240W charging juices the phone in around ten minutes
Bright and bold 144Hz display
Average battery life
So-so secondary cameras
Some overheating issues
Very limited water resistance
The Realme GT 3 has lighting-fast charging, a unique design and capable performance, all for a price which undercuts other flagships.
The Realme GT 3 is the first phone you’ll be able to buy with crazy-fast charging speeds that can turn flat battery into a full one in just ten minutes.
But 240W fast charging aside, can this phone compete with similarly priced handsets from the likes of Google and OnePlus? That’s exactly what I’ve been finding out over the past couple of weeks.
Do note that you can’t actually buy the Realme GT 3 yet: it should go on sale around May/June of this year.
Design & build
Black and white colour options
RGB lighting on camera module
No headphone jack
Long gone are the days of garish branding. Instead, Realme has opted for a few sporty touches for its latest GT phone.
Coming in a choice of two colours, Pulse White and Booster Black (seen below), the phone has a smooth, matt finish with a subtle Realme logo on the bottom left-hand corner. There is a huge camera module, which takes up the top third of the phone’s rear.
Hannah Cowton / Foundry
On the right-hand side of the module is a window which, bizarrely, shows off a fake version of the Snapdragon chip and NFC antenna. Surrounding it is a rectangular RGB light, which glows different colours. For example, it will pulse green when you get a new message, light up red when it needs charging etc.
Having this on drains the battery quicker, so you can turn it off if you wish. The phone is 8.9mm thick and weighs 199g, so it is relatively slim and lightweight.
The plastic body means it’s less susceptible to damage from accidental drops than phones with glass rears, though it doesn’t feel quite as premium as some flagships. It has an IPX4 water-resistance rating, which means it is protected against light splashes, so it’s best to avoid holding it over baths and pools.
There is a USB-C port for charging, and you’ll need to use Bluetooth for headphones unless you get a USB-C to minijack adapter for wired headphones. My review sample had a single-SIM tray, but dual-SIM versions are available in certain regions.
Screen & speakers
6.74in AMOLED display
144Hz refresh rate
Loud stereo speakers
The Realme GT 3 has a 6.74in AMOLED display, with a resolution of 2772 x 1250 – a higher-quality display than some similarly priced rivals, which only offer Full HD resolution. It has a peak brightness of 1400 nits.
The display is bright and dazzling, even under sunlight and intense indoor lights such as at a convention centre, where I first got my hands on the GT 3.
You can either run the screen at 60Hz, 144Hz or opt for the auto mode, which picks between 60Hz, 72Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz and 144Hz depending on what you’re doing. Its touch sampling rate of 360Hz gives it lighting-fast response when scrolling and swiping.
Haptics are short and clipped on this phone, with the option to change their intensity or turn them off entirely. Vibrations aren’t as strong as some rivals, but they are on the quieter side.
The screen features an under-display fingerprint sensor, which I found worked a treat. You can also enable face recognition, but that’s less secure.
Stereo speakers produces loud, punchy sound. However, don’t expect much in the way of bass tones.
Specs & performance
Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
Five different RAM and storage options
Only Wi-Fi 5
The Realme GT 3 uses a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset. This is the same processor seen in the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and the OnePlus 10T.
It’s paired with either 8GB RAM/128GB storage, 12GB RAM/256GB storage, 16GB RAM/256GB storage, 16GB RAM/512GB storage and 16GB RAM/ 1TB storage, though you might not be able to get every single configuration in your country. Note that storage isn’t expandable.
Overall, performance is great, and combined with the high-refresh-rate screen, the GT 3 is wonderful for scrolling through social media posts.
It’s good for casual gaming too, with titles like Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp running smoothly. I was even able to play the demanding title Genshin Impact on medium graphics settings, though there was some stuttering. The phone also gets noticeably hot if you play games for a while.
You can see the GT 3’s benchmark results below:
Decent main and selfie cameras
AI processing oversaturates colours
Secondary cameras underwhelming
Like many phones, the GT 3 has a triple rear-camera setup. This is led by a 50Mp main camera, which uses a Sony IMX890 sensor and a f/1.88 lens. There is also an 8Mp wide-angle camera with a 112-degree field of view and f/2.2 aperture, and a 2Mp ‘microscope’ camera.
The main camera performs best in bright lighting but doesn’t have trouble in dimmer environments, partly thanks to the 1/1.56in image sensor. Textures and fine lines pop well, and colours are vivid.
In fact, perhaps a little too vivid: the GT 3 uses the same ‘AI’ enhancing that I’ve seen before on other Realme phones, in which colours are slightly oversaturated and unrealistic looking.
This is especially evident on the shot taken at night, where the sky has taken on an unnatural blue tint. The same is true for the grass, which appears much greener than it does to the eye. You can turn the AI off, of course, but even then colours are still a bit too saturated for my liking.
There is a downgrade in quality when it comes to the 8Mp camera, with less detail being resolved. However, colours remain good and aren’t washed out like on some other wide-angle cameras.
If you’re looking to take close-up macro shots, then I recommend sticking with the main lens, as it was nearly impossible to get a clear shot with the 2Mp ‘microscope’ one. No huge surprise there: it’s a similar story with all phones that have this kind of camera.
The front 16Mp camera isn’t quite as impressive as those you’ll find on more premium phones. However, it lets a reasonable amount of light in, and details are reasonably sharp. In portrait mode, the bokeh effect isn’t perfect, often blurring strands of hair.
Alfonso Casas / Foundry
Video is pretty stable, thanks to the inclusion of OIS on the main camera. You can record video in 4K, 1080p and 720p in either 30fps or 60fps. The microphones pick up good sound, and there is an automatic nightscape mode available if you’re shooting in lower light.
Battery life & charging
Stupidly fast charging
Around a day’s worth of battery with heavy usage
And now the part you’ve all been waiting for – the charging.
This will be the first phone on sale with 240W fast-charging. Although you may have read about even quicker speeds, these are from concept phones. You’ll need to use the included dual GaN (Gallium Nitride) mini charger with a custom 12A charging cable, not just any old USB-C cable.
There are a few things you’ll need to do to get super-fast speeds. You must enable ‘smart rapid charging’ in the battery health section in the settings and turn off the RGB lighting. Realme also recommends reducing the number of times that the screen lights up, such as if a notification pops up.
Hannah Cowton / Foundry
In addition, the phone won’t enable smart rapid charging when turned off. Realme’s claim of 9 minutes and 30 seconds is a bit faster than the 11 minutes and 3 seconds that my review phone took to charge from 1% to full. There is no wireless charging.
Still, being able to charge your phone in 11 minutes is game-changing. And that’s especially true if you only remember to do so just before you’re heading out the door. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that both the phone and the charger get extremely hot, which isn’t hugely reassuring.
Realme claims that the battery should maintain 80% battery capacity for around 1,600 cycles, but it’s impossible to know if this is true. Those in the US likely won’t be able to achieve these speeds due to the lower voltage used.
Sadly, battery life itself doesn’t quite have the same wow factor. The 4600mAh cell managed 11 hours and 59 minutes in the PCMark battery test and on average it lasted about a day when watching the odd video, browsing social media, taking photos and other normal stuff.
If you use the lowest refresh rate and don’t use battery-draining apps then you may be able to stretch it out for longer.
The GT 3 comes with Realme UI 4.0 based on Android 13. This skin is not too dissimilar to Oppo’s ColorOS, and offers a decent level of customisation over the icons, theme and layout.
However, there is a lot of pre-installed bloatware, with games such as Tile Connect, Piano Hop and others taking up space and cluttering up the homepage. There are also duplications of certain types of apps. For example, you get both Realme’s own notes app, plus Google’s Keep Notes. The games can be uninstalled simply enough, but some apps can’t such as the Realme App Market.
Typically, Realme offers two years of OS updates (so Android 14 and 15), and three years of security updates. This isn’t as generous as what Samsung and Google offer and doesn’t necessarily encourage you to hang onto the phone for a long time.
Hannah Cowton / Foundry
Price & availability
The Realme GT 3 was officially unveiled at MWC 2023 but won’t go on sale until around May or June of this year.
The phone starts at $649 for the base model, which translates to around £537/€610. Of course, international costs aren’t always straightforward conversions. Realme is still finalising pricing and release dates, so we should know more in the coming months.
This price is a little more expensive than the previous-generation GT 2, which cost around $600 when it first launched. But it’s not far off the likes of the Pixel 7 and the OnePlus 10T, and undercuts many other flagships like the Samsung S23 and the Xiaomi 13.
However, there are plenty of other mid-range phones to consider. And if you’re not averse to spending a little more, you might also like to look at our roundup of the best smartphones.
Hannah Cowton / Foundry
If you want the speediest charging around, then the Realme GT 3 is the phone for you. It isn’t a one-trick pony either: has a great screen, a capable processor and a decent main camera, if you can overlook the oversaturated AI image processing.
Would I buy one though? No. For slightly less money, I’d go for Google’s Pixel 7. Sure, its charging is slow, but it’s better in almost every other way, including the quality of its cameras and, importantly, its software.
The Realme GT 3 isn’t bad value, but getting the fastest-charging phone around isn’t worth the compromises elsewhere.
Android 13 with Realme UI 4.0
6.74in AMOLED 144Hz display with 2772 x 1240 resolution