The realme GT Neo 3 was recently released in a single configuration, armed with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage with an asking price of RM2,099. You will be able to choose from a couple of colours – Nitro Blue or Sprint While – where either selection is guaranteed to earn you a nod of approval from fashionistas.
The GT Neo 3 will certainly turn heads each time you remove it from your pocket. Using styling cues based on race cars from the 1960s, the neon blue and brilliant white – with white and black stripes, respectively – evoke a sense of excitement. It might be a screaming oddity in the eyes of the conservative, but there is no denying the youthful appeal of the handset.
Hot-hatch owners will certainly find themselves drawn to the GT Neo 3 like a moth to a lamp, where the back uses matte anti-glare glass to prevent it from being a fingerprint magnet. Flip it over and you will find a Gorilla Glass 5 screen, which is par for the course when it comes to midrange smartphones.
Overall, the GT Neo 3 feels solid in the hand and is relatively light for a device of its size, tipping the scales at 188g. You will want to be cautious using it in wet conditions as it lacks any IP certification, so a drop into the pool or getting caught in a heavy downpour might spell the end.
The plastic sides do betray its upper-midrange look as the build quality could have been better. In addition, the buttons lack a solid, tactile response when pressed.
Kudos to realme for including stereo speakers, where the pair of drivers deliver crisp audio even when it is cranked to the maximum level, while balancing it out with adequate low end.
The under-display fingerprint scanner works fast enough that you will feel as though this were a flagship smartphone experience.
The realme GT Neo 3 comes with a massive 17cm (6.7-inch) screen just like any other headset in this day and age, with a crisp 2412 x 1080-pixel resolution. The included plastic screen protector provides additional peace of mind against unexpected knocks and drops. Of course, feel free to apply your own if you know of a better option.
Colours look vibrant, playing to the strengths of the more youthful look of the device. Sporting a refresh rate of 120Hz, everything is buttery smooth even though it lacks a dynamic refresh rate mode. Rather, you will have to settle for an Auto Select mode that alternates between 60Hz and 120Hz, depending on the current app in use.
With a maximum brightness of 480 nits indoors and up to 675 nits outside, the screen is legible enough when you are outdoors, even in the midst of Malaysia’s tropical weather.
Powered by Android 12, the realme GT Neo 3 runs the realmeUI 3.0 skin that does not excite the senses – but this is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, anyone is able to jump right in without having to worry about learning how to use Android from scratch.
Unfortunately, the GT Neo 3 suffers from a similar malaise that affects a number of China-branded handsets: the unwanted presence of bloatware. It is highly recommended you uninstall these apps from the get go – among them a few Amazon apps, LinkedIn, a discount shopping app, and some games.
Thankfully, there are no hoops to jump through as removing them is as straightforward as a long press followed by selecting the uninstall option.
Skipping Qualcomm’s Snapdragon in favour of the MediaTek Dimensity 8100 SoC, most users would not find MediaTek’s chip to be wanting in any aspect. Unless you are a power user or content creator who needs nothing but the very best hardware (although if you fall into these categories, you would not be looking at anything below the flagship range), the GT Neo 3 has more than enough under its hood to deliver.
There are no overheating issues to contend with even with the handset being put through the paces, and most everyday apps run as expected.
A trio of cameras adorn the rear of the realme GT Neo 3. You can forget about the 2MP macro camera that is practically useless. The 8MP ultra-wide camera does all right, though chances are, you would be spending most of your time with the primary 50MP Sony IMX766 sensor. This 1/1.56-inch chip is massive, delivering fantastic image quality with each shot.
This handset tends to capture bright images, so expect less-realistic shots owing to overexposure from time to time. Social media users will certainly not find any fault with the primary lens and will be able to update their respective channels with very little need for individual post-processing.
You can shoot 4K video at 60 frames per second, although Full HD videos are recommended since that is when software stabilisation (EIS) kicks in to compensate for any motion.
Selfie connoisseurs will find the 16MP sensor in front works well enough for social media channels. In fact, Auto HDR can perform magic by compensating for any harsh backlight so the subject in the foreground can be seen.
The realme GT Neo 3 is armed with a 4,500mAh battery that proves to be sufficient to deliver a day’s worth of use without having to find the nearest power outlet. Of course, usage patterns depend on the individual, but with 150W fast-charging capability, you would not find lack of battery life to be an issue.
In fact, the GT Neo 3 is able to achieve a full charge in just under 25 minutes. That is simply insane – and if you do not have that kind of time to spare, leaving it plugged for less than seven minutes will allow you to have half the battery capacity.
The realme GT Neo 3 attempts to venture into flagship territory while maintaining a youthful, retro-chic look. Suits should avoid picking up this handset as it gives off a different vibe, but those who want something that will last them for the next three years will certainly find it a worthy candidate.
Edwin Kee dreamt of being a pro-gamer only to have circumstances mould him into a programmer in a past life. He has since moved on to write about consumer electronics and other topics. Check out his blog at manatau.com.