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Captain Marvel Movie 2019

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Realme U1 Review: Is This The New Budget Smartphone That Can Dethrone Xiaomi?

In the last year, the smartphone industry has drastically changed in India. Xiaomi has been on a blitzkrieg to grab market share and everyone has been trying their best to catch up. In this chaos, we witnessed the launch of a new brand called Realme. At first, the company focused on making budget phones and rapidly changed its focus to the midrange as well.

The Redmi series has been ruling the segment, and the Realme U1 was launched specifically to challenge the incumbent. Realme is a very young brand and has always wanted to attract the younger audience. 

The Realme U1 has a premium-ish design, huge cameras on paper, and a brand new processor. Realme also has OPPO's backing in terms of development experience and readily available technology.

While the Redmi Note 6 Pro was massively trolled for using the same processor of the predecessor, Realme grabbed the opportunity. But, specifications mean nothing if they can't deliver an equivalent experience. Let's see whether this phone has what it takes to be a segment leader.

Design & Display:

Realme U1 Review: The New Budget Leader In Town?© MensXP

The phone looks strikingly similar to the Realme 2 Pro, in fact, the two have the exact same design, display, physical dimensions, weight and even the camera and loudspeaker grille placement. The Realme U1 comes in three colour variants—Ambitious Black, Brave Blue and Fiery Gold. The device is extremely light to hold and sports a glass-like back with a reflective surface. The back cover is made out of a transparent acrylic composite and not glass.

The Realme U1 has a plastic frame around the display that bulges out on all four sides, giving the rather flat device a rounded appearance around the edges. I prefer the curved edges as it makes the phone ergonomic and more resistant to drops. The backing isn't easily prone to scratches and the camera bump is barely noticeable.

Realme U1 Review: The New Budget Leader In Town?© MensXP

The left side houses the volume rocker and a SIM tray, while the right side has the power button. A micro USB port and 3.5mm headphone jack sit at the bottom. For authentication, a fingerprint scanner is located on the rear which is sufficiently fast and extremely easy to locate.

Yes, the reflective backing makes the phone slippery and prone to smudges. When compared to the competition, the phone has a cleaner design and the composite material does an excellent job at imitating itself as glass.    

Realme U1 Review: The New Budget Leader In Town?© MensXP

On the front, it has a 6.3-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 2340x1080. Thanks to the waterdrop notch, it has a whopping 90 per cent to body ratio. In terms of looks, yes, the front looks stunning due to the small bezels and chin. For indoor usage, the display is bright enough and has well-saturated colours. But it lacks contrast and visibility under direct sunlight is poor.


Realme U1 Review: The New Budget Leader In Town?© MensXP

Realme U1 comes with a 13-megapixel + 2-megapixel rear camera, and a 25-megapixel 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. It also supports facial identification point via AI for faster authentication.

In good lighting conditions, the rear camera has exceedingly sharp pictures with ample detail. In low light, the phone often fails to adjust proper shutter speed or exposure and messes up the image. Same goes for the front camera. Obviously, it comes with an AI Selfie mode to beautify pictures and you can turn it off.

Realme U1 Review: The New Budget Leader In Town?© MensXP

It supports video recording in 1080p and the quality is as we expected. The auto-focus is quick to respond and the frame rates are solid. While the camera app can work well most of the time, there are times where it lags a bit.

Realme U1 Review: The New Budget Leader In Town?© MensXP

Realme U1 Review: The New Budget Leader In Town?© MensXP

Realme U1 Review: The New Budget Leader In Town?© MensXP

Realme U1 Review: The New Budget Leader In Town?© MensXP

Realme U1 Review: The New Budget Leader In Town?© MensXP

Realme U1 Review: The New Budget Leader In Town?© MensXP

Performance & Software:

Under the hood, the Realme U1 is very different from the Realme 2 Pro. It features MediaTek's Helio P70 processor clocked at 2.1GHz and paired with ARM Mali-G72 MP3 GPU clocked at 900MHz for better image processing. In simpler terms, the overall performance and AI tasks are much better than the P60 and it's unarguably one of the best in the price range.

The phone's performance did not show any glaring problems. There is no noticeable lag during gaming with titles like PUBG on "medium" graphics, and there's no heating issue or massive frame drops. There's also a DND for Gaming mode making it a delight for intensive gamers. Our unit had 3GB RAM, and it was more than sufficient for light multitasking.

Realme U1 Review: The New Budget Leader In Town?© MensXP

The phone runs Android Oreo out of the box along with ColorOS 5.2 UI. ColorOS on this phone does have some new tweaks and features making it more stable and optimized for heavy usage. There are a few bloatware apps, but they can be easily removed and additional features include gestures for navigation, taking screenshots, and enabling split-screen mode.

The UI still doesn't have an app drawer, and like every other phone, the notch can be disabled. Overall, the UI does tend to stutter sometimes, but they aren't long enough and won't actually affect you for more than a second.

It comes with a 3500 mAh battery which lasted me well through the day, and even more on lighter usage. The screen on time is almost 14.5 hours and the phone comes bundled with a 10W charger.

The Final Say:

Realme U1 Review: The New Budget Leader In Town?© MensXP

Starting at Rs 12,999, the Realme U1 is a worthy phone that delivers well on all fronts. In fact, performance-wise it's often better than its much more expensive counterparts like the Redmi Note 6 Pro. The phone is built for users who want performance, good selfies, and a sturdy design. If you're looking for a photography-centric phone, this isn't built for you.

The Realme U1 starts at Rs 11,999 for the 3 GB RAM model and the 4 GB RAM variant is priced at Rs 13,999. Considering, that the Realme U1 has a powerful processor and delivers a decent battery life, the 3 GB variant is actually a must grab.

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