(Pocket-lint) - Realme is trying to make a name for itself in the smartphone world. It's an off-shoot of Oppo, and launches phones with high end specifications at accessible prices. One device that epitomises that is the new GT Neo 2.
Look down the spec sheet and you'll see numbers and specifications you'd typically see in the top handset models, except this one is launching for about half the price of those. There are some minor compromises, but from our first look at the phone, it certainly seems a compelling option.
Striking look (if you want it)
- 162.9 x 75.8 x 9mm
- 199.8g - glass front and back
- Neo Green, Neo Black and Neo Blue colours
Look at the range of GT Neo 2 colours and there's one model that really stands out. With its go-faster stripe, the Neo Green model is incredibly striking. Sadly, however, we don't have that unit to see it up close. Instead, we have the more subtle Neo Black, which is something of a safe choice.
Still, there's a lot to like about the design of Realme's latest GT Neo. Despite being quite a large phone, compared to some of the bigger, plus-sized phones like the ROG Phone or iPhone 13 Pro Max it feels quite nimble and sleek. It is slightly larger and heavier than its cousin, the OnePlus Nord 2, though.
It's an uncomplicated affair on the back, with a simple - but attractive - camera module placed in the top left corner. Each of the cameras has a neat ring around it, with the rounded rectangle underneath glass-topped and colour-matched to the phone's rear. In this case, it's Neo Black, which has a dark, foggy look to it. Rather than being glossy, it's matte and diffuses light rather than shining it straight back at you.
Otherwise it's a pretty standard formula. The phone has a textured wake/sleep button on the right and two individual volume up/down buttons on the left, all of which are in convenient positions and easy to reach whether you're right or left-handed.
The screen takes up nearly all the available space on the front, with skinny bezels up the sides and the top, with a slightly thicker bottom bezel. The only thing interrupting the screen surface area is the selfie camera punched through a spot in the top left corner.
Top tier display
- 6.62-inch AMOLED 120Hz Samsung panel
- HDR10+ - 1300 nits peak brightness
- 1080 x 2400 resolution (fullHD+)
- 398 ppi
If there's one standout hardware feature of the GT Neo 2, it's probably the display. It's got a large 6.62-inch Samsung-made panel on the front and it's capable of reaching refresh rates up to 120Hz, enabling silky smooth animation.
This fullHD+ screen also boasts high peak brightness too, with the ability to reach up to 1300 nits, and with support for HDR10+ content. Combined, that should mean a wonderful screen for watching movies and playing games on.
Where it might surprise is in gaming fluidity. With 600Hz touch sampling rates, you should find the screen animations respond almost instantly to any gestures, taps or swipes on the touch sensitive surface.
On first impressions, the screen seems bright and vivid with lively colours and deep blacks, which is what you want from any smartphone screen. Of course, we'll need more time to test before coming to a full conclusion.
What's also interesting is that the GT Neo 2 comes with an Android 12-based version of Realme UI. That - in essence - means it's running a sort-of ColorOS 12 'light'. A lot of the software changes are the same as what we've seen from Oppo and OnePlus in their Android 12 skins.
That means app icons with a more 3D look to them, plus the same kind of spacing and layout as OxygenOS and ColorOS. You even get similar customisation options for adjust system accents and the always-on-display or AOD.
Beefy battery and speedy performance
- Snapdragon 870 5G processor
- 8GB/12GB RAM - 128GB/256GB storage
- 5000mAh battery
- 65W flash charging (100% in 36 mins)
Along with the impressive-sounding display, the battery is sure to draw interest too. At 5000mAh it's noticeably larger in capacity than the typical 4000-4500mAh we're used to seeing in smartphones. That should mean you can go for a full day without even having to think about charging.
As with everything, we need to test it to see if it's going to deliver a 2-day use, or just be a very comfortable one-day use battery. Not that battery anxiety will every truly crop up, not if you have the charger to hand at least.
Realme's latest phone takes advantage of the latest 65W flash charging technology used by Oppo and OnePlus in its top flagships. That means you'll get a full battery refill in under 40 minutes. In fact, Realme claims you'll only need 36 minutes to go from 1-100 per cent.
This battery and charging speed is joined by a processor we've seen a lot of in the mid-range phones this year: the Snapdragon 870. Qualcomm's not-quite-but-almost flagship processor delivers speed and fluidity, but at a lower price. In all the phones we've used it with so far it's been a speedy and lag-free experience, we don't expect that to be any different here. Again, more testing is required to be certain.
- 64MP f/1.8 primary - PDAF
- 8MP f/2.3 ultrawide - 119-degrees
- 2MP macro sensor
- 4K/60 recording
- 16MP selfie camera
We've not had a chance to take the camera out for a full test yet, but this could be one area it's not quite as impressive. Compromises have to be made, and that may well be what's happened here.
While there is a triple camera system on the back, one of those lenses is a low resolution macro sensor. That means you've really got two usable cameras.
The primary 64-megapixel camera with PDAF (Phase Detection Autofocus) doesn't have OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation), but it can shoot up to 4K video at 60fps, and uses a gyroscope based electronic stabilisation for smoothness. Plus, it's joined by an 8-megapixel ultrawide.
As with everything else, we need to do a lot more shooting with it to come to a full evaluation. We suspect it'll be fine for social media, but aspiring photographers might want to look elsewhere.
On our first look at the GT Neo 2 it's not at all difficult to see the appeal of such a phone. It's sleek, but has a mega battery, almost top tier processing power and a 120Hz screen that's up there with the best of them (on paper at least).
With a price tag of just €449 in Europe, it's incredibly competitive. But as we've seen most of this year, Realme is still in a very competitive market space. The likes of Redmi and Poco have been offering similar devices at lower prices. However, with Android 12 loaded on the newest model, that could tempt some buyers onboard the Realme train.