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The Realme 12 Pro+ is the first mid-range device with a 3x periscope zoom camera

Realme, a sister brand of Oppo and OnePlus, made its CES debut this year by unveiling a new mid-range phone with a photography twist. The Realme 12 Pro+, due to launch later this month, is apparently the first in its price segment to not only offer a 3x periscope zoom camera with optical stabilization, but also one with a relatively larger sensor to improve low-light performance. The candybar is the work of Swiss luxury watch designer Ollivier Savéo, complete with a golden fluted bezel surrounding a stunning polished sunburst dial, garnished with a 3D jubilee bracelet over vegan leather — in blue or white.

The periscope zoom camera here is powered by a 64-megapixel OmniVision OV64B, which comes in at 1/2 inches large. Realme says compared to the 3x zoom camera on the iPhone 15 Pro (12 megapixels) and the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra (10 megapixels), the Realme 12 Pro+’s sensor is at least over 2.6 times as large, thus enabling over 1.8 times the amount of light it takes in. In other words, telephoto cameras don’t get much love on mainstream flagship phones. The comparison photos we saw at the launch event were very convincing, with Realme’s preserving an impressive amount of detail even at full crop, but we’ll obviously wait for our own hands-on later.

With such improvement, this mid-range phone can stick to its periscope camera even in darker environments, while other phones with conventional 3x telephoto cameras (read: smaller sensors) would automatically switch to its main camera and rely on digital zoom instead. But of course, there’s still a limit as to how dark this camera can handle; you’ll want a flagship-level 3x periscope zoom camera with an even bigger sensor for something more impressive, namely the 1/1.56-inch sensor on the likes of Realme’s GT5 Pro, Oppo’s Find X7 Ultra and apparently the OnePlus 12 as well.

The Realme 12 Pro+ also packs a decent 50-megapixel main camera, which features a 1/1.56-inch Sony IMX890 sensor (as seen on the OnePlus 11), f/1.8 aperture and optical stabilization. This phone also packs a 0.6x ultra-wide camera, though Realme stopped short at sharing further information. Likewise, the Chinese brand wouldn’t share which Qualcomm mid-range processor is powering this device, but it’s custom made to enable Realme’s “MasterShot Algorithm” computational photography capabilities here. This is what enables RAW processing which, until now, is largely exclusive to flagship smartphones, meaning even mid-range devices will be able to leverage more editing options in the near future.

Photo by Richard Lai / Engadget

The rest of the Realme 12 Pro+ — including the remaining specs and pricing — is still under wraps. Even though the brand isn’t present in most locations of our readership, Realme’s aggressive growth in recent years should be influential enough to set a benchmark for mid-range phones of 2024. Hopefully this will also put pressure on the likes of Apple and Samsung to put more effort into improving essential features on their own flagships.

We’re reporting live from CES 2024 in Las Vegas from January 6-12. Keep up with all the latest news from the show here.

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