Realme GT 5G Review: The cheapest Snapdragon 888 phone in the UK is a beast, but it’s also playing hard to get

Realme has been cleaning up with its highly affordable phones of late, but it hasn’t released a true flagship for a while (the Realme X50 Pro 5G was the last one). How does the Realme GT stack up against the competition?

Design & Build

The Realme GT 5G comes with a choice of three colours, with the most exciting being the racing yellow model that I am reviewing here. With a mix of black plastic and yellow faux (vegan) leather, it stands out – and in a good way, compared to the rather controversial huge ‘Dare to Leap’ lettering on the back of the Realme 8 Pro.

It adds a tiny bit on to the overall thickness of the phone, at 9.1mm compared to 8.4mm on the other two with a traditional glass back, but this is not a chunky phone.

It has a nice curved frame (although the 6.43-inch AMOLED display itself is flat), with a plastic surround that is given a chrome finish to look more premium. The upside of this is no need for antenna cutouts, and in my testing I found both mobile and Wi-Fi performance to be strong. Certainly in the hand, you’d think the phone had a metal frame as it feels solid and free of any flexing.

The phone gets a 3.5mm headphone jack and Dolby Atmos stereo sound with Hi-Res Audio, and the triple-camera setup blends nicely into the black line. Some phones try very hard to emphasise the camera, but the Realme GT downplays it – yet still incorporates a good camera setup.

Realme has stated that it sees the Realme 8 Pro as the phone for camera aficionados, and the GT line for the top-level performance, which is perhaps not going to please those who wants the best of everything.

Thanks to the inclusion of the fastest current chipset on the market, the GT is definitely the best of what Realme can offer in every other category than the camera – but thankfully, as you’ll see below, the camera is still going to do the job perfectly well for most usage cases.

Display

The screen is what makes for a great overall phone experience, along with the stereo sound, and you won’t be disappointed with the 120Hz refresh rate (with 360Hz touch sampling rate), a 100% P3 wide colour gamut and dual ambient light sensors to adjust the screen brightness more effectively. It is very responsive, and gets very bright when needs must.

The brightness adjustment can be a little over zealous at times, but once you get used to it you’ll be pleased to see the phone adjusting down the brightness where it can to save power, and boosting up on the brightest and sunniest of days.

Within the display settings you can also select video sharpening (useful for lower quality video) or SDR to HDR conversion. Native HDR content can also be played with the phone boosting brightness (at the inevitable cost of battery life). All of these features can be disabled to conserve battery life.

The fingerprint reader is embedded within the display, with the selfie camera positioned top-left (my preferred position for when holding in a landscape orientation), but there is quite a noticeable bezel around the whole screen, in particular at the base.

Given the affordability of this phone compared to other phones costing twice as much, Realme can perhaps be excused for having cut corners here and there.

Camera

The Realme GT 5G comes with three cameras on the rear, one of which is the seemingly obligatory 2-megapixel macro camera that really should be ditched entirely, or at least replaced with something like a 5 or 8-megapixel sensor.

That aside, the primary 64-megapixel camera performs very well. It is the same Sony IMX682 sensor used on the Realme 7 Pro and that is no bad thing.

The third sensor is an 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera with a 119 degree Field-of-Vision.

The Realme GT could have done just fine with only two cameras, but it probably doesn’t look good in the marketing materials, or when people inevitably make comparisons against other models.

Video recording of up to 4K 60fps is available from the main camera, dropping to 1080p 30fps on the ultra-wide. You can go up to 5x in video recording, but the level of grain means I wouldn’t recommend going beyond 2x, or even 1x.

For stills, you can go from 1x to 2x and then 5x, with an additional zoom up to 10x but without a dedicated telephoto camera, you’re really limited to 2x for all but the best lighting conditions, and if you are after something with a strong zoom capability you’ll have no choice but to look elsewhere.

Stay close

If, on the other hand, you’re not bothered about zooming and may be happy to use the ultra-wide for capturing more of the action when out and about, you’ll be perfectly happy with the image quality, as well as the fast and efficient scene detection and speed of operation.

Image processing is quick, and you have all the usual Realme UI camera settings, including multiple camera modes and a Professional mode.

One point of concern is the over saturation, especially the colour green, which comes from enabling the AI scene enhancement. It’s a little over the top, but easily disabled, or alternatively using one of the many filters that can change the overall colour temperature, perhaps adding a vintage feel or countless more that will be familiar to anyone using filters in other apps.

Three filters in particular, Modern Gold, Cyberpunk and Flamingo are particularly good at jazzing up even the most mundane picture. Plus, if you’ve already taken a photo, you can use the integrated photo editor to change the filters in post producgtion, as well as adding annotations, blurring out parts of an image, and adding stickers or text.

There’s even an erase feature that will try and remove elements of a picture, with somewhat mixed results! It’s fun to play around with, and you can also do lots of things with video recordings too, from changing the colour profile, to trimming clips, adding a soundtrack and other visual effects, as well as adding text and watermarks.

Lastly, I should mention the 16-megapixel selfie camera that can also record in 1080p/30. It’s not anything revolutionary, but is functional. All the cameras can be used with HDR to get a better exposure in bright conditions, especially where there’s strong backlighting. Night photos are strong in detail too, at least from the primary camera.

Can the GT match the Realme 8 Pro for camera quality? Not quite, but it comes pretty close and you’ll be rarely left wanting.

Photo Gallery
  • You can view the photos at 100% from within the gallery view.
Panoramic mode
Slow motion (1080p)

Performance & Battery

Realme GT 5G
AnTuTu v9

Where the Realme GT leaps ahead of the Realme 8 Pro, and others, is on its overall performance. Not only is it powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888, but it also comes with fast UFS 3.1 storage and LPDDR 5 Quad-Channel RAM. Here it is clear that no corners have been cut.

You can opt for 8+128GB or 12+256GB, and unless you need to store loads of content for offline viewing, 128GB should be fine. Likewise, even 8GB of RAM is ample for all but the most power-hungry users that demand multiple apps or games to be loaded at once with near instant switching back and forth.

In my experience, few apps need loads of RAM, so you’re more likely going to be choosing the model to buy based on storage. As there’s no expandable storage, you will need to make a firm decision before buying, but if you’re likely to be streaming most of the time then it’s simple; save your money and go for the 8+128GB model.

Streaming is pretty much what phones like this were built for too, thanks to 5G connectivity (subject to being on a decent data plan, ideally unlimited) and equally quick Wi-Fi, with Wi-Fi 6 connectivity that gave me a 2.4Gbps connection to my Asus mesh network.

That means you can, and will, get the full speed offered by the various 900-1000Mbps fibre broadband packages available to anyone fortunate enough to have been blessed with such connectivity at their home or office.

It also means this phone is the perfect choice for tethering a fast 5G connection to a PC or tablet, as the phone has the ability to share that 4G or 5G speed with suitably equipped devices, or at the very least hook up at a still-impressive 866Mbps using Wi-FI 5 (802.11ac) for legacy devices.

Realme GT 5G Wi-Fi 6 performance

It’s nice to see some features from OnePlus’ OxygenOS in here too, like Dual Wi-Fi Acceleration (which combines Wi-Fi and mobile data for downloading, potentially boosting download speeds considerably, for supported applications). With Oppo and OnePlus working closer together from now on, and Oppo’s ColorOS forming the basis for Realme UI, chances are we’ll see more merging of features in the future too.

Realme UI has stacks of customisation options, a comprehensive selection of always-on display graphics and notifications, along with many power saving options to get the most from the 4,500mAh battery.

If you’d prefer to keep everything running without compromising performance, you can activate the GT Pro-Gamer performance mode that turns everything up to 11. This includes graphic enhancement, and the ability to lock the brightness to stop any distracting variations. In this mode, you can also stop anyone from calling you and make the notifications more discreet.

Gaming can be a big drain on any phone battery, so it’s good to see Realme has included its second generation 65W fast-charging support that will get the phone from 0-100% charge in 35 minutes. Better still, the fast charger comes in the box (alongside a protective case). You can use any other Realme, Oppo or OnePlus fast chargers, which is great news for anyone who is now within the BBK Electronics ecosystem.

Another nice feature on the Realme GT is that, given Snapdragon 888 can run quite hot under heavy load, the phone has stainless steel vapour cooling that, according to Realme’s own lab results sees a 15 degree celsius reduction in core temperature.

In my experience, the phone never gets as hot to the touch as some of the other SD888 phones I’ve used, and the AnTuTu score above shows just how crazy fast this phone is.

Finally, it’s worth noting that Realme is allowing Realme GT owners to preview Android 12 (link now updated with full installation instructions). This means you can be one of the first to experience Google’s latest version of Android – with the warning that the betas may well do strange things. You can revert to Android 11 at any time, but will lose all data on the phone in doing so.

Overall

It’s great to see that Realme isn’t forgetting about a segment of the market that wants the best-of-the-best. While the camera experience isn’t as good as it might been been, if Realme wasn’t so keen on having two different product lines with different priorities, it is still great for using within its limitations. There’s no zoom, which limits the overall flexibility, but as long as you know that going in, you can’t be disappointed.

Likewise, as long as you’re not after things like 8K video recording, you won’t feel let down being capped at 4K.

Where the phone excels is on its raw performance, from the processing and graphical side, to blisteringly fast connectivity, fast battery charging, and a great media experience from both the high-quality display and audio setup.

I also love the Racing Yellow variant, which reminds me of the feeling I had with the Oppo Find X2 Pro. It allows for confidence in keeping the phone free of a case, although the dark strip is going to have the potential to pick up scratches over time. At least you have the choice to case or not, or use the case some of the time.

If you prefer something more conservative, the two glass-backed colour variants (Dashing Silver and Dashing Blue) may be more to your taste, with the added benefit of shaving 0.7mm off the overall thickness and a whole 0.5g in weight.

Given this is currently the cheapest Snapdragon 888 equipped phone on the market, you are getting an awful lot of bang for your buck.

Pricing and Availability

The only real issue is availability, with Realme not currently selling the phone direct. This means you may find the buying process a little more complicated, with pricing fluctuating based on the exchange rate. Importing via AliExpress is something I’ve done many times, without incident (AliExpress offers excellent customer service and protection against any issues you might encounter), but it does introduce a delay on getting your goods, as well as the potential to be hit with import duties.

As long as you go in with your eyes open, you’ll be fine – but while you can get the 12+256GB model from Amazon, albeit Amazon Spain (but you can buy this using your UK account and payment details), I can foresee a lot of people wanting to wait it to become available from Realme or Amazon UK.

The phone also comes with an early bird discount that runs until June 25th on AliExpress, subject to availability.

Pricing as at June 23rd is as follows:

  • AliExpress (8+128GB) €449 (approx £385), with an early bird price of €369 (approx £317) between June 21st and June 25th.
  • Amazon (12+128GB) €599 (approx £515). This model is also marked as being available from July 12th.

Key Specifications

Realme GT 5G
Size/Weight158.5 x 73.3 x 8.4mm (Racing Yellow 9.1mm)
186g (Racing Yellow 186.5g)
Screen6.34-inch AMOLED
FHD+ 1080×2400 pixels
120Hz refresh rate, 360Hz touch sampling rate
AudioDolby Atmos Stereo Sound
ChipsetQualcomm Snapdragon 888 (5nm)
Max freq 2.84GHz
Adreno 660 GPU
RAM8GB or 12GB LPDDR5 Quad Chanel
Storage128GB or 256GB UFS 3.1
Camera (front)Punch-hole 16MP Fixed Focus
(f/2.5 78 degree Field-of-View)
Video: 1080p 30fps with EIS
Camera (rear)Primary: 64MP (f/1.8) Sony IMX682 (1 – 5x Zoom)
Ultra-wide: 8MP (f/2.3) 119 degree FoV
Macro: 2MP (f/2.4)
Video: 4K/60 Primary Camera
Video: 1080p/30 Ultra-Wide
ConnectivityDual band Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
5G NR (SA & NSA) Sub 6
4G+ with VoLTE, ViLTE and VoWiFi
Bluetooth 5.2
NFC
USB-C
Battery4,500mAh
65W fast-charging (0-100% 35 minutes)
Other3.5mm headphone socket
Protective case (clear)
Factory fitted screen protector
Dual SIM (Dual Standby)
Stainless Steel Vapour Cooling
Price£385-£515 (Approximate)
Pricing based on Euro prices and subject to change
More information

Realme GT 5G

£385-£515 (Approx)
9

Features

9.0/10

Performance

9.5/10

Camera

8.0/10

Value

9.5/10

Pros

  • Top performance, with decent thermal control
  • Fast 5G and Wi-Fi connectivity, with good signal reception
  • 120Hz HDR display with enhanced auto brightness
  • Above average camera for normal usage needs
  • Good capacity battery with 65W fast charging
  • Early access to Android 12

Cons

  • Lack of telephoto camera
  • Not the easiest phone to buy in the UK (at time of publishing)

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