Realme U1 Review – Better Selfies, Faster Performance

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Realme has been quickly populating affordable online market segment which formerly enjoyed an unrivaled run for Xiaomi’s Redmi alternatives. The new U-series will allegedly bring in Selfie-focused phones, but the first in line, the Real U1, is so much more. (Realme U1 Review हिंदी में पढ़िए)

The handset brings in powerful hardware, including the recently introduced MediaTek Helio P70 chipset, for a starting price of Rs. 11,999. But is the practical experience good enough? We have been using the phone as our daily driver for the last one week, and have jotted down our findings in our Realme U1 full review.

Page Contents:

Realme U1 Price and Specifications

Model Realme U1
Display 6.3-inch FHD+ (2340 x 1080 pixels);19.5:9; 409 PPI

Gorilla Glass 3

Processor 2.1 GHz MediaTek Helio P70 Octa-core chipset; ARM G72 GPU
Internal Storage 32GB/64GB, expandable up to 256GB
Software Android 8.1 Oreo-based Color OS 5.2
Primary Camera 13MP rear camera, f/2.2 aperture + 2MP, f/2.4 aperture
Secondary Camera 25MP selfie camera, f/2.0 aperture
Dimensions and Weight 157 x 74 x 8mm and 168 Grams
Battery 3500mAh
Others 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS/ A-GPS, Micro-USB, and a 3.5mm headphone jack
Realme U1 Price in India Rs. 11,999 – 3GB + 32GB                                                Rs.14,499 – 4GB + 64GB

Realme U1 Box content

  • Handset
  • USB Cable
  • 10W Charging Adapter
  • Transparent back cover
  • Screen protector (pre-installed)
  • Warranty card and other documentation

Also Read: Realme 2 Pro Review with Pros and Cons

Realme U1 Review: Design and Build

Just as all other Realme phones, the U1 brandishes a glass finish but is entirely made of plastic. The upside is that the polycarbonate glass on the back can withstand drops better than real glass or, in other words, should be more durable.

There is a 13-layer coating under the transparent acrylic composite back, which makes the phone reflect light falling at an angle. And the U1 will be available in three attractive colors – Fiery Gold, Ambitious Black, and Brave Blue.

The front is mostly screen and you get a trendy ‘dew drop’ notch in the top-center. The bezels surrounding the screen are extremely narrow too. And that’s perhaps as good as it gets in this budget.

The U1’s semblance with Realme 2 Pro – or other Realme phones for that matter- shouldn’t be a point of contention for consumers since the brand is still quite new and most people would be buying their first Realme phone.

Individually scrutinized, the design looks premium and the phone is quite comfortable to handle. As expected, the glass-finish back panel is susceptible to smudges, but that’s something a case would fix. Speaking of which, Realme has also launched its own case cover that you can purchase separately for Rs. 499.

The Realme U1 further has a regular Micro USB port and the audio jack at the bottom, and a dedicated card slot to add secondary storage. The fingerprint sensor on the rear and buttons on the side edges are easily accessible.

Realme U1 Review: Display

The U1 has a 6.3-inch display (19.5:9) with a tiny dew drop notch that houses the selfie camera sensor and other pre-requisites. It’s a full HD+ (2340 x 1080) LTPS IPS LCD panel and is amply sharp. Outdoor visibility under direct sunlight isn’t stellar, but the display was still perfectly legible outdoors.

The panel is protected by Gorilla Glass 3, and a pre-fixed screen protector. Color reproduction, contrast, and dynamic range are quite reasonable considering the price. The default color temperature is bluish but you can switch to a more apt warmer profile from display settings.

Most likely, Realme 2 Pro has the same display panel as Realme U1. At the same time, the 2 Pro handles auto-brightness a tad better and shows minutely better dynamic range when compared side by side. Surely these can be dismissed as minor quibbles.

There is no option to turn the notch off, but you can decide to hide the Notch-strip within individual apps where it’s obtrusive (Like in WhatsApp). And Yes, for whoever wants to know, the phone does have the option to zoom and fill content to full screen in apps like YouTube.

The use of the tiny dew drop notch helps save some status bar space, but the software doesn’t leverage this advantage as app notification icons still don’t show up on the status bar.

Also Read: Redmi Note 6 Pro Review – Not much has changed 

Realme U1 Review: Performance and Software

Realme U1 is the first MediaTek Helio P70 powered phone, so we still don’t have much experience with the chipset. Going by the benchmark scores, the Helio P70 proved to be better than or comparable to Snapdragon 660.

In our practical experience, the U1 turned out to be butter smooth and was very responsive in day-to-day usage. Multitasking can be abruptly aggressive at times, but that has more to do with the software.

The high-end games like Asphalt 9 and PUBG that we tried ran well and we didn’t notice any unnatural heating or throttling while pushing the chipset to its limit. In India, the Realme U1 will be available in two variants with different RAM and Storage, and we have been testing the 4GB RAM/64GB variant.

Unlocking the Realme U1 is perfectly smooth. The face unlock on the phone is extremely fast, but it prioritizes convenience and speed over security. The fingerprint sensor is remarkably fast too. We didn’t face any connectivity issues on Realme U1. Call quality was excellent in our area and the UI has built-in call recording.

The software is Android 8.1-oreo based Color OS. This isn’t our favorite custom skin, primarily because of how diligently it takes after the iOS. Realme has made some minor changes to the skin. For instance, unlike Oppo phones, you have the option to swipe away notifications in one step.

Realme U1 Review: Camera Performance

As far as hardware goes, you get a 13MP rear camera with a 2MP depth sensor, and a 25MP selfie camera up front. The camera app and metering remain similar to what you’d get on the Realme 2 Pro.

Let’s talk about the selfies first. The 25MP front camera can capture a good amount of detail and ends up with more natural shots. It does have trouble handling tricky exposures, though. There are numerous software enhancements like HDR, Vivid mode, AI beautification, etc. But not all of these work as they should. The overall selfie quality is better than Realme 2 Pro and comparable to the best available options in this budget.

The Rear camera can click useable and vibrant shots in proper outdoor lighting but takes a hit in low light. The HDR mode is well balanced and can salvage details from shadows. The camera sometimes struggles with focussing on close objects.

Colors are vivid and dynamic range is wide for shots clicked outdoors. But reds and greens tend to get oversaturated

In low light, the rear camera performance isn’t much to write home about. 

The portrait mode can be a hit or a miss. Bokeh is well balanced but edge detection needs to get better. The 2X Zoom button on the Viewfinder is for digital zoom.

We didn’t get a chance to compare the U1 against the Redmi Note 6 Pro. But overall, the camera performance is certainly above average in the respecitive price range.

Realme U1 Review: Battery and Audio

The 3500mAh battery on the Realme can comfortably last for a day of moderate to heavy usage. We managed 7 to 8 hours of screen on time. The 10W charger bundled with the phone takes around two hours and 15 minutes to charge the phone completely.

The audio output via loudspeaker or via headphones isn’t outright impressive, but it is certainly above average and better than most other phones you get in this budget.

Realme U1 Review – Should you buy it?

The Realme U1 can be viewed as MediaTek Helio P70 version of Realme 2 Pro. Yes, there are a few notable differences between these phones, the prominent one being the selfie camera, but the experience is largely the same.

That being said, the Realme U1 is an excellent option for its price. It offers powerful performance, an improved selfie camera, a long-lasting battery, and an attractive design. The handset will primarily compete with the likes of Redmi Note 6 Pro in India and has enough muscle to stand its ground.


  • Premium design
  • Solid Performance
  • Dedicated card slot
  • Fast Face Unlock and Fingerprint sensor
  • Battery backup


  • Lowlight camera performance
  • Software needs more work
  • No notification LED
Deepak SinghDeepak Singh
Deepak has more than 8 years of experience in covering technology for several eminent publications in India. He currently leads an enthusiastic team of young writers at Smartprix and tries to uphold the highest quality standards.

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4 years ago

Its a good phone Selfie is very good

4 years ago

i’m really impressed with realme phones, the performance of mediatek processors is unexpectedly amazing

4 years ago

after using it dor for 2-3 months now I highly recommend Realme U1, it is all because of premium and classic look, the very smooth performance of helio P70 and powerful battery

5 years ago

one major drawback is realme u1 do not support 5ghz wi fi camera is okay in light but very poor in low light there UI is not user friendly for instance you cant mark all and select for sms overall I would say its not better than redmi note 5 which is available in same or less price

Bhavin Rajput
5 years ago

being powered by mediatek helio p70 is a major pro giving a powerful performance