CMF Phone 1 vs Realme P1: The Better Value-For-Money Phone?

The CMF Phone 1 has finally gone official, and its base 6GB/128GB variant is priced at Rs 15,999, making it cross swords with the Realme P1. So, if you’re limited to a strict budget of Rs 16,000, which is the more rational choice? Is it the Realme P1 or Nothing’s new CMF Phone 1. I have had both phones with me for quite some time now. Hence, I used them as extensively as I could for a detailed comparison, which I’ll take you through right now! Let’s begin.

CMF Phone 1 vs Realme P1 Specs at a Glance

SpecsCMF Phone 1Realme P1
Dimensions161.74mm x 76.32mm x 8.55 mm162.95mm x 75.45mm x 7.97mm
Weight197 grams188 grams
ProcessorMediaTek Dimensity 7300 (TSMC 4nm)MediaTek Dimensity 7050 (TSMC 6nm)
RAM/Storage8GB LPDDR4X/ 128 UFS 3.18GB LPDDR4X/ 256GB UFS 3.1
Display6.67-inch FHD 120Hz AMOLED, 1080 x 2400, up to 2000 nits peak brightness, AGC DragonTrail Pro Protection6.67-inch FHD+ 120Hz AMOLED, 1080 x 2400, up to 2000 nits peak brightness, No known display protection
Rear Camera50MP Main + 2MP Depth sensor50MP + 2MP B&W sensor
Front Camera16MP16MP
VideoUp to 4K at 30FPSUp to 4K at 30FPS
Dual SIMYes; Does not support eSIMYes; Does not support eSIM
Connectivity17 5G Bands, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC9 5G Bands, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC
USB-CType CType C
Battery5,000 mAh5,000 mAh
Charging33W fast charging45W fast charging
IP RatingIP52IP54
SoftwareAndroid 14-based Nothing OS 2.6
2 years of OS updates
Android 14-based Realme UI
2 years of OS updates
For a more detailed comparison, visit Beebom Gadgets

CMF Phone 1 vs Realme P1 Box Contents

CMF Phone 1 vs Realme P1 Box Contents

Just like Nothing, its sub-brand CMF doesn’t provide you with a compatible charger or case in the Phone 1’s box. That is honestly a disappointment. Since the device is promoted mostly as a customizable phone, I was expecting to see an extra back panel in the box.

You only get the ultra-hyped orange SIM ejector tool, a Type-C to Type-C cable, and some paperwork in the box. Meanwhile, the Realme P1 comes with everything right in the box. From a compatible 45W charger and cable to a transparent silicone case, it’s just a fulfilling unboxing experience.

However, you can buy a suite of accessories for the Phone 1 at an additional cost. Here is a list of CMF Phone 1 accessories.

CMF Phone 1 vs Realme P1 Design and Build

CMF Phone 1 vs Realme P1 back panel design in hand

Right out of the box, the Phone 1 comes in either Orange, Black, Light Green or Black color. I have with me the Black matte-plastic variant of the CMF Phone 1. To get your hands on the vegan leather options or other plastic colorways, you will need to shell out an additional Rs 1,499.

Meanwhile, you get to choose between two color options of the Realme P1. I have with me the Phoenix Red colorway, and the other color is called Peacock Green.

As for the design itself, while the CMF Phone 1 tries to be unique and gives you customizations, the fact that I don’t get any additional cases in the box is a bummer. But, you can buy additional cases and change the back cover on CMF Phone 1.

While the Black plastic looks classy, the P1’s artistic pattern on the plastic back has my heart. Moreover, there’s a slight matte-like texture at the back, which makes the phone feel a bit more premium for its price. The Phone 1’s vegan leather panels make the phone feel more premium than the P1 though.

The frame is plastic on both phones, with the Phone 1 offering a bit more texture for added grip. On the other hand, the P1’s frame feels more polished and thereby, slippery.

At the back, while I like the Phone 1’s minimalistic camera module design more, it’s the P1’s module that keeps it more stable on a desk, free of wobbling. The button placement of the Phone 1 is better though, with the volume rockers on the left side of the frame, while the power button’s on the right. Whereas, the Realme P1 houses all the buttons on the right side of its frame. The button quality also feels better on the Phone 1.

However, just like on the POCO X6 that I compared the CMF Phone 1 to, the P1 has a 3.5mm headphone jack as well.

Overall, there’s not that big of a difference in the in-hand feel of the phones, but the vegan leather option of the Phone 1 makes a difference.

CMF Phone 1 vs Realme P1 Display and Speakers

The display of the two phones is surprisingly similar in terms of both specs and viewing experience. Both phones feature a 6.67-inch 120Hz AMOLED display with a peak brightness of 2000 nits. Now, while the CMF Phone 1 managed to hit 1900 nits on our Lux Meter, the Realme P1 topped off at around 1750 nits.

CMF Phone 1 vs Realme P1 Display
Realme P1 (L) and CMF Phone 1 (R) Display

Indoors, you will barely notice the 100 nits difference. However, outdoors, the Phone 1 offers slightly better visibility. The color accuracy of the displays is also mostly identical, with the CMF Phone 1 saturating the colors a bit. The blacks on both these AMOLEDs are also very good, leaving no wiggle room for complaints.

The viewing angles are solid too, and neither of the displays were too reflective, so that’s good. On top, the CMF Phone 1 comes with AGC DragonTrail Pro Protection. But, Realme doesn’t specify the exact display protection of the P1. The specs section on Realme’s official website reads, “Protective Glass: 0.68mm secondary tempered high – strength glass,” which is dubious, to say the least.

Interestingly, Realme P1 also offers Rainwater Smart Touch, which allows you to use the phone even with a wet screen or wet hands. CMF Phone 1 offers no such feature.

However, the speaker setup on the Realme P1 is much better, thanks to a dual stereo speaker setup. Meanwhile, the CMF Phone 1’s mono output is certainly lackluster and audibly bland.

CMF Phone 1 vs Realme P1 Software Experience

CMF Phone 1 vs Realme P1 Software Details Page

Beyond question, the CMF Phone 1’s Android 14-based Nothing OS is the cleanest software experience you can get on this budget. However, the Realme P1’s Android 14-based Realme UI isn’t half bad either.

While it does have a few pre-loaded bloatware, it is more feature-packed. Realme UI’s Special Features tab is the main highlight, bringing tools like a Smart Sidebar with File Dock, smart sensing features that let you carry out actions by simply tapping on the camera module, and a lot more.

On the other hand, in terms of features, Nothing OS may feel a bit barebones. It’s a much newer UI in comparison and it’s understandable. The fact that it’s with the Nothing OS 2.6 on CMF Phone 1 that we get to see a dedicated Game Mode and pop-up view for apps suggests that the UI has a long way to go in terms of features.

One thing that certainly stands out is the Phone 1’s widgets library, which you can go crazy on and explore some really helpful ones. From widgets in the lock screen to the home screen, there’s a lot you can do with these tiny tools.

In terms of UI animations, the Nothing OS stands out. Buttery smooth animations greet you in every corner of the UI. While Realme UI does have UI animations, they seem to have been disabled for P1. Haptic integration within the UI is also missing. Nothing OS also doesn’t come with haptic feedback integration in the UI anyway, so no comparison here.

As for software updates, you get 2 years of major OS updates and 3 years of security patches on both phones.

CMF Phone 1 vs Realme P1 Performance

When it comes to raw performance, both phones are very similar. The Phone 1’s Dimensity 7300 and P1’s Dimensity 7050 deliver similar settings in games and can handle most of the load that you throw at them. We also compared Dimensity 7300 vs Dimensity 7050 in extensive benchmark testing. Here’s a quick rundown of the performance of both phones:

Day-to-day Usage

To put the phones to the test, I opened and left around 20 apps running in the background. Everything was fine and the devices didn’t lag as badly. There were minor stutters, but nothing too major. However, the RAM management of the Phone 1 is superior and keeps a decent amount of apps in its memory.

Benchmarks

From the standard AnTuTu and AnTuTu Storage tests to Geekbench and CPU throttling, I ran a series of essential tests on the two phones. Take a look:

  • CMF Phone 1 vs Realme P1 3DMark
  • CMF Phone 1 vs Realme P1  AnTuTu Storage
  • CMF Phone 1 vs Realme P1  Geekbench
  • CMF Phone 1 vs Realme P1  CPU Throttling

Gaming

As I said earlier, the gaming experience is very similar on the two phones. I could barely tell the two phones apart here, and you get similar FPS and settings on all the leading titles. There were no overheating issues on any of the phones either.

CMF Phone 1 vs Realme P1 Cameras

CMF Phone 1 vs Realme P1 Camera Modules

The phones are very similar in terms of optics too, with both of them sporting a 50MP primary sensor at the helm. Now, while the secondary sensor on the Phone 1 is a depth sensor, the P1 offers a 2MP B&W sensor for some reason.

I don’t understand both of these choices. So, technically, the two phones have a single sensor. At the front, again, there’s a 16MP sensor on both phones. With that out of the way, let’s check out how the setups fare in the real world:

Day Time

During the day, the CMF Phone captures better shots. You get more details upon zooming in, and the shadows and highlights are better, accentuating the dynamic range well. But, the Phone 1 has a tendency to boost the color profile in shots. Sometimes, this comes off as ugly and unnatural.

It’s more evident with human subjects in well-lit environments, where it severely saturates the skin tones and light sources. Portrait mode also works in mysterious ways on the Phone 1, with depth mapping blurring out the subject’s hands and details unnecessarily.

On the other hand, the Realme P1 washes away the shots, smudging the shadows and highlights. Details are less in comparison, but colors are much more natural. The P1 doesn’t unnecessarily do any over-the-top color boosting, which I liked.

Night Time

At night, both phones don’t offer much detail and you can see noisy photos. The CMF Phone 1 handles light sources slightly better. But, ultimately, night shots from both phones are basically not appealing on both devices.

Selfies

The CMF Phone 1 captures slightly better details from its front snapper at night, but the skin tone boosting is still very evident and unnatural. In that case, I liked the Realme P1’s shots better solely due to the more natural color profile. The Phone 1 really needs some optimizations, for pictures are turning out quite cartoony, I must say.

Videos

Talking about videos, both phones allow you to record at up to 4K 30FPS through the rear sensor. Meanwhile, at the front, while the CMF Phone 1 allows you to shoot at up to 1080p 60FPS, the P1 limits you to 1080p 30FPS.

Since both phones lack OIS, the video quality will definitely not be optimal. But, they do come with EIS, and the Phone 1’s stabilization works much better. Moreover, the P1’s EIS stutters and can create lags in your videos. There’s also some focus hunting issue on the P1.

CMF Phone 1 vs Realme P1 Battery and Charging

CMF Phone 1 vs Realme P1 Charging

Both phones pack a 5000mAh battery, but the CMF Phone 1 delivers a bit more screen-on-time. I played a lot of YouTube videos, streamed Netflix content, played some games, and ran some benchmarks, to get around 7 hours of SoT. On the other hand, the Realme P1 delivered around 6.5 hours of SoT.

As for charging, while the CMF Phone 1 is capped out at 33W and the P1 maxes out at 45W, the charging time is roughly the same. Nothing’s charging tech is solid and 33W doesn’t take as much time as it should. While the P1 takes around an hour and 10 minutes to fully charge from 0% to 100%, the Phone 1 does it in an hour.

Which Is the Better Choice?

CMF Phone 1 vs Realme P1 featured

For the most part, both phones are very neck-to-neck in all aspects, especially in the display and performance department. However, when it comes to the design, while the CMF Phone 1 presents us with a unique customization opportunity, it’s not the most practical.

The Phone 1 is a very cool phone indeed, but I don’t see the point in paying the extra money for each of those back panels. It’s like buying a car and having to pay extra for heated seats (I’m looking at you, BMW).

And, without the vegan leather panels, while the industrial design looks good, it’s not the most comfortable in hand. On the other hand, the Realme P1’s design really caught my eye and is something I’d love to use without putting any case on. It’s just that pretty, not to mention, softer on the skin.

Most importantly, with the Realme P1, you get everything right in the box. So, you won’t have to go accessory hunting immediately anyway.

Apart from the slightly better camera performance and cleaner software experience, there’s barely anything major going for the Phone 1. Not to mention that you also get a 3.5mm headphone jack on the P1, which could be a deal-breaker for those planning to buy the CMF Phone 1. The 30 minutes of extra battery backup on the Phone 1 does not make a game-changing difference either.

Overall, if you want a clean software experience over anything, get the CMF Phone 1. For a more versatile device and to get your money’s true worth, the Realme P1 is an easier recommendation.

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