Realme, known for offering budget-friendly alternatives in the sub-Rs 10,000 market, has expanded its signature lineup into the slightly higher mid-range price bracket. However, the Realme Narzo series still caters to the affordable segment of the mobile market. I have with me the Realme Narzo N53, which is priced at Rs 8,999 and aims to stand out in the crowded budget phone segment. In this review, we’ll determine if it deserves a recommendation amidst intense competition.
The Realme Narzo N53 is a good budget phone contender under Rs 10,000. It offers an attractive design, a 90Hz display, and a long battery life. However, its performance could be better and bloatware reduced. Overall, it’s a decent recommendation if you can overlook these drawbacks.
Design and display
- The Narzo N53 has decidedly a budget build in terms of its materials used but there is a bit of ingenuity on its back panel. I have the Feather Gold colour variant that shimmers in the light with prismatic reflections. The phone is quite light in the hand and it is also one of the thinnest at just 7.4mm in thickness.
Also read – Realme Narzo N55 review: déjà vu
- The camera rings are arranged in a very iPhone 14 Pro-like manner although only two actually house optics while the third is just for the LED flash. As for the rest, the headphone jack, USB Type-C port, and speaker grille at the bottom are pretty standard in this price range. The right edge has the fingerprint reader which acts as the power button and alongside it is the volume rocker.
- As for the viewing experience, of course, expectations need to be tempered with a device that costs less than Rs 10,000. However, for its price, the N53 delivers a decent display with a 90Hz refresh rate. The panel itself cannot be called very colour accurate but I do like that Realme has at least kept the bezels relatively slim. The Realme Narzo N53 sports a waterdrop notch design for the selfie shooter, which is typical for this price segment. Brightness levels are decent enough for mild outdoor usage in sunny conditions while for streaming the device only has WideVine L3 support.
- The dual-camera setup on the N53’a back consists of a 50MP primary shooter and a 2MP macro camera. In short, the photography experience is nothing out of the ordinary from what you can expect on budget devices of today. The images snapped are not exactly wrought with detailing and colours, but the final output is acceptable. Images are pixel-binned by default but you can turn on the full-resolution 50MP mode manually.
- As for the dynamic range and exposure metering, the results are mostly overprocessed and a bit of cropping in will reveal fringing around subjects. Low-light images don’t fair a lot better but I do like how the processing helps keep the noise levels down in the night sky. Again I have to stress that budget smartphones are rarely acknowledged for their camera prowess so the N53’s image-taking capabilities are adequate and seem in line with its cost. Finally, there is also the 8MP selfie shooter which takes decent shots but does not escape the extra amount of facial retouching being applied.
Performance and software
- In terms of its performance, the phone has Unisoc’s T612 running underneath the hood. It is an octa-core 12nm chipset and its usage is mainly suited to routine smartphone usage. Anything strenuous will start choking the UI and instigate moments of lag that can test even the most patient of men. I would suggest not using the device for anything more than social media scrolling, accessing your email, taking photos, streaming music, and YouTube. Some low-end games like the ever-popular Angry Birds run without a hitch but titles like CoD: Mobile will run at a poor fps count.
- Apart from that, the device also comes with 64GB of internal storage and 4GB of RAM on the base variant although my version has 128GB and 6GB respectively. You can upgrade your internal storage by up to 2TB via a microSD card and also increase the RAM virtually to about 6GB. Speakers on the Narzo N53 are passable at best but I do like that there is at least the option for wired audio, should the need arise. As for the fingerprint sensor, the authentication is swift enough for my liking. Connectivity-wise the phone only has 4G options and I found no issues on Jio’s Noida network.
- On the software side of things, the device runs on Realme UI T-edition which is based on Android 13. The slightly watered-down interface, made to suit devices with lower processing capabilities, works as advertised. I mean you won’t get a ton of customisation options but the software skin does a fine job of utility. However, I do wish the bloatware levels go down in future Realme phones.
- There is a 5,000mAh cell housed inside the phone and it is supported by 33W of fast charging. The phone’s not-so heavy performance helps extend its battery life for a considerable amount of time. In PCMark’s Battery Life test the phone gave a result of 16 hours 19 minutes, which I consider quite good for the capacity on offer. The phone can juice up from 0 to 100 percent in just under two hours.
The Realme Narzo N53 is a decent budget offering and checks most of the boxes that users would require from a sub-Rs 10,000 phone. An eye-catching back panel, 90Hz refresh on the display and lasting battery life are just a few things that make the N53 an attractive choice. At the same time, it should be noted the phone’s performance can leave you wanting and the bloatware issues persist. If you can look past these shortfalls, then the N53 is a healthy recommendation from my side.
Editor’s rating: 3.5 / 5
Reasons to buy
- The Narzo N53 looks good, and is quite slim and lightweight as well.
- The battery life is pretty good, and ably supported by 33W fast charging.
- The 90Hz display is decent, and features slim bezels.
Reasons not to buy
- The phone is not really a powerhouse in terms of pure performance.
- The UI comes with tons of preloaded apps and bloatware.