For the second iteration of the GT Neo, Realme used the same 64MP Sony IMX682 sensor, which is a common sight in this price segment as well. It's 1/1.73" big and has 0.8µm pixels. The sensor sits behind an f/1.8 lens with no OIS. The main unit is joined by an 8MP 1/4.0", 1.12µm unit with f/2.3 aperture, no AF and a dedicated 2MP f/2.4 macro shooter with no AF as well.
On the front, we have the same 16MP camera with f/2.5 aperture. The sensor is bigger than the one used for the ultrawide, measuring 1/3.09" in size with 1.0µm pixels.
The default camera app is business as usual, with no major changes to the UI. The main modes are arranged in a carousel formation, with the additional ones tucked away in the More sub-menu. In addition to the standard Expert mode for stills, there's a Movie mode for video capturing with all the "pro" settings available on both cameras - main and ultrawide. In Movie mode, you get to tinker with stabilization, exposure, autofocus, white balance, shutter speed and ISO.
On the top of the viewfinder in the standard Photo mode, you'd see the AI and HDR toggles along with some filters. What we found to be particularly frustrating is the standard Video mode, where you can't adjust the resolution and frame rate. Or so we thought at first. In fact, to change those, you'd have to look for a tiny bar located right next to the AI toggle on the viewfinder - you have to either press it or pull it down.
The main camera's default 16MP photos look just about average, or slightly below, what we would expect from a mid-range setup. There's enough detail in the shots, and despite the challenging overcast conditions, the shots came out with a wide enough dynamic range.
Colors are close to natural, and the noise is mostly absent - it's apparent only on homogeneous backgrounds and shadows. However, sharpness could be improved, especially along the edges of the frame. We observed considerable deterioration with the slightest change in ambient light while the additional sharpening introduced by the software processing can leave some objects in the frame like painted with watercolors.
More consistency with white balance and exposure is also needed. Our unit seems to favor the colder end of the spectrum in some of the shots, and the exposure is a tad darker. Switching on the AI mode boosts contrast and color, making everything look juicier. More importantly, it goes for the right exposure and makes the photos look brighter and instagaramble.
The 64MP mode lacks the HDR toggle, so images shot in full resolution come out with a narrower dynamic range and softer-looking overall, too. You do gain a little bit of detail, but it's definitely not worth it.
There's a dedicated 2x zoom mode right on the viewfinder, but it crops from the main camera, of course. It's needless to say that the 2x zoom photos are nowhere near the quality of a proper telephoto, but you can get decent shots under the right conditions. The main camera's flaws become more apparent, and you can see some soft patches around the scene at times, and foliage is often the victim. That's due to the noise suppression algorithm brushing away fine detail. But that watercolor effect, it's near impossible to miss when the lighting conditions are sub-optimal. Notice the cat in the sample photos below.
The 8MP ultrawide camera behaves just like pretty much every other mid-range 8MP ultrawide camera out there. Photos are generally soft, noisier, with a narrow dynamic range and lack fine detail. In addition, these ones feature soft patches all-around, probably courtesy of the noise suppression algorithm once again. Realme did try to retain consistency and boosted some of the colors because ultrawide cameras often produce dull-looking pictures. The end result is greener foliage, brighter red and orange but the rest still looks washed out.
On the bright side, the lens correction algorithm is doing a pretty good job, and there's virtually no color fringing even as you get closer to the edge.
The 2MP macro camera's lack of autofocus and resolution makes things a bit difficult when it comes to macro photography. There's just not enough detail in the macro shots, and you need to take several photos of your subject just to make sure at least one of them is in focus. Colors are anemic, and contrast is poor too. And yet, the samples below don't look much different from most of the competitors using the same sensor.
Honestly, we're kind of surprised by how well the main camera handles low-light scenes. In fact, we liked the low-light samples more than the daylight ones. Sure, there is plenty of noise around, but we are impressed by the fine detail resolved in the shadows that would have been otherwise lost. The dynamic range is okay, and the highlights are not that bad too.
Contrast is good, and colors are close to natural. Sharpness is respectable, and the amount of fine detail is more than we could have asked for. We liked how accurate the white balance is as it always captured the right look of the light sources.
The dedicated Night mode is considerably more aggressive than we remembered from the previous review of the original GT Neo. It makes the photos almost look like they are rendered from the ground up. Perhaps that's due to the overly bright shadows and the additional sharpening.
However, one would argue that the oversharpening and overprocessing is more noticeable on a big screen. For social media posting, the Night mode is great. It takes care of the noise without washing away the fine detail, highlights are well-contained and not blown-out, while the overall look of the images is considerably clearer. Gone are the soft patches; gone is the coarse grain. Ultimately, the Night mode takes just a couple of seconds to stitch all the images together, so we would suggest shooting your scene with and without the Night mode and deciding which one you like more afterward.
And in case you don't like a specific part of the whole Night mode, Realme offers a Pro Night mode, which you can activate using a toggle at the bottom-left corner of the viewfinder. It's precisely the same mode with the same processing and everything, but it lets you adjust ISO, white balance, shutter speed, etc.
It may sound a bit counter-intuitive, but we suggest leaving the Night mode off when doing 2x zoom photos. Not that the standard mode produces usable images all the time in the first place. The main camera's flaws become more apparent. The Night mode, to our surprise, softens up the photos, clears the noise and brightens them up just a little. Definitely not worth it, especially considering the wait time.
The Night mode is no endless magic, but it does make the unusable ultrawide samples semi-usable. The sensor struggles to produce images that are not foggy, noisy and without any detail. Dynamic range and general contrast are also lacking. The Night mode clears up the noise, improves dynamic range drastically by lighting up the shadows without doing much for the highlights, though. With everything said, it's about what you'd expect from an 8MP ultrawide camera in this price segment.
Here's how the primary camera on the Realme GT Neo2 stacks against the rest of the competition in the controlled environment of our Photo Compare Tool.
Portraits are not ideal but are par for the course. Our biggest issue is that they turn out a bit soft even under good lighting conditions, noise is easily spotted, and the software isn't consistent with the subject's skin tone. It can sometimes be reddish or pale. Edge detection is convincing, though.
Selfies are a bit underwhelming, especially for a 16MP camera. They are softer than expected and with washed-out colors turning the subject's skin pale, even. Softness becomes more apparent with the slightest decrease in light, and we suspect the narrow f/2.5 aperture is the culprit. Portrait mode's faux bokeh is rough around the edges, too.
The device is capable of recording 2160p@60fps videos, but most of the special modes are capped at 1080p. For example, the Ultra Steady mode goes up to 1080p@60fps to mimic the action camera stabilization, and the same goes for the AI mode, which is only allowed to go up to 1080p.
We start off with the standard 4K video, which is looking pretty good. It has vibrant colors, good contrast, plenty of detail and sharpness is just average for the price range. Some shadows and dark cars appear to be darker than usual, but we blame the overcast for this. Otherwise, it's a nice-looking 4K video with virtually no noise.
Switching on the AI mode would only boost colors leaving everything else just about the same. The trade-off here is that it records up to 1080p resolution, and as a result, you get considerably less sharp videos and a little bit of added noise. And given that colors are punchy enough with the standard 4K video, we can't think of a reason to opt for the AI mode anyway.
Recording with the ultrawide camera is also possible, but it's once again capped at 1080p because of the sensor's resolution. The recorded sample below is considerably softer, with a narrower dynamic range, less detail but retains the rather punchy color reproduction.
Stabilization in 2160p is available, and although not perfect, it does a pretty good job of taking care of the general shakiness of videos.
And in case that's not enough, there's a dedicated Ultra Steady mode that records in 1080p@60fps and offers a narrower field of view due to the more aggressive EIS. The sample below does look a bit smoother than the 4K video above, but it can sometimes produce jitter. We've seen this to be a common issue on mid-range Oppo phones, so it's no wonder we see the same behavior here as well.
Ultra Steady Max uses the ultrawide camera for a wider field of view, but the result is underwhelming. We can even go as far as saying that the standard 4K stabilization looks better than this one.
Once you are done with the real-life scenarios, take a look at our video compare tool to see how the Realme GT Neo2 stacks against the other phones we've reviewed.