As part of Qualcomm’s annual Tech Summit in late 2020, we were introduced to its next flagship-tier mobile chip: the Snapdragon 888, and manufacturers – including Realme – clamoured to shout about their upcoming phones powered by this hot new silicon.
Xiaomi took the lead, with the Xiaomi Mi 11, followed by Samsung and its S21 series; all boasting the 888 (in select markets). Not to be outdone, Realme also stepped up with the March release of its new performance flagship phone, the Realme GT.
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.
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.
Bring it on! pic.twitter.com/13QifyEEIr
— realme UK (@realmeUK)
May 21, 2021
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’re separately tracking where to buy the Realme GT here.
We discuss the Realme GT’s global launch in episode 70 of our weekly podcast Fast Charge:
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
- Bluetooth 5.2
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- 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 yellow vegan leather with a strip of black patterned glass running down from the rear camera module.
This third model weighs fractionally more and measures marginally thicker than its fully glass-backed counterparts and can only be had with the higher-capacity 12GB RAM/256GB storage.
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.
Realme GT 5G Master Edition leaks
According to known tipster Digital Chat Station, Realme is also prepping a Master Edition version of the Realme GT, created in partnership with Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa.
Realme VP Xu Qi Chase reposted a photo of himself and Fukasawa via social network Weibo on 22 June from the launch of what looks like the original Realme X Master Edition, alluding to another entry in the series.
Chase then followed this up with additional photos, this time taken on an intentionally unnamed, unreleased device, describing the shots as an “image peek” (machine translated from Chinese) to give an indication of camera quality.
Meanwhile, multiple other sources have made mention of an intended partnership with a well-known camera brand – suggested to be Kodak – who at one point, released smartphones under its own name.
The exclusive finishes on Master Edition iterations of Realme’s phones follow various themes. With the Realme X Master Edition, the phone could be had in either Onion or Garlic, the Realme X2 Pro Master Edition came in Concrete or Brick and last year’s Realme X50 Pro Master Edition sported designs that featured distinct dot or line patterns.
In early July, 91Mobiles and OnLeaks teamed up to supply high quality renders of the supposed Realme GT 5G Master Edition, showcasing Fukusawa’s work but without explaining what the ‘theme’ of this generation’s exclusive finishes revolved around.
In addition, their reveal included numerous spec details, such as the phone’s use of a Snapdragon 778 processor, paired with 8GB or 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage, use of a 6.43in Full HD+ 120Hz AMOLED display with an in-display fingerprint sensor and housing a 4300mAh battery with 65W fast charging.
The 8mm phone, which is said to weigh in at 174 grams, also accommodates a real triple camera setup, consisting of a 64Mp lead sensor, an 8Mp ultrawide and a 2Mp depth snapper, while a 32Mp camera resides within the hole punch on the front.
According to OnLeaks, the Realme UI 2.0 (atop Android 11)-toting phone will cost €399 for the 8GB RAM model, while the 12GB RAM variant will clock it at around €449. A release date was not discussed in the report.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Realme GT Neo Master Edition leaks
As with talk of a Master Edition incarnation of the standard GT, there’s also the possibility of a Realme X9 Pro/GT Neo “Concrete” model (similar in style to the Concrete Realme X2 Pro Master Edition).
Photos shared by tipster WhyLab on Weibo, show a device with a curved display and a matte grey back, which align with RMX3116, which was recently listed on China’s TENAA system.
There’s no set date on when to expect this model but the fact that it too appears to bear Fukasawa’s signature – as previous Master Edition devices have, suggests that it might not be that far off from release.
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.
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.
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