realme 12 Plus 5G review and price and specs via Revu Philippines

realme 12 Plus 5G review: A camera star minus the astronomical price

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

realme continues its design-driven assault on the midrange with the realme 12 Plus 5G. Its collaboration with a French watchmaker promises a touch of luxury, while aggressive pricing hints at familiar cost-cutting compromises.

In the Philippines, the phone is priced from P17,999 (around $325) for 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, while the 12GB/256GB variant costs P19,999 ($361). But if you act quick, you can purchase the base model for as low as P14,999 ($271) on the brand’s official store on Shopee, Lazada, and TikTok Shop until March 15.

realme’s bold claim? A camera system that outperforms the competition. Does this smartphone’s mix of ambition and affordability create a true standout, or is it destined to fade into a crowded market? Let’s find out!

Luxury looks

realme continues its design-focused approach with the realme 12 Plus 5G, collaborating with French watchmaker Ollivier Savéo. Like the realme 12 Pro Plus 5G, the device features a distinctive circular camera module that drew direct inspiration from luxury watch faces. Combined with a vegan leather back and a central silver accent on our unit, the result is a surprisingly sophisticated aesthetic.

The Pioneer Green colorway reviewed here is particularly appealing, offering a refreshing departure from the common color palettes within this segment. However, the glossy plastic frame does detract from the premium feel, tending to accumulate fingerprints and lacking a tactile refinement. The handset retains an impressively slim profile — only 7.87mm at its thickest point — and a lightweight feel at 190 grams, making it one of the thinnest options in its price range. The inclusion of IP54 dust and water resistance is a welcome and increasingly standard feature.

realme 12 Plus 5G review and price and specs via Revu Philippines
This realme 12 Series 5G model retains an impressively slim profile

While the design offers a premium first impression, longer handling reveals a couple of compromises. The combination of smooth surfaces and flat sides creates a less-than-ergonomic experience after extended use. Additionally, the vibration motor delivers disappointingly weak haptic feedback, a stark contrast to what its higher-end sibling offers.

The in-display fingerprint scanner, while not ideally positioned, offers consistent and reliable performance. Regarding connectivity, you’ll find a standard USB-C port on the bottom edge for charging and data transfer, along with the welcome inclusion of a 3.5mm headphone port on top. The dual speakers provide a decent, if not exceptional, stereo experience.

Overall, the realme 12 Plus 5G’s design stands out with its unique aesthetic cues and bold but complementary color choices. It offers a touch of luxury rarely seen at this price point. However, the choice of materials in certain areas and a less-than-ideal handling experience hold back an otherwise well-thought-out product.

Bright, vibrant, and great in rainy climates

Moving to the front, the 6.67-inch AMOLED display delivers a satisfying experience in most areas. Full HD+ resolution, full DCI-P3 color gamut coverage, and 120Hz refresh rate ensure a smooth and vibrant visual experience. HDR10+ support is present, and you can stream HDR content on YouTube without issues, provided your internet connection is fast enough.

The AMOLED panel delivers deep blacks with excellent contrast, contributing to crisp and clear picture quality. This is further bolstered by Widevine L1 certification, which allows users to stream high-resolution content on Netflix and other platforms.

realme 12 Plus 5G review and price and specs via Revu Philippines
We had no problems using our unit under the sun

realme’s Rainwater Smart Touch has been touted to be capable of responding to touch input with full accuracy even with a wet display. This should prove to be a valuable addition for users in rain-prone areas like Metro Manila. The realme 12 Plus 5G’s AMOLED screen has also been advertised to reach 2,000 nits of peak brightness, translating to excellent visibility outdoors. True to its claim, we had no problems using our unit under the sun.

Middling chip, surprisingly fast storage

The realme 12 Plus 5G relies on the MediaTek Dimensity 7050 — a decent midrange chipset, but hardly a powerhouse. It’s the same 6nm chip featured on the realme 11 Pro 5G and realme 11 Pro Plus 5G, paired with LPDDR4X RAM and UFS 3.1 storage. Props to realme for opting for the faster storage technology. This improves app loading considerably and even outperforms pricier smartphones on the market.

The memory and storage options are straightforward: either 8GB RAM or 12GB RAM coupled with 256GB storage. Expandability comes via a hybrid SIM slot, forcing you to choose between microSD or a second SIM.

Day-to-day performance is perfectly acceptable in this price segment. General navigation remains smooth, with no app crashes or major hiccups in typical usage scenarios. It will even handle graphically demanding titles like Diablo Immortal without noticeable frame-rate drops after extended sessions, although you might feel some increased heat under heavy load, which is expected.

realme 12 Plus 5G benchmark scores and battery life test result by Revu Philippines

The realme 12 Plus 5G includes vapor-cooling tech to help mitigate thermal issues, and we think it serves its purpose well. Our unit never throttled below 80% of its maximum performance after 20-minute runs in the CPU Throttling Test app, which is quite an achievement.

On the software front, you get realme UI 5.0 layered over Android 14. It’s relatively lightweight, although expect some preinstalled bloatware and app folders. Thankfully, most of the bloat is removable, and realme grants you plenty of customization options so you can tailor the look and feel. However, the company’s commitment to software updates lags behind the competition, promising only two years of major upgrades and three years of security patches.

Another all-day champ, like its sibling

The realme 12 Plus 5G leans on a now-standard 5,000mAh battery. That capacity translates to real-world endurance that won’t leave you panicking for a charger midday. In the PCMark battery test, our unit displayed a run time of 15 hours and 20 minutes.

Benchmark scores are solid, but everyday usage is where it counts. During testing, even with a decent blend of web browsing, social media, video streaming, and some light gaming, the device comfortably lasted through a full day.

When it comes to top-ups, the phone’s 67-watt SuperVOOC fast charging earns its name. It takes between 45 and 50 minutes to bring a nearly dead battery to 100% using the bundled charger and cable. At one time, our handset topped up from 10% to an impressive 70% in just 30 minutes. That’s the kind of speed that removes battery anxiety entirely.

realme 12 Plus 5G review and price and specs via Revu Philippines
It takes between 45 and 50 minutes to bring a nearly dead battery to full using the bundled charger and cable

Sony’s new sensor is the real deal

The realme 12 Plus 5G’s camera system is arguably its biggest strength. The latest 50-megapixel Sony LYT-600 image sensor driving the main camera stands out, delivering images with impressive detail, dynamic range, and vibrancy. This sensor punches above its weight with truly strong stills, especially in good lighting.

While color reproduction may lean slightly towards saturated over realistic colors, the overall results are well-suited for those who primarily share photos on social media. The oversaturated look isn’t for everyone, so we’re pleased to see realme finally dialing back the overly processed quality that plagued its earlier cameras.

Portrait mode is decent, too, with balanced skin-tone representation and decent edge detection considering the smartphone’s price point, although the bokeh doesn’t look convincing enough in the default setting.

Our favorite is Street mode, which is accessible by swiping left from the camera UI’s default screen. This dedicated photo mode offers adjustable focal lengths at 16mm, 26mm, and 52mm, plus several filters that apply black-and-white, retro, and cinematic effects, among others, directly to photos as you capture them.

realme 12 Plus 5G camera sample picture in review by Revu Philippines
realme 12 Plus 5G camera sample picture in review by Revu Philippines

Sample shots

As expected, the primary camera performs best in well-lit conditions, particularly at the default 12.5-megapixel resolution. While a dedicated 50-megapixel mode is available, be aware that it introduces additional noise when images are viewed on larger displays. Unless you plan on heavy cropping, it’s probably not worth the tradeoff. Digital zoom up to 2x magnification yields surprisingly usable results, not to mention, more background blur, and we highly encourage you to use it more often than the default 1x zoom.

Unfortunately, the secondary ultrawide and macro cameras are less impressive and primarily serve to expand the system’s flexibility rather than excel in their own right. Selfies from the front camera benefit from good detail and dynamic range. Video-recording capabilities are functional, with the main camera supporting 4K at 30fps and the front camera offering 1080p resolution.

Low-light performance is aided by a dedicated night mode, which effectively reduces noise at the expense of some finer detail. The results are generally acceptable for the segment.

Final thoughts

The realme 12 Plus 5G delivers a compelling mix of strengths and weaknesses within its price point. Its design collaboration with Ollivier Savéo yields a genuinely eye-catching aesthetic, while compromises in material choices and ergonomics slightly mar the overall experience.

The display is a bright spot, delivering excellent visibility and a vibrant viewing experience. And though not the absolute fastest in its class, the MediaTek Dimensity 7050 chip under the hood remains a capable performer backed by reassuring battery life and exceptionally quick charging.

The biggest highlight, however, is the primary camera, which delivers surprisingly polished images given the price. If you value design, battery life, and a capable main camera, the realme 12 Plus 5G offers a strong, if slightly quirky, option, especially if you don’t want to open up your wallet for the realme 12 Pro Plus 5G.

realme 12 Plus 5G review and price and specs via Revu Philippines
If you value design, battery life, and a capable main camera, the realme 12 Plus 5G offers a strong option

realme 12 Plus 5G specs

  • 6.67-inch FHD+ E4 AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate, 240Hz touch sampling, tempered high-strength glass
  • 6nm MediaTek Dimensity 7050 5G chipset
  • Mali-G68 MP4 GPU
  • 8GB/12GB RAM
  • 256GB storage
  • Triple 50-megapixel main, 8-megapixel ultrawide, 2-megapixel macro rear cameras
  • 16-megapixel front camera
  • Under-display fingerprint reader
  • 5,000mAh battery with 67-watt charging
  • Dual speakers
  • IP65 rating
  • realme UI 5.0 based on Android 14


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Ramon Lopez

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Reviews editor: Ramon "Monch" Lopez has 16 years of professional experience creating and editing content for print and digital publications such as Yahoo. He headed the gadgets-merchandising division of one of the Philippines’ largest retail operators somewhere in between.