Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 vs. Honor 6X: The battle for budget supremacy starts here

Feb 16, 2017

Two of the best budget phones in India go head-to-head.

Xiaomi has started off the year strong with the Redmi Note 4, offering a feature-rich phone for ₹12,999. Although Huawei’s sub-brand Honor doesn’t have the same brand recognition as Xiaomi in India, the manufacturer’s latest budget handset, the Honor 6X, stands out in several areas.

In fact, the Honor 6X is the only phone that is close to the Redmi Note 4 when it comes to the value proposition. Both handsets offer a ton of features, and in the case of the Redmi Note 4, the highlight is the battery life. For the Honor 6X, it is the dual-camera setup at the back.

The distribution models are also the same, with sales strategy pitting two of the largest e-commerce players in India against one another. Xiaomi has sided with Flipkart for the Redmi Note 4, while Honor is selling the Honor 6X exclusively on Amazon India. With both phones sold via weekly flash sales, there are a lot of similarities both in the feature-set on offer and the targeted audience. Let’s see if the Redmi Note 4 can hold its own, or if the Honor 6X manages to pull ahead.

Hardware

Xiaomi set the bar for design and build quality in this segment, and Huawei has matched it with the Honor 6X, offering an anodized metal chassis with chamfered edges and a premium design. Visually, both phones look very similar, and what they lack in flair they make up for in sturdy build quality. Both handsets have 2.5D curved glass at the front, and while the Honor 6X offers on-screen navigation buttons, the Redmi Note 4 relies on hardware keys.

The Redmi Note 4 has a better display, and is more comfortable to use one-handed.

The subtle chamfers on the side makes it easy to use the Redmi Note 4 one-handed. The phone has a larger 4100mAh battery over the 3340mAh unit in the Honor 6X, but it isn’t noticeably thicker at 8.5mm over the 6X’s 8.2mm. It’s impressive that Xiaomi managed to fit in a larger battery in a chassis that’s around the same size as the Honor 6X.

As for the display, the panel on the Redmi Note 4 produces accurate colors, and while the Honor 6X wins out when it comes to sunlight legibility, its panel tends to gravitate to cooler colors. You can change the color temperature through the display settings, but the color reproduction is better on the Redmi Note 4. Both phones offer a blue light filter that reduces eye fatigue when viewing the screen at night.

Internal hardware is also similar between both devices. The Indian variant of the Redmi Note 4 is powered by a Snapdragon 625 SoC, which has eight Cortex A53 cores clocked up to 2.0GHz and an Adreno 506 GPU. Meanwhile, the Honor 6X features Huawei’s own Kirin 655 SoC, which has the same octa-core Cortex A53 cores, but with four clocked at 2.1GHz and the latter four at 1.7GHz. On the GPU front, the Kirin 655 comes with a Mali-T830MP2. The Redmi Note 4 wins out over the Honor 6X when it comes to visually-intensive gaming, and that’s largely driven by the efficacy of the Adreno 506.

Category Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 Honor 6X
Operating System MIUI 8 based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow EMUI 4.1 based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Display 5.5-inch 1080p (1920×1080) IPS LCD panel
401ppi pixel density
5.5-inch 1080p (1920×1080) IPS LCD panel
401ppi pixel density
SoC Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
Eight Cortex A53 cores at 2.0GHz
14nm
Octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 655
Four Cortex A53 cores at 2.1GHz, four Cortex A53 at 1.7GHz
16nm
GPU Adreno 506 Mali-T830MP2
RAM 2GB/3GB/4GB RAM 3GB/4GB RAM
Storage 32GB/64GB storage
microSD slot up to 256GB
32GB/64GB storage
microSD slot up to 256GB
Rear camera 13MP
dual LED flash
PDAF
Dual camera (12MP + 2MP)
LED flash
PDAF
Front shooter 5MP
1080p video recording
8MP
1080p video recording
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1 (A2DP), GPS,
microUSB, 3.5mm audio jack
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1 (A2DP), GPS,
microUSB, 3.5mm audio jack
Battery 4100mAh battery 3340mAh battery
Fingerprint Rear fingerprint sensor Rear fingerprint sensor
Dimensions 151 x 76 x 8.5mm 150.9 x 76.2 x 8.2mm
Weight 165g 162g
Colors Silver, Gold, Black Silver, Gold, Grey

A glaring omission on the Honor 6X is the lack of dual-band Wi-Fi, and as such you’re limited to connecting to 2.4GHz networks. The Redmi Note 4 lets you connect to both 2.4GHz and 5GHz channels. In day-to-day use, both phones run lag-free outside of a few gaming-related scenarios. Both phones have speakers located at the bottom, but the one on the Honor 6X is marginally louder than that of the Redmi Note 4.

The Redmi Note 4 is available in three variants, with the base model offering 2GB of RAM and 32GB storage for just ₹9,999. The sub-₹10,000 pricing works in Xiaomi’s favor, and the entry-level option will undoubtedly sell in huge quantities in India. Xiaomi is also offering a variant with 3GB of RAM and 32GB storage for ₹10,999, and a model with 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage for ₹12,999.

Meanwhile, the Honor 6X is sold in two configurations: a version with 3GB of RAM and 32GB storage for ₹12,999, and an option with 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage for ₹15,999.

Winner: Redmi Note 4

Battery life

Xiaomi has prioritized battery life with the Redmi Note 4, and the result is a phone that can last up to two days on a full charge without any issues. That’s if your daily usage only involves a couple of hours of streaming music or video, along with a few hours of browsing, social media usage, and gaming. The combination of the 4100mAh battery and the energy-efficient 14nm SoC ensures that you get at least a day’s worth of use even if you’re streaming video throughout the day.

The Honor 6X is no slouch either when it comes to battery life, with the phone also lasting through a full day on regular use. However, it doesn’t quite match the battery prowess of the Redmi Note 4. Great battery life is a prerequisite for both phones as they both lack fast charging options. The Redmi Note 4 takes just over two hours to fully charge, with the Honor 6X taking slightly lesser time. You’re not going to be able to charge these phones quickly in the middle of the day should you need to. That said, with the battery life being what it is, you’re not going to find yourself in that situation often.

Winner: Redmi Note 4

Software

It’s hard to find a user interface that’s as convoluted as MIUI. Sadly, Huawei’s EMUI puts up a good challenge. The notification shade alone highlights everything that’s wrong with the way Chinese manufacturers approach software. That said, Huawei has gotten rid of a lot of the excess in the Nougat-based EMUI 5.0, paring back the overt customizations to offer a cleaner implementation. The update will fix many of the annoyances that are currently present in EMUI, and should make using the phone far less irritating. Huawei has mentioned that the Nougat update will be rolling out to the Honor 6X in the month of April.

As for MIUI, Xiaomi’s user interface is known for offering a smorgasbord of features, and if you’re new to the UI, there’s plenty to discover. Xiaomi also adds new features on a regular basis, and has rolled out several local features aimed at Indian users. For instance, the dialer automatically filters spam calls, and gives you caller ID information for several brands. Then there’s the option to limit calls from those in your contacts list, automatically record all calls, and more.

We’re yet to see the changes that Xiaomi will bring to the table with a Nougat-based version of MIUI. The Android 7.0 Nougat update is available in beta for the Redmi Note 4, but that version is still based on MIUI 8, with the user-facing side seeing no alterations. Even with MIUI 9, it is unlikely we’ll see drastic changes in the user interface, as the ROM is still primarily aimed at Chinese customers.

Winner: Honor 6X

Camera

The camera on the Honor 6X is the best in this segment. The dual camera setup isn’t the same as what you’d find on the likes of the Honor 8 or the Huawei P9, which have dedicated color and monochrome sensors, but the standalone 12MP lens does a fantastic job, particularly when you consider the fact that the Honor 6X costs a third of the Huawei P9 and half of the Honor 8.

The Redmi Note 4 also has a decent camera, but it isn’t on par with what you get with the Honor 6X.

Winner: Honor 6X

What should you buy? Up to you

The Redmi Note 4 and the Honor 6X are two of the best budget phones available today, and that will continue to be the case for much of 2017. There really isn’t a whole lot of difference between the two handsets: both offer great 1080p panels, premium design, sturdy build quality, and all-day battery life.

The Honor 6X takes the edge when it comes to camera quality, and the Redmi Note 4 is the winner in terms of battery life. Both phones are evenly matched on the software front as well, but that is set to change shortly for the Honor 6X, which will pick up the Nougat-based EMUI 5.0. The update will make the software much less tedious to use, in turn making the device a much more enticing proposition.

See at Amazon India

That said, the Honor 6X has a ₹3,000 premium over the Redmi Note 4, and while the camera quality entirely justifies the cost, the minor gulf in pricing could prove to be the difference over the course of the year. Furthermore, Xiaomi has a brand cachet that is unmatched in this category, which when combined with the lower pricing gives the Redmi Note 4 a slight edge.

See at Flipkart




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