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Saturday, Sep 21, 2019

Realme U1 review: Premium design, excellent selfie-camera in your budget

Realme U1 offers premium looks and impressive selfies. But there’s more to the phone. Read our detailed review to find out more.

tech Updated: Dec 06, 2018 12:51 IST
Marcia Sekhose
Marcia Sekhose
Hindustan Times
Realme U1 in gold colour. The smartphone is available in blue and black colour options as well.
Realme U1 in gold colour. The smartphone is available in blue and black colour options as well.(HT Photo)

Brand: Realme
Product name: 
Realme U1
Key specs:
25-megapixel front camera, MediaTek Helio P70 processor, 3/4GB RAM, 3,500mAh battery, 6.3-inch display
Rs 11,999 (starting price)


Realme is on a roll. The company, which is just seven months old in India, has launched its sixth smartphone, Realme U1. The smartphone is part of the company’s new U-series.

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.

Touted as “India’s Selfie Pro” smartphone, Realme U1 features a 25-megapixel selfie camera with Sony IMX576 sensor and f/2.0 aperture.

The smartphone’s highlight is indeed its front camera which takes pretty good selfies, especially in low-light.

Realme U1 offers ‘Night Shot Brightness’ for low-light selfies. I took some photos from the front camera in dark and low light conditions, and the results were quite impressive. Photos had bare minimum noise. You can further enhance the brightness in your selfies by turning the AI beautification on.

Realme U1 camera sample at night.
Realme U1 camera sample at night. ( HT Photo )

Unfortunately, the dual rear cameras don’t deliver the same results in low-light. At the rear, Realme U1 has a dual-camera module consisting of 13-megapixel (f/2.2) and 2-megapixel (f/2.4) sensors. Photos taken at night with the Realme U1’s rear camera come out very grainy. But the camera performs well in bright-lit places outdoors and indoors as well. There’s an expert mode where you can shuffle through the ISO, shutter speed, auto-focus and more.

Realme U1 looks much like the Realme 2 Pro but in a slightly smaller body.
Realme U1 looks much like the Realme 2 Pro but in a slightly smaller body. ( HT Photo )

In terms of design, Realme U1 looks exactly like the Realme 2 Pro but is more compact. The smartphone has a glass-finish in three different colours of blue, black and gold. I had the gold variant of the Realme U1 with a copper-finish panel. I personally liked this colour of the Realme U1 as it offered premium look without being too flashy at the same time. The smartphone is pretty handy as well and it’s neither too big nor small.

Realme U1 has a 6.3-inch full HD+ display with an aspect ratio of 19.5:9 and Gorilla Glass 3 on top. A tiny notch means bigger room for display which is always welcome. The auto brightness, however, doesn’t function smoothly. I had to manually increase the brightness level to the maximum even in well-lit places especially for multimedia streaming. We’re hoping Realme will fix this problem with future software updates.

For performance, Realme U1 runs on MediaTek’s new Helio P70 chipset backed by a 3,500mAh battery. The smartphone meets our expectations in terms of performance which includes long sessions of gaming and normal usage. Realme U1 doesn’t support fast charging so it takes around two and a half hours to fully charge. The smartphone’s battery lasts a full day on normal use but trickles down pretty fast on extensive usage, especially after long sessions of content streaming.

On the software front, it runs ColorOS 5.2 based on Android 8.1. ColorOS isn’t a custom OS I would want to use but this is purely subjective. However, I did find the gestures on the smartphone poorly optimised. Realme U1 offers iPhone X-like gesture-based navigation. Based on my experience, the gestures didn’t work properly which led me to switching back to the traditional on-screen navigation buttons. Gestures on the Redmi Note 6 Pro work far better.


Realme U1 is among the best looking smartphones in India under Rs 15,000. Backed by a strong processor and impressive selfie camera, Realme U1 is definitely worth considering. But if you are a power user and cannot compromise on rear camera quality, Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 6 Pro is the phone for you. 

First Published: Dec 06, 2018 12:50 IST