Realme GT Review — Pocketable powerhouse but not perfect

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Realme GT Review — Pocketable powerhouse but not perfect
  • Realme GT is the company’s first phone to come with Snapdragon 888.
  • It tries to stand true to its racing DNA with a set of powerful specs for demanding users.
  • While it’s a great phone overall, there is something that makes it a straight no for a set of users. Read the review to find out.
Realme has been making some of the popular value-for-money smartphones, low-cost earbuds and wearables. This time though, the company has launched probably the most attractive smartphone from its stable — the Realme GT — in India.

The Realme GT is a mid-range smartphone that is named after the grand tourer sports car, and to justify the GT tag, it has a sleek racecar-like multi-tone design with powerful interiors.

It reminds me of the OnePlus Concept One, which was the first to showcase disappearing cameras. It has the same yellow and black back panel made of similar textures as the Concept One. The phone also comes in blue and silver variants, which have a completely different look and feel, so the standout factor is attached only to the Racing Yellow.

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The Chinese company has made affordable flagships in the past with its X-series, but this one is the first to come with Snapdragon 888, which is the top-end chipset available in the market. It's not only the chipset that makes it a high-end offering, but other features like its 65W charging, AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate also add to it.

There's a lot to highlight about the Realme GT. So, let's dive straight into the review to find out more.

Realme GT Review — Pocketable powerhouse but not perfect
Realme GT is sleek and handy.Business Insider India

Realme GT price and availability in India

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The Realme GT 5G has been priced starting at ₹37,999 for the 8GB+128GB storage variant and 12GB RAM+256GB storage variant for ₹41,999. It will be available in Dashing Blue, Dashing Silver and Racing Yellow colour options from Flipkart, Realme online store and Realme offline stores starting from August 25.

How is it to use the Realme GT?

The Realme GT we received was the Racing Yellow variant, which has a design that will grab attention when you pull it out of the pocket in a group. It has a yellow faux leather back with a black coloured glass panel that trails horizontally across the camera module. The other two variants have a glossy finish, which don't seem to stand out as much as the yellow variant.

What should be common across all three is the in-hand feel, which to me was the most impressive design element. Unlike today's standard Android phone sizes, the Realme GT has a smaller size. It measures 158.5x73.3x8.4mm and weighs 186 grams. It's not as compact as the iPhone 12, but you can comfortably click the side buttons and reach every corner of the display. Another design element that goes with the sleek form factor is its flush camera bump that doesn't protrude over the surface, but note that has an indirect impact on the camera performance. It also has a 3.5mm audio jack, which is hard to find on modern phones these days.
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Realme GT Review — Pocketable powerhouse but not perfect
Realme GT has a bright, sharp display with 120Hz refresh rate.Business Insider India

The display is a 6.43-inch AMOLED with a punch-hole cut out on the top left corner. It's a bright, vivid and sharp display but the highlight is its 120Hz refresh rate that means the screen updates its frames 120 times per second, which leads to smoother visuals. It comes in handy in gaming, scrolling and for videos with high framerate.

The user interface is for those who like to take control

Realme phones use the company's Realme UI, which is essentially a variant of Oppo's ColorOS, which is known for high-level personalisations. You get to customise the shape, size and look of the icons, fonts, animations and a lot more. While that's something a lot of users prefer, especially, Realme's young customer base. What doesn't go well is the bloatware -- in addition to Google and Realme's proprietary apps, it comes with apps like Booking, DocVault, FinShell Pay, Moj, Josh, Netflix and a few more pre-installed. You can uninstall most of them, but some can't be removed.
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Realme GT Review — Pocketable powerhouse but not perfect
Realme GT's UI is highly customisable, but also comes with tons of bloatware.Business Insider India

The phone is smooth to operate. From navigation to switching between apps, the Snapdragon 888 and 120Hz display work in tandem to offer seamless performance.

Realme GT performance, gaming and battery

The Realme GT is the only phone in its price range that comes with the flagship Snapdragon 888 chipset. It comes in two RAM variants — you can either buy the 8GB RAM variant with 128GB storage or the 12GB RAM variant with 256GB storage. I received the 12GB variant, which naturally offers relatively better performance, but it's comparable to the 8GB as well.
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The phone handles everything from games to multitasking with ease. The app loading time, switching between them and other chops were handled quite impressively, but it did heat up while gaming.

In terms of battery, the phone has a 4500mAh cell that gets charged from 0-100% in 35 minutes. That fast charging is something that is a must because Realme GT's battery backup isn't that impressive. It drains faster compared to the Nord 2 which has the same battery size, but that might be due to the high refresh rate display. Despite that, you should easily get 5-6 hours of screen on time with mixed usage.

Realme GT Review — Pocketable powerhouse but not perfect
The camera UI on Realme GT has a range of features to play with.Business Insider India

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Realme GT camera performance

The Realme GT comes with three cameras on the back and one on the front. The rear has a 64-megapixel primary sensor, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide lens and a 2-megapixel macro camera. On the front, it offers a 16-megapixel camera for selfies and calls.

Realme GT Review — Pocketable powerhouse but not perfect
The camera performance in good light is at par. Can be passed for a phone of this price.Business Insider India

The camera is probably where the Realme GT fails to impress as much as other departments. The rear camera takes good photos, but having used the Nord 2, in comparison, the camera cannot be considered to be the best in this price range. Like most phone cameras in this price range, the primary camera clicks photos with ample details, light and popped up colours.

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Realme GT Review — Pocketable powerhouse but not perfect
Business Insider India

The photos look good on the phone, but Pixels start appearing as you zoom in to shadows and darker areas. Also, the autofocus works well on faces and landscapes but struggles when placed up close to the subject. The results from either of the cameras aren't worth complaining about, but there are occasional issues like overexposure, stability and autofocus.

Realme GT Review — Pocketable powerhouse but not perfect
Portrait shots looked good for social media, but AI enhances skin tone and texture.Business Insider India

The rear camera uses AI magic to enhance the facial beauty on the rear camera as well. Portrait shots in daylight look good in terms of details, but the skin colour is not close to natural, the blurring around the edge and depth also looks artificial.

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Realme GT Review — Pocketable powerhouse but not perfect
Business Insider India

The front camera clicks overly bright and synthetic looking selfies. So if you're one of those who like to have a fair and softened artificial-looking skin in selfies, you might like it. Most original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) use artificial skin enhancement in selfies, but it's a bit overdone on this camera, even after keeping the beauty filter effect at zero.

Realme GT Review — Pocketable powerhouse but not perfect
This selfie is not close to my original skin tone and texture. This was clicked with beauty mode bar set to zero.Business Insider India

Ultrawide shots look decent, but the issues with the main camera seem to linger in this mode as well. The story doesn’t change with the macro lens either. It seems to be a rather useless addition to the mix to make the camera specs look beefy on paper.

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Realme GT Review — Pocketable powerhouse but not perfect
Low light shots look underwhelming.Business Insider India

Other than that, the Realme GT offers tons of camera modes and an artificial intelligence (AI) mode that detects the surroundings and fixes the photos to get the best results. While it's pretty good at detecting scenarios, I am not very sure about the results. It allows 20X digital zoom, the standard night mode, portrait mode, pro mode and others.

On the video front, it lets you record videos up to 4K at 30fps or 60fps. The videos shot on the Realme GT look good, but only when you have good lighting, as you move towards a dimly lit scene, it struggles with autofocusing and even the quality takes a hit.

What could've been better?

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Till now, it's pretty clear that there is no other alternative to the Realme GT in this price range, especially on the performance front. But this smartphone could've been a perfect flagship killer if the camera performed at par with the competition.

Should you buy it?

Like a typical Realme smartphone, the Realme GT also offers solid specs for the price. So much so that it’s the cheapest smartphone powered by the Snapdragon 888 chipset currently in the market and that’s not it - it also has a high refresh rate display, 65W fast charging and decent battery life. That’s great for aggressive users and gamers.

If this is what you are looking for, the Realme GT is a great value-for-money deal. But if you’re someone who likes to click photos, and prefers a clean user interface, there are better options in the same price range, with slightly inferior specifications. At ₹37,999, the Realme GT and the OnePlus Nord 2 are the best options for two different types of users based on where they would want to compromise — performance or camera.
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SEE ALSO:
Realme GT 5G and Realme GT Master Edition with 120Hz display, 65W charging launched starting at ₹25,999
Realme enters the laptop segment in India, prices starting at ₹46,999
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