The Realme 8 Pro is a look at what’s next in midrange smartphone imaging

The Realme 8 Pro is a great and affordable Android phone that you shouldn’t buy right now, at least if you’re in the US. But it’s also a preview of the positives that will come to the mid-range class, especially in terms of camera hardware. I’ve seen the future of smartphone imaging at a price point around $400. If you’re not familiar with it, Realme is a Chinese company that started out as a sub-brand of Oppo. Like OnePlus, it was founded by the former Vice President of Oppo. Mobile phones are sold in China, India and Europe. Technically, you can buy a global version of the phone and use it in the US, but we don’t recommend it. Not compatible with many of the 4G bands we use in the state, so coverage is poor. Good Stuff High quality main camera Amazingly good 3x digital zoom 6GB RAM/Snapdragon 720G fast all-round performance due to combo. . Samsung sensor. It has the same number of pixels as the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s primary camera, but another small chip designed for budget-friendly phones. Like the S21 Ultra, the point of this technology isn’t to shoot 108 megapixel images (although it’s possible if you want). It combines information from a group of pixels to produce a more optimized 12 megapixel final image. There are other reasons to love the Realme 8 Pro. Considering the price of £279 (about $380), the performance is very good thanks to the powerful combination of the Snapdragon 720G processor and 6GB of RAM. The battery life is good, and the phone supports 50W fast wired charging. Depending on what you think of inspiring corporate branding, I guess the “DARE TO LEAP” printed on the back of the phone could be a plus (personally, it’s not mine). However, the camera impressed me the most and is a component that I will apply to more mid-range phones sold worldwide. Let’s take a closer look. The 8 Pro offers standard wide-angle and ultra-wide cameras as well as macro and depth detection modules. If you need a notification about the number of pixels the Realme 8 Pro camera main camera provides, look at the back of the phone with “108 MP QUAD CAMERA” engraved on the camera bump. Specifically, it’s Samsung’s 1/22-inch Isocell HM2 sensor combined with an f/1.9 lens. Unfortunately, there is no optical image stabilization here, but due to the image processing tricks available with this high-resolution sensor, I haven’t noticed quite a few blurry shots that OIS may have corrected. Other rear cameras include 8 megapixel ultra wide, 2 megapixel macro and 2 megapixel depth detection cameras. There is a 16 megapixel selfie camera on the front. In low light, the camera uses binning to combine pixels into nine groups. The main camera can do some interesting things. In bright daylight, 180 million pixels can all be used individually, using multiple pixels to capture the scene at multiple exposure levels at once and combine the information into a 12 megapixel final image. In low light, the camera switches objects and uses binning to combine the pixels into nine groups, effectively converting relatively small individual pixels (0.7 μm to be exact) into much larger 2.1 μm-sized pixels, resulting in a low-noise image. . Brightly lit photos look good, as expected. Impressive detail was captured, but when zoomed in to 100%, it’s clear that it’s overly sharpened. The color is too saturated for my taste. There is no lawn fertilizer out there that makes my yard look green as the 8 Pro thinks. It looks more susceptible to these oversaturations in the landscape, and thankfully it’s less aggressive in portrait mode photos. Portrait mode photos look nice and thanks to the fact that the camera is not cropped when switching to this mode. Grid View Dim Indoor lighting and low light are where cell phone cameras usually struggle, but the 8 Pro performs impressively in these conditions. Under moderate lighting, the image is incredibly detailed and almost noisy. The camera’s night mode applies a distracting amount of clarity and contrast, but reveals much more detail. Honestly, my expectations for the 8 Pro’s digital 3x zoom were low, but I’m happy to report that it’s a lot better than what I was afraid of. In good light and moderate indoor lighting, the image shows a lot of detail and it is difficult to find the unpleasant artifacts that usually appear in digital zoom images. Left: 3x digital zoom, 100% cropping. Right: 108 megapixel image, cropped at 100%. The camera is not cropped at 108 megapixel images. Compared side-by-side at 100%, a picture taken with 3x digital zoom is more detailed and less noise than cropping a 180 million pixel image. The Samsung HM2’s pixel binning feature is also being applied here, resulting in a digital zoom that is really worth the time. There isn’t much interesting news to report on about the 8 Pro’s other cameras. They do well. Ultra wide is subtle but prone to unpleasant color shifts. The white balance is too warm and the blue sky can sometimes look a little gray. The macro camera is just a gimmick, low-resolution sensor, and the selfie camera, thankfully, avoids overly smooth faces by default. It is suitable for mobile phones at this price. The 8 Pro’s processor and RAM combination is good enough for everyday tasks and scrolling. Photo by Allison Johnson / The Verge Realme 8 Pro Outside the performance and on-screen camera, the Realme 8 Pro is a full-fledged mid-range phone. The battery life is good enough to handle a normal to busy day, and the processor/RAM combo mentioned earlier handles routine app scrolling and tasks with ease. A 6.4-inch 1080p OLED with standard 60Hz refresh rate is fine, but nothing special. I had to fight auto-brightness several times, insisting on making the screen too dark. This processor/RAM combo handles everyday app scrolling and tasks with ease. There is a colorful branding on the back of the device. The Realme 8 Pro doesn’t support 5G at all, so if you live in the UK and are thinking of buying a phone, this is something to consider. But the biggest drawback is the optical display fingerprint sensor. I want to say that at least a third should try to read my finger more than once when I unwind the phone. I gave up twice (both outside in bright daylight) and had to enter my PIN instead. If this would be my phone forever, I would have skipped the fingerprint sensor and personally stick with the PIN. The Realme 8 Pro is a mid-range phone that isn’t often seen in the United States. Decent all-round specs combined with great performance and a great camera, all for under $400. The 8 Pro will soon be a sign of good camera hardware; surprisingly few phones meet this description in the state. In fact, the closest thing to that is probably the Pixel 4A. The Pixel 4A has been essentially recommending it as the cheapest Android phone since it launched last summer. The 8 Pro offers an ultra-wide rear camera and fast charging, surpassing 4A in some ways. But if it was down, we would still prefer the Pixel for its very good device support and excellent solitary rear camera. If you live in the UK and don’t care much about the specs of the best-in-class display, and you’re not inconvenient without 5G, the 8 Pro has a camera and processor that you can use for years to come. For the rest of us, the 8 Pro is a sign that good camera hardware is coming soon. Photo of Allison Johnson / The Verge

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