Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 5GThis phone uses the Snapdragon 870 SoC, like its predecessor. It offers flagship-like real-world results for less money, and very good performance stability.
120Hz OLED displayA 120Hz OLED screen delivers excellent contrast and smooth Android navigation. This is also one of the brighter screens you’ll see in a lower mid-range phone.
80W chargingWhile our testing found the Neo 3T does not draw more than 70W at any point, Realme’s 80W charging standard takes the phone from a flat battery to a full one in 37 minutes.
The Realme GT Neo 3T is a powerful mid-range phone that puts entertainment first. It has a large, bright screen, a great Snapdragon 870 SoC and solid stereo speakers.
Like other models in the 2022 Realme GT range, it is not much of an upgrade over its predecessor, the Realme GT Neo 2. However, this does not matter all that much when few owners of that phone are likely to be ready to upgrade yet, and the Realme GT Neo 3T mostly has the right specs at the right price.
The Realme GT Neo 3T does not have a class-leading camera, a predictable outcome when the focus is on performance and display size. OnePlus’s Nord 2T is arguably a better-balanced phone for some, then, as its primary camera is better and the design more grown-up.
Still, there’s plenty to appreciate here, and the Realme GT Neo 3T is a good option for mobile gamers who want solid performance in demanding games without spending a fortune.
Design and Screen
- Black and bold yellow finishes
- Plastic back, sides and buttons
- Good in-screen fingerprint scanner
Realme has a knack for challenging the boundaries of taste. The Realme GT Neo 3T has an unusual checkerboard finish that seems to be inspired by an F1 flag.
When it catches the light, one half of this bright yellow pattern of blocks appears shinier than the other. You won’t mistake the Realme GT Neo 3T for anything else, even if it is a fairly conventional design under the surface. I am not a huge fan, and prefer the look of the phone when it’s not in direct sunlight, making it appear a flat yellow.
However, it may find fans with those who consider 99% of phones just too boring. The yellow also looks far more mellow with the bundled case attached.
The unusual finish helps distract from the Realme GT Neo 3T’s entirely ordinary construction. Its back is plastic, as are the sides. Even the power and volume buttons are plastic.
This has become the standard design tell for lower-mid-range phones, but the similarly priced OnePlus Nord 2T has a glass back and metal buttons. It feels more expensive and refined than the Realme GT Neo 3T. Of course, you’ll only appreciate the difference fully if you don’t use a case.
Just put that case on: the phone actually looks better with it and doesn’t feel any worse.
The Realme GT Neo 3T is a fairly large phone thanks to its 6.62-inch screen, similar to the Oppo and Xiaomi phones made for demanding buyers who don’t have too much money to spend.
You don’t get a headphone jack here either, but the Realme GT Neo 3T does have an in-screen fingerprint reader. It’s fast and reliable, unlike the earlier generations of such readers used in cheaper phones.
By default you have to hit the power button to activate the reader, but dig around in the Settings menu and you can make the screen wake with a double tap. This makes the unlocking process seem much smoother.
The phone’s speakers sit above the display and on the bottom of the phone. It’s a stereo array with good maximum volume and OK tone for a lower-mid-range Android. Bass depth is not stellar but the experience for gaming and podcasts is sound.
The Realme GT Neo 3T has a 6.62-inch OLED screen. It’s a highlight of the phone and one of the best displays available in this class.
Most of its characteristics are fairly common among mid-range enthusiast phones. It’s a 120Hz OLED display of 1080p resolution. Ultra-high pixel density is the one characteristic that separates truly expensive phones from the Realme GT Neo 3T.
Colour saturation is excellent, and exhibits restraint the outer design lacks. The two “standard” modes are Natural and Vivid, which is based around the DCI P3 colour gamut Apple iPhones now aim for. Both look good.
You can also unlock the full colour power of the Realme GT Neo 3T screen if you like. But the option is found in the “Pro” display options — to avoid owners picking super-oversaturated colour just because it sounds the best of the lot in the menu. It’s a classy move.
Brightness is the Realme GT Neo 3T’s strongest area. The phone is simply a good chunk brighter than most other mid-range phones I’ve used this year. Indoors it will reach 500 nits, and ramps up to 770 nits in direct sunlight. While not close to the 1300-nit maximum of the panel itself, it is bright enough for good visibility on super-sunny days.
The Realme GT Neo 3T’s true peak brightness is likely reserved solely for HDR video playback, because going supernova every time it is sunny out would significantly reduce battery life and increase heat build-up. There’s a “bright HDR video” mode for this, and HDR content on YouTube plays just fine.
Software and performance
- Great gaming performance and stability
- Realme UI is inoffensive bar some preinstalled junk
- Snapdragon 870 is one of the best SoCs in its class
The Realme GT Neo 3T runs Android 12 and has Realme UI 3. Preinstalled apps no one wants are the only issue here. Tile Master 3D? Fish Solitaire? No one asked for that.
It’s not a huge issue, though, as you can flush them out in seconds and the interface itself is clean and clear. Realme has added no extra info screens that might confuse, no interface clutter that gets in the way. It is better in this respect than the OnePlus Nord 2T, contrary to what some might expect.
The software is plain, taking a totally different approach to the outer design. There are a few neat little toys if you dig further into the Settings menu, though. The Labs menu lets you use the in-screen fingerprint scanner as a heart rate reader, for example.
Sleep Capsule lets you limit your access to phone apps during set times, intended to stop you endlessly flicking through social media apps when you should be asleep or reading a book. Neither may appeal, but they are kept out of the way. Many may never even discover they exist.
The Realme GT Neo 3T’s general performance is great, in-line with expectations of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 SoC. This is a mid-range chipset, one of my personal price-to-performance favourites, and a slightly modernised version of the Snapdragon 865 used as a flagship processor back in 2019.
While not as powerful as the Snapdragon 888 or Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, the experience it offers is still great.
The Realme GT Neo 3T scores 2562 in Geekbench 5, around 15% more than the Samsung Galaxy A53 and its Exynos 1280 SoC. 3DMark’s Wild Life benchmark shows the Realme benefits are far more stark for GPU performance. It scores 4273 points, to the ~2200-odd of the Samsung Galaxy A53.
Performance stability over a 20-minute stress test is superb too, with a maximum 0.6% dip in performance. More powerful Snapdragon SoCs like the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 end up throttling their power much more severely, so while their peak performance is much greater than the Snapdragon 870’s, they actually get much closer than you might imagine after, say, five minutes flat-out playing Fortnite.
Play Fortnite and you’ll find advanced options like Epic graphics and the 60fps mode unlocked, a clear sign you are using a higher-end phone. While performance isn’t perfect maxed-out, you see frame rate dips when turning rapidly — demanding a render of stacks of fresh assets — even in more powerful phones.
- The primary camera is not as strong as some
- Good results for video, considering the stills shortcomings
- So-so ultra-wide and typically cheap depth camera
The Realme GT Neo 3T has three rear cameras and one selfie camera up front. Like most somewhat affordable Androids with a focus on gaming or performance, they do not set the standard in their class. And only the main camera is particularly capable or interesting.
It has a 1/2-inch 64-megapixel Omnivision sensor, one that can produce lovely images in the daytime. There’s a good amount of detail in its pixel-binned 16MP pics, and in classic Realme fashion the GT Neo 3T always aims for colourful, bright results.
However, after comparing the results with those of the OnePlus Nord 2T you start to see the shortcomings in the Realme method. The OnePlus camera has far, far more accurate colour, and while the Realme will often beat the Nord 2T when rendering clearly delineated fine detail, like the number plates of cars, the OnePlus retains more realistic fine texture detail.
As in other Realme phones, the Realme GT Neo 3T often prioritise image brightness a little too much, leading to occasional blown highlights in scenes with bright clouds. This has more to do with the software and processing than the hardware itself.
Realme’s processing style is great for sharing images with friends over WhatsApp — striking outdoors scenes, sunsets and the like — but colours are often going to look a little “off” in some scenes if you approach them with a photographer’s eye.
The slight shortcomings in the sensor capability, compared to the best, show up when you take indoors images — ones with fairly poor lighting but not scenes that demand the dedicated Night mode. The Realme GT Neo 3T tends to fuzz up detail more, the typical effect you see when a sensor has to increase its sensitivity. Again, I used the OnePlus Nord 2T for comparison here.
Night phots are a little disappointing too, but only if you compare them to the best camera phones of 2022. The Night mode brightens pictures noticeably but fine detail is limited whether you use the Night or Auto modes and shadow detail isn’t lifted anywhere near as effectively as in a camera with a better sensor and more effective computational software.
This isn’t a bad performer, the Realme GT Neo 3T camera is simply a secondary priority in the phone, and delivers B-tier performance to suit. It is a lot of fun to shoot with, though, as capturing images feels fast and responsive, and the 2x images are solid enough to let you pretend the camera has an actual zoom.
It doesn’t have a real zoom, though. The secondary cameras are an 8-megapixel Hynix ultra-wide and a low-quality 2MP depth sensor for backgrond blur images.
As is typical in a phone like this, the ultra-wide suffers from significant image break up in the corners, the colour tone is much less consistent than that of the wide camera and dynamic range is lower. However, I don’t think its results are obviously worse than those of other phones at this level that have more impressive-sounding 8MP Sony sensors.
After all these complaints and mild compliments, I actually think the Realme GT Neo 3T’s video is fairly good. You can shoot at up to 4K resolution, at 30 or 60 frames per second. The higher frame rate results in super wobbly unstabilised footage, but stabilisation at 30fps leads to a nice and smooth picture.
You can go ever further at 1080p/60, with the super-cropped Ultra Stable mode. Stick to “normal” 1080p and the image is rather impressive, lacking the obviously soft quality many 1080p modes exhibit. 4K is significantly sharper, of course, but also…