The Realme GT series phones tend to be limited to the China market and we may not be there, but we have connections – that’s how this GT5 Pro ended up on our test bench. The latest in a lineup of sort-of high-end devices comes with the latest top-tier Snapdragon, an intriguing camera system, and a super-bright display – how disappointed are we going to be in the end that it’s not going to be sold outside of its home country?
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is going to be the default top-tier chipset for 2024, and we’ve started getting more and more devices with it – hardly something special itself, but an integral part of most special packages for the coming months. With a base memory configuration of 12GB/256GB, the GT5 Pro is decently-specced already, but if you want more, it goes all the way up to 16GB/1TB (which happens to be our review unit’s trim level).
The triple camera’s ultrawide end is markedly unremarkable, but it gets better higher up the zoom range. The main camera is more or less the same as on the Find N3 (that we loved), while the telephoto appears to be lifted off the Find X6 Pro – that’s flagship-grade hardware if we ever saw any.
The display is seemingly all new, and Realme boasts a 4,500-nit peak brightness – while we know we won’t be seeing that on our meters, it’s certainly going to be one bright panel. It’s also 144Hz and Dolby Vision-capable, so it should be better than your average screen.
The rest of the specs aren’t half-bad either. A 5,400mAh battery is a notch higher than your regular 5,000mAh power pack, while the 100W charger promises speedy top-ups. The IP64 rating sounds like Realme didn’t want to get tangled in warranty disputes over drowned GT5 Pros, but it’s still the most dustproof phone from the brand, with some decent waterproofing too. An infrared emitter and a heart rate monitor in the fingerprint reader are worth mentioning, too, in the small niceties category.
Realme GT5 Pro specs at a glance:
- Body: 161.7×75.1×9.2mm, 218g; Glass front, glass back or silicone polymer back (eco leather), aluminum frame; IP64 waterproof and dustproof.
- Display: 6.78″ LTPO AMOLED, 1B colors, 144Hz, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, 4500 nits (peak), 1264x2780px resolution, 19.8:9 aspect ratio, 450ppi.
- Chipset: Qualcomm SM8650-AB Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 (4 nm): Octa-core (1×3.3 GHz Cortex-X4 & 5×3.2 GHz Cortex-A720 & 2×2.3 GHz Cortex-A520); Adreno 750.
- Memory: 256GB 12GB RAM, 256GB 16GB RAM, 512GB 16GB RAM, 1TB 16GB RAM; UFS 4.0.
- OS/Software: Android 14, Realme UI 5.0.
- Rear camera: Wide (main): 50 MP, f/1.7, 23mm, 1/1.43″, 1.12µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS; Telephoto: 50 MP, f/2.6, 65mm, 1/1.56″, 1.0µm, multi-directional PDAF, OIS, 2.7x optical zoom; Ultra wide angle: 8 MP, f/2.2, 16mm, 112˚, 1/4.0″, 1.12µm.
- Front camera: 32 MP, f/2.5, 22mm (wide), 1/2.74″.
- Video capture: Rear camera: 8K@24fps, 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60fps, gyro-EIS, Dolby Vision; Front camera: 4K@30fps, 1080p@30fps, gyro-EIS.
- Battery: 5400mAh; 100W wired, 1-50% in 12 min (advertised), 50W wireless.
- Connectivity: 5G; Dual SIM; Wi-Fi 7; BT 5.4, aptX HD; NFC; Infrared port.
- Misc: Fingerprint reader (under display, optical); stereo speakers (Dolby Atmos certified).
Realme GT5 Pro unboxing
The GT5 Pro arrived at our doorstep in a box that’s not typical of the company’s global releases. That said, it’s very similar to the package of the also China-bound GT5 240W non-Pro that we got earlier this year – a shiny stripe on black cardboard appears to be the signature for this generation.
The retail bundle includes a somewhat nondescript gray protective case with a leather-like texture on the back that’s not fooling anybody – it may not be all too fancy, but it’s functional, we’ll give it that. We’re a bit more enthusiastic about the 100W charger, made complete by a USB-A-to-C cable.
Design, build quality, handling
The Realme GT5 Pro is the first smartphone from the brand with an IP64 rating – we’ve seen a couple of IP54s in the last few weeks, and there have been splash-resistant Realmes, but this one is the closest we’ve seen to proper dust and water sealing. The GT5 Pro is one of just six handsets in our database with this combination of dust and water protection – and it’s a peculiar selection of devices that share a parent company. Now, we’re not saying the GT5 Pro will survive a dunk in a fishbowl, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it does – otherwise, it’s only rated for splashes, but it’s also dust-tight.
Moving on from our musings on IP ratings towards the matters of color and finish, the GT5 Pro is available in three colorways – our review unit goes by Red Rock (according to Google Translate), and there are also Bright Moon and Starry Night.
Our orange unit and the (off-)white one have vegan leather back panels. It’s one of the softer takes on the subject and makes for a nicely grippy feel, while also being immune to fingerprints. The black one is one of those sparkly glitter-like finishes that looks plain at first sight but quickly turns fancy once bright light hits it (ideally sun) – the proper high-end vivo X100 Pro was the latest we had with that type of glass back.
Colorways: Orange • White • Black
The black version does somewhat of an okay job of masking the huge camera bump, but that’s not the case with our orange colorway (nor is it with the white one, of course). The large circular assembly groups four smaller circles together, and you’d be quick to note that four is one more than the number of cameras that the phone has – indeed, the lower right one is just for appearance’s sake. A cheap move, we reckon.
Realme did manage to find room within the circle for the flash, which we’ve seen left out and placed in a nearby corner in other designs. Perhaps it could have gone in that non-camera spot, but maybe we’re missing something.
There are a few more stylistic touches, including a radial pattern underneath the glass, and some knurling around the ring, and another metal-looking ring below that. Overall, we’d say it’s a pretty appealing design, and it’s only the fourth camera placeholder that’s rubbing us the wrong way.
Over on the front, there’s more to like. We’ll get to how great the 6.78-inch OLED display is in a bit, but when it comes to the bezels, Realme boasts that at 1.36mm, the side borders are the thinnest in the industry. No such claims are made for the other two, but the 1.94mm chin sure looks thin to us as does the similar looking top bezel.
The display of the GT5 Pro is slightly curved towards the sides, and that further enhances the perception of bezel-less-ness, we’d say. We didn’t encounter issues with misinterpreted touch input from the palms because of the curves, though as is the norm in such cases, your mileage will vary.
The fingerprint reader experience was slightly less trouble-free than what we’re used to, and only part of that was due to the low placement of the optical under-display sensor – for some reason, we got a few more failed attempts than usual.
One thing we don’t normally get is the heartrate monitor inside the sensor. Realme says you shouldn’t count on it for medical purposes (obviously), but it seemed to produce plausible numbers in our experience.
The aluminum frame on the sides also helps make the GT5 Pro feel thinner than it actually is. That said, it’s more than just an edge on the sides – it’s flat enough that it provides some gripping area.
The right side of the phone has the two physical controls – both the power button and the volume rocker click nicely.
The top has a plastic insert in the metal frame, punctured in three spots for the top speaker, secondary mic, and infrared emitter. On the bottom, there’s the USB-C port, the primary mic, the bottom speaker, and the SIM card tray (dual nano).
Top stuff • Bottom stuff • Yellow gasket on the tray
The GT5 Pro measures 161.7×75.1×9.2mm and weighs 218g in vegan leather trim, or a few grams more for the glass-backed black version. Either way, it’s a full-sized handset with no aspirations for compactness. Even so, it manages to remain comfortable in the hand thanks to its curves, the minimal bezels and the grippy back (on the leatherette versions).
Super-bright high-res 6.78-inch OLED
The Realme GT5 Pro has a 6.78-inch display that leaves little to be desired. The LTPO OLED panel by BOE has a 1,264×2,780px resolution (pixel density works out to 450ppi, the aspect ratio is 2.2:1 or 19.8:9), supports refresh rates up to 144Hz, has Dolby Vision certification, and can display 1 billion colors.
Realme product pages also advertise a peak brightness of 4,500nits, which we all know by now isn’t possible on the whole display at all times, but is a momentary value for small patches of white. We also saw 1,600nits thrown around for full screen white, and that we did measure to be true.
In our standardized test, the GT5 Pro’s panel proved very bright indeed – the adaptive brightness maximum of 1660nits is truly excellent, if a little short of the iPhone 15 Pros’ record numbers. Even more impressive is the GT5 Pro’s result when adjusting the slider manually, which at nearly 1000nits with the ‘Extra brightness’ toggle enabled is the highest we’ve measured on an OLED (if memory serves us right, at least). Switch off that setting and you’d be getting a more pedestrian, though still above-average 593nits.
The GT5 Pro’s display supports up to 144Hz refresh rates and it can also dial down all the way to 0.5Hz – refresh once every two seconds. There are three refresh rate modes – Auto select, Standard, and High. All three will employ advanced refresh rate switching, and Standard will cap things at 60Hz, while Auto and High will go up to 144Hz. In High mode, you also get an additional menu with per-app settings for refresh rate where you can choose between 60, 90, 120, and 144Hz.
Regardless of mode, we couldn’t reliably force a 144Hz or 120Hz refresh rate. Browsers would be allowed 144Hz when you touch the screen, but dial down to 60Hz when idling. Video playback apps did behave reliably and we saw no issues with playback of 24fps or 48fps content even though the Android refresh rate tool would show changing values during playback of such clips. We also say momentary readings of 144Hz and frame rates above 60fps in some games, but the Realme UI/Color OS in-house tool would read 60-ish fps a few seconds into a game.
Streaming and HDR
The GT5 Pro supports Dolby Vision and HDR10+ playback, and we did get HDR streams on YouTube. The phone only has an L3 Widevine certification, so playback of DRM-protected content in apps like Netflix is capped at 480p. Speaking of, Netflix doesn’t show up on a sideloaded Play Store on the GT5 Pro and sideloading the app itself does work, but videos are limited to standard definition with no HDR capability.
Realme GT5 Pro battery life
The GT5 Pro packs a 5,400mAh battery, a number we’ve seen on several phones in the Realme/Oppo/vivo realm, like the vivo X100 Pro and the iQOO 12 Pro. The X100 Pro has a Mediatek chipset, while the iQOO 12 non-Pro we’ve reviewed (with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3) has a 5,000mAh capacity battery, so direct comparisons with the GT5 Pro aren’t quite warranted, and that’s before even accounting for the Realme’s unusual display and China-specific software.
But while we did expect to see some differences (and differences we saw), the GT5 Pro posted solid numbers across all disciplines in our Active Use test.
The phone is bundled with a SuperVOOC-branded 100W adapter, and that’s the power rating that the phone is quoted to support as well. Realme promises that a 12-minute charging session will get you from 1 to 50% and that’s what we measured as well. A full charge took us 28 minutes.
The GT5 Pro is not as fast as the GT5 or the GT3 240W, but we wouldn’t call a 28-minute result slow by any stretch. The iQOO 12 and the Xiaomi 13T Pro are marginally faster too, though not meaningfully so.
The GT5 Pro supports wireless charging too. We couldn’t find a listing in the Wireless Power Consortium’s database, but those aren’t all too informative anyway since they don’t take into account proprietary tech that outspecs the Qi standard. In this Realme’s case, the product page states a 50W wireless charging capability – presumably with compatible in-house charging pads.
The GT5 Pro’s speaker system employs two drivers – one on each end of the phone, with the top one also serving as earpiece. Each speaker will output its own channel, plus the opposite channel’s track at an attenuated level. The top speaker is assigned the left channel in vertical orientation, while in landscape, the phone will switch channels accordingly.
Bottom speaker • Top speaker opening on top • Earpiece
In our testing, the GT5 Pro earned a rating for loudness on par with stablemates and a lot of potential rivals – ‘Very Good’. The output quality can also be described in a similar manner – we found the Realme to be delivering likeable sound, with pleasing vocals, some low-end presence and well-defined treble.
Use the Playback controls to listen to the phone sample recordings (best use headphones). We measure the average loudness of the speakers in LUFS. A lower absolute value means a louder sound. A look at the frequency response chart will tell you how far off the ideal “0db” flat line is the reproduction of the bass, treble, and mid frequencies. You can add more phones to compare how they differ. The scores and ratings are not comparable with our older loudspeaker test. Learn more about how we test here.
Android 14 and Realme UI 5.0 (or ColorOS 14 – same difference)
The GT5 Pro runs Android 14 with Realme UI 5.0 on top – in contrast to the GT5 240W still on the 13/4.0 combo. Realme UI is another name for Oppo’s ColorOS, of course, and in the About menus one can see that the underlying ColorOS version is 14, marking the first Oppo/Realme phone in the office with Android 14 and ColorOS 14.
On the one hand, the new versions shouldn’t change much in the look, feel, or feature set. On the other, this particular phone is on the Chinese branch of ColorOS, so it has a few China-specific apps and features that we won’t be exploring in too much detail. That said, Google Play Services are available, and you could get a phone that’s mostly functional from a westerner’s perspective after sideloading a few APKs.
As we mentioned on the previous page, though, certain things like FullHD playback or HDR in Netflix will remain elusive.
Customizability is a common theme across all of ColorOS/Realme UI. There is an entire Wallpapers & style page in Settings, where in addition to the AoD settings, you can change wallpapers (live and static), switch to different icon packs, different quick toggles icon shapes, change fonts (there’s an ‘exclusive’ Oppo sans), and choose completely different colors that will change the entire UI look. You can turn on/off Edge Lighting, which is independent of the Always-On Display. Dark Mode is available, and it offers three different shades of darkness.
The launcher comes with no-nonsense homescreens, a straightforward and clean notification/toggles area, and an easy-to-use task switcher. An optional App drawer is available, too, and it is as clutter-free as one could hope for. Quick Glance is the leftmost widget pane here instead of Google Discover. Support for Large Folders is also included, and any folder can be enlarged or shrunk.
ColorOS: Lockscreen • Homescreen • Notifications • Quick toggles • App switcher • Large folders
There are many powerful tools within the settings menu if you want full control over your experience. The features are wide-ranging but generally carried over from previous ColorOS versions. A host of screen-on and screen-off gestures are available; the Smart Sidebar is a handy pane of shortcuts you pull from the side, and split-screen and Flexible windows are available.
There are a few in-house apps, too, other than the ton of China-specific bloatware. Photos, a revamped File Manager, and an in-house web browser are part of the package. An IR Remote app is also available, so you can make use of the IR blaster right out of the box.
Photos • File Manager • Web Browser • IR remote
One thing that Realme made a moderately big deal of at the time of the GT5 Pro’s announcement is the phone’s all-new gesture-based operation capability that leverages the front-facing camera for gesture recognition, complete with a palm unlock option.
We tried it out briefly, and it feels like more of a solution in search of a problem than a truly useful concept, though we can see it being helpful in a very specific set of circumstances. Similar features have been pushed in the past by Samsung and even by Google themselves, but we’re not seeing people waving hands at their phones left and right.
Palm recognition • Air gestures
Benchmarks and performance
The Realme GT5 Pro is powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, Qualcomm’s top-tier chipset that most 2024 flagships will use. We’ve already witnessed it in action on the iQOO 12, and more devices with it will surely start pouring in in the coming weeks.
The phone is available in several memory configurations, starting from 12GB/256GB spec and going all the way up to our review unit’s 16GB/1TB trim level.
A GT mode can be enabled in settings, which promises higher performance, but in our experience, it didn’t bring a meaningful increase in benchmark scores, nor did it affect the phone’s behavior under prolonged load.
In our usual set of benchmarks, the GT5 Pro posted scores slightly below the iQOO 12 in CPU and compound benchmarks. The Realme typically had the upper hand in raw performance in graphics benchmarks, though, but refresh rate caps limited its fps scores in on-screen testing.
Realme is boasting an advanced cooling solution for the GT5 Pro, based on a sizeable vapor chamber consisting of three layers and totaling 12,000sq.mm. They add up further layers of internals to arrive at a total of 36,132sq.mm of heat dissipation area, which does make for impressive promo materials indeed.
All of that didn’t produce miracles in our testing routine and the GT5 Pro behaved in a more or less classic flagship way under prolonged load.
CPU Throttling test • 3DMark Wild Life stress test
Flagship-grade hardware on two out of three rear cameras
The GT5 Pro features a triple camera system on its back, with two of the modules already seen on high-end models from related brands – the main camera we got to experience on the Oppo Find N3 (and the OnePlus Open, of course), while the telephoto is familiar from the Find X6 Pro. The ultrawide is a more forgettable piece of kit, and we may have even stumbled upon it in past devices.
The primary camera uses a LYT-808 sensor, part of Sony’s new LYTIA lineup, which benefits from the latest stacked architecture that improves light gathering. Just like on the Oppo, here the sensor is being reported as IMX 888, but unlike the Find N3’s 48MP label, the Realme specs list it as 50MP. Never mind, this multi-aspect sensor has a raw resolution of 52MP to begin with, so they can crop it whichever way they choose.
The lens has an equivalent focal length of 23mm (24mm in the Find’s specs, but that could be another angle of the minor difference in crop and rounding up or down). The f/1.7 aperture and optical stabilization remain on the specsheet.
The telephoto is based on the 50MP IMX 890 sensor, which has a 1/1.56″ optical format and a 1.0µm pixel pitch. The periscope lens has a 65mm equivalent focal length and an f/2.6 aperture, and it’s stabilized. More importantly, perhaps, it can focus from rather close, coming in handy in more shooting scenarios.
Least remarkable – or, rather, downright mundane – is the ultrawide camera. It uses the IMX 355 sensor (1/4.0″, 1.12µm) with a 16mm-equivalent lens with an f/2.2 aperture. The focus is fixed here.
Over on the front of the GT5 Pro, there’s a 32MP selfie camera that’s using the IMX 615. The lens has a 22mm equivalent focal length and an f/2.5 aperture. There is no autofocus on this one, either.
Camera app and features
The camera app is the familiar Realme one, with a few specific touches here or there. There are fewer menus – most of the modes are now on the main rolodex, which is good.
For example, there’s no AI Scene Enhancement toggle (also known as Chroma Boost or Dazzle Color). Instead, there’s an exposure compensation button – something you typically do by tapping on the screen and moving a contextual slider (which also works, by the way).
There is a Pro mode for all three cameras, and you get to tweak exposure (ISO, shutter speed, and compensation), white balance (by light temperature, but no presets), and focus manually. Shooting aids like focus peaking and a live histogram are also available.
There is also a Street mode, where you can try the Auto zoom feature – you tap on a subject, and the phone crops into the frame and tries to keep it at the center of the photo, so you don’t need to move your phone frantically when framing.
Daylight photo quality
Daylight photos from the GT5 Pro’s main camera are very good. The dynamic range is nicely wide, the auto white balance is generally accurate, and the colors are vibrant without pushing it overboard. Detail is on par with others in the 12-ish megapixel category, and it’s rendered in a reasonably natural way.
Daylight samples, main camera (1x)
The full-res photos have a rather upscaled quality to them – we see no reason to use that mode.
Daylight samples, main camera (1x), 50MP
The 2x zoom level results are similar in terms of captured detail to the 50MP mode, albeit there is more noise reduction applied. The contrast is also better. It’s not the vivo X100 Pro, though, which could produce essentially the same per-pixel detail at 2x as it could at 1x.
Daylight samples, main camera (2x)
Zooming in to 3x, things are looking better. Detail is great and even though it comes with a fine grain that wasn’t present in the main camera’s output, we’re fans of the rendition. Contrast is high, dynamic range is wide and colors maintain the likeable vivid look.
A major point here is the telephoto camera’s ability to focus relatively close, making for some nice shots of nearby subjects with strong separation from out-of-focus backgrounds or foregrounds. We’ll explore what that means for the Realme’s macro photography capabilities a bit later on.
Daylight samples, telephoto camera (3x)
The full-res mode on the telephoto is hardly useful – as was the case on the main camera. One thing of note here is that the 50MP images have a slightly wider field of view than the 12.5MP ones. That explains the 65mm equivalent focal length on the full-res shots and the 72mm one on the binned images – in that sense, both the officially specified 65mm focal length equivalent and the 3x zoom level (counting from the 23-ish mm main camera) can be considered correct.
Daylight samples, telephoto camera (3x), 50MP
Similarly to the 1x-2x situation, the 6x results out of the telephoto camera aren’t more detailed than the 50MP 3x shots, only these are a little smother. That is to say, 6x isn’t really all that great when examined at 1:1, though it’s still what we’d consider alright. Plus, if you’re only going to be viewing the images at fit-to-screen magnification, you may not even notice the drop in quality at pixel level.
Daylight samples, telephoto camera (6x)
The ultrawide camera on the GT5 Pro is the only meh unit from a hardware perspective, with just 8MP of resolution and no autofocus. It’s also not all that wide either, with a focal length equivalent of 16mm after the distortion correction has done its job, particularly next to a main camera at 23mm equivalent.
Having set the expectations low then, the ultrawide camera’s images are okay. The detail is good in the center, but sharpness drops towards the corners, and that distortion correction isn’t entirely effective either. Dynamic range and colors are pretty great, though, so there’s that.
Daylight samples, ultrawide camera (0.6x)
Low-light photo quality
Our experience with the GT5 Pro in low light was pretty intriguing when it came to the Night mode implementation. There’s the usual Auto Night mode crescent that pops up in Photo mode in the corner of the viewfinder in dark scenes, and you can turn it off. Then there’s the dedicated Night mode.
The thing is though, we observed virtually no difference in the behavior of the phone (the time it needed to take a photo) or the photos themselves, between all three scenarios – Photo mode with Auto Night, Photo mode without Auto Night, and Night mode. That was mostly the case on all three cameras, with minor nuances in the fact that the auto night mode wouldn’t always kick in all cameras in all scenes. Not that it made much of a difference, since the images would have all been the same anyway.
Starting off with the main camera, we’re getting very good exposures with well-preserved highlights and mostly good shadow development – we’d take a bit more light in there, but perhaps you prefer your images more ‘realistic’, with less shadow boost like Realme’s take. The auto-white balance worked well, and the colors have a healthy level of saturation. The detail is very good, and there’s no noise to speak of.
Low-light samples, main camera (1x), Photo mode, auto Night off or didn’t kick in
Low-light samples, main camera (1x), Night mode
Low-light samples, main camera (1x), Photo mode, auto Night on
At 2x zoom, pixel-level detail isn’t spectacular, and there’s heavier sharpening to try and make up for the lack of actual sharpness. Once again, though, we’d say these are okay images, particularly for low-light conditions.
Low-light samples, main camera (2x), Photo mode, auto Night disabled or didn’t kick in
Low-light samples, main camera (2x), Night mode
Low-light samples, main camera (2x), Photo mode, auto Night on
The telephoto appeared less eager to summon the crescent – it only showed up for four of the ten scenes below. That’s largely irrelevant, though, since the Night mode and the Night mode-less Photo mode shots look the same to our eyes anyway. Highlight preservation is key here, with slightly less emphasis on shadow boost – the same approach as on the main camera. White balance and color rendition are hard to fault, and detail is very good – high marks across the board.
Low-light samples, telephoto camera (3x), Photo mode, auto Night off or didn’t kick in
Low-light samples, telephoto camera (3x), Night mode
Low-light samples, telephoto camera (3x), Photo mode, auto Night on
At 6x zoom level we got even fewer auto Night mode shots. The images we captured still have very good exposure characteristics and color, only the per-pixel detail isn’t quite as sound. Solid performance overall though, given the lighting conditions.
Low-light samples, telephoto camera (6x), Photo mode, auto Night off or didn’t kick in
Low-light samples, telephoto camera (6x), Night mode
Low-light samples, telephoto camera (6x), Photo mode, auto Night on
The ultrawide camera was more consistent in engaging the auto Night mode, though we’ll have to reiterate that we didn’t observe any meaningful difference between the results in all three scenarios.
We have some praise about the handling of exposures and the dynamic range as well as the color reproduction. We’re less enthusiastic about the detail levels and sharpness, but things weren’t exactly rosy in those respects during the day, so why expect miracles at night.
Low-light samples, ultrawide camera (0.6x), Photo mode, auto Night off
Low-light samples, ultrawide camera (0.6x), Night mode
Low-light samples, ultrawide camera (0.6x), Photo mode, auto Night on
Once you’re done with the real-world samples, head over to our Photo Compare tool to see how the Realme GT5 Pro stacks up against the competition.
Realme GT5 Pro against the iQOO 12 and the Xiaomi 13T Pro in our Photo compare tool
The GT5 Pro has somewhat unusual handling of close-up photography and its macro mode implementation doesn’t follow the norm of main camera to ultrawide switching – not surprising, given its fixed-focus ultrawide that can’t focus on nearby subjects.
So if you’re at 1x zoom level and get too close to a subject for the main camera to acquire focus, nothing will happen other than the image in the viewfinder going blurry. On the other hand, if you’re at the 3x zoom level and go beyond the telephoto’s minimum focusing distance, the phone will switch to the main camera but with a field of view to match the telephoto, hence zooming in digitally to 3x. Same with 6x.
Close-up samples, 3x, Main camera at its min focusing distance
Close-up samples, 6x, Main camera at its min focusing distance
That’s stretching the main camera’s abilities way beyond what could be considered acceptable, we think. And it’s all the more confusing why Realme adopted such an approach, given how close the GT5 Pro’s telephoto camera can focus – its own native close-ups at 3x are pretty great, and the 6x results at minimum focus distance provide extra magnification with not too bad detail levels, plus there’s the benefit of the relatively large working distance from your subject.
Close-up samples, 3x, Telephoto camera at its min focusing distance
For comparison, here’s how the images look when captured on the main camera at 3x at around the telephoto camera’s minimum focusing distance.
Close-up samples, 3x, Main camera at min focusing distance of telephoto camera
Admittedly, there’s a sharpness penalty to be paid at 6x from the telephoto camera, but we’d still take those over the main camera’s results, at any magnification.
Close-up samples, 6x, Telephoto camera at its min focusing distance
Portrait mode on the GT5 Pro defaults to the 3x zoom level, which is being captured on the telephoto camera. The distance is comfortable for both photographer and subject, the perspective is flattering for facial features, and the quality is great. Subject detection isn’t entirely flawless though.
Portrait mode samples, telephoto camera (3x)
You could skip the whole Portrait mode and just shoot regular photos at 3x – there won’t be quite as much separation between subject and background, particularly with nearby backgrounds, but at least there will be no artifacts. We didn’t think to shoot such samples specifically, but we did dial down the simulated aperture to the minimum f/16 in the gallery, which is the same thing, essentially.
Portrait mode samples, telephoto camera (3x), simulated aperture f/16
The main camera’s results are quite soft at 2x and much better at 1x, though at 1x, you run the risk of getting distorted facial proportions if you shoot from too close.
Portrait mode samples, main camera (2x)
Portrait mode samples, main camera (1x)
Selfies on the Realme GT5 Pro come out at the nominal 32MP resolution. They have good levels of detail across a wider range of shooting scenarios than what we’re used to from other implementations of that 32MP camera, which is nice. Dynamic range is very good, but skin tones and colors, in general, are a bit lifeless.
The Realme GT5 Pro can record video up to 8K24 with its main camera. 4K30 and 4K60 are available on the main camera and the telephoto, while the ultrawide maxes out at 1080p30. The selfie camera can go as high as 4K30.
The main camera captures okay 4K video. We’re liking the exposure and contrast in the 30fps clips, dynamic range is good, and the colors are spot on as well. However, sharpness is rather meh. The 60fps footage is sharper, but that comes at the expense of narrower dynamic range and an overall darker exposure.
8K looks pretty sketchy on the GT5 Pro. While you could fool yourself into thinking you’re seeing better definition in texts or strait lines, random detail looks about as unpleasant as possible.
The footage from the 3x telephoto is in a similar state of not quite there. Once again, global properties like contrast, dynamic range and colors have been dialed in well, but sharpness remains a letdown.
Moving on to the ultrawide where we expected very little, yet the GT5 Pro managed to fall short. The footage is quite mushy, even for 1080p, and dynamic range is somewhat lacking.
Another pain point in the GT5 Pro’s video capture is its stabilization. While it should technically be always on, we found footage captured while walking to be quite shaky, both on the main camera and the ultrawide. The telephoto fared a bit better (when shooting from a stationary position), though it too was from the best.
In low light, the softness theme continues, though admittedly the main camera’s footage isn’t looking too bad in terms of detail – it’s not great or anything, but it’s quite usable for the circumstances.
Usable is also how we’d label the telephoto’s results, and we’d probably go so far as to say they’re above average for a 3x periscope.
The ultrawide’s low-light videos aren’t much good though.
Here’s a glimpse of how the Realme GT5 Pro compares to rivals in our Video compare tool. Head over there for the complete picture.
Realme GT5 Pro against the iQOO 12 and the Xiaomi 13T Pro in our Video compare tool
The Realme GT5 Pro is a China-only release, and as such, it’s not really up to us to come up with purchasing advice related to it or its potential competitors. That said, we could theorize about its value in principle and also contemplate what the future holds for global Realme offerings to come.
At a starting price of CNY 3,400 for a base 12GB/256GB version, the conversion works out to €430 before VAT or a little over €500 after accounting for taxes. The top-spec 16GB/1TB version we reviewed would be CNY 4,300 or around €650 incl. VAT. Now, we’ll be quick to admit that this kind of napkin math is more than a little simplified, but it’s a start.
For example, a Xiaomi 13T Pro with 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage goes for €600. It loses to the Realme in battery life and only sort of makes up for it at the charging station, where it also falls short for not having wireless charging. The Xiaomi has nothing to be ashamed of in terms of display quality, and its Mediatek chipset is plenty powerful, too. The Realme would be a better option for photography, particularly if ultrawide shots aren’t your thing, but the Xiaomi is seemingly the safer bet for video recording.
Alternatively, a OnePlus 11 could be had for as little as €650 if you do some digging around. The Realme will get you longer battery life, newer chipset, and a nicer zoom camera, while the OP’s better ultrawide and generally superior video recording can be more important to some.
A similar amount of cash will get you a Galaxy S23 FE, which is a reasonable point of entry into the Samsung experience – that being a key selling point for the Galaxy in this comparison. This particular Galaxy’s camera is nothing special, and we’d normally pick the Realme, though an asterisk remains when it comes to videos and ultrawide shots. The GT5 Pro has a much more potent chipset, a lot longer battery life and speedier charging, so the FE only really makes sense if you’re hell bent on having a Galaxy.
One option that’s in many ways comparable to the GT5 Pro is the iQOO 12. It one ups the Realme in telephoto prowess, but also in ultrawide capabilities, plus it’s a better camcorder. It does come at a price premium, though.
Xiaomi 13T Pro • OnePlus 11 • Samsung Galaxy S23 FE • vivo iQOO 12
The Realme GT5 Pro may not be available outside of its home market, but it’s a nice showcase of what’s to come from Realme or its sister brands. The display is every bit as remarkable as promised, battery life is top-notch, and charging also leaves little to be desired – both in speed and method. The palm recognition and air gestures aren’t game-changers, but it doesn’t hurt to have them. The IP64 rating is a welcome addition, too, even if Realme stops short of promising submersion-grade water resistance.
Now, we were less than thrilled with the GT5 Pro’s ultrawide camera performance, which doesn’t quite match the model’s cameraphone aspirations. Video recording, in general, was in many ways not up to scratch either. But we were particularly fond of the handsets still from the main camera and the telephoto, and the zoom camera’s close-focusing capability is most welcome.
In the end, we don’t mind if China keeps the GT5 Pro to itself. We’d be happy to welcome the improved version when that’s ready.
- First Realme with an IP64 rating.
- Super-bright and otherwise thoroughly excellent display.
- Great battery life, speedy charging (wireless too).
- Palm recognition and air gestures could be useful that one time.
- Superb telephoto camera for both far and near subjects; excellent main camera too.
- IP64 doesn’t promise survival in case of submersion.
- Ultrawide camera is underwhelming in almost every aspect.
- Videos are generally softer than ideal, stabilization isn’t great.