Realme 12 Pro review

Triple or quad cameras on mid-tier smartphones aren’t new. However, in most cases, except for the primary camera, the additional sensors don’t add much value and are mostly used as placeholders. However, this is slowly but steadily changing, and the realme 12 Pro is a testament to the same. It is one of the few smartphones under the Rs 30,000 price mark with a dedicated telephoto zoom lens.

Not just that, the realme 12 Pro is also one such phone that doesn’t boast numbers. Rather, it claims to focus on offering experiences that most users will care about, such as a premium design, fast charging, and the latest software experience.

Here are my thoughts on the realme 12 Pro after using it as my daily driver for over a week.

Realme 12 Pro review The golden accents on the back panel make it look luxurious (Image credit: Vivek Umashankar/The Indian Express)

Refined design

It is easy to spot an iPhone or a Galaxy in a crowd, thanks to their industrial design. Realme is also using this very approach for the 12 Pro, which, in terms of dimensions, is exactly identical to the realme 11 Pro+ (review) with subtle design changes that make a huge difference in how the device looks and feels. I have been testing the Submarine Blue variant of the realme 12 Pro, which has hints of gold with a dark blue vegan leather back panel, making the whole phone look a lot more elegant, especially when compared to devices like the Redmi Note 13 Pro+ (review) that I recently reviewed.

Despite having a large 6.7-inch screen, due to smaller bezels and the curved design, the realme 12 Pro feels significantly smaller than most phones of this class. This time around, it is also IP65-rated for water and dust resistance. If I have to nitpick, the volume and power buttons do feel a bit flimsy, and even the pre-installed screen protector feels a bit cheap.

Festive offer

Barring these minor issues, the realme 12 Pro is an excellent-looking smartphone with an identity of its own. I particularly liked the golden ring with ridges around the camera island, reminding me of luxury watches and premium craftsmanship. However, be aware of the fact that the glass protecting the module will scratch easily, especially if you don’t intend to use this device with a case.

Realme 12 Pro review The curved 120Hz display gets adequately bright and can be used even under direct sunlight (Image credit: Vivek Umashankar/The Indian Express)

Flagship tier display

The 6.7-inch FHD+ resolution screen on the realme 12 Pro offers a 120Hz refresh rate, putting it on par with most other smartphones in this price range. The higher 93 per cent screen-to-body ratio ensures that the phone looks just as premium as any Android flagship. It also offers a peak brightness of up to 950 nits. In my usage, the display was fairly usable even under direct (harsh) sunlight. There is also an optical in-display fingerprint sensor that’s fast and accurate.

The display fares really well for normal usage, gaming, and content consumption. The stereo speaker setup with Dolby Atmos support nicely complements this beautiful screen. As this is an OLED screen, it delivers an excellent contrast ratio, and colours look bright and vivid, especially in the vivid mode. Users who prefer more life-like colours can switch to Cinematic mode, and users who like a bit more contrast can go for the brilliant mode, which exaggerates colours a bit more and definitely looks a bit unnatural.

If you are looking for a smartphone with a great display under the Rs 25,000 price mark, it definitely doesn’t get any better than this, unless you are looking for a flat panel display rather than a curved screen.

Realme 12 Pro review The dedicated telephoto lens makes all the difference (Image credit: Vivek Umashankar/The Indian Express)

Best-in-class cameras

While it is fairly common to see phones flaunting 108 MP and even 200 MP sensors at this price range, realme has taken a step back by moving away from the high-megapixel war and has approached cameras in a way that makes a real difference. The realme 12 Pro has a 50 MP wide-angle camera (Sony IMX882), a 32 MP telephoto lens (Sony IMX709) with 2x optical zoom support, and an 8 MP ultra-wide-angle lens. There is also a 16 MP selfie camera at the front, tucked inside the notch.

In my testing, I found out that the colour consistency between the primary camera and the telephoto lens is pretty similar. However, the low-resolution ultra-wide-angle lens does suffer a bit when it comes to clarity, especially in challenging lighting conditions. This time around, realme has added a new watermark, which highlights the colour scheme of the frame, a nice little touch.

During my testing, I noticed that the realme 12 Pro takes excellent shots at 1x, 2x, and even at 4x (digital zoom) in almost every lighting condition. The shutter speed is also pretty fast, and I also liked how the night mode automatically kicks in low light to improve image quality. If you want an even more camera-centric smartphone, then check out the Realme 12 Pro+ (review).

Realme 12 Pro camera samples:

Realme 12 Pro camera sample

Coffee froth (Image credit: Vivek Umashankar/The Indian Express)
Realme 12 Pro camera sample Void between the tumblers (Image credit: Vivek Umashankar/The Indian Express)
Realme 12 Pro camera sample The camera has even managed to capture the insect inside the flower (Image credit: Vivek Umashankar/The Indian Express)
Realme 12 Pro camera sample A digitally zoomed picture (Image credit: Vivek Umashankar/The Indian Express)
Realme 12 Pro camera sample The device captures true-to-life colours (Image credit: Vivek Umashankar/The Indian Express)
Realme 12 Pro camera sample An empty road at the dawn (Image credit: Vivek Umashankar/The Indian Express)

Performance is good but could have been better

The Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 SoC powers the realme 12 Pro with 8 GB RAM and 128/256 GB of UFS 3.1-based storage, which is still plenty fast. The overall performance of this device is pretty good. From switching between social media apps like X, FB, and Instagram to gaming, it does handle everything pretty well. However, during my testing, especially while gaming, the phone would simply freeze with fps going to zero, which happened around five times, a bug that the company should be able to fix in a software update.

Despite these glitches, the phone did not show any signs of heating even with continuous usage, which is definitely a win in my books, especially for those who engage in extended gaming sessions. The realme 12 Pro scored around half a million points (five lakh plus) on AnTuTu.

Coming to the software, the realme UI 5 based on Android 14 is definitely one of the best-looking Android skins out there. However, there is still plenty of bloatware. At least this time, one can uninstall most of them, and the phone even allows users to disable system apps like web browsers and third-party app stores. Users can also choose the search engine of their choice while setting up the phone.

While the software and the UI are great, the company definitely needs to work on optimizing the OS. Realme has confirmed that the 12 Pro will receive two major OS updates and three years of security updates, which should keep the device happy and up-to-date for at least three more years.

Realme 12 Pro The device supports 67W fast charging (Image credit: Vivek Umashankar/The Indian Express)

Battery Life and Connectivity

The realme 12 Pro packs a fairly large 5,000 mAh battery for its size with support for 67W fast charging, which takes around 50 minutes to fully charge the battery. Once fully charged, the phone can deliver up to 6 hours of screen-on-time with regular usage. I felt that the battery life felt short, especially when compared to devices like the Redmi Note 13 Pro+.

In terms of connectivity, the device supports a 5G network on both slots. I had no issues with Jio 5G reception, and even the call quality was excellent. If you are keen on recording calls, I suggest installing the ODialer app from the Play Store, which comes with features like auto-call recording for unknown numbers, and the UI of this dialler is also more in line with the realme UI.

Should you buy the Realme 12 Pro?

The Realme 12 Pro comes just at the right time and the market is currently filled with excellent mid-range smartphones like Poco X6 Pro, OnePlus Nord 3 CE, and even the Redmi Note 13 Pro+. The realme 12 Pro really excels in the camera department compared to its peers, and it is also one of the few phones in its segment that just looks a class apart and the dedicated telephoto lens also makes all the difference. With a bank discount, one can grab the base variant of the realme 12 Pro for just Rs 23,999, which makes it one of the best camera smartphones in the segment.

By 111 Tech

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