You might not be a fan of Naruto or anime, but you still have to give Realme crazy props for its crafting trick.
Smartphones have become so important in our daily lives that they are sort of extensions and expressions of ourselves. Sometimes you can tell a lot about a person based on the phone they are using, especially if the devices are adorned with accessories or stickers showing their preferences. There are plenty of ways to customize a smartphone, and there’s an almost endless supply of cases and themes catering to different fandoms, but there’s still something to be said for when a phone maker officially creates a special edition for a specific franchise, especially when that manufacturer bends over backwards to create that special design, much like what Realme did for the limited Naruto edition of the GT Neo 3.
Designate: real me
Realme is a brand born out of a desire to tap into a younger market than most smartphone makers. This orientation is reflected in Realme’s business model and, of course, in its designs. Realme phones often get themed editions around activities and brands that a younger audience gravitates towards. And there is perhaps nothing “younger” (despite fans of all ages) than one of the most popular anime characters in recent memory, the ironically loud ninja Naruto.
It probably would have been easier, simpler, and cheaper for Realme to just add a custom case specifically designed around Naruto, alongside similarly designed themes and accessories. In fact, Realme has that, although some, like the custom GT Neo 3 case and a Power Bank 3 Pro Naruto Edition, are sold separately. The large, rather heavy 160W SuperDART charger that comes with this Naruto Edition phone has the character’s signature fiery orange color as the primary hue. The USB-C cable, on the other hand, is mostly black but has orange stripes on each end. Even the SIM tray eject pin is designed to match the theme.
Realme, however, went the extra mile and gave the GT Neo 3 phone itself a Naruto makeover, inside and, most importantly, outside. You might be immediately taken with the phone’s rear design, sporting the same fiery orange and black pattern that the shinobi (Japanese for “ninja”) wore back in the days of Shippuden. The camera area even resembles the standard headband for ninjas hailing from Naruto’s hometown of Konohagakure, completing the look of a “Naruto Phone”.
What makes this Naruto edition particularly intriguing is the design and manufacturing process that went into producing this design. Rather than just painting over or under the matte glass back, Realme used a painstaking and expensive process that allowed them to have different textures and colors on the same piece of glass. The orange and black areas of the case are pretty easy to tell apart, but the Uzumaki clan crest in the middle is also part of that same whole piece. More impressive, perhaps, is that metallic section that almost looks like metal and is even a fingerprint magnet like the real thing. They even used micro 3D patterns to create the illusion of rivets on the metal plate.
It’s certainly more than you might expect, even from a company like Realme that has put unique and unorthodox designs on the back of its phones. He also shows his attention to even the tiniest of details that may escape most people. The matte black area, for example, has three shiny stripes on each side, symbolizing Naruto’s distinctive facial feature. You can even feel the difference between the two areas as if those scratches were etched into the back of the phone and covered with a different material. Luckily, most of the back of the phone has a matte texture for better grip, but those who still find it slippery can use the clear gel case included in the box.
When it comes to hardware, the Realme GT Neo 3 lives up to many of the flagships launched earlier this year. The 6.7-inch Full HD+ display is bright and colorful, making it the perfect canvas for displaying Naruto-themed wallpapers and icons. The MediaTek Dimensity 8100 5G processor and 12GB of RAM (expandable up to 7GB) handle mobile gaming without breaking a sweat. The phone’s superpower, much like Naruto’s Rasengan, is its super-fast 150W charging capability. And in keeping with that theme, the phone plays a custom lock screen animation when charged (using this UltraDart brick), which also happens to be a five-element Rasengan.
Unfortunately, the special manufacturing process used to create this striking design is also part of why this has to be a limited edition phone. Realme says that only 5,000 units (shadow clones) of the GT Neo 3 Naruto Edition are sold, and all of them are in China only. He certainly deserves a Naruto fan’s attention, especially when he learns how much work Realme has put into delivering something that’s not only a faithful homage to the character, but also one that pushes the boundaries of the phone designs.