Huawei P30 Pro

The Huawei P30 Pro was announced alongside the smaller, and cheaper, Huawei P30. Is it the top Android phone you should be buying this year? Or does Samsung still have the upper hand with its Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus?

Editors Note: Due to the recent retraction of Huawei’s Android license, future Huawei and Honor phones won’t be able to access Google Play Services and as a result many Android apps including YouTube and Gmail. Both Huawei and Google have confirmed Huawei and Honor phones, like the one in this review, will continue to have access for this time being. Until we know more about the situation we’re leaving the scores on all our Huawei reviews, however as the situation changes we’ll revisit this.Huawei P30 Pro camera offers a wide range of excellent features
There are three main cameras on the Huawei P30 Pro’s rear, headlined by an all-new Super Sensing 40-megapixel sensor with an f/1.6 aperture and 26mm focal length.

Huawei P30 Pro
The rear is super-shiny and colourful
While all those megapixels result in ridiculously detailed shots, the real star is that Super Sensing moniker. Instead of the typical RGB sensor (that’s red, green and blue) found in rival phones, the Huawei P30 Pro uses RYYB – or red, yellow, yellow, blue.

During the Huawei briefing of the device, the company said the above change would enable more light to be absorbed, with those yellow portions bringing in greens as well as extra reds. This supposedly results in better photos when the light is poor.

All about the photography? These are the best camera phones
This may sound like marketing hype, but in actual use the P30 Pro’s low-light performance here is great – even if does have a tendency to struggle more than the Pixel 3 when your dark shot is littered with small areas of bright light.

Huawei P30 Pro
Low light shots are impressive
Sitting alongside this main sensor are two more cameras: an ultra-wide, 20-megapixel f/2.2 for landscape shots and a very exciting 8-megapixel telephoto camera that’s capable of 5x optical zoom.

Furthermore, the phone can combine data from all three sensors to offer 10x hybrid zoom. Simply put, it’s the best zoom you can currently find on any smartphone.

Huawei P30 Pro (left) vs Huawei P20 Pro (right) (drag the slider to compare the two photos)
At first glance there might not appear to be a huge difference between images from this unit and some of the competition, but crop in and you’ll see how much more detail the new hybrid zoom resolves, especially in text and flowers.

The most useful “zoom” mode is the 5x option, since this is effectively a 125mm lens that’s been stuffed into the P30 Pro’s body using some very clever periscope-style folded optics. It produces sharp photos – such as this one taken from the new roof garden at 120 Fenchurch Street. Its 50x digital option is best avoided, though, since at this level it becomes very difficult to effectively steady the phone enough to capture a good picture.

Huawei P30 Pro
The zoom is great here
That’s not all, though. One of the biggest differences between the P30 Pro and the smaller P30 is the addition of a time-of-flight – or ToF – sensor that sits just beneath the flash module. While this is still fairly new tech, companies such as LG and Honor have already used it to good effect.

Huawei P30 Pro
Portrait mode
For example, LG uses it on its G8 device to track hand movements in 3D space, while Honor uses it to add depth to photos. Huawei is following Honor’s lead and using it for the latter.

A ToF sensor allows far more accurate 3D mapping of a scene, and Huawei has built it into the Portrait mode on the P30 Pro. Portrait shots taken with this device display a nice level of blur, and it does a decent job at cutting around tough bits such as beards and glasses.

Related: Best Android phones

Finally, there’s a 32-megapixel selfie camera in the tiny dewdrop notch around the front of the handset. This, too, benefits from HDR and super low-light modes. While there are plenty of megapixels at play, the actual pictures just don’t look very good. They lack the detail and natural skin-tones captured with the Pixel 3, and continue to push a harsh Beauty mode.

Video, while improved over the P20 Pro, still lacks the skill of the still images. There’s much better stabilisation and it managed to keep footage very smooth, but the overall quality lacked any sort of punch.

Nevertheless, this is easily one of the best smartphone cameras I’ve ever used. It’s versatile in function and reliably provides excellent shots in tough conditions.

For loads more camera samples and comparisons head to our Huawei P30 Pro camera review page
The Huawei P30 Pro is slippy yes, but very well designed and lovely to look at
The camera might be the standout feature here, but that isn’t to say the P30 Pro is lacking in other areas.

The P30 Pro is a lovely looking phone, easily sporting the most high-end feel of any Huawei handset to date. You’ll find glass on both the front and the back of the device, each sloping slightly and meeting in a rigid metal frame.

The use of glass has its advantages, not only for giving the phone that glistening finish, but it also allows for wireless charging – a feature that’s becoming more common across high-end handsets. However, it makes for one slippery phone. Pair that with the large overall footprint and for the first few days at least, I was struggling to hold the P30 Pro, with a nagging feeling that I was going to see it fall to the floor.

Huawei P30 Pro
The curved sides help it sit nicely in your hand
To counter this issue to some degree, Huawei includes a basic plastic case inside the box. Pop this on and that much-appreciated extra grip will become immediately obvious.

The 6.4-inch display stretches nearly edge-to-edge, with the front camera nestled in a tiny notch at the top – this is colloquially called a dewdrop notch. You’ll likely question for days whether Huawei or Samsung’s cutout style is better – but for me, the dewdrop version on the P30 Pro proved far less distracting whilst watching videos and playing games.

Huawei is offering the phone in a number of vivid iridescent colours, including a gorgeous burnt orange (Amber Sunrise) and a pearly white (Breathing Crystal) – the latter of which you’ll see here. Both are truly stunning and offer a unique finish that really helps the Huawei P30 Pro stand out among the sea of black and grey. There’s also the Aurora colour Huawei launched with the P20 Pro, plus a pinky-white and more subtle black..
.Huawei P30 performance is good, even if it can’t match the Galaxy S10 or iPhone XS
Of course, since this is a high-end, high-priced flagship, it comes packing all the features one would expect in such a device.

Powering the phone is Huawei’s flagship Kirin 980 chipset, which was originally unveiled in late 2018. It isn’t the fastest chip on the market – the benchmark scores for the P30 Pro are on par with the Mate 20, and below more recent phones with newer chips such as the iPhone XS and Samsung Galaxy S10. Nevertheless, it churns through games and apps with ease.

The one area that Huawei has done exceptionally well in terms of performance is to ensure that its devices are not only fast to begin with, but manage to keep on being fast. Through the use of AI and machine-learning in its EMUI software, the phone learns which apps you use the most and tries to open them faster – and it genuinely works. I’ve gone back to Huawei phones in the past, and heard from others who have used them, to find them notably faster over long periods than other Android phones.

Of course, I can’t comment on how the Huawei P30 Pro will perform 12-24 months down the line. However, considering how well the P20 Pro still performs I’m hoping for good things.

Huawei P30 Pro
There’s a Kirin 980 inside with 8GB RAM and up to 512GB storage
Memory-wise, the P30 Pro includes the default 8GB of RAM – and it’s plenty, enabling apps to remain in their saved states for extended periods without reloading. Storage in plentiful, too, ranging from 128GB (the version I’ve been using) to 256GB and 512GB.

Expandable storage is also an option, although with a caveat: you can only use Huawei’s proprietary NM (nano-memory) cards, so standard microSD cards won’t work. This is irritating, mainly because these cards aren’t widely available and – if a search on Amazon is anything to to go by – cost roughly double that of a similarly sized microSD.

The display is a bright, vibrant OLED panel with HDR support in apps such as Netflix. It ticks all the boxes when it comes to colour gamut coverage and brightness levels.

What is HDR?
My only qualm with the panel, and this remains minor, is that the resolution doesn’t quite match the quad-HD+ levels of the Samsung Galaxy S10 or Google Pixel 3. Look closely at the P30 Pro’s FHD+ display and you’ll notice individual pixels are a little more distinctive.

The display’s final trick is its embedded fingerprint scanner. In-display fingerprint tech is fairly new, and so far feels very much like work-in-progress; improving slowly overtime.

Huawei P30 Pro
The in-display sensor is more reliable than the Mate 20 Pro
The P30 Pro includes an optical sensor, which uses light to read your digit and unlock the phone. Samsung, on the other hand, uses an ultrasonic sensor, which doesn’t require this burst of light, works with the screen off and – according to Samsung, anyway – should be more secure.

There’s no doubt Samsung’s interpretation on the Galaxy S10 is more versatile, but in terms of speed and reliability, I can’t say there’s a huge gulf between the that unit and the one on the P30 Pro.

The P30 Pro’s fingerprint scanner is much better than the one on the Mate 20 Pro: it’s faster, more accurate and rarely fails completely. Yet it’s nowhere near as good as a traditional physical sensor, and I just don’t think this tech is quite ready for the mainstream. Maybe next year.

As an alternative to the fingerprint scanner there’s face unlock, too – although there’s no fancy 3D face scanning here. Instead, this biometric security method uses the 32-megapixel front camera – and, as a result, isn’t going to be as secure as the iPhone XS, for example. I wasn’t able to trick it with a photo; show a video and it did unlock a couple of times, however.

IP68: What does it mean?
The phone is rated IP68 for water-resistance, which means is will happily survive an accidental drop in the bath. You’ll be missing out on this if you plump for the smaller Huawei P30, which boasts a much less substantial IP52 rating.

Huawei P30 Pro battery life easily beats the competition
Huawei isn’t skimping on the battery with the P30 Pro; the 4200mAh cell offers excellent endurance. Plus, 40w USB-C charging will get you from 0-70% in just over 30 minutes; a full charge takes less than an hour if using the included plug and cable.

That’s a huge cell, paired with a lower-res display compared to the competition and a chipset that proved itself an endurance champ in the Mate 20 Pro. Throughout the week’s review process, I’ve achieved between 5-7 hours of screen-on time (compared to about 4 on the Exynos Galaxy S10 Plus), and the P30 Pro’s battery is an absolute winner when it comes to media streaming. You’ll find more in-depth details in our dedicated battery life review page, but as a guide I managed to stream four hour-long episodes of The OA in HDR with brightness set to 50% and it only used 20% battery. Impressive stuff.

Huawei P30 Pro

The glass back allows for Qi wireless charging, which will be quicker if you use one of Huawei’s fast wireless chargers.

Software and audio are obvious areas for improvements
The EMUI software that Huawei layers over the top of Android 9 Pie sports a look that’s very iOS. It’s messy, with ugly icons, poorly implemented gesture controls and a proclivity to force-quit applications when they’re running in the background.

Some love EMUI for its strong battery-saver options and plenty of customisation tweaks, but I just can’t get past its few too many annoying quirks.


Hotpoint ActiveCare NM11 1045 WC A UK

The Hotpoint 10kg ActiveCare NM11 1045 WC A UK has an A+++ energy rating, a wide selection of programmes, an LCD control panel and Steam Refresh option to rejuvenate your clothes without a full wash, meaning there’s plenty to like.

The ActiveCare option is easy to use and delivers great wash results. Drum capacity, spin performance and noise are okay for the price, and running costs are low – as long as you stick to the Cotton Eco 60 cycle. If you can live with the high running costs of the specialist programmes, this Hotpoint is a great choice.

Hotpoint ActiveCare NM11 1045 WC A UK – What is it like to use?
While the Hotpoint ActiveCare NM11 1045 WC A UK isn’t short of programmes and settings, it’s easy to use and feels like a sturdy, well-made washing machine. The look of the programme dial and overall cosmetics are a departure from the norm, with deeply textured chrome trim, rubberised edge to the polo-shaped knob and a swing-out – rather than pull-out – drawer.The display is crisp and clear, and likewise breaks from the norm by being orange rather than more usual blue or blue-white. The knob feels positive and programme selection is slick, but we can’t help but feel that the overall design isn’t quite as chic as Hotpoint was aiming for. The acres of chrome around the door can look a little tacky, making finger marks rather obvious.

Popping open the door, it was a nice surprise to find an antimicrobial door seal. This should stop annoying black mould growth where water pools in the rubber. The porthole is a decent size for squeezing in bulky items, and the drum is long-lasting Titanium – although it looked rather compact for a full 10kg load.

As suspected, we couldn’t get the full 80% of maximum claimed load of real cotton washing in the drum, settling for just over 7.2kg. That would give the Hotpoint a more realistic claimed maximum capacity of 9kg. This isn’t unusual in similarly sized washing machines, and still a decent capacity.

This machine has Hotpoint’s ActiveCare technology as an option to some of the non-Eco wash programmes. The system pre-mixes water and detergent for better penetration into the washing and uses a unique drum-motion that, claims Hotpoint, takes best care of your garments. The machine also features a Steam Hygiene option that injects steam into the wash load to enhance wash performance and aims to eliminate 99.9% of bacteria from fibres.

The options buttons are conveniently placed around the display, including temperature, spin speed and a start/delay button for the Add Garments feature. This lets you stop the machine within the first few minutes of any wash cycle to add any items that have fallen out of your basket along the way.

The side-pivoting soap-drawer is a nice design and opens smoothly. The decent-sized opening has compartments for pre-wash and main-wash detergent and fabric softeners. The main compartment will handle both liquid or powder detergent.Hotpoint ActiveCare NM11 1045 WC A UK – How noisy is it?
The Hotpoint has a high-tech inverter motor and runs smooth and quiet for both wash and spin. Ironically, it isn’t the best sound-insulated of machines. During the wash, a fair portion of the noise is the sound of your washing sploshing around in the water.

We measured a low 50dB during much of the wash cycle, with only an occasional rise to near the energy label’s stated 56dB. That will likely sound super-silent compared to your old washer, but is not in the hushed clique of the best low-noise machines that come in well below 50dB.

As with most machines the spin steps up in speed over several periods, with a pause to redistribute the washing in-between. Only on the final 1400 spin did the Hotpoint get close to the energy label’s stated 76dB spin noise, tipping our sound meter at 73-74dB. Like the wash noise, that isn’t too noisy at the price. Nevertheless, it isn’t going to win any awards for lowering the sound barrier bar.

Hotpoint ActiveCare NM11 1045 WC A UK – What programmes does it have?
Headlining Hotpoint’s 15-strong programme choice is the Eco Cotton and Cotton wash cycles that you can use with the maximum capacity load. Interestingly, at 40ºC both cycles run to almost four hours’ duration, use 1.4kWh of energy and 107 litres of water. It’s safe to say they’re the same programme then.

Leave the Cotton Eco programme on its default 60ºC setting, however, and the Hotpoint’s true A+++ eco-capabilities reveal themselves: using under 1kWh of energy and 60 litres of water for a full load. All very admirable, but we wonder how many people would switch to 40ºC assuming the cooler wash would use less electricity?

Alongside the typical Synthetics, Mixed, Whites and Delicates cycles, there’s a Woolmark Apparel Care-approved Wool programme, plus specific cycles for up to 2.5kg of shirts and up to 10kg of bed linens and towels on the Bed & Bath programme. The Hotpoint’s Anti-Allergy cycle is designed to remove allergens such as pollen, mites and pet hairs, while the Anti Stain 40º programme is an intensive wash for heavily soiled and stained garments.

Leveraging the Hotpoint’s steam generator, the Steam Refresh programme injects a dry load with steam and tumbles them gently to freshen them without going for a full wash. Although clothing will be slightly damp and warm when it first comes out of the machine, this dries quickly and is really handy for refreshing the likes of school jumpers or towels.

In conjunction with a sturdy selection of programmes, there are seven helpful options. Adding ActiveCare further improves wash performance and claims to budge the toughest of stains including pizza, bronzer and coffee. This can be used on Mixed, Delicates, Anti Stain 40º, White, Rapid 30 Min and Bed & Bath programmes.

Steam Hygiene injects steam into the laundry during the wash to clean and kill off bacteria, and the Final Care option keeps the load tumbling gently for up to six hours after the cycle has ended. You can also delay the start in the first place to ensure the load completes once you’re home and ready to unload.

The flexible Rapid and Eco choice helps customise the washing cycle, giving the options of choosing between less time or greater energy saving. Touch once for the time-save that can chop off up to 50% of the cycle to get your laundry done quickly. Press twice for the eco-option that aims to save up to 20% energy consumption. The actual savings will vary according to load and programme.

We were a little surprised that there was no option to increase the number of rinses for those with detergent sensitivity, but Hotpoint’s Anti-Allergy programme does include this as standard.

Hotpoint ActiveCare NM11 1045 WC A UK – How well does it wash?
We conducted a range of different wash tests and started with our key test strain strip on the standard Cotton wash at 40ºC. Included on our strip is a few drops of ketchup, blood, turmeric, cranberry jam, engine oil and coffee. To give them extra staying power, we left these to dry on the fabric for 24 hours before placing the strip at the centre of our full 8kg load (80% of max claimed).

Well, that was the plan. The mountain that is 8kg of crumpled cotton garments would not fit into the Hotpoint without needing to lean on the door to close it. We removed 800g of clothing, leaving 7.2kg. That looked a whole lot more comfortable in the drum and left a little room for the materials to tumble and wash properly.

The standard Cotton cycle at 40ºC is very lengthy at a whopping 3hrs 55mins. That’s the sort of time we’d expect for a dedicated Eco Cotton cycle – and the same run-time as the Eco Cotton programme here. Thankfully, the results – with just non-bio detergent – proved worth the wait.

The stain strip looked very clean of the blood, coffee, ketchup and cranberry, which were removed completely. The tough turmeric and oil stains were significantly reduced. If you used bio detergent or Hotpoint’s ActiveCare wash improver or the Stream Hygiene option, results would be even better.

However, this was far from the most “eco” of Cottons programmes we’ve tested, using a significant 1.8kWh of electricity and very high 106 litres of water. The exact same test on the Eco Cotton programme used almost exactly the same resources, which isn’t great at all. Only when we tried the same load in the standard 60ºC flavour of Eco Cottons did energy and water use reduce significantly, with the energy dropping to a much more respectable 1.0kWh and the water to 59 litres.

Halving the load on the standard Cotton 40 programme dropped the resource use a little to 1.4kWh and 80 litres. In Cotton Eco, half-loads uses a much more respectable 0.66kWh and 53 litres – although, frankly, none of that gets close to the A+++ badge on the front. That’s only going to happen if you stick to Cotton Eco 60, which may leave you in a quandary if all your clothing labels say maximum 30 or 40-degree wash only.

After the wash the 1400 spin was efficient even with larger loads but not outstanding. On all tests, full and half-loads, it consistently retained 36% extra weight in water – which is solidly average for a 1400 spin machine.

Hotpoint ActiveCare NM11 1045 WC A UK – How much will it cost to run?
It’s tricky to calculate this. Let us first assume that all your cotton clothes can be washed at 60ºC and you have read this review so you know you need to use the Cotton Eco 60 programme for lowest running costs.

Based on 240 wash loads per year, split 200 full loads and 40 half loads, the NM11 1045 WC A UK would use 226kWh in electricity and 13,900 litres of water. Billed at 15p/kWh and £3.50 per cubic metre of water supply and waste, that would be just shy of £34 in energy and £48.65 in water. A total of just over £80 for washing up to 2.2 metric tonnes of washing isn’t too bad at all.

But, what if your clothes all say wash at 40ºC maximum, or you hadn’t read this review and assumed the Eco 40ºC wash would be the economical programme of choice. Using the Cotton Eco programme on 40ºC for the same 240 loads would use a hefty 416kWh in electricity and a small lake of water at 24,400 litres. That’s double the EU energy label’s “best case scenario” figures and would set you back around £62 in electricity and over £85 in water. Ouch.

The Hotpoint ActiveCare can certainly be a frugal washer that goes some way to living up to its A+++ energy label billing, but you do need to do your homework on the best programmes for the lowest running costs. That’s the Cotton Eco 60 with a full load… you read it here first.

Why buy the Hotpoint ActiveCare NM11 1045 WC A UK?
Packed with programmes and options to increase performance, the Hotpoint produced great cleaning results across our stain tests. The Rapid/Eco, ActiveCare and steam features all work very well, and we do like the hinged drawer for a change from the pull-out norm.

That said, the bling trim is a little tacky for our tastes; the drum is smaller than advertised; and the spin efficiency is solidly average for a 1400 machine. Our only real note of caution is that outside of the A+++ rated Eco Cotton 60ºC cycle, this Hotpoint is heavy on resources and running costs. Strangely that includes the Cotton Eco cycle at 40 degrees, which uses nearly 50% more electricity and water than its hotter 60-degree counterpart….
. go figure.

Ninja Foodi Multi-Cooker

Combining the speed of pressure-cooking with the ability to crisp, grill and bake, the Ninja Foodi Multi-Cooker can do everything from roast a whole chicken to golden brown perfection, to producing up to 1.1kg of French fries – tasks beyond the average multi-cooker.

It works by using two different lids: a pressure-cooking one for when you need dinner quickly, and an attached lid for when you want to air fry for up to 75% less fat. Whether you’re feeling virtuous and fancy healthy vegetable crisps or grilled chicken, or are craving comfort food such as slow-cooked pulled pork or fish and chips, the Foodi Multi-Cooker delivers.
Ninja Foodi Multi-Cooker – Design and features
Foodi is a two-lid cooker that’s big and heavy, so be aware that you’ll need sufficient worktop or cupboard space to store it. There are three basic ways to use it – with the separate lid in place for pressure-cooking (plus steaming, slow cooking and sear/sautéing); with the attached crisping lid for air crisping (plus baking/roasting and grilling); or without a lid for sear/sautéing.

Inside, there’s a removable cooking pot for use on its own or with either the Cook & Crisp basket or reversible grilling rack.

The slow and pressure-cooking part works much like other cookers, with a choice of high or low heat or pressure. Air crisping, baking and roasting offer adjustable temperature, while there’s just one heat for grilling.

All of the cooking times can be set in minutes, plus there’s a handy pause function when you open the crisping lid, so you can peek inside to check on progress.

The idea behind the Ninja Foodi Multi-Cooker isn’t just that it’s both a pressure cooker and an air fryer; it’s more that you combine both for great food, fast. So it’s no surprise that the included booklet includes recipes that harness more than one method of cooking, such a pressure-cooked cottage pie with a grilled potato topping. A “cheat sheet” chart is also on hand for cooking everyday foods.

I started by making teriyaki chicken with rice and broccoli. After placing rice, frozen veg and stock into the pot, I set the grilling rack with chicken above it and closed the lid.

This was set for two minutes on high pressure. However, it took an additional five minutes for pressure to be reached, before the timer started to count down. There’s a red float button that raises up as pressure is reached to provide an idea of how close it is to starting to cook.

Once finished, another 10 minutes was required to release the pressure naturally (Foodi helpfully counts up after cooking), meaning that a two-minute cooking time actually took 17 minutes. Removing the pressure lid and adding broccoli to the rack, I then used the crisping lid to grill the chicken and veg.

The heat was quite fierce and singed the broccoli before it was cooked through. An option of a low grill, rather than a single heat, would have been handy. I also found that the rice was undercooked, and would have benefitted from a longer cooking time. However, the chicken was crispy and moist.

Next, I put potato wedges into the crisping basket, starting off by pressure-cooking on low for three minutes with a quick release, which took the time to about 7 minutes. The potato emerged cooked and fluffy, although any smaller pieces were a little mushy.

This made tossing them in oil quite tricky. This was followed by engaging the Air Crisp setting at 200ºC, checking the wedges after 15 minutes of cooking. Since the temperature was high, I moved the crispier wedges on top to the bottom of the basket, as the ones below weren’t browning as well. Following a further five minutes of cooking time, the wedges were nicely crisp yet still soft inside.

Finally, I cooked a whole roast chicken. Placing the chicken in the crisping basket, I pressure-cooked it for 22 minutes on high, with a five-minute natural pressure release. The chicken still had patches of pink flesh..
. After brushing with oil and lowering the crisping lid, I browned it at 200ºC for eight minutes. However, this wasn’t sufficient to turn the skin golden.

I added a further 10 minutes at the same temperature, which browned the chicken to the colour you’d expect from conventional roasting. Following a period of resting, the meat was tender and cooked through. I’d estimate this process took just over half the time of roasting a chicken in an oven.

Clean-up was simple – every accessory, including the bowl, is dishwasher-safe – but equally straightforward to wash by hand.

Why buy the Ninja Foodi Multi-Cooker?
Solo households or small kitchens may find that the Ninja Foodi Multi-Cooker’s size outweighs its benefits. Nevertheless, it’s ideal for families, batch-cooking for the week ahead or entertaining. It works especially well for roasting and grilling meat, and frying potatoes, although cooking times may need to be tweaked for other foods.

Where it comes into its own, though, is if you’re already considering a pressure cooker or an air fryer. Since the Ninja Foodi can be both of these and more, it offers excellent value for the price.

Realme 3 Pro

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We are share all kinds of product review on Get The Product Reviews You Can Get Best Reviews Here What is the Realme 3 Pro?
The Realme 3 Pro is yet another midrange Android phone. You just have to glance at its specs to see, it’s cut from the same cloth as the Redmi Note 7 and the Huawei P Smart 2019. In other words, it features a good looking edge-to-edge Full HD+ screen with a water droplet notch on the front. Around the back, there’s a dual-camera and a fingerprint scanner, and inside is midrange power..

It’s hard to say what differentiates the Realme 3 Pro from the competition at first. The Redmi Note 7 has that megapixel-tastic 48MP camera, for example as well as a USB-C port. Meanwhile, Huawei’s P Smart 2019 packs a premium Huawei UI and an elegant, compact chassis. Motorola’s G7 Power is another option that crams in a huge 5,000mAh battery.

On paper, it looks like Realme’s Pro 3 is more of a jack of all trades than a master of anything in particular – but how do we feel about it after a week with the phone?

Realme 3 Pro – Design
When it comes to the Realme 3 Pro’s size, think more Pixel 3 XL than Pixel 3. It’s big with its 6.3-inch screen, but unlike some flagships, the Pro 3 isn’t super slender, clocking in at a noticeable 8.3-mm. The front is Gorilla Glass 5 – very nice – while the back is made from plastic, as is the frame.

While plastic isn’t as premium as glass or metal, the back is ergonomically curved and decorated with a striated speed wave pattern, apparently inspired by Le Mans track. With a total of 82 lines, and available in three colours; Carbon Grey, Lightning Purple and Nitro Blue, it looks attention-grabbing and catches light boldly. The inclusion of a very prominent Realme logo on the bottom left is also worth noting – though I didn’t love it.

Related: Best cheap phones

Realme 3 Pro back straight wide

In addition, you can protect the Realme 3 Pro without spending a penny, thanks to the fact it ships with a soft touch case in the box, and with its pre-fitted screen protector, whichever way you look at it, this phone’s well shielded. One thing it isn’t however is IP water or dust resistant, which is hardly surprising at the Realme 3 Pro’s price.

Neither the 3 Pro’s smooth plastic back or the more matte, bevelled plastic frame provides a great deal of grip, so careful not to drop it. Neither does it feel as premium as the Redmi Note 7, which features both a glass front and back, and a richer, polished finish on its frame.

Irrespective, the Realme 3 Pro does offer a healthy array of buttons and ports: a micro-USB connector and 3.5mm headphone jack at the base, a power button on the right and volume buttons on the left. On the left is a dual-SIM slot which houses a microSD card slot too, while around the back is the fingerprint scanner and the dual rear camera.

So while it doesn’t feel or look as good as some other phones in its price range, the Realme 3 Pro’s generous screen size, striking colour options and well-protected front and back still manage to get the fundamentals right.

Realme 3 Pro – Screen
The 6.3-inch screen on the Realme 3 Pro is just a little smaller than those found on the Huawei P30 Pro and the iPhone XS Max, which clock in at around 6.5-inches. Sporting a Full HD+ resolution of 1080 x 2340, it’s as sharp as it needs to be. Competing directly with the likes of both, it even betters the pricier iPhone XR from a pixels-per-inch point of view, with the XR delivering 326PPI verses the Realme 3 Pro’s 409PPI.

Subscribing to the 2018/19 trend of 19.5:9 aspect ratio screens, the Realme 3 Pro’s display is long, and like the OnePlus 7 and Moto G7 Plus, it has a water droplet notch at the top, where the front camera lies.

With its specs reading well, the key difference between the Realme 3 Pro’s screen and that of flagships comes down to the tech behind them. Rather than opting for an AMOLED display, Realme went with LCD – which is exactly what I’d expect from a sub-£300 smartphone. This means less depth to blacks and richness to colours, and in turn, lower contrast, flatter looking images.

Despite this, everything else about the screen is very respectable for the price, with detail stacking up admirably against the competition and colour accuracy and integrity holding up head on and off-angle. Brightness is impressive, with outdoor visibility being a breeze, and only direct sunlight reducing it noticeably.

Realme 3 Pro front straight wide

Software optimisations also go a long way to make the screen experience even better. For starters, within the settings are options to customise the colour temperature to suit your eyes. In addition, the phone’s ‘Night Shield’ feature is a blue light filter on steroids. Highly customisable, not only can you set the warmth of your screen, but you can also make it monochromatic, or invert its colours. This means, whichever way you look at it, the Realme 3 Pro’s screen is impressive both from a hardware and software point of view.

Realme 3 Pro – Performance
My experience with the Realme 3 Pro was nothing short of excellent from a performance point of view.

Available in two configurations, in its lowest capacity version – 4GB/64GB, it can be had for £175, and if you want more RAM and space, the 6GB/128GB version will set you back £219.

I reviewed the higher capacity model and would have no qualms recommending it to gamers and casual users alike. In day to day use, performance is silky smooth. The interface may not always be the prettiest, but it is well optimised and stable.

Gaming is also a joy on the Realme 3 Pro. Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, the chipset is more than up to the task of playing 2D and 3D games alike, and when you factor in the 6GB RAM in my test unit, it’s unsurprising that everything from 4K video playback to split-screen multitasking is handled well too.

Benchmarks are impressive for a midrange smartphone, with Geekbench delivering a multi-core score of around 5000 and Antutu scoring over 15,000. These put it in the same league as the Redmi Note 7, its main competition, and a notch above the Honor 10 Lite and Huawei P Smart 2019. Even the Huawei P30 Lite, which costs around £100 more, falls behind in both a benchmarking and a real-world gameplay point of view.

Realme 3 Pro handheld

One downside of the phone when it comes to gaming is the fact it has a mono speaker, which can often be easily covered, completely muffling sound from the Realme 3 Pro. Despite this, the speaker is still loud and the quality of its audio is impressive, rounded and clear.

Call quality is also great, with clarity and the phone’s in-call speaker position working well for us. Our only issue with the performance of the Realme 3 Pro was when it came to using the phone as a mobile hotspot. Every hour or so, when wirelessly tethering an internet connection to our laptop, the internet connection stopped working, requiring me to unlock the phone, after which it would resume again – not a fatal flaw, but worth noting.

Realme 3 Pro – Software
Realme’s Color OS, a take on Oppo’s Magic UI, sits on top of Android 9, the latest widely available version of Google’s mobile OS. This means app support for the Realme 3 Pro is excellent, as too are the prospects of security updates – provided US sanctions don’t put the kibosh on this Chinese company getting access to Google services in the future too.

Interaction is instantly familiar to anyone who’s used an Android phone before, especially phones running Huawei’s EMUI or OnePlus’ Oxygen OS. A swipe down from any homescreen reveals a universal search bar, homescreens can be populated by apps, shortcuts and widgets, and there’s a handy screen to the right with additional shortcuts to utilities.

The apps tray is optional, as too are the three navigation buttons that usually fill the bottom portion of the display – which can be turned off in favour of iPhone Xs and OnePlus 7 Pro style gesture interaction.

Realme 3 Pro selfie camera settings closeup handheld

What makes the experience a bit busy is Color OS’ look and feel, which has a bit more of a gradient-heavy finish than stock Android. I can’t fault the stability and optimisation though, and within the settings, there are also a lot of customisation options.

These range from the screen and UI personalisations mentioned, through to predefined times for the phone to be put into silent mode or power off and on. A handy feature I used all the time was a three finger swipe up to activate split-screen multitasking, and you can also swipe down with three fingers to grab a screenshot.

All in all, Color OS may not be the best UI around, but there’s nothing markedly wrong with it from a utility point of view, and it also features some really well thought out flourishes.

Realme 3 Pro – Camera
With its 16-megapixel, f/1.7 aperture primary camera, combined with a 5-megapixel, f/2.4 aperture depth sensor, Realme claims its 3 Pro can give the flagships a run for their money across photos and video.

Realme 3 Pro camera UI handheld

By bracketing images in a similar way to the Pixel 3, it can grab a broad tonal range, which should boost dark spots, soften highlights and create more dynamic night shots too.

Dive into expert mode and you can fire up a slightly bonkers sounding 64MP Ultra HD feature, similar to the super-resolution found on Asus smartphones like the Zenfone AR, which artificially creates detail. The main benefit I found, was that shots taken using it could be pinched into a bit more than default 16MP snaps. That said, when exported to a computer, there wasn’t much noticeable difference between photos shot at both resolutions.

The feature feels a bit unnecessary as a headline grabber, especially given how good the core camera experience is.

Pictures taken in automatic mode look great, packing stacks of detail, and unlike shots from some smartphones, contrast doesn’t feel overwhelming. Images showcase pleasing amounts of tonal range and nuance in lights and darks.

This rings true in low light too, with shots taken when the lights go down balancing noise reduction and detail very well. It categorically outperforms its competition here, delivering more consistent results than the Redmi Note 7 and P Smart 2019.

Thanks to the fact the Realme 3 Pro supports auto HDR (high dynamic range), even in challenging scenes, pictures taken pack a respectable tonal range. With its f/1.7 primary camera, macro shots are strong too, with healthy amounts of detail and pleasing background blur.

Realme 3 Pro –
How does the Realme Pro 3 compare against the Redmi Note 7 and P Smart 2019?
It’s also worth noting that the Realme 3 Pro is one of the only phones in its price range that can shoot 4K video, and while the electric image stabilisation isn’t a patch on that of the P30 Pro, for example, it’s still impressive.

As for the phone’s 960fps slow-mo video, sadly, it’s almost all hype. Slow-motion footage plays back at a very slow framerate, making it feel like a 60fps piece of content that’s just been slowed down. Meanwhile, the 120fps slo-mo looks great, so forget the big numbers and stick with that.

Finally, onto the selfie camera, and the Realme 3 Pro’s 25MP, f/2 shooter is cracking. Like the rear camera, it has auto HDR, and while it might not pack the widest angle around, its balance of flattery and detail, in the highlights and darker areas of the scene are very impressive, beating out competition from significantly pricier handsets like the P30 Lite.

Realme 3 Pro – Battery Life
With its 4045mAh battery, the Realme 3 Pro is one of the best specced midrangers around from a numbers point of view. It even beats out some flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S10 and iPhone X, for example.

Half an hour of intensive gaming dropped the battery by 8%. Meanwhile, an hour of video playback depleted it by about 10%, and an hour of screen off audio playback took it down another 3%.

With a micro USB port at the base, the Realme 3 Pro doesn’t quite serve up the latest connectivity options, and there’s no NFC either. Having said that, the phone does support Oppo’s proprietary charging tech, called VOOC. Realme’s claim of 50% in 30 minutes worked out to roughly what I got in the real world, and with a full charge taking an hour and fifteen minutes, the package is very impressive for the price.

Should I buy the Realme 3 Pro?
If you’re looking for an excellent phone that costs less than £220, you should definitely consider the Realme 3 Pro. While the Redmi Note 7 and Nokia 7.1 both have a more premium in-hand finish and USB-C ports, Realme’s offering outperforms both when it comes to imaging and video. Its VOOC fast charging combines with a great battery, and power and storage options are excellent too, with performance beating competition from the likes of Huawei and Honor.

The fact the phone features a micro-USB port and a plastic back mean it will never feel like a flagship in the hand, or when you’re plugging it in to charge. Having said that, if you’re okay with those sacrifices and NFC being absent, gamers and picture-takers will love the Realme 3 Pro, as too will on-the-go movie watchers thanks to its great display.

The Realme 3 Pro may be an underdog, but it’s an all-rounder with a standout camera for the price, not to mention very fast charging too. Provided you can get past the plastic body, micro USB port and lack of NFC, the rest of the smartphone delivers nothing short of excellent value.