The best Realme phone to date has ample performance, a great screen and versatile set of cameras, all wrapped up in an eco-conscious shell that feels almost as premium as the considerably more expensive competition. For a company best known for its more affordable handsets, this is proof it can also deliver at the high-end – although without a telephoto rear camera or wireless charging, it isn’t quite on the same level as true flagship rivals.
- Gorgeous display
- Flagship-grade performance
- Excellent battery life and fast charging
- Lacks a dedicated telephoto camera
- Paper-like design will divide opinion
- No wireless charging or IP rating
- UKRRP: £699
- EuropeRRP: €749
- Interesting designThe rear has a papery finish with a lovely texture and extra grip
- Unique camera skills150-degree ultra wide camera is very wide and paired with 40x micro-lens
- Speedy internalsThis is a fast phone, with the Qualcomm 8 Gen 1 chip and 120Hz display
Realme has quickly morphed from the budget division of Chinese smartphone supergroup BBK Electronics to something altogether more premium, and there’s no better example of this than GT 2 Pro.
It might sit beneath more expensive rivals like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus, and does without a few top-end features to hit a considerably lower price point, but now sits in the same “upper mid-range flagship” territory as stablemates Oppo and OnePlus.
With greater endurance, a superior screen and an improved set of rear cameras, it’s a comfortable step up from last year’s Realme GT, and the firm also has one eye on sustainability. Plastics used in packaging have been cut dramatically, the phone uses a more carbon-friendly biopolymer construction, and Realme has pledged to plant a tree for every GT 2 handset purchased directly through its website.
While it has a lot in common with the OnePlus 10 Pro, Realme’s environmentally-responsible approach and stellar all-round performance helps it stand out and earn my recommendation. Having used it as my main handset for the past week, there’s very little it gets wrong for the money, although the lack of a dedicated telephoto camera might encourage mobile photographers to widen their budget and look elsewhere.
Design and Screen
- Eco-friendly bio-based polymer
- High refresh rate display with punch colours
According to Realme, the bio-polymer plastic that gives the GT 2 Pro its distinctive appearance is a first in the phone world, and made in a process that produces a 35% smaller carbon footprint than other materials.
Cynics might say the eco aspect is merely a positive way to spin asking £700 for a phone with a plastic back, but once I got it in my hands, it quickly grew on me. The delicately textured finish looks great, and is effectively fingerprint-proof, not requiring a polish the entire time I was testing it.
Admittedly it isn’t as premium to the touch as the glass rear panels you’ll find on pricier handsets, and not everyone will appreciate designer Naoto Fukasawa’s signature sitting pride-of-place next to the rear camera module. There’s a more subtle black handset that ditches this for a plain black glass rear, although I’ve yet to see it so can’t say if it’s a better choice. Personally, I think you can’t really go wrong with mint green.
In all other respects the GT 2 Pro looks and feels like a flagship phone, with a metal frame, knurled power button and minimal camera module, which only protrudes out a small way from the back of the phone. At 189g it feels reasonably light, and at 8.2mm it’s as slim as most premium rivals.
There’s a choice of facial recognition or in-display fingerprint sensor unlocking, with the latter being my preferred method while I’m still regularly wearing a face mask. It’s not the fastest sensor I’ve used, but almost always unlocks the phone in less than a second.
With no official IP water resistance rating, there’s no indication of how well the GT 2 Pro will hold up against the elements, but at least the 6.7-inch screen is well protected. Gorilla Glass Victus is among the strongest smartphone glass available today, and even after a week of sliding in and out of my pocket, it remained entirely scratch-free.
The GT 2 Pro isn’t alone in having a second-gen LTPO display, which can vary its refresh rate from 1Hz to 120Hz on the fly to reduce power consumption – but it is one of the first I’ve used with a completely flat panel. The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and Xiaomi 12 Pro have curved screens, which can reflect sunlight in a distracting manner. There’s none of that here.
As I would expect from an OLED, it delivers perfect blacks and exceptional image contrast, which made Netflix streaming on the go an absolute joy. There’s a slight blue tint to white images when using the out-of-box Vivid colour mode, but the Natural colour profile manages to largely get this under control.
Realme quotes a peak brightness of 1400 nits, which falls short of that promised by the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus, but as this is a much cheaper phone, I don’t think this is an especially black mark. Outdoor visibility is excellent, even in bright sunlight.
The 3216×1440 resolution is pin-sharp, and packs more pixels than any other Realme phone to date. I was happy to leave both resolution and refresh rate control up to the phone, as it can usually be relied upon to give you the best possible image, but you can take manual control over both if you prefer.
- Triple-sensor rear camera
- Capable in all lighting conditions
- Microscope lens a niche addition
In many ways, the GT 2 Pro represents a real step forward for Realme on the photography front, although its three-lens setup leans quite heavily on gimmicks to stand out.
The 50-megapixel ultrawide sensor, for example, has an unrivalled 150-degree field of view (FOV) and optional fisheye mode. The third lens is a 3-megapixel microscope, which delivers up to 40x magnification in a similar style to last year’s Oppo Find X3 Pro, using the camera’s flash to illuminate your subject. Is either a reason to buy the phone?
I’m not convinced the microscope is, even if it’s fun to uncover the hidden details in everyday objects. The incredibly narrow focal range requires a very steady hand to get a sharp image, and the digital zoom needed for 40x magnification sees detail take quite a hit. If its inclusion was at the expense of a dedicated telephoto lens, I’m not sure it was worth it.
I was far more impressed by the main sensor, which delivers sharp, detailed images with a wide dynamic range. Even trickier exposures are handled well, although darker areas of images can begin to appear a little noisy when you go looking for it. Colour saturation is refreshingly true-to-life, albeit a little inconsistent. The AI scene recognition boosts things a fair bit, so could be worth using if you prefer a punchier image.
You can take full 50-megapixel images if you want, but the extra detail gained is offset by the increased noise and dip in sharpness. I preferred to stick to the standard 12-megapixel setting, which combines multiple pixels very effectively.
There’s no shortage of filters and effects available through the camera app, though I wasn’t blown away by many of them. Street mode boosts contrast and tweaks colours in a way that not everyone will find appealing, and portraits were softer than I’d expect given the pixel count, although the artificial bokeh blur managed to detect edges fairly consistently.
Photos taken at night were almost as detailed as those taken during the daytime, even before I switched on the dedicated night mode. HDR helps preserve the well-illuminated parts of a scene without sacrificing the shadows, or making you wait for seconds at a time between shutter presses. Night mode sharpens things up a bit, but the processing has a light touch that doesn’t make the end result look unrealistic.
With no telephoto lens, the GT 2 Pro relies purely on cropping and digital zoom, and although the results at 2x are perfectly usable, with good amounts of detail and dynamic range, things drop off quickly when you increase the magnification.
The ultrawide lens is the GT 2 Pro’s trump card, producing results that come very close to matching the main sensor in all lighting conditions. What I assume is a bit of digital lens correction means things are a little softer overall, but colour, exposure and detail are comfortably among the very best wide-angle smartphone cameras. The fisheye effect allows for distinctive images that I’d be happy to share on social media, with dramatic barrel distortion and great clarity, albeit with an even softer presentation.
The 32-megapixel front-facing camera can snap a crisp selfie, with lots of detail and dynamic range when HDR is switched on. I would have liked a little more colour, though. Some pictures ended up looking washed out, even when being sure to shoot away from the sun.
- Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 a true flagship chipset
- Stellar performance across the board
With power coming from Qualcomm’s latest and greatest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, there was never any doubt the GT 2 Pro would be a top performer – and yet I was still impressed with how fluid and responsive it felt to use.
Apps opened almost instantly, I could swipe and scroll without any delays, and multitasking was a breeze thanks to the 12GB of memory. In our benchmark tests, it outperformed the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus by a considerable margin, with GPU performance being particularly high-scoring.
A vapour chamber that’s over 25% larger than the one inside last year’s Realme GT is partly to thank, helping to tame the heat produced by the processor. Even after an hour of Black Desert Mobile, the phone never felt warm to the touch.
It was a shame, then, that games would only play at an indicated 60fps, even with the performance-boosting GT mode enabled. While I could run demanding titles like Call of Duty Mobile at their maximum detail settings and still enjoy a perfectly smooth experience, it felt like I was missing out on higher refresh rate gameplay when the screen is technically capable of it. Hopefully this is something Realme can address with a software update.
One the software front, Realme UI 3.0 is a distinctive-looking yet refreshingly hands-off take on Android 12. Gesture navigation, a familiar-looking app drawer and simple notification tray are all a close match to vanilla Android, and I liked how the more advanced functions were accessible through the Settings menu, rather than enabled by default. It makes the transition from another manufacturer’s Android skin a much smoother process than it can be elsewhere.
The screen is particularly customisable, with options for boosting the brightness of HDR content, making video playback smoother, and sharpening the overall presentation. Multiple colour modes give fine-grain control over the overall appearance, with Natural delivering the most true-to-life image.
With 256GB of on-board storage, it’s hard to complain about the lack of microSD card support. Even with my entire music library copied to it, I still had ample capacity left.
Realme has committed to three major operating system updates, as well as four years of security updates, so the phone should potentially see an update to Android 15 later down the line. That’s a respectable lifespan, albeit a step behind Samsung and its five years of security patches – and a long way off Apple’s extensive iOS support.
- Excellent all-day battery life
- Wired charging only, but it’s rapid
Despite having a large, high-resolution screen and powerful Snapdragon CPU, I was impressed by the GT 2 Pro’s staying power. The 5000mAh battery matches many of its closest rivals on paper, but Realme has somehow managed to make it stretch much further here, comfortably lasting into a second day of general use.
Even once I added in a bit of gaming and HDR video streaming, I saw north of seven hours of screen-on time and still had a little juice remaining at bedtime. The LTPO display helps out here, only increasing its refresh rate when needed, and forcing 120Hz on all the time sees battery life take a noticeable hit. Enabling GT mode, which cranks every possible setting up in pursuit of performance, is even more power-draining.
There’s no wireless charging, which might come as a disappointment to some, but at least Realme includes a wired charging adaptor in the box. It’s capable of 65W rapid charging, which is able to deliver a complete empty-to-full refill in just 33 minutes. A 50% charge takes just under 15. This is significantly faster than any of Samsung’s latest handsets, including the much more expensive Galaxy S22 Ultra.
Should you buy it?
For flagship performance with an environmental edge, few rivals come close. It has excellent battery life, rapid charging and a fantastic display, at a very tempting price.
Fish-eye and microscope cameras have niche appeal, and not everyone will consider the paper-like polymer finish premium enough for a flagship phone
The GT 2 Pro is a proper statement of intent from Realme. The high quality display, excellent battery life and versatile cameras make for an exceptionally well-rounded device, while performance is on par with flagship phones that cost considerably more.
Its eco credentials are also to be applauded. The use of bio-based polymer plastics could easily be written off as a greenwashing gimmick, but I think they look and feel suitably premium, and any steps taken to reduce the environmental impact of our tech are positive ones.
Now that the astonishingly low early bird pricing offer has ended, though, it faces strong competition – including from within its own camp, courtesy of the OnePlus 10 Pro, which swaps the niche microscope camera for a more practical telephoto. Without the handful of extras that would’ve made it truly exceptional, it isn’t quite a slam dunk – but it comes closer than any Realme handset ever has before.
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.
Tested as main phone for 5 days
All camera modes tested in a variety of situations
Tested with synthetic benchmarks and real world use
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You can buy the Realme GT 2 Pro in three different colours: Steel Black, Paper Green and Paper White
Yes, the Realme GT 2 Pro supports 5G networks, although you’ll need a 5G data plan to use them
One of the biggest features of the Realme GT 2 Pro is its rapid charging and yes, there is a charger included in the box
There is no wireless charging of any kind on the Realme GT 2 Pro, which is a shame, but understandable given the price.
Trusted Reviews test data
Here’s how the Realme GT 2 Pro performs in our suite of tests. The performance here is fantastic, with strong battery life in streaming tests and high Geekbench benchmark scores.