realme narzo 20 Gaming Review: A budget performer

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The realme narzo 20 boasts a powerful chipset at a more than affordable price tag!

realme’s been steadily climbing up the ranks here in the Philippines, holding the no.2 spot in terms of sales. In order to continue their momentum and capitalize on the rise of eCommerce, the brand is releasing a brand new line-up locally. This time, their aim is to bring in members of the mobile gaming community by offering an affordable device that packs a punch. Enter, the realme narzo 20 the first in a line of game-centric smartphones. Is it a device that’ll draw in their target market or is it just another smartphone? Let’s find out in our review!

Display

The narzo 20 comes with a 6.5″ IPS HD+ display (720 x 1600). Color reproduction and accuracy isn’t too bad and viewing angles are great thanks to the IPS panel. Pixel density is a bit low and noticeable but still acceptable. You also have quite the screen real-estate thanks to its size. Allowing for some breathing room with controls in games, especially in MOBAs and FPS. All in all it’s a pretty average display that serves well in media consumption and gaming.

Audio

realme didn’t do anything special with the narzo 20’s speakers, yet it packs a punch much like its internals. At max volume it pumps out sound enough to fill a small room and even match other external audio gear or devices. However, quality is only a bit above average. Nothing too drastic but not too shabby either. Lows (base) aren’t present, which is expected but highs and mids are quite good.

Although, there are some instances at max volume where the audio becomes hollow and loses a bit of clarity. So, we recommend you dial it down to enjoy better quality. Thankfully, to further improve your audio experience the device comes with a 3.5mm audio port, a rare convenience in this time and age. So, if ever you aren’t too fond of the speakers just plug in your favorite audio gear.

Storage

Another important aspect oftentimes left out in phones, especially ones touted for gaming, is storage. Especially now when games and apps are slowly rising in size. For the narzo 20 it will be quite the challenge with its 64GB storage. Its easy to blow through that amount in a short span, even more so when you factor in images and videos. In fact, we only have about 14GB left with just the 10 games we have installed.

Thankfully, you have the option to expand via microSD up to 256GB, which we recommend you do if you don’t want to uninstall apps or delete images and videos every now and then. Speed-wise we have a fairly good storage drive with a read and write speeds of 315.65 mb/s and 191.46 mb/s, respectively.

General Performance

BenchmarkScore
AnTuTu200,639
GeekbenchSingle Core - 341
Multi Core - 1,299
PCMark Work 2.08,618
3DMarkSling Shot Extreme - 1,379
Sling Shot - 1,831

Under the hood of the narzo 20 is MediaTek’s Helio G85 Gaming Processor with Mali’s G52 GPU. An entry-level combo that’s still powerful enough to merit some credit. The pair doesn’t break any benchmark scores, obviously, but they have enough oomph to provide a smooth overall performance. A 200,000+ score in AnTuTu is not too bad considering the device’s price. General and mundane tasks such media consumption and browsing aren’t a problem and some light photo and video editing is even possible.

Gaming Performance

Now on to the juicy part, Gaming Performance. Since the narzo 20 is being touted as a gaming smartphone, let’s see how it performs. While the device certainly holds its own against even the most demanding games out right now, it does have its limits. Genshin Impact at max settings stutters ever so often and doesn’t even reach 30 fps. Ark: Survival Evolved has a same story, reaching an average of just 24 fps at max. Then, titles like Black Desert Mobile (BDM) and Call of Duty Mobile (CODM) limit the maximum graphical settings the phone can use.

BDM kept reducing the settings automatically during our playthroughs when we cranked it up at maximum. On the other hand, CODM only allows for up to Medium settings in their graphics options. Despite all that though, the narzo 20 handled these games admirably. Ensuring that you can still play them at an acceptable graphics quality. As long as you don’t aspire to play them at their highest settings, you’ll be able to enjoy smooth gameplay.

Low to Mid-end games though are no problem for the narzo 20. Titles like League of Legends Wild Rift, Rockman X DiVE, and Knighthood hit 60 fps no sweat. So, overall you’re pretty much covered when it comes to gaming. You may not be able to play all of them at their max settings but at least you will be able to play them smoothly.

Game-centric Features

The narzo 20 sadly forgoes most of the essential game-centric features you can find in more expensive competitors to keep the price as low as possible. So we don’t have any dedicated game boosting software and/or assistive hardware such as shoulder buttons and gaming accessories. The only one feature we have is realme’s Game Space software. It offers a central hub for your games, notification blocking, power mode changes, and some system information in-game.

Notification blocking is still a welcome feature to have for unimpeded gameplay. Plus, the power mode changes allows for a bit more oomph in gaming or adding a few more minutes of battery life. Game Space still adds a bit of assistance in your gaming experience but it’ll certainly leave you wanting more.

Battery Life

realme narzo 20 review

If there’s one aspect that the realme narzo 20 truly shines in is its battery. The device is armed with a massive 6,000mAh pack capable of reverse and fast charging. That capacity is no slouch and paired with the device’s own battery management settings makes it last more than a day on average use. The pack clocked it an impressive 17 hours and 34 mins in PCMark’s Work 2.0 battery test. During our real world gaming tests, the phone was able to handle around 4-8 hours of continuous gaming.

It can definitely run a whole 24 hours and more without requiring a charge if not used continuously. However, it charges as fast as it drains, taking up to around 3 Hours and 10 minutes to go from 20-100%. This is at idle, when the phone is left alone to charge. When in use while charging that time increases to about 1-2 Hours depending on your activity. So, while it does offer fast charging that’s still quite a time to get it juiced up. Either way, the narzo 20 can handle prolonged use, be it regularly or in intensive tasks such as gaming.

Thermals

realme narzo 20 review

Heat is not something that the narzo 20 has a problem with. Unless you truly push it to its limits by trying to max out settings in demanding games or doing heavy video editing, external and internal temperatures are controlled. We only ever reached maximum temps of around 42°C, this translates to just a bit of warmth on the chassis. Most of the external heat can be felt around the top part of the device, by the area of the fingerprint scanner. Although, it’s not enough to hurt your hands it can still make them sweat during prolonged use. With the controlled temperatures, you won’t have to worry about any thermal throttling, so expect the device to perform at its peak at all times.

Verdict

realme narzo 20 review

The realme narzo 20 is quite an impressive device considering its price. You’ve got a big enough display to enjoy gaming and media consumption, speakers to bring the house down, admirable internals, and amazing battery life. Sadly, it forgoes some gaming essentials to cut costs down, leaving you with some desires. However, this allows it to reach more of its target market. At just Php 7,990 the narzo 20 is the perfect choice for the budding and aspiring gamer on a budget. It’s certainly a phone to look out for.

What we loved

  • Amazing Battery Life
  • Affordable Price Tag
  • Impressive CPU and GPU
  • Strong Speakers

What we didn’t love

  • Low internal storage
  • Lack of game assisting software and hardware

Specifications

Specificationrealme narzo 20
Display6.5" 20:9 HD+ (720 x 1600) IPS display
CPUMediaTek Helio G85 2.0GHz Octa-core Processor
GPUMali-G52 MC2
RAM4GB
Storage64GB, expandable up to 256GB via microSD (non-hybrid, dedicated)
Rear CameraTriple:
- 48 MP Sony f/1.8, 26mm (wide), 1/2.0", 0.8µm, PDAF
- 8 MP, f/2.3, 119˚ (ultrawide), 1/4.0", 1.12µm
- 2 MP, f/2.4, (macro)
Front Camera8 MP, f/2.0, 26mm (wide), 1/4", 1.12µm
Ports- USB Type-C
- 3.5mm Audio Port
SIM- Dual-nano (non-hybrid)
Connectivity- Dual-band WiFi (2,4GHz/5GHz)
- 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
-Bluetooth 5.0
GPSGPS/AGPS, Beidou, Glonass
Security- Rear Fingerprint Scanner
OSBase: Android 10
Custom overlay: realme UI
Battery6,000mAh battery, 18w Quick Charge
PricePhp 7,990