The Realme Narzo N53 was launched as the company’s new budget offering. It sits below the newly launched Narzo N55 which is a rebranded version of the Realme C55 (review). The new Narzo N53 borrows the ‘Mini Capsule’ feature from its big brother, which is Realme’s version of the Dynamic Island implementation of the iPhone 14 Pro (review). The N53 also appears to have taken inspiration from the design of Apple’s flagship phone. Is the Narzo N53 worth considering? Here’s our review to help you decide.
Realme Narzo N53 price in India
Realme launched Narzo N53 in India with two storage options. The base variant with 64GB of storage includes 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
Realme Narzo N53 has a flat bezel and back panel, which has been the trend followed by most smartphones in recent months. The phone’s camera module also bears an uncanny resemblance to Apple’s iPhone Pro line. It might be intentional and it makes the Narzo N53 seem like a slightly more expensive phone. The device is also quite light at around 182g.
In addition, the slim form factor also contributes to good hand feel. Realme claims the Narzo N53 is its thinnest smartphone yet at 7.49mm. Does it bend? Well, I haven’t tried any extreme tests on the phone, but applying a little pressure to the back panel didn’t show any signs of flexing, which is good.
I have the Narzo N53’s Feather Gold color, which produces shades of gold, yellow, pink, and blue when you look at the back panel from different angles. This was a little too flashy for me and I prefer the Feather Black color. The only advantage of the gold color option is that the vivid colors help to hide fingerprints very well.
On the front, Realme Narzo N53 has a tall 6.74-inch IPS LCD display with HD+ resolution and 90 Hz refresh rate. I would like to see a screen with full-HD+ resolution, but it’s good for its segment. Texts and images displayed on the screen are not very sharp, which is even more noticeable due to the large size of the screen.
The phone has a small waterdrop notch for the front camera. While the side bezels are quite narrow, the chin is on the thicker side. The tall screen is ideal for browsing social media or even consuming video content. The phone also supports Widevine L3 DRM which means video streaming support through OTT apps only up to HD resolution. The screen is bright enough for indoor use, but outdoors and in strong sunlight, it can be difficult to see your content even at maximum brightness.
The touch response of the screen is very good. The Realme Narzo N53 has a single speaker on the bottom, which is quite loud and produces good quality sound for the price. There’s a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, which is easy to reach and quick to authenticate.
Realme Narzo N53 specs and software
The Realme Narzo N53 has a Unisoc T612 4G SoC, based on a 12nm manufacturing process. The device packs a 5,000mAh battery despite having a relatively thin frame. 33W SuperVOOC fast charging is supported and the internal storage is expandable up to 2TB via a microSD card. The software also supports Extended RAM feature up to 6 GB.
In terms of software, Realme Narzo N53 boots Realme UI T-edition based on Android 13. The software is a forked version of Realme UI 4.0, which is focused on budget smartphones. Realme UI T edition skips some customization options like font size, app icon format and size, etc. However, you have the option to change the wallpaper and also match the system UI and icon colors with those of the wallpaper. There is support for Android’s privacy panel, permissions manager, and also privacy indicators for apps that use the camera or microphone.
There’s bloatware and lots of it. In our Realme 10 Pro+ 5G review, we highlighted the app recommendation issue where we saw Hot Apps and Hot Games recommending inappropriate apps. Although the company has corrected this, the new Realme T-edition now has dynamic ads in the UI. Whether you’re downloading apps from the Play Store or simply opening the app drawer, you’ll be greeted with app recommendations from the native App Market app. In comparison, some of the competition offers a much 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 to handle routine tasks, however play a few heavy games and its limitations become apparent. In Call of Duty: Mobile, there were frequent interruptions in gameplay, although Asphalt 9: Legends did a little better, but there was still a bit of a lag when the action got intense. Lighter games like Subway Surfer and Candy Crush ran smoothly.
In the AnTuTu benchmark, the Realme Narzo N53 scored 2,19,098 points, below the Realme C55’s score of 2,57,736 points. On 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 of battery life on a single charge. I ended up with about 30% battery left after playing games, browsing social media, etc during the day. In our HD video battery loop test, the phone lasted 17 hours and 26 minutes, which is pretty good.
The built-in 33W charger can fully charge the Narzo N53 in about an hour and 45 minutes. The Mini Capsule feature on the N53 is currently only used to show charging status. When plugged in, the area around the waterdrop notch expands to a much wider notch to show charging information and retracts. It’s quite gimmicky, but it’s 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 sensor and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. For selfies, the phone has an 8-megapixel front camera.
The main camera’s performance is decent when it comes to colors. However, pinch and zoom and you’ll notice some smooth details. The software tries to correct dynamic range in HDR photos, but the overall output looks too processed rather than natural. The same goes for low-light shots, where the software increases the exposure to brighten the image, but the images aren’t as sharp and have noise in the shadows.
The front camera, surprisingly, does a good job. Again, I feel the software processing should be credited here as it gets the background blur correct in most cases when capturing selfies in portrait mode. The software blurred my headphones in one of the images below, but it managed to color my skin almost accurately.
In terms of video recording, the Narzo N53 can shoot video at up to 1080p 30fps, but without any form of electronic stabilization. While the rear camera gets the colors just about right, it struggles with highlight control and erases bright backgrounds when shooting during the day. The same goes for the front-facing camera, which also fails to capture accurate skin tones when shooting video.
Realme Narzo N53 is one of the few recent budget smartphones under Rs. 10,000 in India which seems to be worth more than it actually costs. The tall screen is good enough for multimedia viewing and social media usage. You also get good battery life and a relatively fast charging experience. I like the performance of the front camera, which is one of the best I’ve used in the segment. I also found the hand feel good, although the gold color is too strong for my taste.
The software is a major area where the phone loses some points. You get the basics of Android 13, but bloatware apps, along with ads, hamper the user experience.
Overall, if you want a sleek, lightweight phone with good battery life and decent performance, the Narzo N53 could be considered. However, the 6GB variant we tested costs Rs. 10,999, and for that amount you can get the Lava Blaze 5G (review), which offers not only 5G support, but also a bloatware-free, ad-free software experience and a more premium build.