These Realme GT 2 Pro microscope photos show how far camera phones have come

Realme GT 2 Pro microscope camera being used on a pair of jeans
(Image credit: Future / TechRadar)

In a week of relatively lukewarm product announcements at this year’s MWC (Mobile World Congress) trade show, the global unveiling of the Realme GT 2 Pro ranked among the most exciting. 

The first real flagship device from the burgeoning Chinese manufacturer, the GT 2 Pro is intended to rival high-end competitors like the Samsung Galaxy S22, offering users impressive visuals and premium features for a price tag that's more accessible to Realme’s typically mid-market customer base. 

But while the phone does its best to match, rather than surpass, its more expensive counterparts for overall performance – check out our hands-on review for more details – the GT 2 Pro has an ace up its sleeve that's testament to the giant leaps forward in mobile photography technology in recent years. 

Similar to the macro camera lenses found on last year’s Xiaomi Mi 11 and Oppo Find X3 Pro, Realme’s latest handset boasts a 40x microscopic sensor that allows users to take super-close-up snaps of inanimate objects. Sure, it sounds like a superfluous addition on paper, but having tested the feature ourselves, we found the results to be pretty incredible.

Below, we’ve collated a list of side-by-side images (swipe to see) that not only illustrate the power of Realme’s new camera technology, but the remarkable ways in which photography can enhance the most mundane of everyday items.

We’ll start with an item that likely occupies the wardrobe of anyone living in a country with a temperate climate (that includes you, Australian readers). A humble pair of jeans appears decidedly unremarkable at face value, but tie-dyed cotton fibers – otherwise known as denim – look a whole lot more interesting at 40x magnification.

We can’t decide whether a super-zoomed slice of bread makes the world’s greatest invention look more or less appetizing. This is wholemeal bread, but we’re still shocked to see how much chemical-induced stickiness lurks beyond the focus of the naked eye (imagine the results on a shop-bought white loaf…). It tastes great, mind you.

If you hadn’t gathered already, all the items on this list come from the same British household. As for your standard-issue English breakfast teabag, the Realme GT 2 Pro now has us expecting to find a spider's web-encased Frodo Baggins inside every one (yes, that’s a Lord of The Rings joke).

Surely it's not possible to make a pavement (sorry, sidewalk if you're in the US) look interesting? Well, look a little closer… This isn’t the prettiest example of microscopic photography on our list, but it’s still fascinating to see an apparently smooth surface become unrecognizable when magnified several times.

Now this is a result we didn’t expect to see. To the naked eye, the surface of this glossy magazine (which we couldn’t possibly name in writing) appears, well, glossy – but as you can see from the pattern in cover star Mo Salah’s eye, it actually comprises thousands of minute ink spots.

To complement the aforementioned teabag, the humble chocolate digestive biscuit reminds us, at 40x magnification, why we probably shouldn’t eat too many biscuits of this ilk. At first glance, the visible clumps on its surface look like harmless, carpet-destined crumbs – but the GT 2 Pro's microscope reveals their true sugary nature.

Speaking of carpets (or rugs, more specifically), this genuine Mexican poncho passes the authenticity test when placed under the Realme microscope. It looks a lot more welcoming (read: more snuggly) from a distance, mind.

For more on all the latest tech to emerge from MWC 2022, stay tuned to TechRadar over the coming weeks. We've covered all the biggest announcements so far, and are continuing to publish our more detailed thoughts about the trends, surprises and disappointments of this year's mobile showcase. 

Axel Metz
Phones Editor

Axel is TechRadar's UK-based Phones Editor, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest AI breakthroughs as part of the site's Mobile Computing vertical. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion.  Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.