Realme 3 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy M30: The obvious choice

There have never been more options in the highly competitive $200-$250 price segment. In a clash between reigning smartphone stalwarts and sprightly upstarts, it is the consumers who end up winning.

Realme is one such upstart that has carved out a definite niche for itself by providing top-notch hardware, great cameras and an equally good software experience. In our Realme 3 Pro review, we found the phone to be a fairly competitive device that presents itself as an alternative to the popular Redmi Note 7 Pro.

However, Samsung too has been hitting it out of the park with their refreshed focus on the mid-range. The Samsung Galaxy M30 is one such phone that packs a gorgeous AMOLED display and a huge battery. Which one should you choose? We help you make a decision in our Realme 3 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy M30 comparison.

Design

Both phones employ a polycarbonate finish that is equal parts resistant to damage from drops and a bit of a scuff magnet. We’ve had the two phones around for a few weeks now and there are very clear and evident signs of scratches and scuffs. Keeping up with the latest design trends, both phones have a gradient-rich design that looks quite good. The Realme 3 Pro has a bit more flair to it. Between the more interesting color scheme and the gold trim around the camera module, the Realme 3 definitely has a more interesting look from the back.

Realme 3 Pro vs Galaxy M30 showing back of the phone

Flip the phones over and the Realme 3 Pro and Samsung Galaxy M30 look remarkably similar. Both devices have a waterdrop notch and large displays. To be fair, there is little room for differentiation here, as all smartphones move towards a homogeneous design with minimal bezels, small notches, and the smallest chin possible.

Realme 3 Pro vs Galaxy M30 front notches

Other differences are fairly minimal. Button layouts between the two phones differ, and the Realme 3 Pro sports a Micro-USB port, which is a definite downer. The two phones weigh approximately the same, which is an interesting point given the much larger battery capacity on the Galaxy M30.

Display

While the notch might have stylistic differences, the biggest differentiator between the Realme 3 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy M30 is the kind of screen used. The Realme 3 Pro has a 6.3-inch IPS LCD panel while the Galaxy M30 sports a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display. The difference is stark and while the Realme 3 Pro’s screen looks quite good, the deep blacks and vibrant colors of the M30 can’t be beat.

Realme 3 Pro vs Galaxy M30 showing display

Viewing angles are generally great on both phones but the Super AMOLED panel on the M30 really takes the cake for being one of the most visually appealing displays at this price point. The Galaxy M30 allows you to adjust screen saturation levels and color profiles to suit your preferences. The Realme 3 Pro too lets you change the saturation levels, but the implementation just isn’t as effective. As an aside, both phones support the Widevine L1 DRM so you should have no trouble streaming high resolution content from Netflix and others.

Performance

Realme 3 Pro

  • Snapdragon 710
  • 4GB or 6GB RAM
  • 64GB or 128GB storage
  • micro SD expansion

Galaxy M30

  • Exynos 7904
  • 4GB or 6GB of RAM
  • 64GB or 128GB storage
  • micro SD expansion

As far as performance is concerned, there really is no comparison between the two phones. The Realme 3 Pro is, by far, a much more powerful device compared to the Galaxy M30. The Snapdragon 710 chipset used on the Realme 3 Pro ensures that it can handily keep up with any and all tasks you might throw at it. Be it heavy multitasking or just regular day-to-day use, there is enough power under the hood to ensure no slowdowns or noticeable lags.

The Galaxy M30’s Exynos 7904 chipset is a definite downgrade in comparison. Yes, you might not notice much of a difference in regular day-to-day tasks, but heavier apps and games will definitely take just a bit longer to start. Simply put, it is a slower processor and it shows once you start pushing the hardware.

Avoid the Galaxy M30 if gaming is a priority.

Graphics capabilities are where the two phones differ the most. Where the Adreno 616 GPU is able to crank out high frame rates at the maximum graphics setting in PUBG, the M30’s Mali G71 MP2 struggles at delivering a solid frame rate even at the medium graphics option. The M30 is one to avoid if gaming is a priority.

Realme 3 Pro AnTuTu
Screenshot of the Samsung Galaxy M30 AnTuTu benchmark results.

Benchmark scores validate our own tests and there is a huge difference between the Realme 3 Pro and Galaxy M30 in the AnTuTu benchmark.

Battery

A bigger battery or faster charging, that’s what you will have to choose between when deciding between the Realme 3 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy M30. A 4,000mAh battery is no slouch and the Realme 3 Pro can easily last you well over a day of use. Add to that VOOC 3.0 charging and you’ve got a phone that can be topped off from scratch in just about 70 minutes.

Bigger battery or faster charging, what do you prefer?

The Realme 3 Pro has great battery life but the Samsung Galaxy M30 manages to top that with an enormous 5,000mAh battery onboard. The phone comfortably manages two days of use. While not as fast as VOOC charging, the 15W fast charger included with the phone can top off the phone fairly quickly.

Camera

Realme 3 Pro vs Galaxy M30 close up of cameras

Realme 3 Pro

  • 16MP, f/1.7
  • 5MP depth sensor
  • 25MP front facing camera

Galaxy M30

  • 13MP, f/1.9
  • 5MP ultra wide camera
  • 5MP depth sensor
  • 16MP front facing camera

The Realme 3 Pro’s dual-camera array faces competition from a triple-camera combination on the Galaxy M30. It would be hard to call either phone as best in class, that crown goes to the Redmi Note 7 Pro, but they are both capable of capturing perfectly serviceable shots.

Galaxy M30 Outdoors Realme 3 Pro Outdoors Galaxy M30 Outdoors

Realme 3 Pro Outdoors

Out and about in bright daylight, the Realme 3 Pro has a cooler cast to the image and it gives the image a slight saturation boost that makes colors pop. The Galaxy M30 too doesn’t quite get the colors right but the warmer cast might make the images a bit more appealing to look at.

Galaxy M30 Outdoor Wide Angle

The one area where the Galaxy M30 definitely has the Realme 3 Pro beat is in the secondary wide-angle camera. Picture quality falls far short of excellent but the sheer flexibility can’t be beat. The ultra-wide camera offers a lot of opportunities to get creative with photography.

Galaxy M30 Realme 3 Pro Galaxy M30

Realme 3 Pro

The Realme 3 Pro’s HDR mode is a lot more effective at containing highlights and bringing out details from dark areas. The Galaxy M30, on the right, burns out the yellow petals. The Realme 3 Pro does a much better job here.

Galaxy M30 Indoors Realme 3 Pro Indoors Galaxy M30 Indoors

Realme 3 Pro Indoors

In less than perfect lighting, noise levels go up on both phones. While I prefer the warmer color signature of the Galaxy M30, the image is noticeably softer compared to the one captured by the Realme 3 Pro. Noise levels are also higher than you would expect. In extreme low-light conditions, the Realme 3 Pro has a night mode built-in, that can produce a brighter but extremely noisy image.

The Realme 3 Pro can capture 4K video at 30FPS as well as super slow-motion 960fps video. The Galaxy M30 on the other hand maxes out at Full HD video recording. Recorded footage looks comparable on both phones, but the lack of any form of stabilization tends to make videos look shaky.

Software

Realme 3 Pro

  • Android Pie
  • Color OS 6
Samsung Galaxy M30

  • Android Oreo
  • Samsung Experience 9.5 UI

There are pros and cons to the software approach on both devices. The Samsung Galaxy M30 still runs on Android Oreo. With the upcoming release of Android Q, it is appalling to see a top-tier manufacturer ship a phone with such an old software build. That said, Samsung Experience 9.5 on the phone has been polished to a sheen and the user experience is incredible. Samsung has done a brilliant job of optimizing the software for the hardware and you will struggle to find slowdowns or jitters in the interface. There are ample features here to customize your entire phone usage experience.

Meanwhile, the Realme 3 Pro runs a newer build of Android. Color OS 6 runs on top of Android Pie and it too, gives you a lot of options to tweak the phone’s interface to your liking. Unfortunately, in our review, we observed that the software wasn’t quite polished enough. From the awkward translations to some less than optimal hard-coded options, the Realme 3 Pro’s software needs a bit more work.

Specs

  Realme 3 Pro Samsung Galaxy M30
Display 6.3-inch IPS LCD display
2340 x 1080 resolution
6.4 inches, 1080 x 2340 pixels (~394 ppi), ‘Infinity-V’ Super AMOLED
Processor 2.2GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 710
Adreno 616 GPU
Exynos 7904 (2 x Cortex A73 at 1.8GHz, 6 x Cortex A53 at 1.6GHz)
Mali-G71 MP2
RAM 4/6GB 4/6GB
Storage 64/128GB 64/128GB
Micro SD Expansion
Camera 16MP (IMX519) + 5MP dual rear cameras
25MP front-facing camera
Rear: 13MP, f/1.9, 5MP, f/2.2 Ultra Wide 120 degrees, 5MP, f/2.2 Depth Sensor
Battery 4,045mAh
VOOC 3.0 fast charging
5,000mAh, USB-C
15W Fast Charging
Software ColorOS 6.0
based on Android 9 Pie
Android 8.1.0, Samsung Experience 9.5
Dimensions 156.8 x 74.2 x 8.3mm
172grams
159 x 75.1 x 8.4 mm
174 grams
Price 13,999 rupees – 4GB RAM/64GB storage
15,999 rupees – 6GB RAM/64GB storage
16,999 rupees – 6GB RAM/128GB storage
14,990 rupees – 4GB RAM/64GB storage
17,990 rupees – 6GB RAM/128GB storage

Value for money

As more users upgrade from entry level smartphones to something with a bit more grunt, smartphone manufacturers are doing their best to offer the best possible hardware package in this segment. Both the Realme 3 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy M30 offer rather good value for money by targeting very different audiences.

It is clear that the Galaxy M30 is directed towards users who aren’t too demanding from their phones and need something that does the basics right. Couple that with great battery life and you’ve got a winner on hand. The Galaxy M30 is priced at 14,990 rupees (~$210) for the 4GB RAM and 64GB storage version, while you can step up to the 6GB RAM variant with 128GB of storage for 17,990 rupees (~$250).

The Realme 3 Pro is meant for gamers or users who demand more from their hardware. The software isn’t as polished and the battery isn’t as big, but the Realme 3 Pro’s Snapdragon 710 can run circles around the Exynos 7904 on the M30. The Realme 3 Pro starts at 13,999 rupees (~$200) for 4GB RAM and 64GB storage, and goes up to 16,999 (~$245) for 6GB RAM and 128GB storage.

A third alternative, of course, is the Redmi Note 7 Pro. A brilliant package, the phone combines a Snapdragon 675 chipset with a flagship level 48-megapixel camera that is capable of capturing truly brilliant photos. The base model of the Redmi Note 7 Pro with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage is priced at 13,999 rupees (~$196) while the higher-end option with 6GB RAM with 64GB of storage is available for 16,999 rupees (~$243).

Realme 3 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy M30: Our Verdict

Realme 3 Pro vs Galaxy M30 back and logos

Between the Realme 3 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy M30, we would opt for the Realme. For our money it offers better performance, a battery that lasts long enough and a camera that resolves a bit more detail. That’s not to say that the Galaxy M30 is a bad phone but the antiquated software build does not exude confidence and it remains to be seen how well the lower-end hardware holds up over years of use.