Realme GT Neo 3 150W review: Super-fast charging heads up a solid mid-range specification

Pros
  • Very fast 150W charging
  • Impressive 120Hz AMOLED screen
  • Good performance
  • Good main camera
Cons
  • No IP rating
  • Moderate ultra-wide and macro cameras, no telephoto camera
  • Mediocre speakers
  • Too much bloatware

The 6.7-inch Realme GT Neo 3 150W is a mid-range smartphone with plenty of headline-grabbing plus points, including a snazzy chassis design, a high-quality main camera, a 120Hz AMOLED screen, and a 150W charger that, says Realme, can take the phone from zero to 50% in just five minutes.

These sound like flagship-class specifications in a handset that costs £599. Let’s see if they stand up to scrutiny.

[Note: Realme, originally a sub-brand of Oppo, says it is in “61 markets worldwide, including Asia, Europe, Oceania, Middle and East Africa, etc”. The firm’s phones are not officially available in the US, although you’ll find some unlocked models online.]

Realme says its GT Neo line has a backplate designed to pay homage to motorsports. Last year I called the lime-green variant of the Realme GT Neo 2 “somewhat alarming”, although I did come to rather like it. This year, the lime green livery is gone, and my review unit came in blue-back with a pair of white vertical stripes broken by the camera bump, the Realme marque and the ‘Dare to Leap’ strapline. Realme calls this colour Nitro Blue. There’s also a Sprint White variant (not available in the UK at the time of writing) and a more sober Asphalt Black model lacking the stripes and strapline.

Realme GT Neo 3 150W

Realme GT Neo 3 150W: 6.7-inch 120Hz AMOLED display (394ppi), MediaTek Dimensity 8100 chipset with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage (no MicroSD card slot), in Nitro Blue livery.

Images: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The back is glass, which is admirably fingerprint-resistant but somewhat slippery (it did the usual glass-backed handset trick of falling off the arm of my chair). The other main issue with handling is the camera bump, which, in its off-centre position, causes the phone to rock when it’s sitting on a desk and the screen is prodded.

The camera bump is built from plastic, and its colour changes as the light hits it. For all the effort put into the backplate, the blue here never manages to match the main back colour, and it can look as if the camera surround and backplate come from different phones, which is a pity.

The sides are plastic, and although the colour matching is not quite perfect, it’s pretty close.

The GT Neo 3 feels light at 188g thanks to its plastic frame, and measures 75.6mm wide by 163.3mm tall by 8.2mm thick. Build compromises come in the shape of Gorilla Glass 5 on the front – which has been surpassed by Gorilla Glass 6 and Victus – and the lack of any sort of IP rating for dust and water resistance.

The left side houses a volume rocker, while the power button is on the right side. On the bottom there is a USB-C port for charging and PC connection, along with the (dual) SIM caddy and a speaker grille. There’s a second speaker grille above the screen.

The 6.7-inch AMOLED display offers 2,412-by-1,080 resolution (20:9, 394ppi), 1.07 billion colours and a 120Hz refresh rate. HDR10+ support helps video look great, and I was happy reading web pages, emails and even e-books, although sadly there’s no greyscale mode to service the latter.

The other notably absent feature is the dynamic refresh rate that comes with LTPO support, which is a shame because this can help extend battery life. Instead, the screen can switch between 60Hz and 120Hz depending on the content being displayed.

The speakers produce plenty of volume, but they’re somewhat short on bass tones, and there is some distortion across the sound spectrum at maximum volume. Speaker quality seems to be one of the trade-offs Realme has accepted in order to hit its price point.

The GT Neo 3 150W is powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 8100 chipset with 12GB of RAM, a platform that delivered Geekbench 5 CPU scores of 960 (single core) and 3947 (multi core). This doesn’t beat any of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 handsets I’ve tested, but is a very respectable showing for a handset costing £599. For example, the £599 (at the time of review) Xiaomi Mi 11T Pro (8GB/256GB, Snapdragon 888) scored 697 and 3068.

The inclusion of 360-degree NFC makes it much easier for those who us their phone to spend money to hit the payment contact point accurately first time. The SIM caddy has slots for two 5G SIMs, but there is no MicroSD card slot for storage expansion. Android 12, the Realme UI 3.0 and a range of add-on apps consume 23GB of the 256GB of internal storage, leaving 233GB free for the user.

Realme UI shares a lot in terms of user experience and features with Oppo handsets (no surprise, as Realme is part of Oppo’s stable). The usability features are not new. For example a slide-out sidebar can be populated with app shortcuts, and there’s plenty of opportunity to customise look and feel including changing the appearance of app icons and quick settings menu icons. You can even change the fingerprint login animation.

Realme GT Neo 3 150W: Realme UI

Realme UI 3.0: personalisation (left), in-display fingerprint reader animation (right).

Screenshots: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

Alongside these welcome system tweaks comes an array of bloatware. Realme adds several of its own applications that duplicate Android offerings — for video viewing and music listening, for example. Then there are the social and shopping apps, and a few games. Some of this bloatware can be uninstalled.

The camera array is not the greatest, but point-and-click photographers should find both the rear and front cameras adequate. There are three rear cameras: 50MP f/1.88 wide angle (84.4°); 8MP f/2.25 ultra-wide angle (119.7°); and a 2MP f/2.4 macro camera. You can shoot 4K video at up to 60fps and 720P slow-motion at 480fps.

Realme GT Neo 3 150W: Rear cameras

Realme GT Neo 3 150W, rear cameras: 50MP wide angle, 8MP ultra-wide angle (119.7°), 2MP macro (4cm).

Image: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

I found the main camera was the best, and this became my default for taking shots; the ultra-wide angle camera performed less well with high light contrast, or at night. The lack of OIS in the latter could be an issue too. The macro camera, with its fixed 4cm focus, is not particularly useful.

The front camera, which sits in the middle of the screen at the top, is a 16MP f/2.45 unit with an 82.3° field of view. It seems a little underpowered on paper, but selfies were fine in practice.

The 4500mA battery is actually two 2250mAh cells, and this, coupled with 150W charging support, delivers stunning charging capability. Realme says the battery will go from zero to 50% in five minutes. There are two charging modes — ‘standard’ and ‘rapid’. I started charging in standard mode with the battery at 15%, and it got to 58% in five minutes, 75% in 10 minutes, 92% in 15 minutes and 100% after 20 minutes.

Realme GT Neo 3 150W: charging

The Realme GT Neo 3 150W charges very quickly, in both ‘standard’ (blue line) and ‘rapid’ (orange line) modes.

Data & chart: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

When I switched to rapid charging, Realme warned that the battery might “get a little warmer”. Starting at 8% the battery reached 52% after 5 minutes, 69% after 10 minutes, 88% after 15 minutes, and 100% after 20 minutes. I didn’t notice excessive battery heating, but to be on the safe side it might be advisable stick with standard mode, as the rapid setting didn’t seem to add anything.

The PCMark for AndroidWork 3.0 battery life test reported 9 hours and 50 minutes of life, while three hours of YouTube streaming depleted a full battery by just 12%. Many users will find the GT Neo 3 lasts at least a day, while a quick charging burst should be enough to top it back up to 100% on day two.

Conclusions

The Realme GT Neo 3 150W is a well specified handset for the price. Downsides include the lack of an IP rating and lower-grade Gorilla Glass 5 screen protection, along with average cameras and somewhat disappointing speakers. Realme could also do with curtailing the bloatware. On the plus side there’s 150W fast charging, an impressive AMOLED screen and a fast chipset.

Overall, the Realme GT Neo 3 150W punches above its weight, with 150W charging leading the way. It’s amazing to see this feature on a handset at this price.


Realme GT Neo 3 150W specifications

Chipset MediaTek Dimensity 8100
RAM 12GB
Storage 256GB
MicroSD card slot no
OS Android 12 + Realme UI 3.0
Display 6.7-inch AMOLED, 2412 x 1080 (20:9, 394ppi), 120Hz refresh, 1.07bn colours, 100% DCI-P3
Screen to body ratio 94.2% (claimed)
Screen protection Gorilla Glass 5
Battery capacity 4500mAh (2x 2250mAh)
Charging 150W UltraDart (50% in 5 mins)
Rear cameras 50MP f/1.8 wide angle (OIS) • 8MP f/2.25 ultra-wide angle (119.7°) • 2MP f/2.4 macro (4cm)
Front camera 16MP f/2.45
Networks 2G GSM, 3G WCDMA, 4G LTE, 5G (NSA, SA)
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
Bluetooth 5.3
NFC yes (360-degree)
Location GPS/AGPS/Beidou/Glonass/QZSS/Galileo
Audio 2x speakers, 2x noise cancelling mics
3.5mm audio jack no
Dimensions 75.6mm x 163.3mm x 8.2mm (6.43in. x 2.98in. x 0.32 in.)
Weight 188g (6.63oz)
SIMs 2x Nano SIM
USB USB-C
Buttons power, volume
Sensors magnetic induction, light, proximity, gyrometer, acceleration, Hall sensor, fingerprint reader (in-display)
In the box Realme GT Neo 3 150W, power adapter, USB-C cable, product information (inc. warranty card), quick guide, SIM card tool, screen protect film, protective case
Price £599

Alternatives to consider

Arguably, the Realme Neo 3 is slightly overpriced at £599 (~$712 at the time of writing), despite its headline 150W charging. Google’s Pixel 6 and (in the UK and Europe) the OnePlus Nord 2T are more affordable but still very capable alternatives, while Samsung’s similarly priced Galaxy S21 FE is also worth considering.

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