Realme 8 Pro - key specs
Dimensions: 160.6 x 73.9 x 8.1mm
Screen: 6.4 inches AMOLED
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G
GPU: Adreno 618
Rear cameras: 108MP, 8MP, 2MP, 2MP
Front cameras: 16MP
Battery: 4,500 mAh
OS: Android 11 / realme UI 2.0
Let's get straight to the point of this Realme 8 Pro review: it's the perfect example of an affordable smartphone that doesn’t make big sacrifices on the camera or battery life.
A relatively new but fast-growing name in smartphone manufacturing, Realme is largely geared towards young people looking for the best cheap handset, their brand pillars ‘Young, Stylish, Real, Outstanding’ are what defines their phones. With a strong focus on photography, the Realme 8 Pro is their first smartphone with a 108MP camera, and at the time of writing is the highest megapixel camera available on a phone. Up from the 64MP on the Realme 7 Pro, it should be able to produce much finer detail.
For such a low price, there has to be a catch. In this Realme 8 Pro review, I’ll explain what that catch could be, as well as where this smartphone excelled.
Realme 8 Pro review: prices and availability
In the UK, the Realme 8 Pro is available for pre-order now. You will be able to buy it from realme.com or Amazon UK on the 31st March for £279. In Australia, the Realme 8 Pro will be coming soon. As things stand, you can’t buy Realme handsets in the US, but there have been suggestions they might take that leap in 2021.
Realme 8 Pro review: design and display
Coming in two main colourways, Infinite Blue and Infinite Black, the Realme 8 Pro has a simultaneously matte and glossy finish on the back of the phone. Despite having a slightly plastic feel to it, it does look smart. The quad-camera system is placed in a square notch in the top left corner. On the right-hand side ‘Dare to Leap’ is written vertically in large capitalised lettering, it blends in well to the casing but personally, I would have preferred it without the slogan. I’ll leave you to decide if you like that or not. For those who would rather not have it, they’ve also launched a Punk Black handset that leaves it out.
The Realme 8 Pro has a 6.4inch AMOLED display with a screen-to-body ratio of 90.8%, it stretches across almost the whole front of the phone. The 2400x1080 FHD+ resolution and 1,000 nits brightness give an air of vibrancy to the handset, though I did notice that it lacked the clarity of more expensive devices.
Incredibly lightweight, the Realme 8 Pro only weighs 176g, which alongside the slim 8.1mm thickness and matte finish makes this phone comfortable to hold without the fear of it slipping out of your hand. To unlock the display, you can opt to use the in-display fingerprint sensor, admittedly it was a little slow and often took a couple of attempts to successfully recognise my finger.
In the Realme 8 Pro box, you get a USB-C cable, 65W charging adaptor, a film screen protector, a clear protective case and the quick start guide.
Realme 8 Pro review: camera system
The Realme 8 Pro has a quad-camera system that includes a 108MP main camera with a large Samsung HM2 sensor, an 8MP ultra-wide-angle lens, a 2MP black and white portrait lens as well as a 2MP macro lens. On the front is a 16MP selfie camera, that will be convincing to anyone who wants good quality shots for social media.
You’ll easily get great point-and-shoot photos from the Realme 8 Pro. In most cases, shots looked bright and sharp. Although not quite matching the standard of high-end smartphones, it still manages to hold its own quite well. In natural light, it produced lovely, vivid colours too. However, that was on a bright day. When I tried it out on a dreary day, photos lacked oomph and it struggled to cope with darker areas. I also found the ultra-wide photos lost a lot of detail from the scene, a shame considering the standard of the main camera. Take a look at the gallery below to see some shots taken on the Realme 8 Pro.
As long as you keep a steady hand, the macro mode picks up a fair amount of intricate detail, with fine lines and true-to-life colours. I have seen better macro modes, but rarely on a handset at this price. Despite not being that sharp, it did take nice selfies, aided by the comprehensive beauty mode allowing you to tweak individual settings like face size and skin smoothness.
Other camera modes included are the Starry mode which takes 16 photos every 15s over the space of 4mins, the algorithm then combines them into a final picture. To be honest, there’s rarely going to be a time when you would actually use that, or have the patience to wait 4 minutes but it’s a nice feature to try out once or twice. There’s also a Tilt-Shift mode, giving objects a miniature effect, as well as a Nightscape mode brightening up the image when it’s dark.
You can film video in resolutions up to 1080P at 30fps, there are also a few handy video modes like Ultra Nightscape video, time-lapse, tilt-shift video and starry time-lapse too.
Realme 8 Pro review: performance and battery
Powering the Realme 8 Pro is a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G chip and an Adreno 618 GPU, with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage with a MicroSD card slot to expand it.
On Geekbench 5, it scored 569 in single-core and 1,691 in multi-core, similar scores to the OnePlus Nord or TCL 10 5G. At the beginning of this Realme 8 Pro review, I mentioned there might be a catch and this is it. Performance is clearly an area the company has saved some cash on. In use, you could feel it was slower than other handsets, there was sometimes a slight delay in opening apps and it was clearly struggling to cope with more demanding games like Call of Duty: Mobile. Unfortunately, you do get what you pay for when it comes to speed. There’s no 5G capability on the Realme 8 Pro and it hasn’t managed to fit in Wifi 6 either, so you won’t get top tier web browsing, likely another area that helps keep the price so low.
Thanks to the 4,500mAh battery, the Realme 8 Pro has a remarkably long-lasting battery life, even in comparison to expensive flagships. Over two hours of video on full brightness, it only dropped by 10 per cent, so would last an impressive 20 hours of video all-in-all. The 50W SuperDart Charge means you can go from empty to 100% in less than an hour, in just 47 minutes to be precise. It does lack extra fancy features like wireless charging or reverse charging, but you can’t expect those at this price anyway.
The Realme 8 Pro uses Realme UI 2.0 which is based on Android 11. Nothing is going to feel as nice to use as pure Android, but it is simple and user friendly. And Google apps are pre-installed which saves a lot of time.
Realme 8 Pro review: verdict and price
For £279, the Realme 8 Pro is jammed packed with impressive specs like the 108MP camera, bright display, large 4,500mAh battery and a decent amount of storage. It was inevitable that the phone would have to fall down in a couple of areas for the price to make sense, and it did. It didn’t quite hit the mark when it came to speed and the clarity of the display. But having said that, for this price I was impressed with almost everything else.
To summarise this Realme 8 Pro review, you'll be hard pushed to find a better phone with excellent battery life and a decent camera for less than £300. You can get slightly better budget handsets but they are likely to cost you a little more, like the Google Pixel 4a which will set you back around £349. So if you are on a tight budget and willing to sacrifice on a couple of areas, this is a top choice.
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