The Realme GT2 is an accomplished high-end smartphone with a commendable screen, a great primary camera and more than enough performance. But for the presence of a zoom lens this might have been a simple choice over its more expensive peer, instead it is an excellent smartphone and an easy recommendation for most people.
- Bright AMOLED screen
- Reliable camera
- Very fast charging
- No zoom lens
- Sometimes unreliable fingerprint sensor
- Lots of pre-installed apps
- Superb screen specsThe 6.62-inch AMOLED panel on this phone boasts a 120Hz refresh rate, HDR10+ support, and 1300 nits peak brightness
- 50-megapixel main cameraThe lead wide angle sensor has a high 50-megapixel resolution, and a f/1.8 aperture
- 65W fast chargingAccording to the manufacturer, this phone gets fully charged in just 33 minutes
With every passing month emerges a new price-category of smartphone, if current trends are anything to go by. In recent years we have seen the rise of the mid-range flagship, the ultra-premium flagship, the budget flagship, the reemergence of the ‘flagship killer’ and more. Global mobile phone sales are stalling, and marketers are looking for ways to break the deadlock.
Enter the Realme GT2, which is the sibling of the more premium Realme GT2 Pro. It comes sporting many of the same features, but with a few key differences.
It has a few screen downgrades, doesn’t have quite the latest chipset and lacks certain camera bells and whistles. But as the priciest devices increasingly struggle to justify their outlay with features of dubious utility, does the GT2 represent a sweet spot?
Design and Screen
- Plastic design, intended to feel like paper
- Very good screen
It is a tired line now that every smartphone looks the same, however it is no less true for that fact. With the same basic shape and trends dominating the space for years, mostly all of the devices that are released today roughly resemble one another and can often be difficult to tell apart.
This is only exacerbated by the preponderance of black and white phones, any exciting flashes of colour are an exception rather than the norm. The Realme GT2, thankfully, isn’t afraid to show off a little.
Our review unit came in a fetching shade of pastel green, with an interesting texture on the rear. Rough to the touch (in a pleasant way) it has a feel similar to that of paper, and is nicely grippy as a consequence. This isn’t the kind of smartphone to dive headlong off of a flat table, as so many now want to do.
Build quality seemed solid, with the unit not showing any flex under pressure, and despite the 6.6 inch diagonal on the screen it was mostly easy to use one-handed. An advantage of the plastic design is the savings on weight, at 194g it isn’t insubstantial but feels manageable in the hand.
An unfortunate omission is waterproofing of any kind, this isn’t a smartphone to take out in the rain and needs to be babied somewhat as a consequence.
Moving to the display, the positive impressions continue. The panel is 1080p, AMOLED and 120Hz, all of which combine to provide a great overall experience.
At roughly 398ppi there is enough resolution for most, and the fast refresh rate made scrolling through the interface feel nice and smooth in general. As an AMOLED panel, inky blacks and pleasantly contrasting colours were also a given, without colours ever becoming overly saturated.
The panel can also get plenty bright, with a maximum rating of 1300 nits (with a decidedly lower average rating) it was easy to see even in bright spring sunshine, while still getting easily dark enough for bedtime reading.
In all, this is a great smartphone for almost any kind of content, whether that be video or otherwise. This is only helped by the inclusion of loud stereo speakers, which aren’t the best ever included in a smartphone but which are highly welcome nonetheless.
- 50-megapixel main sensor
- 8-megapixel ultrawide sensor
Though the Realme GT2 boasts many of the same features as its more expensive brethren, there are a few key points at which sacrifices were made with price in mind. The camera system is a clear example.
Despite sporting a fashionable 50MP sensor with OIS and an f/1.8 aperture, it lacks the larger ultrawide sensor found on the GT2 Pro and the innovative ‘microscope’ lens included there. Instead, there is a sole 8MP sensor pulling back-up duty, a significant resolution decrease over the original.
Initial impressions however are certainly solid. The camera app is quick to launch and operate, switching between modes without a stutter. Options are sensibly laid out, roughly mimicking other options on the market, in particular Samsung devices.
Photo quality from the main sensor is good for the most part. Shots produced are full of detail, if a little oversharpened, and dynamic range is wide. Colours have a pleasant degree of saturation, though by activating the ‘AI’ mode they can be kicked into overdrive. With AI mode active, greens in particular go thermonuclear.
In low-light the night mode and optical image stabilisation on the main sensor combine to provide dependable image quality that isn’t quite up there with the best but is respectable nonetheless. I was also pleased to find that autofocus was quick and accurate, managing the not inconsiderable feat of keeping up with a hyperactive toddler.
Things deteriorate when the ultrawide sensor enters the equation. With only 8MP it doesn’t have quite enough resolution to produce impressive images, leaving results lacking detail.
Colours and dynamic range are nonetheless above-average, but this feels like something of a missed opportunity. Another missed opportunity is the lack of a telephoto lens, although ‘lossless’ 2X is offered by the main sensor it isn’t an alternative to a true optical zoom.
Selfies from the 16MP front-facing snapper are decent too, if not class-leading – possessing good detail but lacking dynamic range.
- Snapdragon 888 processor
- 8GB of RAM and 128GB storage by default
- Realme UI software
If the story of the camera on the Realme GT2 is one of compromise, then the story of its performance is the opposite. Boasting 2021’s hottest chipset, plenty of RAM and fast storage, all of the right ingredients are present for promising performance, and that is exactly what is delivered.
Whether it is swiping through the interface or running a graphically intensive game, there is very little that can give the Realme GT2 cause for concern.
Running a graphically intensive title such as Genshin Impact at high graphical settings can cause it to run a little hot, but for the most part, this phone is a pocket-rocket.
The feeling of speed is only aided by the high refresh rate screen, though many games cannot yet take advantage of the higher refresh rates offered. A faster refresh rate means the screen can refresh more often per second, so a 120Hz panel refresh 120 times every second. Until a few years ago, 60Hz was the norm and still can be for devices like the iPhone 13.
In Geekbench 5 the device achieved a single core score of 1130 and a multi core score of 3494, in both cases beating the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. This is to be expected of the Snapdragon 888, and outside the parameters of benchmarking the Realme GT2 never proved to be anything short of nippy.
This feeling of speed is only aided by the Realme UI interface used by the firm. Though it is a deviation from the feel of ‘stock’ Android, the changes made are mostly subtle and welcome. There are options for system-wide dark mode, system-wide search and animations are mostly smooth and stutter-free. Of course, there are issues – chief among them being over-zealous battery management, with apps sometimes being closed in the background without good reason.
Those looking for a more staid version of Android will be better suited with the likes of a Nokia, but for most people the Realme GT2 will prove to be a great mobile companion.
- 5000mAh battery
- Capable of 65W fast charging
- Fast charger supplied in the box
While almost everything on the GT2 seems designed to outcompete the competition in some way, the battery pack included is decidedly average. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – at 5000mAh it is certainly sizeable, but it lacks any kind of x-factor to make it stand out from the crowd.
That is until the question of fast charging comes into play, with the Realme GT2 promising to charge from 0-100% in just over 30 minutes, surely one of the boldest claims on the market today. It is a pleasure to report then that this is mostly accurate, give or take a few percentage points here or there. If you are in a situation where you need juice in a hurry, the Realme GT2 will be your friend.
This kind of ability is freeing in a way that is difficult to anticipate. Once the expectation of charging overnight is eliminated it suddenly becomes possible to plan trips and more in different ways. There are of course questions over the long term battery health implications of fast charging, but this kind of ability really does make a difference.
As for actual longevity, the Realme GT2 isn’t quite a battery champ but will always make it through a full day. Generally starting at 06:30, I was generally able to eke out over five hours of screen on time throughout any given day, with a combination of social media, messaging, reading, streaming and listening to podcasts.
Other use cases may see this change, but I rarely needed to top up before the end of the day. And if you do need to top up, it will only take a matter of minutes to do so.
Should you buy it?
A standout device in a few areas: if you’re looking for a distinctive design, speedy fast-charging, and a great screen.
Those flagship touches: if camera versatility is important to you, if waterproofing is a must, or you want the promise of long-term software support.
Realme, since its inception, has become known for having a strong, brash brand identity, and fittingly the GT2 is a strong, brash smartphone that compares well to the best mid-range phones around. It has good looks, a sturdy build, a great screen, blazing performance, dependable cameras and a killer fast-charging ability, so what is not to like? Preciously little it seems.
But for the inclusion of a zoom lens, or a more competent ultra-wide sensor, some level of waterproofing or the promise of years of updates, the Realme GT2 would be a true top contender in the smartphone world. Instead, it is a highly accomplished entry that deserves to find its way into many pockets, and that may yet do so.
How we test
We test every mobile phone we review thoroughly. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly and we use the phone as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Used as our main handset during test period
Camera tested in variety of situations with all modes
Tested with synthetic benchmarks and real world use
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