realme 8 Pro Review: A Smartphone Beast For Mobile Photography
From the launch of realme 7 series late last year, now realme Philippines stepped up on another milestone as they officially released their newest mid-range smartphone line-up in the country, the realme 8 Series, which will make mobile photography more enjoyable.
In recent years, the mid-range smartphone segment has been booming. Smarthone devices under this category also offer some premium features just like other high-end smartphones. In realme 8 Pro, it highlights a whopping 108 MP camera which we usually see on high-end smartphones. But how does it fare as an all-around smartphone? Is it worth buying?
In this blog, I will share with you my full review on the newest realme 8 Pro, based on my usage of its features for the past few weeks. I hope I can help you know more about this newest smartphone from realme just in case you are planning to make an upgrade or thinking of buying one.
The realme 8 Pro comes in its signature minimalist-designed striking yellow box with brand/product name in front and sides, realme “R” logo on top, and specs highlights at the back together with other product details like serial number, IMEI, etc.
WHAT’S IN THE BOX?
- realme 8 Pro unit
- USB Type-C Cable
- <65W Charge Adapter
- Screen Protect Film(already pre-installed)
- Protective Silicone Case
- Important Prouct Information/ Warranty Card
Watch my unboxing video here.
BUILD, DESIGN, AND DISPLAY
The realme 8 Pro is quite lightweight with only 176g total weight, which makes it more easier to carry. It also has a slim built at 8.1mm which feels good and does not feel bulky in the hand. The round edges can also give you a better grip. I like that it is not too big and not too small that you can use it comfortably even by using just one hand.
The Realme 8 Pro is available in 2 color variants here in PH, the infinite black and infinite blue. To some countries illuminating yellow and punk black are available. I’ve got the 8/128 GB version in infinite black. The black-grey gradient looks really nice. The matte plastic sandblasted texture back panel design resulted from the AG–Crystal Process can truly catch your eyes on first look. Plus it is not fingerprint magnet. I must say, even though the 8 Pro’s back and sides were built in plastic, it does not look cheap or low standard.
realme is known for their edgy, infinite and bold designs on smartphones, and the 8 Pro is not an exemption to that. Flaunting the glossy brand slogan all in capital letters, “DARE TO LEAP”, which also gleams when light hits it is something you cannot ignore.
Some may not like this design, would find it too big and flashy, or would prefer a no slogan and clean back panel. But even big signature brands like Gucci, Dior, and more flaunt their brand logos and personalized slogans on their products. A smartphone is no different.
If you find it really odd, this can be fixed by using a smartphone case. Personally, I like the design, and I really don’t mind that it is big and flashy. Actually I want to flaunt it more. And as long as the phone itself is functioning properly and efficiently, the design wouldn’t be a big deal.
Going back, on the top left of the back panel houses the quad camera module with LED flash and 108 MP quad camera text which I find premium looking. Not bad for a mid-range smartphone right?(will discuss the rear camera in a while as you read further).
On the left side, you’ll see the 3-card slots for two SIM cards and one SD card (expandable up to 256GB)., then there’s a noise-canceling microphone on top. The phone receiver is quite unnoticeable on the top-mid grid.
On the right side, you’ll see the volume rocker and power button. Honestly, these button placements are quite confusing for me. I always accidentally press on the power button instead of the volume down button causing the phone to lock, interrupting me of what I’m doing on the phone. I like the usual separated counter side placements, where volume rocker is placed on the left side and power button on the right. But maybe I just need to get used to it.
At the bottom, there’s the usual USB-C port, 3.5mm audio jack and speaker grille. It would be nice if realme retained the stereo speaker, though the 8 Pro’s mono speaker still did a fine job and releases pretty decent and audible sound quality since it passed the high-res audio certification. If you think it is not enough, you can always connect it to a bluetooth speaker, or in my case I have my realme Buds Air 2 Neo for a much better sound quality output.
The punch-hole for the 16MP selfie camera is placed on the top left corner, small enough for its users not be be distracted when watching movies, playing games or just browsing the phone. The front panel has 6.4-inch (16.3cm) Super AMOLED screen with FULL HD+ resolution, which is visually satisfying. It displays nice vibrant colors and crisp picture quality which enhances the visual experience.
The display functions at 60Hz refresh rate with a sampling rate of up to 180Hz. To give you a clearer perspective on the difference between Touch Sampling Rate and Refresh Rate, here it is.
- Touch Sampling Rate is a frequency of a screen to register a touch by the user. It means that how many numbers of times in a second the screen will look for touch input. It is measured in Hz like 60Hz, 90Hz.(Source: https://c.realme.com/in/)
- Screen Refresh Rate of any display, be it onsmartphone, TV, Laptops, etc. is nothing but a count of their content refreshing in one second. It means that the number of times the pixels of the display refreshes in each second or in other words ‘How quickly the display updates itself’. For example, refresh rate like 60Hz means that the display refreshes itself 60 times in a second, 120Hz means that it would be refreshed 120 times in a second. (Source: https://c.realme.com/in/)
The realme 8 Pro also includes sunlight mode of up to 1000nits to ensure the screen is still visible even under harsh sunlight conditions(Full-brightness setting). The display also supports DC-like Dimming function and Eye Protection Mode which effectively reduces eye fatigue.
realme 8 Pro is also equipped with an optical in-display fingerprint sensor which you can use to unlock your phone, and confirm in-app purchases, app lock, and Private safe. This is a very nice feature, offering a more interactive and efficient experience. It is pretty fast and most of the time one attempt is enough to unlock. Although there were also times that I have to make few attempts before it could recognize my registered fingerprint. And when I reached the maximum attempts, I had to enter my PIN instead.
So I suggest, if you are comfortable using face ID or PIN to unlock your 8 Pro phone, you may do so. If you still prefer the fingerprint sensor, better make sure that your screen is clear from smudges, your finger clean from grime, and use enough pressure when you place your finger on the sensor.
Face ID is a total breeze when used to unlock the phone. Though I observed that it just needs my eyes open to unlock and not my whole face(i’m wearing face mask while doing it). It is actually quite an advantage especially in this time of pandemic, where I wear mask most of the time. Now I don’t need to remove my face mask just to unlock my phone. Less risk of getting the deadly COVID-19 virus.
8 Pro is the first out of the box realme phone running on Android 11 and Realme UI 2.0. The default theme is pretty good already in terms of aesthetic. But what I like about realme’s own UI is that I can customize the display and choose over 100+ Customization Options, according to my liking from system colors, themes, wallpapers, fonts and display size, fingerprint style, icon styles. etc.
Always-on Display (AOD) or the Screen Off display feature is also available for users to set for their lock screen. While the screen is off, it displays the fingerprint sensor(if it is set on), clock, date, notifications icons, and the battery percentage.
realme 8 Pro, a smartphone beast for mobile photography, the title speaks for itself and i’m not kidding. As a normal user, I’m actually impressed on the camera capabilities of this phone, may it be front camera or rear camera. From realme 7 Pro’s 64MP rear camera, realme really made a big leap this time on the 8 Pro when it comes to its camera features, specifically, its rear camera with a whopping 108MP – the first in the brand.
The realme 8 Pro is equipped with a rear quad-camera set up which consist of 108MP Samsung ISOCELL HM2 primary sensor with f/1.9 aperture, an 8MP ultra-wide-angle lens, and 2MP sensor for bokeh and macro photography. For its price range, this smartphone is packed with different camera features that users can take advantage of to bring their smartphone photography skills to the next level. Check out the sample photos of the 108MP rear camera below:
Click photo for full view. To see photo samples in full resolution photos, click here.
realme 8 Pro rear camera’s dedicated 108MP shooting mode can really produce good quality photos. If you would notice, the color saturation, reproduction and texture are on point. For a detailed eye, one would see that sharpness details is a bit higher and would see minimal noise in bright colored objects, but not that much of a big deal. If you will look at it on the phone screen, the overall photo quality still looks great. Photos using the 108MP mode has a maximum resolution of 12000×9000, so expect a bigger file size on each photo. Switching focus between subject and background is pretty fast as well on the 8 Pro.
When shooting a photo subject, you can use different frame size from 1:1. 4:3, 16:9, and Full screen. And since realme 8 pro has a 119° ultra wide-angle lens(f/2.25 aperture, 8MP resolution), users don’t need to lean back to capture the perfect shot of landscapes, architecture, and large groups.
I actually took a photo of both the 12MP primary camera and 108MP mode to see if the photo quality will be a whole lot different. On screen, it’s almost the same, not until I zoom in each photo. Compared to the default photo sample, the one I took with the 108MP has more details and texture. Click photo for full view. To see actual high resolution image for better comparison, click here.
Click photo for full view. To see actual high resolution image for better comparison, click here.
While using the 108MP mode, you can actually turn on the AI Scene Recognition for a much vivid and clearer photo output. I find it quite over saturated, but I can always tone it down a bit by editing it, or applying filters. If you want a more color-enhanced photo this feature will help you achieve it. AI Scene Recognition is also available on 8 Pro’s default camera.
To see actual high resolution image for better comparison, click here
3X In-Sensor Zoom. It uses only those 12MP of the 108MP that are enlarged to generate the image. Compared with the ordinary crop algorithm, it has smaller imaging size and faster imaging speed. With the Clarity Enhancement Algorithm, 8 pictures can be quickly shot each time, and then be synthesized and output to further improve the sharpness. 8 Pro’s zoom technology can go up to 20x digital zoom but I wouldn’t recomment going that far as pictures get hideously noisy. In my observation, Pictures taken up to 5x zoom are still of acceptable quality.
Portrait mode. One of the camera features that I love in this smartphone. It has few interesting filters like Dynamic Bokeh which gives you a motion blur effect for backdrop, AI color portrait that has colored subject but monochrome background effect, Neon Portrait which allows background to have a neon-like, “dreamy” effect, and lastly, the new AI Portrait which can take natural-looking and vivid portrait shots without using any special modes.
For high-res photo sample click here
realme 8 Pro’s rear camera is not just good in well-lit environment, it can also take decent images even in low-light using the Night Mode(inbuilt Super Nightscape Mode). From almost pitch black to visible details of an image. realme 8 Pro’s powerful camera can do it. Thanks to these three technologies… the ISOCELL Plus, Smart-ISO and 9-in-1 Pixel Binning which greatly improve the image quality even on dim environment. Not only that, the AI image noise reduction and automatic dead pixel removal also makes the nightscape picture bright and pure. It may not be the same photo quality just like in medium to well-lighted environment, but it serves its purpose in capturing images in the dark and at night time. If you want more control, you can switch to ‘Pro’ mode which lets you tweak ISO, shutter speed, white balance, focus, etc. depending on your preference.
One of the unique camera features of realme 8 Pro that will surely challenge the mobile photography creativity of its users is the Tilt Shift Mode, where it can turn the real world into a miniature world. I like that I can manually adjust the shape, angle, position, and size of blur effect. Aside from that, I can select and customize blurry effects((circular and straight) to suit the scene. Tilt-shift Mode also supports shooting time-lapse videos with 10x playback.
Tip: In shooting Titlt-shift mode in Timelapse, I suggest you use a tripod for a more stable video.
Another rear camera feature that I would love to highlight is the Starry Mode, in this mode, realme optimized the imaging process by separating the starry brightening step from the algorithm and processed by ISP(Image Signal Processor) in the SoC(System-on-a-Chip or brain of your smartphone), for better brightening effect and noise reduction. I’m really amazed with the technology behind this. Even if there’s not enough light to capture a clear image of the starlit skies, realme 8 Pro can manage to at least produce a decent starry picturesque.
Tip: You will be needing a tripod for this mode as well.
You can also take time-lapse video with the Starry Mode. And it is said to be the world’s and Philippine’s first kind of feature on a smartphone. Cool right? You can set your time from 60 mins. up to 240mins. How does it work? The Starry mode takes 16 individual photos every 15s for 4mins, and then the algorithm combines them into a final picture. The phone will take starry photos at the same 15s interval, but will only keep the last 15 photos to compose a starry picture, and finally combine these photos into a time-lapse video at a speed of 30fps.
Just a tip. if you want to really see longer star movements , better choose the 240 time set.
You’ll never get bored with realme 8 Pro’s rear camera because there are more camera features to enjoy like Slo-mo, Text scanner, AI Mixed Portrait, Ultra Macro, Panorama, Dual-view video, Expert mode, and Movie.
Up next is the 16MP Selfie Camera. As for the photo quality, contrast, colors, dynamic are all good and acceptable. You would notice some noises on the photo subject especially when zoomed in, but overall it is still a nice photo.
(Click photos for full view)
There’s also a feature where you can adjust the bokeh effect(yellow circle in the upper left corner of the camera view panel) depending on your preference. You can totally blur your background or make it just subtle. Beautification is still a feature just like in any realme smartphones. Filters are also available just in case you want to add up some visual impact to your selfies.
(Click photos for full view)
As for the 16MP portrait selfies, photo outputs are as detailed as the regular selfies especially when taken in good lighting condition. It has nice depth of field, blur effect, and colors. Check out my portrait selfies above. I used the 10-sec timer, 2 softboxes for lighting and a background fabric. “Sariling-sikap shots” indeed.
The front camera also supports other features like Super Nightscape, Time-lapse, Slo-mo, Panorama, Dual Video, and AI Mixed Portrait.
PERFORMANCE AND GAMING
In terms of realme 8 Pro’s processor, the 8 Pro has Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G chipset, same to its predecessor which is the Realme 7 Pro. The said processor is made using an advanced 8nm process, making it more powerful and efficient. It is also equipped with Kryo 465 CPU with two high-performance Cortex-A76 cores at up to 2.3GHz and six high-efficiency Cortex-A55 cores at up to 1.8GHz, along with new Adreno 618 GPU, which is same as Snapdragon 730G. Compare to last generation, Snapdragon 720G has 10% improvement in CPU performance, 75% improvement in GPU performance and display.
So I tested how this phone would perform in gaming. Apart from playing games such as Plants vs. Zombies, Zombie Tsunami and Match 3D, I tried a much more graphic intensive games like Mobile Legends Bang Bang(MLBB) and Call of Duty(COD). The 8 Pro can handle it well and ran smoothly without any lag and jitters, even on high graphic settings. It heats up quite a bit but that’s pretty much expected when playing these type of mobile games. It doesn’t support Ultra Graphics yet though on ML. Multi-tasking is not a problem as well, for I was able to go app-to-app with ease. In short, this smartphone was very efficient.
Realme 8 Pro is available in 8GB RAM + 128GB storage here in the Philippines. The 6GB RAM with 128GB is only available in other countries.
It’s nice to know that realme 8 Pro has this Game focus mode. I super love this feature. When turned on, no more notification pop-up, alarms, call alerts etc. while your in-game. How’s that for uninterrupted gaming experience. You can turn it off anytime.
BATTERY AND CHARGING
Powered by a 4,500 mAh battery, this phone could last about a day with basic usage such as browsing through social media and the internet, taking photos, and watching videos from time to time. With heavy and continuous usage, expect the battery to last a little bit less than half a day especially when you are playing graphic-intensive games in max settings, full screen brightness, and other mobile tasks that will significantly drain your battery.
Let’s not worry about battery drain because realme 8 Pro has a 50W SuperDart charging support that can juice up your phone in a short period of time. Just look at the photo above. I started charging at 3:25PM at 5%, 11 minutes after it went up already at 30%. The charging finishes at 4:17PM which is 8 minutes shy of an hour. That was pretty fast and impressive. 8 Pro doesn’t support wireless charging, but it’s not a big miss for its pricepoint.
The 8 Pro also comes with an Optimized Night Charging Feature, which slows down the charging speed at night. This is beneficial just in case you forgot to pull the charger off your phone before you sleep. This saves the battery from wear by way of overcharging and excessive rapid charging.
To optimize your battery usage you may look into these battery features:
- Super Power Saving Mode / Power Saving Mode
- Sleep Standby Optimization
- App Quick Freeze
- Night Charge Guardian
- Screen Battery Optimization
realme 8 Pro in 8GB + 128GB storage variant is priced at Php 16,990. Here’s a tipid tip if you are planning to buy one. Get it on Lazada Flash Sale starting May 12 at 12 midnight and avail of the Php 1,000 worth of discount. Don’t miss this chance to capture infinite creativity with realme 8 Pro.
Is it worth buying? Yes, especially if you are into mobile photography. The Realme 8 Pro is something you could consider as it offer several good features. Like the camera which offers Starry Mode, Night Mode, the AI Portrait, and Tilt-Shift mode that will surely pump up the mobile photography ideas of its users out of the box. That 108MP camera sensor can really produce superb quality photos that does not require editing. You can confidently post them as is in your social media. Even the selfie camera is so lit that its Portrait mode could pass as studio quality at a glance. Video quality is good too since it has stabilization already. Gaming experience is also a breeze in this phone that even on high settings it does not jitter and lag. Adding to that is the fast charging capability, which is very suitable for busy, on-the-go people, and music and movie junkies. .
realme 8 Pro Full Specifications:
Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 720G
CPU：8nm, Octa-core, Up to 2.3GHz
AIE：5th Generation Qualcomm AI Engine
Storage and RAM
ROM：128GB UFS 2.1
6.4” Super AMOLED Fullscreen
Peak brightness: 1000 nits
Touch Sampling Rate: 180Hz
50W SuperDart Charge
Includes an 65W charger & cable
USB Type-C port
108MP Primary Camera
1/1.52″ sensor size
8MP Ultra Wide-angle Lens
2MP Macro Lens
1.5 inches shooting distance
2MP B&W Lens
Starry Mode , Tilt-shift, Dynamic Bokeh, Neon Portrait, AI Color Portrait, Ultra 108MP Mode, Super Nightscape, Panoramic view, Expert, Portrait Mode, HDR, Ultra wide, Ultra macro, AI Scene Recognition, AI Beauty, Filter, Chroma Boost, Bokeh Effect Control, Text Scanner
Support Starry Time-lapse Video
Support Tilt-shift Time-lapse Video
Support Dual-view Video
Support Ultra Nightscape Video
Support UIS Video Stabilization
Support UIS Max Video Stabilization
Support 4K/30fps video recording
Support 1080P/60fps video recording
Support 1080P/30fps video recording
Support 720P/60fps video recording
Support 720P/30fps video recording
Support 1080p/120fps slow motion
Support 1080p/480fps slow motion
Support 720p/960fps slow motion
Support 720p/240fps slow motion
*The Starry Mode, Starry Time-lapse Video, 1080p/480fps, 720p/960fps and 720p/240fps slow motion features require a subsequent OTA update to be available.
16MP In-display Selfie
Sony IMX471 Sensor
Portrait Mode, Panoramic view, AI Beauty Mode, HDR, Face-Recognition, Filters, Super Nightscape, Bokeh Effect Control
Support 1080P/30fps video recording
Support 720P/30fps video recording
Support 1080p/120fps slow motion
Support 720p/120fps slow motion
Cellular and Wireless
2 SIM Slot + 1 MicroSD Slot
Double mic noise suppression
Size & Weight
Ultra-fast in-display fingerprint sensor
Magnetic induction sensor
realme UI 2.0
Based on Android 11