Android 12: Wallpaper-based Themes, new Dark Mode options, and more!

Hands-on with Realme UI 3.0 based on Android 12: Wallpaper-based Themes, new Dark Mode options, and more!

Realme started off as a sub-brand of OPPO back in 2018. What this meant was that Realme used ColorOS on its smartphones for quite a while before users started demanding a custom UI solely meant for Realme devices. While the company didn’t really work on a completely new OS, they developed a slightly modified version of ColorOS and called it Realme UI. Realme UI borrows a lot of its UI elements and features from ColorOS since it’s majorly just a skin on top. And that’s something we continue to observe with the third iteration of Realme UI — Realme UI 3.0 based on Android 12.


Realme UI boot screen

Just a few days back, we went hands-on with ColorOS 12 based on Android 12 for OPPO smartphones. Now, Realme has started seeding Realme UI 3.0 for early beta testers on the Realme GT 888. Given the similarities between ColorOS and Realme UI, a lot of features that were introduced with ColorOS 12 can now be seen on Realme UI 3.0 with slight modifications. Realme UI 3.0 integrates a few Android 12 features along with some other handy additions resulting in an update that improves the overall user experience. Here’s everything that’s new with Realme UI 3.0 as tested on the Realme GT 888.

UI — Fluid Space Design

There’s not a lot that has changed with Realme UI 3.0 in terms of the way it looks. The UI is largely similar to what it was like on Realme UI 2.0 with some subtle changes. The notification drawer looks slightly different now and so does the layout when you open the Settings app. Everything looks more spaced out compared to the previous version of the UI. The options in the Settings app have also been made more straightforward giving it an overall cleaner look. The icons representing the corresponding settings have been made larger and easier to identify.

New 3D Icons

Realme UI 3.0 icons

The default icons on the homescreen and app drawer have also undergone slight changes. Every icon has a new and distinct color palette which makes it easier to distinguish between apps. The icons also have a 3D skeuomorphic look to them, with plenty of shadows adding depth. Realme says it removed “unnecessary shadows”, but Realme UI 2.0 was quite flat and shadow-less while Realme UI 3.0 has so much more shadows in the icons, so we’re unsure of what they mean by this claim.

New Dark Mode Options

Realme UI 3.0 adds the ability to choose from three types of Dark Mode options – Enhanced, Medium, and Gentle. Enhanced gives you a pitch-dark background ideal for OLED displays, while the Medium and Gentle modes have a slightly grey background.


Wallpaper customization

If you like customizing your smartphone and its various UI elements, you get plenty of options on Realme UI 3.0. Right from the homescreen to the way your Always-on display looks, you can theme the different aspects of the UI and make it look the way you want it to.

Wallpaper-based Themes

This was a feature that was introduced on Android 12 as a part of the Material You concept. While Google’s implementation is limited to the Pixel series of phones, Realme has its own custom implementation called Smart Theming Engine. When you apply new wallpapers to your homescreen, you’ll get an option to change the system theme to match the colors on your wallpaper. You can also change the color of the theme manually using a color wheel.


Omoji creator

Omoji is Realme’s adaptation of the Memoji feature introduced by Apple. You can create custom face emojis to match your style and these Omojis react in real-time to changes in your facial expressions. The implementation isn’t as polished as Apple’s since it only uses the front-facing camera and not IR emitters like on the iPhone. It’s still a fun feature that will make its way to Realme phones with Realme UI 3.0.

Sketchpad AOD

Sketchpad AOD on Realme UI 3.0

We first saw this feature on OxygenOS for OnePlus devices and it has now made its way into ColorOS 12 and subsequently to Realme UI 3.0. More commonly referred to as Canvas AOD, the Sketchpad feature basically outlines the main subject in a portrait image and creates a sketch effect that can then be used as an Always-on Display image. It’s a pretty cool way to customize the look of your device when the display is turned off.

Realmeow and Omoji AOD

Realmeow AOD

Along with the option to create and set a sketch as your Always-on Display image, you can also choose to set a Realmeow or an Omoji on the screen when the display is turned off. This will be displayed along with the time, date, notifications, etc.

Performance and Fluidity

There are several under-the-hood improvements that have been made with Realme UI 3.0 that add to the overall user experience. The animations feel smoother when launching and quitting apps and when scrolling, thanks to a new Smooth Animation Engine.

AI Smooth Engine

Realme UI 3.0


There’s a new “AI smooth engine” that claims to optimize the performance of the device based on your usage patterns. Realme claims that this feature reduces memory usage by up to 30% and increases app opening speeds up to 13%. With AI resource scheduling where apps can intelligently be killed or kept in memory, Relame says that there will be a 12% improvement in battery life. We couldn’t notice any changes during our use, but the feature is claimed to learn over time, so perhaps there is something to see here later down the road.

Floating Window 2.0

Floating window on Realme UI

It’s now easier to launch apps in a floating window if you want to multitask. You just have to tap on an app in the sidebar and it will automatically open in a floating window. You can then drag this window wherever you want on the screen and even minimize it if you want to do something in the background.

Privacy and Security

Android 12 introduced some privacy-oriented features and Realme has implemented all of them with Realme UI 3.0. There are several changes and improvements that have been done to ensure user privacy along with ways to make sure that apps aren’t accessing any of your data without your permission.

Private Picture Share

Private photo share

We’ve seen a similar implementation of this feature before on phones running MIUI 12 and One UI 3.0. Basically, what this feature does is remove all sensitive information from the EXIF data of the images you’ve clicked before you share them. This will make sure that when you send an image to someone else, they don’t have access to your location or other information like date and time.

Approximate Location

Approximate location sharing

Another important privacy-related feature on Android 12, and now on Realme UI 3.0, is approximate location sharing. Each time an app asks you to share your location, you can choose to either share your precise location or an approximate location if you think the app isn’t trustworthy, or you simply don’t wish to share your exact location with an app that doesn’t really require it.

App Permission Recording in Privacy Dashboard

Privacy Dashboard

This is one of the highlighting features of Android 12 and thankfully, Realme has decided to include it in Realme UI 3.0. Privacy Dashboard displays all the permissions that apps on your phone use and when they were used last. If you don’t want certain apps to access your location, camera, microphone, or any other permission, you can control it from here. You can also view a timeline of when certain permissions were requested, granted, or denied.

Microphone and Camera Toggles & Indicators

Mic and camera toggles on ColorOS 12

You can now add a toggle in quick settings to either enable or disable access to the camera and microphone on your device with Realme UI 3.0. Disabling access will prevent any app on your smartphone from getting access to the camera or microphone on your device which can be important to a lot of people.

Mic and Camera Indicator

Apart from the toggles, users will now also be able to see a small indicator on the top right corner of the screen each time an app requests access to the camera or microphone. Access to the camera will be denoted by a green dot while access to the microphone is denoted by an orange dot.

Phone Manager 2.0

The Phone Manager app on Realme UI 3.0 has received an update to version 2.0. It is used to declutter your phone’s storage, delete unnecessary apps and files, manage app permissions, etc. It has a list of features that’s now been properly segregated into different menus making it easier for users to find the functions they want.

Miscellaneous Features

Android 12 easter egg

Apart from these highlighting features, there are a few new additions to Realme UI 3.0 that improve the overall experience of using a Realme phone. There’s Screen Translate that can translate the entire contents of a screen with the tap of a single button on the sidebar; then there’s Background Stream that can continue to play a song or a video in the background even with the screen turned off. Of course, the Android 12 easter egg is also present in the Settings app. Other Android 12 features like chat bubbles and notification reply suggestions are also present on Realme UI 3.0.

Seamless Connectivity with Realme Book

Realme recently launched its laptop — the Realme Book Slim in India and if you’ve got one alongside a Realme phone, you can now use the two products together with better integration. There are several new features like the ability to open an app on your smartphone and on the laptop, instant file transfer, seamless copy and paste, and smart notifications that you can view and reply to directly from the Realme book.

Realme UI 3.0 Update Roadmap

Realme has shared a roadmap for the early access, or the beta version of Realme UI 3.0 in India:

October 2021

  • Realme GT

December 2021

  • Realme GT Master Edition
  • Realme GT Neo2 5G
  • Realme X7 Max
  • Realme 8 Pro

Q1, 2022

  • Realme X7 Pro
  • Realme X50 Pro 5G
  • Realme 8
  • Realme 8i
  • Realme 7 Pro
  • Realme Narzo 50A
  • Realme Narzo 30
  • Realme C25
  • Realme C25s

Q2, 2022

  • Realme X7
  • Realme X3
  • Realme X3 SuperZoom
  • Realme 8 5G
  • Realme 8s
  • Realme 7 5G
  • Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G
  • Realme Narzo 30 5G

These were all the changes and new features that are a part of the Realme UI 3.0 update for Realme smartphones. The privacy features that have been added are surely helpful and the customization options will help users personalize their devices as per their liking. Apart from this, there isn’t a lot that has changed with Realme UI 3.0 compared to the previous version. When you update your phone, you’ll feel right at home with the software.

If you use a Realme phone, what do you think about Realme UI 3.0? Are you waiting for the update to arrive on your smartphone? Let us know in the comments below!

About author

Sumukh Rao
Sumukh Rao

A tech fanatic with a hunger for knowledge in the ever-growing field of science and technology. An avid quizzer and a gadget critic who loves simplifying tech for the masses has a keen interest in modding Android devices.

We are reader supported. External links may earn us a commission.