One is the latest in the series that many consider the founder of the “affordable but great performing” device segment. The other is attempting to redefine that very segment with design, hardware and software enhancements. And they are both aimed squarely at those looking for a good device for around Rs 15,000. But which of the Moto G5s Plus and the Honor 9 Lite is the one or you? We find out. (This comparison is between the 4GB RAM/ 64 GB storage variants of the two devices).
Design and appearance
This is a clash between the traditional and the modern. The Moto G5s Plus harks to a slightly more conventional style of design with its metal build although its rounded edges and spherical dual camera unit do make it stand out in the camera crowd. However, while being smart looking, the G5s Plus has to reckon with the downright beautiful Honor 9 Lite which comes with an 18:9 aspect ratio display and a wonderful glass back with a mirror finish. There is only one winner here – the Honor 9 Lite literally outshine the Moto G5s Plus, although it will be more prone to smudges, we suspect.
This is an interesting battle. On the one hand you have the G5s Plus with its 5.5-inch full HD (1920 x 1080) display and powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chip with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage and on the other you have the Honor 9 Lite with a 5.65 inch full HD+ (2160 x 1080px) display powered by a HiSilicon Kirin 659 processor with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage. Connectivity options too are largely similar (4G, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, et al), which brings the battle down to the cameras. But even there, things are close – the Honor 9 Lite has dual cameras at the front as well as the back (both 13 and 2-megapixel combinations) while the Moto G5s Plus has dual 13.0-megapixel cameras at the rear and an 8.0-megapixel front-facing shooter. The 9 Lite scores in the selfie department but the G5s Plus holds its own in the main cameras. Both have 3000 mAh batteries too, which is why we are scoring this one a tie.
Again, this is a clash of tastes. On the one hand, you have the largely Stock Android Nougat on the Moto G5s Plus, on the other you have the heavily EMUI 8 skinned Android Oreo on the Honor 9 Lite. We know stock Android lovers will swear by the clean interface of the Moto G5s Plus, but we are voting this for the more feature-rich UI on the Honor 9 Lite, which also has the advantage of running a newer version of Android.
Can three cameras match four? Maybe not on paper, but in actual battle, we found the Moto G5s Plus more than matching the rear camera set up on the Honor 9 Lite. Both phones let you play around with bokeh, blurring out part of the picture while letting the remainder be in sharp focus. While the G5s Plus seemed to score on detail, colors generally seemed more peppy on the 9 Lite. And well, when it came to the front cameras, the 9 Lite’s dual set up totally bossed the one on the G5s Plus. It is a narrow win but we are scoring this one for the Honor 9 Lite.
Multimedia and gaming
We found both devices to be neck and neck in this department, handling casual games easily and stuttering a little with the higher end ones. Both were also closely matched when it came to handling multiple apps. However, the bigger display of the Honor 9 Lite and its very design makes watching videos and playing games a more compelling experience as compared to on the Moto G5s Plus. It is a close finish but once again, the Honor 9 Lite edges it.
This is again a battle between the relatively plain stock Android UI and the more feature-rich EMUI. And in this case, we think in terms of sheer overall performance, the G5s Plus just feels slightly more smooth than the 9 Lite. It is really a matter of perception, but we felt that things seemed to move just a smidgeon faster on the G5s Plus. Call quality was also better on the G5s Plus although audio quality seemed better on the Honor 9 Lite. The G5s Plus wins this but by a very thin margin – we found nothing to complain in terms of the general performance of the 9 Lite.
Value for money
The Moto G5s Plus was launched at Rs 15,999 but has seen its price dip to Rs 14,999 since, which is exactly the price at which the 4 GB/ 64 GB edition of the Honor 9 Lite has been launched. On the surface, these would seem to be equal, but we think the larger and more futuristic display of the Honor 9 Lite and its better camera combination, as well as the fact that it runs on Android Oreo, gives it the edge here.
It has been a close contest, but the Honor 9 Lite’s more premium design, bigger display, cameras and Android Oreo give it a clear edge over the very good Moto G5s Plus. It is not as if Motorola’s budget warrior is a bad device – it is, in fact, a very good one and keeps running the much newer Honor 9 Lite close in many of the parameters, but at the end of the day, we really think the Honor 9 Lite wins this battle. The fact that the 9 Lite also has a Rs 10,999 version (with 3 GB RAM and 32 GB storage) only adds to its victory margin.