Smartphone names are starting to sound a lot like names of fast cars. GT seems to be the preferred choice. Fair enough. Goes well with a powerful car. Gives the impression of a fast phone too. The newest one to get on the GT bandwagon is the Realme GT 5G, part of the new series that replaces the X series flagship killer phones, and one of the two phones that usher in the GT era. To be fair, the Android flagship killer space has seen considerable movement recently, which included the OnePlus Nord 2 and the Poco F3 GT. While the Poco F3 GT and the OnePlus Nord 2 went the MediaTek Dimensity 1200 way with a lot of poise and power, the Realme GT is pushing the case for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chip. That is one serious tool in its arsenal, without a shadow of a doubt.
The Realme GT 5G prices start at Rs 37,999. That is for the 8GB+128GB storage spec in the Dashing Blue or Dashing Silver colour options, and Rs 41,999 for the 12GB+256GB spec that’s available in the Racing Yellow colour option. The Realme GT is considerably more expensive than the OnePlus Nord 2 that it directly competes with and also the Poco F3 GT, but for those who don’t mind a larger screen. That is perhaps the Qualcomm premium, if I may use that phrase. At this time, the OnePlus Nord 2 is available in two variants, with the 8GB+128GB option priced at Rs 29,999 and the 12GB+256GB option costing you around Rs 34,999. The 6GB+128GB option isn’t available on the OnePlus Store, for the moment. The Poco F3 GT is on sale on Flipkart for Rs 26,999 for the 6GB+128GB option, Rs 28,999 for 8GB+128GB and Rs 30,999 for 8GB+256GB configuration.
The one good thing that most Android flagship killers seem to be doing, at least in this generation, is attempting to excite the audience that wants comparatively more compact phones that the 6.7-inch and whereabout screen sized phones cannot really match. With the 6.43-inch screen, the Realme GT isn’t too different from its closest rivals and the footprint remains well in check. The colour option that you see pictured here is called Racing Yellow—also carrying forward the theme of speed and performance. In terms of tipping the scales, the leather variant of the Realme GT weighs 186.5 grams, which is 0.5 grams more than the glass back version. It is a comparatively compact phone, not much different from the OnePlus Nord 2, for instance, and should be positive news for folks who just can’t handle the properly large phones which are commonplace now.
More to the point, there is leather on the back of this phone. Yes, it is vegan leather and not just some finish made to look like it from a distance. Actual leather on a phone after a very long time. and it feels fantastic to hold. And there is just something about it dressed in yellow. This leather seems quite resistant to rough-ish use and a key or some coins in your trouser pocket would not damage it. It also doesn’t descend into a bad mood if drop of water accidentally falls on it. Leather can be quite susceptible to handling, but good quality leather has been used here and it holds up to the typical exposure to elements that smartphones must endure. Running down the camera module is a glossy black racing stripe, which contrasts well with the yellow. Mind you, this is glossy and catches smudges, dust and of course dings very easily. Quite a contrast when this is full of dust and smudges, alongside the good-looking leather. Maybe a matte finish would have been better.
The 6.43-inch Super AMOLED display is the same size as the OnePlus Nord 2, which also pretty much is why the two phones have a very similar footprint. Similar resolution too—2400 x 1800 pixels. The fine differences being that the Realme GT ticks off the 120Hz refresh rate on the spec sheet but doesn’t get the Gorilla Glass protective layer, while the OnePlus Nord 2 only does a maximum of 90Hz but gets Gorilla Glass 5. Absolutely boils down to your pick on what you want more in your smartphone and in your life. Out of the box and no tweaks done subsequently, the Realme GT’s screen definitely props up what’s on the screen quite effectively. I did notice that the auto brightness changes are a tad too abrupt at times, and a tad too aggressive, particularly when dimming the screen. That behavior somewhat tempered down after I turned off DC Dimming in Settings > Realme Lab. There’s support for P3 standard and you can tone down the colour richness, switch on video colour enhancer, comfort mode and the Bright HDR video mode too. I preferred to leave these off, to retain a more natural yet vivid response to what I was viewing, and not add another layer of artificial boosting.
Power is in abundance under the hood of the Realme GT. Following through on its name, that is for sure. Unlike the OnePlus Nord 2 and the Poco F3 GT which used variations of the MediaTek Dimensity 1200 chip to very good effect, the Realme GT is following a more conventional and an equally powerful path. Nothing more, nothing less. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chip. A silicon we have already seen in the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra, for instance. This chip really takes the game forward compared with the predecessor, the Snapdragon 865 series—this is as much as 25% faster with CPU performance and the graphics are up to 35% more powerful and is right on cue for the latest line of top-notch Android phones. There are advantages of the new 5nm architecture. And this is where Realme’s own additions really add to the potential and longevity.
You may have used RAM expansion on your Windows PC many years ago, which allowed you to sanction a part of an attached external storage to act as a top-up for the RAM. Perhaps not always as fast as the RAM because external storage speeds weren’t exactly then what they are now. But you get the idea. What Realme have done is given you the option of using a part of that fast UFS 3.1 storage module in your phone, as additional RAM. On my Realme GT test unit with 12GB RAM, I had the option to add up to 7GB RAM more—intervals of 3GB, 5GB and 7GB. Not that you would need any more than 12GB RAM in most usage scenarios on a phone, even while gaming, this really adds that insurance against the unknown for futureproofing. There is also the GT mode for gaming, which focuses on peak performance—by the time you buy the Realme GT, it should be available on your phone but it hasn’t landed on my phone as an update at the time of writing this.
And then there is the 65-watt SuperDart Charge which charges a fully discharged Realme GT in 35 minutes. Depending on various factors, even a 3 minute of charge is good enough to allow the phone to last around 50 minutes. The fast charger comes in the box, and you don’t need to buy that as a separate accessory. It is a large 4500mAh battery which does well enough to last a day on a single charge but somehow, I couldn’t get any more out of it when used extensively. There were a couple of times initially when the standby battery drain was as high as 20% overnight, but that behavior didn’t reproduce itself after the first few days. Fast charge should get you going quickly enough, and that’s a good thing. There is no wireless charging on the Realme GT—mind you, you’d be disappointed if you expect that from any Android flagship killer phone.
You’d not expect anything less than triple cameras on the Realme GT, and that’s how it is panning out too. You’d get a 64-megapixel wide camera which is a Sony IMX682 sensor, an 8-megapixel ultrawide camera and a 2-megapixel macro lens. The latter two seem common in the latest line of Android flagship killer phones, while the 64-megapixel snapper is at par with the Poco F3 GT and more than the 50-megapixel efforts of the OnePlus Nord 2. The photography performance is impressive, in a nutshell. The photos are richer in colour than I had expected, but at the same time, there is a really nice dynamic range and exposure to go with that. Macro photos get the focus locked on quickly, there is a lot of detail that you can appreciate as you zoom in and low light photos do come out well for the most part, except that whites aren’t always the most accurate. What you’ll be most impressed with though isn’t any of this—it is the crispness that the Realme GT’s cameras pull out (and it is not even in the high resolution 64MP mode) with absolutely no distortion or aggressive noise reduction spoiling the edges.
The Last Word: You Must Answer This—Realme GT 5G Or The OnePlus Nord 2?
Android flagship killers have come back with a vengeance this year, and the Realme GT being the latest in that line, has the pressure to take forward the game that much more than what the OnePlus Nord 2 and the Poco F3 GT managed. And it has, in a way. The Dynamic RAM expansion is cool. The GT mode should be very useful for gamers. And everyone will find the really fast charging tech very useful. These are bolted on to a phone experience that is consistent, and yet excites from time to time, such as with the leather finish on the back. The Realme GT ticks off the power and personality checklist with absolute ease. While we have established that the Realme GT 5G is most definitely holding up its end of the bargain in terms of the experience, it is the Qualcomm premium, if I may continue to use that, which sees this priced slightly higher than the OnePlus Nord 2. A lot of similarities on the spec sheet aside, Qualcomm chips do cost more than MediaTek chips, something OnePlus and Poco took maximum advantage of. And that really leads me to the question which only you can answer. Will you pay this premium over the OnePlus Nord 2?
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