Realme GT Explorer Master & GT Master hands-on review

GSMArena Team, 18 August 2021.

Design and ergonomics

The two Masters have some unconventional design, at least the Gray and Apricot colors. The chassis is work of the Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa and is inspired by the travelling suitcase with the horizontal grid pattern. That might not be to everyone's taste but the finish on the back is just awesome.

Realme GT Explorer Master and GT Master hands-on review

Realme says this is the industry's first concave vegan leather and to be honest, we can barely think of a reason not to go for the vegan leather version. Remember, the White and Aurora colors use a standard matte glass back. We have the White version as well - it feels nice and smooth but as always, it's slippery.

Realme GT Explorer Master and GT Master hands-on review

The Gray and Apricot color variants, on the other hand, provide a more secure grip, fingerprints don't stick and you have a Fukusawa's signature below the Realme logo just so that you can feel special. No matter which option you choose - the glass or leather one, you get a pretty lightweight device. Especially for a 6.55-inch handset. The weight is evenly distributed across the chassis too. And even though the difference in thickness shouldn't be all that noticeable - 8.8mm vs. 8.0mm, the glass option feels sensibly thinner in the hand.

Realme GT Explorer Master and GT Master hands-on review

The camera bump is protruding ever so slightly and the accented edges of the module and the camera lenses fit well with the overall industrial look. The side frame is in line too - anodized aluminum with flat bottom and top edges. Buttons are conveniently placed except for the fingerprint reader, which feels too close to the bottom edge.

Realme GT Explorer Master and GT Master hands-on review

The front uses a curved glass design with a punch-hole cutout for the front camera in the upper-left corner. The cutout isn't big and isn't obtrusive by any means.

Realme GT Explorer Master and GT Master hands-on review

Despite the bold design that might not be everyone's cup of tea, we can say it's a breath of fresh air and we suggest that you go for this option instead of the glass-covered back. The concave leather plate makes it feel more premium, it reduces the weight and more importantly, provides a more secure grip and smudges are rarely visible, if at all.

Hardware overview, performance

Not the Snapdragon 888? Not a problem. The Snapdragon 870 is a capable high-end SoC based on last year's flagship Snapdragon 865 and 865+. The only difference are the higher clock speeds of the CPU and the GPU too. This secures a comfortable position right behind this year's Snapdragon 888 and 888+ chipsets.

Realme GT Explorer Master and GT Master hands-on review

In other words, the Realme GT Explorer Master will run pretty much everything you throw at it. The SoC is paired with either 8GB or 12GB of RAM joined by 128GB or 256GB of internal storage, respectively. A generous entry-level configuration that should be enough for most of you. Sadly, there's no microSD card slot.

GeekBench 5 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Realme GT 5G
    3555
  • vivo X60 Pro
    3490
  • Realme GT Explorer Master
    3050
  • Realme GT Master
    2773
  • Poco X3 Pro
    2574

GeekBench 5 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Realme GT 5G
    1139
  • vivo X60 Pro
    1034
  • Realme GT Explorer Master
    1020
  • Realme GT Master
    791
  • Poco X3 Pro
    735

AnTuTu 9

Higher is better

  • Realme GT 5G
    810433
  • vivo X60 Pro
    720352
  • Realme GT Explorer Master
    717879
  • Realme GT Master
    542323

GFX Car Chase ES 3.1 (offscreen 1080p)

Higher is better

  • Realme GT 5G
    65
  • Realme GT Explorer Master
    59
  • vivo X60 Pro
    59
  • Poco X3 Pro
    45
  • Realme GT Master
    33

GFX Car Chase ES 3.1 (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Realme GT 5G
    55
  • vivo X60 Pro
    51
  • Realme GT Explorer Master
    50
  • Poco X3 Pro
    38
  • Realme GT Master
    29

As we already mentioned, the Explorer Master shines with a slightly better display than its siblings. It has a bigger 6.55-inch diagonal and is protected by Gorilla Glass 5. It's also the only one from the family to support HDR10+ content too with a rated maximum brightness of 1100 nits. Resolution and refresh rate remain the same, though - 1080 x 2400px at 120Hz. Realme does highlight a couple of other distinctive features - 10240 auto brightness levels and 480Hz touch sampling rate. The last one means it's extremely responsive to touch (beating even some high-end gaming phones in this regard). And the former means that the display has granular brightness control that should fit in all lighting conditions. We also found the responsiveness of the ambient light sensor to be superb. In auto mode, the screen adjusts almost instantly.

For a complete multimedia experience, the Explorer Master takes the set of stereo speakers from the vanilla GT but skips on the 3.5mm audio jack.

Anyway, the Explorer Master takes things one step further in the camera department. The main 64MP camera has been replaced with a better 50MP Sony IMX766 sensor, which is bigger in size - 1/1.56" with larger pixels - 1.0µm and has omnidirectional autofocus. The sensor is also paired with an optically stabilized lens with f/1.9 aperture.

Realme GT Explorer Master and GT Master hands-on review

The secondary camera is ultrawide and uses a 16MP shooter paired with f/2.2 lens and offers a rather wide 123-degree field of view. It's definitely a step up from the 119-degree 8MP ultrawide camera found on the other two Realme GTs. The third camera is still for macro shots, though. Unfortunately, there's no proper telephoto so we hope Realme has done a good job at processing the cropped zoom images from the main sensor.

The front-facing camera is 32MP with f/2.5 aperture and the sensor size is 1/2.74". That's another upgrade over the 16MP unit found on the Realme GT 5G.

Realme GT Explorer Master and GT Master hands-on review

The battery capacity is 4,500 mAh and the unit works with Realme's 65W proprietary fast charging promising quick top-ups - 50% in just 30 minutes and from 0 to 100% should take around 33 minutes as per Realme. In other words, it shouldn't be all that different from the Realme GT 5G we've tested. The latter got really close to the advertised metrics - from 0 to 100% in 39 minutes. The 30-minute charging test got us to 87% from a completely dead battery.

We also expect the battery life to be close to that of the Realme GT 5G, which got a respectable 98h overall endurance score.

Reader comments

  • Flo

GT master + gcam port = great value

  • Flo

GT master + gcam port = great value

Yes, the phone has that feature. I use Realme GT Master Edition.