realme GT Master Edition Review

Disruption is King

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realme has officially launched its newest smartphone in town, the GT Master Edition, and we’ve said that it’s quite a light heavyweight puncher with our first impressions. Does it have more than what meets the eye? Here’s our full review.

The realme GT Master Edition boasts of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 5G chip, a 65-watt fast charging, and a Full HD+ AMOLED display with 120Hz high refresh rate. Its selfie camera is also one of the biggest realme has put on a phone yet, at 32 megapixels.

realme GT Master Edition specs:

  • 6.43-inch FHD+ Samsung Super AMOLED display, 2400x1800px
    120Hz refresh rate, 360Hz touch sampling rate
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 5G processor
    Adreno 642L GPU
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128GB or 256GB storage
  • Triple rear cameras:
    64MP f/1.8
    8MP f/2.2 ultrawide
    2MP f/2.4 macro
  • 32MP f/2.5 front camera
  • Dual 5G, Dual-SIM (nano)
  • WiFi 802.11ax, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, GPS, Beidou, Glonass, QZSS, Galileo
  • Ultra-linear speakers
    Hi-Res Audio certification
  • USB Type-C
  • realme UI 2.0 (Android 11)
  • 4,200mAh battery
    65W fast charging
  • Colors: Voyager Gray, Daybreak Blue

Design: All the scenery that matters

The device, as we first unboxed it, is dazzling. We’re getting only two colors for the Philippines, and this is the Dazzling Blue colorway that’s said to be exclusive only in select markets including our country. These backplates are designed and chosen by Japanese Industrial Designer Naoto Fukusawa, whose works are seen in companies such as MUJI, and represent the essence of travel as we’ve longed for that during these times.

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The chrome-colored arched sides offer a standard layout placement as with the realme 8 5G. The power/lock button is solely placed at the right part. It’s protruding and can be easily reached by one hand.

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On the left side, we have the volume buttons and the dual SIM card slot. Sadly, there’s no expansion included in this phone as the slot only offers extra connectivity.

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The 3.5mm audio jack, microphone, USB-C port, and loudspeaker are all at the bottom. realme puts their bottom layouts in a uniform way and this is very reminiscent of past phones we’ve reviewed.

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In the case of Daybreak Blue, the idea for the pattern and gradient coloring is the scenery you’ll see on daybreak when you’re atop the mountains or on the beach. The back part has the realme logo, and the protruding rounded rectangle at the top-left part containing the triple rear camera setup, as well as the LED Flash.

It’s not that hard to hold given that it’s smaller in size, and it’s relatively lighter due to a smaller 4,300mah battery capacity. It’s also easy to hold with the rounded sides, though it may be slippery if you have sweaty hands due to its glossy nature. It’s best to use the included gray TPU case for added protection.

Display: A Super Sensation

The front part has the 6.43-inch AMOLED display which offers vibrant colors and good legibility even under high noon. At the upper right is the 32-megapixel selfie camera. The fingerprint scanner is also at the display, similar to the realme 8 series.

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This display is vividly saturated and offers a nice contrast given it’s an AMOLED panel. The 120Hz refresh rate gives the eye candy smoothness you desire with even the basic tasks of scrolling or opening apps. The brightness is also flexible — its lowest setting is enough for reading in dim environments while toggling to the highest brightness can still provide legibility under high noon.

Audio: Decently enough

Audio on the realme GT Master Edition is surprisingly just good, there’s nothing spectacular nor bad about it. The bottom-firing loudspeaker can produce quite loud noises at around 89 to 90dB at its peak. It sounds balanced on the mids and highs, while it lacks the bass for that extra oomph when you listen to your favorite pop tunes. Listening through its 3.5mm audio jack or wirelessly though Bluetooth can be a better experience if you like to revel in isolation while out in the wild.

Camera: Three is a charm

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realme offers four lenses here — a triple 48MP + 8MP + 5MP setup at the back, while a 32-megapixel shooter is for your selfies at the front. The cameras offer decent dynamic range and natural colors when you turn off its AI Boost feature. Its contrast is decent as well, but it’s quite a hit or miss from time to time when you turn on the HDR.

Night photography isn’t also an issue as it takes decent photos at low-lit environments. We recommend tapping on the screen to focus on the subject to fully capture your intended scene. This phone can also zoom up to 20 times, but the absence of a relephoto lens makes anything beyond 10x jittery and pixelated.

The front camera, on the other hand, produces great selfies you can share for social media. AI Portrait also effectively adds depth by blurring your photo, and the separation is good even after a few tries in different backgrounds. Here are some sample photos:

Moving onto the camera features, you’d get the usual modes including Ultra Macro, Slow Mo, Pro, Dual View, Panorama, and Timelapse. Starry Mode will help you capture the clear night sky and show the constellations above, while Movie Mode gives you more control on videos with manual controls on almost every setting available on the camera.

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There’s also a new feature, Street Mode, that lets you use the digital telescopic function of the camera to offer certain zoom distances, as well as nine specially-curated features to enhance your street photography. I liked those, as the curated filters just for this mode are some of the most commonly-used ones for street photography and can add another dimension to your shots. Here are the filters, as applied to a single subject:

Videos are also great. Noise isn’t much of an issue and the usage is also easy. The camera has EIS so stabilization isn’t even an issue even more when you turn on the Ultra Steady mode- but that only restricts you to up to 1080p video capturing. Here’s a sample clip:

Security and Performance: In Peak Form

Our review unit features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage. You’re getting 225GB right out of the box, and the absence of a microSD card slot prevents it from expanding.

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This is still powered by the brand’s realmeUI 2.0 on top of Android 11. We noticed some changes and additional features, though, most notably the ability to set apps to quick-launch when you unlock with the in-display fingerprint sensor. UI Performance wise, it’s still fluid as ever, and the settings are also easier to check on.

Here are some benchmarks we got from the device:

  • AnTuTu – 534,873
  • 3DMark – 4,977 (OpenGL 3.0), 2,316 (Vulkan)
  • PCMark – 12,429 (Work 3.0)
  • GeekBench – 775 (Single Core), 2,674 (Multi-core)

We had no issues with the phone juggling in multiple tasks we have, or even playing graphic-intensive games like Genshin Impact or Asphalt 8, but heat at its back (mostly at the upper and middle parts) are hotter than usual ones we’ve had.

You also have an in-display fingerprint scanner here, as well as a face unlock for your phone’s security. To prevent unauthorized use, you can also opt not to show the notification drawer when someone swipes down on your screen. The fingerprint scanner works well with fingers, even when they’re a bit greasy or sweaty. Both the fingerprint and face unlocks work well and reveal the home screen once you get past the lock.

Connection: 5G is king

This is realme’s third phone to sport 5G after the X50 and 8 5G, and the mobile data speed is blazingly fast, we’re getting aroung 150-250Mbps on a single day with our speed tests.. Just note that this may be different with your area, so check with your network if 5G has a signal near your home or office.

Other connections such as WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS work really well. This also sports NFC, which was really good as well.

Battery Life: Rejuicing up has never been this easy

The realme GT Master Edition packs a 4,200mah battery capacity, which you may think is small considering many new smartphones in the market now pack at least a 5000mAh capacity. Its 65-watt HyperDart charge, to be honest, compensates well as you get a full battery charge in around 39 minutes. Using it as stock as it is and running through PCMark’s Work 3.0 battery test gets you a 13 hours and 46 minute result. You’ll have a longer battery life when you switch it to a lower refresh rate.

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Carl writes for WalasTech when he's not working full-time. Give him tips and/or leads at [email protected].