Ameya DalviMay 25, 2022 16:42:32 IST
Soothing and eco-friendly design
Flagship processing hardware
Excellent display with variable refresh rate
Dual 50MP cameras are impressive
Good battery life with fast charging
Android 12; Realme UI 3.0 is user friendly
No IP rating or wireless charging support
No telephoto or macro cameras
Too much bloatware
Summary: The Realme GT 2 Pro is currently the most affordable smartphone in India with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC. On top of that, you get an excellent 2K display, competent cameras and the latest version of Android under Rs 50,000 making it a compelling proposition.
Price: Rs 49,999 onwards
These are weird times when traditionally premium brands like OnePlus are looking at the lower midrange pastures, while a brand like Realme who has almost mastered the mid-range segment is looking to play the flagship game. The Realme GT 2 Pro, as the company claims, is indeed their ‘most premium flagship ever’, but that’s not it. Most of its key features are eerily similar to those of the OnePlus 10 Pro which sells at a significantly higher price point. That leaves little doubt about who its prime target is. Can the GT 2 Pro pull off a giant killing act? Let’s find out.
Realme GT 2 Pro: Design (4/5)
Among the plethora of glass clad phones, the Realme GT 2 Pro stands out courtesy of its unique back panel which is meant to be environment friendly too. According to Realme, it is made of a bio-based polymer that leads to 35.5% lesser carbon emissions, and the overall packaging per million units leads to an equivalent of 3.5 million fewer plastic bottles (size not specified) being produced. Naoto Fukasawa is the lead designer again, who has styled a couple of Realme phones in the past.
The back panel of the Paper Green and Paper White variants does look and feel different. It is supposed to feel like paper to touch; almost, but not exactly. It is quite elegant though and easy on the eyes, also helps in keeping the weight under 190 grams. If you find it a tad plasticky and prefer glass, there’s always the Steel Black variant with a glass back. The biopolymer back panel is sturdy and blends smoothly into the Aluminium frame. It should be able to handle a few more drops than a glass panel. From personal experience, there wasn’t any wear and tear after a month of use, which is good.
The bezels are extremely narrow and the chin isn’t too prominent either. The placement of the volume rocker and the power button along the edges on either side of the display is spot on, and you don’t have to stretch your fingers much to access them. The same can be said about the location of the in-display fingerprint scanner. A USB-C port, a speaker and the SIM tray are placed on the bottom edge. A 3.5 mm headphone jack has been given a skip and you don’t have a MicroSD card slot either, as with most flagship phones.
Realme GT 2 Pro: Display (4.5/5)
The Realme GT 2 Pro screen is one of the best around with accurate colours and excellent sharpness. It has a 6.7-inch 10-bit LTPO 2.0 AMOLED display with an adaptive refresh rate ranging between 1 to 120 Hz. The screen resolution stands at 3216 x 1440 pixels, which translates into a 525 PPI pixel density. The HDR10+ compliant display can get up to 1400 nits bright and has a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass Victus to protect it from scratches and cracks.
The adaptive refresh rate feature automatically adjusts the refresh rate depending on the app or the content being viewed on the screen and helps in saving battery. For example, it goes up to 120 Hz when scrolling in compatible apps to give you a flicker-free experience, and then drops significantly when watching an image or a video which does not require the screen to be refreshed that often. Gamers may not be able to take full advantage of this display yet as the refresh rate is capped at 60 Hz in games.
Realme GT 2 Pro: Hardware and performance (4.5/5)
Realme has gone all in with the processing power on the GT 2 Pro. It is powered by Qualcomm’s current flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC. You can choose between 8 GB RAM and 128 GB UFS 3.1 storage or 12 GB RAM and 256 GB storage, which we got for review. No surprise that the phone scored some top marks in popular benchmarks. While I did not have scores for phones powered by the Snapdragon 888 chip in current versions of benchmarks, we can still look at where the new Qualcomm chip stands in comparison with the Snapdragon 870 and Mediatek Dimensity 1200.
The Realme GT 2 Pro steers clear of the last generation chips with scores of 1246 and 3262 in single-core and multi-core Geekbench 5.4 benchmarks. In comparison, the OnePlus 9R with Snapdragon 870 gets 974 and 3101 points and the Nord 2 with Mediatek Dimensity 1200 manages scores of 815 and 2762 respectively in those tests. Similarly in the Work 3.0 productivity benchmark, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip races away with a score of 13414, while the 9R and Nord 2 can only get to 11266 and 8075 respectively.
We have some great news for gamers too as the 3DMark scores here are the highest we have ever seen, and not by a small margin either. The Adreno 730 GPU on the Realme GT 2 Pro literally scores double in the Wild Life and Wild Life Extreme benchmarks in comparison to the 9R and Nord 2. I know this is not an apples to apples comparison, but it gives you a fair idea about the raw power of the new Qualcomm chip. On the topic of gaming, the phone does heat up after 30 minutes of gaming but there were no heat related crashes or restarts.
In day to day operations, things were absolutely smooth. Be it opening multiple browser tabs or switching between a dozen open apps or photography, the phone sailed through without a hiccup, and it barely got warm. But clicking a few photos back to back or recording videos does make it noticeably warm, nothing alarming though. The initial issues with heat related malfunction of the camera app were addressed in a subsequent software update.
The performance of the phone in other departments gave us no reason to complain either. The call quality and reception were perfectly fine. The dual speakers on the phone are fairly loud and offer punchy sound output for phone speakers with a good stereo effect. Wireless connectivity options include Bluetooth 5.2 and dual-band WiFi with support for a/b/g/n/ac/6 standards.
Realme GT 2 Pro: Camera performance (4.25/5)
The rear camera combination on the Realme GT 2 Pro is quite interesting and impressive at the same time. There are two 50MP cameras, the primary with a Sony IMX766 sensor and optical image stabilisation (OIS) and the ultra-wide shooter with a Samsung ISOCELL JN1 sensor. The third (3MP) camera at the back is quite unique with a micro lens and acts as a microscope to magnify objects 20 times over. There are no telephoto or macro cameras on the GT 2 Pro.
The primary camera captures some excellent shots in varied lighting and modes. The photos have great detail and impressive dynamic range. Colour reproduction is equally impressive and pretty close to that of the actual object or scene. The 2X zoom here is essentially digital but the captured images are fairly sharp and usable. As you zoom in further, the images start to look washed out. Portrait shots work well with human subjects despite the absence of a dedicated depth sensor, which frankly has become redundant for a while now.
The ultra-wide camera here is one of the best around, and the colour reproduction and dynamic range are comparable to the main camera, especially in good light. Again the captured images have a good amount of detail and the noise is manageable. Other than the standard wide FOV, it can capture 150-degrees ultra-wide shots too and then there’s the fish-eye mode for you to try out. There are a handful of other modes to explore too.
The low light performance is topnotch here, especially the main camera doing a fabulous job. The captured images have surprisingly good detail, accurate colours and hardly any noise. And all this even without using the night mode. The night mode makes the objects appear brighter than actual, but the details are well preserved. The ultra-wide camera does a reasonable job in low light too, but I would suggest sticking to the main camera when the light drops unless you need a wider field of vision.
And lastly, the 3MP micro camera is a cool new addition. It provides 20X magnification when you focus on objects from up close and gives fascinating results. Do check the camera sample to know what I mean. The LEDs get switched on automatically in this mode to highlight the subject. There’s a 40X magnification option too but it’s digital. The 32MP selfie camera does what is expected of it. This phone can record videos up to 8K resolution but EIS is available only when recording in 4K or lower resolution. The recorded 4K videos are quite impressive and 1080p videos aren’t bad either.
Click here for uncompressed camera samples:
Realme GT 2 Pro: Battery backup (4/5)
The battery backup of the GT 2 Pro is quite good. It has a 5000 mAh battery that keeps the phone running for a day and a half of moderate use, with an hour of gaming included. With a lighter load, it even lasts for two days. If you opt to play games on it for the better part of the day, you better keep the charger handy. Speaking of which, Realme bundles a 65W SuperDart charger that juices the phone fully in just about 37 minutes, which is quite brisk.
Realme GT 2 Pro: OS and User interface (4/5)
The Realme GT 2 Pro runs the latest Android 12 with Realme UI 3.0. It does add some customisation on top of stock Android UI, but the latest iteration of Realme UI is quite polished and user friendly. There are ample options to tweak it further if you wish to. The learning curve is not steep at all even for one switching from a different user interface.
Despite having the ColorOS gene, it remains more pleasant than the mess OnePlus has made with OxygenOS 12. Realme UI 3.0 is fluid and lag free. There is one thing it could have done without though, and that’s the amount of bloatware preinstalled on the phone. The good part is that most of it can be uninstalled; still, an unnecessary chore for the user to engage in.
Realme GT 2 Pro: Price, verdict and competition
The Realme GT 2 Pro starts at Rs 49,999 for the 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage variant and Rs 57,999 for the 12 GB RAM and 256 GB storage option with a one year warranty. That makes it the most affordable smartphone currently with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC. In comparison, the OnePlus 10 Pro with similar specifications (and not just the chipset) is priced at Rs. 66,999 and Rs 71,999 respectively for similar RAM and storage variants.
For that big a price delta, the Realme GT 2 Pro does not miss out on anything major in comparison. Yes, it may lack features like a telephoto camera and wireless charging, but it offers more than plenty for its asking price. You get a solid all-rounder with a pleasant design, excellent 2K display with variable refresh rate, flagship processing hardware, impressive camera department, latest Android with a user-friendly UI, good battery backup with fast charging and more under Rs 50,000. That makes it an easy recommendation for those in search of a flagship device without breaking the bank.