Redmi Note 6 Pro vs Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2: (Red)Mi or (As)Us?

Will the power of Red or Zen triumph in the sub-Rs 15,000 battle?

by: - Last updated on: December 31st, 2018

The year 2018 has witnessed a see-saw battle between Asus and Xiaomi for the title of the best smartphone below Rs 15,000. The first half of the year saw Asus’ Zenfone Max Pro M1 take on Xiaomi’s bestselling Redmi Note 5 Pro, with both phones doing very well in the Indian market. And as the year comes to a close, these two brands clash again, this time with the Redmi Note 6 Pro (review) and the Asus Zenfone Pro M2 (review) crossing swords. Read on to find out which one comes out on top!

zenfone max pro m2 vs redmi note 6 pro 3

Looks and design

This is one of the most lopsided rounds in the contest. No, it is not as if the Redmi Note 6 Pro is ugly or an eyesore, but it largely follows the design footsteps of its predecessor, with a metal body. The Zenfone Max Pro M2 does nothing of the sort, swapping the metal of its predecessor with some very classy glass, a much better-designed camera unit (putting the cameras against a white background is clever) and even slapping Gorilla Glass 6 on its display. The result is a device that is one of the best looking in its price segment. The Zenfone Pro M2 wins this one very comfortably indeed.

Winner: Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2

Hardware

zenfone max pro m2 vs redmi note 6 pro 1

This is a closer round than the design one, but the force again seems to be largely with the Zenfone Max Pro M2. Yes, both phones have 6.26-inch displays with full HD+ resolution, but the Pro M2 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor, which is widely considered to be a notch above the Snapdragon 636 on the Note 6 Pro. And while the Note 6 Pro hits back with a quad camera combination (dual cameras, 12+5 megapixels on front and 20+ 2 megapixels on the back) as compared to the dual rear (12+5 megapixels) and single selfie (13 megapixels) camera combination on the Pro M2, the Asus device scores once again by having a much larger battery: 5000 mAh to 4000 mAh on the Note 6 Pro. Yes, the Note 6 Pro comes with support for Quick Charge if you are willing to spend a little more on an adaptor, but we do think the Zen is with the Zenfone in this one again.

Winner: Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2

Software

zenfone max pro m2 vs redmi note 6 pro 6

Rather unexpectedly, this is where the Redmi Note 6 Pro gets on to the scoreboard. Unexpectedly because on paper, you would expect the stock Android on the Pro M2 to score over MIUI on the Xiaomi phone, given the fact that both are running Android 8.1. However, we are scoring this one to the Note 6 Pro because it is running MIUI 10, the latest version of Xiaomi’s UI, which comes with a number of interesting software touches, including very good gesture control and much better face recognition. Round that off with a much richer camera interface and even stocks Android cannot save the Pro M2 here.

Winner: Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro

Camera

zenfone max pro m2 vs redmi note 6 pro 8

The Redmi surge continues. Yes, Asus has improved the shooters on the Pro M2 as compared to the M1, but they really are not in the league of what Xiaomi has served up on the Note 6 Pro, which it has projected to an extent as a camera phone. We got more detail and better colors from the Note 6 Pro time and again. Both phones claim to come with AI smarts for their cameras but we felt once again that Xiaomi had the clear edge here, especially in portrait mode, where the bokeh was way better than anything the Zenfone could deliver. When it came to selfies too, the 6 Pro had a very clear edge over its competitor, with much more detail and a portrait mode. A crucial factor here is the camera software – the 6 Pro even offers options like Studio Lighting and Light Trails, which the Zenfone is not able to match. The hardware battle might appear to be a close one, but in terms of actual performance, the 6 Pro is an easy winner here.

Winner: Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro

Gaming

This is a clash between the Snapdragon 660 and the Snapdragon 636 and while the difference might not be apparent in most casual titles like Candy Crush and Subway Surfer, get into PUBG and Asphalt land, and the 660 pulls away very discernibly. Loading times are faster and while neither chip is really built for heavy-duty gaming, the 660 just handles things a whole lot more smoothly than the 660 does. We also felt that the sound quality on the Zenfone was a clear notch above that of the Note 6 Pro. Score another one for the Zenfone here.

Winner: Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2

Battery life

zenfone max pro m2 vs redmi note 6 pro 7

The difference between a 5000 mAh and a 4000 mAh battery – that is the difference between the Pro M2 and the Note 6 Pro. Both devices are battery champs, but while the Note 6 Pro can last close to two days with careful handling, the Max Pro M2 handles two days of normal usage with a degree of ease. As we pointed out, a small extra investment in an adaptor will get you fast charging for the Redmi Note 6 Pro, but right out of the box, the Max Pro M2 wins this one.

Winner: Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2

General performance and multitasking

zenfone max pro m2 vs redmi note 6 pro 4

In another surprise, the Note 6 Pro takes this one. We had expected the Zenfone to lord this round thanks to its bloatware free stock Android, but our experience on the device was actually a little buggy with more than the occasional lag. We have no doubt that Asus, given its excellent record in this department, will fix matters with a software update, but at the time of writing, the Note 6 Pro ran much more smoothly than the Pro M2. Both phones were neck and neck in multitasking, but the gesture-based UI on the Note 6 Pro was much better as was its superior face unlock.

Winner: Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro

Price

zenfone max pro m2 vs redmi note 6 pro 2

And so we come down to the final bit. On paper, the Pro M2 might seem to have an edge, starting as it does at Rs 12,999 as compared to Rs 13,999 of the base model of the Redmi Note 6 Pro. There is, however, a difference. While the base model of the Zenfone Max Pro M2 comes with 3 GB RAM and 32 GB storage, the base model of the Redmi Note 6 Pro comes with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage. A similarly specced Pro M2 will put you back by Rs 14,999 while a 6GB/ 64 GB variant will cost Rs 16,999. The 6 GB/ 64 GB variant of the Note 6 Pro will, on the other hand, hit you to the tune of Rs 15,999. Yes, Zenfone supporters might say that the device delivers a better processor and a bigger battery, not to mention a snazzier design, but the Note 6 Pro is a smoother performer and has much better cameras. Which is why it takes this round.

Winner: Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro

Conclusion

zenfone max pro m2 vs redmi note 6 pro 5

After eight round of confrontation, we are stuck with a 4-4 tie. So which of the two devices should you be going for? Well, it depends on what you consider important. The Zenfone Max Pro M2 scores clear winners in terms of design and battery life, while the Redmi Note 6 Pro has clearly better cameras and at the time of writing, was the much smoother performer of the two. At some level it really boils down to the difference between the processors – those wanting to try some relatively high-end gaming on their devices would prefer the Zenfone Max Pro M2, whereas those wanting relatively more routine work would be better off with the Redmi Note 6 Pro. Speaking for ourselves, the camera edge of the Note 6 Pro and its smoother interface makes us incline in its favor. Asus could change that with a few software updates, though – and we are being told an OTA is on the way even as this is being written. We would not complain if it does. But as of now, we would say that the Note 6 Pro is the best sub Rs 15,000 phone in the market.

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