Realme 12 Pro Plus 5G review: Possibly the best telephoto camera in its class

This top-end model in the series offers a premium design and flagship-grade cameras, all around $400.

Realme 12 Pro Plus in front of a bookshelf
(Image: © Roydon Cerejo/ Android Central)

Android Central Verdict

The Realme 12 Pro Plus 5G is one of those rare phones around $400 which offers a multitude of great cameras, instead of just having one good sensor. The primary, telephoto, and selfie cameras are all capable of capturing great-looking images, both in the day and low-light. In fact, this phone’s zoom range extends all the way to 120x. Apart from great optics, it’s a premium affair all around thanks to the rich sensation of the vegan-leather back panel, the curved-edge AMOLED display, the massive battery, and smooth all-round performance. Minor issues aside — like the bloated nature of the software, average ultrawide camera — and the fact that this phone could have used a more powerful chipset, the 12 Pro Plus 5G is a good choice if you can get your hands on one.


  • +

    Premium design and in-hand feel

  • +

    Smooth performance

  • +

    Very good primary, tele, and selfie cameras

  • +

    IP65 rating

  • +

    Good battery life with quick charging

  • +

    Bright and vivid display


  • -

    Bloated Android software

  • -

    Chipset isn’t as competitive for the segment

  • -

    Average ultrawide camera

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Realme’s front-runner for its latest 12 series is the 12 Pro+ 5G, and it’s easily the most interesting of the lot. While the company is most popularly known for its budget offerings, it does have a few mid-range models with unique features. The big highlight in this one, and why I was waiting to get my hands on it, is a periscope telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom and a maddening 120x of digital zoom. 

This is a longer zoom range than even what Samsung offers on the Galaxy S24 Ultra. While the real-world usefulness of such a high zoom level is debatable, the fact that we have a phone around $400 that packs similar telephoto camera tech as phones above $1,000, is a feat in itself. 

And if you think Realme has had to compromise in other areas in order to sell it at such a low price, you’d be wrong. The 12 Pro Plus 5G packs a flagship-grade main camera, a curved-edge 120Hz AMOLED display, IP65 rating, and a massive battery with very fast charging. So, is there a catch or could this be the best bargain in its segment? Time to find out. 

Realme 12 Pro Plus 5G: Price and availability

Realme 12 Pro+ vegan leather back

(Image credit: Roydon Cerejo/ Android Central)

The Realme 12 Pro Plus 5G starts at ₹29,999 (around $360) in India, but it’s also available in other markets like Malaysia and Philippines. The base model comes with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. The higher storage variant with 256GB is priced at ₹31,999 ($383), while the top-variant comes with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage for ₹33,999 ($407). 

Realme tends to have perpetual discounts for the upper tier variants if you buy it from its site, so it makes good sense to aim for either the top or second-top variant. It also has plenty of cashback and banking offers, and is even bundling the Realme Buds 2 Neo TWS earphones with any purchase. 

This top model in the 12 series also has a more exciting choice of colors, compared to the Realme 12 Plus 5G. The Navigator Beige trim that I received looks classy, but I’d much rather have bolder shades like the Submarine Blue or Explorer Red (more like orange, going by the press photos). 

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Realme 12 Pro Plus 5G specs
CategoryRealme 12 Pro Plus 5G
OSRealme UI 5.0 (Android 14)
Display 6.7-inch Curved AMOLED, FHD+ (2,412x1,080), 120Hz refresh rate
ChipsetQualcomm Snapdragon 7s Gen 2
Storage128GB, 256GB
AudioStereo speakers, Dolby Atmos
Connectivity5G (dual-5G standby), Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2
SecurityIn-display fingerprint sensor
Protection IP65 water and dust resistance
Battery5,000mAh, 67W SUPERVOOC charging
CamerasRear: 50MP Sony IMX890 with OIS primary + 8MP ultrawide + 64MP OmniVision OV64B 3x telephoto with OIS; Front: 32MP Sony sensor
Dimensions161.47 x 74.02 x 8.75mm
ColorsSubmarine Blue, Navigator Beige, Explorer Red

Realme 12 Pro Plus 5G: What I like

Realme 12 Pro+ camera dial

(Image credit: Roydon Cerejo/ Android Central)

If you liked the design language of the 12 Plus 5G, then you’ll certainly love 12 Pro Plus 5G too. In fact, this model feels a bit more premium thanks to a sturdier frame, and curved edges on the back and the display. The faux-leather finish feels great to hold, and it adds to the grip while keeping fingerprints at bay. The circular camera module embodies a luxury watch design, which is a running theme with the 12 series. The Pro model has an added decorative gold ring around the rear camera dial, for a bit of flair. 

The phone feels slim to hold at 8.75mm, and has just the right heft so it doesn’t feel toy-like. The buttons are clicky, speaker grills are placed well so your hands don’t accidentally block them, and you get a dual-SIM slot. There’s no microSD support, so storage is not extendable. The 12 Pro Plus 5G gets a nifty IP65 rating for dust and water resistance. 

Realme 12 Pro+ curved edge display

(Image credit: Roydon Cerejo/ Android Central)

The other great thing about the Realme 12 Pro Plus 5G is the display. It’s a large 6.7-inch AMOLED panel with a Full HD+ resolution. It produces rich colors and can get very bright. Viewing content even under direct hard sunlight was not an issue. You get an in-display fingerprint sensor too which is quick, but the face unlock is the quickest way to get to your apps. 

The curved edges on either side of the display gives you the feeling of using a much more expensive phone. The display also gets a 120Hz refresh rate, which scales to 90Hz or 60Hz based on the app or your interaction with the screen. 

Realme 12 Pro+ rear logo

(Image credit: Roydon Cerejo/ Android Central)

The Realme 12 Pro Plus 5G is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 7s Gen 2, which is peppy and does a good job of handling all your typical social and productivity apps. Multitasking was a breeze on the 12GB model that I tested, and I feel it should be a similar experience on the lower variants too. HDR videos looked good on this display and the stereo speakers provided an engaging experience. 

Battery life is especially good thanks to the 5,000mAh capacity, which easily lasts for about a day and half on medium to heavy workloads. There’s no wireless charging, but wired charging is a quick 67W with the bundled adapter.

Realme 12 Pro+ display

(Image credit: Roydon Cerejo/ Android Central)

One of the main reasons you should consider this phone is for the cameras. The 12 Pro Plus features the 50MP Sony IMX890 sensor for the main camera, which is also found in the OnePlus 12, while the telephoto is the OmniVision OV64B 64MP sensor as seen in the OnePlus Open. Both sensors are optically stabilized and offer superb clarity, colors, and details in both daylight and night time shots.

The primary camera’s wide f/1.8 aperture ensures a creamy bokeh effect in close-up photos, while in low light, the app automatically takes a long-exposure shot. The telephoto or Portrait camera as Realme calls it, is equally impressive. It has a 3x optical zoom, which has good stabilization when you’re framing. Image quality is quite impressive even at 10x magnification. However, there are diminishing returns as you go beyond 20x zoom. At the maximum 120x level, large text on distant objects is just about recognizable but it’s clear that the camera is well beyond its comfort zone.

Video recording maxes out at 4K30 on the Realme 12 Pro Plus. Image quality is quite good during the day and you have the ability to switch between the ultra-wide, primary, and telephoto cameras when recording at 1080p. The primary and tele can shoot at 4K, but you have to choose which sensor you want before you hit record. 

The 32MP selfie camera is equally impressive, capturing sharp and detailed images in daylight and indoor lighting. The post-processing works well in cleaning up noise, and the default skin smoothing filter isn’t too aggressive and produces pleasing portraits. 

Realme 12 Pro Plus 5G: What I don't like

Realme 12 Pro+ ports

(Image credit: Roydon Cerejo/ Android Central)

The Realme 12 Pro Plus 5G doesn’t have a macro camera or even a macro shooting mode, which some might miss. Realme could have completed the trifecta by using a more substantial ultrawide camera with autofocus. This would have helped in getting sharper photos as well as enabled macro photography. This is the only rear camera that can’t record at 4K resolution, which I feel was a missed opportunity.

The other area which could have used a better upgrade is the SoC itself. Don’t get me wrong, it works just fine in day-to-day use but it’s not as powerful as some of the others in this segment. Going by benchmark numbers, it put out nearly the same scores or just slightly better numbers than the MediaTek Dimensity 7050 SoC, which sits in Realme’s much cheaper 12 Plus 5G. We  also could have gotten better features like 4K at 60fps video recording on the 12 Pro Plus 5G, had Realme used a more potent processor. 

The last complaint with this phone has been a recurring one on most Realme phones, and that’s the software. Realme UI 5.0 is based on Android 14, and my unit received multiple updates for Android security patches and bug fixes, which is good to see. But there’s no getting around how unnecessary bloated it feels, with tons of needless apps and many first-party ones that bombard you with unsolicited notifications. You can work around this by being careful during setup and not giving permission to certain apps, but it’s still a hassle which we shouldn’t have to deal with. 

Realme 12 Pro Plus 5G: Competition

Redmi Note 13 Pro Plus vs. Redmi Note 13 Pro

(Image credit: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

The Realme 12 Pro Plus’s biggest competitor is the Redmi Note 13 Pro Plus. It sits in a similar price range, and boasts of better water resistance, a higher-resolution AMOLED display, and quicker charging. Between the two, I’d still put my money on the 12 Pro Plus 5G simply because of the better auxiliary cameras and due to the fact that it comes with Android 14 out of the box. 

The Vivo V30 is another phone that competes in this segment, featuring an equally eye-catching design as its more expensive sibling, good quality rear cameras, 80W charging, and a more powerful SoC. It does miss out on a telephoto camera though, which is the big highlight of the Realme 12 Pro Plus. 

For those in the U.S., it's still hard to beat the Pixel 7a at its current price. The Pixel 8a is very new, and will eventually replace the 7a as our go-to recommendation once it gets a decent deal. 

Realme 12 Pro Plus 5G: Should you buy it?

Realme 12 Pro+ in front of a pillow

(Image credit: Roydon Cerejo/ Android Central)

You should buy this if…

  • You need a versatile telephoto camera with good zoom range 
  • You want a stylish mid-range phone  
  • You want long-lasting battery life 

You shouldn't buy this if…

  •  You want clutter-free user interface 
  •  You want strong gaming performance 
  •  You need wireless charging  

Realme continues to deliver great value even with its mid-range offerings, and the 12 Pro Plus 5G is a good example. For what it costs, the phone truly excels in the camera department thanks to a strong primary sensor, versatile telephoto camera, and a solid selfie camera. Realme doesn't stop there though, as it delivers an equally premium usage experience thanks to a faux-leather back panel and the luxury-watch inspired rear modules. Performance is also decent, the phone is water and dustproof, and the battery easily lasts more than a day. The vivid curved-edge AMOLED display is excellent for binge-watching on the move.

The typical software hurdles continue to haunt Realme phones, as the interface is too cluttered and bloated with needless apps. The ultrawide camera is also nothing special, when compared to how good the other cameras are. Lastly, there's the processor itself, which would have been perfectly decent on a phone at around $300, but not at this price. If the 12 Pro Plus 5G isn't available where you live, here's a list of great alternatives that should work just as well. 

Roydon Cerejo

Roydon has been writing about consumer tech for over a decade, and has reviewed a wide variety of products, from TVs and headphones, to cameras and PC components. Smartphones and laptops have been his main focus areas for the past couple of years, where he has extensively covered both spaces in terms of reviews, features, interviews, and live events. When not helping someone pick out their next phone, you’ll find him hunting for new TV shows to binge watch, and struggling to complete his backlog of PS4 games.