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Realme C12 Review: Simply A Battery Monster

Realme C12 Review
8 out of 10
Design
7/10
Display
7/10
Performance
7.5/10
Battery
8.5/10
Camera
7.5/10

Only a few months after the arrival of Realme C11, which we’ve previously tested for you, the company has introduced its successor named Realme C12, which is priced at PKR 21,999 ($137). The two devices share many features, but the successor comes with some new upgrades, making it superior to the older device in many areas.

First of all, we get additional RAM in Realme C12 that might give a smooth performance. Secondly, we get an extra camera lens at the back for taking macro shots. 

Although I believe super macro lenses are nothing more than a marketing gimmick as their presence on budget devices doesn’t offer the actual performance of a true macro lens. However, we can still take some fun photographs with it.

Finally, the major update lies in the battery compartment – the company provides an additional 1000mAh battery capacity under the hood. It will most likely keep the phone powered up for longer times. 

The question remains that apart from the change in specs, do we get a boost in performance in real life as well? Let’s dive into the detailed review to find out:

Design and Display

Realme-C12-Backside

Starting with the design of Realme C12, after taking the phone out of the box, I first noticed the additional weight the phone carries as compared to the Realme C11, which can be due to extra battery mAh and camera lens. The company is known for choosing flashy colors for making its phones stand out. It did with Realme C11, Realme C3, and Realme 5i; this time, it provided a decent diamond-cut gradient design and a matte finish.

At the back, you get a square-shaped camera module featuring three lenses along with a flash and a fingerprint scanner in the middle, which doesn’t infringe on the phone’s beautiful design.

Our review unit was in Marine Blue color, but you can also opt for a Coral Red colored variant, which looks quite funky and bold while maintaining its somber demeanor. Talking about the buttons and other ports, you can find all of them at their usual place; power and volume buttons on the right, SIM tray on the left, and charging port, speaker, mic, and the headphone jack at the bottom.

The phone features 6.5 inches of IPS LCD, a 720 x 1560 pixels of screen resolution, and 270 ppi density. The dewdrop notch is relatively tiny and houses the front camera inside, but the bottom bezels are comparatively larger.

Performance

Realme C12 and C11 share a common chipset – MediaTek Helio G35 gaming chipset. It is basically an enhanced version of the MediaTek Helio P35 processor.

The 3GB RAM feels like a breath of fresh air as it can provide adequate support to the chipset for day-to-day tasks. On the downside, the 32GB internal storage is painfully smaller. It’s hardly the storage capacity we can wish for in a phone, especially for those who are into mobile gaming.

If you install PUBG and Free Fire on it, you will only be left with 14GB of space which is nowhere enough for social media apps and camera needs. Thankfully, the phone supports up to 256GB of extended memory through a microSD card.

Coming to the Antutu benchmark, Realme C12 does not show any considerable improvement over Realme C11 theoretically.

109120 Antutu score on Realme C12 isn’t much different than 105176 on C11. However, I believe the additional 1GB RAM and better phone optimization on C12 give it an edge in real-life performance. It still isn’t close to what we expected from it.

Usual lags on the smartphone don’t bother much since they are part and parcel on most entry-level smartphones.

The large screen and a gaming chipset are an ideal combination for low-budget users who want to spend most of their time playing games on their smartphones.

Talking about one of the hottest mobile games, PUBG, the app allows you to choose between “smooth” and “balanced” graphics. Personally, I recommend you play the game with the smooth graphics option on this device for a better frame rate, as longer sessions on balanced graphics lead to minor frame drops and lags, but they are not as horrific as what we faced while using Realme C11.

The most attractive feature of the phone that you will notice while gaming is the 6000mAh battery that it scarcely depletes. After one hour of playing PUBG on WiFi, we noticed the device consumes 11% of the battery, which is an excellent battery ratio.

There is a standard 10W charger out of the box, so no fast charging. It takes nearly 3.5 hours to charge its mammoth battery.

There is a standard 10W charger out of the box, so no fast charging. It takes nearly 3.5 hours to charge its mammoth battery.

Still, the charging time is better than other Vivo Y30 (3hrs 33mins), Tecno Spark 5 Pro (4hrs 24mins), and Tecno Pouvoir 4 (3hrs 56mins), etc.

If you want to see how long this battery can last and how it can perform on 4G mobile data, here it is;

Lastly, the phone comes with a facial and fingerprint scanner, and performance-wise, you will find that the fingerprint scanner and facial unlock features are also quite snappy.

Camera

Another major differentiating factor between Realme C12 and Realme C11 is that the former comes with a more capable camera onboard.

On C12, you get a 13MP primary wide-angle lens, a 2MP macro lens, and a 2MP sensor for bokeh shots at the back. There is a 5MP front shooter that resides inside a notch for selfies and looks considerably better than the 5MP lens present on Realme C11.

Realme-C12-Triple-Camera

The camera setup offers some handy features. There is a Chroma boost mode for more punchy photos, slow-mo video recording, a dedicated night mode (Nightscape mode in this case) for better looking night pictures, and 1080p video recording from both front and rear camera, etc.
Coming to the phone’s camera performance, both Realme C12 and C11 offer a 13MP primary lens, but the C12 camera quality is much better. It can take pretty decent images in daylight and captures good colors and details. The saturation is on the higher side through the standard mode that looks pretty satisfactory for social media sharing.

If you are looking for more colorful and punchy landscape images, the phone’s Chroma Boost feature will be a massive help as it enhances the color saturation and exposure levels in a photograph. I also noticed that this mode takes a little more time to internally process the image after you tap on the shutter button, so if you want to capture a moment by taking multiple shots, you will have to stick with the standard mode.

At this budget price, I liked the details captured by the smartphone’s camera in daylight most of the time and depending upon the mode and landscape; the phone can capture up to 5MB images in size, which is not too taxing on the storage.

The HDR mode, which practically annoyed us in our Realme C11 testing, performs amicably in Realme C12. As you can see in the following image, this mode can find an excellent dynamic range on brighter sunny days and can successfully balance the darker and brighter areas in the picture.

I would like you to remember that you cannot use the phone’s camera on a hot sunny day for a longer time as it is prone to heating up and shutting down, and you need to let it cool down. You should also need to get used to slight delays in switching different camera modes. Sometimes, it misses the tap, and you need to repeat it. 

So, I am trying to say that you can expect the camera app to become slower on different occasions.

Realme boasts about the night photography of C12, and just like old times, we get a dedicated night mode, which the company is calling Night Scape. The low-light photos show fewer details.

The standard mode overexposes pictures at night, whereas the nightscape tends to correct the exposure value. Still, we ended up getting darker images, fewer details, and more washed-out areas at night. 

Though the nightscape does try to minimize the lens flare problem, it fails to do justice. The night mode also increases the saturation level in the image and, thus, is not much of a help when the light is extremely low.

If you want better-looking photos at night, there is no need to panic as you can still take some good pictures with the phone’s expert mode, which performs better than the night mode in most low-light situations.

Spend some time with the ISO and shutter speed of the camera; you can take some beautiful pictures at night that show lesser noise and more details of the subject.

As you can see below, the portrait mode does an excellent job with subject mapping, and as a result, we get a nice bokeh effect in the background. But for non-human subjects, the colors and details in the image are not as good as what we have seen in the standard mode.

On the other hand, the ultra macro mode is a hit-and-miss feature as everything boils down to how much control you have to avoid the shaking of your hands. This feature can really test your patience, but you can take some good macro shots with this phone if you do some practice.

No need to repeat, this mode seems nothing more than a marketing gimmick to me.

Macro-Mode-on-Realme-C12
Macro Mode

You can also zoom up to 4x in both photos and videos, and interestingly, it can also zoom in the night mode, HDR mode, and Chroma Boost mode.

As we have shared before, you can shoot 1080p videos from both the front and rear cameras, and you can expect good details and colors in the produced videos.

The 6000mAh battery doesn’t fail you while you’re taking photos, and you can expect the phone to last for a long time. All in all, I believe Realme C12 has a decent camera setup. Although it becomes slower at certain times, it can produce some great images. 

At the same time, I am not impressed with the ultra macro mode as it is a hit or miss and the night mode needs some improvements. 

If you want to take a look at the high res (original images), you can find them here in the google drive link

Verdict

So how did Realme C12 fare in our tests? Well, I want to say that this device is an all-rounder in the entry-level phone segment. It comes with a good battery and a camera that can take great shots during the day but fails to maintain the same standard in bokeh and macro shots. The phone’s overall performance is good, but it is pretty less than what we experienced with the Samsung Galaxy A21s.

Lastly, the one feature that put me off was the limited internal storage but overall, I enjoyed using this smartphone.

Alternatives

If you are looking for a better camera and gaming performer, consider buying Realme 5i instead (PKR 25,000). It scored 163563 on the Antutu benchmark but remember that Realme C12 still has the better battery between the two. 

If you are willing to spend a lot more money, you can also opt for Xiaomi Redmi Note 8, (PKR 30,500), as its camera performance is miles ahead of Realme C12.

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