Realme 12 Pro Plus 5G review: A stylish mid-range smartphone

    On Monday, Chinese consumer electronics manufacturer Realme launched its latest smartphone lineup – the Realme 12 5G series. This is the company’s first launch of 2024 and a successor of the popular numeric lineup. The Realme 12 5G series come in two meaningful models: the Realme 12 Pro 5G and Realme 12 Pro Plus 5G.

    I tried my hands on the Realme 12 Pro Plus 5G for a week and the first impression of the device does give a premium look. However, arguably it might not be a first choice of minimalists. Still, the smartphone delivers decent performance, a long-lasting battery and a sufficiently good camera setup.

    You can get the Pro Plus model in three storage options, starting at Rs. 29,999 for the base 8GB+128GB variant. The 8GB+256GB and 12GB+256GB variants cost Rs. 31,999 and Rs. 33,999 respectively. It is a no brainer that in terms of price, the Realme 12 Pro Plus 5G stands in a very competitive segment and directly in front of worthy opponents including the recently launched Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G. So, the question is if the Realme 12 Pro Plus 5G a yay or a nay? Well, I have tried to answer the same in my review.

    Design that dazzles or divides?

    The Realme 12 Pro Plus 5G struts onto the scene with a design that’s equal parts head-turner and marmite. Similar to its predecessor Realme 11 Pro Plus, the latest 12 Pro Plus doubles down on the vegan leather trend, cloaked in a textured back that feels luxurious and grippy. However, this might scream “extra” to minimalist sensibilities. Golden accents dance across the spine and camera module, adding a touch of bling that some will adore, while others might find it a tad much. The new color options, including the striking Submarine Blue that I got my hands on, are visually arresting. This is complemented by a redesigned camera module and tastefully contrasting edges, arguably enhancing the phone’s premium appeal.

    Speaking of comfort, the curved edges and long-ish display cater brilliantly to one-handed use. The phone’s circular camera module, a prominent feature, does not cause the phone to wobble, thanks to its rounded shape. This, along with the leather texture further enhances grip, ensuring your phone does not become a slip-and-slide nightmare. And let’s not forget smudge-proof nature of the back panel of this IP65-rated device– making it relatively easy to clean. At a mere 196 grams, it is also comfortable for an extended use.

    Now, if you are expecting a revolutionary departure from the predecessor, prepare for a déjà vu. The core design elements – leather-like texture, curved display, and slim profile – remain largely unchanged. But is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. In my opinion, the 12 Pro Plus retains its predecessor’s freshness and undeniable appeal. It maintains a balance between boldness and subtlety, with well-placed ports, buttons, and a convenient in-display fingerprint scanner, making it a strong contender in its segment, design-wise.

    So, should you buy the Realme 12 Pro Plus 5G for its design? It depends. If you crave bold statements and appreciate practicality in disguise, this phone might just be your match. But if minimalism and elegance are your jam, you might want to keep browsing. Ultimately, the 12 Pro Plus is a phone that begs to be experienced, not just judged from afar.

    Display, a familiar feast or freshness famine?

     The Realme 12 Pro Plus 5G’s display is a blend of familiar specs and satisfactory performance. Borrowing the 6.7-inch ProXDR OLED display from its predecessor, the Realme 12 Pro Plus offers a Full HD+ resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate, ensuring a fluid and crisp viewing experience. The peak brightness of 950 nits, though not groundbreaking, is more than adequate for most scenarios, providing clear visibility even in bright outdoor conditions.

    The Pro Plus display does deliver vibrant hues and cooler tones that enhance the viewing pleasure. And let’s not forget the audio – the Hi-Res dual speakers, fine-tuned by Dolby Atmos, complement the visual experience with immersive sound quality. However, it’s not all roses and streaming platforms like Netflix and YouTube max out at FHD resolution.

    Meanwhile, the inclusion of 2160Hz PWM dimming is a thoughtful addition, aiming to reduce eye strain. The display also boasts TUV Rheinland Eye Protection certification along with Low Blue Light certification. Still, the handset’s display protection remains a mystery in the official specs and could be a concern for durability-minded users. During my time with the phone for a week, scratches were not an issue and the device came with an pre-existing screen guard. Still, I feel a little Gorilla Glass peace of mind wouldn’t hurt.

    Overall, the Realme 12 Pro Plus display might not rewrite the rulebook, but it’s a familiar friend that delivers on its promises. If you’re looking for a fantastic display in a mid-range phone, the Realme 12 Pro Plus definitely ticks the boxes and cater to everyday needs. But it certainly leaves tech enthusiasts craving for cutting-edge specs and resolution.

    Camera that packs a (mostly) positive punch

    The Realme 12 Pro Plus 5G takes a bold approach to smartphone photography, ditching the megapixel race for a more versatile setup. It boasts a 50MP main camera, a 64MP periscope telephoto lens, and an 8MP ultra-wide lens, as well as a 32MP front camera, making it a versatile suite tailored to different shooting scenarios.

    In my opinion the star of the show is the 64MP periscope telephoto lens. It offers true 3x optical zoom, capturing crisp, detailed images with natural colors that rival the main sensor in daylight. This makes it a joy for portraits and bringing distant subjects closer. Talking about the 50MP Sony IMX890 sensor, it shines in both day and low light and delivers sharp photos with good dynamic range and accurate colors. While not groundbreaking, the 8MP ultrawide sensor performs well in daylight, capturing vibrant images with decent sharpness. For selfies and video calls, the 32MP front camera does a respectable job, providing good skin tones with some facial smoothening.

    Moving on, while 3x and 6x zoom excel, venturing beyond that leads to quality and detail drops. The 120x zoom, advertised heavily, is more of a gimmick for casual fun than serious photography. Processing delays, a slight lag between clicking the shutter and seeing the final result, was another issue I encountered while trying my hands on the smartphone. Another slightly frustrating feature was the sluggish autofocus that sometimes struggled to lock onto the subject.

    To wrap up my camera experience with Realme 12 Pro Plus 5G, it was a well-rounded one. While the smartphone may not boast the highest megapixel count compared to some competitors, it makes up for it with superior image processing and versatility. Overall, for its price range, the Realme 12 Pro Plus 5G stands as a competitive contender in smartphone photography.

    Performance and battery, a balanced act?

    The Realme 12 Pro Plus 5G, powered by the Snapdragon 7S Gen 2 chipset and boasting up to 12GB RAM and 256GB storage. Performance-wise, the device handles everyday tasks like browsing, social media, etc with ease. Realme UI 5.0 animations are neat, enhancing the user experience. However, pre-installed apps can be annoying, but thankfully most are removable. Another minor grievance was the sometime slow in-display sensor, though mostly responsive, but could require multiple attempts at times.

    On the brighter side, the Realme 12 Pro Plus shines in its battery life. With light usage, the handset’s 5,000mAh battery can stretch up to two days, and even under moderate to heavy use, it comfortably lasts a full day. The 67W fast charger is a boon, charging the phone from zero to full in about an hour.

    In summary, while the Realme 12 Pro Plus 5G may not break any performance records, it certainly positions itself as a dependable daily driver. If you are a casual user who prioritizes long battery life, this phone ticks the right boxes. But, if you crave top-notch gaming-like performance, you might want to consider alternatives.

    Final Thoughts-a yay or a nay?

    For me, the Realme 12 Pro Plus 5G strikes an interesting balance in the mid-range smartphone market, perfectly blending aesthetic appeal with functional prowess. Starting at around Rs 29,999, the smartphone stands as a competitive option, especially when compared to its closest rival, the Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G. The Realme 12 Pro Plus might not offer a drastically different experience from other similar models in the market, but it holds its ground with a well-rounded performance and design. If you are a power user seeking top-notch performance or are upgrading from the Realme 11 Pro series, you might want to explore other options. However, if you prioritize camera quality, design aesthetics, and long battery life, this phone is worth considering and definitely a yay!


    author avatar
    Monika Asthana




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