Chinese smartphone maker Realme forayed into India’s premium smartphone market with the launch of the Realme GT 2 Pro 5G. Priced at Rs 49,999 (base model), the smartphone boasts premium construction, top-notch specifications, flagship-grade camera system, big capacity battery with fast-charge support, and Android 12 operating system-based Realme UI 3.0. On paper, there is a lot to like about the Realme GT 2 Pro 5G. But how does it fare in comparison to segment’s bigwigs such as the Xiaomi 11T Pro (review), OnePlus 9RT (review), and Samsung Galaxy S21 FE (review)? Let’s find out:
Realme likes to experiment with the design of its smartphones. While some of its designs are outright bizarre, few look novel and attract attention. Thankfully, the design of the Realme GT Pro 2 is of the latter type. Designed in collaboration with Japanese industrial designer Naoto Fukusawa, the Realme GT 2 Pro boasts a paper-like back cover made of bio-based polymer material. It looks premium and feels good to touch. Besides, the phone boasts an aluminum frame and Gorilla Glass Victus protection on the display. Complementing the design is its thin and lightweight build, which is a trait uncommon to find in most premium smartphones. While the overall design is remarkable, the lack of any sort of ingress protection for water and dust resistance leaves one asking for more.
The Realme GT 2 Pro sports a 6.7-inch WQHD+ AMOLED screen of 120Hz refresh rate. It is a LTPO 2.0 panel for variable refresh rate (1Hz – 120Hz). This tech essentially saves battery power without compromising on the performance. It does so by automatically adjusting the screen refresh rate based on the content requirements. Theoretically, the LTPO tech is beneficial. It, however, requires an optimised operating system to work efficiently. Unfortunately, the Android 12-based Realme UI 3.0 does not seem to drive the best from it in terms of both battery efficiency and performance. Surprisingly, the performance is better with the display set to a fixed 120Hz refresh rate. It could be the reason to have the fixed 120Hz refresh rate option, alongside auto, in the display settings despite the phone using the LTPO 2.0 panel.
Nevertheless, the Realme GT 2 Pro impresses with its display. It is a 10-bit display with HDR10+ certification. It boasts a brightness of 1400 nits for good sunlight legibility. Besides, there are value-added features such as ‘Image Sharpener’, ‘Video Color Enhancer’, ‘Bright HDR video mode’, and ‘Video Motion enhancement’. These features make the Realme GT 2 Pro one of the best smartphones in its segment to watch content available on social media and over-the-top apps. A caveat, the value-added features are limited to select apps.
The Realme GT 2 Pro’s 50-megapixl primary camera sensor is probably the best you get in its segment. It works well in all lighting conditions and delivers consistent results. Things get interesting with the 50MP ultra-wide-angle sensor of 150-degree field-of-view (FoV). It works well in good lighting conditions, but shows distortion on the edges despite going with a cropped 110-degree FoV in default mode. The ultra-wide-angle sensor is best experienced in 150-degree mode simply because it is designed for fresh perspective. Speaking of perspective, there is another view in the 150-degree mode named fisheye that replicates the look of traditional fisheye lenses. There is no telephoto lens, hence no optical zoom and mediocre portrait capability. Compensating for telephoto lens is a new micro-lens, which is tricky but fun to use. This sensor captures details from very close and uses magnification to reveal details that are not visible through naked eyes.
For pro users, the Realme GT 2 Pro is among the few smartphones capable of shooting stills in 10-bit colours. Importantly, it can do so through both wide and ultra-wide-angle camera sensors on the back. Another pro-grade camera feature is the RAW+, which lets you capture images in up to 12-bit RAW format while retaining all computational photography elements such as improved dynamic range and noise reduction.
Coming to videos, the Realme GT 2 Pro can record up to 8K resolution videos at 24 frames-per-second (FPS) from its primary camera sensor, 4K at 30fps from ultra-wide-angle camera sensor, 1080p from front camera sensor, and 720p from microscope lens. The list of pro-grade features are available for videos too. The Realme GT 2 Pro boasts a manual mode for videos named ‘Film’. It lets you adjust ISO, shutter speed, and white balance before and during filming. While manual mode for videos is common in most smartphones, Realme’s iteration is different because it comes with new tools and functions. For example, it has an option to record videos in a LOG format. In this format, the video is recorded with no pre-set colour profile but just the ISO and exposure details. Such videos are easy for colour grading purposes in post-production.
Overall, the Realme GT 2 Pro might not be the best camera smartphone, it is certainly most fun to use.
The Realme GT 2 Pro is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 system-on-chip, paired with up to 12GB RAM (LPDDR5) and 256GB internal storage (UFS 3.1). These are top-notch specifications, and so is the performance. However, the smartphone could not sustain peak performance for long due to thermal issues. It warms up when used for basic everyday tasks and heats up significantly when used for graphics-and-processor intensive tasks. The thermal issues result in performance throttling, which directly affects the experience. The Android 12-based Realme UI 3.0 interface is another thing that hampers the experience. As mentioned in the display section, the UI is not optimised. It works fine for Realme apps, but not for many third-party apps. Moreover, it is loaded with bloatware.
The Realme GT 2 Pro is powered by a dual-cell battery of a combined 5,000mAh capacity. With moderate usage, the phone sails through a day on a full charge with a display set to WQHD+ resolution at 120Hz refresh rate (auto). The phone ships with a 65W fast-wired-charger, which replenishes the completely drained battery fully in about 40 minutes.
For a maiden premium flagship from Realme, the GT 2 Pro is full of surprises. It has novel design, premium construction, impressive display, fun-to-use camera system, and good on-battery time. Yet, it fails to excite simply because of inconsistent performance and thermal issues. Moreover, it draws a blank on few crucial things one expects in a premium smartphone such as wireless charging and ingress protection rating for water and dust resistance. That said, the Realme GT 2 Pro has the potential to rank among the best in its segment, but not with its current form.