Oppo Realme 1 price in India starts at Rs 8,990.
The Realme 1 is exclusively available via Amazon India.
The top-end variant comes with 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage.
Xiaomi entered the Indian smartphone market in 2014 with an online-only model, and has seen a great success. Oppo and Vivo, on the other hand, have focused on the offline space, and they have been fairly successful too. But unlike Xiaomi, the specifications on Oppo and Vivo smartphones have always left us desiring more. As there are no overhead costs involved with online-only model, brands like Xiaomi and OnePlus can offer top of the line hardware, at a fraction of the cost.
Oppo, with the new online-only Realme brand is playing the specifications war, taking Xiaomi heads-on. The first smartphone is called Realme 1, which will be available exclusively via Amazon India. The base variant with 3GB RAM is priced at Rs 8,990, whereas the one with 6GB RAM is priced at Rs 13,990. A third variant with 4GB RAM will also be offered sometime in June for Rs 10,990. The Realme 1 will be available exclusively via Amazon India. It will face fierce competition from the likes of Xiaomi Redmi 5 and Honor 7A to name a few. I have been using the Realme 1 for the past few days, and here’s my review.
Watch: Oppo F7 Vs Vivo V9: Specifications compared
Diamond back design
There was a time when budget smartphones featured cheap plastic build, and over the past couple of years, that has changed, and metal bodies have become too common. Now, with flagship smartphones and glass back design, glass has become the new metal.
Oppo Realme 1 is one of the first smartphones in the segment to come with a glass back design, which looks and feels premium. Yes, it is the same design as we’ve seen on the Oppo F7, and get glass back with diamond finish. I did happen to show the smartphone to my parents, and friends when I met them, and they didn’t believe that such premium design is possible on a sub Rs 9000 device. Good job there, Oppo.
The Realme 1 keeps up with the current trends and flaunts a full HD+ display running at 2160x1080pixes resolution, and 18:9 aspect ratio. The bezels on the side are slim, whereas the top and bottom bezels are thin too, giving you a full edge-to-edge screen experience. The display is bright, colors are vivid with deeper blacks and brighter whites. For a smartphone that starts at Rs 8,990, it is really impressive.
Operating System and performance
While most manufacturers are still releasing smartphones with Android 7.1 Nougat, it is good to see Oppo’s Realme 1 run on the Android 8.1 Oreo, with ColorOS skin on top. It also supports Project Treble, which should Oppo in rolling out faster software update. Sadly, it doesn’t support Seamless Updates, but that is fine, not a deal breaker.
You get a single layer UI without any app drawer, meaning all your installed apps show on the home screen. In terms of bloatware, you get Facebook, WPS Office and Amazon Shopping Apps pre-installed on the smartphone, apart from the Oppo Theme Store, App Store and Google Apps.
ColorOS also includes gesture control support where you can hide the Android navigation bar from the bottom, and replace it with gestures. Swiping from the bottom center takes you to the home screen, swiping from the bottom left acts like a back button, whereas swiping up from bottom right brings up the task switcher. I’ve disabled the navigation bar, and added that extra screen real estate to enhance the full screen experience. It is not as smooth as the iPhone X, but there’s nothing to complain about for its price.
Oppo has also added app split-screen feature. If you are watching a video and get a text message or instant message on WhatsApp, you can switch to split screen view and continue watching the video on one half of the screen, while replying on the other half of the screen.
Now, while it is bloatware free, Oppo has added a lot of AI chops within the custom skin. The Helio P60 octa-core SoC that powered the smartphone is built on 12nm process, and has a maximum clock speed of 2GHz. The Artificial Intelligence (AI) based chipset can smartly detect tasks to allocate power and efficiency when doing heavy duty tasks such as gaming.
Oppo had seeded the top end variant with 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage for review, and I had no issues with the performance. Out of 6GB of RAM, around 2GB was always free. However, I’m not sure if the 3GB and 4GB RAM variants will be as smooth or not. Even if there is a hit in performance, I believe it shouldn’t be over 10-15 percent.
Gaming performance has been smooth on the smartphone, be it casual games such as Subway Surfers or Temple Run. Even graphics intense games such as Asphalt Extreme ran smoothly without any hiccups. Oppo has also added game acceleration mode that releases memory to accelerate the game, and blocks messages to avoid distractions. It does help to get good performance. It also ensures that the thermal levels are at lows, and even after intensive gaming sessions, the phone did get too warm.
Yes, AI is here, there, everywhere. Right from the likes of Huawei and Google, to Apple, Oppo and Xiaomi are leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in their software. The AI camera on the Realme 1 can detect the scene – whether you are clicking photos of pets, food, sky, greenery, lighting conditions and more. It can then adjust the contrast, exposure, brightness and color to help you capture good photos.
Does it work? In case of a smartphone like Honor 10, you get an option to turn off the AI camera, or click photos with the AI camera and then toggle on and off to see the difference. In case of Realme 1, there is no such option and it is “On” by default. Photo quality is pretty decent for a phone that is priced under Rs 10,000. In low-light, the phones struggles a bit, and with some graininess, but the overall quality is above average and there’s nothing much to complain about. There is also 2X zoom, which is basically digital, but the quality is decent. Here are some samples.
Oppo also uses AI to determine the background and foreground to add depth-of-field effects, and it works on front camera too. Edge detection is not as good, but for a single camera, it is pretty decent. Some samples are below.
But that’s not all, the camera also gets Augmented Reality (AR) based stickers that add cool effects to your photos and videos, both using front and rear cameras. Below are some samples.
Battery life and security
Battery life is always a major concern for users, irrespective of the phone’s battery capacity. The Realme 1 is armed with 3,410mAh battery and Oppo has added AI chops here too. It learns from your usage patterns and shuts down background apps to consume power. There is no fast charging and getting the battery fully charged takes close to two hours. But battery life has been good, I had been getting screen-on-time a little over four hours, which is good.
A fingerprint sensor is quite common on smartphones today, even on a sub Rs 5,000 phone. But the Realme 1 ditches one, and relies on face recognition tech instead. Unlike, there are no dedicated sensors to map the face in 3D, and authenticate. But the face unlock is very fast, works in low-light too.
Verdict: Should you buy the Oppo Realme 1?
No doubt, the Realme 1 is an impressive smartphone. It has a lot going in its favor, right from the premium looking glass back design, to power and performance. The front and cameras are also good for its price point. Face unlock is quick and works without any hiccups. Performance has also been good.
For Rs 8,990, the Realme 1 is a steal deal in a well-rounded package. But for those who can pay a bit more, I’d recommend the 6GB RAM with 128GB storage variant, which is priced at Rs 13,990. Of course, there are competitors such as the Redmi 5 and Honor 7A, in the lower range, and Realme 1 has an advantage over them. On the higher side, the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 is a good alternative too with stock Android, dual cameras and a massive 5,000mAh battery. The Honor 9 Lite with starting price of Rs 10,990 is another good pick.