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The Realme 8 Pro's 108MP camera and fast charging could easily belong to a pricier phone, but how do the rest of the features measure up?
A compelling Android phone with a strong primary camera, all for less than £300.
Many people who are yet to hear about Realme will buy a Realme phone this year. It uses one of the best techniques for finding fans: make cheap phones brimming with features, like the Realme 8 Pro.
It retails for £279 but has some tech that sounds like it belongs on something at least twice the cost. A 108-megapixel camera, a 4-camera array on the back and a Full HD OLED screen make the Realme 8 Pro immediately seem a good deal.
Don’t get transfixed by the specs, though. The Realme 8 Pro is a good deal, but not magic in phone form.
Great strengths include one of the better primary cameras you can get for the money, a screen that still looks clear outdoors, good battery life, very fast charging and a not-too-big frame.
Weaker parts include the all-plastic build, a slightly thin speaker, and a rear design that might make some wince. The Realme 8 Pro is not a 5G phone either, which those who only buy a phone every handful of years should consider.
Want a relatively affordable phone with a decent camera? The Realme 8 Pro is a good buy. It takes solid photos, the battery lasts the best part of two days for light users, and the screen is bright and bold. Tech heads might want to switch to the similarly-priced Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro instead. It has a larger screen, a glass back and a much less eyebrow-raising design.
Price: £279 (RRP). Available on Amazon from £258.
The Realme 8 Pro is an affordable mid-range Android phone. It has an ultra-high-resolution 108MP camera and fast 50W charging. Relatively low weight and a compact footprint make this phone a little easier to handle than an alternative like the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro.
The Realme 8 Pro is available to buy at Amazon for
Almost every Realme phone offers good value for your money, and the Realme 8 Pro is no different. Its 108MP camera and fast charging could easily belong to a more expensive phone. It does not have 5G, a high refresh rate display, a glass back or metal sides. All are available in phones under £300, so make sure the Realme 8 Pro’s fairly compact frame and quick charging would sit high on your priority list.
The Realme 8 Pro’s feature list is quite a roll-call. It has lots of storage, 128GB, plenty of RAM and one of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon “G” series processors, made for gaming. Realme is out to prove its phones are good value.
However, the longer you spend with the phone, the more you realise the Realme 8 Pro’s priorities are actually quite focused. It’s probably more useful to look at the parts that don’t get quite as much attention, in case they should push you towards another phone.
The Realme 8 Pro does not have 5G mobile internet, a feature you can already get at under £300. Its speaker is not the best around, as it uses a single mono driver and does not have the beefiest sound. And the screen has a standard 60Hz refresh rate, not the 90Hz or 120Hz already available around the price. This leads to less smooth scrolling, although top iPhones still use 60Hz, so it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker for many.
Realme deliberately uses a slightly smaller screen here, too, 6.4in, intended to make the Realme 8 Pro slightly easier to handle than some others. It’s lighter than plenty, too, at 176g.
Want a massive, loud, 5G phone? The Realme 8 Pro isn’t for you.
It does have a bright and bold OLED display, a headphone jack and a solid — if not quite class-leading — performance.
The in-screen fingerprint scanner is the one part that seems a mistake rather than a choice. The Realme 8 Pro’s finger scanner is a little slow and unreliable, most likely because it could only fit less capable hardware in at under £300. Most phones in this class have side or rear fingerprint scanners, which are less trendy but cheaper to implement.
The Realme 8 Pro has a 4500mAh battery. These days such a capacity is no longer a guarantee of stellar battery life, but the phone’s staying power is above average.
Use the Realme 8 Pro a good amount for audio streaming, constant WhatsApp checks and some online shopping, and you can still expect to have a solid 30% or more by the end of the day.
Light users may be able to go two days before needing to recharge the Realme 8 Pro. It outlasts plenty of phones that cost around £1000, which is a fairly common benefit of models in this £200-300 class.
Charging speed is what makes the Realme 8 Pro stand out even more clearly, though. It has 50W charging, around three times the pace of the top iPhones.
A 10-minute charge can add 25% or more to the battery when topping up for a night out. And most of the time, you shouldn’t even need these little ‘peace of mind’ top-ups.
Realme includes the fast charger, too, at a time when phone makers are starting to sell phones without an adapter in the box at all.
The Realme 8 Pro camera is both better than you might guess and worse than it looks. At the same time.
It has a very capable 108MP main camera that shoots nice photos with bold colour and contrast. In many conditions, you could mistake them for those of a much more expensive mobile.
The Realme 8 Pro even captures solid photos at 3x zoom, which is a surprise given the phone does not actually have a zoom lens.
Much of the camera strength is in this central 108MP camera. It seems to have sucked up much of the budget, as the other three rear cameras are significantly weaker.
The 8MP ultra-wide is handy for shots of looming buildings or sprawling landscapes, but the image quality isn’t nearly as good as that of the main camera.
Your two other cameras are used for close-up macro photos and depth mapping for the background-blurring Portrait mode. They have low-quality 2MP sensors and seem to be here as much to make the camera housing look advanced, on paper and in person, as for any photographic benefit.
Thankfully the 16MP selfie camera is much better and can capture a decent amount of fine facial detail even in lower light as it uses pixel binning. This is where pixels are merged to reduce image noise.
The Realme 8 Pro is as easy to set up as any other Android phone. You’re given the option to migrate data from an old Android on start-up, and aside from re-downloading your apps, it should only take a few minutes.
A few years ago, phones from Chinese manufacturers like Realme used to benefit from a bunch of manual software tweaks to make them more palatable to us westerners. But that doesn’t apply anymore. The Realme 8 Pro’s defaults are all fine.
Not all of you will like the Realme 8 Pro’s hardware design. It’s relatively light and of a manageable size, but Realme has stamped its attention-grabbing “dare to leap” slogan on the back.
It’s all a bit unnecessary, an attempt to make sure you won’t mistake a Realme phone for anything else.
The build is not quite as glamorous as it may appear online, either. The Realme 8 Pro’s back is dressed up to look like frosted glass but is plastic. Its aluminium-looking sides are plastic too.
Plastic may not shatter like glass, but it will dent and scuff more easily. A few Realme 8 Pro rivals, like the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro and Realme X50 5G, have glass backs if you like a cooler, harder feel to your phone.
The Realme 8 Pro is no wallflower Android phone. Its brash finish will turn some off. However, it is not just for tech fans who like to show off their gadgets. The phone is smaller and lighter than plenty in its class yet still lasts a good while between charges. And those recharge sessions barely take any time at all. Add a very capable 108MP main camera, and you have a compelling, if not perfect, Android phone for those who don’t want to pay £500 or more.
Overall rating: 3.8/5
For more of the latest news, release date pages and reviews, head over to the Technology section. Not sure what smartphone to buy? Read our reviews of the Moto G 5G Plus, Google Pixel 4a 5G and Oppo Find X3 Lite 5G.