Realme C21 Review: Budget Smartphone Comparison with Poco M3

In 2021, Realme introduced a budget smartphone that I plan to tell you about. The device is called Realme C21 and it is notable for some interesting features and functions.

Naturally, in this review, you can find out not only the main technical characteristics, but I will also share with you various benchmark tests, show a series of sample photos and even run a battery endurance test.

For the price of the new budget model Realme C21, they ask for $120. Yes, this is not a very high cost, as for a modern smartphone. But I always have a question, will the Realme brand be able to compete with Poco devices?


To test this, let’s share a little about the technical features of the C21. For example, a 6.5-inch HD+ screen was installed on the front of the device, a good MediaTek Helio G35 processor with 4 and 64 GB of memory.

In addition, I can highlight a fairly large 5000 mAh battery, the main camera module with 13-megapixel resolution, and the Android 10 operating system.

Yes, from a technical point of view, the new C21 model falls short of the Poco M3. At the same time, in terms of pricing, both devices are almost identical. But I will not jump to conclusions and therefore propose to start my in-depth and complete review right now.

Realme C21: Specifications

Realme C21:Specs
Display:6.5 inches IPS with 720 x 1600 pixels, 60Hz
CPU:MediaTek Helio G35 Octa Core 2.3 GHz
GPU:PowerVR GE8320
Internal memory:32/64GB
Memory extension:microSD (dedicated slot)
Cameras:13MP + 2MP + 2MP main camera and 5MP front camera
Connectivity:Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band,3G, 4G, Bluetooth 5.0 and GPS
Battery:5000mAh (10W)
OS:Android 10
Dimensions:165.2 x 76.4 x 8.9 mm

Unboxing and packaging

I think it’s no secret that all Realme devices come in bright yellow packaging. The same goes for the new low-cost smartphone from Realme.

Realme C21 Review: Budget Smartphone Comparison with Poco M3

The front of the package only has the model and company name. But on the back of the box, you can find the main features of the device, which I told you about a little higher. Of course, I will talk about each function and feature in more detail a little later.

Realme C21 Review: Budget Smartphone Comparison with Poco M3

Inside the package, I found such a complete set as an envelope with various documentation and a needle for a SIM tray. Slightly below the smartphone itself is located in a transporting film. But there was no protective film glued on the smartphone screen.

Also in the package, you can find a 10 W power adapter and a rather outdated MicroUSB cable. To be honest, I didn’t like the package at all. For example, I did not find a protective silicone case in the boxes and the presence of the old MicroUSB port did not cause me positive emotions.

Design, build quality and materials

Like any budget smartphone, the Realme C21 is made of plastic. At the same time, the backside and frame of the device received matte plastic in their design.

Realme C21 Review: Budget Smartphone Comparison with Poco M3

Yes, it may not be the sturdiest device, but I liked the use of matte plastic with a wavy pattern. Thus, fingerprints on the back of the smartphone did not leave their marks.

The manufacturer offers two color options – blue and black. I have a blue color on my test and as you can see, it has a slightly darker and lighter shade of rhombuses. The design of the back of the device looks good, and most importantly, it is practical.

Realme C21 Review: Budget Smartphone Comparison with Poco M3

Also on the same plane are triple main cameras with LED flash in the upper left corner.

But the center has a fingerprint scanner. Although recently, most manufacturers are installing a scanner on the side of the device. But I should note that the scanner works quite quickly, and recognizes the finger accurately.

Realme C21 Review: Budget Smartphone Comparison with Poco M3

There are also holes for the main speaker. Yes, this is not the best location for the main speaker, as the sound will be dull and you can easily miss an important call or notification. In addition, the sound itself while listening to music and watching movies was not the best, although the maximum volume level was sufficient.

Realme C21 Review: Budget Smartphone Comparison with Poco M3

On the right side of the Realme C21 smartphone, there are familiar buttons, such as the power button and the volume rocker. Meanwhile, on the left side, there is a slot for dual nano-SIM cards and a separate slot for a MicroSD memory card.

Realme C21 Review: Budget Smartphone Comparison with Poco M3

The bottom end of the device received a 3.5 mm audio jack, a microSD power port, and a microphone hole. But on the upper edge – there is nothing.

Realme C21 Review: Budget Smartphone Comparison with Poco M3

Okay, I also want to share with you some information about sizes and weights. The Realme C21 device measures 165.2 x 76.4 x 8.9 mm and weighs approximately 190 grams. For comparison, the Poco M3 was 162.3 x 77.3 x 9.6 mm and weighed 198 grams. From this, I can conclude that the length of the new model of the C21 smartphone is slightly larger than the M3 model. But in width and thickness, the value was less, as well as the weight of the device.

Screen and image quality

In terms of screen size, the new budget model Realme C21 is not all that bad. Since a 6.5-inch screen is a fairly modern and typical display size for most smartphones in 2021.

Realme C21 Review: Budget Smartphone Comparison with Poco M3

But the resolution was only HD + or 720 x 1600 pixels. At the same time, the aspect ratio was 20: 9, and the pixel density per inch was about 270 PPI.

I have no strong comments on the quality of the screen since the C21 smartphone uses a good IPS matrix. Therefore, the transmitted colors were quite realistic, as well as the viewing angles and the value of the maximum brightness.

Realme C21 Review: Budget Smartphone Comparison with Poco M3

Yes, the screen of the Realme C21 may not be comparable to the screen of the Poco M3. Since the latter uses Full HD resolution, the screen size is almost the same. Thus, the pixel density per inch is almost twice that of the Realme smartphone.

I can also note the presence of rather large frames around the screen, especially in the lower part of the chin. Therefore, the screen-to-body ratio is only 80%.

Performance, benchmarks, games, and OS

In terms of performance, the new Realme C21 model has everything in the same way as with the screen quality. That is, I cannot say that the C21 smartphone model shows weak results in benchmark tests, but the device is not famous for its high performance either.

Realme C21 Review: Budget Smartphone Comparison with Poco M3

For example, the heart is based on the MediaTek Helio G35 processor. It is a 12-nanometer chipset with eight cores. Where four cores are energy-saving Cortex-A53 with a clock frequency of 1.8 GHz, and the other four cores are working Cortex-A53 with a frequency of 2.3 GHz. Naturally, I’ll leave some benchmark tests and you can compare the results with the Poco M3 smartphone.

Responsible for the graphics chipset PowerVR GE8320, which can easily run even productive games. For example, I was able to test PUBG Mobile and Call Of Duty. Yes, of course, the graphics were not the best, but the playability was not bad.

Realme C21 Review: Budget Smartphone Comparison with Poco M3

In terms of the amount of memory, not everything is so bad, in my version of the smartphone 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal memory were installed. But there is also a version for 3 and 32 GB of memory. In addition, I was glad to see the presence of an additional slot for a memory card.

Over the wireless connection, not everything is as good as I would like it to be. Look, the device received Wifi with support for b/g/n networks, and the Bluetooth connection was version 5.0. In addition, the Realme C21 smartphone model does not have an NFC module on board.

Realme C21 Review: Budget Smartphone Comparison with Poco M3

The C21 smartphone is controlled by the Android 10 operating system with the Realme UI user interface. Yes, this is a standard shell, like most smartphones from the Realme brand. During testing, I did not find any serious problems with its performance. In addition, the user interface itself has a global firmware, so you will not have problems with the language barrier.

I can conclude that the new budget smartphone Realme C21 can hardly compete with the Poco M3 device in terms of performance. But let’s take a look at other aspects of the C21 model.

Camera and sample photos

The main camera on the Realme C21 device received three modules, where the main sensor has a 13-megapixel resolution with an aperture of f/2.2. The second and third sensors have already received 2-megapixel resolution and were created for macro and bokeh shots.

Realme C21 Review: Budget Smartphone Comparison with Poco M3

Meanwhile, the front of the smartphone uses a 5-megapixel sensor with an f/2.2 aperture. I would also like to note that the selfie camera was located in a waterdrop notch.

Yes, perhaps in terms of resolution, the C21 smartphone will have a very hard time competing with modern smartphones. Since even the main competitor Poco M3, the main camera module received a 48-megapixel resolution.

Realme C21 Review: Budget Smartphone Comparison with Poco M3

But I cannot say that the quality of the main camera on the Realme C21 is very bad. For example, in good lighting conditions, the device takes good and bright photos. But with poor lighting, the quality of photos drops significantly and sepia and grain appear, and despite the fact that there is a night shooting mode. As usual, I’ll leave an album of sample photos taken with the Realme C21 below.

Battery and run time

Inside the case of the new model of the smartphone Realme C21, a good 5000 mAh battery capacity is used. Yes, perhaps the Poco M3 will have a slightly larger battery, namely 6000 mAh. But do not forget that the C21 smartphone uses only HD screen resolution, while the M3 has Full HD.

Realme C21 Review: Budget Smartphone Comparison with Poco M3

At the same time, the battery life on a full battery charge took me a full two days. This is with quite active use, since I played games, watched videos on Youtube, and even conducted various benchmark tests.

But if the battery life is a good indicator in a new smartphone from Realme, then the charging time is not the best. For example, the device only uses a MicroUSB connection with a 10W power adapter. In comparison, the Poco M3 had a Type-C connection and an 18W power adapter. Therefore, the charging time took me a little over 3.5 hours.

Conclusion, reviews, pros, and cons

At first glance, Realme has presented a good model of the budget smartphone C21. But after several days of use, it did not cause positive emotions in me. Since it doesn’t have any big features like the Poco M3.

Realme C21 Review: Budget Smartphone Comparison with Poco M3

Yes, I cannot call the C21 device very bad, because it also has positive aspects. I can refer to them, this is a large and good screen with a size of 6.5 inches. Also, the smartphone is well suited for everyday tasks and even demanding games.

I can also highlight the strong point – it is the presence of a large battery capacity. A decent 13-megapixel main camera module is capable of taking good and rich photos in the daytime.

Realme C21 Review: Budget Smartphone Comparison with Poco M3

The negative aspects of the device are also present. For example, the low resolution of the screen is only HD and not the best photos in low light. And of course, the device does not have a fast charging function, and the presence of a MicroUSB port does not cause positive emotions either.

Price and where to buy cheaper?

Currently, the price tag for Realme C21 is only $123.59 and as for its features, this is not a very high cost. But for comparison, the Poco M3 device can be purchased for $129.

Therefore, comparing the two models of smartphones, I will definitely recommend a model from the Poco brand for purchase. For the price, both models are almost identical, but the difference in the technical stuffing is very significant.


Alternative and competitors

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