The Realme GT3 is the latest Android “Flagship killer” with quite an impressive claim to fame: the fastest-charging smartphone on the market. It can charge from 0% to 100% in 10 minutes!
Realme is also maxing out the power limit of USB-C with a whopping 240W charger, which is 10 to 20 times faster than the most popular smartphones right now. Aside from insanely fast charging, the Realme GT3 is a well-powered phone with good looks, a reasonable price tag, and some unique features.
In this comprehensive Realme GT3 review, we take a closer look at the design, performance, camera, and other essential aspects of this super fast-charging phone.
Realme GT3 is a good-looking device with a few interesting design queues. From the front, it looks like most large smartphones: almost entirely screen. The face is 93.7% screen with thin flat bezels and no curved screen. The device has rounded corners and a hole punch camera top center. The GT3 is all-around smooth with no sharp edges. The back is matte with a smooth, soft finish. It looks nice and doesn’t show grease, but it’s not the grippiest.
The top of the back is the most interesting quality — one half is a camera island, and the other half is a window exposing the phone’s internals and a wrap-around LED. The design looks like the camera island could slide over the clear window, but it doesn’t. The see-through glass window shows off the phone’s processor, parts of the mainboard, the NFC sensor, a C-shaped LED ring, and a “Dare to Leap” glowing text. We love the see-through window, but seeing the internals in most lighting is not easy.
It’s a large, thin phone, but easy for larger hands to hold since it’s tall and narrow. It’s thin, and the smooth tapered sides make it comfortable to grip.
On the sides, the phone’s missing a vibrate toggle or slider, which was a bummer and took getting used to. There are separate volume buttons, which is nice, and a lock button on the opposite side. There are dual speakers and microphones, with one of each on the bottom and top of the phone. There’s a dual SIM card slot but no expandable storage or removable battery. There’s also no headphone jack.
Battery and Charging
The battery and charging are Realme GT3’s flagship features, and they didn’t disappoint, but there are some caveats. Realme says this isn’t just the fastest charging smartphone to date, but it will be the fastest for years to come.
We received a test unit that came with a 240W European charger — this is insanely high power for a phone charger. The test unit also comes with a thicker-than-average 12A USB-C to USB-C cable. To get 240W of output, you need an input of 200-240V, which we don’t have in the USA. With a 120V outlet, the charger has a theoretical max of 160W. Even with diminished speeds, we were blown away by how fast the 4600 mAh battery charges from 0% to 100%.
Realme says the GT3 can charge 20% in 80 seconds and 100% in under 10 minutes. In various tests, the phone charged from OFF and entirely dead to 100% in just over 12 minutes. Starting from 1%, the phone charged to 45% after 5 minutes and was fully charged at 11 and 20 seconds. The device doesn’t use fast charging until there’s enough juice to turn it back on. It will charge even faster in Europe or areas with 200V+ outlets.
It was so refreshing to know that charging just a few minutes adds enough juice to get through a night out, a plane ride, or any adventure really. Sadly, there’s no wireless charging; even if there were, it wouldn’t charge at speeds close to this.
The biggest catch with fast charging is that Realme’s magic is due to the charger’s SUPERVOOC specification. It is OnePlus’s proprietary spec used by just a few phone brands. You may not find many of these chargers out and about. With a more common USB-C PD charger, you’ll still charge the GT3 somewhat fast, but nothing like SUPERVOOC. With a 65W laptop charger, charging speeds are around 17W, and the battery charges from 0 to 41% in 30 minutes. It’s compatible with 65W PD chargers and supports 18W quick charging.
Considering its power, the USB-C sample charger we received is surprisingly standard in its look and feel. It’s a GaN charger and weighs 6.5 ounces.
Realme’s tests show only 20% battery degradation after 1600 charges, which is higher than average. The theoretical risk of such insane charging speeds is heat, fires, and long-term battery health. Realme addresses these liabilities with hardware, software, testing, and certifications. The phone will also try to reserve fast-charging speeds when needed.
The heat of the phone and charger didn’t feel unreasonable during fast charging. It’s hotter than iPhone, but the temperature wasn’t too hot to hold or concerning. There’s liquid cooling around most of the battery, “60 layers of safety protection, ” a fireproof design, and 13 temperature sensors. It probably helps that the phone doesn’t need to charge at high speeds for more than 12 minutes.
We were pretty impressed with the battery life of the GT3. With little usage, the phone could last over two days on one charge, and with minimal use, it can last 3+ days. With heavier usage, we easily made it over a full day and closer to two full days on a single charge. The battery was so good that we cranked all the performance features full-time. The 144hz refresh rate, the always-on display, and the “GT” mode for higher performance and resolution were always on. There are various apps and optimizations for getting even more out of the battery, but we had no use for them.
Screen and always-on display
The screen on the Realme GT3 is beautiful and eye-popping. We never tire of looking at AMOLED screens, especially with high refresh speeds (144hz) and Quad HD resolution (2772×1240). The 6.74″ display offers 451 pixels per square inch (PPI), which is on par with the iPhone 14 Pro.
We love everything about the screen, with only a couple of exceptions. The Realme GT3 has excellent contrast and vibrant colors. It also has crystal clear detail, which is noticeable with small text. The Realme OS does a fantastic job of highlighting and accentuating how colorful the screen gets.
The peak brightness is 1400 nits which should be plenty bright even in direct sunlight, but we noticed that an iPhone was even brighter and easier to look at in direct sunlight. An “eye comfort” feature makes the screen temperature warmer on a schedule, but there’s no “Nature Tone” or “True Tone” setting to adjust the color temperature based on ambient lighting.
The only other thing we didn’t love about the screen (which is very fixable) is that the stock factory-applied screen protector scratches and scuffs quite easily. Since the screen is flat and not curved, it should be easy to find some excellent glass screen protectors to replace it with.
The always-on screen does not actually default to always-on. It defaults to Power Saving and shuts the screen if the phone has been stationary for a while. The battery life is good enough that we immediately changed the always-on screen to all waking hours. The always-on display has some fun customizations and personalizations. We like the “realmeow” cat mascot.
The RealMe GT3 has a max screen refresh rate of 144hz, even better than the 120hz most newer phones offer. The refresh rate is default set to “Auto select” instead of “High” or the standard 60hz. We noticed “auto select” and “high” switches between 60hz and 144hz. We opted to always use “high” and get as much 144hz refreshing as possible.
There’s supposed to be a future software release that can reduce the refresh rate to 40hz, but it doesn’t seem like it will ever be able to go down to 1hz, as the OnePlus 11 does. Besides, savings in the battery wouldn’t make a difference on this phone. Overall, the screen animations are silky smooth and very lovely. The screen also offers 10-bit color depth and can display over 1 billion colors — this is still rare for phones, and not even Apple or Samsung offer it.
Specs and performance
RealMe GT3 is powered by 2022’s flagship processor, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. It is the predecessor to this year’s Gen 2, which has improved performance, gaming, and power efficiency. Gen 1 keeps the phone cost more reasonable and still offers top-tier performance. We were not successful in making this phone sweat.
The gaming performance is flawless. GT3 even optimizes itself when opening a game. With a Bluetooth controller, it is as good as playing on a much more serious machine. Our model came with 16GB RAM, and we couldn’t slow the phone down, even with a lot of multitasking. Having reviewed OnePlus’s 11 with the more powerful Gen 2 processor, this phone felt just as fast and smooth.
Realme GT3 will be available with the following RAM+Storage combos: 8GB+128GB, 12GB+256GB, 16GB+256GB, 16GB+512GB, and even 16GB+1TB. We were happy to see a 1TB model, as high-resolution photos and videos can take up a lot of storage these days. There’s no expandable storage, though.
There is expandable RAM, however — you can use your storage space to add another 4GB to 12 GB. Our phone had +4GB enabled by default. It won’t be as fast as the actual RAM, which is LPDDR 5X, the best and fastest mobile RAM on the market. It is the same RAM as Samsung’s Galaxy S23 and OnePlus 11.
Operating System, Features, and UX
Our Realme GT3 is running a test build of realme UI 4, based on Android 13. There are references to also being ColorOS 13 in the About section. Having used OxygenOS and ColorOS, realme UI feels about the same. There are subtle changes with included apps and personalizations. We found it to be smooth overall, with a lot of emphasis on performance and power-saving controls.
The look is very modern and stylish. There’s not much bloatware, just a few personalizations you will not find in native Android. The phone’s coolest feature is the breathing light on the back of the phone. This light gets used with notifications, battery life, GT mode, and charging. You can change the colors and animations. The biggest kicker is that you can only get the light to stay on when the phone is charging. More control over this light would be a fun addition that a software update can solve.
There are a few unique features that are pretty cool to have: a built-in IR remote control, the ability to listen to wired and wireless headphones at the same time, a “microscope” camera, and even a heart rate meter. Then there’s also the split-screen, flexible floating windows, and a smart sidebar. The IR remote is easy to add to any device, and the range is reasonably good. The heart rate monitor usually works but may sometimes be wrong. We didn’t use the multitasking features much, but they’re impressive, and there’s definitely a use case for power users.
We like the dual speakers. They’re a bit louder than iPhones and only distorted at higher volumes. They sound pretty good for phone speakers. Unlocking your phone is a breeze with both Face Unlock and Fingerprint Unlock. They both work reliably and instantaneously.
The only honest criticism is that Face Unlock uses the camera, not more advanced technology like the iPhone’s infrared 3D scanner. The fingerprint reader is embedded below the screen in a very accessible place — near the bottom of the screen in the center. Every 72 hours, you’ll need to unlock the phone with your password, which can be numeric, alphanumeric, or a pattern. This makes Face Unlock less secure, but if that’s a concern, you can use fingerprint unlock or fall back to another unlocking method.
The GT3 has support for dual 5G SIM cards, but sadly, there’s no eSIM support! It is a bummer, as we’ve personally already moved beyond physical SIM cards. The Snapdragon processor should support eSIMs, so a future software upgrade may enable it.
The triple rear camera system
The front camera is 16MP. The primary camera on the back is a 50MP with f/1.88 aperture and a Sony IMX890 sensor. There’s an 8MP 112-degree ultra-wide camera but no telephoto camera. Instead, the GT3 has a 2MP microscope camera for extreme close-ups.
The camera system is pretty good. Realme won’t win any awards for this camera, but we are happy with most of the shots. We took over 100 comparison shots against iPhone 14 Pro — there were a lot of close calls, but iPhone was almost always better.
Realme competes well for portraits and photos of people; it falls short on macros, close-ups, and distance shots. The one area we like Realme photos better is nighttime street photos. Realme does well in low light and is faster than iPhone.
Realme’s shutter feels slow when snapping a few quick shots, but this may have just been the app. iPhone also has a more straightforward camera interface. There are many camera options; if you’re serious about photography, you can shoot in pro mode. Realme is usually more excessive with exposing photos than iPhone and goes a little heavier on color saturation.
The microscope camera is pretty neat but nowhere as useful as a telephoto lens. Photos at the zoo were noticeably worse than iPhones as a result. The selfie camera is good enough, but the pictures are pretty average.
OnePlus 11 vs Realme GT3
The OnePlus 11 is an excellent phone comparison as it’s the other “flagship killer” that’s just been released. The OnePlus 11 also offers fast charging using SUPERVOOC, but at 80W instead of 240W. It’s a close call, and there’s a lot of personal preference at play, but we prefer the OnePlus 11.
The OnePlus 11 is a little more powerful (Snapdragon 8 Gen 2), has a better screen, and has a top-tier camera system. The Realme GT3’s camera is good but a little more than average. The other kicker for us is that OnePlus offers eSIM, and Realme does not.
We think the curved sides of the OnePlus 11’s display make the phone look sexier but are less practical than Realme’s flat display. Realme has a few cool bonus features that could be useful occasionally, including the IR camera, the heart rate monitor, and the microscope camera. You’ll also have better screen protector options with a flat display.
The software and user experiences are almost the same. The OnePlus 11’s screen tops out at 120hz instead of 144hz but has a variable refresh rate down to 1hz. The OnePlus 11 has a QHD+ resolution with 525 psi as opposed to the Realme GT3’s 451ppi. The OnePlus 11’s screen also has a “Nature Tone,” which adjusts screen temperature to your current lighting conditions. It is a feature we quite appreciate.
With 80W charging speeds, the OnePlus 11 charges to 100% in around 30 minutes as opposed to the GT3’s 10 minutes. Both phones have the same basic shape with different design cues primarily based on preference.
Realme’s viewing window and LED are cool, but the OnePlus 11 has a 3-stop volume/vibrate/silence switch. Both phones offer 16GB of RAM, but the Realme GT3 provides 1TB of storage while OnePlus caps out at 256GB. The Realme GT3’s price is $50 less for the base model, which is 8GB RAM/128GB storage for both.
Realme GT3 review verdict
Realme GT3 is a solid mid-range phone to consider in 2023 if charging speed and battery life are essential features. We really liked using it. The only things that bothered us were the lack of eSIM, wireless charging, and auto-adjusting screen temperature. We’d otherwise categorize it as a contender for “flagship killer,” given its tech and features compete with $1000+ phones.
That said, the reason to get this phone is for the charging. Knowing that 10 minutes of charging can last you two days or even more, there’s a lot of peace of mind. We like OnePlus 11 as a similarly priced alternative that wins most categories other than charging.
Realme GT3 pricing and availability
Per an official announcement made by Realme at the Mobile World Congress event held in Barcelona on February 28, the Realme GT3 is scheduled to be released for purchase in either May or June of 2023. The 8GB RAM storage variant is priced at $649.