Realme GT Neo 2

Realme GT Neo 2

Introduction:

The original GT made its debut back in March, which was followed by the GT Neo shortly after. The successor of the GT Neo has already debuted in China and recently has reached the India market.

The GT Neo2 isn’t by any means a rebranded version of some other smartphone, but is a totally new device. The GT Neo2 is also the first Neo phone to reach European shores.

Body

162.9×75.8×9.0mm, 200g; Gorilla Glass 5 front, plastic back and frame.

Display

6.62″ AMOLED, 120Hz, HDR10+, 1300 nits (peak), 1080x2400px resolution, 20:9 aspect ratio, 398ppi.

Chipset

Qualcomm SM8250-AC Snapdragon 870 5G (7 nm): Octa-core (1×3.2 GHz Kryo 585 & 3×2.42 GHz Kryo 585 & 4×1.80 GHz Kryo 585); Adreno 650.

Memory

128GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 12GB RAM; UFS 3.1.

Rear Camera

Wide (main): 64 MP, f/1.8, 26mm, 1/1.73″, 0.8µm, PDAF;

Ultrawide angle: 8 MP, f/2.3, 16mm, 119˚, 1/4.0″, 1.12µm;

Macro: 2 MP, f/2.4.

Selfie Camera

16 MP, f/2.5, 26mm (wide), 1/3.09″, 1.0µm.

Video capture

Rear camera: [email protected]/60fps, [email protected], gyro-EIS;

Front camera: [email protected], gyro-EIS.

Battery

5000mAh; Fast charging 65W, 100% in 36 min (advertised).

Operating System

Android 11, Realme UI 2.0.

Misc

Fingerprint reader (under display, optical); NFC, no 3.5mm audio jack.

Unboxing:

The handset is shipped in a fairly large box containing all the usual stuff. The bundle includes a 65W charger and a USB-A to USB-C cable.

The box also contains a soft-touch, matte case for the phone, which is a nice thing since other brands provide a cheap-looking transparent one with the retail bundle.

Design:

Looking at the GT Neo2 and original Neo side by side, it is difficult to tell them apart. However, there are a few noticeable differences, and most of them are for the better.

For starters, the display is guarded by Gorilla Glass 5. The back and the side frame is made of plastic. Realme says it’s a 7 nano-multilayer with AG (anti-glare) coating. The back panel appears to be less prone to fingerprints, but you could spot some smudges if you look close enough, but surely they are less apparent.

The Neo Green color option is the only one with a rather polarizing stripe design. Some people might like it, while some may find the “Dare to Leap” slogan a bit overboard. The stripe makes the fingerprints a tad more visible. The Realme logo  is medium-sized, which is far from annoying.

The handset is missing the ingress protection and the extra screen diagonal and battery capacity have increased the weight to nearly 200g.

The camera island and the positioning of the modules is quite familiar, since it looks a lot similar to the OnePlus’ 9 series smartphone. The two main shooters protrude a little and the two-tone flash  consists of two separate modules placed right next to the main and the ultrawide cameras.

The plastic side frame is super grippy, which gives off anodized aluminum vibes. The back is slightly curved on the edges, which improves the grip considerably. Surprisingly, the back is quite grippy given the smooth and frosted finish.

The left side of the frame houses the volume buttons while the right side is home to the patterned power button. The fingerprint scanner is sitting under the display really close to the bottom edge requiring an awkward thumb twisting or holding the phone really close to the bottom edge. The last option isn’t ideal because the device is heavy on the top.

The bottom frame accommodates the speaker grille, behind which sits the bottom-firing loudspeaker, alongside the USB-C port and the SIM card tray. The SIM tray has slots for two SIMs but no microSD card. The other speaker sits on the top bezel behind the grille which also doubles as the earpiece.

Sadly, this time around the company decided to skip on the 3.5mm headphone jack. We wonder why Realme chose to do so.

Although the design isn’t perfect, it surely has seen an improvement compared to the previous generation. Most of the issues that GT Neo had are no longer present on the T Neo2. The build is less slippery and  isn’t a fingerprint magnet, there’s Gorilla Glass 5 sheet on the front, and has cleaner-looking paint jobs.

Display:

The GT Neo2 is equipped with a 6.62-inch AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate. The front has a left aligned punch hole cut out which houses the selfie camera. You can now view HDR10+ content, since the device comes with HDR certification.

The Auto brightness mode delivers a respectable 659 nits, while manually adjusting the brightness gives a peak brightness of 498 nits. This makes it ideal for comfortable outdoor use even under bright sunlight.

Color accuracy isn’t one of the strongest suits of the device, the whites and grays seem to have a blue tint regardless of the pre-calibrated modes. We recommend using the Gentle mode for best possible accuracy.

Sadly, the HRR control hasn’t improved much since the last generation, it’s kind of a mixed bag. You get 120Hz overall refresh rate in all system menus and most of the apps. It was expected to have more dynamic control over those hertzes when using the Auto Switch mode. The system won’t switch to 60Hz when the display is left untouched.

Battery life & Charging speed:

Realme was gracious enough to offer a 5,000mAh battery under the hood of the Realme GT Neo2. The battery life of the Realme GT Neo2 is quite impressive since you can watch videos for over 22 hours straight. As for talktime, you get nearly 32 and a half hours while the web browsing time was recorded at slightly over 14 and a half hours.

Moving on to the charging speed, the Realme GT Neo2 is shipped with a 65W charger. The charger refuels the 5,000mAh battery from scratch to 100% in mere 32 minutes. Charging your phone for 30 minutes will charge your phone to 97% right from zero.

Speaker:

The handset comes with a stereo setup, one at the bottom-firing loudspeaker and another loudspeaker at the top that doubles as the amplified earpiece. Surprisingly enough, the setup sounds pretty balanced, the loudness is good although not the highest one around and the quality of sound is likable. The lows provide fullness of the sound, while highs sound distorted at higher levels.

Performance:

The Realme GT Neo2 is powered by the Snapdragon 870 SoC, which is a rebranded flagship Snapdragon 865+ from last year with a slightly better main Cortex-A77 Kryo 585 Prime core clocked at 3.2 GHz alongside the 3x Cortex-A77 Kryo 585 Gold cores running at 2.42 GHz and 4x Cortex-A55 Kryo 585 Silver core ticking at 1.8GHz. Graphical intense jobs are handled by the Adreno 640 GPU.

The phone comes in multiple memory configurations – 8GB + 128GB, 8GB + 256GB and 12GB + 256GB. Sadly there is no support for memory expansion since there is no memory card slot.

Moving on to the benchmarks, the device marked a score of 3,186 and 1,019 points in multi-core and single-core Geekbench 5 tests. As for AnTuTu 9 benchmark the handset got a score of 7,26,039 points.

Camera & Photo quality:

Rear Camera

Wide (main): 64 MP, f/1.8, 26mm, 1/1.73″, 0.8µm, PDAF;

Ultrawide angle: 8 MP, f/2.3, 16mm, 119˚, 1/4.0″, 1.12µm;

Macro: 2 MP, f/2.4.

Selfie Camera

16 MP, f/2.5, 26mm (wide), 1/3.09″, 1.0µm.


Daylight photo quality

The main camera’s default 16MP photo looks average, or maybe even slightly below, from what we would expect from a mid-range setup. The shots are detailed enough and have a pretty wide dynamic range.

Colors are quite natural-looking and noise is nowhere to be seen. The sharpness is somewhere the device needs improvement. A slight change in lighting conditions results in considerable deterioration in sharpness.

The company can also work on improving the white balance and exposure, since the exposure seems a little darker. Switching to the AI mode will boost contrast and color, making everything look prettier. It goes for just the right amount of exposure and photos look brighter.

The 64MP mode is missing the HDR toggle, so images captured in full resolution have a narrower dynamic range and softer overall look. You do get a little bit of detail, but it’s not worth it.

There is a dedicated 2x zoom mode that you can find on the viewfinder, but it crops from the main camera, of course. It’s obvious that the 2x zoom photos are nowhere near the quality of a proper telephoto. You can get decent shots provided the conditions are right. The noise suppression algorithm brushes away fine detail and also results in some soft patches in the scene at times.

The 8MP ultrawide camera’s performance is quite similar to every other mid-range 8MP ultrawide camera out there. The photos are generally soft, noisy and have narrow dynamic range along with lack of fine detail. The shots have soft patches all around, probably due to the noise suppression algorithm being at work here. Realme has tried to retain the consistency and boosted the colors because the ultrawides are popular for often producing dull-looking pictures.

On a plus note, the lens correction algorithm is doing a great job, and there is apparently no sign of color fringing even as you get closer to the edge.

Low-light photo quality

It’s kinda surprising the way the main camera handles the low-light scenes. In fact the low-light photos are more likable than the daylight shots. Although there is a lot of noise around, the fine detail in the shadows is enough to impress. Both dynamic range and highlights are average at best.

The photos are quite contrasty and have natural-looking colors along with a respectable level of sharpness. The level of fine detail is more than we had expected and the white balance is pretty accurate.

The dedicated Night mode is considerably more aggressive compared to the GT Neo. It makes the photos look like they are rendered from the ground up. That may be due to the overly bright shadows and additional sharpening.

The Night mode reduces the noise without hampering with the fine detail. The highlights are well-contained and not blown out, while maintaining the overall look of the images is quite clearer. There is no sign of soft patches and coarse grains.

If you aren’t happy with certain parts of the Night mode, Realme offers a Pro Night mode, which you can activate using the toggle at the bottom-left corner of the viewfinder. It’s basically the same as the regular Night mode, but it lets you adjust ISO, white balance, speed shutter, etc.

We would suggest that you leave the Night mode off when shooting 2x zoom photos. We say so because the flaws of the main camera become more noticeable. The Night mode softens the images, clears the noise and brightens the scene a little. Not worth the effort if you take into account the wait time.

The Night mode is no magic, it just makes the unusable ultrawide samples semi-usable. The camera struggles to deliver photos that aren’t foggy, noisy and without detail. Dynamic range and contrast are also missing. The Night mode clears the noise, improves dynamic range considerably by lighting up the shadows without touching the highlights. In the end, it’s all about what you expect from an 8MP ultrawide snapper in this price bracket.

Macro shots

The 2MP macro camera is missing the Autofocus and the resolution makes things a bit difficult when it comes to macro photography. The macro shots lack detail and you would have to click several shots to get at least one of them in focus. Color looks a bit dull and the contrast is poor. The shots aren’t much different from the pictures taken by the competitors using the same sensor.

Portraits

Portraits are nothing like what we call ideal, our biggest complaint is that they turn out a bit soft even under good lighting conditions, the noise is quite prevalent and the software isn’t consistent with the subject’s skin tone. The skin tone sometimes looks reddish and sometimes pale. The edge detection is satisfactory, though.

Selfies

Selfies are not as impressive as you might have hoped, especially for a 16MP camera. They are softer and the colors seem washed out making the subject’s skin look pale. Softness becomes more prevalent with the slightest change in light, and the narrow f/2.5 aperture is expected to be the culprit here.

Final Verdict:

The Realme GT Neo2 is probably the phone with one of the highest price to performance ratios in its class. The Snapdragon 870 SoC is quite a capable performer and works well with the speedy 120Hz OLED panel.

The GT Neo2 offers a big battery supported by fast charging that is meant to deliver long battery life and not to mention the loud stereo speakers. If you are in the market for a phone that excels in photography, the GT Neo2 shouldn’t be your first choice, since there are more competent and versatile options out there. But with the premium price, the smartphone competes against better equipped smartphones.

If you are able to accept the fact that the GT Neo2 is missing the microSD card slot and 3.5mm audio jack, then sure the GT Neo2 is still easy to recommend.