Realme launched their third-generation fitness watches in India recently. We have the Watch 2 Pro on our wrists right now. Realme Watch 3 Pro boasts a larger AMOLED screen, Bluetooth calling, and better GPS connectivity for the same price as its predecessor. It looks great on paper but does it really work? Let’s look a little deeper.
We loved the Realme Watch 3 Pro:
Comfortable and light
The display is slightly larger than the previous version and has a rectangular design. Despite being primarily made from plastic, it has a decent build quality. The straps have helped to keep the watch’s weight to around 40 grams, despite its slight increase in size. The silicone straps are comfortable on the wrist and did not cause any skin irritation even after being worn for several hours. Any 22mm strap can be used to replace the straps.
Brighter colors and a larger AMOLED display
As I mentioned earlier, the display size has increased slightly from 1.75-inch and 1.78-inch respectively. The same applies to the screen resolution which is now 368 x 448 pixels. This translates into a 325 PPI pixel density which is quite impressive. This is the biggest difference: you get an AMOLED LCD display, instead of a regular LCD. Sharpness and color reproduction is vibrant. There are five levels of brightness available. Level 3, or 60%, is sufficient brightness when it’s not in direct sunlight. However, you should go one level higher to be more legible in bright sunlight.
To turn the display on, you will need to either flick your wrist or press one physical button. Most of the time, flick to wake works well. To prevent the screen from accidentally glowing in the dark, you can turn off the feature while you’re sleeping or when you are in a darkened room. Realme chose to apply a scratch-resistant coating on the display this time but has not specified the details. After two weeks of usage, there were no scratches.
Simple to use
Even for novice users, the watch UI is easy to use. Swipe down to access quick settings. Swipe up for notifications. Swipe left or right for more widgets such as daily activity progress, heartbeat, sleep info, and weather. Swiping right will take you back to the previous screen when you are in a menu. You can also use the physical button as a back button, except on the home screen. The apps drawer is opened by pressing the button on the home screen. The scroll works well and all functions are clearly listed.
Transition effects and the UI are lag-free. You cannot install additional apps on the watch. This is true for all watches in this price range. You can customize your watch face and disable or enable certain features with the companion app. We would have liked it a little more. I will discuss this later in the article.
Loaded with useful features
The Realme Watch 3 Pro offers a lot of useful features, even for a low-cost fitness watch. Although the watch’s predecessor had a SpO2 sensor with built-in GPS, both have been improved on this model. If you hold your hand steady, the oximeter will give accurate readings in less than a minute. The readings were only a few points below that of a regular over-the-counter oximeter. This is acceptable considering it is intended to be a guideline, not replace, a clinical instrument.
Bluetooth calling is another feature that the Realme Watch 3 Pro boasts. This feature has been growing in popularity recently. Bluetooth 5.3 compatible, the watch can be used to receive calls. The built-in microphone and speaker do a great job and are almost as good as a speaker for phone calls. To route the call to the watch, however, your phone will be required.
You also get reminders to drink water and get up if you are sitting too long. A few useful features include music controls, menstrual cycle monitoring, music controls, a remote camera shutter, a stopwatch, and many more. Notifications are sent to the watch from selected apps. The messages can be clearly read on the screen but you cannot reply.
Fitness and health tracking works well and the GPS is precise
Realme Watch 3 Pro can monitor 110 fitness activities, including running, walking, cycling, strength training, and some sports such as cricket, badminton, and football. The 16 workouts are followed by variations. The Cywee professional sports algorithm allows for better tracking of sporting activities. It also provides all-day oxygen level and heart rate monitoring.
The multi-system GPS chip in this watch is able to track your outdoor activities. This feature is not available on many watches in this price range. It means you don’t have to take your phone with you when tracking your run or walk. The device can lock to a GPS in less than 30 seconds outdoors, and it will keep the connection going until you return indoors. My walks and jogs were able to track my distance accurately. It is also manageable, as the battery drain is very low. The watch loses between 8 and 9% per hour of GPS use.
This watch has excellent sleep tracking. The watch tracks your sleep patterns and provides a breakdown, including the amount of deep, light, and REM sleep. Although it could have done a little more analysis, it does seem to accurately track the length of sleep. The Watch 2 Pro does not have stress monitoring. It does however take a lot of battery backup. The Realme Link app, which one must sync with this watch before one can start using it, provides more details about your fitness activities.
We didn’t like the Realme Watch 3 Pro:
Low battery backup
It was a surprise and it wasn’t pleasant. Its predecessor used two weeks with a similar workload. Realme advertised 10 days for the Watch 3 Pro. I was expecting at least that. It only managed to last 4 to 5 days on moderate loads. It doesn’t seem to be as drained by the workouts as the unoptimized circuitry within the watch that draws a lot of power even when it isn’t in use. This is an example of how I felt when testing the watch. It was heavy rain in Mumbai, and it was impossible to go outside for four days. The battery had almost gone flat by the fourth day.
After switching off all-day stress monitoring and using GPS for one hour (total), it lasted five more days. This is still not impressive. The screen brightness was set at 3, notifications were limited to SMS, and there were 45 minutes of exercise for two days. There were also two 30-minute walks with GPS. Heart rate monitoring was on for 5 minutes, as well as two Oximeter readings per day. Sleep was tracked for three nights. Although there are fitness watches that can easily last for more than two weeks, one week is the minimum.
The companion application feels cluttered
Realme Link is now a single-point location for all Realme AIoT products. This includes everything from configuring and syncing to buying. It can feel cluttered and overwhelming to a new user who is trying to find specific items. It could use some easier navigation. It would be nice to have more information about the fitness data. It feels too basic right now and doesn’t fully utilize the watch’s capabilities.
The IP68 rating of the Realme Watch 3 Pro for water resistance is a good thing. However, it is not swim-proof. The watch is protected from dust and water immersion for up to 30 minutes in 1.5-meter-deep water. It can be worn on walks in rain, as it can withstand more than a few drops of water. However, it cannot go into a pool. Ideal for swimming watches is a 5ATM rating (waterproof up 50 meters).
There are minor operational issues here and there
These aren’t major issues, but they do highlight minor problems that the company could address in the future. Although the Realme Watch 3 Pro has a decent collection of watch faces, you can only store five, including the default that cannot be changed. You only have four slots to store the watch faces you choose. A few more would be nice. It would have been nice to have more customization options, such as the ability to choose widgets from our own choice rather than sticking with preinstalled ones.
One small problem is that the sleep mode does not have any effect on the flick-to-wake option. The watch claims that turning on sleep mode disables the flick-to-wake gesture and turns off notifications. It does not perform the latter. It must be manually disabled and enabled each time. Last but not least, every time you hit a daily milestone, the achievement is flashed on your watch screen for just 2 seconds. It’s easy to miss. Realme, let’s enjoy the moment for a bit longer after all the hard work.
Verdict and Price:
The Realme Watch 3 Pro is available at Rs 4,999 and comes with a 1-year warranty. This watch is quite feature-rich and has a decent-sized AMOLED screen, built-in GPS, and reliable health and fitness tracking. Although I am able to accept the fact that the watch is not waterproof, it is difficult to overlook the poor battery backup. This watch is fine if you can charge it twice per week.
The Amazfit Bip 3 Pro, which is priced at a thousand Rupees less, offers a great alternative. It also has a built-in GPS. The AMOLED screen will need to be traded for a lower-resolution LCD display. However, the watch has a longer battery life, a better companion app, and is waterproof. The OnePlus Nord Watch, which is still in its early testing phase, looks promising. However, it doesn’t include GPS. For a more detailed review, stay tuned.