Hello everyone and welcome to Tech Face off section on TechPP, which promises to be the most sophisticated rumble of all times.
In the orange corner of the ring, we have the smartphone which is trying to repeat history created by its predecessor. This contender has proved that it is worth being called the successor of the undisputed king of the mid-range segment, the Redmi Note 3 (our Review here), the smartphone that comes with a 5.5-inch display and its 3 GB RAM variant is priced at Rs. 10,999 while the 4 GB RAM one costs Rs. 12,999.
In the blue corner we have with us, the contender which might not have a great predecessor but comes with some very promising specifications along with performance (our review here). This contender fights on its camera which has been one of the weaknesses of Xiaomi’s unbeatable Redmi Note 3. This contender also comes with a 5.5-inch display and its 3 GB variant costs Rs. 12,999 for 3 GB RAM whereas the 4 GB RAM variant costs Rs. 15,999.
But which one out of the two are going to come out as a winner when they collide head on? Let’s find out:
Round One: Design and display
This is the first round of the match and this has to be a tricky one. Both the smartphones come with a 5.5-inch full HD display and both the smartphones have a lot of things in common and things differentiating them.
Our first contender, the Redmi Note 4, comes with three capacitive backlit buttons placed below the 5.5-inch 2.5 D curved screen. Above the screen is the uncompromised trio which is inevitably present on top of the display; the proximity sensor, the earpiece and the front camera.
When it comes to the back, the smartphone looks like a shrunk version of Xiaomi’s Mi Max. The Redmi Note 4 comes with a metal unibody design and the back of the smartphone curves on the edges. The company has not shied away from adding glitter and glamor on the back of the Redmi Note 4 and has provided with two shimmery antenna bands on the upper end and lower end of the smartphone. The similar shiny metal finished rings also encircle the camera, the dual tone LED flash and the fingerprint scanner placed vertically just below the upper antenna band. The company has placed the logo just above the lower antenna band.
The sides of the of the phone carry the power button and the lock button on the right and the SIM card tray pops out from the left. The base of the smartphone carries the speaker grilles and the micro USB port while the top bears the 3.5 mm audio jack, the infrared port and the mic. The smartphone measures 151 x 76. x 8.3 mm and weighs 175 grams. The handset feels premium and fits easily in the hand. The display of the smartphone is bright and works just fine on a bright sunny day.
The contender in blue, the Honor 6X also comes with a 5.5-inch full HD display, but the smartphone does not follow the set design pattern which most of the smartphones in this price bracket follow. Which can or cannot be a trump card for it to win this round. Above the display, there is the same trio of the proximity sensor, the earpiece, and the front camera adding to which there is a microscopic notification light. But as we said, the Honor 6X has taken the road less traveled when it comes to the design (to some extent at least). Below the display, there is just the logo of the brand and no capacitive buttons on the smartphone. The company has decided to go with three on-screen buttons for navigation. Although it is a point which differentiates the smartphone from the lot, speaking for ourselves, we do not like the concept of on-screen buttons as the navigation becomes a little confusing, it eats up the display and kills the purpose of having a chin.
Unlike the Redmi Note 4, Honor has held its hand back when it comes to the shimmer on the back. There are antenna bands on the similar positions just like the Redmi Note 4 but they are not metal finished or shiny like the Note 4. Below the antenna on the upper end, the company has placed the USP of the smartphone which is (drum rolls) the dual camera. The dual camera juts out from the back and is placed vertically. Honor has placed the flash on the right side of the camera while the fingerprint scanner is placed just below the cameras in the same vertical line. The company has placed the logo on the back just above the second antenna band as well.
There the differences end mostly. The Honor 6X also sports a metal unibody design and comes with a curvy back. It holds the volume rocker and power button on the right side while the hybrid SIM card tray is placed on the left (just like the Redmi Note 4). The speaker grilles are placed on the base along with Micro USB port and the top of the smartphone holds the 3.5 mm jack along with the mic. The Honor 6X does not come with an infrared port which can also be counted as a teeny-weeny negative. The display on the Honor 6X is also bright and we did not face any trouble while using the phone in bright daylight.
Now that we are through with the basics, it is time to announce the winner of round one. We think this round goes to the Redmi Note 4. Although the design of the Redmi is repeated and tested, we think, the on-screen buttons on the Honor 6X for us were the losing point for the 6X. Plus all the shimmer and the glitter kind of got our eyes blinking in favor of the Note 4.
Score after round one:
Redmi Note 4: 01
Honor 6X: 00
Round 2: Performance
Both the review units we received were the higher end variants. The two smartphones possess 4 GB RAM and 64 GB internal storage but they are very distinct when it comes to the CPU. The Redmi Note 4 comes with a Snapdragon 625 processor while the Honor 6X runs on its in-house 2.1 GHz Kirin 655 octa-core chipset with Mali-T830MP2 GPU. Both the smartphones can handle all the multitasking thrown at them like a cake walk. Switching one app from another, handling social media and all the other mainstream tasks seemed to work just fine. Both can also easily satisfy the casual gamers’ obsessions. Games like Candy Crush, Temple Run run smoothly on both the smartphones. But the distinguishing factor which sets the two device apart becomes visible once we tried heavy games on the phones.
Redmi Note 4 worked well with heavy games like Asphalt and NFS while the Honor 6X struggled. The Note 4 was not as swift when it comes to in-game transitions but it we did not face any major lags while playing high-end games on the device. But the Honor 6X could not handle the pressure of high-end games and could only crawl through the process.
There was a significant difference in the AnTuTu scores of the two devices as well. The Redmi Note 4 scored 62431 points while the Honor 6X could only bag 36266 points, almost half of what the Redmi Note 4 has got.
Both the devices sport a 5.5-inch full HD screen and produce decent enough sound and therefore multimedia on both the phone is not actually groundbreakingly good or eye-soring-ly bad and we think both fall more or less in the average zone when it comes to multimedia.
Both the smartphones are pretty much there when it comes to casual gaming and multitasking but Redmi Note 4’s HD gaming move drives this round in the Note 4’s favor.
Scores after round 2:
Xiaomi Redmi Note 4: 02
Honor 6X: 00
Round 3: Camera
Although the Note 4 has thrown some very powerful punches in the last two rounds, we are very hopeful that this third round will be the round of redemption of the Honor 6X (read our camera review). The Redmi Note 4 comes with a 13-megapixel primary shooter while the Honor 6X comes with dual cameras; one with a 12-megapixel sensor and the other with a 2-megapixel sensor.
The Redmi Note 4 is better in terms of camera performance when compared with the Redmi Note 3 but falls short in the round in front of the Honor 6X which fights on its camera. The pictures produced by the Honor 6X were much more detailed and produced crisp colors. The camera app interface of Honor also provides the users with sixteen different modes to choose from unlike the Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 4 which only offers nine. The colors produced by the Note 4 were not that realistic as compared to the 6X and were landing a little on the saturated side. The 6X also bags points when it comes to detailing as grains were not that visible in a steadily taken picture as they were in a picture taken by the Note 4.
Even when it comes to the secondary camera, the Honor 6X has got the numbers and performance in its favor. The secondary camera on Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 4 is a 5-megapixel sensor, while the one on Honor 6X comes with an 8-megapixel one. The Note 4 is definitely outnumbered by megapixels on the 6X and that the results reflect it. The pictures by the Note 4’s selfie shooter are way more noisy as compared to Honor 6X’s secondary camera. The colors produced by the Honor 6X were more realistic while the colors by the Note 4 were a little saturated just like in the case of its primary camera.
Another huge plus point for the Honor 6X has to be the kind of bokeh the camera can produce in a picture. Xiaomi also offers Tilt-Shift in its camera interface but most of the times it looks artificial and that does not even stand anywhere near the bokeh produced by the 6X. Although the bokeh by 6X can also sometimes feel software based, but all said and done, it can produce pictures with exceptional bokeh most of the times.
Taking all the moves by the two contenders in consideration, we think we have a clear winner for the third round. The Honor 6X takes this round home and finally opens up its account on the scoreboard. How the Honor 6X must be hoping this was the only round that really counts. But hang on, there are still two more rounds to go.
Scores after round 3:
Xiaomi Redmi Note 4: 02
Honor 6X: 01
Round 4: UI
The two smartphones basically run on Android 6.0 Marshmallow and are topped with different in-house UIs by the company. Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 4 runs on MIUI 8 while the Honor 6X runs on EMUI 4.1.
Both the UIs are easy to use and uncluttered. We had some additional third party apps on the Honor 6X but they were not really a problem because these third party apps are majorly kept in folders which make the interface simple. The UI also provides you features through which you can use the fingerprint scanner to slide up-down the notification panel, click selfies, etc.
There are not as many third party apps on the Redmi Note 4 and the ones present are also kept in a folder. But the Xiaomi MIUI 8 provides users with additional features like MiDrop, MiRemote and other features which make the UI interesting, if a little confusing as well.
Both the devices are pretty much on par with each other when it comes to the UI which is why we think this round has to be a tie.
Scores after round 4:
Xiaomi Redmi Note 4: 02
Honor 6X: 01
Round 5: Battery
So it all comes down to the final round, with the Honor 6X needing to win this one to tie the scores. However, the Redmi Note 4 has a slight edge over the Honor 6X when it comes the sheer number of mAhs. The Note 4 is powered by a 4,100 mAh battery while the Honor 6X comes with a 3,340 mAh battery. Although both the numbers are not as big as some of the batteries we have seen recently (like the Nubia N1 that comes with a 5000 mAh battery), the processors on both manage to juice out every ounce of power inside the phones. But the Redmi Note 4 does come with a bigger battery and allied with Snapdragon 625’s well-known battery management, and as a result can actually see two days with a single charge under heavy usage. The Honor 6X can only last for a single day under heavy usage with a single charge – respectable but not really in the same class.
The battery round is obviously bagged by the Redmi Note 4 and this gives the Note 4 a lead of 02 points over the Honor 6X at the end of round 5.
Scores after round 5:
Xiaomi Redmi Note 4: 03
Honor 6X: 01
Ladies and gentlemen, that ends this contest. The judges are in with their scorecards. The winner is (drumrolls…) the Redmi Note 4 with a score of 03 – 01.
The Note 4 has won three rounds out of five in the ring and also comes as a more affordable option at Rs 12,999 for its high-end version as compared to the Rs 15,999 for the Honor 6X. But the Honor 6X has not failed. Although it could not stand against the Redmi Note 4 in some departments, but the smartphone is perfect for the users looking for a great camera phone on a tight budget. Honor has gained points in two very critical rounds; camera and UI which actually can be the deciding factor in many cases.
The two phones are very distinct and stand out in different categories. The ones who are not into heavy gaming and would prefer a phone with a better camera can opt for the Honor 6X whereas those looking for an overall performer on a relatively affordable price can choose the Note 4 out of the two.
In some ways, this battle between the two smartphones in the mid-range segment is so like the bout between Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston – Ali was a more complete boxer perhaps but Liston scored on one critical component: sheer overwhelming strength. Sonny Liston may have lost the battle but it does not make him any less of a great boxer, is it?