Realme is just over seven months old in the Indian market, but has managed to carve a space for itself thanks to back-to-back launches and aggressive pricing. When Realme 1 launched, the brand was seen as a direct competitor to Xiaomi and its popular Redmi series. With new Realme U1, branded as a ‘selfie pro’ phone, comparisons with the Redmi Note 6 Pro are inevitable.
Realme is a sub-brand of Oppo and this explains why some of the design language like the water drop notch seen on Oppo phones is also available on Realme’s devices like U1 and Realme 2 Pro. The new Realme U1 has a MediaTek Helio 70 processor, a 25MP selfie camera, and a starting price of Rs 11,999. Here’s our review for the Realme U1.
The new Realme U1 has a MediaTek Helio 70 processor, a 25MP selfie camera, and a starting price of Rs 11,999. Here’s our review for the Realme U1.
Realme U1 specifications: 6.3-inch Full HD+ display | MediaTek Helio P70 processor | 3GB/4GB RAM +32GB /64GB storage | 13MP+2MP rear camera and 25MP front camera | Android 8.1 Oreo with ColorOS 5.2 | 3500 mAh battery
Realme U1 price in India: 11,999 for 3GB RAM and 14,999 for 4GB RAM
Realme U1 review: What’s good?
Realme U1 has an impressive design for its price, though it comes with a polycarbonate body. The lack of a metal unibody is not mandatory at this price point, and Realme has shown how one can design a good-looking phone in this price segment. The glass cover at the back gives the phone a more sophisticated look, though it does add fragility to the device.
The blue coloured variant looks very premium and feels sturdy. It manages to stand out, which is what you would want from phones in a new brand. Another positive in my opinion is that Realme U1 is not too heavy, despite the 6.3-inch display.
Realme U1 comes with a water drop notch design, which is less intrusive than the wider notches you will find on other phones. A similar notch is there on Oppo R17 Pro and OnePlus 6T. The display quality is impressive, and is legible in bright sunlight as well, though you will have to crank up brightness.
The colours are not washed out either on Realme U1’s display, which can be an issue on budget phones.
Realme U1 sports the MediaTek Helio P70 octa-core and comes in two RAM and storage variants. Our review unit comes with 4GB RAM+64GB storage. In Antutu benchmarks it scored around 1,44,231 and this puts it above rivals like Redmi Note 6 Pro and Honor 8X, at least on paper.
The phone’s performance did not show any glaring problems. There is no noticeable lag during gaming with titles like Asphalt 9, 8, etc running smoothly on this device and no heating issues either. Multi-tasking is not a problem and the device responds quickly to most tasks, be it keeping multiple tabs open on Google Chrome, a flood of incoming messages from WhatsApp, etc.
Audio quality on calls or while watching videos is also acceptable. The phone had no connectivity issues either with mobile internet. The fingerprint scanner and face scanner worked accurately for me in most instances, and quickly unlocked the phone.
Realme has included some interesting tweaks in ColorOS as well. For instance, you can press and hold the power button of just half a second and it will trigger the Google Assistant. In the Messages app, all notifications promotional messages are automatically clubbed under Notifications, which is good to see.
Realme U1 comes with a 13 MP + 2 MP rear camera, and a 25MP front camera. The rear camera has the Portrait mode, where you can create a shallow depth of field. The rear camera does deliver well, even if the details might not be as sharp in low-light. The camera is quick to respond and the colour, image quality in HDR mode is excellent, especially if I’m considering the price of the phone.
Where the selfie camera goes, this will appeal to those love to tweak their photos. The selfies manage to retain detail, but one also has to keep in mind the lighting angle, because in some cases it can wash out the photo easily. There is a beauty mode as well in the selfie camera, though you can turn that off, which in my view is always a plus.
Realme 2 Pro: What’s not good?
The camera app could be less bit cluttered and it does get very confusing, especially if you trying out a Realme phone for the first time. The Portrait mode needs extensive work in my view. It has an issue with the focus, as the person does not always appear to be in sharp focus when you zoom in. This is even when auto-focus was locked.
Where the selfie camera goes, I found the AI feature rather aggressive in tweaking colours. For instance, in some of the selfies, the blue wall in my house is a bright blue, which is not really the case. Also I’m still not sure why Portrait mode does not work on the front camera.
Realme U1 comes with 3500 mAh battery on board, which should last a day with moderate to heavy usage. However, given that the competition is offering 4000 mAh batteries at a similar or lower price point, will be seen as a negative for the Realme U1. Realme U1 has a standard micro-USB port at the bottom, and takes more than two hours plus to get to a full charge.
Realme U1 review: Verdict
There’s no doubt that Realme U1 is a direct competitor to the newly launched Redmi Note 6 Pro and the Honor 8X. The price of the phone, coupled with its performance and features make it a viable alternative to the Xiaomi device, which tends to generate a lot of hype. This is a promising phone with little flaws. For those who are not hesitant to try out a new brand and want a good selfie camera at a budget, Realme U1 does live up to the claim.
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