I use Android smartphones on occasion, and have one in my collection to mess around with when needed, but I’m really an iPhone guy. My current phone is an iPhone 13 Pro Max. You can read about my experience with it here, but so far it’s been pretty stellar. When Realme reached out and offered to send a review unit of its new Realme GT 2 Pro smartphone, I was interested in seeing how flagship phones have progressed on the other camp. Android, that is. It’s equipped with Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, a 6.7-inch 2K Super Reality AMOLED display, and a camera array anchored by a 50MP Sony shooter with optical image stabilization.
Here’s how I found the new GT 2 Pro, from the perspective of someone who uses an iPhone Pro as his daily driver.
Unboxing and First Impression
The GT 2 Pro makes a good first impression. Its box contained the phone, a charger (which I couldn’t use as it is designed for UK power outlets), a USB-C cable, and a silicone protective case.
The phone itself is quite attractive. It’s roughly the size of my iPhone 13 Pro Max (the Realme is slightly narrower and taller), but it weighs significantly less. It has a unique back plate. My review unit is a Paper Green finish, which is a very light, pastel green. Mint, almost. It’s nicely textured and actually has a paper-like feel to it (more on the back later). The overall effect is of a nicely designed, premium-looking phone that fits nicely in hand despite its 6.7-inch display.
Speaking of the display, this phone’s Super Reality Display is a beauty. It earns an A+ rating from DisplayMate, and with good reason.
Made with low-temperature polycrystalline oxideIt (LPTO 2.0), it has an adaptive frame rate up to 120Hz. This allows it to save power while delivering an extremely smooth view when scrolling. The 2K AMOLED panel offers a razor-sharp 509 ppi. My iPhone’s Super Retina XDR display with ProMotion comes in at 458 ppi, in comparison. Color coverage is 100% of the P3 gamut. It hits a peak brightness of 1400 nits, topping my iPhone’s 1200 nits. Video benefits from its support of HDR 10+.
Streaming video was smooth, sharp, with brilliant colors and plenty of brightness on tap — even outdoors. The 6.7-inch display is about as big it gets before hitting tablet territory. You can’t ask for much more in a smartphone.
The display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass Victus. It’s also equipped with an in-display fingerprint sensor. At first, I found this a little hit or miss, but there was an update that seemed to fix it. Since then, it’s been responsive.
Charging and Battery Life
The GT 2 Pro’s battery life was impressive. Features like the display’s adaptive refresh rate help, but the real star here is the 5000 mAH battery. In comparison, my iPhone 13 Pro Max is equipped with a 4352 mAh battery.
What does the battery give you? Realme claims up to 21 hours of streaming video. In one test, I streamed 1080p video over Wi-Fi for about eight hours, then spent the next day and half using the phone on and off for tasks such as snapping photos, checking email, web surfing, and streaming music to a Bluetooth speaker . It had a night off, although it wasn’t shut down, but it still had some charge left after what was essentially two days of solid use. There was no attempt to save battery life through display dimming.
Battery life is one part of the power story. The other is the speed at which the battery charges. Realme says the 65W SuperDart charging can get the GT 2 Pro to 100% charge in just 33 minutes. Plugging into my 60W laptop charger, it pretty much hit that mark.
What it does not support is wireless charging.
My experience is that at the flagship level, smartphone cameras are all pretty good. Each has its strengths, some stand out in specific areas, but generally speaking you’re going to be able to take decent photos.
The GT 2 Pro features a three-camera rear array, headlined by a 50MP Sony primary shooter (SONY IMX766 with OIS), a 50MP ultra wide-angle camera, and a micro-lens camera. Around front, there’s a 30MP selfie cam — this one equipped with a Sony IMX615 image sensor. There’s no telephoto camera in this phone so any zooming in on a subject is going to be digital.
As expected, the cameras performed quite well during testing. You’ll be happy if you take a lot of outdoor photos, especially of scenic views and buildings. To give an idea of what this phone can do in less-than-ideal conditions, here’s a shot of collectibles on a shelf in my office in dim lighting. The first version is using the iPhone 13 Pro Max’s primary camera.
The second shot is the GT 2 Pro, using the primary camera. The GT 2 Pro has some AI noise reduction and image stabilization going on to help with low-light performance, but it’s not as effective as Apple’s version. It gives up some of the finer detail such as paint texture in the background, while some of the model details are lost in shadow. The color on the iPhone Pro Max camera is more true-to-life. Overall, though, it’s not a bad effort.
Generally speaking, I would say this phone’s camera setup is not quite at the level of what the iPhone 13 Pro Max is capable of, but it’s still very good. And it can pull off a lot of tricks the iPhone can’t.
Case in point, this phone is also equipped with a 40X Micro-Lens camera for extreme magnification (it does not work as a telephone lens). In the photo below, I used the iPhone 13 Pro Max macro mode to get super close to a spoon handle inlayed with colored enamel.
Then I used the Realme GT 2 Pro’s micro-lens camera at its full 40X magnification. It’s not always easy to use — positioning has to be perfect — but the results can be rewarding. The image below is an extreme closeup of that same spoon, specifically a part of the red enamel inlay.
Will you get a lot of use out of this feature, or other camera tricks this phone has up its sleeve, including another smartphone first in fisheye mode? That’s up to you. But the point is, if you want to have fun with cameras and photography, the GT 2 Pro is very well equipped.
Finally, here’s a portrait shot using the selfie camera. There’s some nice bokeh going on here and I don’t see much in the way of image processing or smoothing.
As mentioned, I don’t spend a lot of time in Android world. The phone’s Realme 3.0 UI over Android 12 was easy enough to navigate through. Other media outlets have done extensive benchmarking and the GT 2 Pro seems to be turning in numbers that put it at or slightly better than the Samsung Galaxy S22 in most tests. From my perspective, it was always snappy and responsive.
Realme is pushing the environmental aspects of the GT 2 Pro, including its bragging rights as the world’s first smartphone with a biopolymer design. That would be the Paper Tech back panel, which was created in collaboration with industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa.
This phone doesn’t just look good and feel great in hand, it’s also the first to be made from an ISCC-certified biopolymer. The material is made from renewable resources, including paper pulp. According to numbers supplied by the company, every one million GT 2 Pros manufactured using the Paper Tech back will save the equivalent of 3.5 million fewer plastic bottles compared to traditional smartphone design.
In addition, the use of plastic in the packaging has been cut from 21.7% to just 0.3%, and Realme says printed materials use 100% soy oil ink. This phone has also received TCO 9.0 sustainability certification.
In other words, the Paper Green finish of my review unit reflects some serious green cred.
Realme GT 2 Pro Key Specifications (as Tested):
- 6.7-inch 2K Super Reality AMOLED display with LPTO 2.0, 120Hz variable refresh rate, 1400 nit peak brightness, 100% DCI-P3 color coverage, 509ppi
- Corning Gorilla Glass Victus
- Octa-core Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor with 12GB DDR5 RAM
- 256GB storage
- 5000 mAh battery with SuperDart fast-charging support (100% charge in 33 minutes)
- 50MP primary camera with Sony IMX766 OIS sensor and f/1.8 aperture, 50MP ultra wide-angle camera with 150° FOV and f/2.2 Aperture, 40X Micro Lens camera 2.0
- 32MP selfie camera with Sony MX615 sensor and f/2.4 aperture
- In-display fingerprint sensor
- 5G (2 nano-SIM slots), no mmWave support
- WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC
- Super Linear dual speakers with Dolby Atmos certification, dual mics with noise cancellation
- Runs Android 12 with Realme 3.0 UI
- 6.43 x 2.94 x 0.32-inches, weighs 6.7 ounces
The Realme GT 2 Pro is a worthy entry in the flagship smartphone market.
Even as a jaded iPhone owner, it won me over with its innovative Paper Tech back, beautiful Super Reality AMOLED display, snappy performance, long battery life, and extensive camera options. The £699 price tag (about $920) brings it well below the price of the similarly-sized iPhone 13 Pro Max. Really, the only downside is its lack of wireless charging — although for many people, I suspect that won’t be an issue.
It’s just a shame that this phone isn’t easily available in the US market.
Disclosure: Realme provided a phone for evaluation purposes but had no input into this review.