Less than a year old Chinese handset manufacturer Realme has launched its sixth smartphone, Realme U1. The smartphone is part of the company’s new U-series and is the first phone to debut MediaTek's Helio P70 SoC. With its U-series, Realme aims to offer camera-centric phones while offering style and power at affordable prices. Realme U1 comes in two variants — 3GB RAM with 32GB storage priced at Rs 11,999, and 4GB RAM with 64GB storage priced at Rs 14,499. Realme has termed the U1 “India’s Selfie Pro” smartphone that features a 25MP selfie camera with Sony IMX576 sensor and f/2.0 aperture. We reviewed the device to see how close it comes to the company's claims. Here are our observations:
Design & Display
The Realme U1 is similar in design to the Realme 2 pro. Both the phones are similar in display and physical dimensions as well . Even the camera and loudspeaker grille placement are alike on both the phones. The back side of the Realme U1 is made of multiple laminated layers that give it a glass-like appearance and makes it heat- and scratch-resistant. The back has a 2.5D panel that makes refractive lines on the panel visible, depending on the angle you hold it. Realme calls this 'light pillar design'. The back side is prone to smudges and is a fingerprint magnet, therefore it requires regular cleaning. The phone's light weight and rounded frame make it easy to hold in hands. The Realme U1 comes in three colour variants — Ambitious Black, Brave Blue and Fiery Gold.
When it comes to display, the Realme U1 shares the same display of the Realme 2 Pro. The front is dominated by a 6.3-inch fullHD+ screen with a tiny notch on top and a thick bezel at the bottom. The screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 3. It might not be the best display, especially for multimedia content, but it has ample brightness to stay legible in sunny outdoors, good contrast levels and satisfactory colour rendition.
Performance & Battery
The Realme U1 is powered by MediaTek’s Helio P70 processor clocked at 2.1GHz. It is paired with ARM Mali-G72 MP3 GPU clocked at 900MHz for better image processing. Realme U1 is the first phone to ship with the new MediaTek processor. It also comes with a dedicated core for AI specific tasks. The phone is fast and snappy. Apps are quick to open and load and the processor handles pretty much anything you throw at it during the day. Daily usage apps such as facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp run smoothly. We experienced no lags while browsing the internet with multiple tabs open and games such as PubG and Asphalt ran smoothly without any hiccups on medium graphic settings. The phone however does get warm after extensive gaming sessions but overall keeps the thermals under control. There is also a game speed booster which accelerates the performance by clearing the RAM and background apps, and dedicating resources to the game. The phone boots Android 8.1 Oreo covered under the Colour OS 5.2 user interface, which is similar to the user interface seen in Oppo-branded smartphone.
The phone supports face unlock mechanism, which is fairly accurate and fast. The rear-mounted fingerprint sensor is also one of the fastest in its segment. The addition of gesture to control the user interface is a welcome addition too.
Coming to the battery, the Realme U1 is powered by a 3500 mAh battery that can last for a day. Juts like other phones in this segment, the U1 has a Micro USB port instead of the Type- C port. The phone lasted for almost a day with usual day-to-day activities that include browsing the Internet, streaming videos, scrolling through the social apps and a bit of gaming .
As expected, the camera performance of the Realme U1 is impressive . One of the highlights of the smartphone is its 25-megapixel selfie snapper with f/2.0 aperture. It supports face unlock, which is pretty fast, even in dim lighting conditions. There is also the AI Beauty+ feature to improve selfies by recognising 296 facial points to provide custom beauty solutions. The rear camera boast of a dual camera module with a 13MP (f/ 2.2) primary sensor, a 2MP (f/2.4) secondary sensor and an LED flash. Selfies captured outdoors in daylight are detailed and sharp with apt exposure and fairly accurate color reproduction. The selfie AI portrait mode works well for its price point. There are beauty mode effects as well including the option to beautify multiple people in a single shot. It is only in low light the camera struggles a bit and the pictures turn out to be on the softer side. The primary 13MP sensor on the rear does a good job as well with detail under natural light, but struggles as well in low light. We also gets a slow-motion video mode on Realme U1 this time which will also be coming to the Realme 2 Pro soon.
Starting from Rs 11,999, the Realme U1 is is a good-looking device with an impressive camera and a powerful processor. The Realme U1 misses out on a few things like the low-light performance of its front as well as rear camera and video stabilization but has a powerful processor, good battery life, a sharp display and takes good pictures in daylight.