Realme GT review: low on price, high on performance

A quick review of one of the most affordable Snapdragon 888 phones

Review Summary

Expert Rating3.5/5

Design
★★★★★
★★★★★
Display
★★★★★
★★★★★
Software
★★★★★
★★★★★
Camera
★★★★★
★★★★★
Performance
★★★★★
★★★★★
Battery
★★★★★
★★★★★

Pros

  • Speedy performance
  • Gives a headphone jack
  • Fast charging

Cons

  • Average cameras
  • Uninspiring design

Realme had announced its top-of-the-line flagship smartphone that comes in the form of the Realme GT back in March, but only in China. At the time, the company had said it would be launching the device in other global markets and it was believed that India was going to be one of them. From the looks of it however, it appears Realme has currently no plans of unveiling the Realme GT in the country. However, the former OPPO sub-brand is looking to at least demonstrate the capabilities of the device and as such, I have been sent a Chinese unit of the smartphone. It has Google services and the Play Store sideloaded on it, but the UI very much remains China-specific. Without knowing when this phone will land in India, if at all, I decided to test it out and figure out how it could be positioned in the Indian smartphone market. To be clear, I shall be taking the phone’s China price as indicative of its expected pricing in India. I have been sent the base 8GB RAM + 128GB storage version of the device which costs CNY 2,799 or about Rs 31,400. Although it is unlikely that the phone will launch at this low a price, the Realme GT does appear to be among the most affordable phones right now harbouring the flagship Snapdragon 888 chipset. Let’s find out more in this review.

Verdict

While the Realme GT is undoubtedly a capable phone, it fails to match the expectations of a proper flagship device. Apart from fast performance, it offers very little to praise except for the device’s fast-charging speeds. The average cameras come as a letdown, (specifically the choice of lenses being implemented) and the fact that the design is underwhelming. Realme, in my opinion, should stick with the wide audience that it has been cultivating around budget and mid-range phones.

The lowdown

The Realme GT is a thin phone to hold and also slightly heavy, but there is very little to complain about the build quality of the device, which is stellar. However, at the same time, the design itself is quite uninspiring. The glossy back is protected by Corning’s 3D Gorilla Glass, and attracts a lot of fingerprints. The Silver colour gradient is a bit meh. I quite prefer the looks of frosted matte glass, not the least because it is immune to smudges. The back is curved and the camera bump protrudes slightly from the chassis. The Realme GT is one of the few flagship phones that provides a 3.5mm headphone jack at the bottom. The standard Type-C port and speaker grille are also at the bottom, and the earpiece doubles up as a speaker to offer stereo sound. Finally, the volume rocker and power buttons are located on the right and left respectively, offering the kind of tactility you’d expect from a flagship phone. 

On the front, there’s a 6.43-inch FHD+ AMOLED panel (which can be considered slightly small by today’s flagship standards) with a 120Hz refresh rate. There is also a very healthy 360Hz touch sampling rate while Realme is claiming a full 100 percent coverage of DCI-P3 wide colour gamut. I can say for sure that the viewing experience on the Realme GT is very much on par with other 1080p screens in the category. Colour accuracy is on point with the kind of contrast ratios and deep blacks that can be expected from a quality AMOLED panel. The 120Hz refresh is definitely very consistent through all the apps and there was no visible stuttering to report. The smart switch between 60Hz and 120Hz has been implemented to help conserve the battery. HDR support is available on the Realme GT, though the variant I have received has the feature disabled. Brightness levels are quite good and while Realme did not provide a specific number, I can say that I didn’t feel the slightest problems with outdoor viewing. 

As far as the optics go, Realme GT packs in a triple-camera setup with a 64MP Sony IMX682 primary sensor, which is supported by an 8MP ultra-wide shooter and a 2MP macro camera. For a flagship phone, I had hoped that Realme would include a telephoto lens instead of a dedicated low-resolution macro lens, but there had to be some cost-cutting to achieve a low price point. The primary shooter takes just about decent shots for a flagship phone. Credit to the Snapdragon 888’s ISP for bringing in good dynamic range and colours retaining a more natural look after post-processing. Exposure and shadows are maintained in a variety of lighting conditions and I was reasonably impressed with the phone’s low-light capability. The dedicated Night Mode is seldom required unless you are shooting pictures with infinitesimal external light, a situation that is going to occur rarely. Even so, the Realme GT stands well below its contemporaries in the camera department. There is nothing spectacular about the 8MP ultra-wide lens which churns out pictures that show a lot of warping at the edges. Lastly, the low-resolution of the macro sensor makes zooming into photos and gathering fine details very difficult. On the front is a standard 16MP selfie shooter that has been used on quite a few Realme phones in the past, and clicks expectedly oversharpened selfies. 

previous arrow
next arrow
Slider

One aspect that Realme has not compromised on is definitely the performance, thanks to the inclusion of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset. Having the fastest silicone running inside your device does come with a lot of benefits. For instance, all basic tasks happen within a blink of an eye, or at least as fast as can be expected on a smartphone. Benchmarks also show a very rosy picture for the Realme GT. You can see the scores below but the bottom line is that you are covered fully as far as processing prowess on the device goes. The same can be said for any kind of heavy games that are thrown at the Realme GT. The 128/256GB of UFS 3.1 storage and 8/12GB of DDR5 RAM help in this regard as well.

There’s an in-display fingerprint sensor that works instantly, face authentication which is mostly snappy and stereo speakers which can be termed above average. As is quite common now on flagship devices, the Realme GT is also 5G capable. I wanted to talk a bit about the software but I can only say that the device runs RealmeUI 2.0 based on Android 11. Since this unit isn’t an Indian retail model, the software it came with is specific to China. The Play Store only worked via a VPN and many Google apps like YouTube and Maps were barely functional. Apart from that, there is lots of bloatware mostly dominated by Chinese apps. The Realme UI on phones launched in India has a much cleaner aesthetic and that is what I would expect on an Indian version of the Realme GT if it does get launched here. 

Talking about the battery, the Realme GT has a decent 4,500mAh cell powering it, which can be charged at 65W. Realme has been consistent with providing fast charging and reliable batteries that can last for over a day with normal usage. For the Realme GT, things remain more or less the same and the power efficiency of the Snapdragon 888 chip helps a lot. I found myself ending my days with about 25- 30 percent battery left after heavy to moderate usage. There is no wireless charging but wired charging can juice up the phone to full in just over 30 minutes. 

Final verdict

While it is unclear if and when the Realme GT is going to be announced in the Indian market, the device doesn’t offer too many things that impress, barring its flagship processor. While the display is about as good as any other phone in the segment, in terms of design and cameras, there are a lot of phones which are better than the Realme GT and that too available at much lower price points. Speaking of which, the Chinese price tag is one of the saving graces for the device. If Realme is to launch the device in India keeping China’s pricing in mind, it can easily make the Realme GT one of the cheapest phones to house the Snapdragon 888 chipset. It remains to be seen if Realme finds it worthwhile to launch a flagship device priced over Rs 30,000 when most of its market share is placed firmly in the budget to mid-range segment. 

Editor’s rating: 3.5 / 5

Pros

  • Speedy performance
  • Gives a headphone jack
  • Fast charging

Cons

  • Average cameras
  • Uninspiring design