2021 is shaping up to be a good year for flagship killers, and brands like iQOO, Vivo and Xiaomi have already announced compelling smartphones with top-notch specs in the Rs 30-40K segment. Suffice it to say, buyers are spoilt for choice at the moment and to spice things up even more, Realme recently announced the Realme GT smartphone which, as of writing this review, is the most affordable Snapdragon 888 phone in the market. We did test the phone a while ago, but the device has now been officially launched in India. Seeing how the handset’s price to performance ratio alone warrants a second look, we decided to take it for another spin, so in this review, let’s see if the Realme GT is worth your bucks, or not.
Table of Contents
The Realme GT is a no-nonsense, performance-first phone that will surely appease spec-heads. The smartphone’s stylish design lends it top marks too, but the handset fails to impress in the camera department.
Don’t let the Realme GT’s price tag fool you – the handset has been dressed to the nines by the brand. I was sent the ‘Racing Yellow’ colourway for review, which to me, seems like an amalgamation of the iQOO 7 (review) and the OnePlus Concept One. Design similarities aside, the Realme GT is a looker and the handset will attract eyeballs every time you take it out of your pockets. The back of the phone makes use of a dual-tone finish, comprising a black stripe that extends from the device’s camera module and runs across the phone’s yellow dorsal. What’s more, despite using peppy, contrast-y colours, the Realme GT doesn’t look gaudy – in fact, the handset’s striking looks were, for the most part, met with positive affirmations.
The Realme GT is as functional as it is good-looking. In fact, much like the Realme GT Master Edition (review), the handset ships with a narrow frame and weighs in at just 184 grams. While that’s all good and dandy, I personally adore the vegan leather finish on the Racing Yellow colourway of the phone, which adds a distinctive texture to the mix. Pool everything together and the Realme GT makes for a superbly comfortable daily driver.
Moving on, the Realme GT draws parallels to the Master Edition in terms of ports and buttons. To that note, the device ships with a USB Type-C port at the bottom which is sandwiched between a speaker grille and a headphone jack. The power button and volume rocker can be found on either side of the phone’s frame and both toggles were adequately tactile too. I should add that unlike the Realme GT Master Edition, the GT comes with a dual-speaker setup, which is neat. The handset’s biometrics are top-notch as well, and the in-display fingerprint sensor, as well as the facial recognition tech, offered stellar accuracy and dependability.
Display and Audio
The Realme GT ships with the same display as the Realme GT Master Edition, which is mostly a good thing. You see, the panel on offer here measures in at 6.43-inches and makes use of AMOLED tech, thereby treating users to punchy, vivid hues and deep contrast levels. The icing on the cake is that the display refreshes at 120Hz and comes with full HD+ resolution, making it plenty smooth and pixel-dense to consume media on the fly. My only qualm with the display is that it doesn’t support HDR playback from OTT services like Netflix, which is inexcusable at the handset’s asking price.
On the bright side, the display offers a touch sampling rate of 360Hz, ensuring it’s plenty snappy for hardcore mobile gamers. Interestingly, the panel is accompanied by dual ambient light sensors which automatically vary the display’s brightness to match the surroundings. I did notice that the handset acclimated to different lighting conditions in a jiffy, so this is undoubtedly a nifty feature to have in your arsenal.
Thankfully, unlike the Master Edition, the Realme GT ships with dual speakers that make a world of difference when watching TV shows or movies on the phone. Heck, you even get some semblance of spatial awareness when playing games like Call of Duty Mobile without earphones on the phone. And, when you want to tune everyone out, you can connect a trusty ol’ pair of 3.5mm headphones to the phone too. All said and done, the Realme GT will not leave you wanting for more in the audio department.
The Realme GT ships with a triple-camera stack towards the back, comprising a 64MP Sony IMX 682 sensor which works alongside an 8MP UW sensor with a 119-degree FoV and a 2MP macro sensor. For selfies, the device gets a 16MP selfie shooter up front. Now, I have already compared the Realme GT’s cameras to that of the Mi 11X Pro (review). I’ll jot down some of the key takeaways from that comparison below, which hold true for this review as well –
The Realme GT’s primary sensor clicks good photos during the day with ample sharpness. What’s more, the handset’s HDR processing isn’t too over the top and consequently, the colours in the scene don’t steer too far away from reality. That said, the handset struggles to expose shadows properly. In essence, you’ll be hard-pressed to identify elements in the darkened parts of any photo.
I did pit the handset’s camera against the Mi 11X Pro as well as the iQOO 7 Legend (review). Compared to the Mi 11X Pro, the Realme GT’s photos offer more realistic colours. What’s more, the handset’s zoom capabilities are also a notch above Xiaomi’s offering. However, the Mi 11X Pro resolves shadows better and introduces lesser noise in the composition too.
The iQOO 7 Legend, on the other hand, is by far the best shooter of the lot. Take this shot of my apartment complex, for example. Here, you’ll notice that the iQOO 7 Legend’s post-processing doesn’t oversharpen the elements in the frame. Moreover, Realme GT also introduces a pink cast in the composition, which is evident if you look at the building closely.
iQOO 7 Legend (left), Realme GT (right)
The wide-angle images too were better on the iQOO 7 Legend. The Realme GT’s wide-angle images often had purple fringing, especially when clicking photos in bright, well-lit scenarios. A software tweak could fix a lot of these issues, so I hope folks at Realme are paying attention.
The low light images from the phone weren’t all that bad and you will find them to be on par with the competition. In fact, when compared to the Mi 11X Pro, I noticed that the Realme GT’s shot had less oversharpening at a closer crop. However, the image also had relatively more noise in the frame.
The Realme GT’s 16MP front snapper clicks quality selfies and the photos I snapped with the phone were plenty sharp and had reasonably accurate skin tones too. The portrait mode doesn’t map out the cleanest of blurs, though, so there’s certainly room for improvement here as well.
Performance and Software
As prefaced previously, the Realme GT’s claim to fame (at least one of them) is that it’s the most affordable phone to ship with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 processor. In fact, the device undercuts its rivals by almost Rs 2K. Now, I’m sure you’re no stranger to Snapdragon 888 benchmark scores but, at the expense of sounding like a broken record, I’d like to run them by you again. Let’s start with Antutu and here, the device benched north of seven lakh points (7,66,629 points, to be precise).
In GeekBench, the handset secured 1,134 and 3,225 points in single-core and multi-core tests, which once again, were on par with the competition. Lastly, to test the handset’s UFS 3.1 storage, I ran AndroBench and here, the Realme GT yielded sequential read and write speeds of 1,807.9MB/s and 749.89MB/s respectively. Suffice it to say, the Realme GT performs like a true-blue flagship.
It goes without saying that you can max out pretty much any game on the phone too. BGMI, for instance, runs at the HDR graphics and Extreme frame rate (60 fps) smoothly, and you even have the option of downloading the UltraHD 4K texture pack on the phone. The same goes for Call of Duty Mobile too, which runs at the ‘Max’ frame rate preset with the graphics set to ‘Very High’ as well. What’s more, you can even enable other graphics settings without taking a hit on your in-game fps, including Anti-aliasing, etc.
Of course, much like any SD888 phone, the Realme GT runs a tad hot. To the phone’s credit, I didn’t notice any heating issues whilst gaming on the device. However, I did stress-test the SoC to see how it would perform under sustained loads. To that note, the device dipped a couple thousand points in three consecutive Antutu runs. Moreover, the handset’s temperature spiked to around 48 degrees as well. Lastly, in the CPU Throttle test, the handset’s performance throttled to 77 percent of its maximum output.
Don’t get me wrong, the Realme GT performs admirably and you will rarely run into instances where the phone’s performance throttled owing to rising temperatures. However, under strenuous loads, the device will heat up, much like any other SD888 handset. Moving on, the smartphone ships with Realme UI v2.0 that runs on top of Android 11. I wrote in detail about the interface in my review of the GT Master Edition so, if you want more insights on the same, do check it out.
Battery life and Connectivity
The Realme GT is backed by a 4,500mAh cell which doesn’t last all that long, especially if you are using the phone extensively and with the display set to refresh at 120Hz. During my testing, I was averaging around five hours of screen-on time with the phone, but I do consider myself to be a heavy user. As such, my usage involved running benchmarks, playing games and browsing various social media platforms throughout the day. So, you can get better battery backup if you use the phone judiciously.
That said, the handset charges stupendously fast, thanks to its 65W SuperDart charger, ensuring I never had to wait for it to refuel even after I’d exhausted the battery completely. In fact, the device managed to charge completely in a little under 30 minutes, which is nuts. I had a pleasant experience using my Airtel 4G SIM on the phone too, and at no point during the review period did I run into any network-related issues. The handset is 5G capable as well, and comes with support for NFC too, among other things. All said and done, the Realme GT checks all the right boxes in the connectivity and battery department.
So, where does that leave us? Is the Realme GT the real deal? Well, as prefaced previously, there’s no shortage of high-end, Snapdragon 888-backed phones in the market. The Realme GT is but the latest addition to what seems like the newest fad amongst smartphone vendors. Now, the handset starts at Rs 37,999, making it cheaper than the competition right off the gate. Ergo, if you are a performance fiend, then you really can’t go wrong with the Realme GT – the device has all the makings of a flagship killer and it doesn’t disappoint in the performance department in any way whatsoever.
However, the device’s camera setup isn’t the best and those looking for better photography chops will find the iQOO 7 Legend to be a superior handset. Moreover, unlike the iQOO 7 Legend, the Realme GT or the Mi 11X Pro don’t ship with any added niceties, like a pressure-sensitive display either. That’s partly why I like iQOO’s offering so much – the company has reworked the flagship-killer formula and in doing so, have put forth a device that truly stands out.
So, if you find yourself at an impasse and can’t decide which flagship killer to go for, ask yourself if you really care about the Rs 2K markup on the iQOO 7 Legend. If not, then you’ll find much better value in iQOO’s offering. However, if you’re operating on a strict budget or just want the most inexpensive flagship killer, then the Realme GT is not a bad option either.