As part of Qualcomm's annual Tech Summit in late 2020, we were introduced to its next flagship-tier mobile chip: the Snapdragon 888, and manufacturers – including Realme – clamoured to shout about their upcoming phones powered by this hot new silicon.

Xiaomi took the lead, with the Xiaomi Mi 11, followed by Samsung and its S21 series; all boasting the 888 (in select markets). Not to be outdone, Realme also stepped up with the March release of its new performance flagship phone, the Realme GT.

When does the Realme GT launch in the UK & Europe?

While the Realme GT was unveiled in China on 4 March, it wasn't until 15 June that the phone launched in markets further afield, including the UK, Europe and India.

As for retail availability outside of China, the phone went on sale on 21 June.

Realme GT Euro launch

The GT was already confirmed to be launching worldwide, with its European availability primarily run via Ali Express - the same approach Realme took for the European launch of the company's Narzo smartphone series, which features in prominent markets for the company, such as India.

During the Realme 5G Summit - broadcast on 3 June - Madhav Sheth, CEO of Realme India and Europe, announced that "the Realme GT 5G performance flagship will be released globally in June and the Realme GT camera flagship will be released in July."

How much is the Realme GT?

In China, the GT was the most affordable Snapdragon 888-powered phone to date, with an opening price of just CNY¥2,799 (approximately £310/€360/US$435), moving up to ¥2,899 following release.

That's for the 8GB RAM/128GB storage SKU, while the higher capacity 12GB RAM/256GB model came in at ¥3,299 (approximately £365/€425/US$510).

Globally, Realme has done things a little differently. The 8GB RAM SKU arrived as an AliExpress exclusive, complete with a discounted early bird price of just €369 – running from 21 June to 25 June – after which the price rose to a (still-competitive) €449, making it the most affordable Snapdragon 888-powered phone on the market to date.

As for the 12GB RAM model, it was an Amazon exclusive, arriving on Prime Day and again sporting a discounted early bird price of €499 across 21 June and 22 June, after which pricing became €599.

We're separately tracking where to buy the Realme GT here.

What specs and features does the Realme GT offer?

If the name wasn't enough of a clue, the GT's focus is undoubtedly speed; with 5G, the latest WiFi 6E, LPDDR5 RAM, UFS 3.1 storage, Bluetooth 5.2, 65W fast wired charging and a 120Hz high refresh rate AMOLED display.

Most of the phone's spec sheet leaked ahead of launch but the complete, official picture is as follows:

  • 6.43in 20:9 120Hz Full HD+ AMOLED display w/ 360Hz touch response rate
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor w/ stainless steel & copper vapour chamber cooling
  • 8GB or 12GB LPDDR5 RAM
  • 128GB or 256GB UFS 3.1 storage
  • Rear cameras:
    • 64Mp f/1.8 Sony IMX682 sensor
    • 8Mp f/2.3 119° ultrawide sensor
    • 2Mp f/2.4 macro sensor
  • 16Mp f/2.5 front-facing camera
  • Stereo speakers w/ Dolby Atmos
  • Hi-Res Audio support
  • Under-display fingerprint sensor
  • '4D Tactile Engine' haptics
  • Realme UI 2.0 atop Android 11
  • Support for Android 12 Beta
  • 5G
  • NFC
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • USB-C
  • 4500mAh battery
  • 65W flash charging
  • 158.5mm x 73.3mm x 9.1mm (glass-backed), 158.5mm x 73.3mm x 8.4mm (leather-backed)
  • 186 grams (glass-backed), 186.5 grams (leather-backed)

On the software front, there's also a dedicated GT Mode (exclusive to the GT Series), which optimises performance and frame rate for sustained gaming.

As shown in the press imagery, there are three colourways to choose from - two glass-backed variants with either a 'Dashing' silver or dark blue finish, or the 'Racing Yellow' version, which features yellow vegan leather with a strip of black patterned glass running down from the rear camera module.

Realme GT press image crop

This third model weighs fractionally more and measures marginally thicker than its fully glass-backed counterparts.

Realme GT Master Edition

After a string of leaks, Realme launched two new members of the Realme GT – in the GT Master Edition and the Explorer Master Edition – in China on 21 July. The phones then launched globally on 18 August and went on sale on 23 August.

Realme GT Master Edition banner image

Unlike previous generations of Master Edition phones – which have served as limited-edition versions of existing devices – this year's Master Edition entries actually bring more than just altered designs to the table, right down to new chipsets.

Both new flavours of Master Edition sport aesthetics created by Japanese designer, Naoto Fukasawa – who has an existing partnership with Realme, based on previous Master Edtion devices.

Their back covers resemble suitcases, formed from 3D sculpted vegan leather, laid in strips that create bands of relief across each phone's rear; meant to “symbolise the joys of travelling", according to Fukusawa.

Realme GT Master Edition press image

The Realme GT Master Edition features the following specs, including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G chipset, alongside a street photography mode developed in partnership with Ricoh and a street shooting filter courtesy of Nomo Cam:

  • 6.43in 20:9 120Hz Full HD+ Super AMOLED display
    • 360Hz touch response rate
    • Up to 1000nits peak brightness
  • 6nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G
    • Vapour chamber cooling system
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128GB or 256GB storage
  • 4300mAh battery
  • 65W fast charging
  • Rear cameras:
    • 64Mp f/1.8 main
    • 8Mp f/2.2 119° ultrawide
    • 2Mp f/2.4 macro lens
  • 32Mp f/2.5 hole punch front-facing camera (Sony IMX615)
  • Android 11 w/ Realme UI 2.0
  • 5G
  • WiFi 6
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • NFC
  • Hi-Res Audio support
  • 159.2mm x 73.5 x 8mm (Mountain Snow, Dawn)/8.7mm (Grey, Apricot)
  • 174 grams (Mountain Snow, Dawn)/178 grams (Grey, Apricot)

Realme GT Master Edition Explorer press image

The GT Explorer Master Edition, meanwhile, ups the ante with a more capable Snapdragon 870 and a camera led by an OIS-supported Sony IMX766 sensor

  • 6.55in 20:9 120Hz Full HD+ Super AMOLED display
    • 480Hz touch response rate
    • Up to 1100nits peak brightness
    • Gorilla Glass 5
  • 7nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 870
    • Vapour chamber cooling system
  • 8GB RAM or 12GB RAM
  • 128GB or 256GB storage
  • 4500mAh battery
  • 65W fast charging
  • Rear cameras:
    • 50Mp f/1.88 main (Sony IMX766) w/ OIS
    • 16Mp f/2.2 123° ultrawide (Sony IMX481)
    • 2Mp f/2.4 macro lens
  • 32Mp f/2.5 hole punch front-facing camera (Sony IMX615)
  • Android 11 w/ Realme UI 2.0
  • 5G
  • WiFi 6
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • NFC
  • Hi-Res Audio support
  • Dual stereo speakers
  • Dolby panoramic sound
  • 159.9mm x 72.5 x 8mm (Mountain Snow, Dawn)/8.8mm (Grey, Apricot)
  • 183.5 grams (Mountain Snow, Dawn)/185 grams (Grey, Apricot)

In China, the Master Edition starts at CNY¥2,399 (roughly £270/€315/US$370), while the Explorer Master Edition starts at ¥2,899 (roughly £330/€380/US$450).

Despite not selling directly in the US, Realme uses USD as its international currency and as such, lists the starting price of the Master Edition at US$399 and the Explorer Master Edition at US$499.

As spotted by GSMArena, Realme's online store did accidentally leak European pricing just a day ahead of the phones' global launch; with both available in one SKU each.

The standard Master Edition is priced at €399 and arrives in Voyager Grey, packing 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, while the Explorer Master Edition costs €499 (again, in Voyager Grey) and sports 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.

We get Reviews Editor Chris Martin's Realme GT review in episode 74 of our weekly podcast Fast Charge, as well as thoughts on the Master Edition line:

What about the Realme GT Neo?

No sooner had Xu Qi Chase finished celebrating the original Realme GT's unveiling on stage did he turn to tease the next entry in the GT family: the GT Neo.

Realme GT Neo teaser image

The phone officially launched in China on 31 March and sports a near-identical spec sheet to its launch sibling, save for one principal difference: its chipset.

The Realme GT Neo switches out the standard GT's fundamental selling point – its powerful Snapdragon 888 SoC – for MediaTek's fresh-faced Dimensity 1200 silicon (the same chip you'll find powering the excellent OnePlus Nord 2).

According to the Taiwanese chipmaker, its latest 5G-capable flagship 6nm chip serves as the successor to the Dimensity 1000+ and sports 1 + 3 + 4 octa-core architecture with support for up to 168Hz high refresh rate displays.

Realme GT Neo press image

To bolster the phone's gaming abilities, Realme has also integrated dual graphite plates and a liquid cooling system to keep the GT Neo frosty under load.

The other key differences between the standard GT and the GT Neo are the chip's use of Bluetooth standard 5.1 in place of 5.2, slower 50W wired charging (despite still shipping with a 65W adapter) and an assortment of different colours.

The 64Mp Sony IMX682 lead camera sensor uses "multi-frame synthesis" (machine translated) to improve detail in shots and reduce quality degradation when zooming in; which sounds similar to the process used by the Realme 8 Pro when zooming to 3x magnification.

As for the design, it's similar in style to the standard GT, featuring a contrasting strip running down the back, from the triple camera sensor. There's also a headphone jack and USB-C port.

Realme UI 2 atop Android 11 makes up the user experience, while on the front resides a 6.43in 120Hz Full HD+ AMOLED display, a dual-cell 4500mAh battery, dimensions of 158.5mm x 73.3mm x 8.4mm (identical measurements to the standard glass-backed version of the GT) and 5G support.

The big driving force behind choosing the GT Neo over the standard GT comes down to price. While there are a lot of similarities between the two devices, opting for the phone that relies on MediaTek's hardware costs ¥1,799 for the 6GB RAM/128GB model, ¥1,899 for 8GB of RAM instead of 6GB or ¥2,399 for the top-spec 12GB RAM/256GB SKU; with a direct pricing conversion working out to £200/€235/$275, £210/€250/$290 and £265/€310/$365, respectively

The GT Neo is available from Realme’s own website and major Chinese online retailers.

Realme GT Neo Master Edition leaks

As with a Master Edition incarnation of the standard GT, there's also the possibility of a Realme X9 Pro/GT Neo "Concrete" model (similar in style to the Concrete Realme X2 Pro Master Edition).

Realme X9 Pro Master Edition leak back close Source WhyLab Weibo

Photos shared by tipster WhyLab on Weibo, show a device with a curved display and a matte grey back, which align with RMX3116 – recently listed on China's TENAA system.

Realme X9 Pro Master Edition collage 1 Source WhyLab Weibo

Realme X9 Pro Master Edition collage 2 Source WhyLab Weibo

There's no set date on when to expect this model but the fact that it too appears to bear Fukasawa's signature – as previous Master Edition devices have, suggests that it might not be that far off from release.

What about the Realme GT Pro?

One of the earliest expected features of the GT was blisteringly-fast 125W 'UltraDart' fast charging, so when it was discovered that the GT's fast charging only topped out at 65W, many were left wondering which devices would debut Realme's UltraDart charging tech.

Realme Race leaked image

Following on from the above-leaked image, which was originally thought to be a first look at the standard Realme GT, well-known tipster IceUniverse served up a leaked document, claiming that the 'Realme Race Pro' ('Race' being the GT's original codename) will instead be the device to feature the 125W charging tech, along with a 5000mAh battery, 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM and will run on Realme UI 2 (based on Oppo's ColorOS 11), which means it too will run on top of Android 11.

Realme Race Pro specs

Here's the Realme Race/GT Pro's rumoured spec sheet, as it stands:

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
  • 6.8in 20:9 160Hz 3200x1400 OLED display
  • (Up to) 12GB RAM
  • 128GB/256GB/512GB storage
  • Triple rear camera setup w/ xenon flash
    • 64Mp primary + two unknown 13Mp sensors
  • Curved glass back
  • Metal frame
  • Android 11 w/ Realme UI 2
  • 5G (Sub-6 + mmWave)
  • 5000mAh battery
  • 125W UltraDart fast charging

Previously, it was thought that the Race/GT Pro would top out at 256GB of storage, however, the latest specs promise up to 512GB of internal space, along with an OLED display boasting an unusual 160Hz high refresh rate and three cameras on the back, instead of four - fronted, again, by a 64Mp sensor.

There's still more to learn about whether the GT Pro will ever see the light of day, but we'll update this feature whenever relevant information comes to light.

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