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realme GT Master Edition Review Philippines: Sure Winner?

by Duey Guison  September 23, 2021

Review verdict: the realme GT Master Edition brings flagship-like processing power and sleek looks in one device to the Philippines, giving image-obsessed photographers a flagship-level phone for less.

Pros

  • One of the best designs for a smartphone this year
  • Stellar performance of the Snapdragon 778G processor
  • Well-optimized main camera with realme’s camera UI

Cons

  • No telephoto camera
  • Battery feels a bit undersized

 

realme GT Master Edition Specs

  • Snapdragon 778G processor
  • 8GB LPDDR5 RAM
  • 128GB/256GB UFS 3.1 storage
  • 6.55-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display, 120hz refresh rate, support for HDR10+ and DCI-P3
  • 64-megapixel f/1.8 OV64B main camera with PDAF, 2-megapixel f/2.4 macro camera, 8-megapixel f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle camera
  • 32-megapixel selfie camera
  • 4G, 5G
  • WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.1, in-display fingerprint scanner
  • 4300mAh battery
  • 65w fast charging
  • Android 11, realme UI 2.0

While the Philippines isn’t getting the Snapdragon 888-powered GT in the Philippines, realme is giving us a consolation prize of sorts in the form of the Snapdragon 778G-powered GT Master Edition. The GT Master Edition tries to stand out with a very different design, a great processor, excellent camera and sleek style for not much money. Should you cop the brand’s latest phone?

Design

While the GT Master Edition will be sold in two colors in the Philippines, you should go for the Voyager Grey colorway if you want a phone that looks, and feels, different. Aside from using vegan leather, the Naoto Fukasawa-designed colorway has a nice suitcase-inspired design that makes it feel like the phone belongs in your EDC.

Aside from looking great, the back panel has a nice texture, is immune to smudges, and feels more durable than the typical glass (or plastic) back that most phones come with. The fact that it was designed by Naoto Fukasawa who is MUJI, and Herman Miller’s go-to designer gives the phone extra style points.

Display

The GT Master Edition positions itself as one of realme’s more premium offerings with its 6.43-inch AMOLED display. Aside from the nice and vibrant colors AMOLED displays typically produce, the GT Master Edition has a 120hz adaptive refresh rate to balance battery life and smoothness, a sensitive 360hz touch response rate for a better user experience when playing games, and an in-display fingerprint scanner.

The GT Master Edition’s display is also great for watching movies from platforms like Netflix, as it has a Widevine L1 certification that lets you enjoy shows in Full HD and even in HDR.

Cameras

We’re sure you are puzzled at why realme decided to go a different route and use an Omnivision OV64B sensor for the main camera instead of a Sony IMX 682/686 sensor. Despite being smaller–the OV64B has a 1/2″ sensor size, while the IMX 686 has a 1/1.7″ size-we were impressed at the output of the photos we got using the main camera. They are generally bright and sharp in most lighting conditions, only trailing behind behind Sony’s IMX 686 in low-light situations–which can be remedied by using the GT Master Edition’s dedicated night mode.

While you get a familiar 8-megapixel snapper for the ultra-wide-angle camera, we noticed that the photos are sharp and detailed towards the center and soft in the corners. We don’t find it as a con; we appreciate how realme was able to squeeze the most out of the 8-megapixel sensor by focusing the details of the image near the center. It is definitely a better option than the generally soft image output shot by the same sensor on other smartphones.

Tagging itself as a phone meant for travel photography, the GT Master Edition has a street photography mode that changes the UI, gives you filters that simulate the look and feel of the film, and preset focal lengths based on what street photographers commonly use. It is a nice feature to have, as it makes the most out of the GT Master Edition’s hardware to make it a reliable tool for run-and-gun shooting.

Being marketed as a photography-focused phone, we do wish that realme ditched the macro camera for a telephoto shooter to improve the GT Master Edition’s versatility.

The Snapdragon 778G’s improved ISP chops are also evident with the performance of the GT Master Edition’s 32-megapixel selfie snapper. Images we shot using the selfie shooter revealed lots of detail and a better-than-usual dynamic range.

 

Internals and Battery Life

Great camera performance aside, the GT Master Edition shines with its use of a Snapdragon 778G processor. realme’s upper mid-range offering is the first to use the 6nm processor, and benchmarks show that it ranks lower than a Snapdragon 870 and performs significantly better than the Dimensity 900 save for GeekBench Compute. In fact, the Snapdragon 778G borrows a few features from the Snapdragon 888.

 

When it comes to gaming, the Snapdragon 778G surprised us, as it can run Genshin Impact at the highest possible graphics settings with 60FPS mode enabled. Our Gamebench data reveals that while it managed an average FPS of 41, the gameplay is very stable at 98%.

That’s an impressive feat for a mid-range processor and is solid proof that mid-range processors have vastly improved through the years to catch up with the performance of top-end silicon.

The Snapdragon 778G’s 6nm process is also felt with the GT Master Edition’s battery life. Even if we felt that the 4300mAh cell is undersized and that it has to deal with a 120hz display, we manage to clock in a little over 12 hours in our video loop test with adaptive refresh rate enabled. That’s a relatively good figure for a phone with a high refresh rate display, and you can stretch that further if you stick to strictly 60hz.

The GT Master Edition also has realme’s fast 65w SuperDart charging. It took us around 28 minutes to top it up from 17% to 100% at room temperature. The thermals of both the phone and charger were stable all throughout, with both of them only getting slightly warm while topping up at 65w.

Wrap Up and Conclusions

The shortcomings of the realme GT Master Edition are very minimal at most, and our review shows that this upper mid-range offering is the brand’s blockbuster hit in the Philippines for 2021. While it may not be a flagship, the GT Master Edition is one of the best value-for-money offerings realme has offered in recent memory.

The combination of a powerful Snapdragon 778G processor, capable 64-megapixel main camera, and a unique back panel design, along with flagship features like a 120hz display and 65w charging makes the GT Master Edition a win for realme especially for its under Php 19k starting price.

realme GT Master Edition Review Price Philippines

The GT Master Edition is priced at Php 18,990 for the 8GB/128GB variant and Php 21,990 for the 8GB/256GB variant, and both variants are available in Daybreak Blue and Voyager Grey.

The GT Master Edition will have a special price at realme’s Lazada store on September 24, where the 8GB/128GB variant will have a promo price of Php 17,490 while the 8GB/256GB variant will be sold at Php 19,990.

For offline pre-orders, those ordering the 8Gb/256GB variant from September 24 to October 1 will get a Smart Scale with their purchase.

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