Realme GT Review: Life In The Fast Lane

Just how good is the world's most affordable Snapdragon 888-powered smartphone?

Realme GT Review Snapdragon 888
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Before getting into this review of the Realme GT, a little bit of a backstory. It’s no secret that Realme, as a brand, started off with budget phones and slowly made its way into more premium offerings. In 2019, the company officially forayed into the premium mid-range segment with the Realme X series.

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I personally loved the Realme X and the X2 Pro, which are still loved by many. But the follow-up to the X series didn’t receive much success. Even the recently launched Realme X7 Max did okay-ish only, despite its terrific performance and overall value.

Realme GT Specifications:

  • Body: 73.3 x 158.5 x 8.4mm, 186 gm, 3D Glass Body/Vegan Leather
  • Display: 6.43-inches Super AMOLED, 120Hz refresh rate, 360Hz touch sampling rate, 91.7% screen-to-body ratio, HDR10+, 98% NTSC, 100% P3 Wide Color
  • Resolution: FHD+ (2400 x 1080 pixels), 20:9 aspect ratio, 409 PPI
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G (5nm Mobile Platform)
  • CPU: Octa-core (1×2.84 GHz Kryo 680 & 3×2.42 GHz Kryo 680 & 4×1.80 GHz Kryo 680)
  • GPU: Adredno 660
  • Memory: 8/12GB LPDDR5 RAM, 128/256GB UFS 3.1 storage (fixed)
  • Software & UI: Android 11 with Realme UI 2.0 on top
  • Rear Camera: Triple (with LED flash);
    – 64MP f/1.8 Sony IMX682 sensor
    – 8MP f/2.3 ultra-wide camera, 119º FOV
    – 2MP f/2.4 macro camera
  • Front Camera: 16MP f/2.5 camera (punch-hole)
  • Audio: Dual stereo speakers, Hi-Res Audio, 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Security: In-display fingerprint sensor (optical), Face unlock
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Proximity, Gyro, Light, Magnetic Induction, Linear Motor
  • Connectivity: Dual-SIM (Nano), WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax (Dual-band), Bluetooth 5.2, GPS / AGPS / Glonass / Galileo / Beidou / QZSS, USB Type-C, 4G LTE, 5G (dual SIM)
  • Battery: 4500mAh with 65W SuperDart Charge (65W adapter inside the box)
  • Color Options: Racing Yellow, Dashing Blue, Dashing Silver
  • Price in Nepal: N/A (launching soon)

Realme GT Review:

So, it was evident that moving forward, Realme needed something new to go on. Hence, the company has officially killed the X series and started fresh with the GT lineup. Under this series, Realme is offering a few choices.

Realme GT - Display 1

There’s the Realme GT, which is a semi-flagship phone, the Realme GT Master Explorer Edition, which is a premium mid-range offering and finally, the lineup includes Realme GT Master Edition that caters to the mid-range segment. There’s also the GT Neo which is basically the Realme X7 Max but exclusive to the Chinese market.

In this review, I will be talking about the Realme GT that I have been using for about 2 weeks now. To be completely honest, this phone brings back some good memories that I had with the Realme X2 Pro, which if you remember, boasted top-of-the-line performance at its time, an incredible display, and good cameras. Ah, that was a good phone!

Performance

  • Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G SoC (5nm)
  • 8/12GB LPDDR5 RAM, 128/256GB UFS 3.1 storage (fixed)
  • Android 11 with Realme UI 2.0 on top (upgradeable)

Let’s kick things off with the performance side of things. And this is where the Realme GT truly shines. At a starting price of INR 37,999 in India, it is the cheapest phone to feature the flagship Snapdragon 888 chipset.

With the 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB UFS 3.1 storage variant that I have with me, as expected, my experience with the phone has been ridiculously fast and smooth. I will go as far as to say that its performance is comparable with a flagship phone.

Plus, Realme has optimized the 120Hz refresh rate of this display to run well with the powerful hardware underneath. Hence, I have never experienced any kind of sluggishness while using the phone either. Also, Realme UI is not that heavy and unlike Xiaomi’s flagship devices, there are no problems like half-baked dark mode or mediocre app optimization either, so I am quite happy about that.

Realme GT - Design 1

The only thing that I really, really dislike on the GT is the pre-installed bloatware apps. I mean, this is Realme’s flagship phone and not the budget “C” or the mid-range number series. Yet, you are greeted with a ton of unwanted apps right out of the box.

Of course, you always have the option to remove most of them, but my point is that such useless apps should not come pre-installed in the first place. If this was a budget phone, I wouldn’t be complaining because that’s done to keep the price as aggressive as possible. But on a phone of this price, Realme should be focusing on delivering a premium experience, instead of such nuisances.

Gaming experience

Anyway, the combination of Snapdragon 888 and a 360Hz touch sampling rate of its display makes for a really good gaming experience as well. Demanding titles like Genshin Impact run well enough at 45-48fps in the highest settings with 60fps turned on. However, if you want more stable gameplay, you’ll have to dial down the graphics to high.

In PUBG Mobile, well, Realme has introduced 90fps mode. But as of now, you won’t be able to achieve 90fps gameplay. As you can see from the graph, the game maxes out at 62fps even under the 90fps mode. But the good thing is, you will be able to achieve a stable 60fps when setting graphics to HDR and frame rates to Extreme.

Realme GT - PUBG Mobile - 90fps Mode
PUBG Mobile – 90fps Mode

Call of Duty, which is another graphics-hungry yet optimized game, runs at 100% stability with 60fps at Very high graphics and Max frame rates. I was also a little let down by the fact that games like Critical Ops, Oddmar, Grimvalor that have 120fps mode cap out at 60fps on the Realme GT.

So, I really hope the company collaborates with the game devs to bring higher fps support on such a powerful phone soon! By the way, I also tested games with the “GT Mode” turned on, which is supposed to improve the gameplay and overall stability. But sadly, I didn’t find any significant difference in fps or graphics quality when turning said mode on or off.

Thermal efficiency

Regardless, you must be curious about how the Realme GT handles the thermals because this phone comes with the Snapdragon 888, which has a bad reputation of overheating and getting warm when pushing this silicon to its limits.

To keep that in check, Realme has included something called a Stainless Steel Cooling system here. And for the most part, it does a decent job as I didn’t find the phone heating up like the OnePlus 9 or 9 Pro. That is certainly not to say that the Realme GT does not heat up though.

Realme GT - Gaming

Playing Genshin Impact for like an hour gets this phone to reach around 43-44° near the camera module. But the heating issue isn’t as widespread as on the OnePlus 9 series since I didn’t notice fps instability in games either. So, that’s actually something better with the Realme GT.

Another thing I appreciate about this device and Realme’s recent 5G phones is that they don’t cheap out on 5G bands. Here, the Realme GT supports a total of 13 5G bands while in comparison, similarly-priced phones like the Mi 11X Pro and the OnePlus 9R max out at one or two 5G bands only.

Design & Build

  • 73.3 x 158.5 x 8.4mm, 186 grams
  • Glass front/back, plastic frames
  • Vegan Leather option, No IP rating

Moving on to the design, I have this Racing Yellow variant that looks quite different and bold. The material used at the back is something Realme calls “Vegan Leather”. The company also says that it has used some kind of coating to prevent it from wearing in the long run.

I have been using this phone without a cover and so far, there hasn’t been any sort of discoloration around the edges and it hasn’t gotten dirty either. Plus, its texture is quite well refined and thus feels quite good on the hands. And if you compare it against Xiaomi’s bulky designs, this one’s definitely more ergonomic and comfortable to hold.

Having said that, visually, I am not a big fan of this black stripe that runs down the camera module. I know Realme is going for a “racing track” vibe, but I like the cleaner and minimalistic looks of the cheaper GT Master Edition instead.

One more thing, the company has decided to go with plastic frames on this phone. Given its price tag, I think they should have included metal frames for added durability and a more premium hands-on feel. Also, the Realme GT does not have any kind of IP rating and sadly, there’s no rubber coating on the SIM tray either.

Battery

  • 4,500mAh battery with 65W charging

To keep the phone’s weight to a minimum, Realme has fitted in a relatively smaller 4500mAh battery inside. Regardless, its endurance is actually quite good.

Throughout the review, I was consistently able to get around 6 to 7 hours of screen-on time while using the Realme GT under 120Hz—on a typical moderate usage pattern that includes a lot of phone calls, browsing social media, 1-2 hours of streaming videos, while also clicking a ton of photos for camera samples.

Realme GT - Charging

Usually, the phone would still retain 10-15% battery on average when I’d get the home by 8 PM. But with the 65-Watt charger like you get on the OnePlus Nord 2, the phone only takes around 35 minutes to go from 0-100%.

Still, I would have liked if Realme had provided a 65W PD Type-C to Type-C charger like on the OnePlus 9 series, that can fast-charge other PD-compatible devices too. Instead, they have included a proprietary 65W charger here.

Audio

  • Stereo speakers, 3.5mm audio jack

Yet, what’s appreciable from Realme, especially for gamers, is that they are keeping the beloved headphone jack alive on the GT. Apart from that, it also features a stereo speaker setup with Dolby Atmos and Hi-Res audio.

I wouldn’t say that its audio quality will absolutely blow you away. The highs are well presented but I found the bass to be slightly less punchy. But overall, the speakers are quite loud, don’t distort even at the highest volume, and I would say they’re quite balanced as well.

Display

  • 6.43-inches FHD+ Super AMOLED display
  • 120/360Hz refresh/touch sampling rate
  • HDR10+ compliant, 100% Wide P3 color

Moreover, these speakers perfectly complement the AMOLED display of the phone. This screen is HDR10+ compliant, has really good contrast, and maintains excellent visibility even under bright outdoor conditions.

On top of that, its touch response is great and the 120Hz refresh rate, as I mentioned earlier, is optimized quite well. I also like the fact that Realme has been thoughtful enough to include DC dimming here to prevent our eyes from low brightness flickering effect.

Realme GT - Display 2

The screen houses an optical in-display fingerprint sensor that works well in both normal conditions and even when your hands are mildly sweaty or greasy which is surprisingly good! The haptic feedback while unlocking the phone or typing is nothing better than what a mid-range phone would offer.

And this is yet another aspect where Realme could have done better by offering a better vibration motor. Additionally, I am slightly disappointed—and more surprised—to see the lack of HDR playback compatibility in Netflix yet.

Cameras

  • Triple camera setup at the back
  • (64MP primary, 8MP ultrawide, 2MP macro)
  • 16MP selfie camera in the punch-hole cutout

Almost all the semi-flagship phones struggle to deliver a great camera experience and unfortunately, that trend follows with the Realme GT too. Here, like any other midrange phone, you get a triple camera setup that skips a telephoto zoom lens. For this review, I compared its cameras against the one on Realme GT Master Edition.

Normal Images

Realme GT’s camera performance isn’t extraordinary as opposed to its flagship-grade performance and the display. Its primary lens is still good for casual photography with decent point-to-shoot capabilities.

As you can see from these samples, the primary sensor delivers pleasing and detailed pictures during uniform lighting conditions. You can notice a boost in colors but most of the time, that works in its favor, so I can’t really complain.

And this primary camera works well while processing difficult shots like this one. In comparison, the cheaper Realme GT Master Edition is not able to manage good dynamic range and sharpness in such areas while it’s no trouble for the standard GT.

Macro Images

But, the other two cameras, the 8MP ultrawide and the 2MP macro sensors are strictly average.

Wideangle Images

The ultra-wide shots from the Realme GT and the GT Master Edition look exactly the same and I am a bit let down to see that Realme did not differentiate the two phones in this aspect.

Portrait Images

Moving on, portraits are also a hit or a miss on this thing.

Sometimes, the image processing is really good while you will notice a lot of saturation on the subject’s skin other times. Surprisingly, the GT Master Edition is able to produce a more balanced skin tone in portrait shots.

Selfie Images

Selfies, on the other hand, look good enough though. They are a little smoothened, but it does a fine job of maintaining highlights and skin tone.

Portrait selfies score similar marks when it comes to subject and background color representation while the edge detection is ever-so-slightly flawed.

Nighttime Images

Night-time images from the Realme GT look okay-ish. As expected, you can notice them to be slightly grainy.

The photos are more or less similar to those from the GT Master Edition under both the normal and night mode shots, so I wouldn’t say Realme GT’s nighttime performance is anything spectacular.

Videography

Still and all, the videography aspect is well covered by the Realme GT. You can shoot up to 4k 60fps videos from the primary camera, and the videos come out pretty stable with good exposure control and colors.

In fact, you can expect decent video quality across all resolutions, thanks to the onboard EIS. But do note that it will struggle to maintain focus during low light conditions.

Selfie videos cap out at 1080p/30fps only which is a major bummer considering the phone’s flagship stature. Even though the video comes off pretty good, the subject looks quite smoothened. Audio pickup from the microphone isn’t that bad either—while background noise reduction could’ve been better.

Overall, with the Realme GT, you will get slightly better photos and videos than your average mid-range phones like the GT Master Edition or the POCO F3 GT. But sadly, its camera performance is nothing extraordinary for the price.

I would have liked if Realme had included a telephoto lens, a slightly better ultra wide-angle camera, and maybe Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) on its primary sensor for that added sharpness.

Realme GT Review: Conclusion

Okay, to conclude this review, would I recommend the Realme GT to you? Well, I think I would. Yes, it would have been much better if the company had gone even more aggressive with the pricing maybe, but all-in-all, if you value stellar performance over everything else, this is a great choice under INR 40,000 in India.

Realme GT - Design 2

With the Realme GT, you’re getting flagship-grade performance with relatively cooler thermals, along with the compact form factor and excellent display. However, if a versatile camera performance is what you’re gunning for, this is where the problem lies with the semi-flagship phones including the Realme GT.

And for that, I would rather suggest you get the iPhone 11 or last year’s flagship Android phones. These phones will deliver quite a superior camera quality and some insane videography possibilities as well.

  • Watch our video review of the Realme GT.

Realme GT Review: Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Excellent value for money
  • Capable gaming performance
  • Premium Vegan Leather finish
  • Impressive battery endurance
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 120Hz Super AMOLED display
  • Can shoot pretty stable videos

Cons:

  • Loads of bloatware apps
  • Lacks an official IP rating
  • Skips on a metallic frame
  • Not the best camera phone
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design & Build
9
Display
9
Performance
10
Back Cameras
8.5
Front Camera
8
Software & UI
9
Battery
9
Speaker & Haptics
8.5
Value for Money
10