What makes a good phone is a combination of the right hardware and software. Most smartphone manufacturers provide a pretty standard package when it comes to a budget device. They put in the most basic hardware, a tried and tested design and a camera that just works. But Realme is not like most. The company, although a couple of years old, has always strived to provide the best experience to the customer. With each new handset, it brings a distinct and utilitarian USP to the fore.
The C series has the Realme C1 offering the most value in the entry-level; the Realme series is focused on providing unprecedented power in the budget segment, while the Pro series, the flagship for youth, has handsets like the Realme 2 Pro that have powerful features and style.
With the U series, Realme is set to change smartphone photography in the budget segment. The latest Realme offering – the Realme U1 is s a powerful selfie-centric phone and the first ever smartphone powered by the AI master MediaTek Helio P70 processor globally.
The device comes in two variants; 3 GB RAM + 32 GB ROM at INR 11,999/- and 4GB RAM + 64GB ROM at INR 14,499/- in three exquisite colours, Fiery Gold, Ambitious Black and Brave Blue. Specifically created for the Indian selfie lovers, the smartphone comes with an AI 25 MP front camera with Sony IMX 576 flagship sensor and 6.3-inch FHD+ Dewdrop Full Screen.
Since its direct competitor is the Redmi Note 6 Pro (which also has a good camera), we decided to pit the two against each other. Here is what we found:
Born as “Indian’s Selfie Pro”, the Realme U1 is equipped with an AI 25 MP SelfiePro front camera powered by SONY’s IMX576 light sensor with its strong bottom imaging capacity. With more powerful fundamental computing capacity and image processing, it fully supports users to take selfies, due to Realme U1’s Helio P70 processing platform.
The Note 6 Pro has a 20-megapixel selfie camera and a 2-megapixel depth sensor.
The Realme U1 SelfiePro cameras have been specifically developed to showcase Indian people’s skin tones. They precisely capture details of eyes and hair, through 296 facial identification points. The phone applies the most suitable beautification solutions without tempering, slimming and whitening.
Redmi Note 6 Pro
The pictures are not as good as compared to the Realme U1. The colour reproduction seems a bit off and the overall photos seem faded.
The Realme U1 comes with a 13MP+2MP dual rear camera setup. The 13MP main camera helps recover objects and precise details, while the 2MP secondary camera handles the depth-of-field and bokeh effects to add more fun to the pictures. The smart camera phone also supports 90fps/720P slow-mo video capture to slow down the wonderful moments in life for more fun.
The Redmi Note 6 Pro has a 12MP+5MP configuration with the secondary 5MP camera being used for depth sensing. This camera protrudes a little and if you are not a fan of this, you’ll have to use an external case or phone cover.
Below are some sample images:
Good, realistic colours and beautiful pictures
The portrait mode, as shown below, accurately blurs the background, keeping only the subject in the frame.
In low light, the Realme U1 cameras capture ample detail and have accurate colour reproduction.
Redmi Note 6 Pro
In natural light, the details are good, but the colours are a bit oversaturated.
There is a similar contrast with the portrait mode on.
In low light, there is a clear difference in colour reproduction and details.
Xiaomi has been working on a tried and tested design language and the Redmi Note 6 Pro sports the same old design. The device is almost identical to its predecessor, the Note 5 Pro. It also has a rectangular notch, which again has been used and overused by manufacturers in this price segment. As far as the design language goes, the latest Redmi device offers nothing spectacular.
The Realme U1 bids farewell to the overused solid colour and embraces light pillars
that cater to young people. With a 6.3-inch dewdrop screen, the U1 boasts a screen-to-body ratio of 90.8% and a screen ratio of 19.5:9. The back panel of the mobile phone is constructed using a 13-layer micron-level coating that has been baked and polished at a very high temperature, with layers finely joined to achieve atomic-level bonding between the laminates. The result is a back cover that combines transparency and rugged durability.
With transparent acrylic composite as the back cover material, this is a perfect solution to simulate the transparency and reflection of the glass. Compared with the real glass, it enjoys better durability and shatter resistance. The phone is made lighter and gives a better hand
feel. The carefully designed 2.5D edge offers smooth transition in both visual and haptic sense. The bezel adopts precise injection moulding process, making the phone more comfortable and tender toward users.
The Realme U1’s 6.3’’ Dewdrop Full Screen integrates the front camera, light sensor, proximity sensor, and a receiver adopting a new channel sound transmission design in the “dewdrop” on the top of the screen. Together, these maximize performance and augment the phone’s visual impact.
Battery and Processor
The Realme U1 ships with the Helio P70 processor, which uses TSMC’s latest 12nm FinFET production process, and helps reduce power consumption by 15% compared to other 14nm class processors. At the same time, the P70 features an octa-core architecture with four Cortex-A53 high-efficiency cores and four Cortex-A73 high-performance cores, for a maximum clock speed of 2.1GHz. In terms of graphics processing, the P70 is equipped with a 900MHz ARM Mali-G72 MP3 GPU, resulting in overall computing performance that is 13% higher than the P60. This results in a smooth and lag-free gaming experience even for high-end games like PUBG and Asphalt 9.
The Helio P70 is much faster and better than the Snapdragon 636 that the Redmi Note 6 Pro has. In the Antutu benchmark test, the Redmi Note 6 Pro scored 115611, while the Realme U1 scored a respectable 145021. The Helio P70 is definitely better in terms of pure performance and has no heating issue, even after a long usage. The GPU on the P70 is better as well.
On the battery front, the Realme U1 is powered by a 3,500 mAh battery – the same capacity as the one within the Realme 2 Pro. It supports regular 5V/2A charging, which restores about 30% of a depleted battery in 30 minutes. This is as fast as you can expect in this price segment.
Although it is a smaller capacity battery, the performance and charging time is comparable, and sometimes even a little better than the Redmi’s 4000 mAh battery. The Realme U1 scored an excellent result in our battery test with a 93-hour Endurance rating. It did a great job in all tested scenarios – video playback, calls, web browsing and even stand-by performance.
The Realme U1 runs on Android Oreo-based ColorOS 5.2, which is easy to use and quite intuitive. The phone supports gesture navigation, split-screen multitasking and a number of other modern features. There is a super nifty ‘Smart Scan feature’, which allows you to transcribe any written text into an editable text through your device’s camera. Apart from English, German, Italian, Spanish, French, Korean, Japanese and Chinese, this feature also supports Hindi.
The Redmi Note 6 Pro runs the Android Oreo-based MIUI 10, which is often criticised of ads within the interface.
Realme U1 is the best choice in the segment in all aspects as compared to Redmi Note 6 Pro. From a distinctly attractive design language to some impressive cameras, the Realme U1 resonates well with its target audience, i.e young people.
The Realme U1 with Ambitious Black and Brave Blue colours will be exclusively available on Amazon.in from December 5, at 12:00 noon. The Fiery Gold version will be available from around New Year, 2019. Realme has also launched a new accessories range including Realme Buds (earphones) and Realme phone cases, which will be available for purchase from New Year, 2019.
Below are the details of the phone’s availability.