Realme GT Explorer Master review

GSMArena Team, 13 Sept 2021.

Android 11 and Realme UI 2.0

The Realme GT Explorer Master boots Android 11 with Realme UI 2.0. In principle, that's the same version as the one we had on the GT Master, but this being a Chinese variant of the phone, there are certain differences mostly in terms of pre-loaded apps, keyboard specifics, and other more obscure bits. Essentially, the basics are the same, though.

Realme GT Explorer Master review

The phone supports fingerprint unlock, and the optical sensor works very well - it's fast and reliable. You can also add a face for an even speedier unlock - though this is not as secure.

Biometrics and security - Realme GT Explorer Master review Biometrics and security - Realme GT Explorer Master review Biometrics and security - Realme GT Explorer Master review Biometrics and security - Realme GT Explorer Master review Biometrics and security - Realme GT Explorer Master review Biometrics and security - Realme GT Explorer Master review
Biometrics and security

As we've previously mentioned, even though it does offer a ton of customization options, Realme UI 2.0 looks quite clean on the surface. The lockscreen and homescreen are straightforward, the notification/toggles area is simple and clutter-free. A basic App drawer is available, which you can opt out of if you prefer to have all your apps on the homescreens. There is a Google Feed panel to the left of your homescreens.

Realme UI 2.0: Lockscreen - Realme GT Explorer Master review Realme UI 2.0: Homescreen - Realme GT Explorer Master review Realme UI 2.0: Folder view - Realme GT Explorer Master review Realme UI 2.0: App drawer - Realme GT Explorer Master review Realme UI 2.0: Notifications - Realme GT Explorer Master review Realme UI 2.0: Quick toggles - Realme GT Explorer Master review
Realme UI 2.0: Lockscreen • Homescreen • Folder view • App drawer • Notifications • Quick toggles

The task switcher is non-nonsense too, but it has extra functionality - you can minimize an app to a mini-window or a floating window from within it. If an app is compatible, you can do either of these or use the familiar Split Screen.

Task Manager - Realme GT Explorer Master review Options - Realme GT Explorer Master review Mini app - Realme GT Explorer Master review Floating window - Realme GT Explorer Master review Split screen - Realme GT Explorer Master review
Task Manager • Options • Mini app • Floating window • Split screen

Always-on display is available, and it can show the usual content - clock, date, notifications icons, battery. The Realme UI 2.0 also brings many new AOD themes, and you can even draw your own graphics or use images from the gallery - if you're one to struggle with decision-making, good luck picking one. Edge Lighting is available, too.

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AOD

Realme UI supports different icon packs, so if you are not happy with the default one, you can opt for material style, pebbles, or you can even fully customize them by your liking. You can also change the system colors, the fingerprint scanner animation, the notification drawer icons, even the system font. And there is a whole Theme Store if that's not enough for you.

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Personalization options

Dark Mode is available, too, and it's been enhanced with Realme UI 2.0 with support for three different dark styles - black, dark gray or light gray. It can be manual or scheduled. You can also opt to force it on third-party apps that don't support dark mode natively, though your mileage may vary with those.

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Dark Mode

In the Convenience tools section of the Settings menu, you'll find options for navigation and gestures. Similar to the Galaxies, the Realme UI offers a Smart Sidebar on the edge of the screen - you can customize the actions and app shortcuts that appear there.

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Convenience tools

The multimedia apps such as Photos, Music, and Videos are provided by Realme. There is also an in-house File Manager and a Phone Manager app. A Game Space app is available for better game management and notification behavior. You can also opt for a Smart resolution switch and Performance/balanced/energy saving modes.

Photos - Realme GT Explorer Master review Music - Realme GT Explorer Master review Videos - Realme GT Explorer Master review Phone Manager - Realme GT Explorer Master review File Manager - Realme GT Explorer Master review Game Space - Realme GT Explorer Master review
Photos • Music • Videos • Phone Manager • File Manager • Game Space

Synthetic benchmarks

The Realme GT Explorer Master is powered by the Snapdragon 870 chipset, Qualcomm's re-re-release of the proven SD865. As such, it's the second most powerful SoC in the chipmaker's lineup, with the SD888 leading the way (unless you count the SD888+, then adjust positions accordingly).

Realme GT Explorer Master review

The SD870 features an octa-core CPU in a 1+3+4 configuration with the prime core maxing out at 3.2GHz. The Adreno 650 handles the graphics. There's either 8GB or 12GB of RAM on the GT Explorer Master, with 128GB or 256GB of storage, respectively, and we have the higher-specced version.

The GT Explorer Master put out a great result in the single-core CPU test in GeekBench - aside from the SD888-packing Realme GT 5G, rivals are generally behind the GT EM. It scored slightly less impressive numbers in the multi-core, though not quite alarmingly low.

GeekBench 5 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Realme GT 5G
    1139
  • vivo X60 Pro
    1034
  • Realme GT Explorer Master
    1020
  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    996
  • Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon)
    988
  • OnePlus 9R
    969
  • Motorola Moto G100
    950
  • vivo X50 Pro+
    930
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    906
  • Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro
    901
  • OnePlus 8T
    893
  • OnePlus Nord 2
    814
  • Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G
    803
  • Realme GT Master
    785
  • Motorola Edge 20
    762

GeekBench 5 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Realme GT 5G
    3555
  • vivo X60 Pro
    3490
  • vivo X50 Pro+
    3411
  • Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro
    3311
  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    3302
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    3296
  • Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon)
    3294
  • OnePlus 8T
    3126
  • OnePlus 9R
    3117
  • Realme GT Explorer Master
    3050
  • Realme GT Master
    2917
  • Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G
    2909
  • Motorola Moto G100
    2860
  • OnePlus Nord 2
    2792
  • Motorola Edge 20
    2550

The GT EM returned to the top of the chart in Antutu, easily outscoring rivals like the Moto G100 and OnePlus Nord 2 5G.

AnTuTu 9

Higher is better

  • Realme GT 5G
    810433
  • vivo X60 Pro
    720352
  • Realme GT Explorer Master
    717879
  • Motorola Moto G100
    681559
  • OnePlus 9R
    676913
  • OnePlus Nord 2
    598022
  • Realme GT Master
    529263
  • Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G
    522490
  • Motorola Edge 20
    488574

Graphics benchmarks show the GT Explorer Master's huge potential for gaming, hindered by its inability to go above 60fps in onscreen tests (or, you know, in practice in games).

GFX Manhattan ES 3.1 (offscreen 1080p)

Higher is better

  • Realme GT 5G
    112
  • Realme GT Explorer Master
    99
  • vivo X60 Pro
    96
  • Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon)
    94
  • OnePlus 9R
    93
  • Motorola Moto G100
    91
  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    90
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    89
  • OnePlus 8T
    88
  • Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro
    87
  • vivo X50 Pro+
    85
  • OnePlus Nord 2
    75
  • Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G
    65
  • Motorola Edge 20
    57
  • Realme GT Master
    56

GFX Manhattan ES 3.1 (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • vivo X60 Pro
    86
  • Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon)
    86
  • Motorola Moto G100
    79
  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    78
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    77
  • Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro
    77
  • vivo X50 Pro+
    74
  • OnePlus 9R
    60
  • Realme GT Explorer Master
    60
  • OnePlus 8T
    60
  • Realme GT 5G
    60
  • Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G
    57
  • OnePlus Nord 2
    57
  • Motorola Edge 20
    51
  • Realme GT Master
    46

GFX Car Chase ES 3.1 (offscreen 1080p)

Higher is better

  • Realme GT 5G
    65
  • vivo X60 Pro
    59
  • Realme GT Explorer Master
    59
  • OnePlus 9R
    57
  • Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon)
    57
  • Motorola Moto G100
    56
  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    54
  • OnePlus 8T
    53
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    52
  • vivo X50 Pro+
    51
  • Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro
    51
  • OnePlus Nord 2
    46
  • Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G
    40
  • Realme GT Master
    33
  • Motorola Edge 20
    33

GFX Car Chase ES 3.1 (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Realme GT 5G
    55
  • vivo X60 Pro
    51
  • Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon)
    51
  • Realme GT Explorer Master
    50
  • OnePlus 9R
    49
  • Motorola Moto G100
    47
  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    46
  • Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro
    46
  • OnePlus 8T
    46
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    45
  • vivo X50 Pro+
    43
  • OnePlus Nord 2
    38
  • Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G
    35
  • Motorola Edge 20
    29
  • Realme GT Master
    27

GFX Aztek Vulkan High (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Realme GT 5G
    38
  • vivo X60 Pro
    35
  • OnePlus 9R
    34
  • Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon)
    34
  • Motorola Moto G100
    33
  • Realme GT Explorer Master
    33
  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    31
  • OnePlus 8T
    31
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    30
  • Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro
    29
  • OnePlus Nord 2
    26
  • Realme GT Master
    19

GFX Aztek ES 3.1 High (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Realme GT 5G
    39
  • vivo X60 Pro
    34
  • Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon)
    34
  • Realme GT Explorer Master
    32
  • Motorola Moto G100
    31
  • OnePlus 9R
    31
  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    31
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    30
  • Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro
    30
  • OnePlus Nord 2
    30
  • OnePlus 8T
    29
  • Realme GT Master
    18

GFX Aztek Vulkan High (offscreen 1440p)

Higher is better

  • Realme GT 5G
    29
  • vivo X60 Pro
    24
  • Realme GT Explorer Master
    24
  • Motorola Moto G100
    23
  • OnePlus 9R
    23
  • Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon)
    23
  • OnePlus Nord 2
    20
  • Realme GT Master
    14

GFX Aztek ES 3.1 High (offscreen 1440p)

Higher is better

  • Realme GT 5G
    28
  • vivo X60 Pro
    22
  • OnePlus 9R
    22
  • Realme GT Explorer Master
    22
  • Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon)
    22
  • Motorola Moto G100
    21
  • OnePlus Nord 2
    21
  • Realme GT Master
    13

3DMark Wild Life Vulkan 1.1 (offscreen 1440p)

Higher is better

  • Realme GT 5G
    5872
  • Realme GT Explorer Master
    4255
  • OnePlus Nord 2
    4224
  • vivo X60 Pro
    4203
  • Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon)
    4194
  • OnePlus 9R
    4154
  • Motorola Moto G100
    4114
  • Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G
    3136
  • Motorola Edge 20
    2494
  • Realme GT Master
    2481

One area where the GT Explorer Master deserves nothing short of praise is sustained performance. It got a 99% stability rating in the 3DMark Wild Life stress, while the CPU throttling test had only the occasional dip to 84% but maintained an average of 90% of its initial output. Solid stuff right there.

CPU throttling test - Realme GT Explorer Master review 3DMark Wild Life stress test - Realme GT Explorer Master review 3DMark Wild Life stress test - Realme GT Explorer Master review 3DMark Wild Life stress test - Realme GT Explorer Master review
CPU throttling test • 3DMark Wild Life stress test

Reader comments

  • Ivan

Good battery, good screen, good camera. Im totally happy with my buy. No zoom only digital. Night shots simply amazing. Difficult situation absolutely coped with fill light and night mode. My friends got amazed with the outcome photo. To me most impo...

  • Realme Official

No Screen Translate tool option in the smart sidebar because it's Chinese Version. And No 3 finger translate either because you'll need a Global ROM with Google Lens. Maybe it will be released Globally but I highly doubt it.

Does the Realme GT Explorer Master have screen translate tool in the sidebar?