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The mobile market is witnessing an interesting trend where smartphones are getting smarter, but so are the prices. Flagship-quality phones are now being sold as budget smartphones, giving more to the customer while also making their decisions harder. The battle for dominance in the mid-range segment is reaching a boiling point with three worthy contenders. There is the Honor 10 Lite, the lower-budget version of their flagship, the Redmi Note 6 Pro – Xiaomi’s able contender, and the Realme U1 – the proverbial dark horse.
Let’s look at how these phones stack up against each other, and who will come out as the best mid-segment phone of 2019.
First off, we compare the design of the phones. Straight off the bat, the Honor 10 Lite and Realme U1 pull one over the Redmi Note 6 Pro with their gradient design. However, the Honor 10 Lite surges ahead with its superior screen-to-body ratio at 91%. The dewdrop display is the smallest of the lot, allowing a 6.21-inch screen to fit in a 5.2-inch body, making it easier to grip. You 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, too, feels slightly bigger in the hand. It, too, comes with 19.5:9 aspect ratio and a gradient back, that is fitted more flatly onto the front surface as opposed to the more ergonomic curve the Honor 10 Lite offers.
The Redmi Note 6 Pro makes a case for itself with a curved back that does look premium but is let down by the wider notch in front. As a result, it manages a screen to body ratio of 86% which is the lowest among the three.
All three phones are marketing themselves as primarily camera phones. The Honor 10 Lite leads in that regard to its superior AI capabilities, derived from its parent company – Huawei. The primary camera of the Honor 10 Lite has the widest aperture lens among the three, letting in more light and helping in low-light conditions as well. The 4-in-1 light fusion technology and exposure compensation technology reduces noise and produces clearer, sharper pictures. The 24 MP selfie camera comes with a wide aperture lens and 8 AI selfie scene detection – Stage, Sky, Plant, Flower, Beach, Night, Room and Snow. You can also click selfies in portrait mode, due to its AI capabilities. The AI algorithms can detect up to 22 different scenes in more than 500 scenarios helping you take photos like a professional. The camera works brilliantly for taking groupfies too as the AI optimises and beautifies every face 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 as the Honor 10 Lite (Sony IMX 576), however, it doesn’t have AI scene detection capability present in the Honor 10 Lite.
The Honor 10 Lite comes with EMUI 9, which optimizes its in-house Kirin chipset and the 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 advantage over the other two, which still run on Android Oreo.
The MIUI on Xiaomi phones elicit a love-hate response. If you like stock Android, chances are MIUI is not for you. However, it does offer more customizations than stock Android and also does well to utilize its powerful Snapdragon chipset.
The ColorOS in Realme is based on Android Oreo and offers standard features across the board. Multitasking is made easier with its Smart Bar, enabling you to switch between apps conveniently. Another unique feature is being able to play videos with the screen off.
Under the hood
Finally, we arrive at the heart of the modern smartphone, its processor. The Honor 10 Lite comes with the new Kirin 710, chipset. Along with EMUI 9, it has managed to boost performance by 12.9%, shortening app launch times. Based on a 12 nm architecture, it offers 75% better performance than its predecessor. With the help of GPU Turbo 2.0 technology and 6 GB RAM, it also makes for a better gaming phone than the other two.
The Realme U1 comes with the MediaTek Helio P70, a promising chipset for mid-segment phones. IT comes with a dedicated AI neural engine, helping in AI tasks used in the camera. The Adreno 509 GPU also aids in gaming performance. Along with 6 GB RAM, you will be able to play high-end games easily.
The Redmi Note 6 Pro comes with the Snapdragon 636 octa-core processor, with a slightly older 14 nm architecture. This makes it less efficient than the Kirin 710 and MediaTek Helio P70, and also less powerful. But a competitive chipset nonetheless, you will be able to play top games like PUBG easily, albeit at lower frame rates.
Overall, the Kirin 710, the newest of the chipsets, is also the most powerful. It is followed closely by the MediaTek Helio P70, and then the older Snapdragon. Along with Huawei’s proprietary software optimization – GPU Turbo 2.0, the Honor 10 Lite is the best performer under the hood.
Another important aspect to look at 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 deliver all-day usage, due to their newer processors and OS. The Honor 10 Lite in particular, due to the optimized EMUI, lasts longer than the other phones in this segment. In other aspects, the phones are almost identical.
Based on these primary parameters, the Honor 10 Lite seems to come out ahead of the competition, but the Reame U1 and the 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 point, the Honor 10 Lite is arguably the best mid-segment phone of 2019.
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Updated Date: Jan 22, 2019 18:34:33 IST