by Kenn Leandre in

There was a time when a gaming phone would cost someone at least half a month’s salary. But of course, right? Gaming phones are supposed to offer their users top-of-the tier performance, zero compromises and most of all, an edge when fragging strangers online. These devices are equivalent to supercars in their pockets. And just like the best supercars out there, gaming phones should excel at what they are good at while being also user-friendly, ticking all the necessary boxes with relative ease.

All that convenience and performance came at a cost. But that’s now in the past thanks to Realme’s latest: the GT Neo 2 5G.

Starting from RM2,099 (with a launch promotion slashing that price tag to RM1,999) while delivering all the traits of devices costing at least 50% more, performance and reliability no longer cost you a kidney. A solid offering overall, the GT Neo 2 5G carries all the necessary bells and whistles expected of a mid-tier phone in late 2021/ early 2022. Sure the Snapdragon 870 is nowhere near its costlier competitors running on the 888 but the point is to eke as much power and performance from a relatively underpowered package. It’s akin to having made in Japan tuner cars go up against more powerful European and American makes and still being able to hold their ground.

And in my books, the GT Neo 2 is like those plucky Civics and Lancers.

Long-Lasting & Grandstanding

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To go along with the Snapdragon 870 processor are up to 12GB worth of RAM and 256GB storage space making the Neo 2 a respectable proposition for any sensible buyer considering their next smartphone purchase. Powering all this are two 2500mAh batteries which total up to 5000mAh. To juice these batteries up, Realme boasts their super-fast 65W charge which claims a 100% charge in under 36 minutes. A charging brick to support that claim comes standard in the box, and based on our casual phone charging tests, stays true to print. Needless to say, this phone will easily last you throughout the day.

While some may treat the Neo 2 as a primary device, due to its affordability we also foresee many who would make it as their backup when travelling, for example. We are happy to report that on standby, this phone holds battery charges like no one’s business.

Its wide 6.62 inches wide, 1080 x 2400 resolution with a 120Hz refresh rate screen has HDR10+ support is adequate for all your gaming and media needs, and we have no issues with what’s on offer. It isn’t the greatest in the market but for what you are paying for, it’s actually quite good for its price point. It’s bright and responsive for your run-of-the-mill mobile gaming and media consumption sessions such as CoD Mobile, PUBG, Mario Kart Tour, Netflix and Disney+ sessions.

The screen also doubles up as a fingerprint scanner to unlock the phone and does its job with efficiency levels rivalling phones costing easily a few thousand Ringgits more.

Camera-wise, it has got three cameras at the back; the primary 64MP, a 119-degrees wide-angle camera and the third which comes with a macro lens. A 16MP camera serves as a front-facing selfie camera and does its job as advertised. Overall, the shots were adequate and unlike say, Samsung images which tend to lean towards the more overexposed look, the photos coming out of the GT Neo 2 5G appears to be truer to colour. Then again, these are just observations from a casual smartphone camera user – so are 99% of smartphone camera users in the market.

While it may not excite the tech enthusiasts crowd out there, the GT Neo 2 5G is a great pick for those who just want a mid-tier 2021/22 Android phone that just works. Thinking of upgrading your parents’ phones, or in search of a starter phone for your teenager without having to break the bank? Then look no further.

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Off-Colour Statement

We are, however, not a huge fan of the garish green rear plastic cover with the catchphrase “Dare to leap” pasted all over our review unit. Subtlety isn’t Realme’s strongest suit we guess but hey – if you prefer strangers immediately being able to call out what phone model you are rocking, the GT Neo 2 has it all in spades. The fact that the phone isn’t fully flat on its back is a minor gripe as well.

If you are the sort who prefers rocking your device sans protective case, the *cough* rocking from the raised camera bump will cause some serious scratches onto the camera lenses. You have been warned.

Despite its mediocre specifications, we cannot help but recommend the GT Neo 2 5G simply due to the fact that you end up with devices worth more than you are paying for. Yes, we are here to review tech (once in a while) and tell you how they perform on a day to day basis. But in the grander scheme of things, their performance while taking into consideration the cost makes this device a very interesting proposition.

Final Score: 70/100

Vital Statistics

Platform: Android 11, Realme UI 2.0

Body:  Dimensions 162.9 x 75.8 x 9 mm ; 199.8 g; SIM Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)

Chipset: Qualcomm SM8250-AC Snapdragon 870 5G (7 nm)

CPU: Octa-core (1×3.2 GHz Kryo 585 & 3×2.42 GHz Kryo 585 & 4×1.80 GHz Kryo 585)

GPU: Adreno 650

Display: AMOLED, 120Hz, HDR10+, 1300 nits (peak); Size 6.62 inches, 105.8 cm2 (~85.7% screen-to-body ratio)

Resolution: 1080 x 2400 pixels, 20:9 ratio + Protection Corning Gorilla Glass 5

Memory: Internal 128GB 8GB RAM/ 256GB 8GB RAM/ 256GB 12GB RAM UFS 3.1

Camera: 64 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide) 1/1.73″, 0.8µm, PDAF; 8 MP, f/2.3, 16mm, 119Ëš (ultrawide), 1/4.0″, 1.12µm; 2 MP, f/2.4, (macro)

+ Features LED flash, HDR, panorama

Video: 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30fps, gyro-EIS

Sound: Stereo speakers. No jacks given

Battery: Li-Po 5000 mAh, non-removable Charging Fast charging 65W, 100% in 36 min (advertised) Publisher. Coffee addict. Likes: Football, dogs, cats, Dislikes: Hanzo mains, one-tricks,
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