Realme Narzo N53 Review: Sleek and Shiny, but Does It Stand Out?
The Realme Narzo N53 has been launched as the company’s new budget offering. It sits below the recently launched Narzo N55, which is a rebadged version of the Realme C55 (Review). The new Narzo N53 borrows the ‘Mini Capsule’ feature from its elder sibling, which is Realme’s take on the iPhone 14 Pro‘s (Review) Dynamic Island implementation. The N53 also seems to have taken some design inspiration from Apple’s flagship phone. Is the Narzo N53 worth considering? Here is our review to help you decide.
Realme Narzo N53 price in India
Realme has launched the Narzo N53 in India with two storage options. The base variant with 64GB of storage packs 4GB of RAM and is priced at Rs. 8,999. The variant we have comes with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage and is priced at Rs. 10,999.
Realme Narzo N53 design and display
The Realme Narzo N53 has a flat frame and rear panel, which has been the trend followed by most smartphones over the past few months. The phone’s camera module also has an uncanny resemblance to Apple’s Pro iPhone lineup. It might be intentional and it does make the Narzo N53 look like a slightly more expensive phone. The device is also quite lightweight at about 182g.
Moreover, the slim form factor also adds to a good in-hand feel. Realme claims that the Narzo N53 is its slimmest smartphone to date at 7.49mm. Does it bend? Well, I did not attempt any extreme tests on the phone, but applying a little pressure on the back panel did not show any signs of flex, which is good.
I have the Feather Gold colour of the Narzo N53, which produces shades of gold, yellow, pink and blue when you look at the back panel at different angles. This was a bit flashy for me and I would rather prefer the Feather Black colour instead. The one advantage of the gold colour option is that the bright colours help hide fingerprints very well.
On the front, the Realme Narzo N53 has a tall 6.74-inch IPS LCD display with an HD+ resolution and a 90Hz refresh rate. I would have liked to see a full-HD+ resolution display but it’s fine for its segment. Text and images displayed on the screen are not very sharp, which is even more noticeable due to the large size of the display.
The phone has a tiny waterdrop-style notch for the front camera. While the side bezels are fairly narrow, the chin is on the thicker side. The tall screen is ideal for scrolling through social media or even consuming video content. The phone also supports Widevine L3 DRM, which means video streaming support via OTT apps up to HD resolution only. The display is bright enough for indoor use but when outdoors and under harsh sunlight, it can be difficult to see your content even with the brightness maxed out.
The touch response of the display is quite good. The Realme Narzo N53 features a single speaker at the bottom, which is fairly loud and produces good quality sound for the price. There is a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, which is easy to reach and quick to authenticate.
Realme Narzo N53 specifications and software
The Realme Narzo N53 features a Unisoc T612 4G SoC, which is based on a 12nm fabrication process. The device packs a 5,000mAh battery, despite sporting a relatively slim frame. There is support for 33W SuperVOOC fast charging and the internal storage is expandable by up to 2TB via a microSD card. The software also supports the Extended RAM feature of up to 6GB.
In terms of software, the Realme Narzo N53 boots Android 13-based Realme UI T-edition. The software is a forked version of Realme UI 4.0 that is focused towards budget smartphones. The T-edition of Realme UI skips on some customisation options such as font size, app icon shape and size, etc. However, you do get the option to change the wallpaper and also match the system UI and icon colours with that of the wallpaper. There is support for Android’s Privacy Dashboard, permission manager and also privacy indicators for apps that use the camera or microphone.
There is bloatware and plenty of it. In our Realme 10 Pro+ 5G review, we did highlight the app recommendation issue where we saw Hot Apps and Hot Games recommending inappropriate apps. While the company has fixed that, the new Realme T-edition now has dynamic ads across the UI. Be it downloading apps from the Play Store or simply opening the app drawer, you will be greeted with app recommendations from the native App Market app. In comparison, some of the competition offers a far cleaner and much less-intrusive software experience.
Realme Narzo N53 performance and battery life
The Realme Narzo N53’s entry-level SoC is capable enough of handling routine tasks however, play a few heavy games and its limitations become apparent. In Call of Duty: Mobile, there were frequent stutters in the gameplay, although Asphalt 9: Legends fared slightly better but there was still a bit of lag when the action got intense. Lighter games such as Subway Surfer and Candy Crush ran smoothly.
In the AnTuTu benchmark, the Realme Narzo N53 scored 2,19,098 points, which was lower than the Realme C55’s score of 2,57,736 points. In Geekbench 6, the device scored 408 points in the single-core test and 1,462 points in the multi-core test.
The Realme Narzo N53 offers more than a day’s worth of battery life on a single charge. I ended up with about 30 percent of battery left after playing games, scrolling through social media, etc, during the day. In our HD video battery loop test, the phone lasted for 17 hours and 26 minutes, which is quite good.
The 33W bundled charger can charge the Narzo N53 fully in about an hour and 45 minutes. The Mini Capsule feature on the N53 is currently only used to show the charging status. When plugged in, the area around the water drop notch expands to a much wider notch to show the charging information, and retracts. It’s quite gimmicky but is still something unique in the segment.
Realme Narzo N53 cameras
The Realme Narzo N53 has a dual-camera setup on the back with a 50-megapixel primary and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. For selfies, the phone features an 8-megapixel front camera.
The primary camera’s performance is decent when it comes to colours. However, pinch and zoom in and you will notice some soft details. The software tries to fix the dynamic range in HDR shots but the overall output feels heavily processed rather than natural. The same is the case with low light photos where the software bumps up the exposure to brighten the image, but the images are not as sharp and have noise in the shadows.
The front camera, surprisingly, does a fairly good job. Once again, I feel the software processing is to be credited here as it gets the background blur correct in most cases when capturing selfies in portrait mode. The software did blur out my earphones in one of the images below but it got the colour of my skin almost accurately.
In terms of video recording, the Narzo N53 can record up to 1080p 30fps videos but without any form of electronic stabilisation. While the rear camera gets the colours nearly right, it struggles with highlight control and blows out bright backgrounds when shooting during the day. The same is the case with the front camera, which also doesn’t capture accurate skin tones when recording video.
The Realme Narzo N53 is one of the few recent budget smartphones under Rs. 10,000 in India that looks like it could be worth more than it actually costs. The tall display is good enough for multimedia viewing and social media use. You also get good battery life and a relatively quick charging experience. I like the front camera’s performance, which is one of the best I’ve used in the segment. I also found the the in-hand feel to be good, although the gold colour is too loud for my liking.
Software is one major area where the phone loses some points. You get the basics of Android 13 but the bloatware apps, coupled with ads, hamper the usage experience.
Overall, if you want a phone which is sleek, lightweight, offers good battery life and decent performance, the Narzo N53 can be considered. However, the 6GB variant that we tested is priced at Rs. 10,999, and for this amount, you can get the Lava Blaze 5G (Review), which not only offers 5G support but also a bloatware-free and ad-free software experience, and a more premium construction.