Realme GT 2 Pro Review: A practical no-nonsense flagship at a sensible price
Realme has been slowly upping the ante with each and every release in the past few years. I reviewed one of the company’s first flagship outings in the form of the Realme X50 Pro 5G, and I’ve been following them closely ever since. At MWC 2022, the company launched the Realme GT 2 and Realme GT 2 Pro variants.
The Realme GT 2 Pro is the best flagship made by Realme yet, and it packs flagship specifications across the board.
Realme GT 2 Pro: Specifications
|Specification||Realme GT 2 Pro|
|Dimensions & Weight||
|RAM & Storage||
|Battery & Charging||
|Security||In-display fingerprint scanner|
About this review: I received the Realme GT 2 Pro for review from the company on the 2nd of March, 2020. Realme did not have any input into the contents of this review.
Realme GT 2 Pro: Design and Display
- High-end LTPO 120Hz QHD AMOLED panel
- Unique design
- Not as bright as I’d like it to be in direct sunlight
The phone comes in two different finishes, and ours is a textured paper-like back designed by Japanese industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa (who also designed the Realme GT Master Edition). It’s cool but it feels kind of strange. It’s close to the fake leather of the OPPO Find X2 Pro, but it’s not completely the same feel. I’m also not a huge fan of green phones so that in itself is a bit of a subjective miss for me. One thing that it does really help is that it makes the phone a lot grippier to hold, whereas phones made of metal or glass can often be slippery or attract fingerprints.
There’s a triple camera setup on the back adjacent to the company’s Realme branding and Fukasawa’s signature. The triple camera array is comprised of a 50MP primary shooter, a 50MP 150-degree ultra-wide, and a 2MP macro camera. There are also two flashlights on the back for greater illumination of photos, but the only way to trigger the second flashlight is by taking a photo. Turning on the flashlight from quick settings won’t turn on the flashlight on the bottom.
Nevertheless, the Realme GT 2 Pro is a lot more comfortable of a phone to hold in one hand than some others that I’ve already used this year. It’s not small by any metric really, but it’s thinner which certainly helps when holding it in one hand. The Realme GT 2 Pro’s paper-like design won’t be for everyone, but it’s fantastic to see companies trying something new in the design department.
Realme GT 2 Pro: Performance
- Fantastic flagship performance thanks to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
- Great high refresh-rate panel
- Smooth and fast in all tasks
Packing the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, the Realme GT 2 Pro has the latest and greatest chipset from Qualcomm. It has all the generational leaps over its predecessors and a 4nm node size for better performance without a substantial increase in power draw. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 retains the 1+3+4 configuration which Qualcomm has been running for a while, with the single Prime core being based on ARM’s new Cortex-X2. You also get up to 12GB of RAM, up to 512GB of UFS 3.1 storage, and that high resolution, high refresh rate display.
Despite all of that, the Realme GT 2 Pro is not really a gaming phone, and that’s something clever that the company has achieved with its marketing. The GT series started off as a somewhat enthusiast-focused lineup, and the included “GT Mode” is very clearly aimed at being used for games and is exclusive to the GT lineup of phones. GT Mode is essentially a performance mode that prioritizes performance over all else, something that a lot of gaming phones also offer. Realme isn’t advertising this phone exclusively for gamers, but it certainly wants gamers to know that they’re catered for.
The Kryo cores in the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 are based on the ARMv9 architecture. The first CPU designs to be announced using the new technology were the Cortex-X2, Cortex-A710, and Cortex-A510, and those are the exact CPU designs that form the basis for Qualcomm’s Kryo chips. The Cortex-A710 promises a 30% boost in efficiency and a 10% performance uplift over its predecessor, the A78. The Cortex-A710 cores are clocked at 2.5GHz. As for the three Kryo Efficiency cores, they are based on the new Cortex-A510 design. A major criticism of last year’s Efficiency cores in the Snapdragon 888 surrounded the use of the aging Cortex-A55 cores, so now we should see a nice efficiency boost this year. The Cortex-A510 boasts a 35% increase in performance over the A55, with a 20% efficiency improvement, too. These cores are clocked at 1.79GHz.
The beauty of having the latest chipset in your smartphone is that it’s the best that you can get on any phone currently, and as such, pretty much everything will run on it. I ran into no problems on this phone whatsoever, and everything from games to normal browsing and hardcore emulation through the likes of AetherSX2 worked better than any other device I had used to date. Unlocking the phone is fast, taking photos presents no issues, and overall, I’m extremely happy with the performance on the Realme GT 2 Pro.
Benchmarks: Geekbench 5 & AndroBench
These storage speed results are in line with what we would expect from UFS 3.1 storage. Geekbench 5’s multi-core result is a little bit lower than expected, according to benchmarks that we ran on the Qualcomm Reference Device, though not something that I’ve seen reflected in real-world usage. Storage speed is important for gaming as it ensures fast, consistent load times in your games, as slower storage speed will act as a bottleneck.
The Realme GT 2 Pro packs a significant punch in performance, but it means nothing if it throttles quickly. Sustained performance is a metric we use to measure whether or not a phone is capable of maintaining its peak performance, and if so, for how long. If the sustained performance is poor, then you’ll have greatly reduced performance after what could potentially be a short period of time. We used the CPU Throttling Test app on the Google Play Store for half an hour with both GT Mode on and with GT Mode off. I was impressed by the results.
As you can see above, GT Mode does make a significant enough difference. Its maximum performance (even with GT Mode on) is still slightly below what the Red Magic 7 was capable of with the SoC, but nevertheless, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of discrepancy. The phone didn’t get too hot to the touch either which is good, as that can be an issue when running some smartphones at full speed for too long.
Realme GT 2 Pro: Camera
- Great primary shooter
- Similarly excellent ultra-wide
- Fun 2MP microscopic camera
The Realme GT 2 Pro has one of the best Realme cameras yet, and I was impressed by some of the shots that I’ve been able to snap with it. The primary 50MP camera can produce some stunning shots with excellent colors, whereas the 50MP ultra-wide isn’t too much of a step down either. There’s no dedicated telephoto lens though, which is something that bothers me and is something that I value greatly in smartphones.
I found that low-light performance in particular has been really good, and I also enjoy using the ColorOS/Realme UI camera app. It has a lot of useful features and is quick and easy to find what you want. You can also enable 10-bit color photos if you wish from the settings, though it’s not on by default which I appreciate on account of the HEIF image format that’s required to store them. Most social media apps won’t recognize that format.
Another feature that I greatly appreciate on the Realme GT 2 Pro is that it packs a similar microscope camera to the one that can be found on the OPPO Find X3 Pro. You can point it at anything, take a photo, and see it super up-close. For example, it will show you the pixels on your screen, the threads in your clothes, or anything you want, really.
It’s worth noting that the macro camera has flashlights above and below the camera, not in a ring around the sensor itself. That means you can’t place it straight down on some surfaces, as the camera viewfinder will be entirely black. It’s also only 2MP, so while you can zoom in up to 40x, it’s not going to be super high resolution. The OPPO Find X3 Pro offered a 3MP magnification camera that had 30x zoom and 60x zoom instead, though it’s also a significantly more expensive smartphone.
Realme GT 2 Pro: Software
- Realme UI 3.0 is basically ColorOS 12
- Lots of useful features with a clean UI
- Expected fast updates
First and foremost, let’s get it out of the way: the Realme GT 2 Pro comes with Realme UI, which is basically just ColorOS with some small tweaks and a new name. It looks the same, has the same features, and feels the same too. It’s not as if it’s an issue, it’s just something that’s interesting and important to keep in mind if you don’t like ColorOS. This isn’t some vastly different operating system developed by Realme or anything.
This iteration of Realme UI (Realme UI 3) is based on Android 12, and it features all of the major changes introduced in ColorOS 12. For example, Android 12 introduced Material You theming which changes the System theme based on the color of your wallpaper. OPPO has introduced a similar feature as a part of ColorOS 12 where you can pick the theme based on colors in your wallpaper. While this isn’t as seamless as Android 12’s default implementation, it’s surely nice to have. It also does not integrate with apps that incorporate the Material You API.
One particular thing to be mindful of is that when setting up the phone, it will default to full HD resolution, not QHD. It will also default to “auto-select” screen refresh rate, though I set it to “high” to ensure that I’m always using the 120Hz display.
Updates-wise, Realme has generally been on top of things in the past, and the Realme GT 2 Pro is promised to be the company’s longest supported device yet. Realme has promised that it will offer three years of Android upgrades and four years of security updates for this particular smartphone, potentially bringing it all the way to Android 15.
Realme GT 2 Pro: Battery Life and Charging
The Realme GT 2 Pro has a fantastic battery life in my experience, lasting me a full day of usage without needing to charge it. Above is a typical day of usage, where I’ve been consistently seeing 5 to 6 hours of screen on time daily. Not only does the battery last, but the 65W charging (with a charger included in the box) can also top the phone up to 100% in just over half an hour. It’s great to be able to top up my phone in a pinch if I forget to charge it, and I can rest assured that my battery will last if I really need it to. There is no wireless charging though if that’s your kind of thing.
Realme GT 2 Pro: Miscellaneous
I’ve had no problems with the Realme GT 2 Pro’s signal strength, and in fact, it holds a signal better than some of my other phones. I typically have problems with signal strength in my apartment when my phone is on my desk, but I have no problems with this device whatsoever.
The speakers are fine, they’re smartphone speakers, but they’re a little bit quieter than both the iPhone 13 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. They’re certainly not bad, they just can be difficult to hear in noisier environments.
The vibration motor in the Realme GT 2 Pro is noticeable in my pocket, which is something that I’ve also had issues with some other devices. You’ll feel if you get a phone call, text, or email, and haptic feedback is also nice whilst typing.
Bootloader and kernel sources
Realme has so far not released the Realme GT 2 Pro kernel sources, and newer Realme devices have not been officially bootloader unlockable outside of China. There have been some APKs floating around that can unlock the bootloader on some Realme devices, but these aren’t officially endorsed by Realme and we are unable to recommend them in a review.
What’s in the box
- Phone (duh)
- 65W charging brick plus cable
- Basic case
- Pre-applied screen protector
Should you buy the Realme GT 2 Pro?
The Realme GT 2 Pro is a fantastic smartphone that comes in at a price below a lot of the competition. It costs €749 outside of the early bird pricing, which still puts it below a lot of other flagships that are available now or will be made available in the future. It’s hard not to recommend it, especially if what you’re looking for is a flagship experience with a great camera, too.
Is this phone a competitor to the Ultra smartphones of the world? Arguably not, as there are some noticeable omissions. There’s no wireless charging and there’s no telephoto camera, two features that some people will definitely care about more than I do. There are also faster charging solutions, though 65W charging is perfectly capable and more than what most people are still getting currently on other smartphones. If you don’t care about any of that though, then I can honestly say that this is definitely a phone worth considering. I would definitely feel comfortable calling it one of the best phones of this year so far.