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Realme 12 Pro+ Review: Big on Cameras… and Just About Everything Else

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Realme has been delivering quality smartphones in the mid-range for several years. The Realme 12 Pro+ sure made quite an impression at launch. We received a smartphone that looked the part for a mid-ranger, packed in enough performance with capable hardware, and offered an interesting set of cameras which till date are unheard of at this price point. Then, there’s the attractive pricing, which makes an even better case for this mid-range device. However, the mid-range has evolved quite a bit over the past year.

Smartphones now pack 200-megapixel cameras, an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance, and super-fast charging (up to 120W). Surprisingly, there are smartphones in this segment that happen to offer just this, but fall flat on execution or come up short in terms of camera consistency. And that’s why these aren’t exactly easy to recommend. There’s also the fact that buyers will come across premium smartphones that offer equally impressive value but have recently received price cuts, like Google’s outstanding Pixel 7a.

With a premium design and a premium telephoto camera, the Realme 12 Pro+ surely seems like a worthy upgrade over its predecessor but can it hold its own against the cut-throat competition? I’ve been using the Realme 12 Pro+ for several weeks and here’s what I think.

Realme 12 Pro+ Review: Price in India

The Realme 12 Pro+ is available in three finishes – Submarine Blue, Explorer Red, and Navigator Beige. There’s also three variants to choose from. There’s an 8GB RAM + 128GB storage variant which is priced at Rs. 29,999, an 8GB RAM + 256GB storage variant priced at Rs. 31,999, and a top-of-the-line variant with 12GB RAM + 256GB storage available at Rs. 33,999. We received the 12GB + 256GB variant in Submarine Blue for review. Given the minor price differences between the variants I would recommend stretching your budget a bit and getting the top-end model.

Realme 12 Pro+ Review: Design

The Realme 12 Pro+ isn’t exactly changing the game or introducing a brand new design language like the previous Realme 11 Pro+ did. But there are subtle design changes that do make it feel less tacky than the previous model in my opinion.

Realme 12 Pro Plus side fluted camera ndtv Realme12ProPlus5G Realme

The Realme 12 Pro+’s curved edge design gives it a slim profile

I like the watch-inspired design which seems to be a thing with BBK umbrella brands these days. It adds a nice golden fluted bezel around the circular rear camera module. This combined with the vegan-leather laden split rear panel gives the phones a very luxurious and more grounded traditional feel, which will instantly remind many of luxury timepieces or expensive hand bags. It’s also unexpectedly heavy at 196 grams, which is possibly down to the metal adornments and the chunky camera module.

The tacky stitches from the Realme 11 Pro+ are no more, but I’m not a big fan of the golden insert with a diamond pattern which runs across the back and is supposed to remind one of a metal watch strap.

Love it or hate it, the overall design of the smartphone sure makes an impression and the vegan-leather back and also lends it a solid grip. My review unit, despite being placed on a variety of surfaces (stone, rocks, wooden tables) , remained in pristine condition, pretty much the opposite of Apple’s Finewoven cases.

Realme 12 Pro Plus back stripe ndtv Realme12ProPlus5G Realme

The tacky stitches on the rear panel of the Realme 11 Pro+ have been replaced by a more subtle metal strip

And it’s not all show, as the premium-looking design also comes with an official IP65 rating for dust and water resistance. This one’s good for splashes of water but is not as good as the Redmi Note 13 Pro+, as it offers a proper IP68 rating, which can withstand submersion in water.

The soft, champagne gold finish of the camera ring also extends onto the plastic frame. Despite not being made out of metal, it’s finished well with no visible sharp edges or cutouts. I also like how Realme has kept the flattened top and bottom edges of the frame matte, while maintaining the polished look on the side for added grip. Adding to the curvy design, is the 6.7-inch curved-edge display with a thin bezel that adds to the premium look and feel.

Realme 12 Pro+ Review: Specifications and software

The Realme 12 Pro+ is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 7s Gen 2 SoC, which is built using the 4nm fabrication process and offers a maximum clockspeed of 2.4GHz. What this means is that this processor is as power efficient as an SoC in a premium smartphone but is not as fast as a top-tier premium (sub Rs. 50,000) smartphone. Communication standards include Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, a Type-C port and SIM card tray with space for 2 nano SIM cards. The phone supports a handful of 5G bands (n1/3/5/8/28B/40/41/77/78) and also offers dual 5G-standby. Powering it all is a 5,000mAh battery which can be charged up using the provided 67W charger.

It’s nice to see Realme offer the latest version of Android 14 with its 12 Pro+ out of the box. Realme UI 5.0 comes with some new features which have trickled down from Oppo’s ColorOS and one of them includes Flash Capsule, which is called Fluid Cloud on OnePlus’ OxygenOS and Aqua Dynamics on Oppo devices. They all function in the exact same manner, relaying notifications in a very Dynamic Island-like fashion.

Realme 12 Pro Plus front software ndtv Realme12ProPlus5G Realme

The Realme 12 Pro+’s Flash Capsule feature is identical to OnePlus’ Fluid Cloud

Start a timer (using the clock app), and you will notice it minimising into a capsule which stays on the left of your status bar when switching to another app or the home screen. A long press on the capsule will see it animate and pop out into a smaller card revealing more buttons (pause, stop). A tap will see the capsule expand into the clock app, taking up the whole screen.

While I like how practical Flash Capsule is, these intuitive interactions are limited to select native apps and just two third-party apps. Zomato and Swiggy are currently supported and you can keep track of deliveries using the Smart Suggestions feature, which relays real-time updates from these apps to the always-on display (AOD) on the phone’s lockscreen. This reduces the need to pick up your phone, unlock it and open the respective delivery app for real-time updates.

Other new software features like File Dock (accessing recently used files via pop-out console), Smart Touch (for picking up text from screenshots) and Smart Image Matting (picking up cutouts of people or objects from images) as I have described in detail in my Oppo Reno 11 Pro review are also quite handy and practical.

Realme 12 Pro Plus back design ndtv Realme12ProPlus5G Realme

The Realme 12 Pro+ has a vegan leather back but for the first time brings along an official IP65 rating for its number series

What I did not like about the software experience is the bloatware and preinstalled third-party apps. The phone packs in a ton of them and while I could uninstall most of them, there are many that cannot be uninstalled. Another detail I did not like were the several doppelganger apps which can be confusing for a first time smartphone user or even someone who is used to a straightforward near-stock Android software experience. There’s 2 app stores, 2 web browsers, 2 file browsers, 2 SMS apps, 2 photo gallery apps and two apps for managing games (Games + Game Centre). Again none of these apps can be uninstalled, which means you have to live with them even if you will never use them.

Realme 12 Pro+ Review: Performance

Despite the bloatware and double-apps, software performance is not something you will need to worry about with this mid-ranger. I faced no instances of lag or stuttering on my review unit (which is equipped with 12GB of RAM). Multi-tasking and recalling previously used apps from memory was not a problem either, with minimal app restarts.

The display is quite bright (with a global brightness of 800 nits) and can easily handle the outdoors under bright or direct sunlight. It produces vibrant colours in the Vivid colour mode by default so you may have to switch to the Natural colour mode for more toned down true-to-life colours. The full-HD+ display resolution seems sharp enough when displaying images and text.

Despite getting the “ProXDR” branding (useful for viewing Ultra HDR photos) there’s no Dolby Vision or HDR10+ support for streaming apps, but streaming content appeared sharp, since the phone supports the Widevine L1 certification (full-HD playback) on Netflix. The 120Hz refresh rate is dynamic when using the Auto-select setting, but only switches between 30, 60, 90, and 120Hz depending on the application displayed on the display, meaning the battery savings from this display technology are modest.

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The Realme 12 Pro+’s curved edge display sure looks the part but isn’t HDR10 or Dolby Vision certified for video streaming

The gaming experience was good overall. The phone is able to handle casual games with ease and heavy titles with a bit of a struggle. Strangely, despite having 12GB of RAM onboard, games like Call of Duty: Mobile did not offer settings above High graphics and Max Frame rate (which again limits gameplay to 60fps). I also found the 240Hz touch sampling rate a bit laggy while playing the FPS game. The large VC cooling system does its job well both when using the camera and playing graphics heavy games.

Coming to benchmarks. The Realme 12 Pro+ managed a score of 6,43,951 in AnTuTu along with 929 and 2,792 in Geekbench’s single and multi-core tests respectively. These are pretty-much on par with the competition, but Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 13 Pro+ did perform better overall managing 7,21,512 in AnTuTu and 1,122 and 2,598 points in Geekbench’s single and multi-core tests respectively. Graphics performance also seems to be half as good as the Redmi Note 13 Pro+, which explains why most games did not provide better graphics and framerate options.

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The Realme 12 Pro+ has three rear cameras two of which have optical image stabilisation

Battery life on the Realme 12 Pro+ is pretty good and the phone can easily last a day and half on single charge with an hour of gaming and half an hour of camera usage apart from the regular social media and office apps. The phone managed a solid 26 hours and 46 minutes in our standard video loop battery test, which is impressive for a mid-ranger that’s focussed on design, but something we have come to expect from a Realme device at this price point.

Charging is not something one will have to worry about either. The phone’s 67W charger charges the battery to 72 percent in 30 minutes and completes the charge in exactly 1 hour.

Realme 12 Pro+ Review: Cameras

The Realme 12 Pro+ comes equipped with three rear-facing cameras, which includes a Sony IMX890 50-megapixel primary camera with OIS, an Omni Vision OV64B 64-megapixel periscope telephoto camera, and an 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera. Selfies are handled by a 32-megapixel camera, which does not have autofocus.

The primary camera captures photos with natural colour tones and good dynamic range meaning there’s plenty of details in the shadows as well. The camera also manages to capture a lot of detail so most images end up looking quite sharp. This also means you can go pixel peeping and still won’t run out of resolution when cropping images. In low-light shooting situations the OIS system does a fantastic job of maintaining excellent detail and sharpness. The camera can capture fine details from a distance which speaks volumes about its hardware and software optimisation. Surprisingly the images at 2X magnification (which is the cropped output from the primary camera) isn’t great and appears a bit washed out. Thankfully, you will rarely need to use it given the excellent 3X optical camera, which can also focus on nearby objects.

Realme 12 Pro+ daylight camera samples. Top to bottom: Ultra-wide camera, primary camera, telephoto camera (3X optical zoom) (tap images to see full size)

The telephoto camera is the real showstopper on the Realme 12 Pro+. The phone uses the same 64-megapixel periscopic telephoto camera from the OnePlus 12, OnePlus Open, and some other premium devices. However, unlike these high-end smartphones, the camera isn’t paired with a top-end ISP available on a high-end processor in this case.

Thankfully, not much is lost, there’s excellent detail when it comes to texture making people and objects appear quite sharp. Good dynamic range ensures that there’s more than enough detail in both the bright and dark areas of the scene. What’s more impressive is that Realme has managed to tune the telephoto camera well to match the colour and white balance of the primary camera. This level of consistency is unheard of in this price segment. The magic continues at night with the camera producing good detail when zooming into landscapes or even shooting close-ups. I also managed to get sharp-looking portraits at native 3X focal length. Shooting at 6X zoom also manages good quality images, but this drops significantly thereon and it is probably down to the mid-range processor backing it.

The telephoto camera combined with its lossless in-sensor zoom captures detailed close-ups in the absence of a macro mode

The ultra-wide camera is the standard fare and does not keep up with the primary and telephoto cameras in terms of details and dynamic range. Photos have average detail in textures, and while the dynamic range produces decent details in the shadows, the colours appear quite washed out compared to the other two cameras. In low-light conditions images appear quite soft and are mostly not usable.

The phone does not offer a macro camera or even a macro mode, but the 3X telephoto camera with its 6X, in-sensor lossless zoom lets me get closer to objects for some juicy and crisp close-ups. Even in low light, close-ups come out really well with plenty of detail and sharpness. Selfies in daylight appear sharp and have good edge detection when using Portrait mode. However, it does not perform well in low light. Thankfully, the Night mode comes to the rescue managing decent image quality.

Realme 12 Pro+ Low light camera samples: Top: Primary camera, bottom: telephoto camera (3X optical zoom) (Tap images to expand)

4K 30fps video recordings come out a bit shaky but have good detail and are low on noise even in street-lit, low-light conditions. 1080p 30fps and 60fps video recordings don’t appear as sharp or detailed as the 4K footage, but have a rocksteady framerate and good stabilisation in all types of lighting conditions.

Realme 12 Pro+ Review: Verdict

The Realme 12 Pro+ with its overhauled design, updated core hardware and a very capable telephoto camera easily makes for a worthy upgrade even if you happen to own last year’s model. As a mid-range device stacked up against smartphones like the Redmi Note 13 Pro+, it does fall a bit short when comparing specifications on paper.

The Redmi Note 13 Pro+ (Review) surely goes big on bragging rights with a better IP68 rating, faster 120W wired charging and a massive 200-megapixel camera sensor and should be high-up on your list if raw performance is a priority. And these bragging rights do come at a higher starting price of Rs. 31,999 (for the 8GB RAM + 256GB storage variant). But it misses out on a few things that Realme 12 Pro+ latches on to like a leech.

There’s a class-leading telephoto camera that performs like nothing else we have used in this segment or even above it (Pixel 7a). There’s good shot to shot consistency between the primary and telephoto cameras as well, which is rare in the mid-range.

But everything else on this smartphone isn’t bad or average by any means. You get a decent IP65 rating for dust and water resistance, a quality curved edge AMOLED display, some interesting software features (given that it is a mid-ranger) and excellent battery life and fast charging. And then there’s the attractive and cutthroat pricing which undercuts the competition. At Rs. 29,999 (for the 8GB RAM + 128GB storage variant), it should be high up on your list, when purchasing a mid-range smartphone in 2024, if cameras are a priority. If only Realme can do something about the bloatware situation, we could have had a perfectly balanced mid-ranger.


Realme might not want the Mini Capsule to be the defining feature of the Realme C55, but will it end up being one of the phone’s most talked-about hardware specifications? We discuss this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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