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The mobile device market is witnessing an interesting trend where smartphones are getting smarter, but so are prices. Flagship-quality phones are now being sold as low-budget smartphones, giving the customer more and also making their decisions more difficult. The battle for dominance in the mid-range segment is reaching a boiling point with three worthy contenders. There’s the Honor 10 Lite, the low-budget version of its flagship, the Redmi Note 6 Pro, Xiaomi’s capable contender, and the Realme U1, the proverbial dark horse.
Let’s see how these phones stack up against each other, and who will come out as the best mid-segment phone of 2019.
First, we compare the design of the phones. Right off the bat, the Honor 10 Lite and Realme U1 put one on top of the Redmi Note 6 Pro with its gradient design. However, the Honor 10 Lite comes ahead with its superior screen-to-body ratio at 91%. The dewdrop screen is the smallest of the lot, allowing a 6.21-inch screen to fit a 5.2-inch body, making it easy to grip. Also enjoy a 19.5: 9 aspect ratio for an immersive video experience.
The Realme U1 comes with a 6.3-inch screen and a screen-to-body ratio of 90.8%. With the larger bezels, the screen looks smaller than it is, while the phone also feels a bit larger in the hand. It also comes with a 19.5: 9 aspect ratio and a rear gradient, which fits more flat on the front surface rather than the more ergonomic curve that the Honor 10 Lite offers.
The Redmi Note 6 Pro makes a case for itself with a curved back that looks premium, but is dropped through the wider notch at the front. As a result, it manages an 86% screen-to-body ratio, which is the lowest of the three.
Mastery of photography
All three phones are marketed as camera phones primarily. The Honor 10 Lite leads in this regard in its superior artificial intelligence capabilities, derived from its parent company, Huawei. The Honor 10 Lite’s main camera has the largest aperture lens among the three, allowing more light to enter and also helping in low-light conditions. 4-in-1 light fusion technology and exposure compensation technology reduce noise and produce sharper, clearer images. The 24MP selfie camera comes with a large aperture lens and 8 AI selfie scene detections: stage, sky, plant, flower, beach, night, room and snow. You can also click selfies in portrait mode, due to its AI capabilities. Artificial intelligence algorithms can detect up to 22 different scenes in more than 500 scenarios that help you shoot like a pro. The camera works perfectly for taking group photos, as the AI optimizes and beautifies all the faces in the group.
The Redmi Note 6 Pro comes with a dual primary and secondary camera setup. Powered by AI, the cameras offer excellent dynamic effects.
The Realme U1 has the selfie camera lens like the Honor 10 Lite (Sony IMX 576), however it does not have the AI scene detection capability present on the Honor 10 Lite.
The Honor 10 Lite comes with EMUI 9, which optimizes its internal Kirin chipset and FullView display. It also boasts of customizations that elevate the experience one gets from stock Android. Also, based on Android Pie, it immediately gains an edge over the other two, which still run on Android Oreo.
MIUI phones on Xiaomi provoke a hate response to love. If you like Android, MIUI is most likely not for you. However, it offers more customizations than Android and also makes good use of its powerful Snapdragon chipset.
ColorOS on Realme is based on Android Oreo and offers standard features across the board. Multitasking is made easier with its smart bar, which allows you to conveniently switch between applications. Another unique feature is being able to play videos with the screen off.
Finally, we come to the heart of the modern smartphone, its processor. The Honor 10 Lite comes with the new Kirin 710, chipset. Together with EMUI 9, it has managed to increase performance by 12.9%, shortening the launch times of the application. Based on a 12nm architecture, it offers 75% better performance than its predecessor. With the help of GPU Turbo 2.0 technology and 6GB of RAM, it is also a better gaming phone than the other two.
The Realme U1 comes with the MediaTek Helio P70, a promising chipset for mid-segment phones. TI comes with a neural engine dedicated to artificial intelligence, which aids in the artificial intelligence tasks used in the camera. The Adreno 509 GPU also helps in gaming performance. Along with the 6GB RAM, you can easily play high-end games.
The Redmi Note 6 Pro comes with the Snapdragon 636 octa-core processor, with a slightly older 14nm architecture. This makes it less efficient than the Kirin 710 and the MediaTek Helio P70, and also less powerful. However, a competitive chip game, however, you will be able to easily play the best games like PUBG, albeit at lower frame rates.
Overall, the Kirin 710, the newest of the chipsets, is also the most powerful. It is closely followed by the MediaTek Helio P70 and then the older Snapdragon. Along with optimizing Huawei’s proprietary software – GPU Turbo 2.0, the Honor 10 Lite is the best performer under the hood.
Another important aspect to consider is the battery. While the Redmi Note 6 Pro comes with the largest battery at 4,000 mAh, the Honor 10 Lite and Realme U1 also offer all-day use, due to their new processors and operating systems. The Honor 10 Lite in particular, due to the optimized EMUI, lasts longer than the other phones in this segment. In other respects, the phones are almost identical.
Based on these main parameters, the Honor 10 Lite seems to get ahead of the competition, but the Reame U1 and Redmi Note 6 Pro offer a tough challenge. Wrapped in a beautiful gradient design, with a large bezel-less screen, AI cameras, good gaming performance, all at an affordable price, the Honor 10 Lite is arguably the best mid-segment phone of 2019.
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