Realme GT Neo 2 5G review: Great performance, fine display but camera needs work

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Realme GT Neo 2 5G review: Great performance, fine display but camera needs work
Shadab Akhtar Rabbani/ Business Insider India
  • The Realme GT Neo 2 starts at ₹31,999 for the 8GB/128GB variant.
  • The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 870 chipset.
  • It has plenty of good things to offer but misses out on other features.
  • Read the full review to see if this would be a good buy.
Realme is known to offer some killer specifications at a highly competitive price. The company has now added another name to its GT series — Realme GT Neo 2 5G. This mid-range device is touted as the flagship killer for its performance at a lower price.

The smartphone is powered by one of Qualcomm’s most efficient chipsets, Snapdragon 870. In India, it adds to Realme's GT series that includes the recently launched Realme GT 5G and Realme GT Master Edition.

In this review, we will see what the device has to offer in terms of design, display, performance, battery life and does it make for an alluring option for its price. We will also compare some of its specifications to its competitors like Xiaomi Mi 11X 5G, Samsung Galaxy M52 5G and iQOO 7 and see what’s better here and what’s missing. So, without further ado, let’s dive in to find out what’s on offer.

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Pricing


The Realme GT Neo 2 starts at ₹31,999 for the 8GB RAM and 128GB storage variant and ₹35,999 for the 12GB RAM and 256GB storage variant. It comes in three colour options: Neo Green, Neo Blue and Neo Black. The review unit we received is the 12GB/256GB variant in Neo Black colour.

Design


The phone features a polycarbonate back with a smooth matte finish. It reflects dual shades when light falls on it. The back is claimed to be scratch resistant and which seems true as of writing this review, but it does catch fingerprints easily. Even though the body is plastic, it looks quite premium and feels exquisite to touch.
Realme GT Neo 2 5G review: Great performance, fine display but camera needs work
The back of the phone looks premium. Shadab Akhtar Rabbani
The camera bump with triple sensors is accommodated at the top left side of the back and a Realme branding in silver colour is placed below it.
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In the front, it houses a selfie camera in a punch-hole cut out at the top left side of the screen and at the bottom centre, we have the in-display fingerprint scanner, which wasn’t as responsive as it should be in 2021. The phone also comes with a face unlock feature which is very swift.
Realme GT Neo 2 5G review: Great performance, fine display but camera needs work
We do not have the 3.5mm audio jack with this phone.Shadab Akhtar Rabbani
The Realme GT Neo 2 accommodates the dual SIM tray like most phones of its segment, along with the USB Type-C port and one of the dual stereo speakers. The dual speakers come with Dolby Atmos support and deliver loud and clear audio.
Realme GT Neo 2 5G review: Great performance, fine display but camera needs work
One drawback of the design is the lack of additional storage option in the SIM tray or elsewhere.Shadab Akhtar Rabbani
The power button is on the right side of the phone while the volume buttons are on the left. All the buttons can be accessed easily with a single-handed operation.
Realme GT Neo 2 5G review: Great performance, fine display but camera needs work
The volume buttons are placed on the left side of the phone.Shadab Akhtar Rabbani
The phone is slightly heavier than its competitors, weighing 200g, while Xiaomi Mi 11X and iQoo 7 weigh 196g and Samsung Galaxy M52 even lighter. In the box, you also get an opaque back cover that can help prevent damage from falls and catching fingerprints on the back.

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Overall, the body feels bulky, having recently finished using the Samsung Galaxy M52 5G, but the weight of the phone is balanced and single-handed usage is possible. One drawback of the design is the lack of additional storage option as it doesn’t support MicroSD cards in the SIM tray or elsewhere. It doesn’t feature the 3.5mm audio jack, but that is for most phones in this price segment.

Display


It has a 6.62-inch AMOLED display with a screen-to-body ratio of 92.6%. The display has relatively thin bezels except for the chin.

It offers a high 120Hz refresh rate which makes the scrolling and gaming experience smooth. The refresh rate can be lowered down to the standard 60Hz or adaptive refresh rate that automatically selects the best refresh rate for a particular application.
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Realme GT Neo 2 5G review: Great performance, fine display but camera needs work
The display supports up to 120Hz refresh rate. Shadab Akhtar Rabbani
Using the phone under sunlight is not a hassle as it offers 1300 nits of peak brightness and it shows. The phone comes with HDR10+ support for videos and offers finer picture quality with high contrast and better details. The colours look boosted with more depth while viewing high-resolution videos.
Realme GT Neo 2 5G review: Great performance, fine display but camera needs work
The colours look boosted with more depth while viewing high-resolution videos.<br>
It comes with a 600Hz touch sampling rate, which is to ensure the screen responds more naturally to your touches. Although it’s very hard to tell the difference if you have used recent flagship phones, it is noticeable if you switch from a phone with a lower touch sampling rate.

Performance


The GT Neo 2 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 SoC, which is the same as found on its competitors Xiaomi Mi 11X and iQOO 7 while the Samsung Galaxy M52 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G. The phone offers 5G support that makes it ready to be used when 5G rolls out in India.

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The performance is consistent across various applications and the system. I did not notice any lags while switching between applications or loading them. As I mentioned in the design, the fingerprint sensor is not at par with today’s standards in terms of speed and accuracy. We hope this would be fixed soon via OTA update.

The GT Neo 2 comes with a thermal management system that is supposed to improve heat dissipation and lower the heating from resource-intensive applications. However, I did notice slight heating after 45 minutes to an hour of gaming.

Gaming


The phone can handle heavy games like Asphalt 9 and Playgrounds Mobile India effortlessly even at the highest graphic settings. Its vivid display with a high-performance chipset makes gaming an enjoyable experience.
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Realme GT Neo 2 5G review: Great performance, fine display but camera needs work
The phone could handle heavy games like Asphalt 9 effortlessly.Shadab Akhtar Rabbani
It has a GT mode for g that is supposed to enhance the gaming performance by boosting the CPU performance, setting the refresh rate to maximum and increasing the touch sampling rate, but we did not notice noticeable improvements while gaming.

The heating can be an issue if you like to play for long hours. For others, the overall gaming experience was very fluid and can be easily recommended.

Battery


It features a 5,000mAh battery, which is the same as that found in Samsung Galaxy M52 and larger than its other competitors. The screen on time isn’t as much as I could get on the Galaxy M52. Here, I get about 6-7 hours of screen time with mixed usage that includes gaming and watching video content.
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But to compensate for a mediocre battery life it offers charging speeds that are quite commendable with its 65W SuperDart charger. Realme claims to fully charge the phone in 36 minutes and when I tested it, it went from 5% to 100% in exactly 42minutes, which is quite impressive. Realme always bags an extra point for its charging technology, and it’s actually a useful addition for any user.

Camera


The phone comes with a triple-camera set-up at the back with a 64MP primary sensor with an f/1.8 aperture. The other two sensors include an 8MP ultra-wide lens and a 2MP macro lens. In the front, we have a 16MP selfie camera.
Realme GT Neo 2 5G review: Great performance, fine display but camera needs work
A triple camera set-up with 64MP primary sensor.Shadab Akhtar Rabbani
The 64MP resolution it offers with the primary sensor is higher than the 48MP sensor on the iQoo 7 and Mi 11X. The Galaxy M52 has the best camera features overall with a 64MP rear camera lens and a 32MP front camera sensor.
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Realme GT Neo 2 5G review: Great performance, fine display but camera needs work
Image taken with main camera lens.Shadab Akhtar Rabbani
Talking about the rear camera performance, it is at par with the competitors, but not as good as the Nord 2, especially in daylight. In the daylight, the photos look very sharp and the colours have depth in them. They have a high dynamic range, especially when the photos are clicked with objects having high contrast. The white-balance is good in outdoor lighting, but the exposure may be inconsistent at times especially when you try to click a moving object.
Realme GT Neo 2 5G review: Great performance, fine display but camera needs work
Another image taken with the primary sensor in photo mode. Shadab Akhtar Rabbani
Images clicked using the ultra-wide lens in daylight look decent until you zoom in when it starts to appear grainy. Pictures clicked using the macro mode are out of focus. When I tried clicking images of a flower from a close range in the macro hoping to get a clear close up of the petal, the results came out blurry even after giving it multiple tries.
Realme GT Neo 2 5G review: Great performance, fine display but camera needs work
Image taken using ultra-wide lens.Shadab Akhtar Rabbani
At night, the performance of the camera diminishes significantly, especially in areas with fewer light sources. However, with Night mode you could capture some more light and colours. But the images still remained blurry.
Realme GT Neo 2 5G review: Great performance, fine display but camera needs work
Image in Boken mode with blurry background.Shadab Akhtar Rabbani
In terms of video, the rear cameras allow you to capture videos in 4K, 1080p and 720p at both 60fps and 30fps. The videos that I took appear highly saturated and the phone could also pick the audio with great clarity. However, the phone does not come with optical image stabilisation and it may capture shaky footage or you have to hold your phone steadily.

As for the modes, you can click images with the normal photo mode, Bokeh mode, 64-megapixel for clicking high-resolution images, starry mode, pro-mode, panorama, ultra macro and street mode. The videos can be recorded in the normal video mode, slo-mo, movie mode for experts and a dual video mode that captures footage using both the front and back camera.
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Realme GT Neo 2 5G review: Great performance, fine display but camera needs work
16MP selfie camera.Shadab Akhtar Rabbani
As for the performance of the front camera, the pictures I clicked did have some artificial enhancement, but the colour reproduction is close to natural and it did not make me look fairer or darker.

You can shoot videos using the front camera in both 1080p and 720p resolutions. The front camera can also be used in the night mode and the portrait mode.

The camera app was very responsive and the loading time was very less. I did not face any hiccups while switching the camera or swapping between various modes.

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The camera performance is good enough for anyone who likes to take occasional photos and can work with something that clicks social media worthy pictures. Unlike some of its features, it is far from what flagship devices from Samsung, Apple or even OnePlus have to offer.

Software


It comes with Realme UI version 2.0 running on Android 11. The UI looks clean with plenty of options to customise your display, such as changing the layout, wallpapers, icons and more.

It allows you to switch to eye-comfort mode to prevent the straining of eyes while reading. Along with it, you can also operate your phone in dark mode. There is an option to enhance the colour of videos and sharpen the images by switching on the O1 Ultra Vision Engine.
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It also comes with plenty of bloatware applications such as Moj, Daily Hunt, Josh, Soloop and others. It has plenty of apps pre-installed including Amazon, Prime Videos, Amazon Music. However, you can delete most of the unwanted apps except for the systems applications such as clock, calculator, compass, HeyTap Cloud and others.

Verdict


The Realme GT Neo 2 provides excellent performance at the cost of low battery life. But it compensates for that with a fast charger. The camera is just mediocre, but the display is highly responsive and works well for most use cases.

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When compared to its competitors, it offers similar specifications and features at a slightly higher price. It can be considered for a high-performance chipset, its dual stereo speakers and the 65W fast-charging support.

But if you are looking for a sleeker device, the Samsung Galaxy M52 5G can a good choice for its lightweight design, additional storage option, better battery life and slightly lower price, however, you should note that its chipset is not as powerful as we have it on the Realme GT Neo 2, or the iQoo 7 or the Mi 11X.

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