Realme GT Neo2 5G Review: Packing an impressive sub-$500 punch


Over the course of 2021, we saw quite a few fantastic handsets released in regions abroad that we wished would be available here in the U.S. Many of these came from Realme, which operates as Oppo’s more budget-friendly extension. Realme has taken the smartphone world by storm with options like the Realme GT, 8 Pro, and others.

Towards the end of the year, the company released the Realme GT 2 Neo, aiming to strike while the iron’s hot. But instead of simply focusing on providing a near-flagship experience, the GT 2 Neo has an added stripe (or trick) to try and change your perception.

Realme GT Neo2 5G Specs

  • Display: 6.62-inch AMOLED
  • Resolution: 2400 x 1080 (398ppi)
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 5G
  • RAM: 8GB / 12GB
  • Storage: 128GB / 256GB
  • Front Camera: 16MP, f/2.5, 1.0µm
  • Rear Cameras:
    • Main (wide): 64MP, f/1.8, 0.8µm
    • Ultra wide: 8MP, f/2.3, 1.12µm, 119-degree FoV
    • Macro: 2MP, f/2.4
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Extras: 120Hz Refresh Rate / 65W Fast Charging / Under-display Fingerprint Scanner / NFC

Realme GT Neo2 5G Review: Design

As you can see from the images in this review, the unit that we received was the ultra-unique Neo Green colorway complete with a racing stripe on the right side. The phone itself is constructed of a combination of glass, plastic, and metal. On the front, we have Gorilla Glass 5 protecting your screen, while the frame and backplate are both made from plastic.

Out of the box, the phone feels a bit hefty, but it’s really not all that bad thanks to the curvature of the back. For the most part, the GT Neo 2 isn’t really a fingerprint magnet, as the plastic on the back sports a matte finish. Where you will end up with fingerprints is in the Realme racing stripe, as the company opted for a glossy finish here. But you can forgo that altogether thanks to the included matte black soft-touch case that’s included in the box.

Before moving to the rest of the phone, the back is also home to the camera module, housing a total of three cameras and two flash sensors. On the bottom, you’ll find the speakers, microphone cutout, SIM card tray, and USB-C charging port. Aside from that, you’ll only see the power button on the right and the volume rocker on the left.

The display itself measures at 6.67-inches and sports a hole-punch selfie cutout in the top left corner. This is pretty much to be expected, but you might be happy to know that Realme includes a pre-installed screen protector. It’s not made from tempered glass, but at least you’ll have some protection until you either get a new one or until this one wears out.

Overall, actually holding and using the phone is about as “plain Jane” as it gets. Pressing the power and volume buttons might take a bit of getting used to, as they are placed a bit lower than you might expect. However, the power button sports a textures finish, and the volume buttons are separated, so you’ll be able to press the right button without needing to look and see what you’re doing.

Realme GT Neo2 5G Review: Performance

Starting off with the software, the Realme GT Neo2 sports a pretty classic (and boring) look. We say it’s boring, but really, Realme doesn’t need to try and reach for the stars in the software department. There are plenty of features and customizing that you can do with the phone. It almost feels like this is a blend of OxygenOS and ColorOS, and we’re definitely fans.

With the Snapdragon 870 at the helm, we already expected great things from the GT Neo2. And we’re happy to report that it definitely did not disappoint. The phone outscored the likes of the OnePlus Nord 2 and matched up with the GT Master Explorer in Geekbench. The GT Neo2 scored 1018 in single-core testing, and 3092 in multi-core tests with a 3627 Geekbench Computer score.

How does that translate into real-world performance? Well between the 120Hz refresh rate that can get ramped up using a 600Hz touch response and the fluid software, the GT Neo2 is capable of handling practically anything that you throw at it.

Playing games such as Call of Duty: Mobile and PUBG was a breeze, while the phone didn’t skip a beat while switching between different apps in rapid succession. Admittedly, the unit that we have packs 12GB of RAM, but even the 8GB model should still handle everything you need with ease.

Speaking of games, Realme added a potentially-helpful little feature called Game Space. When you fire up a game of your choice, you can drag out the little panel to activate the different settings. From here, you are able to adjust things like the touch sensitivity, performance modes, and of course, are able to toggle notifications and DND without leaving the game.

So what does all of this performance mean for the battery life? Surely Realme had to make a sacrifice somewhere, right? Wrong. Out of the phones that we’ve tested in the past year, the Realme GT Neo 2 scored the best in the PC Mark Android Battery test.

The phone lasted for a whopping 1,121 minutes or almost 19 hours on a single charge. This blows even the Nord N200, with its 17.5 hours of battery life, out of the water. But the best part isn’t just that the 5,000mAh will last you forever, but you’ll also be able to get juiced back up to 100% in no time thanks to the included 65W fast charger. Unfortunately, you won’t find any wireless charging here, but the fast wired charging definitely helps to make up for that.

Realme GT Neo2 5G Review: Cameras

Remember how we said that Realme needed to make a sacrifice somewhere? Well, that somewhere was in the camera department.

The GT Neo2’s main 64MP camera is impressive on its own, allowing you to capture photos of anything you could want. Realme includes several different camera modes to switch between, including Portrait, Night, and a 64MP mode that is best used if you want the sharpest-looking picture possible.

So we don’t really have any complaints about the main wide-angle camera. Instead, it’s in the ultra-wide and macro lenses that we have gripes. The ultra-wide performs just fine, but it isn’t anything to write home about. We would have liked to see a little more “oomph” here, but again, it’s not the end of the world.

As for that macro camera, well, this is just another case of spec-sheet stuffing. Sure, it’s probably better than turning your ultra-wide camera into a macro lens. But the macro results from the dedicated camera just aren’t all that impressive. Truth be told, we’d rather use the dedicated 64MP mode with the main camera and just get as close as possible to the subject instead.

Realme GT Neo2 5G Review: Conclusion

By in large, the Realme GT Neo2 5G is an incredible phone and offers incredible value. Thankfully, Realme didn’t limit the phone’s release to China, as you can easily get it in other regions of the world. Two-day battery life, a 120Hz refresh rate, sleek design, and impressive performance make for a device that you should definitely be considering.

Even the 64MP main camera is good enough to help make up for the subpar experience found in the other two built-in sensors. But the phone ships with Android 11, with Realme already delaying the rollout of Android 12. At the time of this writing, there’s not much indication as to when that update could be arriving, so we would have liked to see Android 12 available already.

You can grab the Realme GT Neo2 5G on Amazon for less than $500, but you might be able to find it even lower at other retailers. If you want one of the most impressive phones of the past year, then you won’t be disappointed by Realme’s latest offering.

Realme GT Neo2 5G Rating: star_fullstar_fullstar_fullstar_fullstar_50 (4.5 / 5)

The Good

  • Battery lasts forever and ever
  • Main 64MP camera is pretty good
  • Performance is top-notch
  • Fingerprint scanner is reliable

The Bad

  • Ultra-wide and macro cameras aren’t great
  • No wireless charging
  • Still on Android 11

The Bottom Line

The Realme GT Neo2 5G sports a unique look with the Neo Green version, but it packs an incredible punch under the hood. Long-lasting battery and impressive performance make this a can’t-miss option.



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