realme 12+ 5G review: Midrange camera marvel

With every new series of smartphones, it’s the top variant that would get the most recognition. As brands flex the biggest specs and innovations, the lower variants usually fall under the shadow of their more powerful sibling. On the new realme 12 Series, it’s the Pro Plus model that catches attention with an impressive set of cameras.

Which begs the question, what can we get with this slightly less extravagant counterpart in the series - the realme 12+ 5G?

Well, that’s what we’ll answer in this review. Spoiler alert: It’s equally as impressive.

realme 12+ 5G Specs layout:

  • Processor: MediaTek Dimensity 7050
  • Display: 6.67 - inch, 1080x2400px, 120Hz, AMOLED, HR10+, 600nits
  • Cameras: 50MP f/1.9 (main), 8MP f/2.2 (ultrawide), 2MP f/2.4 (macro), 16MP f/2.5 (front)
  • Battery and Charging: 5000mAh, 67W wired
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, GPS, 
  • Biometric Scanner: Under display fingerprint
  • Other notable specs: Stereo speakers, IP54 dust and splash resistant, vegan leather built


Seeing the specs of the realme 12+ 5G, I couldn't help but be transported back to my experience with its predecessor, the realme 9 Pro+ 5G, which I reviewed a while back. The realme 9 Pro+ 5G stood out due to its exceptional camera capabilities, boasting a flagship-grade sensor.

Now, the realme 12+ 5G builds upon this with two standout features: an enhanced 50MP primary camera equipped with the Sony LYT600 sensor and an ultrawide lens. Additionally, it offers a 2MP macro lens and a 16MP front-facing camera.

Obviously, the main camera is what we’ll mostly enjoy here. To be honest, I didn’t expect much out of this thinking that it’s the Pro Plus variant that has the good cameras. But I was actually surprised with the output from this one.

On these samples, it managed to capture studio-like photos we took at the realme 12 series launch event.

I also tried to simulate the same on these photos that I shot in our condo and it did it very well.

While these are taken in controlled environments where we had studio lights set up, I would still say it’s very capable for this application. It’s the camera sensor here that really made a big difference. The amount of detail it was able to capture felt close to an actual camera with the RAW images taken in Pro Mode.

For portraits, other phones without a portrait lens would normally capture a wide shot and just blur the background. Here, you can use portrait mode in combination with this phone’s in-sensor zoom. And I’d say it does its job decently. Well, better than most phones without a portrait lens but edge cutout still isn't perfect.

It fakes a field of view that a portrait lens would get by cropping in from its main camera. It still won’t give you the lens compression of a physical portrait lens, but you can cover that up with background blur thanks to its portrait algorithm.

Generally, photos out of the main camera of the realme 12+ are very good and that applies both in outdoor and indoor environments. There’s not much noise in images even in low light and the HDR mode works wonders for overexposed scenarios.

Colors are a bit exaggerated compared to reality but it doesn’t look bad. I personally prefer less saturated images. But I believe a huge majority of the market would perceive stronger colors to look better.

Street Mode

A signature among realme’s numbered series is the Street Mode where you can choose between different filters to make images look more interesting. This feature I should say, has been one of my favorites that realme offers. While other brands do offer something similar to this, realme has always been the ones I’ve always found to be most appealing. Well, they did collaborate with an award-winning cinematographer for this so I guess it shows how serious they are about this feature.

I really liked how this phone performed as a street photography camera. It almost always captures what I want with its snappy shutter performance. Here are some of the photos I took when I attended the realme Portrait Master Academy Photowalk at Escolta, Manila.

I'm not sure if this is a unique feature on the realme 12 series but there are two features I have noticed on Street Mode here. Toggled on top of the screen, there's a zoom function which allows us to tap on subjects and it will automatically zoom and frame a subject and a manual focus mode with focus peaking.

In-sensor zoom

The fact that there is no zoom lens means we won’t be able to do crazy zoom ranges like its pro counterpart. But the in-sensor zoom works surprisingly well even when compared to some older flagships with a dedicated zoom lens. It even managed to capture clear zoomed images of this play we attended where we were placed at the balcony. I found this to be impressive considering it captured this in dim light and moving actors.

Ultrawide camera

Probably my least favorite in the camera department would be the ultra-wide. And as you can guess, it’s because of the low megapixel count. The image doesn’t quite match up with the good image quality of the main camera. It’s serviceable in good lighting, but I’d mostly only use it if I really needed a wide shot. Thankfully, it will still work with Street Mode filters so it can be used stylistically.

Front camera

Selfies are okay. They’re not the best ones in the mid-range category but they can get decent results. I just didn’t like that some enhancements are enabled by default, in particular, the eye size adjustment.

Video quality

Videos are a very different aspect of this though. The realme 12+ 5G has built-in stabilization features and it greatly helps in avoiding shaky video footage. There’s two versions of this: first is the standard video mode where it has OIS turned on by default. In my opinion, this already works pretty well. But to make this even more stable, a second option is the Ultra Steady mode which combines OIS with EIS.

Ultra Steady has a slight drawback though. It will only shoot at a lower 1080p resolution and the frame rate will automatically set to 60FPS.

The quality of video output is decent. Likely better than its predecessor, but the difference between this and its photo mode is pretty apparent. Noise is more present here when compared to stills.

Sadly, our joy with the in-sensor zoom may have ended on its photo capabilities. Zooming in on video mode crops the picture and dramatically reduces the quality. It’s best to just stick with the main lens and move closer if you want to zoom in.

Design and display

Vegan leather material appears to be a trend among many lower-priced smartphones today, which is great considering I find it offers a more aesthetically pleasing and tactile experience compared to hard plastic.

The realme 12+ has a vegan leather back panel with a patterned stripe that draws our attention to its cameras. Positioned at the center is the camera layout which echoes the design of the realme 11 Pro series. There’s some nice embellishment which shines as light hits it and an OIS branding on its middle. realme claims this camera design is inspired from a luxury watch.

I am a fan of this consistent aesthetic. I think this could contribute significantly to realme's distinct brand identity and is worth preserving in future iterations.

The whole device is wrapped in a flat chrome-like frame which I am hoping won’t be prone to scratching or peeling.

Port layout is pretty standard. At the bottom is a speaker port, USB-C port, mic port and SIM tray. All the buttons are located on the right while the top is home to a 3.5mm audio port and a mic and speaker port. Yes, this device packs a stereo speaker setup plus it’s also IP54 rated for dust and water resistance.

The screen itself is a 6.67-inch AMOLED which has nice, vibrant and punchy colors. It’s not exceptionally bright but it gets bright enough for most scenarios. Watching videos is a treat and the 120Hz refresh rate helps with gaming experience.

realme went with a punch hole front camera design on the display of the realme 12+ 5G. An interesting touch is that, the space beside the camera is a spot where realme’s version of a Dynamic Island notification pops out.


Running on the MediaTek Dimensity 7050 chipset, the realme 12+ 5G is no slouch. This can easily run everyday tasks smoothly and most apps execute in a snap. Contributing to this seamless performance is the realme UI 4.0 that is already packed in here out of the box. realme’s interface feels polished and definitely feels like it deserves to play along with the big mainstream brands.

For gaming, I fired up Genshin Impact on this phone expecting to run it on low graphics. The realme 12+ 5G handled this game at high graphics exceptionally well.

Call of Duty: Mobile also didn’t have any issues playing at the highest available graphic settings. There is no max setting but that’s normally the case with phones running a MediaTek chipset.

Overall, gaming on this phone is a very enjoyable experience. This is even emphasized by the stereo speakers that greatly helped when playing COD where you can hear the direction of your opponent's footsteps.

Battery and charging

For battery endurance, the 5000mAh battery performed very well in our PCMark battery test. It managed to last close to 15 hours which translates to last about a day and a half in normal use.

Charging speeds are also quite fast. I usually plug this phone in about the same time as my other flagship phones and the realme 12+ 5G manages to get fully charged at about the same time which takes around an hour or sometimes a bit more with its 67W charger.


The realme 12+ 5G is a smartphone that doesn't deserve to be overlooked. While, the series is tagged to make its user to become "a portrait master", this one in particular shines on the street.

At the base price of PhP 17,999 (PhP 14,999 if you manage to get it on sale) you're getting a very good main camera with OIS, great performance, stereo speakers, and a vegan leather design.

Packing that very respectable main camera, at this price range, this phone is definitely one that I recommend and has earned its spot in my pocket for my photography needs.

Andre Ibarle

Andre is the go-to tech guy for most companions. He loves to geek out on tech old and new and has a knack for storytelling through words, capturing moments with a camera, and bringing ideas to life on screen. With years of experience in writing, photography, videography and playing Super Mario World.

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