Realme GT Master Edition Preview: A more affordable flagship killer?

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Realme wasn’t content when it released the great value Snapdragon 888 flagship; it had to do more. The GT Master Edition brings many of the same features and functionality for an even lower price.

I have only had my hands on one for a relatively short time, so this is not a full review.

You can also read about the other new products announced today, including a new laptop – the Realme Book

If you check my review of the Realme GT 5G and then read below, you should be able to form an idea as to whether to pay the extra for the top-end GT, or save a few quid by getting this instead.

Intro

The Realme GT 5G also has a version with vegan leather back

What’s great about the Realme GT Master Edition is it uses Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon (6nm) 778G chipset that brings many features previously only available on the 8xx SoCs, which means you can now enjoy features like Wi-Fi 6 and big improvements to the GPU.

You also get the same 6.43-inch AMOLED display, 120Hz refresh, 65W fast charging, a 64-megapixel primary camera, plus the option of a vegan leather back that means you can seriously consider ditching your case and going au naturel.

The selfie camera is now bumped up to 32-megapixels, and the screen itself is bigger too.

Like other Realme phones of late, the company has been experimenting with a variety of designs to add some spice to what might otherwise be a succession of bland plastic or glass-backed phones that are identifiable only by the camera configuration.

Like the Realme 8 with the bold ‘Dare to Leap’ branding, and the bright racing yellow of the Realme GT, the Realme GT Master Edition comes with a variant that seeks to stand out, quite literally in fact – as the vegan leather back literally has grooves and bumps, mimicking a suitcase. It does add a little to the overall depth (and a slight bump in weight too), but if you can go without a case then you’ll have gained in the long run.

The design is by Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa, an award-winning product and furniture designer that has worked with a number of companies, including the well-known MUJI.

Display & Audio

The Samsung-made AMOLED display is 6.43-inches with a 100% DCI-P3 colour gamut, with 120Hz refresh rate and 360Hz touch sampling rate. It’s bright, and like the Realme GT 5G, it has excellent auto-brightness control to maximise battery life.

Unfortunately, the stereo sound from the flagship has gone, with a single downward firing speaker having to make do. I tried it out with a few Spotify tracks and a quick playback of some Netflix content, and the sound is loud if a little lacking in bass.

Fortunately you have the latest Bluetooth 5.2 for wireless audio, as well as a tried-and-tested 3.5mm headphone jack to get the best audio experience.

Camera

The cameras on the rear of the Realme GT Master Edition are exactly the same as the Realme GT 5G, but up front you now get a 32-megapixel sensor with a wider field of view.

A new feature on this phone, although it may well come to other models with future software updates, is a street photography mode. According to Realme’s own press materials, the company studied a huge amount of street photography around the world, and extracted two characteristics of ‘fast’ and ‘real’.

The new mode was then created to allow quick capture of scenes, reducing the interference of algorithms that could cause unwanted blurs. There’s even a new quick start mode, firing up this mode with a double press of either volume key in standby mode (to date, Realme and Oppo handsets using the near identical Realme UI/ColorOS have lacked this feature).

Realme’s new exclusive (for now) street photo mode

What’s really great about this mode is you can fix the focus in advance (see photos below) so there will be no chance of missing the perfect moment as the phone hunts for focus.

Hold the shutter release and you can capture a rapid burst, so if there’s someone moving (like the free runner in the demonstration video Realme used at the launch), you’ll be able to make sure they remain pin-sharp at all times.

It’s a feature I am keen to try out. I did take some photos with it below, but I’ll use it properly soon!

I’ll need some time to take more photos and video, but the content below at least gets the ball rolling.

In the above photos you can see how you can control the focus in advance of shooting, with the yellow lines indicating where the focus will be fixed. As you can see, you also have the option to capture in RAW too.

Photo Gallery
1080p 60fps
Slow motion

Performance

Looking at benchmark results never tells the whole story, but it does give some context. It’s important to consider that while there might appear to be quite a large difference in numbers below, the score from the Snapdragon 778G SoC is still on the high side – and remains competitive with other mid-range handsets on the market.

In practice, it will perform well when playing graphically intensive games – although I did notice that processing a night mode photo from the camera took a few seconds to save.

If you absolutely need the best possible performance available now (Snapdragon 888+ devices are entering the market shortly), the Realme GT 5G may be the only choice – but if you aren’t that impatient and also value better energy savings from the 778G chip, the Master Edition might be the best option after all – especially when it’s a cheaper buy.

For day-to-day operation, the Realme GT Master Edition is incredibly slick and it ran cooler than the Snapdragon 888 model, which should help a lot on hot days in the sun. There are reports online of issues with SD888 in hot environments, which even prompted OnePlus to throttle performance in certain scenarios to try and manage the thermals more effectively.

Support wise, Realme is committed to two years of Android OS updates.


Final thoughts

I haven’t used the phone long enough to be in a position to give the Realme GT Master Edition a rating, but I do feel it won’t be necessary to do another in-depth review on what is essentially a very similar phone offering, with the key differentiator being a different processor.

Along with the slightly smaller battery (but being just as fast to charge), and the loss of stereo sound, there are some factors to consider but really not anything that significant.

You may end up choosing based on the design, and for both phones I would strongly recommend the vegan leather variants. There’s clearly a big difference here, with the subtle and understated design from Naoto Fukasawa for the GT Master Edition, versus the in-your-face bold yellow for the GT 5G.

This of course comes down to personal preference, which leaves you to make up your own mind.

When I have finished my full review, perhaps I’ll be able to help make that decision a little easier.

Pricing and Availability

Other colour variant

The Realme GT Master Edition is available in three variants: Voyager Grey (as featured here), Luna White and Daybreak Blue.

The full details of pricing for the UK will be available later, as today the company only gave the pricing in US Dollars, which are as follows:

  • 6GB+128GB $399 (£290 approx)
  • 8GB+256GB $449 (£330 approx)
  • Prices before any promotions – which Realme has announced as just $299 from August 23rd on AliExpress for the 6+128GB variant!

Key Specifications

Realme GT 5GRealme GT Master Edition 5G
Size/Weight158.5 x 73.3 x 8.4mm (Racing Yellow 9.1mm)
186g (Racing Yellow 186.5g)
159.2 x 73.5 x 8.0mm
(Naoto Fukasawa edition 8.7mm)
174g (Naoto Fukasawa edition 180g)
Screen6.43-inch AMOLED (Samsung)
FHD+ 1080×2400 pixels
120Hz refresh rate, 360Hz touch sampling rate
In-glass fingerprint reader
6.43-inch AMOLED (Samsung)
FHD+ 1080×2400 pixels
120Hz refresh rate, 360Hz touch sampling rate
In-glass fingerprint reader
AudioDolby Atmos Stereo SoundMono sound (down firing)
ChipsetQualcomm Snapdragon 888 (5nm) 5G
Max freq 2.84GHz
Adreno 660 GPU
Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G (6nm) 5G
Max freq 2.4GHz
Adreno 642L GPU
RAM8GB or 12GB LPDDR5 Quad Chanel
(now with Dynamic RAM Expansion)
8GB + 3 or 5GB Dynamic RAM Expansion
Storage128GB or 256GB UFS 3.1128GB or 256GB
Camera (front)Punch-hole 16MP Fixed Focus
(f/2.5 78 degree Field-of-View)
Video: 1080p 30fps with EIS
32MP Fixed Focus, Sony IMX615
(f/2.45 85 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
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/30 1080p/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
Dual 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)
4,300mAh
65W fast-charging (0-100% in 33 minutes)
Other3.5mm headphone socket
Protective case (clear)
Factory fitted screen protector
Dual SIM (Dual Standby)
Stainless Steel Vapour Cooling
3.5mm headphone socket
Protective case (clear)
Factory fitted screen protector
Dual SIM (Dual Standby)
Five-layer cooling system with large heatsink area
New Street Photography mode
Price£385-£515 (Approximate)
Pricing based on Euro prices and subject to change
£290-330 (Approximate)
Pricing based on US Dollar prices and subject to change
More information

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