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Realme GT Neo 2 Review: Raw Performance Over Everything Else
There's a new 'flagship-killer' in town and it comes from the house of Realme. We are talking about the newly launched Realme GT Neo 2, an SD 870 SoC-powered handset with some segment-leading features and hardware. The device comes equipped with a stainless steel VC cooling chamber and flaunts a 120Hz E4 AMOLED display with the best-in-class 600Hz touch-sampling rate. Notably, the focus here is on the raw performance, gaming, and multimedia playback.
- Excellent Display (120Hz HDR 10+ AMOLED)
- Smooth Gaming & Multitasking Performance
- Long-Lasting Battery
- 65W Fast-Charging
- Good Camera Software Features
- Cameras Could Have Been Better
- No 3.5mm Headphone Jack
- Feels Bulky In Hands
However, it lacks some important game-centric characteristics such as dedicated game triggers and fancy RGB lighting, something seen on the Poco F3 GT in the sub-30K price bracket. As for the pricing and variants, the Realme GT Neo 2 comes in two options- 8GB + 128GB for Rs. 31,999 and the 12GB + 256GB top-end version for Rs. 35,999.
We tested the 8GB + 128GB variant of the Realme GT Neo 2 in the distinctive Neo Green color variant. Here's how it performed in our review.
Realme is known for making some bold choices when it comes to designing its smartphones. Some work and some just come across as too loud for anyone's taste. The GT Neo 2 largely belongs to the second category if you choose to buy the Neo Green variant we got for testing. The color choice is extremely bold and helps the device stand out but it can also come across as extremely gaudy for some.
Thankfully, the frosted glass back resists fingerprints and is touted to be scratch-resistant. However, the GT Neo 2 comes sans any official IP rating for protection against water and dust.
Dare To Take The Leap?
And it's not just the choice of colors, the loud branding is another aspect that makes this particular color variant a bit too loud for my taste. Overall, if you like subtlety, just steer away from the Neo green color variant.
The smartphone is also available in Blue and Black shade that comes and the bold branding and dual-color tone. Since the design is subjective, I recommend you check all three variants of the handset before making a purchase.
The Realme GT Neo 2 feels hefty in hands. You will feel the weight (200g) while using the handset for the camera, gaming, and other day-to-day tasks. Moreover, despite its notable 8.6mm thick body, the handset lacks a 3.5mm audio jack, which is a bummer since the device is aimed at gamers. The phone has a Type-C charging port at the bottom along with a microphone and a speaker unit. The earpiece at the top also serves as a speaker unit crating a stereo setup.
Realme GT Neo 2 Performance
The Realme GT Neo 2 performed extremely well in our tests. The phone feels very responsive and handles demanding games and heavy apps without breaking a sweat. The credit goes to the snappy 120Hz Samsung-made E4 AMOLED display and the Qualcomm SD870 5G SoC mated with ample RAM and fine-tuned software. The combination delivers a balanced performance all day long.
Our 8GB RAM variant swiftly ran multiple apps and never felt low on the firepower. The handset also benefits from Dynamic Ram Expansion (DRE) that provides up to 7GB additional RAM for smooth multitasking performance.
The GT Neo 2 also offers one of the best haptic feedbacks in its respective price-point. The X-axis linear motor installed in the device generates effective vibrations that match the likes of flagship OnePlus and Samsung Galaxy devices. We have never experienced such accurate haptics on a Realme device earlier.
The 6.62-inch Samsung-made E4 AMOLED display serves well for video playback and gaming. It's an HDR 10+ enabled panel with excellent viewing angles and vibrant color reproduction. Games like Asphalt 9 and animated movies come alive on this display. The screen is also adequately bright (800 nits) for outdoor usage and can even touch an impressive 1300 nits peak brightness with HDR content.
That said, we played some HDR videos on YouTube and experienced stunning visuals. But for some reason, Prime Videos couldn't stream the content in HDR format. Moving on, the stereo speakers complement the vivid OLED panel and produce crisp and loud audio.
These speakers support both Dolby Atmos and Hi-Res. audio. However, I wish Realme had provided a 3.5mm audio jack for gaming enthusiasts who like to stream the game sessions. Now you have to make peace with either stereo speaker output or wireless audio streaming.
Smooth Gaming Response
And while there are no extra bells and whistles like gaming triggers or RGB lights, the core performance is what impressed us the most. The GT Neo 2 is very consistent at delivering a lag-free gaming and multitasking performance. The 120Hz refresh rate and the segment-leading 600Hz touch-sampling rate make sure that even the slightest touch input is registered while playing games like Battleground Mobile India and COD Mobile.
The phone never struggled to register finger inputs with high-intensity games. The handset's gyroscope response is also good and we didn't experience any major frame drop issues. The performance is as good as we expect from a high-end flagship device in 2021.
Moving on, there's a dedicated software suite- Game Space that offers some required settings to help you make the most out of the powerful hardware. You can customize the touch and swipe sensitivity, select performance modes (Pro Gamer mode, Balanced mode, Low power mode), and block notifications for an uninterrupted gaming experience.
Does It Heat Up?
Yes, like any smartphone or any electronic device for that matter. The device heats up within 20-25 minutes of continuous gaming (in both Balanced and Pro Gamer mode) but the heating effect didn't quite hamper the gaming performance, which is impressive. The heating effect is most notable on the frame and the back strip that goes from top to the bottom on the Neo green variant.
Also, the temperature never reached an alarming state even when the phone's battery was being recharged while playing games. That said, the newly designed stainless steel vapor cooling chamber with Diamond thermal gel seems to be doing a decent job. It helps the handset maintain a sustained performance even though the heating effect is felt on the outside with continuous gaming sessions.
Realme GT Neo 2 Benchmark Scores
The GT Neo 2 scored well in our benchmarks test. The handset logged 7,19,205 in the Antutu test and recorded a score of 14,868 in the PC Mark's Work 3.0 Performance test. In the Geekbench test, the device scored 1,012 in the single-core test and recorded 2,911 in the multi-core test.
Lastly, the handset logged an impressive 99.7% stability in the 3D Mark's wild-life extreme stress test that runs for straight 20-minutes and tests the device's performance in heavy load. The GT Neo 2 scored 1,237 in the best loop score and 1,233 in the lowest loop score in the same test.
Realme doesn't shy away from experimenting with the camera features but the execution isn't quite satisfactory. Like most Realme handsets, the GT Neo 2 also packs a feature-rich camera setup that sounds good on paper but struggles to deliver good results in real-life scenarios. The handset boasts a triple-lens setup featuring a familiar 64MP primary sensor + 8MP wide-angle + 2MP macro camera. For selfies, the handset has a 16MP front-facing camera.
The camera can shoot 4K 60/30 fps and 1080p 60/30fps videos but there's no OIS. You also get the Realme GT ME-inspired street photography features. Let's find out how the camera performs in the real-life.
Picture Quality- Not A Camera Enthusiasts Phone
- The 64MP sensor captures crisp shots in daylight. The contrast is spot on and details look just fine; however, color tones appear slightly dull.
- The camera seems to struggle with preserving color tones in complex light scenarios. The dynamic range is too narrow and the shadow areas are handled poorly.
- The camera software also goes overboard with sharpness. Images tend to appear sharper than required, both in the pixel-binned mode and the 64MP high-resolution mode.
- Some images just turn our flat and look extremely dull.
- Night time pictures lack details and colors aren't represented well.
Useful Software Features
Since the default camera tuning isn't ideal, you must use the freebies in the camera app to customize the output as per your taste. Below are some pointers to help you make the most out of the Realme GT Neo 2's camera hardware.
- Enable AI toggle & apply filters to spice up things.
- The AI toggle boosts up colors, and make pictures a bit lively, recommended for those punchy-looking shots.
- Sadly, the filters don't work with the AI mode. You can either add some vibrancy in the default photo mode or apply filters to add a specific color tone to your images.
- The Realme GT Neo 2 mostly fails to capture good portraits. The lack of a dedicated portrait sensor is noticeable. The subject isolation is so bad at times that the jarring lining around the corners is visible. Check out the above sample to see what I am talking about.
- You will need to put some effort to get the bokeh right as the portrait effect is entirely software-driven. When it works, you can capture some decent-looking portraits.
- The 8MP wide-angle shots only come out decent when you feed ample lighting to the camera system. The distortion is handled very well.
- The 2MP macro lens only delivers average looking macros.
Street Mode- The Ace Feature
- The 'Street Mode' is my favorite feature on the Realme GT 2 Neo's camera. It offers some useful features and interesting filters to let you capture the essence of street photography.
- You can also shoot in RAW to tweak the output in the post-processing.
- You can also use focus peaking to highlight peak contrast areas in the frame.
- You have the option to shoot in four focal lengths (16mm, 24mm, 50mm, and 120mm) as per the frame you are trying to capture.
- Filters also work in the street mode to add some versatility to your pictures.
Overall, the GT Neo 2 has a feature-packed camera but it isn't an ideal shooter in most conditions. You need to put some extra effort to capture good shots on the handset.
Thanks to its notable thickness, the GT Neo 2 packs in a beefier 5,000mAh battery cell that easily survives a hectic day. I tested the device with the screen refresh rate set to 120Hz and it still managed to last one full day of stress testing. Moreover, the 65W bundled fast-charger was able to refuel the big battery cell in about 37 minutes. This is quite an impressive battery and charging package at this price point.
As far as the connectivity is concerned, you can use two nano-SIM cards simultaneously. The phone supports Wi-Fi 6 and eight 5G bands. The handset also features Smart 5G technology that as per Realme analyzes the environment signals and intelligently switch between 4G to 5G to offer better network coverage while saving some battery life.
The Realme GT Neo 2 puts performance at the center and doesn't disappoint with the results. It is a true GT-lineup device that impresses us with its raw performance. Be it gaming, multitasking, or usual day-to-day tasks, the handset has got you covered. The fluid 120Hz AMOLED display and long-lasting battery life are some other highlight features of the handset. The camera is the weak point of this value flagship offering.
If you aren't devoted to photography, the GT Neo 2 is worth considering. The smartphone is available on realme.com, Flipkart & mainline channels in two variants- 8GB+128GB at Rs. 31,999 and 12GB+256GB at Rs. 35,999.