Realme 8 Pro review: 108-megapixel camera is all matters

 The Realme 8 Pro that recently launched the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max too, and launched for about the same price, has the 108MP camera. So, how good is this new Realme phone and should you buy it too?



highlighted

  • The 108MP of the Realme 8 Pro can click well detailed photos with true color.
  • The processor is from last year's 7 Pro, but it works as expected.
  • The Realme 8 Pro ships with Android 11 out of the box, and that's a good thing.

The Realme 8 Pro is the company's first 108-megapixel camera phone. The 108 megapixel camera on this phone is also what is bonkers for Realme. It is claiming that the Realme 8 Pro is the world's highest megapixel camera phone. It's not the only phone with a technically correct 108 megapixel camera, but the Realme 8 Pro is. The 108 megapixel camera trickled down from the premium range to under Rs 20,000 when Xiaomi launched the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max a few days back. Realme has got it's own 108-megapixel phone anyway, but it's a little late to the party if you want to buy it.



For Rs 17,999, the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max goes head-to-head with the Realme 8 Pro largely by virtue of its 108-megapixel camera. I will talk about this smartphone's camera a little later. And since we'll be moving away from the camera for a while, let's talk about what else you get on the Realme 8 Pro. Nothing special. The phone has large Snapdragon 720g processor that I have used many times before. This is an AMOLED screen without a high refresh rate. And the battery supports 50W fast charging that we have already seen. In fact, the Realme 8 Pro isn't a huge upgrade over last year's Realme 7 Pro if you drop the 108-megapixel camera. So, what's the big deal with this camera? How good is Realme 8 Pro? I have an answer.

Realme 8 Pro review: Does the 108-megapixel camera click?



I have structured this review a little differently from the previous one. That's because everything is anchored on a 108-megapixel camera. Before I tell you how good or bad this camera is, you have to understand one thing. Even though the Realme 8 Pro (and Redmi Note 10 Pro Max) has a 108-megapixel camera, you shouldn't compare it to the 108-megapixel camera on the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. This is due to differences in sensors, software processing and other elements working under the hood. Realme has used Samsung ISOCELL HM2 sensor for 108 megapixel camera. And it's slightly less powerful than the Galaxy S21 Ultra's ISOCELL HM3 sensor.




A while back the camera innovation event organized by Realme revealed the technology behind the 108-megapixel camera in the 8 Pro. Basically, this is everything Samsung has to offer on the ISOCELL HM2 sensor that it introduced last year. The only notable additions to the mix are the improved Starry Mode and Tilt-Shift Mode on the Realme 8 Pro. All this theory aside, let's now talk about the real-world performance of the 108-megapixel camera on the Realme 8 Pro.

Thanks to 9-in-1 pixel binning, the 108-megapixel camera captures a lot of detail in photos. And these details appear when you zoom in on a photo. You have to go into 108-megapixel mode to click these photos, and you can't zoom in on the scene. And it's not an issue. The picture I clicked is of dry leaves in a pile of rubble. There are many things in the photo and this is where the real test of this camera comes. When you zoom into the image, you can see fair edges of dried leaves, twigs, and other debris without washing out their colors. In addition to taking photos using the 108-megapixel mode, I used the regular mode to click photos, and the difference was dramatic. The photo clicked by the latter mode could not retain that much detail. I could also see some artifacts in the picture.




You have to keep in mind that many image processing algorithms work under the hood depending on what you see. While the 108-megapixel mode clicks photos in 16-megapixel resolution, the regular mode lets you view 12-megapixel images thanks to pixel binning technology. And even though the technology is as good as it has been claimed and brings some great photos, the quality of the photos isn't what a highly rated Galaxy S21 Ultra or an iPhone 12 Pro delivers. And I'm saying this so that you don't start comparing here.

The Tilt-Shift mode glamorised at the Realme event. It's a nice way to click a shot with blur effect and what you see in the picture is a miniature version of the same clicked one. I was very excited to use this feature because it has been available on most DSLR cameras. My enthusiasm was short-lived. The pictures I click do not make the scene look like a miniature. What you see in pictures is just a circle or a rectangle that is in focus until the rest of the scene is blurry. Realme told me that tilt-shift mode would work best when you're clicking something from a vantage point. I couldn't test that, so maybe there is a possibility this technique would work. And, yes, Tilt-Shift works with video, as well.

There are three other cameras on the phone, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, a 2-megapixel macro camera, and a 2-megapixel black-and-white camera. I found the 8-megapixel camera to be good enough for clicking landscapes or tall buildings, but the quality suffers. Even in daylight, the sensor could not determine the edges of the leaves on the tree. But this is exactly what a one-time shooting scenario can be. You will usually find yourself using this camera to click pictures of your office colleagues or family. And those pictures will be great. This camera also supports Night Mode, so you can click landscape even at night. The 108-megapixel camera also supports Night Mode, and the resulting photos are good to go on your Instagram. While they're mainly grainy, the starry mode on the phone has also improved, but I didn't find myself getting used to it much.


The 2-megapixel macro camera is average. I clicked this macro shot of budding lime fruits and was not happy with it. I wanted the macro shot to, at least, retain some of the details where the focus was. Color accuracy is also not good. Macro sensors are generally not as good as companies claim they are. They are more or less for decorative purposes on most phones. The fourth 2-megapixel black and white sensor offers some layering for portrait shots, but it's nothing but a black-and-white filter for photos. Talking about portraits in particular, I found the photos fine. For example, look at the statue of Batman. The blur behind Batman was created using Dynamic Mode, but you see poor recognition of the edges. It's not ideal.


Videography of Realme 8 Pro is normal. The phone can shoot 4K video at 30fps and 1080p video at 60fps. There's Ultrasteady mode, which, when enabled, crops the scene a bit, but ensures that your videos don't look shaky. All selfies with the 16-megapixel camera are smooth even when AI Beauty mode is turned off, and when I used Portrait mode, edge detection turned out to be poor. But these selfies are good for your Instagram.




Overall, the Realme 8 Pro is defined by the 108-megapixel camera which I really liked for the price. But you also have Redmi Note 10 Pro Max around this price. I'll talk about which is the better deal in the verdict of this review.


Realme 8 Pro Review: Solid Design, Nice Display

Reality 8 Pro is a great phone. It uses polycarbonate unibody, so the phone is going to be sturdy during your entire use. The phone is 8.1mm thick and weighs 176 grams, so it is easy to hold and maintain a grip. I didn't even have a problem while texting or messaging for a long time. And while that's all fine, I do have one complaint. Rather a major. The monstrous "Dare to Leap" branding is back again. This time on a matte finish in infinity blue. The overall finish looks fine, but, frankly, I wish Realme had scrapped this branding. I mean, there are some phones that use design to stand out, and that can be both a positive and a negative. For the Realme 8 Pro, standing out is mostly a negative.

And when you move on to the unnecessary "dare" of Realme, you have the camera island that is surrounded by four large, circular sensors. The design is similar to what we saw on the Oppo F-series phones. Maybe this phone is one of Realme's experiments for design and it will not be repeated. Design is a very subjective thing, so I'm not counting it as a bad thing as I'm not a fan of the looks of the Realme 8 Pro, some people might.




The phone has a mono speaker at the bottom and it is average. I preferred listening to music using earphones instead of speakers. The buttons also provide tactile feedback.


The Realme 8 Pro uses a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display with a 1080p panel. It's a bright and colorful display that I enjoyed reading articles and watching movies. It supports Widevine L1, which means it supports 1080p video streaming on Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime Video. There's only one lack of a higher refresh rate here, such as 90Hz or 120Hz. The recent Narzo 30 Pro has a 120Hz LCD, so there's compromise performance stuff here. Now, this is an important choice. If you're not concerned about true colors but prefer a high refresh rate, then the Realme 8 Pro might not be the one for you. Otherwise, the display of Realme 8 Pro will not disappoint you on seeing it. Another drawback is that you don't get to play games like Call of Duty Mobile at high refresh rates.


Realme 8 Pro review: Strong performance with good battery

Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G processor has been used in Realme 8 Pro. I have used this processor on many phones including last year's Realme 7 Pro. In terms of performance, the phone manages to handle multiple apps simultaneously. Multitasking on the phone is easy. Images don't take much time to be processed, while video editing using the Soloop app is also a fast affair. It is not necessary to keep using whatever is new in the phone lot and Realme is serious about this argument. Reality reuses different types of chips in different generation phones and this is not a bad thing.


The actual processor test involved gaming, so I played popular games on the Realme 8 Pro. Call of Duty plays well on a mobile phone, considering I was using the Competition Mode available in the game's space settings. I didn't notice any frame drop in the game. And while this is true for Asphalt 9: Legends, I stumbled upon a few gaps when you finish a race or use a nitro propeller to increase speed. I was playing both games at their maximum graphic settings, so taking it down a notch might improve things.




Look, the Snapdragon 720G is a decent processor, capable of handling most things for the price it asks for. But the Snapdragon 732G, which the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max uses inside, is slightly better. However, the speed you'd expect when using Instagram or WhatsApp or playing YouTube videos isn't going to make much of a difference. But the latter is a better option for gaming.

I must appreciate that the Realme 8 Pro runs on Android 11 out of the box. In my previous reviews of the Narzo 30A or the Realme X7 Pro, I had said that it is strange that Realme is not shipping the latest software on these phones. Looks like this time realme has listened to me. It's good to have new Android features. Also, Android 11 makes the phone more attractive. However, you still have bloatware.


Realme 8 Pro is also a long lasting phone. It uses a 4500mAh battery that lasts longer than a normal day. I use all kinds of internet and social media apps, play a few games, click a picture or two, and watch an hour-long episode of Marvel's Daredevil on Netflix. And when the battery finally runs out on me, the 50W fast charging helps. It can give you around 50 percent battery in around 30 minutes whereas it takes around 50 minutes to top up. However, the funny thing is that Realme is shipping a 65W charger in the box. And while that's fine, it makes fun of you because you can't use the charger's full potential - something that last year's Realme 7 Pro could do.


Realme 8 Pro review: Should you buy?

The Realme 8 Pro is an out-and-out one-trick pony. Other than the 108-megapixel cameras, that's hardly something that makes it special in the sea of ​​phones you can get at this price. And while the 108-megapixel camera - which is good overall - is that feature, the rest of the features fit perfectly into the grand scheme of things Realme is trying to pitch here. Think of it as a phone that is meant to compete with the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max. And while the Realme 8 Pro and Redmi Note 10 Pro Max are side-by-side comparison phones, everything comes at a price.


The price of Rs 17,999 is less than that of Redmi Note 10 Pro Max. In return, you are getting 120Hz Super AMOLED display in Redmi Note 10 Pro Max. And this, I believe, should be more significant than the 50W charging that the Realme 8 Pro brings in comparison to the 33W charging of the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max. For what it's worth, the Realme 8 Pro is a decent phone with decent features for Rs 17,999, but the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max seems like a better deal, even for an additional Rs 1,000.