The Realme GT3, the latest smartphone to make me ask myself whether phones can ever charge too quickly, is being officially announced today at MWC Barcelona. It supports 240W SuperVOOC charging, which Realme says is capable of completely filling its 4,600mAh battery in just nine and a half minutes.
The Realme GT3 will be available in select markets starting at $649 for a version with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. It’ll be available to buy internationally in May and June this year, Realme vice president of global marketing Chase Xu confirmed in a Q&A session after the event.
Well, I say “announced,” but in truth, the phone has been available in China for a couple of weeks now as the Realme GT Neo 5. Realme is a smartphone manufacturer that sits under the BBK Electronics umbrella alongside OnePlus and Oppo, the latter of which incidentally announced a 240W proof of concept charging tech at MWC last year.
A full charge in nine and a half minutes
If 240W fast charging sounds fast, that’s because it is. Realme says it represents “the highest possible charging speed for Type-C” (which makes sense given the latest charging standards from the USB Implementers Forum). It’s faster than the 210W-capable Redmi Note 12 Discovery Edition and the 150W charging found in OnePlus devices like the 10T. But it might not be on top for long. Xiaomi’s Redmi subbrand is working hard to beat Realme’s 240W fast-charging speeds, if a new 300W fast-charging proof of concept it just announced is anything to go by.
But although 240W is a very big number, the phone’s charging speeds aren’t an order of magnitude faster than what we’ve seen with previous fast-charging phones. Realme says the GT3 can charge to 100 percent in nine and a half minutes, but bear in mind that the Redmi Note 12 Discovery Edition could already charge its (admittedly smaller) 4,300mAh battery to 100 percent in around nine minutes with 210W fast charging. And even the OnePlus 10T’s 150W fast charging could get its 4,800mAh battery to 100 percent in under 20 minutes.
But more compelling is what a quick burst of charging can achieve. Realme advertises that a 30-second charge of the GT3, for example, is enough for a two-hour call, three hours of music listening, or 40 minutes of video streaming. If your phone has ever come close to dying on an important work call, then you’ll know the value of being able to top its power up quickly.
Although 240W fast charging might bring worrying levels of heat to mind, Realme claims that the GT3’s battery should still carry 80 percent of its maximum capacity after 1,600 charge cycles. That’s the same as what Oppo claims its 150W SuperVOOC charging is capable of and higher than the 1,000 charging cycles the EU wants to mandate that devices should offer at a minimum. Realme says it’s taken various steps to protect the health of the device’s battery by, for example, intelligently restricting its maximum charge level to 80 percent when the device is charged overnight or spacing out its three 100W charging chipsets to minimize heat output.
Aside from its charging tech, the Realme GT3 also has a neat little RGB lighting rectangle on its rear. It’s called the “Pulse Interface” and it can light up in dozens of different colors to, for example, indicate a low charge, notify you about an incoming call, or act as a countdown timer for a timed camera shot.
Elsewhere, if the GT Neo 5 is anything to go by, the GT3 is likely to be more of a typical Android handset. The GT Neo 5 is powered by a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor and has a 6.74-inch 144Hz 1240p display. There are three rear cameras: a 50-megapixel main one, an eight-megapixel ultrawide, and a two-megapixel macro. And in China at least, you need to opt for the version of the phone with 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage to get the 240W charging speeds; otherwise, you “only” get 150W fast charging.