Realme are a smartphone brand known for their affordably priced smartphones and the Realme 8 Pro is no exception. The device, released earlier this year, features a 108-megapixel rear-facing camera as well as a large 6.4-inch AMOLED display and 128GB built-in storage. All these specs when put alongside the retail price of £279 make this device a very appealing choice.
Realme 8 Pro
The Realme 8 Pro features a plastic and glass build, which is to be expected of a phone in this price range. The front of the device is glass, which houses the display and the hole-punch camera which is located in the top left of the display. Out of the box, there is a screen protector installed on the device to offer some additional protection, however, if you’re not a fan of screen protectors you can easily remove it. There’s also a small cut-out for the earpiece at the top of the device.
The display is 6.4-inches in diameter and has fairly thin bezels around the sides, although there is a bit of a larger chin on the bottom of the device. The display is also rounded on the corners to match the overall shape of the device. The large display does lead me to use the phone with both of my hands most of the time unless I’m scrolling through Twitter, which isn’t too strenuous as the device weighs 170 grams. If you have large hands, you may be able to use the device single-handed, but I see this as a two-handed device.
Flipping over the device, the back has a frosted texture finish with glossy elements for the Realme logo as well as their “dare to leap” motto, which is, in my opinion, a bit too large – maybe it could have been a little smaller and subtle. The frosted finish does feel much nicer than glossy plastic and is a nice way to incorporate plastic into a smartphone design without it seeming cheap or tacky. The finish of the plastic did initially feel a little slippery in the hand, although this could be due to me becoming a little more accustomed to glass-backed phones. If you are worried about the phone slipping out of your hand, Realme has included a simple case you can use to give the device a bit of extra protection and grip. The case is a very tight fit, however, and I did find it a little tricky to put on and take off.
The quad-camera array is also found on the back of the device, which looks a little like a set of hobs. The size of the camera bump is fine, and I don’t think it’s too large, however, I would always welcome a smaller camera bump. As the cameras are quite close to each other and because of their arrangement, I did find dust and fibres from my pockets to gather in between the cameras but this is easy to blow or wipe away.
As we move around to the sides of the 8 Pro, the back of the device wraps into it, providing a more ergonomic fit and making the phone comfortable to hold and like the back, the sides are also plastic. The left-hand side features the SIM and microSD tray slot, which can hold two SIMs and a microSD card at the same time. This is a welcome addition in comparison to other devices which will use the microSD slot as a combo slot for a second SIM, this is great for those who may have both a personal SIM and work SIM and wish to use a microSD to store additional media and files.
The right side has all the buttons, the device features volume rockers and a sleep/wake button. The placement of the sleep/wave button is in a great place and is located where my hand naturally rests when I pick up the device. However, I would have liked to have seen a different texture for the sleep/wake button – this is a trend that I’ve seen on other Android devices, and I’ve quite liked it so I can quickly differentiate between the different device buttons.
The bottom of the device features grilles for the microphone and speaker (there’s also a single microphone on the top of the device) as well as USB Type-C connectivity and a headphone jack. I’m glad to see that headphone jacks are still around on more budget-focused devices as it means that you have a wider selection of headphones and earbuds that you can use with the device.
Overall, I’m very impressed with the design of this phone and it manages to accommodate a lot of design features and elements that can improve the user experience. As I mentioned, there are a couple of things that I would tweak and do differently, but overall, there’s a lot to like.
The Realme 8 Pro has a 6.4-inch display with a 1080×2400 resolution, giving it a 20:9 aspect ratio and 411 pixels per inch pixel density which provides a sharp experience for reading text and looking at content on the display. Unlike the Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite 5G I reviewed earlier this year, the 8 Pro does unfortunately not have a high-refresh-rate display and only offers a 60Hz experience, if you’re a keen mobile gamer or are looking for a high-frame-rate experience I would recommend taking a look at Xiaomi’s offering or having a browse of what else is currently on the market.
The display brightness is great for indoor use, but I found it to struggle in direct sunlight as the peak brightness is good for the shade but as soon as I found myself using the phone in direct sunlight for general use or taking photos it would struggle to keep up with the bright environment surrounding it.
The display does feature some nice amenities, such as the option to enable an always-on lock screen so you can check the time and your notifications at a glance. My personal favourites have been the raise to wake and double-tap to turn the screen on options as the phone will wake as soon as I start using it without needing to press the wake button.
The AMOLED display offers a fantastic viewing experience, providing fantastic contrast for watching videos or looking at photos. Unfortunately, there is no HDR support to offer a dynamic range that pops out the screen, but it still looks great. The display also comes out of the box in a vivid colour mode, which does offer a more saturated viewing experience, there is an option to tone this down with the “Gentle” screen colour mode or take things up a notch with the “Brilliant” screen colour mode. Viewing angles of the display are also good, with no significant colour shift when moving around the display.
The Realme 8 Pro ships with Android 11 which runs Realme UI 2.0 on top of it, it’s great to see that this device ships with the latest version of Android and hopefully we will see it receive Android 12 when that comes out later this year, although we will have to wait and see.
Realme UI 2.0 is a pleasant interface to use and doesn’t function too differently to stock Android, the main difference to me is that the Realme UI design is a lot flatter however it can be customised even further with different icon styles, shapes and colours. Some of the icon customisations can allow you to make the device more like Samsung’s One UI. It’s great to see thar there is this level of customisation supported without the need for a third-party launcher.
Like many other devices, you can also tweak navigation options between buttons and gestures – I have opted for gestures, and you can also choose to hide the hole-punch camera behind a black bar if you wish. Bloatware isn’t too bad, and the device supports some additional features such as Game Mode for further customisation and tweaks when playing mobile games.
Overall, I think Realme UI 2.0 offers a good experience for using the device, it’s slick, modern and easy to customise to allow you to make your phone yours.
The Realme 8 Pro is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 720G processor. The processor features eight cores, two of which are high powered and six lower-powered efficiency cores. This provides a good experience and performance for day-to-day use of the device such as social media usage, listening to music and streaming video.
Despite not being a powerhouse of a processor, the 720G also offers good performance for casual gaming – although if you’re primarily a mobile gamer and enjoy playing 3D titles you may want to look into a device with a higher-performing processor. Nevertheless, I was able to play some Real Racing 3 without any noticeable lag, although the game did reduce the graphics quality to aid performance.
If you’re interested in benchmark stats to compare the Realme 8 Pro against your own device, the device scored a Geekbench 5 CPU score of 568 for single-core performance and 1,681 for multi-core performance. The device scored 1,056 on 3DMark’s Wild Life graphics benchmark.
As far as wireless connectivity goes, the device supports Wi-Fi 5 connectivity as well as Bluetooth 5.0 and NFC for making contactless payments with Google Pay.
The device supports two biometric unlocking methods to allow you to conveniently unlock your device, both face and fingerprint unlocking methods are supported. Unfortunately, face unlocking is not the most secure method as it uses the front-facing camera to authenticate, versus an infrared unlocking system that is found on devices such as the iPhone, for this reason, I would recommend you use the fingerprint unlocking method if you choose to use biometric unlocking. The fingerprint reader is okay and is located underneath the display, but I did find it to find my finger completely unrecognisable at times – which was quite annoying. More recently I have found the fingerprint sensor to perform a little better after re-registering my fingerprint but to find myself needing to do this to make it usable was not very impressive.
The sound quality of the speakers is not great, they’re okay for listening to spoken word content but I would recommend using a Bluetooth speaker or headphones when listening to music as they struggle to provide any bass or low-end. The speaker array consists of the earpiece speaker and speaker at the bottom of the device, which works together to provide a listening experience that sounds better than just a single bottom-firing speaker; however, my previous sentiment still applies.
The Realme 8 Pro features a quad-camera array on the back of the device as well as a selfie camera on the front of the device. The cameras on the back all perform different features for wide, ultrawide, macro and depth camera features. I’m still not too sure about this trend with low-resolution macro cameras, I’d personally much rather have an optical telephoto lens for a higher-quality zoom.
The main wide camera is an f/1.9 26mm 108-megapixel camera which will provide high-resolution images, with the ultrawide being an 8-megapixel f/2.3 16mm camera. Both the macro and depth cameras are 2-megapixel f/2.4 cameras.
Overall, photos that come out of the camera are good however some of the photos look oversaturated, particularly photos taken outdoors and of landscapes – the green grass just pops a little too much. Photos from the wide camera also look much sharper and crisp in comparison to the ultrawide, although that is to be expected as the wide sensor has a much higher megapixel count and is really only noticeable if you start to zoom in. Despite the high megapixel count on the main sensor, shots are taken as 12-megapixel photos unless you are specifically within the 108-megapixel mode.
The dynamic range within photographs is fantastic, taking a photo of a landscape or a close up of a tree I can see both the detail in the darker areas of the photo as well as the detail and clouds in the sky – I am impressed by how the camera manages to balance the two appropriately and when this is paired with the sharpness of the main sensor, you’re able to get some great detailed shots.
The ultrawide camera works well at allowing you to fit more into the frame and works well to get an artistic angle or a group photo. The camera app allows you to easily switch to this as well as quickly switch to 3X and 5X digital zooms – although I would much prefer an optical zoom camera instead of the macro lens which delivers soft and low-resolution images, so I can’t really see much practical use out of the macro lens aside from using it a couple of times and moving on.
Luckily, you don’t have to use the macro camera to get a close-up photo of something. The main camera’s f/1.9 aperture does a great job at focusing quickly and offering a great depth of field in photos, of course, if you want to take this further you can use the built-in portrait mode. Portrait mode is supported by both the selfie and rear-facing camera for photos and video and works well at isolating a subject from the background and, when using the rear camera, the depth sensor greatly aids in providing a good and clean separation between the two. For selfies, the portrait mode is a little softer around the edges as it is using AI versus a sensor and can therefore struggle with glasses frames and hair although it still provides a decent result.
One big issue I’ve run into is with portrait mode selfies, for the majority of my tests the camera app has failed to record the image and leaves me with a blank green image file – this is not good at all and definitely needs addressing by Realme with a software fix – I haven’t experienced this issue whilst using portrait mode with the rear camera. If you own a Realme 8 Pro, I’d recommend avoiding portrait mode selfies for now, as you have no indication that the image hasn’t been recorded until it’s too late.
Aside from the portrait mode bug, the selfie camera works well at capturing selfies with a good amount of detail. The selfie camera also supports HDR so it offers a surprisingly good dynamic range for a selfie camera, providing a well-exposed selfie photo.
When it comes to filming videos on the Realme 8 Pro, the device can film 4K at 30fps and 1080p at 30/60/120/480fps and, if you want to really slow things down, 720p at 960fps. It is worth noting that you can’t use the ultrawide lens at 4K resolution or at 60fps. One thing that I was very impressed by with the camera app is the ultra-steady mode for video which provides incredibly stable image stabilisation for video. Surprisingly, this feature isn’t on by default when filming video, so I’d highly recommend turning it on as it does make a great and worthwhile difference.
Within the camera app, there are a range of different modes and features that you can make use of to take photos and record videos. I like how there is a “Pro” mode that gives you full manual control over most of the aspects of the camera, so if you want to get arty with the camera, you can do so.
The Realme 8 Pro features a 4,500mAh battery that supports 50W fast charging, allowing you to quickly top up the charge on your phone so you can keep using it. When making use of the 50W fast-charging capability, you can charge the device up to 50% in just under 20 minutes and all the way to 100% in less than 50 minutes, this is certainly handy in case you need to charge your phone before going out.
Additionally, I found the battery life performance of the device to be fantastic for my typical social media usage. Running a PCMark battery benchmark on the device allowed me to emulate continuous usage such as video editing, photo editing and web browsing, to name a few, and the device performed very well. The test was performed under typical conditions; Bluetooth and Wi-Fi were on, display brightness was locked to around 80% and the device was connected to a cellular network.
The phone managed to run the test for 13 hours and 5 minutes before hitting the 20% charge ending point, this result was incredibly impressive and demonstrates the exceptional battery life that this device can provide.
The Realme 8 Pro is a very compelling choice for a smartphone under £300, costing £279 at the time of this review. The device manages to do a lot of things right, providing good connectivity and a pleasant design. Of course, there are a few things I’d like to have seen be done differently but most importantly I think Realme need to address the issues that I have been experiencing with portrait mode selfies to ensure that nobody else runs into the same issues.
Overall, if you’re looking for a phone for day-to-day use such as browsing social media, listening to music and watching videos, the Realme 8 Pro is a fantastic option – especially with its fantastic and long-lasting battery life which gave me over 13 hours of screen-on time.
The Realme 8 Pro is available to purchase on Amazon.
The SummaryRealme 8 Pro
- High-resolution camera.
- Exceptional battery life.
- Headphone jack.
- Portrait mode selfies are buggy.
- No wireless charging.
- Fingerprint sensor is not great.