Realme has added another smartphone in its already heavy-laden budget Realme C-series with the new Realme C12. The phone brings Helio G35 SoC on-board along with a 13MP triple rear camera and a beefy 6,000 mAh battery under the hood. The phone mimics design from predecessors and targets a budget category with its Sub-Rs 11K price tag.
Rest aside, knowing the specifications is not the half thing done nowadays when hands-on reviews are crucial. Here’s a detailed review of Realme C12 that you should read to make a wise decision.
In India, you get Realme C12 in three colour variants i.e. Power Blue, Power Silver, and Power Silver. The 3GB+32GB base variant is available at Rs 8,999/- while the higher 4GB+64GB top variant is available at Rs 10,999/-. Get up to Rs 8,599/- off under Exchange Offer on Flipkart India. You can avail of other deals and discounts as well.
Before we talk in detail about the Realme C12 let’s see what the on-paper specs look like?
- Display: 16.56 cm (6.52 inch) HD+ Display
- Processor: Mediatek Helio G35
- Storage: 3GB/32GB
- Software: realme UI based on Android 10
- Rear cameras: 13MP + 2MP + 2MP
- Front camera: 5MP
- Battery: 6000 mAh
- Weight: 209g
- Dimensions: 16.5 x 7.6 x 1 cm
Realme C12 uses the design DNA of its predecessors in many ways. Talking about the back panel, it is a unibody made up of plastic with a slight curve on the edges that provides some grip. The panel has a square camera setup much like Realme C11. There’s a circular-shaped fingerprint scanner just south of the camera bump that you can access with ease.
The back panel has a textured gradient design that Realme calls a Geometric Gradient design. The panel is divided into three sections thanks to two diagonal lines passing through the width and each section has a slightly different texture offering vivid reflectivity when a source of light shimmers on it.
Next up, we have the front display which has thick bezels as usual. You get a considerably thick chin and a waterdrop-shaped notch which has become a part of previous generations of smartphones. About the phone, Realme C12 falls on a slightly heavier territory thanks to the beefy battery although it works well by providing much-needed battery backup.
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You get a bottom-firing loudspeaker, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a primary mic, and a micro USB port at the bottom as usual. Apart from that, you get a power button plus volume rocker on the right side, a secondary mic on top, and a SIM card slot on the left side as usual.
Another smartphone in the affordable C-series, the Realme C12 packs in a 6.5-inch HD+ display boasting a 264 PPI density. The display has a 19.5:9 aspect ratio and a Corning Gorilla Glass on top of it.
The display gets a mini-waterdrop-shaped notch which is approx 30% smaller than the usual waterdrop-shaped notch. Although it is capped at 720p, the display is of good quality. It gets a yellowish tint by default which is the default colour temperature but you can set it to Cooler to get rid of it.
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The brightness achieved by the panel is pretty impressive for an entry-level smartphone with an LCD panel. Viewing the screen in broad sunlight is okay so you don’t actually have an issue viewing the screen and neither it is too bright for the harsh sunlight. It dims significantly as well.
Overall, I think colours are saturated and viewing angles are around okay. You get an eye comfort feature that takes away excess strain on the eyes. The system-wide dark mode is another much-have feature on a smartphone as of now.
You won’t be able to stream content on OTT platforms in HD and rather, you will have to stick to SD resolution i.e. 480p.
MediaTek Helio G35 octa-core SoC handles the device with a max frequency of 2.3GHz and with PowerVR GE8320 GPU. This is the same setup as that of the Poco C3. You get 32/64GB of eMMC 5.1 storage while the RAM options you get are 3GB/4GB.
When it comes to performance, Realme should have integrated a faster chipset this time because the Realme C3 got an Helio G70 SoC. G35 SoC mounted on C12 is the same as C11 which means the performance is fairly average. The phone is sluggish in every app you can check out be it pre-installed or those you download. You will see sluggishness in all aspects such as while scrolling through the UI, settings, opening apps, toggling between apps, and so on.
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The G35 SoC can handle a few games and even PUBG at the lowest of graphics settings although frame drop and lagging are imminent. The touch response is quite slow so you will probably have a tough time in time-sensitive gameplay.
Even a 4GB variant won’t help much although I would still prefer a higher RAM version just to be on the safe side.
Realme C12 runs on Android 10-based Realme UI 1.0 out-of-the-box and is upgradable to Android 11-based Realme UI 2.0. When compared with MIUI 12, Realme UI is far lightweight.
The UI is clean and with a tonne of features that you can use. There’s a lot of bloatware to access although you can uninstall some of them. Realme UI has become one of the nicest UI when compared to other Android UIs out there.
When it comes to optics, Realme C12 packs in a triple rear and a single front camera. There’s a 13MP+2MP+2MP rear camera setup where of course, two sensors are auxiliary and decorative. The front, on the other hand, is headed by a 5MP snapper with an f/2.0 aperture. Even with a triple camera setup, I believe the phone could’ve worked with a single sensor instead because the other two are merely decorative.
The primary camera captures decent shots in daylight and when there’s abundant light around. The details are adequate though but it does the job well for the price tag and I wasn’t disappointed. Using the Chrome Boost feature will give great shots as the saturated levels are raised. I was able to get decent photos even with 4x zoom although as you go further, the details are faded and the quality of the photo deteriorates.
There’s a monochrome sensor on-board which is terms as an auxiliary sensor. Its sole job is to capture shots in black and white aka monochrome. It uses the primary sensor to take convincing portrait shots. On the other hand, another auxiliary sensor called the macro sensor works okay. It doesn’t have an AF but picture quality seems okay for a sensor this size on a smartphone at this price tag.
Luckily, there’s a Night Mode on-board C12 and it uses the algorithms to highlight subjects and produce slightly more details than regular shots in low light conditions.
Finally, we have a 5MP selfie shooter which is average. It does take quality shots in the daytime when the light is ample. However, as the lighting decreases, the quality of the shot deteriorates as well.
I am talking about a phone with a heavyweight 6,000 mAh battery which goes perfectly with the price segment. Realme advertised that the battery provides 46 hours of talk time as well as 28 hours on YouTube videos with ease. When tested, the 6,000 mAh battery is capable enough to give you a day of battery life on moderate to heavy usage. You could easily end up on “Day 2” with a mix of light and moderate usage and combining power-saving mode with it.
A 10W charging speed is almost the same as you would get on a budget phone. It takes around 3 hours to charge from zero to full. But that’s what a majority of budget phones offer and C12 isn’t any different.
There’s just one bottom-firing loudspeaker on-board C12 which is loud. It does lack bass though but this doesn’t mean it is any bad. It is average if that’s the term you would ask me to describe it.
Looks like Realme C12 has gone forward with some entry-level specifications for the phone for now. This includes a 3.5mm headphone jack, support for Wi-Fi 802.11n, and Bluetooth v5.0 with aptX, LE, and A2DP. You get various GPS support including BDS, Glonass, and A-GPS. There’s no FM Radio or NFC on-board C12. You do get a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner which is not that common at this price tag.
The phone supports dual 4G VoLTE and calls quality was sub-par. You don’t get many issues when connecting to calls because many times, the carrier is responsible and it is a bit difficult to pin down the exact reason at times. The device is capable of connecting to 5GHz Wi-Fi channels, however, it fails to register to some networks but that’s something Realme can (and it already had) rectified.
Poco C3 is its closest rival and it doesn’t have a fingerprint scanner. Realme C12 has a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner that lets you unlock the phone in a jiffy. Its placement is just right and its proximity for fingers to reach without doing any kind of gymnastics although users with smaller hands will have to do it anyways. It is reliable as well. On the other hand, Face Unlock on Realme C12 is 2D-based and works fine although it is less secure. You get the usual Pattern and PIN unlocking mechanisms with C12.
- 13MP AI Camera
- Humongous 6,000mAh battery
- Reverse Charging support
- Conventional/slow charging speed
- Absence of an FHD panel
- Underwhelming processor
Even after paying a Sub-Rs 11K price tag, you are compromising on the chipset you get which translates into an overall underwhelming performance on the device no matter what you do on the phone. The camera setup is average as well. The battery size is humongous and that is probably one of the biggest USPs on Realme C12 and, likely, anything who can compromise on performance but not on the battery will be a keen taker. Others can rather check out cheaper solutions with the same chipset such as Poco C3 or they can shell out more to buy a phone with Helio G70 or higher if they want to continue with the Helio series.