The affordable smartwatch segment is picking up momentum quickly, and some of the early players in the space have already established their credentials. Realme has been hard at work trying to build an ecosystem of sorts, with a strong presence in various segments including smartphones, audio products, and tablets. The latest addition to the company's expansive portfolio of smart wearables is the Realme Watch 3, which tries to strike a balance between fitness and health tracking, useful features, and affordability.
Priced at Rs. 3,499 in India, the Realme Watch 3 is Realme's latest affordable smartwatch, and hopes to bring the brand back into the spotlight as it competes against similarly priced products from Noise, Fire-Boltt, and Boat. With a big screen, Bluetooth calling, and fitness tracking features, is the Realme Watch 3 the best affordable smartwatch you can buy right now? Find out in this review.
Bluetooth calling on the Realme Watch 3 works with the smartwatch functioning as a hands-free speaker and microphone
Realme Watch 3 design and specifications
At its price of Rs. 3,499, the Realme Watch 3 goes up directly against the recently launched Noise ColorFit Pro 4, which has a similar set of features and specifications. Although the Realme Watch 3 has a 1.8-inch TFT LCD touchscreen which is a bit larger than that of the Noise smartwatch, it isn't as sharp, with a resolution of 240x286 pixels. It is claimed to be as bright with a maximum brightness of 500 nits, though.
The Realme Watch 3 is available in two colour options, black and grey, and the company sent the latter to me for review. While the strap is grey, the sides of the smartwatch are a glossy, reflective shade of silver that looks rather good, in my opinion. The front and back of the Realme Watch 3 are black, and the 22mm straps can be removed and replaced with compatible aftermarket options.
There are thick borders around the Realme Watch 3's screen, which give it a somewhat dated look. You can reduce the visual impact of the borders by using a black background, but the somewhat poor black levels of the TFT-LCD screen mean that you'll still be able to see the differences up close.
The Realme Watch 3 is IP68 rated for dust and water resistance
The right side of the Realme Watch 3 has the microphone along with the primary button which controls power and some navigation functions within the interface. The left side has the speaker, which is used when placing or receiving calls on the smartwatch. The bottom of the device has contact points for charging, and optical sensors for heart rate and blood oxygen readings.
The Realme Watch 3 is IP68 rated for dust and water resistance, and weighs 40g with the included strap. The device uses Bluetooth 5.3 for connectivity. The sales package includes a magnetic charging cable for the smartwatch.
Realme Watch 3 software and app
As with most affordable smartwatches, the Realme Watch 3 has a simple user interface with a fixed set of apps made to operate its features and functionality. It isn't possible to install or uninstall apps from this watch. The Bluetooth connection to your smartphone is used to synchronise fitness data and receive notifications, apart from the device's wrist-worn speakerphone functionality.
Swiping left or right cycles through the main apps on the Realme Watch 3, including activity tracking, sleep tracking, heart rate tracking, weather, and music controls. A swipe upwards from the bottom lets you see notifications with a quick preview of the text, and swiping down from the top shows quick toggles for brightness, power saving mode, settings, and more. Pressing the side button shows the full app menu in either grid or list format.
The Realme Watch 3 has a single button which controls power and some navigation functions
There are apps for most key functions that you would expect on a smartwatch, including a stopwatch, timer, alarms, camera shutter control, heart rate and blood oxygen tracking, workouts and workout records, and settings, among others. It's all quite easy to access and get used to.
The Realme Link app handles the connection between the Realme Watch 3 and your smartphone, and is available for both iOS and Android. The app provides a detailed and organised view of fitness data collected by the smartwatch. It also lets you customise settings and other functions on the watch, and change watch faces.
You can choose from Realme's growing list of watch faces, and have up to four faces saved on the watch simultaneously to quickly switch between. You can also choose which apps you want to (or don't want to) receive notifications from on the smartwatch, and create event reminders for the watch to notify you at the right time and date. Waking the watch requires you to press the button or lift your wrist; tapping the screen in standby does nothing.
If you have multiple Realme products such as earphones or IoT devices, the Realme Link app serves as a common hub for all of them, which is quite convenient. The connection with the smartwatch was stable, and notification delivery was reliable during my review period.
Realme Watch 3 performance and battery life
Affordable smartwatches often boast of many features and capabilities, but the actual experience isn't quite what it claims to be. That said, I've found that most devices in this price range, including the Realme Watch 3, do a decent job as far as showing the time and notifications goes, thanks to the colour screen and ability to change watch faces.
Up to four watch faces can be stored on the Realme Watch 3 simultaneously, while more can be downloaded using the app
Bluetooth calling was particularly useful on the Realme Watch 3, and I was able to use the device for short conversations in relatively quiet places such as my home or office. I found the dialler interface on the smartwatch a bit clunky, but you can define frequent contacts to make it easier to call people you need to regularly. Receiving calls on the watch is easy, and worked without any trouble.
As for health and fitness tracking, I found the Realme Watch 3 to be fairly off the mark, but there aren't too many other options in this price segment that are very accurate. The smartwatch measured 1,072 steps when I manually counted 1,000, similar to the identically priced Noise ColorFit Pro 4. Over longer distances, the difference rose to around 85 extra steps per 1,000 as compared to the Apple Watch Series 7 with both devices worn together.
Distance measurements were strangely under-recorded when compared to the Apple Watch, while calorie measurements were over-recorded. Heart rate readings were also fairly inaccurate when moving, but matched what I'd get on the Apple Watch or a pulse oximeter when standing still or sitting down. Blood oxygen readings were usually accurate, compared to the pulse oximeter. Sleep tracking seemed fine with regard to duration.
Battery life on the Realme Watch 3 matched the company's claims, with the device running for just under seven days. My usage included frequent activity and health tracking, occasionally taking calls on the smartwatch, and viewing the previews on notifications. This figure also matches what most affordable smartwatches of this kind are able to deliver.
The Realme Watch 3 offers a lot for Rs. 3,499, including good looks, reliable connectivity, decent battery life, and the big feature addition that sets it apart from its predecessors – Bluetooth calling. Fitness and activity tracking accuracy was less than ideal, but apart from that, this is a fairly well-equipped device for the price, and worth considering if you want a smartwatch but have a tight budget.
That said, the Noise ColorFit Pro 4 is worth considering as well, primarily for its sharper screen and better watch faces. It all comes down to brand and personal preferences, but you'll largely get what you pay for (and a bit more) with the Realme Watch 3, making it a worthwhile pick.
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