Review

Short test: realme GT Master Edition for $358.12/£269.00/249€ at Amazon

After the realme GT, the currently fastest growing smartphone manufacturer has introduced the realme GT Master and the Explorer Edition of the GT. “Unfortunately, only the cheaper realme GT Master Edition is officially released in Germany. However, it has quite a bit going for it and makes it to the first place of our best smartphones under 300€!

Technical data of the realme GT Master Edition

realme GT Master Edition
Display6.43 inch 19.5:9 Full HD+ (2400 x 1080p) 120 Hz AMOLED, thin
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 778
Graphics chipQualcomm Adreno 642L
RAM6/8 GB
Internal memory128/256 GB
Camera64 MP main camera ƒ/1.8
8 MP ultra wide-angle ƒ/2.3
2 MP macro ƒ/2.4
Front camera32 megapixel Sony IMX615 ƒ/2.5
Battery4.300 mAh 65W SuperDart Charge
ConnectivityWiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, USB-Typ-C, GPS/GLONASS/BDS, Dual-SIM, NFC, SA/NSA 5G, LTE Band 20
FeaturesFingerprint sensor in the display
Operating systemRealme UI based on Android 11
Dimensions / Weight159,2 x 73,5 x 8 mm / 174g

Unique case design

The headline and the “highlight” of the phone are shared between the realme GT Master and the realme GT Master Explorer Edition. The cheaper smartphone also comes with a case back, which we also liked in the review of the Explorer Edition. It was developed together with the Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa. The manufacturer has been known as the “master of the back” since the onion and garlic back of the realme X at the latest. However, the realme GT Master is also available in Luna White or Cosmos Black. This not only looks good, but also feels good and provides a good grip for the phone.

realme GT Master Edition backpage-1
Just stands out from the rest!

Interestingly, the gray colorway is a bit thicker than the other two color variants with 8.7 mm due to the 3D dimensionality of the back. The weight of 180 g is also 6 g higher. We do not have the other color variants for comparison, but that should not be a significant difference in everyday use. After all, the Master Edition still looks slim and aerodynamic. Furthermore, there is not much to criticize about the build quality. The sides are rounded on the left and right and gaps are pleasantly thin. The triple camera also barely peeks out of the case, but it still unfortunately does not pass the shake test. Since it already looks like a case, it would be a nice detail if it could also “stand”, but the lower casing edge is too round for that.

The positioning of the volume buttons is unusual, but typical for realme. Like on an iPhone, they are on the left, which means that the power button is on its own on the right. The realme GT Master Edition is unfortunately not protected against water, so it does not offer an IP rating.

120 Hz AMOLED: Still THE argument

However, the front also knows how to please. The 6.43″ screen diagonal is as big as in the normal realme GT, only the Explorer variant is slightly bigger. The punch-hole look should also not be missing in a master smartphone, and the 120 Hz refresh rate installed here is still rare in this price range. After all, it is an AMOLED display. The high refresh rate also ensures a fast implementation thanks to the 360 Hz touch sampling rate. At 1,000 nits, it is slightly darker than the Explorer, but still quite bright.

The display is pleasing in the test and convinces with a colorful and high-contrast display. It is bright enough with a maximum of 1000 nits, which is only achieved when the automatic brightness is enabled. However, that is quite practical when you have to deal with strong sunlight outdoors. Indoors, I managed well with a good 60% of the maximum setting in the test. The 120 Hz refresh rate does not feel quite as fast as in the competition, but that is probably only due to the fact that the scroll animation in the real UI is not quite as fast.

Speaking of the real UI. There are several settings for the display, but the built-in Always On Display should be interesting for most users thanks to the AMOLED panel. The operating system provides over 20 presets, which can all be customized. You can also create your own designs and add your own pictures, as well as individualize the text. Thanks to AMOLED, a fingerprint sensor is also integrated under the display, which works very quickly and reliably. This is a small but nice difference compared with the Redmi Note 10 Pro.

With a new Snapdragon processor

However, the name addition “Master” raises some questions when looking at the spec sheet. Sure, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 778 processor installed here supports 5G, was manufactured in 6 nm, is up-to-date and offers enough power with 2.4 GHz. But just like the Snapdragon 870 from the realme GT Master Explorer, it is weaker than the Snapdragon 888 from the normal real-world GT. Then there are 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of mass storage, which cannot be expanded. You have to pay extra for more storage; the 8/256 GB variant costs $399  (RRP).

Even though the performance is not “masterly”, it is still very good. The chip has no problems at all with smooth gaming and stable frame rates in medium to high graphics settings, and image editing is no challenge for it either. In a direct comparison in the speed test with the realme GT Neo 2 with the stronger Snapdragon 870 processor, the Neo 2 is usually ahead, but not always. Most system apps open equally fast. The stronger phone on paper is usually faster in third-party apps as well, but we are talking about milliseconds here.

Thanks to the 6 GB of RAM, you can also manage multitasking well; in my opinion, 6 GB is still enough for the vast majority. The operating system also offers the option of freeing up to 5 GB of virtual RAM from the memory quota for the cache. The 6 GB version probably only has 2 GB of RAM. The benchmark results also confirm the good performance. The scores are on par with the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G.

Charges in half an hour!

One of the highlights is the 65W powerful charging. The 4,300 mAh battery can be fully charged in about half an hour with the included charger. This is even enough for a battery level of over 50% in a good 10 minutes. Sure, there is already 120W charging like in the Xiaomi 11T Pro, but 65W power is more than enough. This speed also completely changes the charging behavior. You no longer have to charge it overnight, but it is enough to plug it into the socket in the morning while taking a shower. Wireless charging, on the other hand, is not included.

realme GT Master Edition Charger Device
Part of the scope of delivery: The 65W charger!

However, I would not start the day with a 50% charge without a charger in my luggage. Realme has worked a lot on improving the runtime, but 120 Hz and 5G also draw a lot of power. However, you can easily get through the day with a full charge; it is even one and a half with my use. However, I do without 5G and set the refresh rate to automatic, so the 120 Hz only come into play when they are needed. As always, the individual battery runtime depends heavily on the user’s usage.

How good is the camera of the realme GT Master Edition?

One of the biggest differences to the Explorer Edition is the camera. We already know the 64-megapixel sensor with ƒ/1.8 aperture from various realme smartphones, and the 8 MP ultra-wide-angle and 2 MP macro camera do not surprise us anymore. In contrast, the Explorer Edition gets the stronger 50 MP Sony IMX766 sensor, which is also found in the OnePlus NORD 2, for example. Besides the macro sensor, the 32 MP Sony IMX615 front-facing camera with a ƒ/2.5 aperture is identical.

Realme has always been accused of the same thing for a few generations: not enough progress with the camera. This is also true for the realme GT Master Edition. However, this is not really noticeable in good lighting conditions, where the familiar 64 MP sensor takes relatively sharp pictures, albeit with a somewhat unique color profile. Earthy tones, such as green, turn out well, which is why I particularly like landscape photos. Blue quickly turns black and the photos are generally a bit underexposed for my taste. In return, the sharpness is really okay when the autofocus is set.

realme GT Master main camera test photo person realme GT Master Edition main camera test photos colors

In my opinion, realme has the most problems with skin tones, which are often a bit too pale and sometimes yellow, sometimes a bit too red. The dynamic range is also not great, especially in backlighting, which occasionally results in a kind of “halo” on the subjects. Nevertheless, the camera is not bad, but it does not stand out in this price segment. I like the 108 MP camera and Xiaomi’s color profile of the Redmi Note 10 Pro better.

Realme GT Master Edition order now »

Ultra-wide-angle, macro & selfie camera

Realme does not want to reinvent the wheel with the other sensors, but it does not have to in this price segment. As usual, the detail richness clearly decreases in the ultra-wide-angle photos, and the photos are also a bit dark and noisy, especially in low light. Nevertheless: In the right scenario, e.g. a sunset, the camera has also surprised me and exposed better than the main camera. You can also film with the focal length, but it is more cropped than in the photos.

realme GT Master Edition Ultra Wide Angle Camerasrealme GT Master Edition Test Pictures Macro camera

Unfortunately, the macro camera is absolutely standard. A closest focusing distance of 4 cm is not enough to get really close to an object and take a cool macro photo. The results are correspondingly lame; Xiaomi’s 5 MP telemacro photos are better here. I think you only use it once and then never again, right? I really like the selfies, which are sharp and offer a pretty natural color profile when there is enough light. The front-facing camera is weak in the low-light range.

Realme UI based on Android 11

The realme GT Master Edition uses realme UI 2.0, which is based on Android 11. The realme UI is realme’s own interface that looks confusingly similar to OPPO’s ColorOS operating system. That is obvious, since realme is a subsidiary of OPPO. So anyone coming from an OPPO device will immediately feel at home. But even a realme UI newcomer will benefit from a relatively clear design, which also includes a preset app drawer.

Of course, all Google services are preinstalled and the entire operating system is in German. The security patch is already from November 2021, Widevine Level 1 & Google Play certification are given. Besides the Google apps, realme partly offers its own system apps, but hardly any services. In return, some bloatware appears in the meantime. Social media apps like Twitter, TikTok and Facebook are preloaded, as are PUBG, AliExpress, several Amazon apps and LinkedIn. Fortunately, these can always be uninstalled easily.

The operating system offers some smart features, such as the sidebar that makes one-handed operation a bit easier. Those who have used a OnePlus phone before might be happy about the standby gestures, with which you draw a V on the lock screen to open the flashlight, for example. However, you can also set up quick launch apps via a gesture after unlocking with the fingerprint sensor. In general, realme UI offers many personalization options, which you can also use to customize menu colors, fonts or the icon style. The update policy is also promising; there was already a major update during the test period. In addition, realme offers manual downloads for some devices via the support page.

Connection options

5G compatibility is given with all frequencies that are important for Germany, but LTE band 20 and band 28 are also included. You can directly insert two nano-SIM cards into the SIM slot, but unfortunately, memory expansion via microSD card is not possible. Local Internet is available thanks to dual-band Wi-Fi 6.

NFC, Bluetooth 5.2 and GPS are also available. Another surprise is the 3.5 mm jack on the bottom, which is not even mentioned on the official specs page. On the other hand, it is a bit unfortunate that stereo speakers are not available. This is a disadvantage especially in comparison with Xiaomi, which meanwhile installs two speakers everywhere. Nevertheless, the sound of the realme GT Master Edition is okay. However, you have to do without low frequencies and a spatial sound.

Conclusion: buy the realme GT Master Edition?

The realme GT Master Edition somehow makes it easy for itself and us to recommend it. The name is perhaps a bit misleading, as it is not a flagship. But with a 120 Hz AMOLED display, a strong Snapdragon 778 processor, enough storage, 65W fast charging, an overall very solid camera, and a good operating system, the phone really leaves nothing to be desired at all for the price of around €300. Yes, a Redmi Note 10 Pro has the even slightly better camera and stereo speakers, but not fast charging and not this performance.

Also, because of the design and the same processor, it is even more comparable to the Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE. This one has the unique lightweight design, the realme GT Master Edition this unique case design. In many respects they are on par, but the realme even offers 120 Hz instead of 90 Hz refresh rate and the also faster loading. The only things I can really criticize about the realme GT Master Edition are the poor macro camera, the lack of a stereo speaker and the only average camera. However, I can more than get over all that for the money.

If you are currently looking for a phone under $300, I would recommend the realme GT Master Edition first! More power in the realme universe can be found in the GT Neo 2 with a stronger processor. I find it very interesting, finally realme has overtaken Xiaomi in the price segment! What are your experiences with realme?

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Thorben

My special interests are smartphones from China and I am always keen to discover new smartphone accessories like smartwatches and headphones. 

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