While the pandemic slowed down the pace of industries and markets all over the world, realme, one of the youngest and fastest-growing tech brands in the market today was quick to pick up where they left as soon as safety protocols allowed them to. August was a busy month with numerous events that comprised its month-long fanfest that included several collaborations and the launch of the C15, C12, and the realme Buds Classic.
realme Philippines sent us a demo unit of the C12 in the vibrant Coral Red colorway to try out. Here's what we thought.
What's in the box
- C12 Smartphone
- Charger (5V, 2A)
- Micro-USB cable
- Quick start guide
- SIM ejector
- Android 10 with realme UI 1.0
- MediaTek Helio G35 (12 nm)
- Octa-core (4x2.3 GHz Cortex-A53 & 4x1.8 GHz Cortex-A53)
- PowerVR GE8320
- IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
- 6.5 inches HD+ Mini-drop fullscreen (83.1% screen-to-body ratio)
- 720 x 1560 pixels, 19.5:9 aspect ratio
- Corning Gorilla Glass
- Body is 164.5 x 75.9 x 9.8 mm
- Weight 209 g
- Triple slot: two dedicated nano-SIM (dual standby) + 1 dedicated microSDXC
- 3GB LPDDR4X RAM
- 32 GB Storage expandable to 256GB via MicroSD
- Rear camera: 13 MP, f/2.2, (wide), with Phase Detection Auto-Focus (PDAF); 2 MP B/W, f/2.4; 2 MP Macro lens, f/2.4
- LED flash, HDR, panorama
- Front camera: 5 MP, f/2.0 (wide)
- HDR, panorama
- Supports 1080p@30fps video
- Supports 720p/30fps slow motion
- FDD-LTE: B1/3/5/7/8/20/28; TD-LTE: B38/40/41(2535-2655MHz); WCDMA: B1/5/8; GSM: 850/900/1800/1900
- Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, hotspot
- Blue Tooth 5.0,
- GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
- FM Radio
- microUSB 2.0, USB On-The-Go
- Face unlock and fingerprint sensor with (rear-mounted); a Proximity sensor; Magnetic induction sensor; Accelerometer
- non-removable Li-Po 6000 mAh, with reverse charging
The realme C12 ships in the now recognizable yellow box. It has a clean design with buttons and even the fingertip sensor in body color instead of the chrome finish that is quite common.
With the screen off, you really can't tell what make or model it is, until you flip it over and see its back panel with the new geometric gradient design and the realme branding.
The new backplate design is something realme likes to highlight because of the German technology used to achieve the look and anti-fingerprint texture. The camera array is located on the upper left quadrant, and the body-color fingerprint scanner is in the top center.
The top and left of the screen is clean, save for the SIM tray that holds two nano-SIMs and a micro-SD. On the right is the business side with the volume toggle and power buttons, while the bottom holds the headphone jack, built-in microphone, micro-USB port, and speakers.
At 209 grams, the phone can't be classified as light, but its heft adds to the overall solid feel of the phone.
The C12 has a 6,000mAh battery. With how much time we spend on our mobile phones these days, bigger battery capacity is always a welcome feature. It also supports OTG reverse charging in case other devices need charging on the fly.
Similar to the C11 and C15, the C12 is equipped with a Helio G35 processor that provides notable performance for its price point for all-around use and multi-tasking. For the C12, it paired with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage.
The C12's 13MP AI triple-camera takes clear shots and can capture even the smallest of details in favorable conditions. Its f/2.2 aperture enables the camera to take in more light, which is conducive for low-lit subjects. The second camera is the B&W camera that helps with capturing depth and provides additional effects for portrait shots. The third camera has a Macro Lens with a 4CM super-close focus distance that enables shooting small subjects and capturing more details. The front-facing camera shoots 5MP for social media-worthy selfies.
Straight out of the box, the unit still had about 50% of juice from its factory charge. From that initial charge, I was able to set the phone up, watch some shows, take and edit photos, and spend time browsing social media and didn't have to charge it until the following evening. It ships with Android 10 with realme UI 1.0 and setting up as well as updating was fast and intuitive.
For an entry-level phone, the camera takes great photos -- in even less-than-perfect conditions. Because the camera takes a bit of time to focus and has an almost 2-second lag in between clicks, shots need to be more purposeful. The lag, however, won't stop you from taking great portraits with the bokeh effect it produces seamlessly.
For those whose daily driver isn't a phone with a full-face screen, using one takes a bit getting used to because of the extra real estate. Since everyone is now a content creator, you need to remember that photos posted (in IG or FB stories, for example) using the C12's native 19.5:9 aspect ratio gets cut at the top and bottom when displayed on other screens
The 6.5-inch display is surprisingly good especially at this price point. The huge screen is great for watching movies as well as doing video calls, and the 6000mAh battery doesn't require you to be tethered to a power source for longer periods.
When playing Pokemon Go and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite (HPWU), the screen is responsive enough for various taps and trace patterns the games require. There were a few instances of lagging while playing HPWU when transitioning to different screens and (as expected,) when playing with many apps running in the background.
Another thing we noticed is that the C12 ships without the usual free jelly case. This may be a non-issue for others, but for those (me!) who prefer to have their phones with a casing from the get-go, this was sorely missed.
Value / Price / Availability
As of launch, the realme C12 will be locally available in Coral Red and Marine Blue, although there is also a silver variant available in other markets.
The price is pegged at P5,990 and available starting today, September 3, 2020.
It has to be said that since the pricing and specs of realme phones are so close it is easy to just get the slightly more expensive model for the bump in specs. In the case of the C12 vs C15, the less than Php500 difference means an additional 1GB of RAM plus fast charging and other features. That's huge for just 8% of the price more. (Edit: 4GB RAM variant is priced at Php6,990 or P1,000 more than the C12.)
Nonetheless, if there is a budget that has to be strictly adhered to, the C12 not a shabby option. Taken on its own, it provides good value for money with many bells and whistles usually only found in more expensive phones. For an entry-level smartphone, it is more than capable of performing the usual tasks required with the addition of other features that make for better user experience.
Would I consider getting one for myself? Maybe not because of what I use my phone for. Would I consider getting one for my tweener? Yes.
What we like
- Sleek design, including the anti-fingerprint backplate design.
- Reduced bloatware
- Solid build that doesn't feel cheap
- Attractive colorways
- Huge battery capacity
What we don't like
- Backpanel is not consumer-removable
- It doesn't come with the free casing - this matters for OC people who want their phones in cases from Day 1.