First Impressions: Realme GT 3 Review
The Realme GT 3 is a phone that can fully charge in less than 10 minutes.
- USARRP: $649
- Ridiculously fast chargingA full 0-100% charge in less than 10 minutes
- Snappy specsSnapdragon 8+ Gen 1, upto 16GB memory and 1TB storage
- RGB lightingRGB notification light on the back
Launched originally for the China market under a different name, the Realme GT 3 is the follow-up to one of my favourite phones of 2022.
Sadly though, this new device bears almost no resemblance to the paper-finished GT 2. Instead, the Realme GT 3 focuses on one thing – charging speeds.
During the launch event at MWC 2023, Realme spent just about all the runtime hyping up how fast the charging on this phone was and decided against mentioning much else.
That makes one thing very clear – this is a phone for those who want to get a 0-100% charge in less than 10 minutes, but maybe not too many others.
Design and Screen
- Ditches the papery finish of the GT2
- Fairly mundane overall look
- Smooth, matte back feels nice
The Realme GT 2 (and the even better Pro sibling) stood out for many reasons. They were compact devices with a unique papery finish on the back. This textured panel added extra grip and a look that stood out from the crowded market.
The new Realme GT 3 doesn’t seem like it was designed to follow on from its predecessor. Instead, Realme has taken a device already released in China and rebadged it for other markets with a different name. This is a real shame, as everything that made the GT 2 series look and feel so good has been ditched.
Instead of the textured back, the GT 3 has a matte glass finish, available in either white or black. It’s soft to the touch and doesn’t pick up any fingerprints, but it’s far from eye-catching.
Sitting at the top of the phone’s back is a massive camera module that includes, for some reason unknown to me, a fake version of the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chip under the transparent layer. It’s a bizarre design choice and one that I would want to cover up immediately with a case.
There’s also a ring of RGB lighting around a small portion of the camera that can light up when incoming messages arrive or you start charging or gaming.
This is a pure gimmick, and while having a choice of colours to pick from offers more customisation than some of the competition, you need to have the phone screen down to even see it.
The front of the phone is dominated by a large 6.74-inch AMOLED screen featuring typical Android specs like HDR support and a fast refresh rate.
From my short time with the device ahead of launch, it does look like a very bright display, comfortably staying visible even under intense event lighting.
- 240w charging
- Full charge in less than 10 minutes, 50% in 4 minutes
- Hefty charging brick included
The Realme GT 3 is really all about one thing, and that’s the ridiculously fast charging speeds the phone is capable of achieving.
A full charge of the 4600mAh battery (from 0-100%) in less than 10 minutes! 50% in four minutes! 20% in around 80 seconds!
These numbers will be an absolute revelation to anyone who uses a recent iPhone or Samsung Galaxy flagship, both of which charge fairly slowly. And Realme is claiming 240w is the maximum limit of what its current USB–C cables can output.
Having such fast charging speeds available changes how you think about a phone’s battery life. If I can charge up to 50% in the time it takes to make a cup of tea then I will certainly worry less about always needing a phone to make it through more than a day on a single charge.
You will need to use the very specific charger and cable that come, thankfully, in the box to achieve these speeds and there’s no wireless charging – but having charging speeds like this is really quite an impressive feat.
My main cause of concern with anything that charges rapidly is how those speeds damage the battery over the long-term use of the phone. Realme claims that an AI system alters the speed of the charge depending on the environment, and it will slow it down if you’re sleeping or driving. It also claims the battery should be good for 1600 charge cycles before the battery capacity drops to 80%. This is a lot more than many devices, which often claim around 800 charge cycles before the battery capacity starts to degrade.
Finally, Realme has added temperature sensors and a fireproof shield to the battery design. If you’re having to highlight this, then maybe shaving a couple of minutes of the charge time isn’t really worth it. Still, getting a full charge of a phone in just over nine minutes is very impressive stuff.
We’ll of course be putting the battery claims to the test, along with how long the battery will last when in use when we put the Realme GT 3 through our in-depth review process.
Performance and Camera
- Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset
- Up to 1TB storage, 16GB RAM
Considering it’s going to be sold with a starting price of $649, the Realme GT 3 has decent specs for its mid-range tag.
Powering the phone is the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset, alongside RAM options of up to 16GB and storage options of up to 1TB. This isn’t the current flagship chip from Qualcomm, but it remains very capable and powerful and is a smart choice for this price point.
On the back of the Realme GT 3 there’s a main 50MP, 8MP ultrawide and 2MP microscopic camera for getting really close to subjects. Considering Realme didn’t mention the camera at all during the launch event, it’s clear imaging isn’t really a priority here.
The Realme GT 3 has a single reason to exist – to offer ridiculously fast charging. There’s no doubt that getting a full charge in around nine minutes is a great feature, yet it does feel like the rest of the phone has almost been forgotten about as a result.