3D-printed pendant lamps spin beauty out of recycled ocean plastic

There’s a reason why plastic is so widely used despite all the campaigns against its negative impact on the environment. They’re cheap to make, somewhat durable, and quite long-lasting. That last part is, of course, the problem with this material, especially when they end up in our waters. The ideal solution would be the completely get rid of the use of plastic, but that is neither realistic nor feasible in the short run. In addition to reducing our reliance on this harmful material, we also have the ability to repurpose plastic these days and use them in ways they weren’t initially designed for. They can, for example, become the foundations of other products, like these pendant lamps that take those ocean-bound wastes and transforms them into beautiful pieces for your home.

Designer: LightArt

We always hear the exhortation to reuse or recycle plastic, but, truth be told, there is only so much you can do with used products, at least without changing them drastically. It admittedly takes a lot more energy to actually break down plastic into new usable material, but it also offers more flexibility in what can be made, especially with today’s 3D printing technologies. These lamps, for example, use 100% recycled polypropylene plastic that has been turned into pellets that are then fed to 3D printing machines.

That process is the simplified version, however, because different kinds of plastic result in different properties. Nearshore plastic like fishing nets, trawls, and ropes, for example, result in a greenish color that gives the Seagrass pendant lamps their verdant hues. The creamy tones of the Sea Foam set, on the other hand, are the result of using ocean-bound plastic bags and water bottles without additive coloring.

The Ocean Coil pendant lamp collection isn’t just about upcycling plastic, however. There is also clear craftsmanship involved, especially in how the lamps look like hand-spun pottery. You definitely wouldn’t have guessed they were practically made from trash because of their elegant appearance, which is precisely the point. The lamps prove that there doesn’t have to be any significant difference between products made from virgin plastic and those spun from recycled ones.

Of course, the process of turning recycled plastic into stunning products isn’t an easy one, at least not yet. There is definitely plenty of room for improvement, especially in minimizing the energy and water requirements when turning plastic into usable pellets. There’s also research to be done on how to better handle this relatively new material, but as the Ocean Coil pendant lamp collection proves, it’s definitely worth all the time and effort in making this journey.

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Samsung Less Microfiber Filters stop our laundry from destroying our oceans

Sometimes it’s the small things that can have the biggest impacts because they’re taken for granted until they snowball into a catastrophe. Small pieces of trash thrown haphazardly gather to become mounds of garbage that block drains and cause floods. Even the way we clean our clothes, unbeknownst to us, can actually kill our seas and oceans in the long run. That’s the unfortunate side effect of having microplastics in the textiles we use, too small to distinguish from the wastewater we drain out of our washing machines. Fortunately, we now know better, and companies like Samsung are lending a helping hand to make sure that our personal hygiene won’t be causing harm to the planet for generations to come.

Designer: Samsung

Given how essential they are both to our comfort and our style, we take for granted what mass-produced clothes are made of. Unfortunately, the synthetic textiles used in many of them actually shed small pieces of plastic or microplastics in our wash. Of course, we simply drain the dirty water like any other, and these microplastics find their way into our oceans, along with the other bits of broken-down plastics from the garbage we carelessly throw away.

Now that the microfiber cat is out of the bag, eco-conscious people are moving quickly to clean up the mess, literally and figuratively. Since it will be next to impossible to immediately change the textile that produces these microplastics, the most efficient solution would be to stop laundry machines from spitting out these minute particles in the first place. That’s where Samsung’s new Less Microfiber Filter comes in, promising to capture as much as 98% of these microplastics before they even hit the drain. The company says that this mass is equivalent to eight 500ml plastic bottles per year if the wash is used four times a week.

The filter is designed with a rather minimalist aesthetic and can be mounted on top of any standard washing machine, not just Samsung’s. The box itself is made from recycled plastics and is shipped in sustainable packaging. It’s also engineered to be long-lasting, maintainable, and convenient to use, requiring cleaning about once a month only. The filter works in conjunction with Samsung’s new Less Microfiber Cycle mode launched last year, which attempts to reduce the shedding of microplastics during washing.

Samsung’s filter, which is available only in South Korea and the UK for now, isn’t the only solution available today. What makes this launch important, however, is the acknowledgment of a major appliance maker of a problem that very few people are aware of. As one of the biggest washing machine manufacturers, it also has an equally big responsibility in righting this wrong, and the filter is a nice and admittedly stylish first step in that direction.

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Minimalist weighing scale design uses one material and just two parts

Sometimes, when we use small items at home, in the kitchen, or at the office, we don’t really pay attention to what materials are used, as long as they fulfill their function. But now that people are more conscious about where things come from and how they are produced, there are some product designers that have been coming up with great concepts that use minimal materials and are cost-efficient. As to whether they can become actual consumer products is still up for debate though.

Designer: Theodore Simon

It’s still pretty interesting though to look at these designs and concepts and see the possibilities. This minimalist and monomaterial kitchen scale was created as a diploma project at ECAL, a university of art and design in Switzerland. This entire scale was made from just plastic and is composed only of two parts, which will make it easier to produce and can also facilitate an easier recycling process even though it’s made from plastic. The concept for the scale is from ideas from micro-engineering and production.

Normally, scales are made from different materials as well as various parts to achieve its functionality of weighing ingredients and other materials placed on it. But with this concept called Lari, Simon was able to use the elasticity of plastic to just use one material and use just two parts. The first part is a tray where you place the item to be weighed and is linked to the base through two flexible parallel beams. The second part is a flexible indicator that is able to calibrate to zero and moves the tray by sliding in the base.

The look of the scale itself is as minimal as its parts and materials. The two parts are like puzzle pieces that you can connect in order for it to function. The accuracy of the scale though is something that may have to be experimented more on, if somebody is able to grab this concept eventually.

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This wooden stool offers a sustainable replacement for a common household product

No matter what part of the world you’re in, you’d probably come across a plastic stool that is employed for different purposes around the house. Of course, it is primarily a seat, but sometimes it’s also used as a makeshift side table for holding tools while you work around the house. Some more daring people even use it as an ad hoc ladder, though that largely depends on the build and stability of the stool. No matter the purpose, this kind of stool has become so ubiquitous that it could be one of the most common uses of plastic in the market. Of course, such a stool doesn’t need to be made from plastic, and this design translates that into wood with some additional quirks that make it stand out.

Designer: Antoine Laboria

Wooden stools are easy enough to make, but one that has the durability of the common thermoformed plastic stool presents a few more challenges. It gets even more complicated if you try to recreate the unique and somewhat iconic form of the plastic original, a form that doesn’t translate cleanly to wood. Throw in some requirements about sustainability, and you’ve got quite the design puzzle.

Thanks to thermoforming, plastic stools often have contours and curves that would be impossible to recreate on wood except through carving. That is definitely a possible solution to recreating the plastic stool faithfully, but it is also expensive and impractical, unlike these sundry pieces of furniture. The Plastic Translation Stool design tries to reinterpret the lines of the plastic stool instead, resulting in a form that is somewhat similar yet also unique, giving the wooden stool its own character.

Those legs alone, however, won’t be enough to offer the same stability as the plastic counterpart, so an additional element had to be added. Birch plywood buttresses distribute some of the force evenly across the beechwood legs, which, in turn, hold the buttresses together. These interlocking parts provide not only architectural stability but also visual accents to what would otherwise be a plain-looking stool.

Unlike a thermoformed plastic stool that comes as a single piece, this wooden reinterpretation has to be assembled together. It doesn’t require screws or nails, though, making the assembly easier and the packaging simpler. It is, after all, supposed to be a more sustainable option to the plastic stool, and such an alternative would need to not only be made from sustainable materials but also be sustainable right to the very end.

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This innovative machine keeps the planet clean while you get your laundry done

There are two chores that seem to be universally disliked or avoided by people of all ages. Washing dishes is one of those, even though it’s probably an easier task than most. Doing laundry, on the other hand, is indeed more laborious, especially if you consider that putting clean clothes away is part of the process. We have all sorts of advanced machines and substances that try to make life easier in that regard, but only as far as humans are concerned. It might come as a surprise that keeping our clothes clean can actually have a detrimental effect on the environment, though not because of the activity itself. Modern-day clothes and fabrics are at the heart of the problem, and this small yet ingenious device solves that in a way that won’t harm the environment in the long run, either.

Designer: Adam Root of Matter

Click Here to Buy Now: $169 $280 (40% off). Hurry, only 18/475 left! Raised over $115,000.

Gulp – The design stops microplastic pollution from your laundry, with zero additional filter costs and no disposable parts.

We take clothes for granted because most of them are cheap to make and look harmless as far as sustainability goes. It’s a rather dirty secret of the textile and fashion industry, however, that many of the materials and processes used to make most fabrics are harming the planet. In addition to toxic chemicals used in dying fabrics, there are microplastics in the synthetic fibers used in making our clothes, tiny particles that eventually make their way into the ocean from our laundry and damage the marine ecosystem. Almost like poetic irony, these microplastics eventually end up in our water, food, and air and eventually enter our bodies.

More environment-conscious people may utilize laundry filters to separate those microplastics before they get released into waterways. Unfortunately, these filters themselves pose risks to the very environment they claim to protect, mostly because their filters have to be replaced and thrown away eventually, not to mention parts that have to be replaced regularly as well. In stark contrast, Gulp offers a holistic solution that simplifies the entire equation to make it effective and efficient every step of the way. No filters or parts to replace, no additional waste, and no harmful microplastics.

Gulp’s simple looks belie the advanced technology and design at work in this washing machine filter. You simply put the device on top or beside your washing machine and hook one end to the washing machine wastewater hose and the other end to your actual wastewater outlet. You then plug Gulp into a mains electric socket and go about your laundry as usual. You don’t need to adjust anything else in your personal system and can even keep using your preferred detergents.

Patented Technology – Gulp’s unique self-cleaning technology means there are no disposable filters or parts required throughout the product life cycle.

Gulp’s unique self-cleaning technology doesn’t require any additional filter and drains the water automatically, so you won’t need anything else as well. When the indicator light says it’s time to empty Gulp, you can simply remove the filter cup and empty out the captured microfibers in a waste bin. Rinse and repeat for a plastic-free and guilt-free laundry day.

What’s even better is that Matter, the creators of this sustainable product, has systems in place to give those microplastics a new home. Starting next year, you can send them your captured microfibers, which will be used for ongoing research or recycled into new materials and products. For just £149 (around $170), you can get a single Gulp to keep both your clothes and the planet clean without having to change your wardrobe or style.

Click Here to Buy Now: $170 $280 (40% off). Hurry, only 19/475 left! Raised over $115,000.

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Flexible Articulated 3D-Printed Fidget Slugs

Anxiety: we all experience it. And what better way to help alleviate that feeling than with a 3D-printed, articulated fidget slug? I can’t think of anything. Granted, I’m not trying to think of anything, but I have to save my brainpower for more important things like what’s for lunch. Available from Etsy shop Nates3DPrintedGifts, these slugs are sure to be the next slap bracelets or Tamagotchi, you just watch.

Nate, who sells the slugs but didn’t design them (available to print yourself for free at Thingiverse HERE), prints them in eleven different colors (including rainbow!), and four sizes (4″, 5″, 6″, 7″), ranging in price from $13 – $27 with free shipping included. That doesn’t sound like a bad deal. Granted, I’ve never shopped for 3D-printed fidget slugs before, so I don’t really have any basis for comparison.

Well, I know what all my nieces and nephews are getting for Christmas this year. 3D printed slugs, just to be clear. Apparently, I still have some making up to do for last year since the 63-piece Craftsman tool sets didn’t go over all that well. Still, they’ll be thanking me years from now when they’re moving into their own places. Maybe then I’ll finally earn that Uncle Of The Year award I’ve been chasing.

Acer Chromebook Vero 514 makes a huge leap in sustainability

Consumer electronics are hardly the most sustainable products on the planet. In addition to the tremendous use of plastics and the electricity they consume, the industry is hell-bent on encouraging people to just buy newer stuff even if their current devices are still serviceable. Worse, there are systems in place that make it almost too inconvenient to continue using aging products through repairs and upgrades. Fortunately, the past few years have seen a rise in awareness of how the destruction of the planet would be bad for business in the long run, pushing manufacturers to lay out their plans to help reduce their negative impact on the environment. Building on the Earthion initiative it announced last year, Acer has come out with a new Chromebook brandishing its eco-friendly Vero brand as its most sustainable laptop yet.

Designer: Acer

Acer made big waves last year when it debuted two sustainability efforts. Earthion is the company’s overarching program to integrate eco-friendly strategies across its many product lines, covering the entire production pipeline from sourcing materials to packaging design to logistics. From Earthion came Acer’s Vero line of eco-conscious devices that now include not just laptops but also monitors, accessories, and even projectors. The new Acer Chromebook Vero 514 is the latest to be added to that family, showcasing advances that the company has made toward its green goals.

It is nearly impossible for computers and smartphones to completely remove the use of plastics, so manufacturers can only mitigate the situation by using post-consumer recycled or PCR plastics. In that light, the Chromebook Vero 514 boasts that the plastic in its chassis and bezels around the screen are made from 30% PCR plastic, while keycaps have it at 50%. In addition, the material used for its internal fan housing and “OceanGlass” touchpad use recycled ocean-bound plastics to help reduce pollution in our waters.

More than just its composition, Acer made this new laptop also more recyclable and repair-friendly to prolong its life. The use of standard screws will make repairs and upgrades easier, and the paint-free chassis is 99% recyclable. Even the packaging, which people tend to take for granted, takes part in the sustainability game. The box is made from 90% recycled paper, and the notebook bag and keyboard sheet are made from 100% recycled plastic. The inner packaging can also be transformed into a triangular laptop stand so that nothing needs to be thrown away.

All of these eco-friendly measures would probably be pointless if the Chromebook Vero 514 wasn’t attractive enough to be bought. In addition to its durable and no-nonsense design, the Chrome OS laptop packs quite a wallop in terms of hardware, utilizing 12th-gen Intel Core processors or an option of a more power-efficient (read: slower) Intel Pentium processor. And since it uses Chrome OS, it will actually be less resource-intensive, helping prolong the laptop’s overall life.

Acer has been making big strides towards its sustainability goals, including running on 100% renewable energy by 2035. That’s still a long way to go, but every step in that direction matters. We’re still from having the perfect sustainable laptop, but the Acer Chromebook Vero 514 definitely offers one of the best combinations of performance and eco-friendly solutions that won’t make you feel short-changed for investing in a green laptop that will serve you well for years to come.

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Samsung sustainability initiative takes a step forward with Unpacked 2022 devices

Smartphones are one of the most ubiquitous pieces of consumer electronics in the world today. An overwhelming number of people have one, some might even have two, and millions of phones are shipped every quarter. In fact, there might be too many smartphones out there in the world, and not all of them are actually in use or even in one piece. As wonderful as smartphones are, their production and disposal contribute to the worsening state of our environment, especially because of how many they are. Smartphone manufacturers have thankfully started to be more aware of their critical role in this broken ecosystem and, even better, are starting to take action. As one of the world’s biggest smartphone makers, Samsung is thankfully taking that responsibility seriously and is boasting the achievements that take it closer to its grand goal in 2025.

Designer: Samsung

From the cradle to the grave, a smartphone’s life is filled with materials and processes that harm the environment or even people. From the plastics used in electronics to the chemicals for treating different parts to the materials used in packaging, these powerful computers in our pockets and hands are almost like death traps for the planet. It’s too late to turn back, of course, so smartphone manufacturers are instead trying to reduce their negative impact little by little on all fronts. Samsung’s “Galaxy for the Planet” initiative tries to cover those different fronts, and the newest batch of devices it just announced demonstrates the progress it has made since the program was announced last year.

Samsung started with the Galaxy S22 earlier this year by using plastics made from recycled fishing nets that would have otherwise ruined our oceans and aquatic life. Since then, Samsung has expanded the use of that material to other Galaxy devices, including the Galaxy Book 2 Pro laptop and the Galaxy Tab S8 tablets. The new Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4 continue that tradition and are even joined by the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. In fact, Samsung boasts that 90% of its new pro earbuds are made using recycled materials. Given its smaller size and fewer components, that is admittedly not that hard to pull off.

The company has also been trying to improve its packaging, and no, it’s not just about removing the charger. The company now uses 100% recycled paper for the packaging of its flagship phones, which does raise questions about the state of its non-flagship phone packaging. Samsung is also trying to reduce how much single-use plastic it puts inside the box, though it’s not yet ready to get rid of them entirely. Both the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and the Galaxy Z Flip 4 boxes are less than half the size of their original models, which results in more efficient transport and reduced carbon emissions overall.

Sooner or later, phones do reach their end of life, mostly because they no longer meet the needs of their owners. That doesn’t mean they’re completely useless, though, especially if they’re actually still functional. Rather than simply breaking these down and having them undergo recycling processes that consume a lot of water and energy, Samsung is proposing upcycling phones to serve other needs, like acting as smart home hubs or cameras. In one specific case, old Galaxy devices even become eye diagnostic tools used in underserved communities.

These small steps forward take Samsung closer to its ambitious goal for 2025, but it might still be quite a ways away from that milestone. In three years, Samsung envisions itself as having eliminated all plastics in packaging, achieved zero waste to landfill, and used recycled materials on all mobile products, not just the flagship ones. Those are lofty goals, indeed, and some might say almost impossible to reach by 2025. When it comes to sustainability, however, every step, no matter how small, counts toward healing the planet and making sure there will still be people around to buy those fancy smartphones in the future.

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This 3D printed machine turns plastic bottles into 3D printing threads

Despite their dangers to the environment, the use of plastics is still on the rise. The material does have desirable properties that make it too easy to ignore their long-term harmful effects on our planet. Recycling plastic products, especially PET bottles, is always an option, but the costs and energy involved make many businesses and individuals just turn a blind eye to the growing problem. What if you could recycle these bottles on your own at home? What if you could use these PET bottles as the very material to create other things? That’s the almost perfect circular economy that this open source machine is trying to make a reality, and the machine itself is 3D printed using the very same material it recycles.

Designer: Reiten Cheng


3D printers have democratized the manufacturing and production industry, allowing almost anyone with enough resources to create the objects of their dreams. While it’s nearly possible to use a variety of filaments as printing materials, the most common are still thermoplastics like PLA and ABS. These only add to the growing number of plastic-based products out in the wild that will eventually end up in landfills. There is now another way to get plastic filaments without having factories churn out fresh new ones.

The Polyformer looks interesting from the get-go, and its name sounds like something taken out of fictional literature. Its translucent white appearance is thanks to the fact that it is made from recycled plastic PET bottles, giving it an appearance that also speaks to its purpose. In a nutshell, the machine slices up PET bottles and melts them to turn them into filaments only 1.75 mm in diameter. These recycled plastic threads can then be used in normal 3D printers to create more things, probably with the same distinctive translucent appearance as the Polyformer.

This is a rather ingenious and creative way to reuse plastic bottles, especially if you’re the type to use a lot of plastic material in 3D printing. If this kind of upcycling becomes more popular, it could help reduce the creation of virgin plastic for the purpose of 3D printing. At the same time, it offers an alternative to the traditional way PET bottles are recycled. Although those can be done en masse, the process often requires long-distance transportation and more water and energy. This way, you can do your own small part in making sure those bottles get a second lease on life.

The best part about this 3D printed upcycling machine is that its designer has made available all the information needed to recreate it yourself. In addition to 3D printed parts, the Polyformer also utilizes components used in normal 3D printers that could be bought off the shelf. The design is also modular, making it easy to swap out parts and customize the design to one’s needs and tastes. Hopefully, the idea catches on and, like in open source software, gets improved on by the maker community so that there could be more sustainable sources for the materials that, in turn, form other products from these creative minds.

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Realme GT2 Pro Review: Designing a Greener Tomorrow

If you look at market intelligence numbers, millions of smartphones are shipped not just every year but every quarter. Given their small size and, in some cases, very affordable prices, these mobile devices have littered the planet, figuratively and literally. Although smartphones do use a lot of metal and glass, many of their parts and the processes used to create these technological wonders contribute to the deteriorating condition of our planet. It’s far too late to turn back on smartphones, tablets, and computers, so it is up to manufacturers to take steps to reduce the negative impact their products make on the environment. Many phone makers have started taking note and taking action, but Realme makes its biggest and boldest statement this year with the Realme GT2 Pro, embodying its vision of a greener future.

Designer: Realme x Naoto Fukusawa

It’s like there are two editions of the Realme GT2 Pro. There are the “normal” ones that come in Steel Black and Titanium Blue colors, while the most notable pair are the Paper White and Paper Green variants. Our review unit is the more common Steel Black, which sadly misses out on the sustainable material used in the Paper editions. Nonetheless, this review will take into account both editions as a whole, especially considering they share almost everything in common except for that special biopolymer case.


Unless you grabbed the Paper White and Paper Green colors, the Realme GT2 Pro would look pretty commonplace. In fact, you won’t even realize what makes those Paper Editions special unless you take a closer look and a closer feel. Realme has opted to stick to a familiar design language, with a rectangular camera block that sits in the corner of the phone’s back. That back is made from AG (anti-glare) frosted glass or biopolymer, depending on the edition, with an aluminum frame that’s flat on the top and bottom edges but curved on the left and right.

While relatively plain in comparison to the likes of the Google Pixel 6, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, or even the OPPO Find X5 Pro, the Realme GT2 Pro’s design language has the benefit of familiarity and a bit of minimalism. Where its peers and rivals have camera bumps that span the entire width of the phone unnecessarily, Realme has remained more conservative in its camera designs, retaining the overall design and changing only the size of the enclosure to fit the number of cameras the phone has. There is an element of beauty in its simplicity, especially given how some phone designs today are so radical to the point of being unappealing.

The Paper White and Paper Green colors have a unique personality that goes beyond their makeup, which we’ll get to later. Closer inspection will reveal micro patterns on the surface of the cover, almost like magnified paper grains. Unsurprisingly, the back cover also feels different, though calling it paper-like wouldn’t exactly be accurate. The roughness of that surface does give the phone an easier grip compared even to matte glass, which is the perfect segue to the phone’s other design characteristic.


The Realme GT2 Pro, particularly the ones with glass rears, is smooth and light to hold. Unfortunately, it might actually be too smooth, which could lead to some very disastrous meetings between the phone and the floor. The frosted look and feel of the Titanium Black’s AG glass do nothing to improve its grippiness. In fact, it might have even made the phone even more slippery compared to glass which sometimes has a bit of stickiness on its surface. Realme does provide a gel case for the phone, but it isn’t transparent like what most manufacturers provide.

The phone does nestle comfortably in the palm of your hand, thanks to the GT2 Pro’s curved sides and curved edge back. It bucks the current trend of going back to flat edges on all sides, making it look and feel like a blast from the past. Unlike the back cover, the screen is completely flat, another design cue that’s coming back into fashion lately. This “old-school” design has the advantage of avoiding unnecessary screen touches that often plague curved edge displays. All in all, the Realme GT2 Pro is comfortable to hold and use, but you’d be advised to use it with a case, especially if you opted for the Black or Blue models.


The Realme GT2 Pro bears the top-of-the-line hardware available to smartphones in the early parts of 2022. That means the somewhat current Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and 8 or 12 GB of RAM right off the bat. You can expand the RAM by 3GB, 5GB, and even 7GB by taking that much space away from the phone’s fast UFS 3.1 storage. You won’t be wanting in performance, though the phone tends to get a bit toasty under heavy use, a trait that seems to be common with phones using this particular processor.

The phone’s display is also topnotch, boating 2K resolution where some of its competitors have stuck with Full HD. It is bright and clear, even under the sun, and colors really pop with a wide color gamut that supports up to 1 billion colors. That comes in really handy when you start taking photos and recording videos. The 6.7-inch LTPO2 screen does have one hidden power you won’t see but will still hopefully notice. Although it can go as fast as 120Hz on some apps, the screen can remain at a steady 1Hz when viewing more static content, yielding a not-insignificant amount of battery savings per day.

Mobile photography is where it’s at these days, and the GT2 Pro is definitely up there with the market’s understated and unnoticed top performers. The phone has two major cameras, both of which have 50MP sensors. This means that you won’t have to sacrifice quality when you switch from wide-angle to ultra-wide-angle, though you will have to give up the Phase-Detect Autofocus and Optical Image Stabilization when you do. The one drawback to Realme’s camera team is the lack of a dedicated telephoto zoom camera, so you’ll have to make do with shooting at a full 50MP resolution and then just cropping out the section you want to zoom in.

In practice, though, it doesn’t matter much because the Realme GT2 Pro takes excellent photos, no matter the time of day. Colors are accurate, and details are well preserved, especially when there is abundant lighting available. The phone does have a night mode available, but it seems you can’t actually turn it off because the AI automatically detects the scene and switches to it at night. On an overcast day, the camera does have a bit of a problem with noise, especially on surfaces with a single color.


There’s no escaping the fact that smartphones are predominantly non-renewable packages of technology, so every little thing that offsets their negative impact on the environment goes a long way. Some smartphone makers have ditched shipping chargers inside their boxes, while others have started using recycled plastics in bits and pieces. Realme has those as well, but it is going beyond just packaging and manufacturing.

Realme does improve its packaging techniques, like reducing the use of plastic and using soy oil ink, but it also makes commitments that go beyond the sale of the phone. For example, it has a program in partnership with treedom that plants a tree for every Realme GT phone sold. Given how fast the brand is growing globally, that could translate to hundreds of trees that will be greeting our descendants in a few years.

Of course, the highlight of the GT2 Pro is its “Paper Tech Master Design,” made in collaboration with its long-time partner and famed industrial designer Naoto Fukusawa. More than just the appearance and texture of these special editions, the back case is also made from biopolymer, which helps reduce the phone’s carbon emissions during production. It is clear proof that it is definitely possible to use alternative materials that make a phone more sustainable while also giving it a stylish appearance.

Unfortunately, Realme is still a few steps short of establishing itself as the exemplar of sustainability in the smartphone market. It still has to embrace a repair strategy similar to Apple, Google, and Samsung, opening the doors to self-repair and easier purchasing of genuine spare parts. It also needs to give a stronger statement about how to make sure used or broken phones are disposed of properly or, better yet, sent back for recycling. The Paper Tech Master Design is definitely a step in the right direction, but it’s still a “limited edition” design that’s outnumbered by dozens of “normal” phones. Hopefully, Realme won’t let these efforts become a one-time publicity stunt and slowly but surely make it the norm for future phones.


Although it might not look or sound like it, the Realme GT2 Pro is a high-end premium smartphone in heart and in deed. If you get the Paper Tech editions, you even get the chance to flaunt it as a stylish designer phone. It has hardware that’s comparable to Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S22 and has cameras that are surprisingly good, even without all the marketing buzz. Given those factors, it might almost be surprising to learn that the phone costs under $1,000, at least in markets where it is available.

The phone’s value, however, extends beyond its actual features and design. To some extent, it is an embodiment of Realme’s sustainability vision and commitment, especially with the Paper editions. When a single purchase of a Realme GT2 Pro gets a tree planted and reaffirms the use of sustainable materials and practices, $1,000 might not be enough to truly show the phone’s actual value.


Truth be told, it’s hard to get excited over a phone whose design has been used over and over again, especially because the smartphone market has conditioned our minds to equate different with exciting. If not for the Paper Tech Master Design, even the White and Green colors of the phone might not be enough to call attention to it. Unfortunately, that would be a huge mistake, given how the Realme GT2 Pro, despite its subdued looks, is actually a powerful and impressive computer in your pocket.

The phone, however, is more than just its specs and its design. It stands for a different way of thinking and a different way of making phones. This year, Realme made a big splash about its sustainability efforts, putting its vision of a Greener Tomorrow front and center. Hopefully, it doesn’t stop with the GT2 Pro, and the company will continue making noise in every new generation of phones that will flood the market.

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