realme GT Neo2 Review: Brilliant screen and long battery life


realme GT Neo2 was launched in India last week as the successor to the realme GT Neo which was launched in India as realme X7 Max back in May. It retains the same cameras as the predecessor, but replaces the Dimensity 1200 with a more powerful Snapdragon 870 SoC, and also upgrades the display and the battery. Is this the best upgrade from the X7 Max (GT Neo)? Let us dive into the review to find out.

Box Contents
Camera
Battery Life
Conclusion

Box Contents

  • realme GT Neo2 8GB + 120GB version in Neo Green color
  • 2-pin 65W SuperDart charger (10V-6.5A)
  • USB Type C Cable
  • SIM Ejector tool
  • Protective case
  • User Guide and Warranty information

Display, Hardware and Design

The realme GT Neo2 sports a 6.62-inch (1080 x 2400 pixels) Full HD+ 20:9 aspect ratio E4 AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate, 600Hz touch sampling rate and 397 PPI. The display is bright since it has up to 1300 nits brightness with 10240 level of brightness adjustment, offers good colour output since it has 106% NTSC and 100% DCI-P3 wide Colour Gamut and the sunlight legibility is good as well. You can select from vivid, Gentle and brilliant screen colour modes.

There is also DC dimming, but you need to enable it from the realme Labs. The 120Hz refresh rate and 600Hz touch sampling rate offers a buttery smooth user experience, especially when you are scrolling through the UI and when gaming. It can only automatically switch between 30Hz, 60Hz, 90Hz and 120Hz depending on the content if you set it to auto select, thus saving the battery life. You can also force it to 60Hz or 120Hz.

It also has HDR 10 support, which works for YouTube, but it doesn’t work with Netflix. You can enable bright HDR video mode, which increases the brightness when playing HDR videos, but it drains the battery. The phone has Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection on the front.

The phone doesn’t have a notification LED, but this has always-on-display, which is called ambient display that shows contextual info and notifications all day or as per schedule, and there is also edge light lighting that glows when you receive notifications. It doesn’t consume a lot of power since this is an AMOLED screen, but the company says that it increases the power consumption.

The phone has a tiny punch-hole on the left that houses a 16-megapixel camera. Above the display, there is an earpiece on the top edge that doubles up as a secondary speaker. The phone also has the usual set of proximity and ambient light sensors, as well as a gyroscope and a magnetic sensor, otherwise known as a magnetometer.

It has an in-display fingerprint scanner which is quick to unlock the phone immediately when you place your finger. You can also notice a small bezel below the screen. The haptic feedback is good as well, thanks to X-axis linear vibration motor and the phone also offers 4D vibration when gaming.

Coming to the button placements and ports, the power button is present on the right side, the volume rockers are present on the left, secondary microphone is on the top, dual SIM slot, primary microphone, USB Type-C port and the loudspeaker grill are present on the bottom. The phone doesn’t have an expandable storage. The phone has polycarbonate frame, but the matte finish on the sides, so it doesn’t slip out of the hands.

Coming to the design, the phone comes in three colors. The Neo Green colour that we have has a matte AG glass that uses 7 nano multilayer finish and the black part has a glossy finish. The phone also comes in Neo Blue that has 8 gradient color nano layers and Neo Black. These have a Satin AG art glass with 68% super high haze, antifouling and anti-fingerprint finish for a perfect grip, thanks to 52° four-sided arc. Since it has a huge battery, it weighs about 200 grams, heavier than most realme phones. Some might find this bulky. The realme X7 Max had IPX4 ratings, but this doesn’t have IP ratings.

Camera

Camera setup

  • 64MP primary camera with f/1.8 aperture, EIS
  • 8MP 119° Ultra-wide camera with f/2.3 aperture
  • 2MP 4cm macro camera with sensor, f/2.4 aperture
  • 16MP front camera with f/2.5 aperture

The camera UI is same as the one realme UI 2.0 phones that has features like dual video, AI color portrait and bokeh flare portrait for images. There is also Dynamic bokeh option for photos. For video, you only get AI color portrait. There is also AI option for video and Pro video in night mode. The rear camera offers 16MP output after pixel binning, and the front camera images are 16MP in size.

Daylight shots came out well, and the dynamic range is better with auto HDR. There is AI mode which recognizes different photo scenes and automatically adjusts camera settings to make boost the colours. 2X is decent, but once you zoom after that the quality degrades since it is digital zoom. The portrait mode is decent and the 2MP macro camera is useless, so better use 2X zoom with the normal camera.

Low light shots are decent, but it could have been better. The night mode makes it better, but it still has noise. There is also a pro or pro nightscape mode, but it needs a tripod. There is also starry mode, which also needs a tripod. The front camera is also good in daylight, and there is also HDR mode, but it doesn’t have any portrait filters. The bokeh shots were decent, but the edge detection is not the best since it is just uses software.

Check out the camera samples.

It can record videos in up to 4K 60 fps, slow motion at 120fps, 720p at 240 fps and the front camera can record 1080p 30fps videos. There is also AI mode and ultra-wide video shooting, but these are limited to 1080p 30fps. It uses EIS which just a decent job, and the ultra steady mode helps a bit, but stabilization feels jittery. Wish it had OIS for a better stabilization. Check out the video samples.

Software, UI and Apps

It runs Android 11 with realme UI 2.0 on top, similar to latest realme phones. It has Android security patch for August. The company did not confirm the number of Android updates and security updates the phone will get, but it has confirmed that the GT Neo2 will get realme UI 3.0 Android 12 early release in December.

Apart from the usual set of realme apps and Google apps, it comes with Amazon Shopping, Prime Video, Amazon Music, Booking.com, Dailyhunt, Josh, Facebook, Finshell Pay, LinkedIn, Netflix, Snapchat and Moj. Most apps can be uninstalled, but the Finsell Pay app can’t be uninstalled since it is a system app. However, you can use the ADB commands to remove them.

Out of 8GB LPDDR5 RAM, you get 7.5GB of usable RAM, and about 4GB of RAM is free when default apps are running in the background. It also has DRE or dynamic RAM expansion feature, which uses the built-in storage as RAM. This has up to 5GB of additional RAM expansion. Out of 128GB, you get about 106GB of free storage. The phone uses UFS 3.1 storage, and we got sequential read speeds of about 1706 MB/s.

Fingerprint sensor and Face unlock

It has an in-display fingerprint sensor that unlocks the phone quickly, but it is not as fast as a physical fingerprint sensor. You can add up to 5 fingerprints. You can also use the fingerprint for app local and payments in apps. Furthermore, you can change the fingerprint animation, but you can’t disable it. The phone also has face unlock, but it is not as secure as fingerprint, and also doesn’t work if you use sunglasses or hats.

Music and Multimedia

YouTube Music is the default Music Player that has Dolby Atmos with customizable Smart, Movie, Gaming and Music modes. It doesn’t have FM Radio support. Audio through the stereo speakers is good, but in full volume there is a slight distortion. Audio through earphones using is good. This has Widevine L1 so that you can play HD content on  Netflix and other streaming apps. It also supports HDR content on YouTube, but this doesn’t work on Netflix. It is not clear if this will be available with an update in the future.

Dual SIM and Connectivity

The GT Neo2 has support for 5G SA with support for n1, n3, n5, n8, n28A, n41, n77 and n78  Network Bands in India. It has 4G Wi-Fi and VoLTE with support for Carrier Aggregation on 4G, but I did not see a 4G+ symbol. Other connectivity options include Wi-Fi 6 802.11 ax (2.4GHz + 5GHz) 2X2 MIMO, VoWiFi / Wi-Fi calling support, Bluetooth 5.2, GPS (L1 + L5)/ GLONASS / Navic/ QZSS/ Galileo. It also has NFC support. The dual channel download acceleration combines mobile data and Wi-Fi to enhance the download speed. Moving on, the call quality is good, and we did not face any call drops and the earpiece volume was loud.

The GT Neo2’s  body SAR is 0.700W/Kg  and head SAR is at 1.187/Kg which is slightly high compared to some mid-range phones, but it well under the limit in India which is 1.6 W/kg (over 1 g).

Performance and Benchmarks

This is one of the few phones in the price range to be powered by Snapdragon 870 6nm Mobile Platform that uses Qualcomm Kryo 585 CPUs. It has 1 x Kryo 585 Prime CPU (A77-based) at up to 3.2GHz, 3 x Kryo 585 Performance CPUs (A77-based) at up to 2.42GHz, 4x Kryo 585 Efficiency CPUs (A55-based) at up to 1.80GHz

The Adreno 650 GPU offers a smooth gaming performance even in graphic intensive games, and the phone doesn’t get too hot even during long hours of gaming, thanks to 3D stainless-steel VC cooling chamber that has an area of up to 4129mm², which is the largest on a realme phone. It also has aerospace-grade diamond heat dissipation gel. The super large heat sink area can cover most parts of processor and battery area that significantly reduces the core temperature by up to 18° C and keep the phone in a high-performance state.

The phone gets a bit warm on intensive gaming or when recording 4K videos for long, but it doesn’t too hot. We did not face any issues or frame drops in the graphic-intensive games like COD, BGMI and Genshin Impact. It reached maximum 42º in our testing indoors in Wi-Fi, but this might vary outdoors in 4G. That said, check out some synthetic benchmark scores below.

As you can see in the benchmarks, the realme GT Neo2 powered by the Snapdragon 870 outperforms other phones, and it is also better than the iQOO 7 in both the AnTuTu and Geekbench 5 Single-Core benchmark.

Battery life

Coming to the battery life, the phone packs a 5000mAh (typical) battery, the biggest on a top-end realme smartphone till date. It can easily last for more than a day with heavy use with 4G enabled and multimedia use, and will last easily for 2 days with minimal use. I got over  5 hours of screen on time with close to 2 days of of use mostly on Wi-Fi. Since the phone has support for Super Dart 65W fast charging, it can charge from 0 to 100% in about 35 minutes with the bundled 65W charger.

It achieved One Charge Rating of 18 hours and 31 minutes in our battery test, better than most phones in the range. We tested it in 120Hz which is adaptive, so in some cases it switches to 60Hz. Battery life is based on different factors such as software optimization and the processing power that requires to power the phone, so if the phone lasts for a day with heavy use, it is good.

Conclusion

At a starting price of Rs. 31,999, the realme GT Neo2 is the best mid-range smartphone from realme. It has a 120Hz E4 AMOLED screen offers a good multimedia performance, the phone offers smooth performance and a lag-free experience, thanks to Snapdragon 870 SoC and the battery life is good as well. Even though it has stereo speakers and Dolby Atmos, it misses the 3.5mm audio jack and the camera department doesn’t see an upgrade.

Pricing and availability

The realme GT Neo2 is priced at Rs. 31,999 for the 8GB RAM with 128GB storage version and the 12GB RAM with 256GB storage version costs Rs. 35,999. It is available from Flipkart, realme.com and offline stores.

At the launch the company said that as a limited-period festive offer, the phone will be available for Rs. 24,999 and Rs. 28,999, respectively which is up to Rs. 7000 discount that includes discounts and bank offers. However, the actual discount including the Bank offer is only up to Rs. 5000, and the extra Rs. 2000 discount on exchange comes up to Rs. 7000 discount.

Alternatives

iQOO 7 with the same Snapdragon 870 comes with a better camera with OIS. The Mi 11X with the same SoC is selling at a cheaper rate during festive offer. If you need a gaming phone, the POCO F3 GT is also a good alternative that comes with triggers.

Pros

  • 120Hz E4 AMOLED HDR display is brilliant
  • Smooth performance and good gaming performance
  • Stereo speakers, Dolby Atmos
  • Good battery life with 65W fast charging

Cons

  • Same old camera setup with average low-light camera performance
  • Misses 3.5 mm audio jack and IPX4 ratings from the predecessor
  • Might be big and bulky for some

Author: Srivatsan Sridhar

Srivatsan Sridhar is a Mobile Technology Enthusiast who is passionate about Mobile phones and Mobile apps. He uses the phones he reviews as his main phone. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram