Realme 12 Pro+ is the company’s new flagship smartphone in the popular numeric series lineup. The handset comes with some meaningful changes across departments, including the cameras where it adds a periscope telephoto lens. If I’m not wrong, this camera setup is unique even in the segment. The Realme 12 Pro+ is available in India with an initial price of Rs 30,000, which might not look that way considering its design. The phone looks more premium than it is priced. Read on to find out my experience with the device after using it for more than a week in this Realme 12 Pro+ review.
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The Realme 12 Pro+ is worth considering for its price for many reasons. It has a design that you will love to flaunt, a reliable performance, capable cameras, and decent battery life. The software has also been refined to offer fewer bloatware and minimal no ads. While the phone display’s peak display brightness may remain slightly underwhelming, it looks good both indoors and outdoors.
The Realme 12 Pro+ continues the trend of vegan leather and luxury watch design introduced last year with the Realme 11 Pro series. That said, the phone features subtle changes such as a new colour, a redesigned camera module, contrasting edges, and more, enhancing its premium look and aesthetic appeal. The design is so impressive that finding a case that complements its allure might prove challenging. Nevertheless, the company includes a transparent case with the device, but it fails to replicate the same in-hand feel experienced without the case.
The handset features a textured back with a vertical seam in between, providing a tactile feel. The phone is also lightweight, tipping the scale at just 196 grams, making it comfortable for prolonged usage. The company has also prioritised practicality this time, making the phone relatively easy to clean, with low surface tension and hydrophobic properties that are capable of tackling 30 different types of stains. I got the Submarine Blue colour variant for review, which did well to hide stains.
While the circular camera module protrudes quite a bit on this smartphone, the surrounding dial shows appreciation for the design choices. Additionally, thanks to the module’s rounded shape, the handset doesn’t wobble when texting as it lays flat on a table. The other features are pretty usual on the device. There are curved corners, providing you with a nice grip over the device, and a USB Type-C port at the bottom edge for charging and data transfer. The volume rocker and power button can be found on the right spine of the phone, positioned nicely where your thumb would lie naturally while holding the device.
For security, the Realme 12 Pro+ features an in-display fingerprint scanner, which unlocks the device in a jiffy.
The Realme 12 Pro+ boasts a curved 6.7-inch AMOLED display with a centred punch-hole, FHD+ resolution, 120Hz refresh rate, and a peak brightness of 950 nits. These are the same display specifications found on its predecessor, and except for the peak brightness, everything else is on par with its competitors within the segment. Despite its relatively low peak brightness, the content looks pleasing to the eye both indoors and outdoors. This could be attributed to the rich colours and impressive viewing angles the smartphone offers. The display has been optimised with Pro-XDR to improve its visibility and bring out finer details in HDR photographs in various lighting conditions. The Realme 12 Pro+ also employs 2,160Hz PWM dimming to eliminate flickering to an extent and eliminate eye strain.
Apart from this, the smartphone supports HDR10; however, it can only stream content in FHD resolution from streaming platforms such as Netflix and YouTube. Be that as it may, the phone is equipped with Hi-Res dual speakers fine-tuned by Dolby Atmos, to deliver an immersive listening and viewing experience.
Let’s talk about the cameras, which are the major USP of this smartphone. The Realme 12 Pro+ is equipped with a triple rear camera setup consisting of a 50MP Sony IMX890 primary sensor, an 8MP ultra-wide sensor, and a 64MP OV64B periscope telephoto lens that delivers 3x optical zoom. While the handset is touted to offer up to 120x zoom, it appears somewhat gimmicky, as images beyond 6x zoom tend to suffer in both quality and details.
The 3x zoom is where you will find the best results. It is equivalent to a 71mm focal length that captures images with a good dynamic range and consistent colours akin to the results captured by the primary camera, at least in daylight conditions. The details around the shadowy area remain a big negligible, but that’s passable. The lens uses an in-sensor zoom to provide 6x shots, which appear usable albeit with some distortion. As for the 8MP ultrawide lens, its performance is reliable in a well-lit environment. The images captured are sharp, particularly around the centre of the frame, and the colours are vibrant too. However, in low light, you might find the sensor struggling, much like any mid-ranger with an 8MP ultra-wide sensor.
The 50MP primary sensor, in contrast, performs admirably better than its counterparts in both daylight and lowlight environments. While the colours look slightly oversaturated, the details and sharpness are quite impressive. The sensor also exposes the image well to capture details even around the shadowy areas. The sensor is also consistent when it comes to capturing human skin tones in both Photo and Portrait modes. However, it’s worth noting that the phone’s portrait mode struggles with consistency, occasionally resulting in the unintended blurring of parts of the subject’s face.
The company has introduced a customised tilt OIS in the camera, which improves lowlight photography by reducing the light flare and stability. Additionally, the phone features night mode to deal with the noise that creeps in when the sun goes down. It smoothens out the details, but the results look much cleaner. While there is no dedicated macro mode on the smartphone, you can utilise the telephoto lens to click close-up shots of the subject. The phone’s camera app even has a Street mode, which lets you play around with different focal lengths from 16mm to 71mm, for street photographers. Then there is the Starry mode for astrophotography, among other things.
For selfies and video calling, the handset relies on a 32MP Sony camera, which offers good skin tones with a slight facial smoothening. While the overall performance of the cameras appears satisfactory, there were a few issues which I encountered. At times, the optics seem to struggle to focus on the subject, and there is a bit of a delay in processing the images. However, these issues don’t seem significant and can easily be addressed with software updates, provided Realme decides to roll them out.
Performance and software
Coming to the performance, it has been taken care of by the Snapdragon 7s Gen 2 chipset. This is a slightly toned-down version of the Snapdragon 7 Gen 2, which was seen last year on POCO F5. The Realme 12 Pro+ performs admirably, with no app crashes or awkward freezes detected in everyday use. The handset can also handle demanding tasks like multitasking and gaming, albeit with not as much finesse as some of its other counterparts. The Realme 12 Pro+ is tailored towards casual users who don’t heavily engage in gaming activities.
The handset is available in three RAM and storage configurations: 8GB + 128GB, 8GB + 256GB, and 12GB + 256GB. While the RAM in all three variants can be expanded virtually up to 12GB, the storage remains fixed. There is no option to expand it using a microSD card slot.
Talking about the software, the Realme 12 Pro+ boots Realme UI 5.0 on top of Android 14 out of the box. The new UI comes with a relatively cleaner and easy-to-use user interface. There are fewer pre-installed apps compared to the year’s Realme 11 Pro+ (review). Additionally, most of these apps are removable if they are not useful to you. The company has also restricted hot apps and recommended apps by default. However, if needed, they can be enabled from the settings menu.
Apart from this and the goodness of Android 14, the UI also offers several new features such as File Dock for easy extraction of text, images, and links from a file and Smart Image matting to copy the subject (up to 3) from the image to clipboard and move them between apps, share it on social media, and more. Then there’s Phonelink for easy integration with Windows laptop/ PC and Flash Capsule, among other things. The Realme 12 Pro+ will receive two years of major software and three years of security updates.
Battery and charging speeds
The Realme 12 Pro+ is driven by a 5,000mAh battery, which is the same as last year. The handset averaged around 7-8 hours of screen-on time during my usage, which mostly involved streaming, browsing, some gaming, and social media activities. Even with slightly heavier usage than this, the phone should last at least a day. On the PCMark battery test, the 12 Pro+ returned with an impressive score of 19 hours and 17 minutes.
As for its charging speeds, the smartphone can be juiced up from 0-100 percent comfortably within an hour with the provided 67W fast charger. This has been the average charging speed for smartphones within the segment.
The all-new Realme 12 Pro+ can be yours at a starting price of Rs 29,999. Some alternatives to this smartphone include POCO X6 Pro (review), Motorola Edge 40 (review), and Redmi Note 13 Pro+ (review), all of which offer relatively better performance and viewing experience. Additionally, Motorola and Redmi smartphones come with a superior ingress protection rating – IP68, as opposed to IP65.
Nevertheless, the Realme 12 Pro+ emerges as an impressive smartphone for its price. The handset exhibits a nice design with a leather finish, a crisp display, and reliable performance, complemented by Realme UI which looks more user-friendly than before. The primary and telephoto cameras of the smartphone are also remarkable in most scenarios, and the battery backup is quite respectable. If these aspects appeal to you, the Realme 12 Pro+ would be a worthwhile investment.
Editor’s rating: 8 / 10
Reasons to buy
- The Realme 12 Pro+ features a premium design with a vegan leather back and a luxury watch-inspired camera module.
- The phone provides a pleasing viewing experience with rich colours and good viewing angles.
- The handset features a versatile camera setup, with a reliable 64MP telephoto lens.
- The phone provides a decent battery backup, lasting at least a day for most users.
Reasons not to buy
- The handset might not appeal to power users.
- The phone’s portrait mode struggles with consistency