Realme GT launches: The most affordable Snapdragon 888 phone yet

When does the Realme GT launch in the UK & Europe?

While the Realme GT was unveiled in China on 4 March, it wasn’t until 15 June that the phone launched in markets further afield, including the UK, Europe and India.

As for retail availability outside of China, the phone went on sale on 21 June.

Realme GT Euro launch

Realme GT Euro launch

The GT was already confirmed to be launching worldwide, with its European primarily run via Ali Express – the same approach Realme took for the European launch of the company’s Narzo smartphone series, which features in prominent markets for the company, such as India.

During the Realme 5G Summit – broadcast on 3 June – Madhav Sheth, CEO of Realme India and Europe, announced that “the Realme GT 5G performance flagship will be released globally in June and the Realme GT camera flagship will be released in July,” so there’s another GT model on the way to Europe next month too.

How much is the Realme GT?

In China, the GT was the most affordable Snapdragon 888-powered phone to date, with an opening price of just CNY¥2,799 (approximately £310/€360/US$435), which moved up to ¥2,899 following release.

That’s for the 8GB RAM/128GB storage SKU, while the higher capacity 12GB RAM/256GB model came in at ¥3,299 (approximately £365/€425/$510).

Globally, Realme has done things a little differently. The 8GB RAM SKU arrived as an AliExpress exclusive, complete with a discounted early bird price of just €369 – running from 21 June to 25 June – after which the price rose to a (still-competitive) €449, making it the most affordable Snapdragon 888-powered phone on the market to date.

As for the 12GB RAM model, it was an Amazon exclusive, arriving on Prime Day and again sporting a discounted early bird price of €499 across 21 June and 22 June, after which pricing became €599.

We discuss the Realme GT’s global launch in episode 70 of our weekly podcast Fast Charge:

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What specs and features does the Realme GT offer?

At the same time as revealing the date of the Realme GT’s initial launch, the company also announced its new “Dual-platform Dual-flagship” release strategy, which promised one top-tier device line focusing on speed and performance, and one centred around photography (initially assumed to be the Realme 8 Pro – the follow-up to last year’s X3 SuperZoom – but since confirmed by Sheth to be an as-yet-unannounced device, hitting global markets in July this year).

If the name wasn’t enough of a clue, the GT’s focus is – undoubtedly – speed, with 5G, the latest WiFi 6E, LPDDR5 RAM, UFS 3.1 storage, Bluetooth 5.2, 65W fast charging and a 120Hz high refresh rate display.

Most of the phone’s spec sheet leaked ahead of launch but the complete, official picture is as follows:

  • 6.43in 20:9 120Hz Full HD+ AMOLED display w/ 360Hz touch response rate
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor w/ stainless steel & copper vapour chamber cooling
  • 8GB or 12GB LPDDR5 RAM
  • 128GB or 256GB UFS 3.1 storage
  • Rear cameras:
    • 64Mp f/1.8 Sony IMX682 sensor
    • 8Mp f/2.3 119° ultrawide sensor
    • 2Mp f/2.4 macro sensor
  • 16Mp f/2.5 front-facing camera
  • Stereo speakers w/ Dolby Atmos
  • Hi-Res Audio support
  • Under-display fingerprint sensor
  • ‘4D Tactile Engine’ haptics
  • Realme UI 2.0 atop Android 11
  • Support for Android 12 Beta
  • 5G
  • NFC
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • USB-C
  • 4500mAh battery
  • 65W flash charging
  • 158.5mm x 73.3mm x 9.1mm (glass-backed), 158.5mm x 73.3mm x 8.4mm (leather-backed)
  • 186 grams (glass-backed), 186.5 grams (leather-backed)

On the software front, there’s also a dedicated GT Mode (exclusive to the GT series), which optimises performance and frame rate for sustained gaming.

As shown in the press imagery, there are three colourways to choose from – two glass-backed variants with either a ‘Dashing’ silver or dark blue finish, or the ‘Racing Yellow’ version, which features black-on-yellow vegan leather.

This third model weighs fractionally more and measures marginally thicker than its glass-backed counterparts and can only be had with the higher-capacity 12GB RAM/256GB storage.

Realme GT press image crop

Realme GT press image crop

Ahead of the phone’s official release, AnTuTu scores, again shared by the company’s Xu Qi Chase, suggested that the GT’s hardware handily outclasses the likes of Samsung’s Snapdragon 888-powered reference device, with a record score of over 770K, almost 100K more than the figure AnTuTu itself had on-record for the GT – something Realme subsequently brushed off as having been related to an early R&D unit.

AnTuTu has since tested a Chinese retail version of the Realme GT and discovered that it isn’t performing some of the benchmarking processes as expected, which accounts for what it considers to be an inflated score. As such, the device is currently undergoing a three-month ban (as of March 2021) from AnTuTu, giving Realme a chance to rectify the unusual behaviour unearthed by the benchmarking organisation.

Realme denies any wrongdoing but if it doesn’t tackle the issues AnTuTu has raised, the phone could experience a permanent ban from the benchmarking tool altogether.

Just three days prior to its Chinese launch, Geekbench 5 scores appeared, clocking in at 1138 in single-core performance a 3572 in multi-core testing. For comparison, our review of the Exynos 2100-based Samsung Galaxy S21+ produced a multi-core score of 3589, one of our highest on record.

What about the Realme GT Neo?

No sooner had Xu Qi Chase finished celebrating the newly-unveiled Realme GT on stage did he turn to tease the next entry in the GT family: the GT Neo.

Realme GT Neo teaser image

Realme GT Neo teaser image

The phone officially launched in China on 31 March and sports a near-identical spec sheet to its sibling, save for one principal difference: its chipset.

The Realme GT Neo switches out the standard GT’s fundamental selling point – its powerful Snapdragon 888 SoC – for MediaTek’s fresh-faced Dimensity 1200 silicon.

According to the Taiwanese chipmaker, its latest 5G-capable flagship 6nm chip serves as the successor to the Dimensity 1000+ and sports 1 + 3 + 4 octa-core architecture with support for up to 168Hz high refresh rate displays.

Realme GT Neo press image

Realme GT Neo press image

To bolster the phone’s gaming abilities, Realme has also integrated dual graphite plates and a liquid cooling system to keep the GT Neo frosty under load.

The other key differences between the standard GT and the GT Neo are the chip’s use of Bluetooth standard 5.1 in place of 5.2, slower 50W wired charging (despite still shipping with a 65W adapter) and an assortment of different colours.

The 64Mp Sony IMX682 lead camera sensor uses “multi-frame synthesis” (machine translated) to improve detail in shots and reduce quality degradation when zooming in; which sounds similar to the process used by the Realme 8 Pro when zooming to 3x magnification.

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As for the design, it’s similar in style to the standard GT, featuring a contrasting strip running down the phone’s back from the triple camera sensor. There’s also a headphone jack and USB-C port.

Realme UI 2 atop Android 11 makes up the user experience, while on the front resides a 6.43in 120Hz Full HD+ AMOLED display, a dual-cell 4500mAh battery, dimensions of 158.5mm x 73.3mm x 8.4mm (identical measurements to the standard glass-backed version of the GT) and 5G support.

The big driving force behind choosing the GT Neo over the standard GT comes down to price. While there are a lot of similarities between the two devices, opting for the phone that relies on MediaTek’s hardware costs ¥1,799 (for the 6GB RAM/128GB model), ¥1,899 for 8GB of RAM instead of 6GB or ¥2,399 for the top-spec 12GB RAM/256GB SKU; with a direct pricing conversion working out to £200/€235/$275, £210/€250/$290 and £265/€310/$365, respectively

The GT Neo is available from Realme’s own website and major Chinese online retailers.

What about the Realme GT Pro?

One of the earliest expected features of the GT was blisteringly-fast 125W ‘UltraDart’ fast charging, so when it was discovered that the GT’s fast charging only topped out at 65W, many were left wondering which devices would debut Realme’s UltraDart charging tech.

Realme Race leaked image

Realme Race leaked image

Following on from the above-leaked image, which was originally thought to be a first look at the standard Realme GT, well-known tipster IceUniverse served up a leaked document, claiming that the ‘Realme Race Pro’ (‘Race’ being the GT’s original codename) will instead be the device to feature the 125W charging tech, along with a 5000mAh battery, 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM and will run on Realme UI 2.0 (based on Oppo’s ColorOS 11), which means it too will run on top of Android 11.

Realme Race Pro specs

Realme Race Pro specs

Here’s the Realme Race/GT Pro’s rumoured spec sheet, as it stands:

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
  • 6.8in 20:9 160Hz 3200×1400 OLED display
  • (Up to) 12GB RAM
  • 128GB/256GB/512GB storage
  • Triple rear camera setup w/ xenon flash
    • 64Mp primary + two unknown 13Mp sensors
  • Curved glass back
  • Metal frame
  • Android 11 w/ Realme UI 2.0
  • 5G (Sub-6 + mmWave)
  • 5000mAh battery
  • 125W UltraDart fast charging

Previously, it was thought that the Race/GT Pro would top out at 256GB of storage, however, the latest specs promise up to 512GB of internal space, along with an OLED display boasting an unusual 160Hz high refresh rate and three cameras on the back, instead of four – fronted, again, by a 64Mp sensor.

There’s still more to learn about whether the GT Pro will ever see the light of day, but we’ll update this feature whenever relevant information comes to light.

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