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The Mid-Range Battle: Moto G5 Plus v Xiaomi Redmi Note 4

The race for volume sales is on.

17/04/2017 1:37 PM IST | Updated 17/04/2017 3:54 PM IST
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Last year, Lenovo took the second spot in the Indian smartphone market, largely because of the success of the Moto phones. Directly competing with the Moto phones and well ahead of the March launch of Moto G5 Plus, Xiaomi released its mid-range offering, the Note 4, in January. Now that both phones are duking it out in the Indian market, it is time for a closer look at how they stack up against each other.

In one sentence, both phones are good. Lets get the basic specs comparison out of the way first.

Specifications

On paper, both phones are pretty similar in terms of raw power. Differences are visible though in the screen and battery departments.

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Design

From a distance, Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 is a plain old device with few differentiators of its own, design-wise. Xiaomi has made slight changes to Redmi Note 3's design to give its successor some distinctiveness. Such as, in the antenna lines. So, while its look can hardly be described as breathtaking, the Redmi Note 4 does manage to look good. The phone's fingerprint sensor is aligned on the back with the camera.

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The review unit I received was all black and the colour looked gorgeous. (I personally don't prefer gold phones and found both, the silver and black variants of the Redmi Note 4 quite good to look at.)

The Moto G5 Plus, on the other hand, steals the design battle. Modelled after last year's Moto Z line, the phone is an eye-catcher.

With its rounded corner, brushed metal case and the signature camera bump on the back, the device has the unmistakable Motorola look, and feels nice to hold. It is 10 grams lighter than the Note 4, though the latter's extra weight does give it a premium feel.

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From the front, Xiaomi's phone might be more attractive because of its better screen to bezel (the casing around the phone's screen) ratio. The Moto G5 Plus' front fingerprint sensor cum pseudo home button takes a good bit of space. Motorola has integrated an optional navigation functionally in the button as well, and the Moto G5 Plus' compact design might win people over from Xiaomi's side.

Screen

Xiaomi has managed to fit a 5.5-inch full HD screen in an almost similar sized chassis as the Moto G5 Plus. The front fingerprint sensor is a disadvantage for Motorola as the device, by comparison, has a 5.2-inch full HD screen. Also, initially at least, many people might opt for the on-screen navigation buttons on Moto G5 Plus thus reducing the effective screen area.

While the Moto G5 Plus screen has more pixels per inch on paper, Xiaomi's colour schematic steals the display race. The latter's visibility under the sun is also a big plus. Video watching is also definitely a better experience on the Xiaomi screen.

Performance

Let's keep it short and simple here. Both phones are running similar processor configurations and RAM sizes, and daily use would be a blaze on both. For sure, there are moments when both the phones heat up. Also, do not expect extreme gaming performances out of either.

Software

Xiaomi began as a software company developing the MIUI firmware and its 8th iteration is in the Redmi Note 4. Although, it is a bit disappointing that the device's software is based on Android Marshmallow 6.0. The phonemaker has promised that it will roll out the Nougat update soon though. The MIUI has a vibrant colour scheme and plenty of options on thematics. There are ever favourite features such as dual apps, long screenshot and a new notification pane.

Motorola is one the few smartphones that sell on the power of clean and intuitive Android interface. The good thing is that Moto G5 Plus is launching with Android Nougat 7.0. So, right out of the bat, it comes with Google's AI personal assistant, called the Assistant. Also, there are add-ons in the form of Moto hand actions, such as the double chop for flashlight and the double twist for the camera. While Xiaomi's software is good, Moto's software always feels more polished. And, faster updates are guaranteed too.

Camera

The camera is vital to any phone today. On paper, Moto G5 Plus' 12 MP camera with f/1.7 aperture sounds stronger than Xiaomi's 13 MP camera with f/2.0 aperture. Although, as is usually the case, the final delivery is not as strong as expected. In normal daylight, expect both devices to deliver great results and social media ready photos. If the HDR is off, Xiaomi certainly gains.

Low-light photography is not really mid-range smartphone cameras' strong suit. So, don't expect exceptional results. However, if you use flash, you can get decent group photos or individual shots. The Moto G5 offers more natural colours (better white balance as well) than the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4. The front camera performance is decent for both devices.

Battery and multimedia

There is little doubt that because of its bigger battery, the Redmi Note 4 will provide plenty of extra juice through the day. The 4,100 mAh battery has an extra 1,100 mAh advantage over its Moto rival. Xiaomi supplies a 2A charger and Moto supplies a turbocharger with the phones. Total charging time was little over 2 hours for both, but bear in mind that the Redmi Note 4 has a bigger battery.

If you want a quick top-up, the Moto charger would certainly provide the required boost. But Redmi's extra battery power gives it a clear edge.

I watched a bunch of videos and listened to a lot of music on both devices. And, eventually, I liked Moto G5 Plus' audio quality more because of the crisp output. However, for videos, I definitely prefer the Redmi Note 4 screen.

Pricing, availability and final thoughts

Besides great specs and performance, the Redmi Note 4 scores points in the pricing department too. Starting from ₹9,999, the device's highest configuration is available at ₹12,999, making it almost ₹4,000 cheaper than Moto G5 Plus' high-end variant. The catch? Even after having opened another factory in India, Xiaomi is relying heavily on flash sales while Moto's device is available anytime.

Even though it was launched in January and has sold 1 million units, the Redmi Note 4 is hard to acquire. This is where Xiaomi needs to step up the game.

Both devices are well built for the price. If you are a power user with heavy multimedia usage and like to change your phone frequently, in this price range, Redmi Note 4 is the choice for you. With Moto G5 Plus however, you will get greater reliability and software performance.

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