Periscope cameras are finally enjoying more significant adoption, as Apple and OnePlus join the best camera phones from Google, Samsung, vivo, and Xiaomi in offering this tech.
Now, Realme has launched the mid-tier Realme 12 Pro and 12 Pro Plus, and the latter phone makes a splash by offering a periscope camera too. In fact, you’re looking at a flagship-grade periscope system.
Realme 12 Pro Plus: The best camera zoom in a mid-ranger?
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority
The Pro Plus device has the same 64MP 3x periscope camera as the OnePlus 12 (OV64B), complete with a relatively wide f/2.6 aperture and optical image stabilization. We also get 6x in-sensor zoom here, in line with the OnePlus handset.
In our short time with the handset, we thought the phone delivered great 3x images in daytime conditions. We do see a drop in image quality when using the 6x option, but you can still get solid shots that are a significant step above other mid-rangers.
Realme is also touting 120x digital zoom here, but this is just a marketing trick. Expect image quality to fall off a cliff long before that, even in ideal conditions. Although the phone will put up a good fight against flagships like the Google Pixel 7 Pro at long range. Check out the comparison below.
Either way, we’re glad to see a flagship-tier periscope camera on a mid-range phone. But we hope this isn’t the last time a mid-tier handset ships with a periscope lens in 2024.
The Realme 12 Pro Plus also serves up a 50MP IMX890 main camera, which is the same sensor that was widely used on flagship phones a couple of years ago. Otherwise, an 8MP ultrawide camera rounds out the rear camera system, and it’s clear that this is a budget-tier addition. A 32MP selfie lens rounds out the camera package.
This mostly great camera system does mean we see a few compromises elsewhere, though. Some of the more notable cutbacks take place in the processor and display categories, as we’ve got a capable but unspectacular Snapdragon 7s Gen 2 chip and a curved 6.7-inch 120Hz OLED screen with a mere 950 nits peak brightness. It’s also worth noting that this screen doesn’t actually have Gorilla Glass or Dragontrail Glass on board, as Realme is sticking with tempered glass protection. That’s a major omission, so you should definitely add a screen protector or get a robust case.
Realme’s Pro Plus phone also brings a 5,000mAh battery with 67W wired charging speeds, an IP65 rating, and Realme UI 5.0 atop Android 14.
What about the Realme 12 Pro?
The Chinese brand also revealed the Realme 12 Pro on the day, and it predictably sees a few downgrades compared to the Pro Plus model. Starting with the camera category, the 64MP 3x periscope lens makes way for an undisclosed 2x telephoto camera while the 50MP IMX890 main camera is dropped in favor of a 50MP IMX882 sensor. The company didn’t reveal details about the ultrawide camera at the time of publication, but we’re guessing it’s a bog-standard 8MP lens.
Realme’s cheaper phone also packs the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 chipset, although this is only a mild downgrade compared to the Snapdragon 7s Gen 2 in the Realme 12 Pro Plus. The phone also brings a curved OLED screen, although Realme didn’t dish out battery and charging details at the time of writing.
Realme 12 Pro series pricing and availability
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority
Realme has only confirmed Indian availability right now, but we’re expecting the new phones to be available in Asia and Europe too. In any event, the Realme 12 Pro Plus starts at Rs 29,999 (~$361) for the 8GB/128GB base model in India. Meanwhile, the 12GB/256GB model is the top-end variant in India and it’ll set you back Rs 33,999 (~$409). We’ve got a 512GB review unit but we’re guessing this model will be available in China and Europe.
Realme 12 Pro Plus: Hot or not?
Don’t want to spend that much? Then the Realme 12 Pro has a starting price of Rs 25,999 (~$313) for the 8GB/128GB base model while the 256GB variant will cost Rs 26,999 (~$325).
We’re expecting the phones to be significantly more expensive if/when they come to Europe. For what it’s worth, Realme compared the Realme 12 Pro Plus to the Redmi Note 13 Pro Plus, which retails for €450 (~$488) in the region. But that would still be an intriguing price tag for a phone with a periscope camera.