(Pocket-lint) – Android phone releases may be relatively dime a dozen, but the latest arrival in the Realme GT series has a feature that really separates it from the rest of the crowd.
With the GT Neo 3, the company is offering a faster charging rate than any other phone on the market can handle.
Supporting an astonishing 150W – topping the typical peak of 120W charging – Realme’s latest mid-range phone is aiming to redefine what to expect plugging in for a reboot.
While it’s an undoubtedly cool headline feature, though, it’s only useful if the rest of the phone is impressive, too.
So, aside from lightning-fast battery replenishment, let’s find out what else the GT Neo 3 has to offer.
The Realme GT Neo 3 has a lot to offer – especially since it’s around half the price of some flagships.
You get snappy performance, a lovely display, a great main camera and solid battery life – not to mention the fastest charging tech around.
On the other hand, there are a lot of omissions here. There’s no IPX rating, no wireless charging, some bloatware and pretty terrible auxiliary cameras. The styling won’t be for everyone, either.
Whether it’s right for you all depends on your priorities, but it’s definitely a decent value proposition. And, after experiencing the convenience of 150W charging, we don’t want to go back.
- Fastest charging phone to date
- Smooth 120Hz AMOLED screen
- Good battery life
- Snappy performance
- Good main camera
- Lots of bloatware
- No wireless charging
- No waterproofing
- Awesome auxiliary cameras
- 163.3 x 75.6 x 8.2mm
- Glass front and back, plastic frame
- Nitro Blue, Sprint White and Asphalt Black color options
The Realme GT Neo 3’s speedy credentials are reflected in the design of the phone, with the Nitro Blue colourway we have in for testing appearing heavily inspired by the Ford GT supercar.
It’s a pretty bold design, with two prominent racing stripes intersecting with the camera module on the rear of the phone. The blue color looks great in the light, shifting between blue and purple hues depending on the viewing angle.
We must admit, the racing stripes aren’t really to our taste, but the phone is also available in a black colourway, sans stripes, for a more subtle look.
The rear panel is made using a new anti-glare glass process that further reduces light reflection and is highly fingerprint-resistant. It feels fantastic in the hand, but it is on the slippery side.
Given that this device uses a polycarbonate plastic frame, you probably won’t want to be dropping it too often, either. That said, the screen is protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 5, so it’s not all bad when it comes to durability.
It has a slightly chunky camera housing, featuring a glossy surround, and that looks quite nice in our opinion. This also includes an impressive-looking (and sizable) primary camera, along with two auxiliary cameras and an LED flash – but more on those later.
There’s no headphone jack or expandable storage here, we should mention – just a dual SIM tray, USB-C connector, volume buttons and a lock button. An in-display fingerprint reader is present, though, which works fairly well and is easily on par with the competition.
In general, though, we preferred using the face unlock feature – this was always the fastest option and worked without any hiccups.
Display and software
- 6.7-inch AMOLED
- FHD+ resolution at 120Hz
- Android 12
- Realme UI 3.0
The display is bright and vibrant, with a good amount of adjustability to tweak the color reproduction in software. It’s by no means a professional calibration tool, but it’ll let you set things to your liking. Meanwhile, the snappy 120Hz refresh rate makes motion nice and smooth. It’s ideal for gaming.
It’s a sizable display with minimal bezels, giving it a sleek and modern look. It’s also flat, which means no distorted edges, and we found it easy to type on thanks to the precise haptic feedback on offer. The punch-hole selfie camera is central, which is unusual on a Realme phone, but it is fairly unobtrusive – although the factory-installed screen protector makes it look slightly more pronounced than it actually is.
The phone runs Android 12, with Realme UI 3.0 sitting on top. It’s an understated experience that doesn’t feel too dissimilar to stock Android, though there are a few added bells and whistles like ‘GT Mode’ for increasing performance and a game overlay for adjusting settings and monitoring performance.
However, there was one aspect that we were really disappointed to see – the sheer amount of bloatware preinstalled.
The phone comes loaded with a handful of apps – including things like Facebook, Amazon and TikTok, as well as random ad-filled games like tilemaster other block puzzle. It’s not the end of the world, as you can just uninstall these, but it really cheapens the experience and makes a powerful mid-ranger look like a low-budget clunker.
Hardware and performance
- MediaTek Dimension 8100 processor
- Up to 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM
- Up to 256GB UFS 3.1 storage
- 150W UltraDart charging
This is actually the first phone we’ve tested that features the MediaTek Dimensity 8100 processor, and it performed impressively throughout our testing. Everything feels snappy and fluid; it wakes up, unlocks fast and launches apps within the blink of an eye.
Right now, it’s a decent option for gaming, but most titles still require optimizing for the MediaTek chip. We’re expecting performance to improve as developers catch up, but, in the meantime, the games we tried, such as PUBG Mobile, made us choose between high graphical settings or high frame rates, but never gave us both.
As we mentioned, the phone also has that optional GT Mode, which boosts the CPU and GPU clocks at the expense of battery life. However, currently, there’s not much that can take advantage of that, so we’re hoping that it will become a more valuable feature in the future.
Realme also offers some tweakable game settings in its software, allowing for things like on-screen FPS counters and Discord integration. It’s a nice feature, and rare to see outside of niche gaming phones.
For now, we’d steer gamers toward a Snapdragon-powered device, but, for everything else, the GT Neo 3 is a speedy performer. Battery life is very solid, too, easily seeing us through a day of heavy use without needing a top-up.
This is impressive, given the relatively small 4500mAh pack, and a testament to the efficiency of MediaTek’s latest advancements. We can only imagine the 80W charging variant, with its larger 5000mAh battery, will last even longer.
That said, battery life is of little concern when you have the world’s fastest charger at your disposal.
Realme claims you can get from zero to 50 per cent in just five minutes, and our real-world testing was pretty close to that. Things slow down a little towards the end of the charge, as you would expect, but you’ll still be able to go from 0 to 100 per cent in roughly 15-17 minutes (providing the phone’s screen is off).
The phone gets warm in the process, of course, but, interestingly, we’ve also tested plenty of slower-charging phones that get much hotter when plugged in.
As for longevity, Realme claims you can charge the device 1600 times before it reaches an 80 per cent lifespan. So, even if you’re hammering it with 150W charging every day, it isn’t likely noticeably reduce battery life for over four years – by which point most people will have been looking to upgrade.
Interestingly, rapid charging is turned off by default in the system settings, so you’ll have to turn it on manually to take advantage. And you’ll want to do so, as once you get used to the speed, going back to regular fast charging is a painful transition.
We were also pleased to find that the included GaN charger is reasonably small, too, so the convenience of 150W charging isn’t burdened by a brick that’s difficult to travel with.
- 50MP f1.8 Sony IMX766 primary
- 8MP f2.2 ultra wide camera
- 2MP f2.4 macro camera
- 16MP f2.4 punch-hole selfie camera
The camera array on the GT Neo 3 is a mixed bag. We really like the primary camera, with its large Sony sensor and optical image stabilization. It’s capable of capturing some lovely images with great colors and plenty of detail.
The large sensor and wide aperture mean that it can produce some actual bokeh, too, which can be further enhanced with the phone’s portrait mode. The cutouts aren’t flawless in this mode, but it’s consistently decent and does a better job than many similarly-priced phones.
The other lenses, unfortunately, won’t be getting the same praise. The ultra-wide has far less dynamic range and lacks sharpness and detail. It’s still useful from time to time, but the images don’t stand up to any scrutiny, severely muddying details if you zoom in on any area of the frame.
Meanwhile, the 2MP macro is exactly what it says on the tin – it’s a low-resolution camera that can do close up shots, but, even then, these are nowhere near as close as we’d like.
The primary camera can focus almost as close, and you’d be better served by just cropping in if you need a closer shot. There’s really no reason for this camera to be included. It feels like it’s just a way for Realme to up its camera count.
The selfie camera, meanwhile, is adequate, but it’s unlikely to surprise you. Those looking for an exceptional forward-facing camera should turn their attention elsewhere.
When it comes to video capture, the story is much the same. The main shooter looks great, and the combined OIS and EIS make for nice smooth videos at up to 4K 30fps. For some reason, at 4K 60fps, all image stabilization appears to turn off – so we avoided using that entirely.
Otherwise, it focuses fast and produces the same rich and detailed image that we loved from stills mode. Of course, the auxiliary cameras are pretty useless here, too.
The Realme GT Neo 3 offers good value for money, solid performance and insanely fast charging. It’s not perfect by any means, but if you’re looking for a snappy performer and hate waiting for a charge, it’s a solid purchase.
Writing by Luke Baker. Editing by Conor Allison.