Forget Galaxy S21 — Realme GT may be this year’s best Android phone

Realme GT with yellow leather back
(Image credit: Xu Qi Chase)

Android fans should be keeping an eye on the Realme GT. It's looking like it has what it takes to overturn the whole Android smartphone market.

Android flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S21 offer high-performance features, but also a high price. Based on what's rumored and teased by Realme itself for the GT, we might be about to see a big upheaval in the Android phone world when it launches next week.

The Realme GT is launching on March 4, and now we have a vague idea of the price. Both of these come from machine-translated posts on the official Weibo profile of Xu Qi Chase, Realme's chief marketing officer.

The cost of the GT in China has been revealed as less than 2,999 yuan. That's equivalent to $463, an astonishingly low price for the hardware Realme is promising. For comparison, the similarly specced Samsung Galaxy S21 starts at 4,999 yuan, or $772.

There's also another message from Chase that says there's no 6GB/128GB memory version of the GT, something he amusingly describes as a "beggar edition." This means the specs are a choice between either 8GB or 12GB RAM and 128GB or 256GB of storage, so that low price isn't affected by the presence of a significantly less powerful model.

A phone to watch

It's been some time since we witnessed the birth of a potential flagship killer. This used to be a niche served by OnePlus, but the company's moved towards being a more premium phone maker in recent years. Now we seem to be on the cusp of a new legitimate rival for Samsung and Apple from Realme.

Realme's leaning hard into how this is one of the cheapest phones around using the Snapdragon 888 chipset, but there's more to the GT than just the silicon. It also has a 6.8-inch QHD display with 120Hz refresh rate, a 5,000 mAh battery with 125W charging, a triple rear camera with 64MP main sensor, and 13MP ultrawide and telephoto sensors. It all comes packed in either a leather or glass-backed design. Somehow there's even room for a headphone jack, a feature most flagship phones have lacked for years.

The overall picture from these specs is that Realme doesn't appear to be cutting corners to get the price so low. Often when you find phones promising flagship specs for little money, it's only focusing on a few select features, and is aiming at a limited number of users. It's why many gaming phones are cheaper than other devices with similar chipsets, since manufacturers don't prioritize other parts of the smartphone experience like photography.

There are caveats, however. Realme doesn't yet sell phones in the U.S., meaning that unless you're determined to import one, buying a Samsung is still likely cheaper and overall better decision. It's also possible that by the time the phone reaches Europe and the U.K., that low price will be a lot higher. 

This phone could be huge for the Android phone market, assuming there are no hidden catches to be revealed between now and the its launch. The Realme GT could easily become one of our best Android phones picks, maybe even an overall best phones pick, looking at it on paper. We'll save a definite judgment until after we try it out ourselves.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is 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.