It's admittedly easy to sometimes get lost in the ever-growing sea of Realme phones, but great bargains can be obtained by those that manage it. Despite getting its first members in May, the new Narzo lineup is already in its second generation. The Narzo 20 trio was unveiled on September 21 and consists of a vanilla Narzo 20, as well as a Narzo 20A and a Narzo 20 Pro.
Given the rapid release schedule, it comes as no surprise that the new Narzo 20A is quite similar to the Narzo 10A. The A models are the proverbial "runt of the litter" and are clearly meant to cater to a people on a tight budget.
Realme knows too well that these are the kind of devices that are really going to move volume. Once you start thinking of things that way, increasingly-frequent model releases, featuring slight specs that let you maintain the value-for-money proposition around the year start to make a lot more sense.
The Narzo 20A is a great example. It essentially only switches the chipset and selfie camera, compared to the Narzo 10A, in hopes of maintaining competitiveness in the sub-10K price niche. In fact it starts at just INR 8,499 ($115/€100) for a 3/32GB model and the 4/64GB one is INR 9,499 ($130/€110).
We have a few hands-on impressions of the Realme Narzo 20A to share, as well as benchmark runs and camera samples. So, without further ado.
Measuring 164.4 x 75.4 x 8.9 mm and tipping the scale at 195 grams, the new Narzo 20A has a footprint almost identical to the Narzo 10A.
And similarities go further - identical rear camera setup, teardrop display notch and bezels around the same 6.5-inch IPS LCD panel, rear-mounted fingerprint reader.
One thing that has obviously changed is the design and the finish on the unibody shell of the Narzo 20A. Instead of the more conventional finish of the Narzo 10A, along with a rather unconventional, huge branding, this time around, you get a textured surface, in either Glory Silver or Victory Blue.
There is a rather subtle "V-shaped" pattern incorporated into the textured back design and the included Narzo and Realme logos are miniscule, compared to the 10A. Probably a good thing too, since we can't imagine too many 10A owners were particularly enticed by the prominent branding, of all things.
However, the Narzo 10A does advertise a design incorporating Weather-sealed ports & loudspeaker, which while not an official ingress protection rating, is still good for extra peace of mind and oddly absent from official Narzo 20A marketing materials.
The texture feels quite nice to the touch, but we don't necessarily appreciate the overall curvature of the Narzo 20A's body. The current shape is not too comfortable to hold and could definitely benefit from more aggressive curvature. Perhaps, the slightly odd protruding edge, circling all of the sides of the Narzo 20A has something to do with the lesser in-hand comfort.
On the plus side, the Narzo 20A should be much less prone to scratches and scuffs and could potentially be used without a case with confidence. Another positive aspect of the Narzo 20A design is that it feels surprisingly light, especially for a phone packing a 5,000 mAh battery.
One noteworthy aspect of the Narzo 20A is that, just like its 10A predecessor, it uses a dated microUSB 2.0 port. Charging is limited to 10W, which is a bit of a drag on a 5,000 mAh pack. At least Realme is nice enough to include a wall charger in the box.
There are some positive aspects about the I/O as well, like the inclusion of the trusty old 3.5mm port. It sits on the bottom frame of the phone, next to the main microphone and the single speaker of the Narzo 20A.
The triple-slot tray is a nice touch. It takes two nano-SIM cards, alongside a microSD memory card, so you don't have to pick and choose.
Controls on the Narzo 20A are perfectly standard and well-positioned. The two volume buttons and the power button are easy to feel around and offer nice tactile feedback.
The rear-mounted fingerprint reader is fast to set up and also very snappy and accurate to unlock the phone.
Makes sense, seeing how it's a conventional capacitive model.
The Narzo 20A packs a 6.5-inch, 20:9 IPS LCD with a resolution of 720 x 1600 pixels. That amounts to a less-than-impressive 270 ppi, but even so we can't say that the panel lacks sharpness. It is still perfectly usable in our book. Plus, the higher-specked vanilla Narzo 10 makes use of the same display.
We can't really say too much about other performance metrics on the panel, before put it through the review paces, but in practical terms, the LCD managed to remain usable under direct sunlight even if it required full brightness. Text was readable and the overall experience, good enough and acceptable.
Again, we can't really offer specifics prior to proper testing, but our initial field tests saw the 5,000mAh pack easily last through a whole day on Wi-Fi with potentially a second one also in the cards, depending on usage pattern.
Charing the big pack at 10W is a slow process. But that much should be apparent.
The Realme Narzo 20A is built around an 11nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 chipset - an upgrade over the 12nm MediaTek Helio G70 inside the Narzo 10A. However, the performance is broadly similar with the two chipsets trading blows in the benchmarks that we ran.
We can use the Realme C3, which has the same G70 chipset, as a reference and see that the Narzo 20A is actually a bit behind when it comes to single-core results.
Higher is better
The multi-core score of the Snapdragon is better than the Helio G70 by a similar 10% margin.
Higher is better
The compound AnTuTu 8 test saw the Realme C3 pull a 13% advantage. That's not a huge difference, but it's a clear indication that the chipset change was not motivated by performance gains.
Higher is better
In terms of GPU horsepower, the Adreno 610 inside the Narzo 20A and the Mali-G52 2EEMC2 in the Narzo 10A are again on par, with the latter a tiny bit ahead and neither impressing in any way.
Higher is better
Higher is better
However, the Snapdragon 665 does bring some connectivity goodies to the table. Most-notably, dual-band Wi-Fi ac, which the Narzo 10A lacks.
And even with roughly the same performance at its disposal as its predecessor the Narzo 20A runs the Android 10-based Realme UI in a snappy and responsive manner that causes little trouble with every-day productivity tasks and even some light gaming.
The Narzo 20A is a little light in the camera department, even when compared to its Narzo siblings. It has a single 12MP camera on the back doing the vast majority of the shooting, with two auxilary 2MP snappers for depth data and macros largely idling.
The 12MP snapper has an aperture of f/1.8 and a 1/2.8", 1.25µm sensor with PDAF. Nothing too fancy and pretty-much identical to the setup on the Narzo 10A.
There's nothing really fancy on the software side of the camera either, but you do get AI Scene recognition and a Pro mode for stills. Video capture on the Narzo 20A has a clear standout feature, though - 4K capture. This was not the case with the Narzo 10A and even the vanilla Narzo 20 is capped at FullHD on its MediaTek Helio G85 chipset.
We grabbed a few quick test shots with the main 12MP camera on the Realme Narzo 20A. You can see the performance with and without HDR, as well as with Chroma boost enabled.
The front-facing 8MP, f/2.0 snapper on the Narzo 20A is the only noteworthy upgrade in the camera deparment, compared to the 5MP unit on the Narzo 10A.
The Narzo 20A runs realme UI 1.0 out of the box, just like the rest of the Narzo 20 family.
It is built on top of Android 10 and our unit was still rocking the slightly older August 5 security patches.
Realme UI is quite clean, though pretty rich in terms of options, as far as custom UIs go. There is a clear AOSP vibe present throughout most interfaces. The OS even ships with Google's AOSP Phone and Messages apps.
The default icons are also very AOSP-like. Same goes for the notification shade and quick toggles area, as well as the recent apps interface.
You get a conventional app drawer by default. Some of the noteworthy preloaded apps include Realme PaySa and Realme Link.
If you don't like the concept of an app drawer and prefer a flat layout you can also do that. There is even a simple mode, with bigger fonts and icons all around - great for less-experienced or older users. And that's just the tip of the customization iceberg realme UI offers. Navigation also comes with surprisingly in-depth customization layer, including an abundance of gestures.
The included Game Space portal is surprisingly feature-rich. Besides offering the standard set of convenience features, like muting calls and notifications to prevent distractions, there are also potentially performance tweaks you can apply to try and either squeeze more game time or more stable framerates out of the Narzo 20A and its modest hardware.
Last, but certainly not least, Realme is consistently working on new features, which users can typically start testing-out early through the realme Lab menu.
The Realme Narzo 20A manages to stretch its INR 8,499 ($115/€100) price tag quite a bit. It borrows heavily from the older Narzo 10A, adds a new chipset with better Wi-Fi, a higher-resolution selfie camera and a more understated exterior with a more sturdy feel to it. All of this should be enough to maintain the value for money proposition in the quickly developing market, making this a worthy if not necceserily inspiring addition to the company's lineup.
The narzo you mention here is actually realme 5 in a new suit and I honestly don't see why people would go for an antique chipset whose performance lacks to go in par with the new colour OS. Seriously guys quit reviewing these realme line up not...