Realme has added a new series to its portfolio and the first smartphone of this series is Realme U1. This is also the company’s first Selfie Pro smartphone. It seems that once a sub-brand of Oppo, Reality wants to repeat the same strategy of its old company. No doubt Oppo’s F series has been extremely popular. Apart from the high-resolution front camera, this handset is the first smartphone to come with the Helio P70 processor. This processor has been claimed to be more powerful and capable than the Helio P60.
In the market, Realme U1 will compete with Xiaomi’s Redmi Y series which is known for selfie smartphones. Other than this Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1 And Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro will also be a challenge. Is the Realme U1 a smartphone worth buying? Let’s find out…
Realme U1 Design
Realme U1 looks very recently launched Realme 2 Pro seems to be. There is nothing wrong in this. The curved edges ensure good grip and the matte finish does not slip in the hands. The display protrudes slightly from the body of the phone. Same is the case with laminated back. The good thing is that there were no scratch marks on the back of this phone during the review. The 8mm thick Realme U1 is comfortable to hold in hand and 168 grams can’t be considered too heavy.
Button position is good. We didn’t have much trouble reaching the power and volume buttons during the review. The SIM tray on the left has separate slots for two nano SIM and microSD card. The speaker grille, Micro-USB port and 3.5mm headphone socket are at the bottom of the Realme U1. Disappointed to not see USB Type-C again. We have a problem with the position of the speaker grille. Holding the phone horizontally, it gets blocked easily. This means that the sound will not be clear while playing games or watching videos.
The 6.3-inch screen comes with 450 nits brightness level. For this reason, there is no problem in reading on the screen in sunlight. It is an IPS panel and the screen resolution is 1080×2340 pixels. The pictures on the display look sharp. You will also get the facility to control the color temperature in the Settings app. Realme has used Corning Gorilla Glass 3 which is a bit old. But something is better than nothing. There is already a screen guard on the phone. It got scratch marks easily. Fingerprints also fall easily on the screen guard. Similar is the case with laminated back panels. In such a situation, it will not be easy to keep the Realme U1 always clean.
Waterdrop or Dewdrop Notch is beautiful to look at. You can also hide the notch if you want. There is a camera on the front panel. There are also earpieces and select sensors on top of it. There is no notification LED due to limited space.
The laminated back light gives a great visual effect when bounced. We got the Ambicious Black unit for review. You also have options of Brave Blue and Fiery Gold. The bulge of the dual rear camera module is not too much. The fingerprint sensor is capable of fast identification. Its texture is slightly different from the texture of the back panel. So the sensor is easy to find. Face unlock is also fast and the display lights up in low light so that the phone can be easily unlocked by face.
The Realme U1 handset comes with a 10W power adapter, USB charging cable, silk case, SIM ejector tool and some documents. The quality of the accessory is good.
Realme U1 Software and Specifications
One of the key features of the Realme U1 is the MediaTek Helio P70 processor. This is a faster version than the Helio P60 chipset. According to Realme, this chipset gives 13 percent better performance than its old variant. It is claimed to be an improved version of MediaTek’s on-chip AI processing engine. Reality U1 achieved good scores in the benchmark test.
We have reviewed 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage variants of this phone. By the way, you also have the option of 3 GB RAM and 32 GB storage. Other features include dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 AC, Bluetooth 4.2, USB-OTG, FM radio, GPS and GLONASS. Dual 4G Dual VoLTE support is available. Proximity sensor, gyroscope, compass, ambient light sensor and accelerometer are part of this phone.
Like the Realme 2 Pro, the Realme U1 has been given ColorOS 5.2 based on Android 8.1 Oreo. It has the security patch of October 2018. The company says that the phone will get the Android Pie update early next year. It also has some new software features. Realme has finally removed the two-step process to dismiss the notification by providing a single right swipe feature.
You will get many apps already installed. Most of these can be uninstalled. Gestures have been given for navigation, screenshot and split screen mode. This phone has features like Smart Scan and Oroming.
Smart Scan now supports Hindi. Using this app, you can also scan Hindi document, after which the picture will be converted into text format. It works well and doesn’t even require an active internet connection. However, you will need internet for ‘Scan and translate,’ which does real time translation.
Realme U1 Performance, Camera and Battery Life
The Realme U1 never surprised in daily use. The performance was as expected. Removing fingerprint from this phone is a very difficult task. We suggest you to use the cover provided with the phone. The display is lively. Viewing angles are also quite good. We also have no complaints with the call quality. The phone remained cold on most of the occasions.
The Helio P70 processor handles most games with ease. There is no drop in framerate either. Asphalt 8: Legends also played well in the High graphics preset. PUBG Mobile ran smoothly in medium settings. The phone does get hot when gaming and using the camera for a long time, which is common. Most popular audio and video formats played fine.
Since this is a selfie camera smartphone, let’s start with the front camera. It has a sensor of 25 megapixels with F / 2.0 aperture. In daylight, the Realme U1 captures selfies with details. Skin tones are good and colors come out well. AI beauty mode is also not very aggressive. It smoothens your skin on most of the occasions.
If you like more saturated colours, then you will love Super Vivid Mode. If you want, you can activate the depth effect or portrait mode, which do a good job of blurring the background. In portrait mode, the camera uses four-in-one binning technology. You get pictures with better detail, but the resolution remains with the 8-megapixel shot. You also get a preview of the HDR version when you shoot in bright light.
In low light, we found that the camera was having trouble capturing clean and detail shots. The surprising thing is that the camera here shoots in 25 megapixels resolution. Not in pixel binning techniques. Because of this Selfie Granny comes. HDR mode doesn’t help much either. In this, the bright lights in the background seem to be burnt out. Edge detection is also not very accurate in low light and bokeh mode.
There is a 13-megapixel camera on the rear with F/2.2 aperture. It captures pictures with detail in natural light, but lags in low light. Autofocus is also not very fast. It consumes few seconds before locking the focus. Super Vivid Mode is a useful feature. HDR also works satisfactorily. You will get modes like Panorama, Timelapse, Professional and Portrait. Portrait shots are good due to the depth sensor of 2 megapixels.
With this phone, you will be able to record videos of maximum 1080 pixels resolution. But there is no electronic stabilization. Quality is good, but autofocus doesn’t work fast. The framerate is very solid and low-light footage is not too noisy. Despite having a powerful processor, the rear camera cannot record 4K videos. This is disappointing, as many phones in this price segment are equipped with this feature.
The 3500 mAh battery easily lasts the whole day. In our HD video loop test, the battery of Reality U1 lasted for 14 hours and 56 minutes. There’s no fast charging, but the 10W adapter helps with faster charging.
The price of Realme U1 starts at Rs 11,999. This price is of 3 GB RAM and 32 GB storage version. The price seems aggressive considering the powerful processor and battery life. at this price you Xiaomi Redmi Y2 4 GB variant will be available. But keeping in mind the performance of the front camera of both the phones in low light, according to us, Reality U1 is a better option. Because it comes with the latest design and more powerful processor.
The 4GB RAM variant we tested costs Rs 14,499. In a way, it challenges the initial variant of the powerful Reality 2 Pro of Reality itself. Realme 2 Pro comes with a better rear camera and has support for 4K video. If both these things are primary for you, then we would suggest you to buy the Pro model. It was our expectation that the camera performance of Reality U1 would have been equal to or better than Reality 2 Pro. This phone market will also be challenged by Redmi Note 6 Pro and Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 (6GB) which give good performance in every department.
There are also some drawbacks in this phone of Realme. There is no video stabilization and the low light performance of both the camera setups is very average. But the powerful processor, strong battery life, great camera performance in daylight, sharp display and beautiful design make this phone a good choice.