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Realme GT 2 review: Improved and refined

The Realme GT 2 is real good

Realme GT 2
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Future)

Laptop Mag Verdict

The Realme GT 2 brings a fresh new visual flair and premium attention to design, along with some small-but-welcome upgrades for one of the strongest all-round phones you can buy today.

Pros

  • +

    Vivid 120Hz display

  • +

    Gorgeous textured design

  • +

    Powerful Snapdragon 888 chip

  • +

    Strong main camera…

Cons

  • -

    …but only a so-so ultra wide

  • -

    R.I.P. Headphone jack

  • -

    Price increase

Like Randy Orton, Realme has struck the smartphone market from outta nowhere — creating banger after banger. So it should come as no surprise that the Realme GT 2 continues this trend.

Much like the original GT, this is another flagship killer. But this sequel comes with answers to pretty much all the issues we had with last year’s model: a better camera (thanks to an upgrade to the Sony sensor you’ll find in the likes of the OnePlus Nord 2), a bigger battery and a completely refreshed visual aesthetic.

Realme GT 2: Pricing and Configurations

Realme has just announced the GT 2 pricing on stage at MWC 2022 — only in euros at the moment, but it gives us something to work with. 

The model with 8GB RAM and 128GB of storage comes in at €549 (discounted to €449 with a cash back offer), and you can beef this up to 12GB RAM and 256GB of storage for €599 (€499). That's a €100 increase for the entry-level model.

Putting it through some rough calculations, that's £458/$614 for the lower end and £500/$670 for that fully-specced model. 

Yes, that price jump will sting a little, but that's still an impressively affordable device, which continues to offer an impressive price to performance ratio. 

Realme GT 2: Design

(Image credit: Future)

The original Realme GT caught my eye with its alluring holographic blue finish - giving the back of the phone a lot of depth. That meant my expectations were high for another gorgeous phone, but I didn’t expect the GT 2 to look and feel this good (that’s what she said).

Designed in collaboration with Naoto Fukasawa (the mind behind the Muji wall-mounted CD player), this is the first bio-polymer based smartphone design on the planet and visually, the results are stunning. This gorgeous paper green finish and textured back uses this unique material that reduces carbon emissions by 35% — laser cut to precision around the camera bump and emblazoned with Realme’s branding.

(Image credit: Future)

But I can’t show you the best bit about it and that is how it feels in the hand. This grooved texture adds a grippiness and just feels great to fiddle with. During video meetings, I find myself mindlessly dragging my fingernail up and down the ridged sleep-wake button and rubbing my thumb across the back. It’s such a differentiator from the competition. You won’t find anything quite like this out there.

The whole package is slightly bigger and heavier than the original GT, to make room for the battery at 6.4 x 2.9 x 0.3 inches and 6.9 ounces, all the internal components are well balanced for an even weight distribution.

Of course, you can get the Realme GT 2 in different finishes: a paper white version and a matte black model with a glass back, and you get a free case in the box. But trust me, you’re going to want to get the paper green model. Seriously, it’s beautiful.

Realme GT 2: Display

(Image credit: Future)

The Realme GT 2 sports a virtually identical 6.43-inch Super AMOLED display to the previous GT — packing a 2400 x 1080-pixel resolution and a buttery 120Hz refresh rate. The company claims it offers up to 106% NTSC color gamut coverage and a 1,300-nit peak brightness. 

Those final two stats make all the difference here, as while I don’t have the tech on hand to test these claims, side-by-side comparisons show this screen is both brighter and more vivid than the original GT.

In turn, that answers one of my main gripes and gives me something that is really nice to look at for all my binge watching needs. Doctor Strange’s spells glow off the screen with gorgeous visual definition and luminosity in the Multiverse of Madness trailer, and Call of Duty: Mobile looks and feels incredibly smooth thanks to the 120Hz refresh rate.

Overall, the improvement is slight but warmly welcomed. Realme is heading in the right direction.

Realme GT 2: Audio

There is something missing, though. The fact I’m talking about this in the audio section is probably a dead giveaway as to what has been omitted. Realme has ditched the 3.5mm headphone jack.

I get this isn’t as big of a deal in the world dominated by bluetooth earbuds, but it makes it less accessible than last year’s model and a lot harder to take advantage of those hi-res audio codecs.

Elsewhere, the stereo speakers are just as good at maintaining detail without distorting at high volumes as the 2021 model. Of course, they produce a tinny sound with minimal bass (as is normal for phone speakers) but for TikTok doom scrolling, they’re perfectly fine.

Realme GT 2: Performance

Realme has gone with the last generation Snapdragon 888 processor for the GT 2, reserving the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 rocket for the GT 2 Pro. I can hear some sighs, but hear me out because this is good news for most people. 

One thing we’ve been learning about the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1  is that while its capabilities are impressive, you probably won’t be using it to its bleeding edge potential, and the ultimate price you pay in power draw and reduced battery life can be severe.

But regardless of it being an older chipset, the GT 2 more than held its own against the latest and greatest. Geekbench 5.4 testing produced an admirable score of 3,562 multi-core. That’s faster than the Samsung Galaxy S22 (3,341), and while it doesn’t come close to the iPhone 13 (4,436), the end result is a quick phone no matter what tasks you throw at it in real-world use.

(Image credit: Future)

Where it does fall behind the current crop of phones is in graphics performance, because while Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 phones like the Galaxy S22 are hitting a perfect 60 FPS, the Realme GT 2 gets anihilated with an average 35 FPS. That’s not to be scoffed at though, as this is still no slouch while gaming, but it’s worth noting for anyone who cares about playing games at their best.

Multitasking is handled by 8GB or 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM, but thanks to a new addition to the settings, you can assign up to an extra 7GB of RAM using your 256GB of UFS storage. That means you could give this a massive 19GB of RAM, which is just a bonkers amount.

And fear not. None of this comes with any worrying rises in temperature. Everything is kept at an optimal temperature thanks to a thermal management system with a stainless steel-copper composite at its core. Not once have I had any overheating slowdowns.

Realme GT 2: Battery Life & Charging

Once again, I asked and Realme listened. I thought the original GT had decent stamina with a 4,500 mAh battery, but would have preferred to see a 5,000 mAh cell for some extra juice. Low and behold — that’s exactly what the company added!

In my day-to-day use (emails, gaming, plenty of YouTube binge watching and podcasts), I made it through to the bed time with a good 25-30% remaining. Plus, since the GT 2 sticks to the Snapdragon 888 over the GT 2 Pro’s jump to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, you’re going to see this last a lot longer too without the more intense power draw.

Plus, the 65W SuperDart charger is capable of juicing this up to full in 45 minutes. Surprisingly fast given that the previous generation’s smaller battery took the same amount of time to charge to 100%.

Realme GT 2: Cameras

(Image credit: Future)

Photography was one of the real weaknesses of the GT — it wasn’t terrible, but the photos were just average.

Realme has taken this to heart and upgraded the main shooter to a 50 MP Sony IMX766 sensor with an f/1.8 aperture. With a bigger pixel size of 1.0 microns (0.2 bigger than the first GT), this main sensor lets in a lot more light, leading to better, brighter photo quality.

Indoor photos where the GT would have struggled are now no problem for the GT 2, which produces cleaner shots with virtually no noise. Just like the OnePlus Nord 2 that shares the same sensor, colors are vibrant and the contrast adds a nice level of intricacy to each shot, and night mode does an admirable job at preserving detail.

The same can’t be said for the 8MP ultra-wide, however, which even though the aperture has been increased to f/2.3, doesn’t see much improvement beyond the average shots with noisy, warped edges. And let’s be honest, it’s not really worth talking about the 2MP macro with f/2.4 aperture, because you’ll use it to take a picture of a grainy bush then forget it even exists!

Most of the time, most of you will use that wide camera, which is the one Realme has invested in heavily. The color science has improved, the software gives you a lot of creative options and the immediate results out of the phone are really good.

Video quality continues to be decent too, with the option to shoot up to 4K 60FPS and each capture offers crisp detail, vivid color and the welcome addition of optical image stabilization on the main camera. 

Of course, the lack of OIS in favor of software trickery on the ultra wide means footage from anything other than the wide is pretty shaky when on the move, but it’s certainly not a dealbreaker.

Realme GT 2

(Image credit: Future)

Combine that with the 16MP selfie snapper, which produces sharp, well-defined, natural shots that can handle most tricky lighting conditions, and you see that Realme has learnt the most important lesson: don’t let AI run roughshod over your photos. This is a better camera for sure.

Realme GT 2: Realme UI 3.0

(Image credit: Future)

Realme’s Android skins have been all over the shop in the past, but the Realme UI 3.0 on top of Android 12 has to be one of the cleaner, bloatware-free implementations.

There are pre-installed apps — most of them are social media apps, which is handy for most of us, but it will only take a minute or two to uninstall AliExpress and Booking.com. This in comparison to the mess that was the Realme 8 5G is a breath of fresh air.

That makes it easy to enjoy the close-to-stock cleanliness of the experience and some of the best and easy-to-use customisation features.

There was one sticking point that I would like to see Realme improve upon though, which is future software support. Realme CEO Madhav Sheth previously told The Mobile Indian that phones will receive “at least one major Android update and security patches for two years.” 

But in the company's MWC keynote, we saw a commitment to delivering 3 years of OS updates and 4 years of security updates. That's a huge improvement!

Bottom Line

(Image credit: Future)

The GT 2 represents Realme firing on all cylinders. This is a fantastic flagship killer that I guarantee you will thoroughly enjoy using — performance is admirable, the camera is great, the battery life has plenty of longevity and it's a visually stunning phone that you’ll feel proud to pull out in public.

Of course, it doesn’t come without some flaws. The 3.5mm headphone jack is no more, there is no wireless charging, and the ultra-wide snapper is still teetering on average.

But these are easily forgiven with this value all-rounder that’s good for whatever you throw at it.

Jason England
Jason England

 Jason brings a decade of tech and gaming journalism experience to his role as a writer at Laptop Mag. He takes a particular interest in writing articles and creating videos about laptops, headphones and games. He has previously written for Kotaku, Stuff and BBC Science Focus. In his spare time, you'll find Jason looking for good dogs to pet or thinking about eating pizza if he isn't already.