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These days, a lot of smartphones resort to the same visual approach, curved edges and glossy finish. realme however, wants to spice things up with its newest mid-range contender, the realme GT Master Edition, thanks to a unique design that is inspired by the desire to travel and go places,

Combined with seemingly capable hardware on paper and competitive pricing, realme hopes to deliver a premium-affordable experience to consumers.

Specifications

Display6.43″ 120Hz Samsung AMOLED Display, 360Hz Touch Sampling Rate
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 778G 5G
RAM8GB + 5GB DRE (Dynamic RAM Expansion)
Storage128GB/256GB
Rear Camera64MP Main
8MP Ultra-Wide
2MP Macro
Front Camera32MP
OSrealme UI 2.0
Battery4,300mAh, 65W SuperDart Fast-Charging
SRPPhP18,990 (8GB+128GB)
PhP21,990 (8GB+256GB)

Design and Build Quality

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realme GT Master Edition comes in two unique colorways – There’s Daybreak Blue, which is inspired by the colors of dawn, and utilizes the patented PICASUS technology to give it a nano-laminate coating that emits a shiny, metallic, and holographic feel, and Voyager Grey, which is the one we have.

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The latter is designed by Naoto Fukasawa, an Industrial Designer who has worked with brands like MUJI, Herman Miller, and a lot more. He took inspiration from travelling as it allows him to meet other people and understand different cultures. He also wanted to design a phone for positive, active, and lively people, and that the suitcase look is symbolic of our desire to explore and travel. This is more impactful today, when a lot of people are staying at home due to the pandemic.

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Additionally, the suitcase design also helps prevent smudges from accumulating, while also offering better grip (thanks to the vegan leather material) when holding the phone with one hand. The benefit is also offset by the sides, which are covered in a glossy metallic finish.

The cameras are also housed in a transparent module, which contributes to a distinct and premium look. It still protrudes, but not as evident as say, the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G.

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realme has decided to keep the headphone jack, which is located at the bottom of the device along with a speaker grille, USB-C port, and microphone.

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Moving on to the display, realme GT Master Edition has a 6.43-inch Samsung Super AMOLED screen with FHD+ resolution, a 120Hz refresh rate, and 360Hz touch sampling rate. It also boasts 1000 nits of brightness, which helps when using the device under direct sunlight, and covers 100% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, for excellent color accuracy.

As expected from a Super AMOLED display, colors are slightly boosted than usual for a more lively vibe. Text is sharp, and the high refresh rate makes animations look smoother and more fluid.

Performance

Under the hood is a Snapdragon 778G 5G SoC, which honestly caught me off guard, as I was expecting a Snapdragon 870 or 888, just like the original realme GT. I just find it odd that a device that’s named as the Master Edition would have less in the processing department than its predecessor. In any case, I guess it’s all about segments here, and realme wants to cover the upper mid-range category.

Daily performance was nothing short of flawless, as the phone breezes through the menial day to day tasks. For casual users, the experience is more than satisfactory. You also get 8GB of RAM, and up to 256GB of storage, which is more than enough for what I use it for. One caveat is that there’s no expandable storage – those who have a really large library of files may find this as a deal-breaker.

realme has introduced a featured called GT Mode, which can be enabled from the pulldown menu. This allegedly significantly increases performance at the cost of increased power consumption.

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Gaming Performance was excellent across the titles that we tested it with. Genshin Impact, in particular runs well at its highest preset with 60fps enabled. There are occasional fps drops in some areas, but not to the point that it ruins the experience.

Titles that support more than 60fps such as Real Racing 3 offer a very immersive experience, thanks to the 120Hz refresh rate. For thermals, it also features a vapor chamber cooling system, which seems to work well in keeping the temps in check. It did get a bit warm after a few minutes of gaming, but not to the point where it’s uncomfortable.

Camera

realme GT Master Edition is equipped with a 64MP main camera, an 8MP ultra-wide unit, and a 2MP macro lens, along with a selfie camera that uses a 32MP Sony IMX615 sensor. I’m not sure why they have decided to ditch the depth sensor, which is a usual inclusion in their other mid-range phones,

In any case, the this camera system is still adaptive enough for just about any shooting condition, and the quality is also quite good, considering realme did not disclose the exact sensor that’s in the primary camera. Photos pack plenty of detail and offer good levels of sharpness and exposure. The depth of field effect also looks convincing and accurate.

Portrait selfies also look great, with lots of detail and also a refined depth of field of effect.

realme has also developed a number of Street Photography Filters based on classic Kodak film effects, and after 1440 hours of color experimentation. There’s even a dedicated Street Photography Mode which lets you set manual focus, set a focal length, and enable or disable RAW capture.

realme GT Master Edition can capture up to 4K 30fps videos. It also features Ultra Steady and Ultra Steady Max, which reduces shakes in videos, though seemingly at the cost of quality.

Software

realme UI 2.0 offers a smooth and fluid interface. Design-wise, it’s pretty much the same. Despite that, I will always say that I like how much room it offers for personalization. Features like Game Assistant, Game Space, and the Smart Sidebar are still here, and will always be useful to me.

The are a couple of things that stop me from rating this UI higher – the amount of pre-loaded apps that’s in there. and the unwanted notifications and advertisements that it throws at you. I mean, rather than them guessing what apps I need, I’d prefer a clean slate with just the default apps, and then install the apps I need myself.

With the notifications and ads, I just really wish they weren’t there, as they can get really annoying at times. Other than that, realme’s take on Android, while probably due for a visual makeover, is still one of the few that I prefer.

Battery

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The realme GT Master Edition should last you at least a full day with light to moderate use, with battery left for the trip home. Charging the phone only takes less than an hour, letting you get back to what you were doing with minimal downtime.

Verdict

The realme GT Master Edition, at least the Voyager Grey variant, delivers a breath of fresh air with a unique design. It’s also a welcome upgrade from those with say, a realme 8 or realme 8 Pro with the 120Hz refresh rate and the more capable SoC. It’s not the best performing phone at this price range, but it’s certainly up there in the list.

Camera-wise, perhaps my eyes aren’t as discerning, but I don’t think it’s much of an upgrade. You even lose the depth sensor, though selfie quality is definitely an improvement. I do appreciate the new street photography mode and filters, as it adds a bit of a unique vibe to your photos.

The software is pretty much the same – smooth and snappy, with a lot of room to personalize, but the experience can easily be ruined by the annoying ads and notifications, not to mention the amount of pre-installed apps.

Perhaps the two biggest caveats to this phone is the lack of expandable storage, and that it only has a 4,300mAh battery, The 65W fast-charging is a great way to offset that, but some people just prefer their phones to last longer at the cost of a longer charging time.

If you’re fine with those, then the realme GT Master Edition is a great all-around package for its price, and should definitely be on your list.

Emman has been writing technical and feature articles since 2010. Prior to this, he became one of the instructors at Asia Pacific College in 2008, and eventually landed a job as Business Analyst and Technical Writer at Integrated Open Source Solutions for almost 3 years.

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