The Redmi Note 4 is the king of budget phones in India. Regardless of its actual value, the phone has been the bestseller in its category online. Brands like Honor have are pushing hard this year to dethrone Xiaomi and claim the number one spot with devices like the Honor 9 Lite. With Xiaomi launching the Redmi Note 5, the war to gain the upper hand has just heated up.
We compare Honor’s best offering, the Honor 9 Lite, with Xiaomi’s latest, the Redmi Note 5 and see who’s who of the budget segment.
Redmi Note 5 vs Honor 9 Lite: design and build quality
First off, we talk build quality and design. The Honor 9 Lite is, without a doubt, an eye-catcher with a shiny metal and glass build as well as unique colour shades. However, the glossy look while being elegant can also be a fingerprint magnet and a disaster in the making. The handset is so slippery, it starts slipping on any surface.
The Redmi Note 5, on the other hand, carries forward the design of its predecessor and it is much more friendly to the grip than the Honor 9 Lite. Both designs have their tradeoffs and positives. The Honor 9 Lite looks like a flagship but has to be protected heavily. On the other hand, the Redmi Note 5 is much less accident prone but is not that much of a head turner.
Redmi Note 5 vs Honor 9 Lite: Display and aesthetics
Both our budget contenders now sport the hip 18:9 aspect ratio display. However, the Honor 9 Lite has a 5.65-inch panel while the Redmi Note 5 has a 5.99-inch panel. Moreover, the Honor 9 Lite has much thinner bezels compared to its competitor. That smaller display on Honor’s phone will allow for an easier one hand use.
The rounded corners give the Redmi Note 5 a pleasing look, in my opinion. On the flip side, the glass back of the Honor 9 Lite can make anyone wary of using it with one hand. Not so in the case of Xiaomi’s device. Both the handsets come with 2.5D curved glass on the front so there’s that bit of protection for the displays.
Redmi Note 5 vs Honor 9 Lite: processor
Both the HiSilicon Kirin 659 and the Snapdragon 625 are able chipsets. This is truer in the case of the Snapdragon SoC. The chip has been tried and tested since 2016. It is one of Qualcomm’s most used SoCs. That is also perhaps the reason why Xiaomi chose to stick with the processor.
Both the chips share a similar octa-core architecture as well. Regardless of benchmarks, you’re bound to see very little difference in real-world use whether it comes to gaming or casual functions. Battery efficiency of both the chips is also on par. However, the Honor 9 Lite is not as stable a performer as the tried and tested Snapdragon 625 in the long run.
Redmi Note 5 vs Honor 9 Lite: camera
This is one of the interesting parts of the comparison. As they say, appearances can be deceiving. The Honor 9 Lite has dual cameras both on the front and the rear. Both the sides have a 13MP + 2MP setup. With more megapixels, you’d expect better performance. However, the Honor 9 Lite struggles in low light conditions in case of the rear shooter.
Under adequate lighting, it performs better than the Redmi Note 5. Xiaomi’s device comes with the same setup as the Redmi Note 4 but the pixel size has now been increased to 1.25μm from 1.12μm on the rear. This results in better low light photos. In case of the selfie shooter, the megapixel advantage should technically allow better selfies than the Redmi Note 5. All in all, the camera has remained the Achilles heels of many budget devices and it remains so with both these phones.
Redmi Note 5 vs Honor 9 Lite: software (EMUI vs MiUI)
Talking about software, it is EMUI vs MIUI. Both customs skin are a far cry from stock Android. And it all comes down to user preference here. If you care about the latest and greatest in Android, Honor 9 Lite comes with Android 8.0. It is a bit of a let down that the Redmi Note 5 still runs Nougat, but we can surely expect Android Oreo in the future.
In terms of stability and speed, MiUI has been a consistent performer as far as my experience is concerned, though EMUI isn’t far enough. But EMUI comes loaded with great features that even Xiaomi’s interface can’t match. Similarly, some features like scrolling screenshots come with just MIUI. In the end, it comes down to user preference, if EMUI is your cup of tea, then fine.
Redmi Note 5 vs Honor 9 Lite: battery
Here the Redmi Note 5 has a clear advantage as it comes with a 4,000mAh battery. The Honor 9 Lite lags behind with a 3,000mAh battery. In such a case, the smaller battery of the Honor phone would be a deal breaker for heavy users.
However, Honor’s EMUI has stringent battery controls. It comes with a resolution scaling feature and an ultra power saving mode that can get you through the day even with heavy usage. Still, nothing compares to a bigger battery. Both these phones come with a micro USB charging port, so they’re level in that respect.
Redmi Note 5 vs Honor 9 Lite: Pricing
Pricing is another factor on the side of the Redmi Note 5. Its 3GB RAM + 32GB ROM variant costs Rs 9,999 which is Rs 1,000 less than the same variant of Honor 9 Lite. The deal gets sweeter with the 4GB RAM + 64GB ROM variant which is just Rs 11,999 for the Redmi Note 5. The same variant of the Honor 9 Lite costs Rs 14,999.
At this price point, it is hard to argue against the Redmi Note 5. The Honor 9 Lite only has an edge in the looks department while most other departments are matched or topped by the Redmi Note 5.
That’s our take though. What do you think of the two contenders? Would you pick up a Redmi Note 5 or would you suggest an Honor 9 Lite to anyone? We’d like to hear your thoughts too.