Realme GT 5G Review: Hyper Performance At Low Price
The Realme GT 5G is among the hoard of ‘value flagship’ smartphones that offer high-end processors and high-refresh-rate displays, perfect for performance nerds and gamers who don’t want to spend a lot of money to buy an extremely pricey smartphone. The Realme GT 5G is the company’s highest-end smartphone in India right now. Priced at just ₹37,999, it is the cheapest smartphone in India with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor. It sports a big 120Hz OLED display, a triple-camera setup, stereo speakers, and 65W fast charging. Looking at its specs sheet, it has the potential to become the best gaming smartphone in its price segment. But is it really the best performing phone that you can buy for under ₹40,000? Let us find out in our Realme GT 5G review.
Realme GT 5G Review: What’s Good & What’s Not?
|Bright 120Hz OLED Display||Design doesn’t feel very premium|
|Good still image quality from the primary camera||Ultrawide camera needs improvement|
|Fast and reliable performance||4K 60fps video recording has a significant crop-in factor|
|Feature-rich software||Software design needs some work|
|Very fast charging|
|Incredible value for money|
What’s In The Realme GT 5G Box?
- Realme GT 5G
- 65W Charging Brick
- USB Type-A To USB Type-C Port
- SIM Ejector Tool
Realme GT 5G Design
The Realme GT has a fairly slim and lightweight build. Unlike higher-priced phones that use a metal frame, it is built on a plastic frame. The front and rear of the device are protected using glass, but the company hasn’t specified which glass panel it is using. Although some might see the lack of a metal frame as a downside, it also makes the device fairly light. Handling the phone was easy, especially coming from much bulkier phones like the Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max (Review), Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (Review), and the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3.
We have the highest-end version of the Realme GT, which has 12GB RAM and 256GB storage. It comes in the ‘Racing Yellow’ colour with exciting yellow-coloured faux leather back and a glass stripe that runs from the camera housing to the bottom of the phone. The buttons are clicky and well within reach. The left side of the phone has volume buttons and a dual-SIM card tray. The power button is on the right, while the USB Type-C port is at the bottom, along with the main loudspeaker. Thanks to the fast in-display optical fingerprint reader, both left-handed and right-handed users can easily unlock the phone.
Realme GT 5G Display
The 6.43-inch OLED display on the Realme GT 5G has Full HD+ resolution, a 120Hz refresh rate, and a 360Hz touch sampling rate. You can select between 60Hz, 120Hz, and Auto Select modes to set refresh rate behaviour on the smartphone. You can choose between Vivid Mode (DCI-P3) or Natural Mode (sRGB) colour modes. It is compatible with HDR10 and HDR10+ content as well. It has Widevine L1 certification as well. While YouTube allowed streaming HDR videos, Netflix did not identify the Realme GT 5G as a device compatible with HDR video streaming.
The phone also supports Light Mode and Dark Mode UI colour schemes as well as the Always On Display mode. More on those software features later.
During the review, I selected the 120Hz refresh rate mode, and the battery life was still satisfactory. Scrolling through the UI and animations and transitions felt really smooth in the 120Hz mode. For some reason, high-refresh-rate doesn’t work while gaming, which is a bummer for those who might be thinking of picking up this phone for mobile gaming. Maybe this will change with a future software update.
The display shows good colours and has wide viewing angles. Screen brightness is very good, too, better than most mid-range smartphones. However, it is not as bright as some true high-end smartphones like the OnePlus 9, Samsung Galaxy S21, or the Mi 11 Ultra. Content on the screen was legible under direct sunlight, but the colours seemed a bit pale. And under direct sunlight, there was some glare at off angles, but that is nothing that can be termed deal-breaking.
Realme GT 5G Cameras
The Realme GT has four cameras in total: one at the front and three at the rear. The 16MP front-facing camera is hidden inside the punch-hole-shaped cutout on the top left corner of the screen. It uses a 1/3-inch sensor (with 1.0µm pixels) which is combined with an F2.5 aperture and a fixed-focus lens. It can record 1080p 30fps videos.
At the rear, it has a 64MP primary camera (1/1.7-inch sensor) with 0.8µm pixels and PDAF (phase-detection autofocus). There is an 8MP ultra-wide-angle camera with an F2.3 aperture, 1/4-inch sensor, 1.12µm pixels, and a 16mm lens (119˚ Field-Of-View). The ultrawide camera tops out at just 1080p 30fps video recording resolution. The third camera uses a 2MP macro camera with an F2.4 aperture. Only the 64MP camera is capable of recording 4K videos, and you can choose between 30fps and 60fps frame rates.
The primary camera captures 16MP images by default, which are detailed and have a high dynamic range. Noise is almost non-existent, too. However, the colours are boosted, sometimes quite significantly. Some shots where there are a lot of leaves or grass show smeared details. You can also capture full-resolution 64MP images, but you have to switch to that resolution as that’s not the default setting in the camera app.
Images captured in low-light conditions come out fine. Details are average, and there is no wild colour tint that we have seen in low-light shots from some phones. Images are neither the worst nor the best we’ve seen. There are some phones in the price segment that capture better photos in both daylight and low-light conditions. With Night Mode activated, the phone takes a few seconds to capture images, but they come out much brighter and have a wider dynamic range and more shadow details than the normal mode.
The ultrawide angle camera is nothing to write home about. It has a relatively wide field of view, but the details are not great, and the dynamic range is a bit limited, especially compared to the primary camera. With Night Mode, images become brighter, and the highlights and shadows are more controlled, but you are not necessarily getting more details. Edges of subjects appear a bit blurrier compared to the normal mode.
The macro camera’s 2MP resolution isn’t doing anyone any favours. Such a low resolution, combined with the fixed-focus macro lens (fixed at 4cm), means that you won’t get many shots that you can cherish in the future. Brands should stop offering cameras that have a resolution lower than 8MP.
Coming to the video quality, the primary camera captures good-looking videos in the 4K 30fps mode. The videos are colourful and have a wide dynamic range and decent details. When you switch to the 4K 60fps mode, you can see a significantly cropped-in view, and you can’t switch to the ultrawide camera since it is restricted to 1080p resolution anyway. 4K 60fps videos look overprocessed and oversharpened while lacking details at the same time. Videos captured using the ultrawide camera are slightly worse. Details are lower, and the dynamic range takes a hit. Sometimes videos even appear choppy. Don’t expect wonders from selfie videos since they are limited to 1080p 30fps, and they don’t have a lot of details, and the dynamic range is sub-par.
Below are the images showcasing the difference in image quality between the Realme GT 5G (Left) and the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (Right). You can click on the image to open it in full resolution.
Selfies captured using the Realme GT 5G have good colours and dynamic range. Details are decent. Portrait Mode allows capturing videos with a background blur effect. Images captured in the Portrait Mode have a good amount of blur, and the subjects are detailed, but the background-subject separation isn’t perfect all the time. You can even capture selfies in Portrait Mode, and those images are satisfactory, too.
Realme GT 5G Performance
Since the Realme GT 5G is the most affordable phone with the Snapdragon 888 processor in India, we were interested in seeing how well it performs since it is evident that camera quality wasn’t the company’s top priority. Money was clearly spent on getting the highest-end processor and 65W fast charging mechanism.
The phone performed well in all the synthetic benchmarks. After all, it is the Snapdragon 888, the highest-end chipset in the Android ecosystem. But what about sustained performance and thermal throttling? During our sustained performance testing, the phone’s performance dropped 24% compared to its peak scores. The Realme GT 5G is not chart-topping, but at this price, it is the fastest performing phone in its price range.
During day-to-day tasks, the phone performed admirably. Even while playing high-end games, the phone seldom showed signs of choppiness or stuttering. And it didn’t heat up excessively, which is a good sign. Thanks to the OLED display, fast processor, stereo speakers, and fast charging, it is a good gaming smartphone. However, the phone doesn’t support high-refresh-rate gaming, which means that gamers won’t be able to enjoy smooth action. This might be a huge bummer for some people, especially those who were looking to pick it up to play gaming titles that support higher than 60fps frame rates. However, it is also capable of keeping up with the 60fps frame rate in all the games.
The stereo speakers of the phone are decently loud, but they don’t have a lot of depth. Bass is lacking a bit as well. Higher priced phones have better stereo loudspeakers. There was no issue in cellular and Wi-Fi signal reception. During calls, the voice wasn’t as clear as I was expecting, but it isn’t a deal-breaker.
Realme GT 5G Software
The phone comes pre-installed with Android 11-based Realme UI 2.0. It is based on OPPO’s ColorOS, and most of the features that you find on ColorOS are also present here. However, Realme UI 2.0 has some of its own features. Compared to Android 10-based Realme UI 1.0, this new version of software comes with more features, more customisation options, multiple dark modes, and an improved version of the floating window feature.
When you long-press the home screen, a simple menu appears that lets you change the wallpaper, icon styles, grid layout, and more. You can also change the accent colour, theme, Always On Display styles, fingerprint reader animation, fonts and font size, quick setting toggle shape, and edge lighting. It does not support third-party app icon packs, though, and this is something the company can fix with the next version of its custom skin that will be based on Android 12.
You can schedule Dark Mode as per sunset to sunrise or as per your own timing. You can even force unsupported apps into dark mode but that doesn’t always work well. And for some reason, the feature (which is clearly marked as Beta) came activated out of the box, making some apps look ugly.
Realme uses its own apps for Calculator, File Manager, Gallery, Music Player, and Videos, but most other apps are from stock Android, including Google Calendar, Google Dialer, and Google Messages.
The whole UI looks pretty modern and operates very smoothly. However, there are some areas where I felt the UI could’ve had a better design. For example, the battery section in the Settings app doesn’t show the battery life graph, something that has been a part of Android devices for a long time. Moreover, the section of the UI that shows the battery usage and screen-on time looks out of place.
The phone comes pre-installed with a lot of bloatware apps. You can’t remove some of those unwanted pre-installed apps such as FinShell Pay and Hot Apps & Games. The company also sends promotional push notifications, but that’s not too uncommon these days, especially in the value flagship and mid-range price segment.
Overall, Realme UI has improved a lot over the past couple of years. However, compared to Samsung’s One UI, which I feel is the best in the business in terms of design and cohesiveness, Realme UI still needs improvements in some areas. The phone might get the Android 12 update by the end of this year, as the company had already released the Android 12 Beta update earlier this year. The device may get updates till Android 13.
Realme GT 5G Battery Life, Charging Speed
The Realme GT 5G is powered by a 4,500mAh battery, similar to most other value flagship smartphones under ₹50,000. It consistently lasted more than five hours of screen-on-time over the course of close to 24 hours on a single charge. That’s neither great nor bad. Most other phones in that price range offer similar battery life. What’s impressive about the Realme GT 5G is its 65W fast charging mechanism. You can go from a flat battery to a full charge within 30 minutes. Moreover, unlike some of the world’s biggest smartphone brands that have removed chargers from the boxes of their smartphones, Realme is providing a 65W charger and a USB cable in the box.
Overall, the Realme GT 5G saved me from battery anxiety. Even when the battery charge level fell below that anxiety-inducing 10% mark, the 65W charger was ready to top up the phone within minutes.
Realme GT 5G Review: Should You Buy It?
The Realme GT is a good value flagship smartphone. It has a 120Hz OLED display, a decent primary camera, and fast and reliable performance, which is already a great deal at the price. The bonus feature that you get is its 65W fast charging that tops up the battery within 30 minutes. While the software is quite feature-rich, it also has some downsides, including unnecessary apps that you can’t uninstall and push notifications. The primary camera is good, but the video recording mode in the 60fps mode could’ve been better, and this is something the company can improve with software updates. The ultrawide camera needs improvement, too.
If you can live with an average ultrawide camera and if you are someone who doesn’t record a lot of photos and videos and want a fast phone with a good OLED display and audio, the Realme GT 5G is a good choice. If you want better zoom and ultrawide cameras, you can look at alternative smartphones like the iQOO 7, iQOO 7 Legend, Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G, Vivo X60, and the Vivo X70 Pro.
Realme GT 5G Review Ratings