The Realme GT 5G launches the flagship killer, a category that OnePlus gave up years ago

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The Realme GT has been a performance-oriented phone right from the start. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh / Financial Express)

While the jury is not yet informed of the exact origins, there is no doubt that the nickname “flagship killer” gained momentum in 2014 when OnePlus launched its first product, the OnePlus One. The idea was to offer an experience similar to a high-end Samsung Galaxy or a premium iPhone at a fraction of the cost. A few things were taken for granted. Like for example, you would always expect a OnePlus phone to have the latest and greatest Qualcomm mobile processor available at this time. You would expect it to have clean software. These phones weren’t a problem in other areas either. Aside from a couple of omissions like an IP rating or wireless charging, OnePlus would make you an offer you just can’t refuse.

Also read | Realme GT Master Edition 5G unboxing and first look: design, specs, features and everything you need to know

Over time, the flagship killer gave way to the flagship. I won’t go into the details that much, but the nickname was eventually settled. To this day, when Realme, a OnePlus sister brand, launched the category with the introduction of the Realme GT 5G.

Realme GT Price in India, Realme GT Master Full Phone SpecificationsRealme GT Price in India, Realme GT Master Full Phone SpecificationsIt’s 6.43 inches 1080p Super AMOLED with a fast 120Hz refresh rate. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh / Financial Express)

The phone is being marketed as the “Flagship Killer 2021”. At least that’s what the reviewer’s guide tells me. It follows the Realme X7 Max and the Realme X7 Pro, both flagship killer phones in their own right. Realme is basically following a “dual-platform-dual-flagship” strategy in which there will be two series of mid-to-high-end products, one of which is based on Qualcomm’s high-end 8-series processors and focuses on the performance aspect, the other is powered by MediaTek’s Dimensity processors and focuses on camera technology.

The Realme GT’s big USP is that it comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor. It might not be the latest and greatest in hardware as Qualcomm already released the Snapdragon 888 Plus, but the Realme GT first took cover in March (Qualcomm announced the chipset in late June). However, it took Realme a long time to get the phone to India which is the real crap.

Also read | Realme X7 Max in the test: With 5G up to date, but at what price

Realme couples the Snapdragon 888 with up to 12 GB LPDDR5 RAM and up to 256 GB UFS3.1 storage. The phone also has a dynamic RAM expansion feature which is essentially virtual storage for smartphones that uses your internal storage to top up the RAM when needed. To do this, Realme’s technology allows you to allocate 7GB of additional storage, which in theory makes the Realme GT a 19GB RAM phone. The function must be activated in the phone settings. The Realme GT does not support expandable memory. You get dual SIM and support for 5G and Wi-Fi 6. The software in the phone is Android 11-based Realme UI 2.0.

Realme GT Price in India, Realme GT Master Full Phone SpecificationsRealme GT Price in India, Realme GT Master Full Phone SpecificationsThe software in the phone is Android 11-based Realme UI 2.0. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh / Financial Express)

Like many other Snapdragon 888-powered phones on the market today, the Realme GT has a tendency to get hot when stressed. And it tends to throttle. Like the Realme X7 Max, the Realme GT also has stainless steel steam cooling, but so far hasn’t been able to keep up with everything I’ve thrown at it. The Realme X7 Max with Dimensity 1200 Power copes with the thermals better, as far as I can tell from these two phones.

The Realme X7 Max / Pro will play a huge role in Realme GT reviews and comparisons as there are many similarities between these phones in addition to the core hardware, and to some extent even the design. That’s not bad at all, because both the Realme X7 Max and Realme X7 Pro are great value for money. The Realme GT tries to build on that and take that experience to another level.

Take the screen, for example. It’s 6.43 inches 1080p Super AMOLED with a fast 120Hz refresh rate, punchy colors, and good viewing angles. The brightness is 1000 nits like the Realme X7 Max. There is no HDR support. The in-display fingerprint reader isn’t the most accurate, and there’s no screen protector, at least none that’s advertised.

Realme GT Price in India, Realme GT Master Full Phone SpecificationsRealme GT Price in India, Realme GT Master Full Phone SpecificationsIt comes with three cameras on the back. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh / Financial Express)

The cameras are also carried over from the Realme X7 Max, which means the phone comes with three cameras on the back and only one of them – the primary one – is usable. This is a 64MP Sony IMX682 sensor. The other two cameras – 8MP ultra wide angle and 2MP macro – are hard to maintain. On the front, the Realme GT has a 16MP camera, again like the Realme X7 Max.

The package is powered by a 4,500 mAh battery with 65 W fast charging support. In my experience, the phone can go from 0 to 100% in just 45 minutes which is really good. The phone also has two stereo speakers with hi-res audio support and a headphone jack.

Also read | Realme GT Master Edition 5G with case leather design, Realme GT 5G with Snapdragon 888 launched in India

One of the variants of the Realme GT (which we have tested) comes with a two-tone vegan leather design. It uses two different types of materials on the back plate to highlight its “sports car” aesthetic. Much of the phone is yellow. This is interrupted by a shiny black vertical strip – this also houses the phone’s triple cameras. The phone will also be available in silver and blue.

Realme GT 5G first impressions

Realme GT Price in India, Realme GT Master Full Phone SpecificationsRealme GT Price in India, Realme GT Master Full Phone SpecificationsThe Realme GT starts at 37,999 rupees. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh / Financial Express)

The Realme GT is essentially a turbo-charged Realme X7 Max / Pro. It looks like it too. The combination of vegan leather and Realme’s signature yellow color scheme (and minimal branding) makes the phone stand out from the crowd and feels good in the hand. But despite these very compelling testimonials, it’s the price that Realme put out for the phone that makes it hard to resist. The base 8GB / 128GB model was introduced for 37,999 rupees, while the top-end 12GB / 256GB version will set you back at 41,999 rupees.

This is a performance-oriented phone right from the start, bringing back a little bit of excitement and déjà vu that was lost in the industry long after OnePlus took a different route. There have been attempts by other brands, such as Poco and Xiaomi, but here too there were only one-off attempts. Realme says the GT is a line of smartphones, so let’s hope there are more in the future. Whether or not the Realme GT 5G is actually a flagship killer, be sure to check out this section for our full review to be published shortly.

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