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Realme C12 Review

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Realme has come up with a lot of entry-level smartphones for those who want a daily driver that doesn’t break the bank. The one we’re taking a look at today is one of them, the Realme C12.

This device, if you haven’t noticed, bears a lot of similarities to the budget C15. But if that device is not cheap enough for you, then here comes a more affordable alternative. So, without further ado, let’s see what this device has in store for us in our Realme C12 review.

Realme C12 Specs

  • Android 10, Realme UI
  • Dual SIM, Dual Standby
  • 6.5-inch LCD display, 1600 x 720 pixel resolution
  • 2.3GHz MediaTek Helio G35 octa-core processor
  • IMG PowerVR GE8320 GPU
  • 3GB RAM
  • 32GB internal storage, expandable via microSD
  • 5-megapixel front camera, f/2.0
  • 13-megapixel main + 2-megapixel monochrome, 2-megapixel macro cameras, LED flash
  • Side-mounted Fingerprint Scanner
  • HSPA+, 4G LTE
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, WiFi hotspot
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • GPS, GLONASS, BDS
  • microUSB
  • Colors: Marine Blue, Coral Red
  • 6,000mAh non-removable battery, 10W fast charger

Design and Build Quality

As stated earlier, the Realme C12 and C15 have a lot of similarities. One of them is design. As you can see, it has the same geometric gradient design on the back. We’re used to seeing Realme come up with new designs in their every release, but we’ll give them a pass on this one since it’s pretty much the same model as the C15.

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The unit we’re taking a look at is the Marine Blue color — the same color that the C15 has. What’s unique to the C12 is the vibrant and distinctive Coral Red option.

As for the overall build, well, it’s plastic — no surprises there. But during our time with it, we never doubted its build quality. It’s really sturdy, without any bending or squeaking when we tried flexing it.

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Just like most Realme budget phones, the Realme C12 has a textured back panel. Partnered with its matte finish, it doesn’t attract any fingerprint marks. We also have the easy-to-reach fingerprint scanner back here, as well as the unnecessarily large square glass for the triple cameras and LED flash, all positioned symmetrically.

Because of its affordable price, it doesn’t get to have a free clear case, so you might want to purchase that yourself.

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On the upside, the 6.5-inch HD+ LCD display on the front does come with Corning Gorilla Glass protection, but the version used was not mentioned. For extra protection, it has a screen protector pre-applied. The film is really thin that it’s really unnoticeable even on the edges.

Of course, we have a notch on the top for the selfie camera.

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The left side has the dual nano-SIM card and microSD card slots. While on the right, we have the volume controls on top of the lock/power switch. The physical buttons are surprisingly well built and provide a clicky sound when pressed.

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The top is clean, while on the bottom we have the headphone jack, built-in microphone, micro USB port, and the loudspeakers.

Overall, Realme did a great job in designing and building this budget smartphone.

Display and Audio

The Realme C12 has a large 6.5-inch LCD screen. It’s roomy for watching movies, gaming, multitasking, and other work or school-related stuff.

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It also has an HD+ 1600 x 720-pixel resolution, which is not ideal for a screen this size, but acceptable for the price.

With that, it goes without saying that sharpness is not its strongest suit. But unless you’re looking for it, you won’t probably notice the difference. On the upside, the colors and screen brightness are decent. Again, for the price, no problems here.

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Moreover, the single bottom-firing speaker on the Realme C12 outputs decent volume and quality. It’s enough for private listening and watching videos. But for a more immersive experience, you can plug in a pair of headphones using the 3.5mm port.

Speaking of which, the Realme C12 doesn’t come with earphones, so you might pick one up separately. Realme has a wide selection of accessories available in the Philippines if you want to check them out.

Hardware and Performance

Other than its design, the Realme C12 shares the same 2.3GHz MediaTek Helio G35 octa-core processor with the C15. But this time, it has a single 3GB/32GB RAM and storage configuration.

Realme C12 benchmark scores:

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Considering the price, we weren’t really expecting a lot from its performance. We’re noticing a couple of hiccups here and there, but you really can’t expect too much for a device this cheap.

It may not be the fastest, but it does handle most tasks decently. You can browse social media, take pictures, listen to music, and watch videos without too much problem.

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Call of Duty Mobile on Realme C12

The gaming experience on the Realme C12 is also pretty decent. We were able to play popular titles like Mobile Legends, PUBG Mobile, and Call of Duty Mobile for as long as the graphics settings are set to the lowest.

Software and Interface

The Realme C12 runs on the latest Android 10 operating system with the company’s own Realme UI on top. Overall, the interface is clean and straightforward — but with hints of the brand’s personal touch.

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Home Screen | Lock Screen | App Drawer

Unlocking the Realme C12 takes you to the home screen, which has all your apps completely laid out. But if you want a cleaner desktop, you can remove those apps and access them on the App Drawer, which you can launch by swiping up.

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Notifications Tab | Settngs menu (on Dark Mode) | Control Center (on Dark Mode)

Swiping down reveals the notifications tab, with the control center on top of it, that you can expand by swiping down. You can also find the Dark Mode toggle here.

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Customization Settings 1 | Customization Settings 2 | Icon Style Settings

Just like most Android phones, the Realme C12 is heavy on customization. You can opt to remove the app drawer, set different themes and icon styles, lock screen magazine, and more.

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Do Not Disturb | Navigation Buttons | Gestures and Motions

Do Not Disturb is present if you’re in a meeting or just want to shut off notifications. You also have an option to change the layout of the on-screen navigation buttons or use the iOS-like gestures. Screen-off gestures and other motions are also present.

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Digital Wellbeing | Phone Storage | Screen recording

Android’s Digital Wellbeing is here, which shows data of your smartphone usage. Plus, Parental Controls.

There are a couple of apps preinstalled, but you can easily remove them. Out of the 32GB of storage, 6.06GB is reserved for the system. Screen Recording is also present, with comprehensive recording settings that you can configure in the menu.

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Game Space | Split Screen | Other settings

OPPO’s Game Space is here, to let you optimize the system before you play games. The Split Screen feature lets you use two apps side by side — great for a large 6.5-inch, but bad news for its 3GB of memory.

App Cloner is also present, as well as OPPO’s own HeyTap Cloud.

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Keyboard | Camera App | Pre-installed Google apps

The Realme C12 uses Google’s intuitive and easy-to-use keyboard. The camera app is familiar and intuitive. Plus, a couple of Google apps are preinstalled if you want to check them out.

Security

As stated earlier, the Realme C12 has a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, which worked fast and accurately during our testing.

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It also has a face unlock feature that uses its 5-megapixel selfie camera to read your face. It struggles in dark rooms, but it does work really fast when there’s a light source.

Privacy features like App Lock, Kid Space, and Private safe are also present.

Camera Quality

Despite its cheap asking price, the Realme C12 managed to have a triple camera setup. But just like most entry-level devices, the two other sensors are pretty much unusable.

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The usable one is the 13-megapixel main camera, with an f/2.2 aperture and PDAF. The less memorable ones are the 2-megapixel B&W sensor and 2-megapixel macro camera. Having a depth sensor or an ultra-wide lens would have been better, but I guess omitting them allows Realme to set the C12 apart from the C15.

Now, let’s talk about image quality. The main camera takes decent photos at good lighting, It has acceptable colors, contrast, and dynamic range. Low light photos are usable, too, but can be improved with the Night Mode feature.

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13-megapixel | Outdoors
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13-megapixel | Outdoors
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13-megapixel | Indoors

The macro camera is pretty acceptable, though. It lets you get really close to the subject, but the overall image quality is nothing to brag about.

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2-megapixel macro

The portrait mode, despite the lack of a dedicated depth sensor, works just fine. For as long as the foreground and the background is not too complicated, the edge detection is pretty decent.

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Portrait Mode

We also have the 5-megapixel on the front, another differentiating feature from the C15’s 8-megapixel selfie camera. The front cam on the Realme C12 takes acceptable selfies, with enough detail and exposure even in low-light. It’s more than enough for video calls when participating in online classes and conference calls.

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5-megapixel
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5-megapixel | Portrait Mode enabled | AI Face Beauty maxed

Connectivity

The Realme C12 is equipped with 4G LTE, which provides reliable connectivity if you don’t have WiFi at home. But if you do, the C12 also has single-band WiFi. There’s also the Bluetooth 5.0 that provides a seamless connection to wireless accessories.

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But just like most budget phones, the C12 only has a microUSB port for charging instead of the newer USB Type-C standard.

Battery Life

The Realme C12 has an enormous 6,000mAh battery. And since it has underpowered hardware, we were able to get two days of light to moderate usage out of it. But if you’re a heavy gamer, or you like to binge-watch videos a lot, then longevity might be shortened to an entire day, which is still relatively good.

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In fact, the battery is so large that you can use the device as a power bank. Its reverse charging feature lets you charge other devices via an OTG cable.

As for the phone’s own charging, the Realme C12 has a 10W charger. With a battery this large, expect a full charge can take 2 hours or longer.

Conclusion

The Realme C12 is a great device, no doubt about that. It has a clean design, a large screen, acceptable performance, and an enormous battery with great longevity.

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However, the sub-Php5,000 price range is a tough segment to shop in. If you can spend a bit more, there are a lot of alternatives out there that only costs Php1,000 more. One of them is the C12’s own brother, the Realme C15. There’s also the Realme C3 for another Php1,500 more.

Realme C12 price and availability in the Philippines

The Realme C12 has an official price of Php5,990 and is now available in tons of Realme stores nationwide. As of writing, we can’t find it in Realme’s official stores in Lazada and Shopee.

Pros

  • Unique, sturdy design
  • Large display
  • Enormous battery
  • Decent performance

Cons

  • Extra cameras are pretty useless
  • Going with similarly-priced devices might be better

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