It’s time for a yearly reminder of how much better the smartphone market is when you live in a hyper-competitive area like India or China. The new Realme GT 5G is now the world’s cheapest Snapdragon 888 smartphone, sporting nearly everything you would expect from a ~$1000 flagship smartphone, for the low price of CNY 2,799, or ~$433. Naturally, the phone is for sale only in China right now.
The specs here look fantastic for the price: a 120 Hz, 6.43-inch, 2400×1080 Samsung OLED panel; a Snapdragon 88 SoC; 8GB of RAM; 128GB of UFS; a 4500 mAh battery; 65 W wired fast charging; an under-screen fingerprint reader; NFC; a USB-C slot; and a headphone jack. There’s also a higher-tier version with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage for CNY 3,299, or ~$510. The OS is Android 11 with a “Realme UI 2.0” skin. If you really want to pick nits, there are some cut corners here, like the lack of wireless charging and water resistance. For $430, though, this is a spectacular package.
Realme is playing some games with the pricing. The $430 and $510 price tags are “first sale” prices. At some point in the future, they will go up to CNY 2,899 (~$448) and CNY 3,399 (~$525). That still makes this the cheapest Snapdragon 888 phone on the market, but slightly less cheap.
The cameras aren’t in the flagship tier; the phone sports a mid-range 64 MP Sony IMX682 as the main camera, an 8 MP ultrawide, and a just-for-looks 2 MP “macro” camera. But Realme actually has an interesting take on phone cameras. The company says it is taking a “dual flagship strategy” with a “performance flagship” (this phone) and a “camera flagship” (some other, unannounced phone). I fully endorse the idea of a phone for people who don’t care about tiny phone cameras, but the company should commit to the idea and only have one rear camera for basic stuff and use the space it saves for a bigger battery. This supposedly non-camera-focused phone still has three rear cameras (a ridiculous amount of cameras!) and one of them is a barely functional 2 MP junker.
We’re getting some design flair with the GT 5G, too. The yellow version has a faux-leather back, and the dark and light blue versions are glass.
Realme is a sub-brand of the Chinese smartphone giant BBK, the same company that owns Oppo, OnePlus, Vivo, and iQoo. Realme mainly does business in India and China, though it has started to creep into the European market. For now, this phone is only in China, but any of Realme’s usual stomping grounds have a chance at getting it in the future. The phone ships March 10.
Listing image by Realme