It’s not every day that you unbox a smartphone and feel a sense of pride. The Realme 11 Pro+ is just that kind of device. In a world of monotony (foldable and flip mobile phones aside), the Realme 11 Pro+ is like a breath of fresh air. The moment you take the smartphone out of the box you realise why: the vegan leather back panel and the circular camera module feel like something I haven’t seen in a long time.
Add to that the fact that the Realme 11 Pro+ houses the 200MP ISOCELL HP3 sensor from Samsung. It’s an impressive smartphone that is pushing the boundaries and elevating the so-called ‘cheap’ Android smartphone category. It’s not without its flaws, but the signature series from Realme now has its best iteration yet.
The Realme 11 Pro+ starts at ₹27,999 (8GB+256GB variant), which places it in a crowded segment. Realme has got the Nothing Phone (1), Pixel 6a, Samsung Galaxy F54, Redmi Note 12 Pro+ and other heavyweights as direct competition. With its beefy camera specs, a gorgeous 6.7-inch OLED display (with a Full HD+ resolution), and a giant 5,000mAh battery, can the Realme 11 Pro+ stand out?
I’ve used the phone for more than 10 days now and I’ve come away mightily impressed.
If you were to guess the price solely based on the rear panel, then you’d be wrong nine times out of ten. You wouldn’t believe it’s a mid-range phone. The Sunrise Beige & Oasis Green colour variants feature a faux leather design that looks and feels premium. The Sunrise Beige version I got for review features an off-white colour with a silver and gold line running in the middle from top to bottom. The good thing is that the design doesn’t attract any smudges or fingerprints.
The circular camera module, unlike similar designs from competitors, doesn’t feel gigantic. A curved front and back, and a slightly protruding frame, lend a hand to making the phone that much more grippier. It’s a pleasure to use and an even greater one to look at and show off to your friends. At just 183 grams, the phone is light and fun to hold and use. You won’t mistake the Realme 11 Pro+ for any other smartphone.
Enough about the design though. Let’s talk about what really matters here. That’s the camera. If you’re to believe Realme, then the 11 Pro+ is all about the camera. The star here is the 200MP ISOCEL HP3 Samsung sensor. It features a lossless zoom feature, which provides 2x and 4x zoom capabilities (both digitally cropped but with no loss in quality).
While an optical zoom or periscope telephoto camera would have increased the price of the smartphone, Realme is confident that the lossless zoom feature will live up to the hype. For most parts, it does get the job done. The 2x zoom is better than the 4x zoom, but both are very much useable. In good daylight scenarios, the Realme 11 Pro+ can live up to the mighty Pixel 6a/Pixel 7a and its insane camera chops processing tools.
The software may need some tuning, as the colours feel too saturated sometimes. When the lighting conditions are tough, digital enhancements can be quite evident. Those are fixable via software updates. Nonetheless, the resulting photos from the main camera and 2x zoom are very good. They retain a lot of detail, have great colour accuracy, and have a good dynamic range that is on par with pricier smartphones.
The 4x zoom shots are good, but not amazing. The main camera is basically the only useable one of the lot. The 200MP main sensor is joined by an 8MP wide-angle camera and an always pointless 2MP macro camera. The photos from the 8MP wide-angle camera were often washed out and the less one says about the 2MP macro camera, the better.
The 6.7-inch OLED display (with a 120Hz refresh rate), with slim bezels surrounding it, is pretty good. It comes with great viewing angles and punchy colours. The only time the display isn’t up to the mark is with sunlight legibility. The screen doesn’t get too bright, and in the sunlight, it can be barely visible at times.
Given the dimensions of the smartphone, it’s crazy that Realme found a way to house a 5,000mAh battery. In real-world usage, I was getting about seven hours of screen-on-time. Add to that the 100W fast charging (only Xiaomi’s smartphones offer a similar fast charging speed at this price point) and you’ll barely be scampering for a charger or wall socket.
If you do have to reach for the charger (in my case after more than a day’s usage), then the smartphone can go from 0 to 100 percent in just under 40 minutes.
I’ve been impressed with the phone’s efficiency and that comes down to the MediaTek Dimensity 7050. It’s a relatively new processor in the market and delivers good performance with above-average battery life. The Realme 11 Pro+ isn’t a gaming powerhouse, but for daily use, it passes with flying colours. Multitasking is a breeze, animations are smooth, and apps launch fairly quickly.
Realme 11 Pro+ comes with Realme UI 4.0 (based on Android 13) and is fast and fluid. There is one drawback and that has to do with the software experience. The phone is full of bloatware. It’s cluttering and full of unnecessary apps. Most, if not all of the pre-loaded apps are ones that you’d never use. Furthermore, there are a ton of ads.
The MediaTek Dimensity 7050 (which debuted in India with the Lava Agni 2) is good, but does not have enough horsepower for the gamers out there. At this price point, one can also find Snapdragon 7+ Gen-2 powered smartphones.
The main camera struggles are in low-light conditions. The resulting photos are grainy, even when using the dedicated night mode. The smartphone also suffers from a shutter lag (not uncommon on many other phones). It’s a shame to see especially when Realme is so focused on the camera.
The Realme 11 Pro+ stands out in a world of bland and boring smartphones with its faux leather back, curved OLED panel, powerful processor (for day-to-day usage) and crazy fast charging speeds. There’s also the 200MP camera, that in good daylight conditions delivers on the company’s marketing pitch.
On the other hand, the phone is full of bloatware, has an underpowered chipset for gamers, and the wide-angle and macro cameras disappoint. Nonetheless, to offer all of these specifications, and deliver on most of them, at just ₹27,999 is impressive. Looking at the overall package, the Realme 11 Pro+ should be costing more than it is.
If you genuinely want to stand out with a non-boring phone, then the Realme 11 Pro+ is the way to go.
Sahil Bhalla is a Delhi-based journalist. He tweets @IMSahilBhalla.