Realme GT Master Edition review: A decent mid-range phone with unique looks
The Realme GT series debuted last month with two smartphones. While the Realme GT focuses on top-notch performance and comes across as a flagship killer, the cheaper GT Master Edition sort finds a middle ground between performance and looks. Thanks to its mid-range price, the GT Master Edition is more appealing because not everyone wants a flagship-level performance, but what they focus on is a phone that can prove to be good enough in all aspects, be it the cameras, the performance, the battery life, or the software. But, of course, there is a plus point, too, if you consider how the GT Master Edition looks.
Designed by Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa, the suitcase-inspired design on the Voyager Grey variant of the Realme GT Master Edition is what will make you instantly like the phone. For a starting price of Rs 25,999, the Realme GT Master Edition comes across as a no-brainer, and its specifications are also good enough to justify that price. But that is in isolation. So, how does the Realme GT Master Edition fare when you bring the competition into the equation? Is it a good phone? Let us find out in this review.
Realme GT Master Edition review: Ready-for-vacation design
The Voyager Grey colour of the Realme GT Master Edition looks like a miniature suitcase. This is intentional. Realme said that because the pandemic forced everyone to stay at home, the phone will let people experience a part of their previous vacations when they look at the phone. That is true because I liked having the GT Master Edition with me when someone would come to me and ask me about what sort of design this phone has. It is a peculiar design, and I did not mind answering people. Also, holding the phone is easy and does not cause pain because of its good grip, less thickness, and lightness, which is why I found myself keeping the phone in my hands a lot.
If you take a look at the price hierarchy of the GT Master Edition models, you will notice an unusual occurrence. That is the most marketed and talked-about variant, Voyager Grey, which is cheaper than the rest. How so? That is because the GT Master Edition uses vegan leather with a matte finish, while the Luna White and Cosmos Black variants feature glass on their backs. By using a mix of polycarbonate and vegan leather in the Voyager Grey colour option, Realme played a masterstroke. That is that it made its most intriguing variant the cheapest in the lot and that I think is a good strategy. Even though the lack of glass may turn off some buyers, I do not think there is a reason not to go for the Voyager Grey variant because of its sober looks.
Realme ships a silicone mobile cover for the GT Master Edition, and it has the same suitcase-like design. But the phone does not need a mobile case, at least for the purpose of maintaining its looks. That is because the matte and textured finish does not retain any fingerprint marks. I am fond of such designs that require low maintenance and the GT Master Edition proudly features one. Around the edge of the phone is a plastic rim with a metallic coating, and although it gives a complete look to the phone, it is the only element in the design that spoils the aesthetics because it collects fingerprints. The camera island juts out and uses glass. It gives a nice touch to the overall design without causing the phone to wobble.
It is a good thing that Realme designs its phones for all sorts of consumers. That includes gamers who would absolutely love the 3.5mm headphone jack on the phone. But I do not think it is a big issue anymore, given how large the assortment of truly wireless earbuds has become over the years. Some of these earbuds have low latency mode, and that is good enough for most people. For me, the issue is the speaker. The Realme GT Master Edition has a single speaker. A stereo speaker would have been better for a phone that costs over Rs 25,000.
Realme GT Master Edition comes with a 6.43-inch Full-HD+ Super AMOLED panel with a refresh rate of up to 120Hz and a touch sampling rate of 360Hz. The most convenient way to use a display is when the phone lights up when you pick up the phone, and it shows colours in all their might. That is what the GT Master Edition does. I had absolutely no problem looking at my office emails and reading articles on the screen on a bright day. And during my downtime, I loved watching Netflix and Disney+ Hotstar shows on the phone, thanks to high resolution. I also liked playing games such as Battlegrounds Mobile India on the phone because of the high resolution and big real estate.
The display also supports HDR, but there was no way I could experience videos in that standard. That is because the display is not recognised by Netflix or Disney+ Hotstar yet. It is a shame to have one of the most important display features and not be able to use it because of some minor restraint. Remember I said I like phones that need less maintenance? Well, the display made me like this phone a tad less. That is because the screen catches fingerprints easily. I constantly felt the urge to wipe them off the screen because they made the phone look ugly. A solution would be an anti-glare tempered glass with a matte finish.
Realme GT Master Edition review: Fast performance and long battery life
There are only a few flagship phones, and rightly so, because not everyone needs the top-grade performance on their phone. A little less powerfulness on the phone translates into lower prices sometimes, and the best example is the Realme GT Master Edition, thanks to the Snapdragon 778G chipset. I used the phone basically for everything during my review period. So, I was texting, browsing different apps, and playing games. I was able to open Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter, and other apps all at once, and the phone handled them efficiently in the background. Switching between them is also easy.
I turned to Battlegrounds Mobile India, Call of Duty Mobile, and Asphalt 9: Legends for games. I am happy to tell you that my experience with all three games was good. I am not using the word “great” here because I expected a bit more from the phone. Despite the 120Hz display, Battlegrounds Mobile India does not support 90fps. That is a bummer for gamers, but as I said, the processor is not the best in class, so there are going to be some compromises. All the games run fine with default graphics, and I can confirm that I was able to target enemies and finish them while making sure I could get the loot. The overall gaming experience was good, but gamers may have to compromise on performance.
To sweeten this, Realme GT Master Edition has a dedicated GT mode built-in. It is essentially similar to the Game Space that other Realme phones come with. This mode will push the processor to its full speed, clear any background apps, free more memory, and activate things such as Do Not Disturb. This is good for someone like me who needs things spoonfed by the phone so that I can freely focus on the game. But people who are sticklers would need the ability to customise, which the GT Master Edition does not support. The phone does not get toasty while playing at least two matches, so that is good, too.
The software on the Realme GT Master Edition is the Realme UI 2.0 skin, which is snappy and easy to use. You will have no issues navigating the phone, but my problem with the software was the plethora of apps that come preloaded. This is called bloatware, and even though you can uninstall these apps if you do not need them, getting them preloaded does not account for an ideal phone experience, especially at this price. A minor inconvenience, but Realme should understand its software needs a little more tweaking.
Realme introduced the PC Connect app on the GT series. I could not test that with the GT because it did not get the Realme Book Slim laptop back then. I tested the functionality, and I absolutely loved it. After setting it up, I was hardly touching my phone to call or text people because PC Connect would mirror the screen of my phone all the time. The app lets you change the resolution of the stream between 720p and 1440p so that you can get the clearest look at the phone’s interface.
I used the phone all day until my downtime started at around 10 pm. From 100 per cent battery in the morning, I was left with around 12 per cent at the end, so I think the battery lasted a day more or less with typical usage. And if you think the battery should last longer, I do not think it will be a problem, thanks to the 65W fast charging, which tops up the battery in under 40 minutes.
Realme GT Master Edition review: Good cameras
The 64-megapixel camera is what I used the most on the Realme GT Master Edition. The primary camera clicks amazing daylight photos. For instance, those banana leaves look amazing in the image. Photos retain good HDR, which means you can click pictures against a source of light with enough brightness on the opposite side. The crispness in photos means they look sharp and pleasing. When I took the phone to capture indoors, the camera threw in some softness in the scene. And with less light available, details also got a bit lower. Using the camera at night is also worth it. That is because the night mode can brighten the scene sufficiently. However, I noticed some amount of grain in the photos.
The rear system also has an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera. Although I did not find myself using this sensor quite often, it will be helpful when you have to click landscapes and group photos of your friends or colleagues. The photos with this camera have fewer details, but they look good enough to go on your Instagram. This sensor is nearly useless in low light, but night mode does improve things to a reasonable extent. There is a macro camera on the phone, as well. I do not think it does a good job of clicking macros, but if you think you will like clicking macro photos, GT Master Edition will proudly give you that.
For creators, Realme GT Master Edition is going to be an average choice. That is because it does not support 60fps videos in 4K resolution. You can still go for 1080p videos at 60fps, along with a 120fps slow-motion video recording feature in the Camera app. The app lets you customise all the settings, and I think most users will like this sort of customisability.
Realme GT Master Edition review: Should you buy it?
Realme GT Master Edition comes across as a complete package. But it is not your flagship, and there are some compromises you will have to make. The processor is not as fast as what you get on the pricier GT, but still fast enough for most people. The display is bright and colourful enough to binge-watch the upcoming season of Lucifer, but again, HDR would have been better. I also like the cameras, even though the macro sensor falls short of claims. But, people who are investing the money should not settle for less. Gaming on the phone is also decent, but I would not recommend this phone to someone who specialises in mobile games.
If you look at the market right now, Realme’s own X7 Max 5G can undercut the GT Master Edition. Now selling for much less, the X7 Max 5G definitely brings a good mix of specifications and better value for your money. Then, of course, you have the Poco F3 GT and the OnePlus Nord 2, which can offer better performance, however, for a little extra premium. Considering everything, I can say the GT Master Edition is a decent phone to have, and you will like it, as long as you are investing in the Rs 25,999 variant. The vegan leather suitcase design is also a plus point for this price.
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