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Realme C12 Review: Stuck in the Middle

A Tough Spot to be In

Realme is on a bit of a roll with all their releases lately. They launched the very affordable C11 last month, which is a great entry-level option if you’re looking for a device for school this year. We also got the C15 about two weeks ago that shared some of the same features but with a bigger battery.

Now, we have the C12 that may have a bit of trouble grabbing the attention from its siblings since they do share similar features sets with very minute differences between them; making a true middle child of the family.

Pros:

  • Attractive design
  • Solid build
  • Large battery

Cons:

  • Priced too close to other models
  • There’s not a lot to differentiate it with other models

Design and Build Quality

There’s not much to say in this department that you haven’t already heard with our review of the C15. The two phones use the same polycarbonate plastic shell and utilizes the same geometric patterns to set them apart from the rest of Realme’s C lineup.

Ergonomics are identical as well, which means that — just like its brother — the C12 has a bit of heft to it because of its massive battery. Personally, I like the benefit that it brings to the overall handling of the device since phones that utilize plastic are a little too light for my liking.

A subtle way to tell the middle-child of the C series from the rest of its siblings is by looking at its camera count. Yes, they may be sporting the same square array but you have one less camera than the C15 with the flash module integrated into the setup as well.

Display

The display is something that the entire family shares, coming in at 6.5-inches. You’re getting a resolution of HD+ or 720 x 1600 pixels with a maximum brightness of 420 nits but sunlight legibility is rather poor.

I do appreciate the larger screen size that the budget series from Realme has and, while I have been spoiled with phones that have higher pixel densities, the resolution for the C12 and its siblings is the norm for phones at this price range.

Performance

Across the board, Realme has outfitted their budget line with the Helio G35 processor but the rest of the processing package on the C12 tops out at 3GB or RAM and 32GB of expandable storage.

Since the Realme C15 that we had for our review unit had double the storage, it had the same amount of RAM so the resulting benchmarks are nearly neck-and-neck.

This phone won’t be a powerhouse for gaming but should do nicely for the social apps that you use on the daily and for school work if that is your intended purpose of purchasing a new device.

What the Realme C series is known for is their endurance and the 6000mAh battery on this device certainly delivers in that department. We ran a video loop on YouTube with the volume and brightness halved and from 100% to 10% the phone lasted 24 hours and 21 minutes.

Sadly though, you won’t be getting the same 18W Quick Charge support that the C15 does because the C12 only supports up to 10W. You won’t have to fight for power sockets but when you do have to top up, prepare to be tethered to the wall for about 4 hours.

Cameras

Just like all members of the C series family, the C12 sports a 13-megapixel camera with a supporting cast that consists of a 2-megapixel Mono camera and a 2MP macro. The resulting images from the camera setup are very similar to what we’ve seen from its brethren.

They perform much better in well-lit environs and you get detail drop off plus added noise as soon as the sun dips. There is a Night Mode on the C12 and, for a budget-friendly phone, it does do the job quite well.

For selfies, you’re getting the same 5MP shooter as the C11 and, like with most phones in its price range, you’re going to have to make sure that you’re lit well so the results come out better.

Verdict: Stuck in a Tough Spot

Realme has made it a little confusing to choose between its budget-friendly lineup of smart phones. They share nearly identical feature sets and are priced within arms reach of each other and being the middle child of the C lineup might mean that the C12 will be neglected by buyers.

The C11 is the most pared-down of the series but the asking price of Php 4,990 might be the right choice for those who really have to penny-pinch during this time. The C15, on the other hand, is priced at Php 6,990 for the 4GB/64GB or Php 6,490 for the 3GB/64GB. This puts the C12 at a very difficult position at Php 5,990 because you could spend a little more for an extra camera, more storage, better selfies, and slightly faster charging times or you can choose to save Php 1,000 if all you really need are the basics.

Personally, I would tell you to go for the Realme C15 but it really all boils down to how much you are willing to spend or if you can extend your budget to get the upgrades.

Jamie Inocian

A self-confessed geek. Jamie started out helping out on the Unbox Podcast and became the Digital Sales Manager when he joined the team full time. He has since then transitioned into one of our Senior Editors and Head Video Producer.

One Comment

  1. True, this is in an awkward spot, as adding 500 pesos can get you the C15 already, with wide angle camera, double the storage and fast charger. Realme should’ve launched this C12 after the C11, and then launch the C15.

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