Realme 8 Pro, hands on: Good features at an affordable price, but no 5G

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The Realme 8 Pro is a mid-range £279 handset that offers quite a lot of punch for your cash, although 5G support is noticeably missing from the mix. It's powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 720G SoC with 8GB of RAM, and there's 128GB of internal storage, of which 16GB is used out of the box, leaving 112GB free. If you want more storage, there is a MicroSD card slot in the SIM caddy. The handset supports two SIMs, and you don't have to sacrifice one for extra storage: you can have two SIMs plus a MicroSD card.

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The 6.4-inch Realme 8 Pro runs on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 720G chipset with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. It has an AMOLED screen, an in-screen fingerprint reader, and can accommodate two SIMs and a MicroSD card at the same time.

Image: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The Realme 8 Pro's 6.4-inch AMOLED screen (1080×2400, 409ppi) sits in reasonably narrow bezels along three edges, although there's a sizeable border at the bottom. This results in a screen-to-body ratio of 83.3% (although Realme claims 90.8%). The display is sharp and punchy, and the punch-hole camera in the screen's top left corner isn't particularly distracting. Impressively for a sub-£300 handset, there's an in-screen fingerprint scanner; if you prefer it, face unlock is also available.  

The backplate is plastic, and feels like it, so you'll need a protective case. But that's not necessarily a deal-breaker, and the plastic case might serve a useful purpose besides providing protection. There are three colour variants -- Infinite Blue, Infinite Black and Punk Black. Mine was Infinite Black and the stippled, vaguely 3D effect on the backplate was rather pleasing to the eye. Unfortunately there's also a massive 'DARE TO LEAP' slogan on the back -- yes, it's in large capital letters. This may appeal to some people, but it's not to my taste. Cue the other purpose for a case: to hide that slogan. 

The Realme user interface adds a few bits and pieces on top of Android 11, with its own music player, photo manager and weather app among the pre-installed extras. Gamers might like the Game Space app, which can be used to make settings that are only operative when a game is being played -- blocking notifications, rejecting calls and disabling auto brightness, for example.  

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The plastic backplate, here in Infinite Black, houses the rear cameras and a slogan that you may or may not wish to conceal with a protective cover.

Image: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet  

The provided Facebook app can be removed if you don't want it. Those that can't be removed are easily bundled away into a folder that you can name 'Ignore'. There is a dark screen mode that can be set to switch on automatically at sunset, and off at sunrise, or triggered manually, and an Eye Comfort mode that can be toggled as needed. Both can be turned on and off in the Quick Settings pull-down menu. 

The 4500mAh battery proved effective, keeping the handset running for 16 hours and 11 minutes under the PCMark for Android Work 3.0 battery rundown test. Fast charging (50W) is supported, and Realme says it delivers 50% battery life in 17 minutes. When I tested this with the battery starting at 19%, it got to 66% in 15 minutes and to 85% in 30 minutes.  

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The front camera is a 16MP f/2.45 unit, which supports 1080p video at 30fps or 120fps slow motion, and photography functions including panoramic view, face recognition and bokeh effect control.  

SEE: 5G smartphones: A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

There are four cameras at the back: 108MP f/1.9 wide angle; 8MP f/2.25 ultra-wide angle (119°); 2MP f/2.4 macro; and 2MP f/2.4 black and white. The latter two didn't really do much for me, with the macro lens particularly disappointing. You need to be 4cm from the subject for focusing to work, which is restrictive. Point-and-shoot snaps with the two main cameras, and with the selfie camera, are fine for a handset at this price point, but if you want more sophistication you'll need to look elsewhere.  

The Realme 8 Pro isn't a handset for photography enthusiasts, although the main 108MP camera is decent. But if you want good battery life, fast charging speed, a nice AMOLED screen and dual SIM support, all on a sub-£300 budget, it's worth considering. Just be aware of that DARE TO LEAP slogan.

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