The INR 10,000 segment is arguably one of the most hotly contested ones in the Indian market right now. We now have more competition than ever thanks to the likes of Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, Nokia and the likes. Today, we’ll deviate from the norm and exclude Xiaomi devices from the segment and take a look at what the competition has to offer. There is something in store for everyone; the Realme U1 for Oppo fans, the Nokia 3.1 for Stock Android enthusiasts and the Asus Zenfone Max M2. Let’s take a look at how the three devices fare against each other.
ASUS Zenfone Max M2 vs Realme U1 vs Nokia 3.1 Plus: Design and build quality
Considering the price of the devices in question, one can’t expect a premium, all-glass design. Barring the Nokia 3.1, which comes with an aluminium frame and a plastic back, the Zenfone Max M2 and Realme U1 both sport polycarbonate bodies. I’d give the Nokia 3.1 the edge here, primarily because most Nokia devices have a robust construction compared to similarly-priced competitors.
ASUS Zenfone Max M2 vs Realme U1 vs Nokia 3.1 Plus: Performance
Without further ado, let’s get right into what matters the most; the performance of each device. The Nokia 3.1 is the slowest of the lot, as it packs an ancient MediaTek MT6750 SoC with its fastest cores clocked at a measly 1.5GHz. The Asus Zenfone Max M2 is slightly better off with its Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 SoC with four Kyro 250 Gold and Silver cores clocked at 1.8GHz. The Realme U1 is the winner here as it packs MediaTek’s latest and fastest P70 SoC with four Cortex-A73 cores clocked at 2.1GHz and four Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 2.0GHz. Although the raw clock speed of the Helio P70 isn’t a lot higher than the Snapdragon 632, it comes with a dedicated NPU that can handle machine learning and AI-centric tasks with relative ease.
ASUS Zenfone Max M2 vs Realme U1 vs Nokia 3.1 Plus: Camera
This segment is a tad tricky, considering that the Zenfone Max M2 and Realme U1 pack a 13+2megapixel rear camera. The Nokia 3.1’s lone 13-megapixel sensor is by no means inferior but is outclassed by the other two. The main differences come down to the software optimisation each device brings and once again, the Realme U1 reigns supreme, primarily due to the amount of AI-centric features the Helio P70 supports. Now, the Snapdragon 632-powered Zenfone Max M2 isn’t ‘bad’ by any means; it’s just that ColourOS combined with the Helio P70 can offer a much better camera experience. Additionally, the selfie camera on the Realme U1 is 25-megapixels, which is significantly better compared to the 8-megapixel shooters on the Nokia 3.1 and Zenfone Max M2.
ASUS Zenfone Max M2 vs Realme U1 vs Nokia 3.1 Plus: Key Features
Barring the Nokia 3.1, both the Zenfone Max M2 and Realme U1 come with a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. Other connectivity options are nearly identical. All three devices support Bluetooth 4.2, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and come with a micro USB port for charging and data transfer. Similarly, all three devices ship with Android Oreo 8.1 out of the box but with a different skin on top.
ASUS Zenfone Max M2 vs Realme U1 vs Nokia 3.1 Plus: Price in India and Verdict
The Nokia 3.1 is the cheapest of the lot, with the 3/32GB RAM/storage variant costing Rs 9,300. The Zenfone Max M2 is priced slightly higher at Rs 9,999 for the same memory configuration. The Realme U1 is the costliest of the lot, retailing at Rs 11,999. Considering its shortcomings, it is hard to recommend the Nokia 3.1 for anyone but Stock Android purists. Other than a clean, customisation-free Android experience and promise of lightning-quick security patches and OS updates, the Nokia 3.1 has nothing to offer compared to the other two. If you’re ok with running an older version of Android and don’t mind a custom Android fork, then the Zenfone Max M2 is perfect for you. If you have an extra two grand to spare, I’d recommend that you get yourself a Realme U1 as it is clearly the superior device and wins this comparison hands down.