Realme C1 Full Review – A good option in budget phones

Realme C1 Review Display

By now, you would already have the idea about the two smartphones Realme launched in Pakistan. One was the mid-ranger Realme 2 Pro and the other one was a smartphone dubbed as Realme C1.

We have covered about the two smartphones extensively as well as have done a separate unboxing session of Realme C1 with our initial impressions and quick preview. Today we have brought to you a a full review of the smartphone.

Realme C1 is company’s entry-level smartphone in Pakistan to target starters with the good and competitive looks. The phone is retailed at PKR 18,999 in the country, however at a special discount offer you can get the phone for Rs. 17,999 from Daraz. But the question remains; is it really worth the price? That’s what you will find in the review below.

During our quick preview of Realme C1, we really felt the lack of fast charging in the phone which has a massive battery of 4230 mAh. But we couldn’t blame it due to the fact that other phones, in this price range, also come with low-speed charger. So what makes the Realme C1 a bit better than others? You will soon come to know about that in this review.

You will get an option to choose from two color variants of Realme C1 – Navy Blue and Mirror Black. The one we got here for review is the Mirror Black.

Realme C1 Review

Let’s have quick look at the specifications and features of the Realme 2 Pro.

Quick Features and Specifications

Realme C1
SoC Chip: Qualcomm Snapdragon 450
CPU: 8x Cortex-A53 1.8GHz
GPU: Adreno 506 GPU
Memory 2GB RAM + 16GB Storage
microSD card dedicated slot (up to 256GB)
OS / Software Android 8.1 Oreo / ColorOS 5.1 – updatable to 5.2.1
Display 6.2-inch IPS LCD
1520×720 HD+ resolution, 19:9,
Pixel density: ~271 ppi
Screen-to-body ratio: ~88%
Gorilla Glass 3
Rear Camera 13MP, PDAF, f/2.2 lens aperture
2MP depth sensor
LED flash, bokeh mode,
720p/1080p video recording at 30fps
Front Camera 5MP, f/2.2
Battery 4230 mAh – 5V/2A (No Fast Charging)
Charger included with retail package: 5V/1A
Size/Weight 156.2 x 75.6 x 8.2 mm / 168 grams
Sensors Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Proximity, Ambient light, E-Compass
Connectivity WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n, 2.5GHz
WiFi Tethering, WiFi Direct, Personal Hotspot
Bluetooth: 4.2, GPS/AGPS,
USB 2.0 micro USB
Color Options Navy Blue, Mirror Black

You can check detailed unboxing session with quick preview of Realme C1, however here is a short snippet from that preview. You get a set of very basic items with the phone in the retail price.

Realme 2 Pro Review Unboxing Pakistan

Realme C1 Box Contents

  • The device – Realme C1
  • Travel charger – 5V+1A
  • USB cable for Connectivity/Charging
  • SIM eject tool
  • User guide
  • Add-on TPU back cover
  • Add-on TPU protective film (pre-applied)

Unfortunately, like the mid-ranger Realme 2 Pro, the C1 also doesn’t bring along a stereo earphones. So you have to buy them separately.

Build and Design

Realme C1 has a plastic back panel as well as the mid-frame is also plastic with another thicker plastic bezel between the frame and the screen. There is no fingerprint sensor on the back, hence being plain and too simplistic it’s not so attractive. But the front side of the phone equalizes the difference and gives a good, thinner bezels design in this price range.

The phone weighs a 168 grams and doesn’t really feel much in hands. The grip and handling is comfortable with the less-slippery back panel and curved frame.

Realme C1 Review

The back panel of Realme C1 has no shading angles unlike we have seen the Realme 2 Pro, though it keeps the glass-feel. The panel has 2.5D curved edges around the frame just like on the front glass. But it seems to be a an ordinary plastic that didn’t maintain it s glassy finish on the edges.

There is only two things on the back of Realme C1, actually consider it three. The branding “realme” is down there leaving all the panel clean from anything but a dual-camera module on the top-left corner alongside an LED flash.

Components and Ports

Realme C1 gives access to everything at the bottom side. Micro USB port along with the speaker grill, 3.5mm audio jack is also down there as well as the mouthpiece (primary mic).

There isn’t even a secondary microphone on the top for noise cancellation that could help recording stereo audio.

The power button is on the right side while the the volume buttons are hosted on the left side of the phone.

The SIM slot is also present on the left side which serves for two SIM cards and a dedicated microSD card.

The SIM slot is also present on the left side which serves for two SIM cards and a separate microSD card.

Front and Display

Well; unlike the Realme 2 Pro, the C1 comes with more common design of notch. The one that I do not like that much. However if the software gives the option to hide it like the way Huawei did it first time, I may prefer to use that option. At some extent, Realme’s ColorOS does offer similar option but not enough in-control of user.

The bezels are not little thicker than the 2 Pro, however a lot thinner than others in this price range. Just like that, you will also have to bear with the little larger chin down the display.

The Realme C1 features a 6.2-inch display with aspect ratio of 19:9. The display resolution ends up at the HD+ (1520×720 pixels) which is something you will normally get in this price range. It serves with the pixel density of around 271 ppi on a screen ratio of 88%.

Realme C1 Review

Realme C1 sports an IPS LCD panel which, unlike in-cell technology in 2 Pro, is less brighter. However it’s still impressive when compared to other smartphones in its class. Outdoor visibility is also good.

Like the Realme 2 Pro, the Realme C1 also offers to manage the Notch display area. The option is only available for individual apps and not for the whole system. You can go through settings and set your preference.

Settings > Display & Brightness > App Display in Full-Screen > Notch Area Display Control

Realme refers this as “switching off the notch area display”. That is, when some app’s content is blocked by the notch, you can turn off the whole Notch Area Display for that certain app. Still this feature won’t work in many apps but only a few, however you can try that with any app in the list.

Realme C1 – ColorOS 5.2 – Notch Area Display Control

Software and User Interface

Realme C1 runs Android 8.1 Oreo out-of-the-box. Like any other Realme smartphone, the C1 also comes with OPPO’s ColorOS layered on top of the operating system.

Realme C1 Review

The ColorOS is versioned 5.1 out-of-the-box, however later updated to the 5.2.1 with many additional features and options which you would see in Realme 2 Pro.

The phone starts with a lock screen, unlock to go to home screens, the folders, and multitask view and so on. There is no app drawer as you would know if you had experienced the OPPO smartphones. It depends if you prefer to have an app drawer separate from the home screen. Though I have no issues with having or not having an app drawer.

Realme C1, ColorOS 5.2 – Lock screen, home screen, folder view, recent apps view

You will most probably be familiar with the first three screens above, but what’s the forth screen? It’s the recent apps screen (aka an app switcher in multitasking). No graphics, no app snapshots, but simply the app icons. That’s what ColorOS did to conserve system performance in the budget smartphone. It’s a good thing but I believe it could be done with user’s preference, because this view is too simple to attract. Let the user choose if he/she wants to keep the windowed app switcher with big snapshots instead of conserving system resources.

Like the way ColorOS offers, the split-screen can be initiated with a long-tap on recent apps button on navigation keys as well as from within the recent apps view by dragging down an app snapshot.

Realme C1, ColorOS 5.2 – Recent apps view, split screen, notification panel, shortcuts & toggles

The top bar brings the notification layer with a set of shortcuts and quick toggles that you can rearrange. The brightness slider is also present and the layer keeps the two step expansion.

ColorOS does include Google Now (or Google Assistant) in the system however it has its own Smart Assistant that it offers on the home screen. The Smart Assistant would let you stack things up like, some one-tap quick functions, current location weather, display steps, quick photos, events and favorite contacts.

Realme C1, ColorOS 5.2 – Smart Assistant on Home screen (far left).

The default navigation comes with the standard Android keys – recent apps, home, and back keys. The system also offers you to switch to gesture based navigation, dubbed as “Swipe-up Gesture Navigation”. However, like Realme 2 Pro, it also includes the same iPhone X navigation. Swipe-up on the left or right bars to go back, swipe-up on the middle bar to go to homescreen, or swipe-up and hold on the middle bar to view the recent apps.

You can also choose to “Hide Gesture Guide Bar” to further mimic iPhone X like navigation, if you like so. It includes three more ways of gestures – simple gesture, back on the right, and back on the left.

Realme C1, ColorOS 5.1 navigation (left two) – ColorOS 5.2 smart sidebar (right two)

The Smart Sidebar which is not present in the ColorOS 5.1 navigation options, becomes available in the software version 5.2.1. If turned on, a little nobe remains on the edge of the screen (either side left or right) all the times. You can swipe-in from that sidebar to reveal a floating window containing a quick apps and tools to launch, anytime.

The software includes its own Photos and Videos apps but we liked its File Manager specially for its built-in ftp based remote file manager. You can can access files via web browser or even manage them via the file explorer on your computer or any FTP client.

Realme C1 ColorOS – Albums, Photos, Videos, File Manager, Remote File Manager.

Realme C1 comes with a Phone Manager to keep the system optimized from time to time. It scans the file system and memory and offers you with a set of options to optimize by cleaning it from junk, cache and and uninstall residuals.

App locker is also available right into the system.

For better and uninterrupted gaming experience, you have a Game Space. It allows you to choose which games you want to play at what performance level and which to play uninterrupted from notifications.

If you have been an OPPO user before then it will not be any different for you. We think Realme should add its own flavours to make some distinction as we thought in 2 Pro’s review.

One thing that you will miss in this budget smartphone is the fingerprint sensor. That’s something common thing to lack in this price range. But the face-unlock is pretty good with Realme C1. It’s moderately fast and much usable.

Realme C1 Face Unlock

System Performance

We talk about every this and that, but the performance of the phone should always come first when you decide to make a purchase. This is something which gives you comfort most of the time, not its outfit.

As we know already that Realme C1 has Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 450 system-on-chip. You’d hardly see a phone in this price range with this processor. Just for fun, Samsung’s Galaxy J6+ that costs double the Realme C1 has even slower and older Snapdragon 425. If you compare the phone with the similar priced Huawei Y5 Prime 2018, then you won’t get performance as better as with Realme C1’s Snapdragon 450 processor.

In addition, the phone features the Adreno 506 GPU along with mere 2GB of RAM. This system wouldn’t be able to go beyond 720p which is actually meant to be in this price range. You may expect a little bigger RAM for some better long term steady performance, but you must take the price factor in mind.

Realme 2 Pro Pakistan Hands-on

Once again you’d hardly get anything more than 16GB storage in this price range. So I can’t either object on this factor as well but to be frank, 16GB is little to no-memory these days and will end up in just a matter of days – not weeks. So you better arrange an additional memory via microSD card.

While the Realme C1 is a right option to choose for reliable overall performance in this price range, gaming is not something to fall for. If you are an addict and use your phone for gaming for most of the time, Realme C1 is not for you. But again, if you are “that gamer”, you already aren’t using a phone that cost below 20k. However, as long as it comes to Realme C1, it gives much better experience than others in its price range.

Realme C1 PUBG Performance

We tried the titles like Asphalt 9 and PUBG Mobile; they didn’t die on the phone. In fact, the PUBG started with a “Medium” frame rate settings by default which gave lagless experience most of the time. However the graphics will remain at the starter “Smooth” option with less sharp images. So you won’t feel bad about gaming on this phone.

AnTuTu kept the Realme C1’s Snapdragon 450 little above the Helio P22 powered Redmi 6. It stands closer to it’s older sibling Realme 2 that equipped with the same 450 processor.

Realme C1 Benchmark AnTuTu

Geekbench shows similar results in both single and multi-core tests on Realme C1.

Realme C1 Benchmark Geekbench Single

Mutli-core tests are somewhat mixture of strange change of different devices.

Realme C1 Benchmark Geekbench Multi

Look at the graphics test where Realme C1 tried its best to stand besides the Huawei Y9 2019 that runs on Kirin 710 and costs double the price of C1.

Realme C1 Benchmark GFX Manhattan

Oh, I forgot to mention the “Game Space” the software feature we discussed above in software section. It’s something that you can tickle with to make more out of the phone’s performance for better gaming experience.

Realme 2 Pro Pakistan Hands-on

Realme C1 is good phone when compared to the devices in its class. As said in 2 Pro’s review, the ColorOS really seems to be optimised well with the hardware and gives commendable performance. Though sometimes we felt delayed response to touch but that’s not unexpected behaviour from an entry-level smartphone.

However, keep in mind that it’s just an entry-level smartphone with only 16GB internal storage. You will end up with low memory sooner than later.

Realme C1 Performance and Battery

Realme C1 has a massive 4230 mAh battery for long continuous run and it indeed did the job during trial. If you desire some kind of quick or fast charging, then you have forgotten that this is just an entry-level phone below 20k. So you won’t have something like that. But if you object on a low-rated charger bundled with the retail box, then it can be assumed a better question. Realme just followed other brands in this price range to ship a 5W charger, which is not so impressive.

Realme C1 Review Battery Charging

But the good thing is that, unlike other brands or phones in this price range, Realme C1 still supports 10W charging. That means you can use any other 2-ampere charger for a bit faster charging.

Let me tell you the numbers here – Realme C1 took around 4.5 hours to charge from 0 to 100 with the bundled 5W charger. When used the 10W charger, it would take around 2.5 hours. So you are still looking at a good contender in this price range.


Realme C1 features a dual camera setup on its back with a 13-megapixel main unit paired with a secondary 2-megapixel depth sensor. Like Realme 2 Pro or any other dual-camera configuration, the second camera in Realme C1 also serves for portrait mode.

Realme C1 Review Camera

The main camera features phase-detect autofocus with an f/2.2 aperture lens and an LED flash. The camera will allow you take photos with blurred background, aka bokeh effect in close up shots. You can record up to only 1080p at 30 fps.

Camera UI

The camera user interface remains similar in all ColorOS variants for different devices. It is simple with only a few set of options on the viewfinder. In fact for a couple of camera settings, you have to go to phone’s settings app Settings > System Apps > Camera where you can change volume button function, show/hide grid, enable/disable shutter sound, location, flip selfie or add watermark.

The user interface offers a set of modes including photo and video modes. There is also some fancy features like time-lapse, panorama and the portrait mode for close shots with blurred background. A “Sticker” mode uses AI based face detection and offers you to apply stickers.

Image Quality

Realme C1 captures decent image detail in daylight for an entry level smartphone. System doesn’t seem to operate on images for colors as they are mostly what we see in the real scene. So don’t expect vivid colors at all. Noise handling was also good at some extent but could always pop out in gradient parts. The camera isn’t very good in handling dynamic range however the HDR mode could help resolve this issue in some cases.

The camera performed moderately outdoors in good light but cloudy and lowlight weather conditions may affect your images. Like Realme 2 Pro, the C1 also impressed us in handled the skin tones.

Outdoor samples

If you ignore the foggy weather and nonexistence of blue skies in the following photos, You may notice the detail in the images and other elements such as noise, chromatic aberration, focusing and clarity.

Indoor / Low light samples

Here are some low light samples which show the noise handling being good but the lack of detail ends up with the portions of the image unclear. Sharpness is also suffering at edges where you can also notice the rise of noise levels.

HDR Mode

Well you can’t the blue sky very well due to the foggy weather, you can still observe the HDR effect in the following photos.

Portrait Mode

Portrait mode isn’t that great as we experienced with Realme 2 Pro, however it still does a good job in blurring out the background. It works on both, the still life object or a human subject. Quality of the edges around the subject is something which can easily be identified in some difficult cases.

Front Camera

Realme C1 offers mere a 5MP front camera for selfies with a f/2.2 aperture lens. You can record videos, time-lapse and panorama as well as take selfies. Like Realme 2 Pro, C1 also offers sticker mode that pastes facial objects on your face.

The beauty mode comes with 1 to 6 level scale with an additional “AI” that chooses the best beauty level for your face. While in Photo mode, you can turn on portrait mode.

As long as you take selfies in good light, you may get good detail in photos, nice colors and skin tones. However this is not the same case in low-light.

Video Recording

The Realme C1 can record up to 1080p resolution at 30fps. There is no electronic image stabilization (EIS) for either 1080p and 720p recordings. But the bad thing is that the image quality is not really impressive when looked at 100% view. Though it’s good for its price range.

Video Sample 720p

Video Sample 1080p

Video Sample 1080p

Conclusion and Verdict

We think Realme rightly claimed about the Realme C1 to be an “entry-level king”. It might exactly be, at some extent. The C1 is a good performer among its price range and sure has decent cameras. You can forget about the battery and power as it’s gonna last more than a day.

Realme C1 Review

Realme C1 has relatively better system-on-chip than others in this price range. 2GB of RAM is not that great for multitasking as well as 16GB of internal storage is not enough for today’s online/social life. But that’s pretty much same as others have to offer in the class.

The rear cameras are good for your regular personal and social presence, though the front camera is just ok. Build quality, not up to the par but, stands out among the lot you see around for this price tag. You can get the phone for Rs. 17,999 till January 31st during the flash sale from Afterwards the phone will be retailed at Rs. 18,999. You can read more about pricing here.

Realme C1 – Photo Gallery

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