Realme GT Quick Review: the Real Reason Why This Phone Might Not Launch in India

Might have GT ambitions but will have to apply the brakes in India.


So, when Realme sent across its latest flagship – the Realme GT – for review, they had a clause in the brief. It said, “It is not confirmed that realme will launch the Realme GT in India, high probability they will not.” And, I was like — whaaaaaaat???

Now, just like you, I was confused. Then, I figured out the real reason why the company might India. I will explain that in the end because it ties in with a huge problem that the smartphone manufacturing industry is facing currently. So, stay with me.

Realme GT Design

So, the Realme GT looks like many other Realme phones we’ve seen in the past. The race car Gold/Black variant looks nice but this Silver one looks like any other mid-range Realme offering. In fact, Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 10 Pro Max are better designed in my opinion.

Also read: Redmi Note 10 Pro Max Review: the Realme 8 Pro Has its Work Cut Out

Anyway, on the GT you get a glass sandwich design with a plastic frame. I think it is plastic because I don’t see any plastic antenna inserts that you generally find on phones with a metal frame. Moreover, this Silver colour variant is a real fingerprint magnet, which is not necessarily a good thing. But, you do get a transparent case in the box for what it is worth. Also, the camera bump doesn’t protrude too much from the rear. Rest of the design is pretty nondescript, almost intentionally designed with low effort to keep the cost down.

That said, I do like three specific things about the design.

  1. Firstly, you get a stereo speaker setup and it does sound pretty good.
  2. Secondly, there is a dedicated headphone jack. A rarity these days.
  3. Finally, I like how compact the design is. Thanks to its relatively tiny display, you get a more comfortably designed phone that is a delight to hold and use with one hand.

So, I’d say the Realme GT has a forgettable design in terms of looks but the in-hand feel and ergonomics are generally great.

Realme GT Display

The GT has a 6.43-inch Super AMOLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate. It is a bright and colourful screen with an extremely snappy touch response. You can also choose between an always on 120Hz refresh rate or a Smart Switch that automatically switches between 60Hz and 120Hz as the situation demands.

In fact, if you go inside the Realme Labs setting, you can switch on smooth scrolling for an even more refined experience. I’ve noticed that lately Realme phones feel pretty responsive thanks to this feature. Now, the display also supports HDR video playback but for some odd reason this Chinese variant of the GT only has support for Widevine L3. Anyway, I find this display perfectly serviceable for every day usage but, then again, it does nothing extraordinary here.

Realme GT Camera

Realme has equipped the GT with a triple camera setup on the rear: a 64MP primary camera with a Sony IMX682 sensor, 8MP secondary ultrawide, and a 2MP macro. On the front, you get a 16MP selfie camera. The camera specs are so disappointing that even the much cheaper, Realme 8 Pro 5G has better specs.

Realme GT camera showcase

The camera app does offer all the cool modes such as Pro Night mode or Dual View video. And, it is pretty intuitive to use as well. But, the lack of 4K recording on the ultrawide camera is a letdown. Regardless, I shot a few pictures with the Realme GT and generally went in with no expectations. And, good that I didn’t because, otherwise, I’d have been highly disappointed.

The photos from the primary camera are nowhere near flagship quality and look very average. In fact, the selfies, shots from the ultrawide angle camera, and the macro shots, are also below par too. The video recording is not great either. I’d say it is a pretty passable camera setup indeed and definitely the weakest point of this phone.

Realme GT Performance and Software

The biggest selling point for the Realme GT is undoubtedly the Snapdragon 888 chip inside it. Our unit is the 8/128GB variant and you get another one with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage of the UFS 3.1 kind. So, what can you expect from Snapdragon 888? Well, extreme performance, of course. Especially with the GT mode on.

Regardless, I managed to max out the settings in Call of Duty Mobile and the experience of playing the game was just insane. Although, that’s not too different from the slew of SD888 phones I’ve tested lately. It also matches the other phones when it comes to benchmark scores in AnTuTu, Geekbench, and 3DMark.

But, the bigger question is does it heat up? Well, no it doesn’t. At least not as much as the Mi 11 or the OnePlus 9 Pro did before the updates. But yes, like all the other SD888 phones, it does get slightly warm.

As for the software, you get Realme UI 2.0 based on Android 11. It is one of the cleaner implementations of Android today and I really like the control on offer here. Plus, there are many features, such as ‘bulk deleting apps’ from the homescreen, a feature that is not even present on Oxygen OS. Anyway, I do like the experience and feel that stock Android enthusiasts will feel right at home on Realme UI.

Realme GT Battery

The Realme GT has a 4500mAh battery and a 65W charger in the box to go along with it. It can charge the battery from 0 to 100 in 35 minutes. The battery lasted me the expected 6 hours of SoT or 1 day of battery use. It is good enough battery life for most folks.

Why the Realme GT Might Not Launch in India?

So, Realme India is pretty unsure of the GT launching in our country. Now, Realme didn’t tell me this officially but it doesn’t take a genius to guess that it has to something to do with the current chip shortage in the industry. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips are in low supply and Qualcomm has instructed vendors that there could be a delay of many weeks before restock happens. In fact, there was a rumour recently that suggested that Google might not launch the Pixel 5a 5G this year, owing to this same problem. However, Google has confirmed that it is indeed launching the phone but only in two countries.

Which brings me to this correlation that for Realme to actually bring the GT with SD888 to India, it has to actually see real demand here. And considering, the above Rs 30,000 category in India is a miniscule chunk of the market, there is no real reason for Realme to consider launching it here.

Also read: Global Chip Shortage Explained: Why It’s Happening, How Does It Impact You And More?

Also, looking at the phone, the other specs apart from the Snapdragon 888 chip are pretty damn ordinary. Therefore, it has to be the cheapest phone with a SD888 for it to actually make the headlines. And, in that scenario, the company will need to increase production in order to meet the lower costs and achieve the economies of scale. With a phone like the GT, I hardly see that happening. Ergo, the Realme GT will have to forfeit the race. And, as a business, for Realme India, that is not necessarily a bad thing. But, as a consumer, you might have to look for other options.

Do you really want Realme to bring this phone to India? Let me know in the comments section below.