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Realme 8 Pro Review: Camera Does Most Of The Talking
The mid-tier smartphone segment has been witnessing fierce competition in recent times. Brands like Realme, Xiaomi, Motorola, and Samsung have been flooding the space with new products consistently. And if there's one brand that's snatching all the attention, it has to be Realme. The Oppo's former sub-brand has been surprising the masses with value flagships and budget smartphones. The recently launched Realme 8 series is a good example of such.
- Powerful camera hardware in sub Rs. 20, 000 segment
- Premium looking design
- Fast in-display fingerprint scanner
- Slightly smaller 4,500 mAh battery
- No 5G network support
Comprising the Realme 8 and the Realme 8 Pro, the new lineup bets high on hardware. The latter has arrived with an asking price of Rs. 17,999 (6GB/128GB) with a new design language. What instantly grabs the attention here is a 108MP primary camera for the aforementioned price tag. But, is it enough to make this handset a worthy upgrade over the Realme 7 Pro? Let's find out:
Bold Style Gets Heads Turning
The Realme 8 Pro brings a handsome-looking design to the table. The device gets its bold appeal with the sandblasted back panel. You get a matte texture despite all the glitters. The glossy "Dare To Leap" label on the left is another nice touch to the design. The device dons a slim form factor which adds to a comfortable grip.
You would want to use the device without a case. Thanks to the smudge-free back panel, you can easily do so. The back panel has protruding camera module on the top-left. The color options announced include Infinite Black, Infinite Blue, and Illuminating Yellow.
We received the blue variant and it has gives a mix of a sober and bold statement. Both volume and the power keys are placed on the right panel with an ideal thumb-reach. While the device is slim, you still will struggle a bit with single-hand usage.
That's because of the tall form factor. The 3.5mm headphone jack, USB Type-C port, and the speaker grill are at the bottom, while the SIM card tray is placed on the left spine. The front panel isn't different from the previous-gen model. You still get the same borderless panel with a tiny punch-hole at the top-left.
Good Display Feedback
Realme hasn't made any major upgrades in the display department. The device gets the same 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display that supports 1080 x 2400 pixels FHD+ resolution with an aspect ratio of 20:9. The tiny in-display camera cutout hardly interferes while watching any video.
Speaking of which, the display on the Realme 8 Pro is impressive despite the missing higher (90Hz or 120Hz) refresh rate. The punchy color production and crisp picture quality are what enhances the visual experience here. The display performance is consistent throughout.
You get the same levels of clarity with high-resolution videos played online as well as the offline directory. Streaming videos at OTT platforms have been a good experience as well. The brightness levels are sufficient and you wouldn't be straining your eyes outdoors. The panel also integrates a fingerprint scanner for security. The unlocking speeds are fast and the scanner is accurate with unlocking the device in a jiffy.
Lag-Free Performance, Smooth UI
The Realme 8 Pro gets its power from the Snapdragon 720G. The octa-core gaming-centric chipset along with the Adreno 618 GPU renders rich graphics for immersive gameplay. The gameplay experience on the phone was satifactory. We played several high-end games such as Shadow Fight 4 and Asphalt 9 and were impressed by its performance.
Even with the standard 60Hz refresh rate, you wouldn't notice any frame drops at the highest settings. Do note that the company hasn't made any changes in the processor from the previous-generation model. While this doesn't limit the device from sufficient power delivery, an upgraded chipset would have made sense on a new-generation model. Notably, the brand is all set to bring a 5G variant of this handset.
So we can expect a refined user experience on the new model. You can select between 6GB/8GB RAM options. Go for the latter if extensive multitasking is a part of your daily routine. Storage capacity is also ample at 128GB. You can easily store high-resolution images, videos, and other data. If you feel any storage crunch, the 3-way dedicated microSD card slot comes to the rescue.
Software-wise, the device uses the Android 11 OS wrapped around the Realme UI 2.0 interface. The UI gives a feel of stock Android UI, but with some of the pre-loaded bloatware, it misses to give the same feel. The device still mages to give a smoother user experience.
App loading is fast and you need to swipe up on the home screen to bring pull-up the app drawer. Benchmark performance is also fair. The Realme 8 Pro scored 8608 points in the PCMark's Work performance 2.0 test. On the other hand, it achieved 2495 points in the Slingshot Extreme test of the 3DMark gaming benchmark test. Compare with the competitions, the scores are decent.
Excellent Camera Performance
The Realme 8 Pro is the company's best bet in the mid-range smartphone camera category. The device employs a 108MP Samsung ISOCELL HM2 primary sensor with an f/1.9 aperture, an 8MP ultra-wide-angle lens with 119-degree FoV, and a pair 2MP sensor for bokeh and macro photography.
That said, the performance has been outstanding if nothing less you can ask for in the sub Rs. 20,000 price segment. The AI-enabled camera captures detailed images keeping the colors on the balanced side.
You will however get more clear shots with the dedicated 108MP shooting mode but make sure you give the camera a brief pause to process the image. Depth shots look natural and the closes up shots are also good. The AI-scene detection feature enhances the image output by adjusting the lights with the surroundings. The device supports up to 4K video recording@60fps. The video clarity levels are high and the stabilization is decent.
Well-Defined Night Photography
The Realme 8 Pro delivers a good imaging experience with low-light shots as well. The camera app has a dedicated Night mode, but the shots clicked sans this option appear much better. The noise levels are slightly reduced with the default shooting mode at night. The close-up images don't go blurry or grainy and the camera sensor performs well in low-light conditions.
All Glitters With Starry Mode
One of the interesting features is the Starry Mode. This is an astrophotography mode that will let you capture open starlit skies. You wouldn't need a DSLR to capture the stars or the moon, but yes a tripod needs to be handy. This is because the Starry mode takes over 4 minutes to process an image. The output is vivid and bright. It almost seems like an image clicked during dawn or dusk. It's an impressive feature needless to say.
Sufficient Battery Backup
The Realme 8 Pro is fuelled by a 4,500 mAh battery unit. The device is backed by 50W fast charging tech which recharges the unit in less than an hour. This will save you the hassle of plug and wait. Speaking of the backup, the battery packs enough juice to drive the unit more than half a day on a single charge.
The competitions have been offering a bigger setup. In fact, the brand itself has packed its other mid-range devices with a more powerful battery. But, that can be still be overlooked considering there is faster charging speed.
Worth The Hype?
The Realme 8 Pro is undeniably the star of attraction with its 108MP primary camera. It is a photo-centric smartphone that delivers well on gaming as well. The high-resolution display with FHD+ support and 50W fast charging supported battery are the other key takeaways here. This device fits the bills for photography enthusiasts who want a bit of everything (hardware and price).
While this is one of the best mid-range smartphones available in India, a 5G network support is what chucks a few extra points from it being the perfect deal. Nevertheless, we will get to see the 5G version soon, so you can hold your horses till then.