Realme 8 Pro review: a peek at what’s next in midrange smartphone imaging

The Realme 8 Pro is a good, cheap Android cellphone that you just in all probability shouldn’t purchase proper now — at least for those who’re in the US. Nevertheless it’s additionally a preview of optimistic issues to come back to the midrange class, particularly in phrases of digital camera {hardware}. I’ve seen the way forward for smartphone imaging across the $400 value level, and it’s good.

Should you’re not acquainted, Realme is a Chinese language firm that began off as a sub-brand of Oppo; like OnePlus, it was based by a former Oppo vp. Its telephones are bought in China, India, and Europe. Though, you possibly can technically purchase a international model of the cellphone and use it in the US, however we wouldn’t suggest it. It’s not appropriate with most of the 4G bands we use in the states, so protection gained’t be nice.

Good Stuff

  • Excessive-quality most important digital camera
  • Surprisingly good 3x digital zoom
  • Quick all-around efficiency due to 6GB RAM / Snapdragon 720G combo

Unhealthy Stuff

  • Noticeable white steadiness shift with ultrawide
  • Finicky optical fingerprint sensor
  • No 5G assist

The 8 Pro makes use of a comparatively new 108-megapixel Samsung sensor. It’s the identical pixel depend as the principle digital camera in the Galaxy S21 Extremely, however a completely different, smaller chip designed for budget-friendlier telephones. As in the S21 Extremely, the purpose of this expertise isn’t to take 108-megapixel photos (although you are able to do that if you’d like). It’s to mix data from teams of pixels to create a higher optimized 12-megapixel closing picture.

There are different causes to love the Realme 8 Pro. Contemplating its £279 (about $380) value, efficiency is excellent, owing to a robust mixture in its Snapdragon 720G processor and 6GB of RAM. Battery life is wholesome and the cellphone helps 50W quick wired charging. Relying on how you are feeling about inspirational company branding, I suppose the “DARE TO LEAP” printed on the again of the cellphone might be a plus (not my factor, personally).

However the digital camera impressed me probably the most, and it’s a part that can possible make its means into many extra midrange telephones bought across the globe. Let’s take a nearer look.

Realme 8 Pro

The 8 Pro provides commonplace extensive and ultrawide cameras, plus macro and depth-sensing modules.

Realme 8 Pro digital camera

In case you want a reminder at any level of what number of pixels the principle digital camera provides, you possibly can merely look at the again of the cellphone the place you’ll discover “108 MP QUAD CAMERA” etched on the digital camera bump. Particularly, it’s Samsung’s 1/1.52-inch Isocell HM2 sensor coupled with an f/1.9 lens.

Sadly, there’s no optical picture stabilization right here, however possibly owing to the picture processing methods this high-res sensor can pull off, I didn’t discover a important variety of blurry pictures that OIS may need corrected. Different rear cameras embody an 8-megapixel ultrawide, 2-megapixel macro, and a 2-megapixel depth-sensing digital camera. There’s a 16-megapixel selfie digital camera on the entrance.

In low gentle, the digital camera makes use of binning to mix pixels into teams of 9

The primary digital camera is ready to do a couple of fascinating issues. In vivid daylight, it will possibly use all 108 million pixels individually, utilizing completely different pixels to seize your scene at a number of publicity ranges at as soon as, and mixing the knowledge into a 12-megapixel closing picture. In low gentle, the digital camera switches issues up and makes use of binning to mix pixels into teams of 9, successfully turning comparatively small particular person pixels — 0.7μm to be exact — into a lot bigger 2.1μm sized pixels, which helps produce much less noisy photos.

Images in vivid gentle look good as anticipated. There’s a formidable quantity of element captured, although some overzealous sharpening is clear for those who zoom in to 100%. Colours are a bit too saturated for my liking; there’s no quantity of garden fertilizer in the world that will make my yard look as inexperienced because the 8 Pro thinks it’s. It appears extra susceptible to this oversaturation with landscapes and is fortunately much less aggressive with portrait mode images. Portrait mode images look good, and I recognize that the digital camera doesn’t crop in when switching to this mode.

Grid View

Dim indoor lighting and low gentle are the place cellphone cameras usually battle, however the 8 Pro turns in a formidable efficiency in these situations. In reasonable lighting, photos are surprisingly detailed and present little noise. The digital camera’s night time mode will deliver out much more element, although it does apply a distracting quantity of sharpening and distinction.

I had, frankly, low expectations for the 8 Pro’s digital 3x zoom, however I’m happy to report that it’s a lot better than I feared. In good gentle and even reasonable indoor lighting, photos present a lot of element and I’m hard-pressed to search out the disagreeable artifacts that normally seem in digitally zoomed photos.

digital zoom crop

108MP crop

Left: 3x digital zoom, 100% crop. Proper: 108-megapixel picture, 100% crop.

The digital camera isn’t simply cropping in on a 108-megapixel picture, both. Evaluating them aspect by aspect at 100%, a photograph taken with 3x digital zoom reveals extra element and appears much less noisy than a crop of a 108-megapixel picture. The Samsung HM2’s pixel binning powers are being put to work right here, too, and the result’s digital zoom that’s really price your time.

There’s not as a lot thrilling information to report in regards to the 8 Pro’s different cameras; they just do tremendous. The ultrawide is susceptible to some delicate however disagreeable shade shifts: white steadiness can skew too heat and blue skies generally look a little grey. The macro digital camera is a low-resolution sensor that’s little greater than a gimmick, and the selfie digital camera fortunately avoids over-smoothing faces at its default setting. All honest for a cellphone at this value.

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The 8 Pro’s processor and RAM mixture are greater than adequate for on a regular basis duties and scrolling.Picture by Allison Johnson / The Verge

Realme 8 Pro efficiency and display

Outdoors of cameras, the Realme 8 Pro is a completely succesful midrange cellphone. Battery life is adequate to get by a day of reasonable to heavy use and the aforementioned processor / RAM combo handles day-to-day app scrolling and duties with ease. The 6.4-inch 1080p OLED with commonplace 60Hz refresh fee is okay however nothing particular, and I needed to battle with auto brightness insisting on making the display too dim on a couple of events.

this processor / RAM combo handles day-to-day app scrolling and duties with ease

There’s the flashy branding on the rear of the machine, which is both your sort of factor or not. The Realme 8 Pro doesn’t assist 5G at all, which is one thing to contemplate for those who’re in the UK and considering of shopping for the cellphone.

My largest gripe, although, is with the optical in-display fingerprint sensor. I’d say at least a third of the time after I unlocked the cellphone it required a couple of attempt to learn my finger. A few instances — each outdoors in vivid daylight — it gave up and had me enter my PIN as a substitute. If this was going to be my perpetually cellphone, I’d in all probability skip the fingerprint sensor and simply persist with a PIN, personally.

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(*8*)The Realme 8 Pro is the sort of midrange cellphone that we don’t see fairly often in the US: nice efficiency and first rate all-around specs mixed with a wonderful digital camera, all for what would equate to a sub-$400 value.

the 8 Pro is (hopefully) a signal of fine digital camera {hardware} coming our means quickly

Telephones that meet this description are surprisingly scarce stateside; in truth, its closest equal might be the Pixel 4A, which we’ve really helpful as the perfect low-cost Android cellphone basically because it grew to become out there final summer season. The 8 Pro goes a step past the 4A in some respects by providing an ultrawide rear digital camera and quick charging. If it got here right down to it, although, we’d in all probability nonetheless favor the Pixel for its excellent machine assist and wonderful lone rear digital camera.

Should you stay in the UK and also you don’t care a lot about class-leading show specs and the dearth of 5G doesn’t hassle you, the 8 Pro has a digital camera and a processor that can sustain for a few years to come back. For the remainder of us, the 8 Pro is (hopefully) a signal of fine digital camera {hardware} coming our means quickly.

Pictures by Allison Johnson / The Verge

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