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Realme GT Master Edition review: stand-out design, commendable performance

Realme has been launching smartphones with all guns blazing this year. More recently, the brand launched  GT Master Edition and GT 5G in India. Realme has announced that the GT series will phase out the popular Realme X-series of smartphones. While the Realme GT 5G is a flagship device, the Realme GT Master Edition is a mid-range premium offering from the brand. The latter has been designed by well-known Japanese industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa and sports a unique suitcase-inspired design.

Also read: Realme GT Master Edition vs POCO F3 GT vs OnePlus Nord 2: price in India, specifications and features compared

One of the first Snapdragon 778-powered smartphones in India, the Realme GT Master Edition is also the first non-flagship smartphone to get the Master Edition moniker from the brand. The new smartphone is an attempt by the brand to up its ante in the premium mid-range segment and to that measure, it competes with the likes of Dimensity 1200-powered POCO F3 GT (review) and Realme’s own X7 Max 5G. I’ve been using the smartphone for over a week to figure out how it holds up against the competition and here’s what I think.

Realme GT Master Edition specifications

Specs
Realme GT Master Edition
Display
6.43-inch FHD+ AMOLED (120Hz)
ProcessorSnapdragon 778G
RAM6GB|8GB
Storage128GB|256GB
OS
Realme UI 2.0 based on Android 11
Rear cameras64MP + 8MP + 2MP
Front Camera32MP
Battery4,300mAh battery
Fast charging65W SupeDart charge
Dimensions159.2 x 73.5 x 8mm
PriceRs 25,999 starting price

Design and display

  • 159.2 x 73.5 x 8.7mm, 180g (Voyager Grey edition)
  • 6.43-inch Samsung Super AMOLED, Full HD+, 120Hz refresh rate, 1,000nits, up to 360Hz touch sampling rate, 100% DCI-P3 Wide Color Gamut

Realme has launched the GT Master Edition in Luna White, Cosmos Black, and Voyager Grey options. The first two options are plastic-clad with a soft matte finish on the back. However, the star of the lineup is the Naoto Fukasawa-designed Voyager Grey variant, which we received for the purpose of this review. Full disclaimer before we head further in the review, the pictures depicted here don’t do justice to how good the Voyager Grey look, thanks to the unique vegan leather finish and suitcase-style design. The back panel houses the rectangular triple camera module in a glossy finish with Realme branding and Naoto Fukasawa’s signature beside it.

In fact, the smartphone was a refreshing change of pace from the plastic or glass smartphones I’ve been reviewing lately and it felt good. The textured finish on the back means the phone offers a good grip and also keeps smudges at bay. In case you are not a fan of the textured back, you can slap on the provided case, which follows the same design ethos and colourway but has a smooth finish. At 180g and 8.7mm, the phone also has a confident heft to it, which I liked. If you prefer lighter and slimmer phones, the Luna White and Cosmos Black variants are 8mm thin and weigh 174g.

Coming to the ports and buttons, the Realme GT Master Edition has the USB Type-C port at the bottom flanked by a 3.5mm audio jack and speaker grille on either side. There’s a dual SIM tray on the left and buttons for volume and power on the right. There are two noise-canceling mics on the top and bottom. As for security, there’s an in-display optical fingerprint scanner that works quite well. I had the face unlock enabled as well and since it was quite fast, I didn’t have to use the fingerprint scanner most of the time.

The Realme GT Master Edition is equipped with the same 6.43-inch Super AMOLED FHD+ display as the Realme GT 5G and the Realme X7 Max 5G (review). The display features a 120Hz refresh rate and a 360Hz touch sampling rate. Other features include Widevine L1 certification, 100 percent DCIP3 colour gamut coverage, and OSIE visual effect. The display offers 1,000 nits brightness, which means it gets plenty bright even outdoors. As is expected from a Super AMOLED panel, the colours are quite vibrant with inky blacks.

There’s no HDR10+ certification on this smartphone, unlike Realme X7 Max 5G, which means you can’t stream content in HDR. However, the Widevine L1 certification means you can still stream in HD resolution, which is good enough. I streamed a few episodes of My Hero Academia on Netflix during my time with the phone and enjoyed the experience. The GT Master Edition has a single downward-firing speaker, which leaves a bit to be desired after the X7 Max’s stereo setup.

Camera

  • Rear: 64-megapixel sensor (main), 8-megapixel sensor (ultra-wide), 2-megapixel sensor (macro)
  • Front: 32-megapixel sensor

The Realme GT Master Edition features a triple rear camera setup comprising a 64-megapixel OmniVision OV64B sensor, accompanied by an 8-megapixel ultra-wide lens and 2-megapixel macro camera. The Realme X7 Max 5g has the same setup but with a better 64-megapixel Sony IMX682 sensor. In the front, the smartphone features a 32-megapixel selfie camera.

The camera app is typical Realme UI fare with night mode, portrait, 64MP, HDR, AI recognition, and live filters available on the viewfinder. You will find dynamic bokeh, AI colour portrait, and Bokeh Flare portrait options inside the filter option in portrait mode. Additionally, there are dedicated modes like starry mode, street mode, ultra macro, slo-mo, pro, film, time-lapse, dual video, and more in the More section on the viewfinder. As for videos, there are options like AI Highlight Video, Ultra Steady, and Bokeh video. The camera can record in 720p and 1080p at 30fps or 60fps. There’s a 4K recording as well but the frame rate is capped at 30fps.

Wide
Regular 
5X
10X
20X
64MP
AI Off
AI On
Night Mode Off
Night Mode On
Rear Portrait
Dynamic Bokeh
Bokeh Flare Portrait
AI Colour Portrait
Close Up
Ultra Macro

The difference between the OmniVision and Sony sensors is quite stark. While I didn’t have the Realme X7 Max 5G with me to compare images but from my experience, both smartphones capture oversaturated images. However, while Realme X7 Max 5G has better detail retention, the GT Master Edition tends to oversharpen images quite a bit with high contrast and as a result, crush the details in shadows making them look darker. Coming to the low light shots, the camera captures passable images but with high noise levels in standard mode. Turn on the dedicated night mode, and the scene gets a bump in exposure with reduced noise levels. On the flip side, the colours get a saturation boost and look artificial.

Coming to the dedicated lenses, the 8-megapixel wide-angle lens captures a wider frame with the same colour sceience as the regular photo mode. However, there’s visible warping around the edges with smudged details. On the bright side, the ultra macro mode captures good closeup shots and the portrait mode is impressive as well. I had fun playing around with the Dynamic, AI Colour, and Bokeh Flare modes in the portrait mode. However, at times you may get soft edges because of stray hairs.

As for selfies, the 32-megapixel camera on the front does an impressive job. The images look a little oversharpened but the colours and skin tone are quite realistic. The portrait mode also works quite well. I would recommend turning off the AI Beautify mode, which is set to 40 percent by default.

Performance, software, and battery

  • Realme UI 2.0 based on Android 11
  • Snapdragon 778G with Adreno 642L
  •  6GB + 128GB, 8GB + 128GB, 8GB + 256GB
  • 4,300mAh battery, 65W SuperDart fast charging

The Realme GT Master Edition is the first smartphone in India to come with the Snapdragon 778G SoC. The 6nm processor is backed by 8GB RAM and up to 256Gb storage. There’s a 6GB variant as well but that will be launched at a later date. Realme has also equipped the smartphone with a dynamic RAM expansion feature, which lets users allocate a part of internal storage as RAM. On the GT Master Edition, users have the option to select between 2GB, 3GB, and 5GB RAM expansion. There’s a dedicated GT Mode as well, which can be turned on from the notification panel to boost performance but reduces battery life.

In day-to-day performance, the Snapdragon 778G performs extremely well. I used the smartphone extensively with over 10 apps constantly running in the background including Netflix and YouTube and I am yet to run into any lags. During our speed test comparison with the Dimensity 1200-powered Realme X7 Max 5G, the GT Master Edition was slightly behind when it comes to app opening time, but loaded games faster. The Realme GT Master Edition also killed several apps during the speed test but I didn’t face the issue, which could be attributed to the fact that I had enabled dynamic RAM expansion to 5GB.

As for gaming, the Realme GT Master Edition opens Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) with Ultra frame rate (40fps) and HDR graphics. You can lower the graphic settings to achieve a 60fps frame rate in the game. On the other hand, the Realme X7 Max 5G offers HDR graphics with up to Extreme frame rate (60fps). Moreover, if you drop the graphics settings to Smooth, you can enjoy the game at 90fps.

That being said, I personally didn’t face any hiccup while gaming on the GT Master Edition and didn’t feel the need for the higher frame rate. Moreover, the Realme GT Master Edition also remained cool during prolonged gaming sessions. To put it simply, the GT Master Edition is quite capable when it comes to gaming but if you are looking for top-notch gaming performance, the Dimensity 1200 SoC will serve you better.

As for the software, the Realme GT Master Edition comes with Realme UI 2.0 on top of Android 11. You get useful features like  Always-on display, System Colours, Smooth Scrolling, and Sleep Capsule. On the flip side, there is a ton of bloatware like Soloop, FinShell Pay, Facebook, Flipkart, Amazon, and Snapchat. However, these can be uninstalled.

The Realme GT Master Edition is backed by a 4,300mAh battery, which to be honest lasted me just until dinner time on heavy usage. The good news is that the 65W SuperDart charger can charge the phone from zero to 100 percent in just 30 minutes.

Bottomline

The Realme GT Master Edition starts from Rs 25,999 for the 6GB variant but this model is not on sale yet. As things stand, the Realme GT Master Edition currently starts from Rs 27,999 for the 8GB + 128GB variant. The phone has a good display for gaming and multimedia, a capable processor, and super fast charging. It did leave me desiring more in the camera department, which might be a deal-breaker for many. However, the Voyager Grey’s suitcase-inspired design has a novelty factor, which may turn the tide in its favour.

As I kept reiterating throughout the review, Realme’s own X7 Max 5G is a solid contender to the GT Master Edition. The smartphone is available at Rs 26,999 for the base 8GB + 128GB variant and goes up to Rs 27,999 for the 12GB + 256GB variant, which is cheaper than the GT Master Edition. For the price, you get the same display, powerful Dimensity 1200 SoC, better 64-megapixel sensor, and a bigger 4,500mAh battery with a slightly slower 50W SuperDart Charge. What’s more, the Milky Way colour option provides a refreshing design change for those who want something unique.

Another contender is the POCO F3 GT, which starts at Rs 26,999 and goes up to Rs 30,999. The smartphone features a bigger 6.67-inch AMOLED display, Dimensity 1200 SoC, 64-megapixel camera setup, and a bigger 5.065mAh battery with 67W fast charging. The highlights include RGB LED indicators in the camera module, gaming aesthetics, a clean MIUI 12.5 interface, and the maglev shoulder triggers for gaming.

Having said that, the Realme GT Master Edition is a compelling smartphone under Rs 30,000 with a commendable performance. The suitcase-inspired design definitely makes it stand out from the crowd, which might appeal to many. However, there are better all-round options in the market at the more affordable price points.

Pricebaba’s rating: 7/ 10

What works

  • Standout design
  • Good display
  • Good performance
  • Fast charging

What doesn’t

  • Poor cameras
  • Average battery life
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Abhiman Biswas

Abhiman is obsessed with all things tech. His hobbies include reading on his Kindle and clicking random pictures on his phone. His secret superpowers happen to be mixing great cocktails and lip reading. In his spare time, you are likely to find him cleaning his aquascape, researching new species of aquatic fishes and planning which aquatic plants to buy next.