This is my favorite phone of the year — and it's not from Apple or Samsung

The Realme GT 2 Pro in hand, from the back
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

I've tried a lot of fantastic phones this year, from the luxurious iPhone 14 Pro Max to the cheap but impressive Redmi Note 11 Pro. However, one phone has stuck with me like no other, and that's the Realme GT 2 Pro.

Realme’s still a young brand, only being founded in 2018, but when I reviewed the GT 2 Pro earlier in the year, it felt like the company’s first fully mature product. It's a worthy competitor in the best Android phones space, while also standing out in a few unique ways.

The Realme GT 2 Pro from the front

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

For starters, the phone retails at £699, cheaper than the basic Galaxy S22 or a OnePlus 10 Pro. You can get an unlocked version of the Realme GT Pro for $697 through Newegg (opens in new tab).

The only comparable phone at this price is the Google Pixel 7 Pro, which is a fantastic phone in its own right. But it has a focus on photography and software smarts that may not please every user.

Instead, the Realme GT 2 Pro is a performance-focused phone. It uses a mighty Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, coupled with 12GB of RAM and 256GB storage for an amazing power-to-price ratio. It also offers 65W charging (courtesy of stablemates OnePlus and Oppo), which is faster than the majority of smartphones currently on sale. You also get “360-degree NFC” for easier contactless payments.

The Realme GT 2 Pro's cameras

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Realme’s design also stands out in the right way, too. The green biopolymer back with its laser-engraved pattern is a material and texture you won’t find on any other phones right now. It also means the phone's surprisingly light for a 6.7-inch handset, although if you don't like the bio-polymer design and don't mind a little extra weight, you can get a traditional glass back, too.

It's a shame that Realme doesn't sell its products in the U.S., and that the GT 2 series isn't available in Australia. You could always import one from abroad, but if you did so you'd have to make sure the phone's available cell bands match up with ones available with carriers in your country.

The Realme GT 2 Pro from the front

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The other main limitation of the Realme GT2 Pro are its cameras. While I found during testing that there was a big jump in camera quality compared to the Realme GT from last year, it still isn't consistently good in the same way that the best camera phones of the year are. But even here, the GT 2 Pro won me over a little with its photography because of its fun microscope sensor that lets you take more extreme close-ups then any comparable phone.

The Realme GT 2 Pro in hand, from the back

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Realme GT 2 Pro gives you identical specs to the leading Android phones for less, as well as a few features you won't find anywhere else. It's cemented Realme's status as a rising star of the smartphone world (not an easy task). And if you can get a hold of it where you live, it belongs on your shortlist if you're searching for a flagship Android phone right now. 

Richard Priday
Senior Writer

Richard is a Tom's Guide senior writer based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.