There are many budget phones out there, but a good number of them have left us unimpressed. The reason for this is quite straightforward: budget devices are equipped with entry-level specs, and on these grounds, they do not have the perks that slightly more expensive phones possess. Still, the existence of this line of phones makes sense because this is a growing market, and the majority of people do not have the financial ability to secure pricier handsets. Also, phone companies understand that this kind of customer should be served well, and over the last couple of years, we have seen them attempt to improve their offerings to ensure that the customer has a good experience with whatever purchase he or she chooses.

Today’s star is the realme C30s. The device has been selling in the Kenyan market for the last couple of weeks. It is also a good device from multiple angles, but I am going to focus on design, performance, battery life, and camera performance. This is so because when a person buys a budget phone, there are high chances he wants to know how good the camera is, or how long can the battery last. Other features are trivial, but still important, nonetheless. With that out the way, here are the phone’s overall specifications:

realme C30sSpecs
Screen6.5 inches, 720 x 1600 pixels
SoftwareAndroid 12, Realme UI Go
Memory4/64 GB
Camera8 MP
Selfie5 MP
SIMDual
FingerprintSide-mounted
ChipUnnamed Octa-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A55
USBmicro-USB 2.0, USB On-The-Go
BatteryLi-Po 5000 mAh
ColoursStripe Blue, Stripe Black
PriceKES 13,699

The recommended retail price for the C30s is KES 13,700. However, there have been a lot of sales for the device, with the 2G version going as low as KES 11,000. We recommend you get the 4G version, which should give your apps more breathing room to stay active in the background.

The design of the phone is quite impressive for what this phone costs. It rocks an all-boxy design that is akin to smartphones that cost much more. We started seeing this approach to phone designs with Apple iPhones, and it has trickled down to the Android part. Copying each other in tech is not a bad thing, and it sometimes means that a manufacturer is doing something impressive.

Handling the device feels great, and it is not slippery at all thanks to the plastic back that has a nice grip to it. You wouldn’t need a case for this, but as usual, realme has included one in the package. We recommend you dress the phone in it if you want to keep its pristine condition for a while, and the case helps protect the device in case you drop it.

realme has also included a fingerprint reader for the C30s. This is a feature that is mostly skipped by phone makers for their budget devices, and customers are left with three choices: a PIN, password, or pattern, which are not the fastest way of getting into your device (although they are quite secure). Thus, seeing a fingerprint at this budget is a great thing, and it is also part of the power button and not placed at the back, which gives the backplate a very clean vibe.

Speaking of the back, our unit is painted with a blueish colour which realme calls Stripe Blue, although there is a darker version too. There is nothing at the rear to keep it busy except the camera island that houses one camera lens to keep everything clean.

The front has a 6.5-inch, 720 x 1600 pixels screen that also has a notch for the 5 MP selfie snapper. This is an okay screen, although it doesn’t get as punchy in brightly lit environments; but keep in mind that this is a budget device.

I would have loved a punch-hole selfie snapper instead of the notch, but this is a me-issue, and others might not be affected by it.

The final part about the design is the SIM tray: it houses two SIM cards and a slot for a microSD card for additional storage, which is perfect.

The phone performs okay for the price. It has an unnamed Octa-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A55, which powers Android 12 and realme UI Go. This is the Go version of Android, which means it has been toned down to run just fine with low-end specs. When running normal apps, especially Go/Lite versions of popular apps, the phone moves along just as fine. Things, however, start slowing down when you start opening multiple apps, especially heavy ones such as social media applications. The phone will struggle to run them optimally, and even scrolling through a feed becomes a challenge. However, this is an issue that all phones around this budget have, and it would be naïve of us to expect it to run as fast as phones that cost twice or thrice as much.

Thusly, just use Lite apps. Many popular services have Lite apps, including Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Tiktok. There is also Spotify Lite, so I recommend that you use them because they use fewer resources, and you could end up having a great experience with the phone.

The Li-Po 5000 mAh cell will keep the device juiced for a whole day, and then more. You can get two days out of the phone if you use it sparingly. Charging takes over 2 hours with the included 10W charger. And oh, there is no Type-C here but Type-A.

Now, let’s talk about pictures. The rare cam is limited to a single sensor at 8 MP. This is what we usually expect for a phone around this budget. I am also glad there is no silly macro lens, which manufacturers have a knack for when they want to make a camera system look superior with many sensors.

The selfie snapper is just at 5 MP.

Image output is good for the price. All you need is a lot of light and steady hands. Afterward, snap away. However, you might notice issues such as not-so-great colours, saturation issues, and overall lack of detail in your photos.

But remember, this is a budget device, and it does its work well at that price. And I have no issues with that. Just beware that you shouldn’t expect the detail that comes with images produced by cameras with different focal lengths and superior image processing. If you pick the device with such reservations in mind, then you will be a glad realme C30s owner.

For between KES 12K to 13K, there isn’t a better device in the market, that also gives customers 4GB of RAM and with this great design. To this end, we can recommend it because rivals tend to go cheaper on components and how they put together their phones.