Ameya Dalvi07 Oct 2022 20:21:56 IST
Price: Rs 4,999
Realme recently launched its third generation of fitness watches in India and we have the Watch 2 Pro successor on our wrist at the moment. The Realme Watch 3 Pro now offers a larger AMOLED display, Bluetooth calling and better GPS connectivity at the same price that its predecessor came out for. It looks like a runway winner on paper, but is it? Let’s dig a little deeper.
What we liked about the Realme Watch 3 Pro:
Lightweight and comfortable to wear
It has a standard rectangular design, which isn’t anything special or bad, but the display is a bit larger than before. Although it’s mostly plastic, the build quality is pretty decent. And despite the slight increase in size, they’ve managed to keep the weight with straps at just under 40 grams, which is good. The silicone straps feel comfortable around the wrist and despite wearing the watch all day, there was no skin irritation. The straps can be replaced with any 3rd party 22mm straps.
Bigger, sharper AMOLED display with vivid colors
As I just mentioned, there’s a small increase in display size from 1.75 inches to 1.78 inches, and the same goes for the screen resolution, which now sits at 368 x 448 pixels. That equates to a pixel density of 325 PPI, which is impressive. The biggest change here is that you now get an AMOLED display instead of a regular LCD. Color reproduction is vibrant, as is sharpness. You have five levels of brightness to choose from. Level 3 or 60% is bright enough when out of the sun, but you’ll need to step it up a notch to improve readability in bright sunlight.
You either have to wiggle your wrist or press the single physical button on the right to turn on the display. Flick to Wake works well most of the time. You have the option to turn off the feature at bedtime or in a dark room to prevent the screen from glowing in the dark unintentionally. This time, Realme has opted for a scratch-resistant layer on the display, but hasn’t given any details. After two weeks of use, no scratches were visible.
Easy to use
The clock interface is simple even for new users. You can swipe down for quick settings, swipe up for notifications, and swipe left or right to cycle through the widgets like daily activity progress, heart rate, sleep info, weather, etc. When in a menu, swiping right takes you to the previous screen. The physical button can also be used as a back button anywhere except on the home screen. Pressing on the home screen brings up the apps drawer. All of the watch’s features are neatly listed there, and scrolling is fairly smooth.
The user interface and transition effects are lag-free. Of course, you can’t install additional apps on this watch, which is pretty much the case with all watches in this price range. The companion app gives you a handful of customization options like watch faces and enabling and disabling certain features. But we would have liked a little more, which I will address later in this article.
Loaded with useful features
The Realme Watch 3 Pro has a number of useful features for a budget fitness watch. Yes, its predecessor also had an SpO2 sensor and built-in GPS, but both seem to have continued to improve on this watch. The oximeter provides accurate readings within half a minute if you keep your hand steady. Readings were no more than one point below a standard over-the-counter oximeter, which is acceptable as it is intended as a general guide and is not intended to replace clinical instruments.
Another feature that the Realme Watch 3 Pro flaunts is Bluetooth calling, which has been gaining popularity lately. The watch is Bluetooth 5.3 compatible and you can take calls right on the watch, with the built-in microphone and speaker doing more than a decent job; almost as good as a phone speaker. However, you need your phone so that the call can be transferred to the watch.
In addition, you’ll get reminders to drink water or get up and move if you’ve been standing still for too long. The watch comes with a handful of useful features, including menstrual cycle tracking, music controls, a remote camera shutter, a stopwatch, and more. Notifications from the selected apps are pushed to the watch and the messages are perfectly legible on the watch screen, but you cannot reply.
The health and fitness tracking generally works well and the GPS is accurate
The Realme Watch 3 Pro claims to monitor over 110 different fitness activities ranging from walking, running, and cycling to strength training and specific sports like cricket, table tennis, badminton, soccer, etc. You basically get 16 core workouts and then variations on them. It features Cywee professional sports algorithm for smarter sports activity tracking. You also get all-day heart rate and oxygen monitoring.
This watch has a multi-system GPS chip that does an excellent job of tracking your outdoor activities. Very few watches in this segment offer this feature. Thanks to it, you don’t have to take your phone with you to track your walk or run. It gets a GPS lock outdoors in under 30 seconds and maintains a stable connection until you get back indoors. The distance measurement was spot on during my walks and jogs. The battery consumption is also manageable, with one hour of GPS use, the watch loses about 8 to 9% of its reserves.
Sleep tracking on this watch is on the money. It tracks your sleep patterns and gives you a breakdown that includes quantum of deep sleep, light sleep, REM and wake time. A little more analysis would have been nice, but at least it seems to track sleep duration accurately. One thing missing from the Watch 2 Pro is available here – stress monitoring. However, it takes a significant toll on battery backup. For more details about your fitness activities, please refer to the Realme Link app, which you need to sync this watch with before using it.
What we didn’t like about the Realme Watch 3 Pro:
Weak battery backup
This came as a surprise and obviously not pleasant. The predecessor used to last two weeks at a similar load, and when Realme announced 10 days for the Watch 3 Pro, I expected at least that much. In reality, it only lasted 4 to 5 days, even with moderate loads at best. I don’t think training drains it as much as unoptimized circuitry inside, which draws a significant amount of power even when the watch isn’t being used. When I started testing this watch, it was raining heavily in Mumbai and I couldn’t go outside for 4 days. At the end of day 4 the battery was almost empty.
On the second run, after turning off all-day stress monitoring, GPS usage for an hour (total), and no calls, it took five days, which is still far from impressive. During testing, screen brightness was set to 3, notifications limited to SMS, 45 minutes of fitness activity for two days in addition to two 30-minute walks with GPS on, heart rate monitoring was set to 5 minutes, two oximeter readings daily, and recorded sleep for 3 Nights. Although there are fitness watches that easily last two weeks, a week should be the absolute minimum these days.
The companion app feels cluttered
The company has chosen to make the Realme Link app a central destination for all Realme AIoT products, from syncing to configuration to purchase. As a result, it feels cluttered and can be overwhelming for a new user trying to search for specific things. It can do with easier navigation. At the same time, a more detailed analysis of the fitness data would be desirable. At the moment it feels a bit too basic and probably doesn’t fully utilize the watch’s capabilities.
Not swim proof
The Realme Watch 3 Pro has an IP68 rating for water resistance, which is good. But that doesn’t make it swimproof. This degree of protection protects the watch from dust and immersion in about 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes. So you can wear it on your walks in the rain as it will easily survive more than a few splashes, but you can’t dip it into a pool with it. A 5ATM rating (water resistant to 50 meters) is ideal for a watch to be suitable for swimming.
Minor operational issues here and there
These aren’t exactly deal breakers, but rather certain minor issues that the company can fix going forward. The watchface collection for the Realme Watch 3 Pro is pretty decent, but you can only save 5 of them on the watch, including the default view that cannot be replaced. So you only have four slots for watchfaces of your choice; a few more would have been nice. A few more customization options would have been nice too, like picking a few widgets of our choice rather than sticking to the pre-installed ones.
A minor flaw is the lack of any effect on the “Flick to Wake” option, even after enabling sleep mode. In fact, the watch states that in addition to disabling notifications, enabling sleep mode also disables the “flick to wake” gesture. In reality, the former does not. You have to disable and enable it manually each time. And finally, when you hit a daily milestone, your achievement barely flashes on the clock screen for 2 seconds before it’s gone, and you often miss it. Come on Realme, let’s savor the moment a little longer after throwing in the hard yards.
Price and verdict:
The Realme Watch 3 Pro is sold for Rs 4,999 with a one-year warranty. For this price you get a fairly feature-rich watch with a decent AMOLED display, reliable health and fitness tracking, and built-in GPS. While I can let go of the fact that it’s not swimproof, the subpar battery backup is hard to overlook. If you are okay with charging the watch twice a week then this watch is not a bad buy at all.
As an alternative in this price range, the Amazfit Bip 3 Pro is a good option for a thousand rupees less with built-in GPS. You’ll have to trade the AMOLED screen for a lower-resolution LCD display, but in return you get much better battery life, a superior companion app, and a swim-proof watch. Another possible alternative may be the newly launched OnePlus Nord Watch, which looks quite promising in the early testing phase. However, it has no GPS. Stay tuned for a detailed review of it.