Lenovo has just launched the Moto G5 Plus in India, the latest addition to the famous G series. Which means, of course, there is now a new “quality” contender in the market in the mid-range segment. And also that we can now go ahead with the one “phoney war” we were looking forward to. Everyone loves a great Tech Face Off and so do we. Ever since Moto unveiled the G5 Plus at MWC, we could only think of one battle – the Moto G5 Plus vs. the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4. Both are identically specced to an extent. Both are extremely popular – one enjoys the sheer goodwill of its brand name of and represents the love for stock Android, while the other is already out there in the market setting records (a million units sold no less) and getting “out of stock” in just minutes.

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But if you had to pick one of the two, which would you go for – the Redmi Note 4 or the Moto G5 Plus? We compared the high-end models of both (4 GB RAM / 64 GB storage of the Redmi Note 4, and 4 GB RAM / 32 GB storage of the Moto G5 Plus) devices with each other. Which one will outperform the other?

Round One: Design and Appearance

Accuse us of racism if you will, but color has a major role to play here. Xiaomi had initially given us the gold variant of the Redmi Note 4 but it was replaced with a black one recently. To be honest, had this been between the gold Note 4 and the G5 Plus, the Note 4 would have been fighting a lost battle. The black edition, however, makes it just as much of a strong contender as the Moto G5 Plus (we have the lunar gray edition, incidentally).

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Unlike many phones in the mid-range segment that look as if they are designed from the same thread, these two are different and very distinct from each when it comes to looks, with the Note 4 following a slightly more familiar template, while the Moto G5 Plus throws us a different design curve. Let us get to the elder device out of the two: The Redmi Note 4. The device comes with a 5.5-inch full HD display with a metal unibody design. The front of the phone also holds three back-lit capacitive buttons, placed just below the display. The proximity sensor, the front camera and the earpiece are above the display on the richly black bezels (we just wanted to say “richly black”). The display is bright and colorful and can be comfortably used on a bright sunny day.

Moving on to the back (which looks even better than the front), the Note 4 has two shiny but black antenna bands on the top and base ends. Just below the antenna band near the top, Xiaomi has placed the primary camera, the dual tone LED flash and the fingerprint scanner in a vertical line. There is a very subtle Mi logo near the second antenna band. The back curves out on the edges, giving more grip to the smartphone and making it comfortable for users to hold. It measures 151 x 76 x 8.3 mm and weighs 175 grams and does not wander too far from the Moto G5 Plus in terms of size, at least. The base of the smartphone sports the speaker grilles and the Micro USB port while the top holds the 3.5 mm jack, the infrared port and the mic. The SIM card holder pops out from the left whereas the volume rocker and the power buttons have been placed on the right side of the phone.

All in all, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 does not wander too far off from the basic set pattern which many of the smartphones in this price band follow. The one thing that makes the design ship of the Redmi Note 4 really sail? The black color (there, we said it!)

Now that we are done with what is already present in the market, let’s get to the newbie in tech town. We may have accused Xiaomi of using a familiar (even boring) design pattern with a new color but we are happy to admit that we cannot say any such thing about the Moto G5 Plus. It is the first phone to don a metal cape in G family and we are not complaining. The phone looks more sturdy and definitely stands out in terms of looks. The G5 Plus sports a 5.2-inch full HD display protected by Gorilla Glass 3 and is brighter than the display of any smartphone we have reviewed in the budget/mid-range segment. Below the display, the company has placed a recessed, oval-ish fingerprint scanner and that is about it. Moto has also opted for on-screen buttons for navigation. Above the display, the company has placed the Moto logo, the proximity sensor, the earpiece, the speaker grilles and the secondary camera.

The back of the smartphone holds the primary camera and the dual tone LED flash setup inside a bumped out circular ring which may remind some people of the Moto Z Play (just the looks, though). The company has also placed Moto’s signature “M” on the back just below the camera setup. The Moto G5 Plus also curves out on the edges and definitely feels curvier.

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But these are not the only factors making the Moto G5 Plus stand out from the crowd. Unlike every other phone which has a SIM card holder on the sides, Moto has placed it on top of the smartphone while the base of the smartphone holds the 3.5 mm jack, the microUSB port and the mic. Talking about the sides, the right side of the phone holds the volume rocker and the textured lock button while the left side is absolutely plain. The smartphone measures 150.2 x 74 x 7.7 mm and weighs 115 grams there is no significant difference between the measurements of the two in terms of size. The fact that the Note 4 has a 5.5-inch display while the G5 Plus has a 5.2-inch display makes us wonder why the latter could have been more compact. That said, the phone is definitely lighter than the Note 4 (courtesy a smaller battery) and gains a point for different design.

Although we were drooling over the black Redmi Note 4 (almost literally), we think we would have to give this round to the Moto G5 Plus for its different and stand out design.

Winner: Moto G5 Plus

Round Two: Hardware

This round was always going to be a close call between the two phones because if we slide under the hood, a lot is pretty much the same. The Moto G5 Plus comes with a 5.2-inch full HD display with screen resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels. It runs on 2 GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor paired with 4 GB RAM and 32 GB internal storage (which can be expanded to 128 GB using a memory card and actually has a dedicated microSD card slot rather than a hybrid SIM slot). The G5 Plus is equipped with a 12-megapixel primary camera with Dual Autofocus pixels for faster autofocus and comes with a large f/1.7 aperture. There is a dual tone LED flash paired with the primary camera and a 5-megapixel front facing camera completing the camera setup. The handset is powered by a 3000 mAh battery and runs on stock Android 7.0 Nougat. The smartphone measures 150.2 x 74 x 7.7 mm and weighs 115 grams and can support dual SIM (micro and nano). Other connectivity options on the Moto G5 plus include Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, NFC, USB OTG, 3G and 4G.

Our second contender in the battle, the Note 4, comes with 5.5-inch full HD display as well. It too runs on 2 GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor. The smartphone offers 4 GB RAM and 64 GB internal storage which can be expanded up to 128 GB via MicroSD card.

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In the camera department, the Redmi Note 4 comes with a 13-megapixel primary shooter with dual tone LED flash and a 5.0-megapixel front shooter for selfies. The smartphone offers a massive battery of 4100 mAh and runs on Android Marshmallow 6.0 topped with MIUI 8. It measures 151 x 76 x 8.3 mm and weighs 175 grams. The smartphone can support two SIMs and in terms of other connectivity options, the Note 4 offers Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, Infrared, USB OTG, FM, 3G and 4G (with support for Band 40 used by some LTE networks in India).

Yes, we know there is hardly any difference when it comes to the specs of the two phones, but because the Note 4 has a 5.5-inch display against the 5.2-inch display on the Moto G5 Plus in spite of being almost the same size and throws in twice the onboard storage (although the Moto brigade might claim to have a dedicated memory card slot as compared to the hybrid SIM slot on the Note 4) and a much bigger battery, we think this round goes to Xiaomi Redmi Note 4.

Winner: Xiaomi Redmi Note 4

Round Three: Software and UI

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The two phones are very different when it comes to software and UI. The Note 4 runs on Android Marshmallow 6.0 topped with MIUI 8 while the Moto G5 Plus comes with the latest Android version, Nougat 7.0 and is stock Android in nature. This we think has to be a very personal call. The ones who like a more communicative and personalized interface should go with the Xiaomi Note 4 while the ones who love stock Android and want to keep updating their smartphone with the latest Android version in town can opt for Moto G5 Plus (although Moto has been a little spotty with its updates of late). Both the interfaces are easy to use. The Moto G5 Plus comes with the advanced Nougat features while the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 has got MIUI 8 to do the trick for it. We prefer stock Android over anything else for the simple reason that it gives you more control over the UI. But we can see a lot of people preferring the feature rich and more colorful MIUI 8 as well. We are, however, handing this round to the Moto G5 Plus.

Winner: Moto G5 Plus

Round Four: Performance

Both the devices are powered by a 2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor coupled with 4 GB RAM, but does that translate into similar performance? Both the smartphones handled all the multi-tasking and casual gaming task we threw at them. The two devices were almost on par with each other in terms of call and sound quality, and both sport very good displays for the price point, although the one on the Moto G5 Plus is slightly brighter. The two phones breezed through when we switched apps or when we were playing extensive casual games like Colour Switch, Dr. Driving or Subway Surfer.

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It was the high-end gaming zone where both the phone started lagging. We tried games like NFS No Limits and Asphalt Airborne and we experienced stutters from the beginning. We felt the performance of the Moto G5 Plus was a bit better than the performance of the Note 4 in the high-end gaming zone. Yes, in the Antutu Benchmark, the Redmi Note 4 (62431) was just slightly ahead of the Moto G5 Plus(61773) by a small margin, but we are still awarding this round to the Moto G5 Plus for being the smoother performer.

Winner: Moto G5 Plus

Round Five: Camera

The Moto G5 Plus comes with a 12-megapixel primary camera and a 5-megapixel secondary camera whereas the Note 4 is equipped with a 13-megapixel primary camera and a 5-megapixel front camera. Some might think the Note 4 has a slight edge over the Moto G5 Plus because of an extra megapixel but the camera on the G5 Plus has some more tricks up its sleeve – it comes with a large f/1.7 aperture which is a rarity in this price segment, allowing more light to enter into the camera, making it better suited for low light photography. The G5 Plus is also equipped with Dual Autofocus pixels which Moto claims makes the images sharper and brighter.

Now that we are done with text-book stuff, let’s get to the real deal – the photographic experience. The Redmi Note 4 produced images with better and more vibrant colors. Though the colors produced by the Note 4 were closer to reality, the images seemed at times to lack detailing. On the other hand, the Moto G5 Plus produced pictures with colors that were a little washed out, but it knocked the Redmi Note 4 out in terms of detailing and close ups. We managed to click some close ups with decent bokeh with the Moto G5 Plus as well. The G5 Plus outperforms the Note 4 in the low light category as well. Also, the G5 Plus has an edge over the Note 4 in the video category as well. It can record 4K ultra HD videos whereas the Note 4 can just shoot full HD videos (although once can use Google Camera app to enable 4K recording). That said, the people who really like to experiment with the their photography skills, we think, would lean towards the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 because of the simple fact that the Note 4 allows you to do more with the camera app and as Moto’s camera interface is too plain (the perils of stock Android), it offers fewer modes and shooting options.

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Comparison 1: Moto G5 Plus

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Comparison 1: Redmi Note 4

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Comparison 2: Moto G5 Plus

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Comparison 2: Redmi Note 4

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Comparison 3: Moto G5 Plus

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Comparison 3: Redmi Note 4

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Comparison 4: Moto G5 Plus

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Comparison 4: Redmi Note 4

It is a very close call but we think the Moto G5 Plus wins this round thanks to the better detailing, good bokeh, and better low light photography.

Winner: Moto G5 Plus

Round Six: Battery Life

This is about the most lop-sided round out there. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 runs on a 4100 mAh battery, while the Moto G5 Plus has a 3000 mAh battery. Both phones are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor which is known for its battery management. And this time, the figures do not lie. This round goes to the Redmi Note 4 because the smartphone can last easily up to a day and half under heavy usage while the Moto G5 Plus can only manage to see through a day under heavy usage. That said, the Moto G5 Plus supports Turbo charging which can give you around 3-4 hours of battery life in 15 minutes, but in terms of sheer longetivity, we think the Redmi Note 4 wins this round. Easily.

Winner: Xiaomi Redmi Note 4

Verdict

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On the face of it, the verdict seems a clear one. As per the round by round score, the Moto G5 Plus has won the tech face off with a score of 4-2 but this still remains a close call – we can see people going the other way in the software/UI and camera rounds, and trust us, we feel guilty of giving the design and appearance round to the Moto G5 Plus every time we see the black edition of the Note 4. And well, there is the little matter of price – the 4 GB/ 64 GB edition of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 is priced at Rs. 12,999 whereas the 4 GB/ 32 GB edition of the Moto G5 Plus is priced at Rs. 16,999, which makes the Redmi Note 4 much lighter on the pocket – even the 3 GB/ 16 GB edition of the Moto G5 Plus costs more than the high-end Note 4. So, if you are on a tight budget, the force is definitely with the Note 4. That said, Android purists and those who prefer an older, more familiar brand (and their numbers are significant) will flock to the Moto G5 Plus, which combines its traditional smooth operation with a very good camera.

It is really a matter of personal tastes and preferences, this battle between the budget flagship of Stock Android and the Note which is always out of stock!


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Feature Writer

Akriti Rana holds a degree in journalism and mass communication. She has reported on mobile technology and gadgets for My Mobile, and has interned with the Hindustan Times, India News and The Yellow Coin Communication. She loves writing, reading, dogs and food (in an order of preference that varies on deadlines and proximity) and has of late taken to tussling with cameras.