Not too long ago, only a flagship grade smartphone could entice a person into spending his or her hard-earned money at a phone showroom besides the reason of need of having one. In the last couple of years though, this situation has been changing and getting better for the mid-range devices a lot. In fact, in this category, the lower mid-range is filling up with a plethora of handsets that look and feel as if they belong in a segment higher.
Xiaomi and Huawei are two of the manufacturers that are responsible for this change. Their recent lower mid-range devices have flagship-level design language while offering decent performances to create somewhat desirable packages in their own right.
The Redmi Note 5 Pro, from Xiaomi, is a recent addition in this hotly competitive segment while the Honor 7X, from Huawei, is a known performer. We are bringing these two phones against each other in an overall comparison.
DESIGN and BUILD QUALITY
Design and build quality are possibly the most critical aspects of any smatphone out there. This is a make or break deal. A good design and an impressive build can lead a person to give a closer look at a phone.
Both the Redmi Note 5 Pro and the Honor 7X are made out of aluminium and protected by Corning Gorilla Glass at the front. Both look more or less equally impressive with the 7X being slightly better when looked from the back. What goes against the Note 5 Pro are the plastic inserts at the top and bottom that are separated by the antenna lines from the aluminium body. There is a mismatch of colors between the plastic and the metal body which is not too hard to notice. We are not sure if it is intentional or Xiaomi simply couldn’t create a 100% color match. Although, the Note 5 Pro feels the same irrespective of how it is held. So, it is not really too big a deal.
Coming to the front, we would say that the Note 5 Pro looks better making it even with the Honor 7X. While both phones have equal bezels, the Note 5 Pro’s display has more pronounced curves at all four corners making it appear more contemporary compared to 7X’s display which has sharper corners.
However, the Honor 7X feels a tad better to hold and provides ever so slightly better grip. But in this case as well, the difference is too minor between the two.
Both phones come with a 5.9 inches of Full HD+ IPS LCD display (1080p x 2160p). Picture quality, as expected, is quite similar and there’s nothing much to differentiate other than that the Note 5 Pro’s screen with curvier corners looks trendier. The Honor 7X’s display is pretty impressive as well but the screen’s sharper corners are a bit year old.
However, in the default color settings, the Redmi Note 5 Pro has a neutral tone to its white balance while the Honor 7X appears a bit warmer in comparison. Although, this is not how we feel when we are looking at the Honor 7X display in isolation. Side by side, the viewing experience on the Note 5 Pro is a hair-touch better. At the same time, this difference in white balance is rarely noticeable when there are more colors present on the screen, for example, while gaming.
Overall, both screens deliver an impressive view and due to their generous sizes, watching multimedia content is mostly a joy.
PERFORMANCE AND GAMING
Performance of any smartphone has to be judged in relation to its specifications (and perhaps also the segment it belongs to). Depending on that, the threshold of what is acceptable and what is not can change.
Both the Redmi Note 5 Pro and the Honor 7X are more or less lower mid-range devices, but they probably lie at the very top of it. The Note 5 Pro is one of the latest additions to this segment while the Honor 7X has been slugging it out for quite a while now. The Note 5 Pro comes with the Snapdragon 636 processor while the 7X comes with the Kirin 659 chipset.
There is not much to be told in normal daily usage. Both phones deliver almost equal levels of performance which includes occasional jitters while scrolling the pages of various social media apps, mostly smooth navigation across the Android UI and random lags while switching between apps through the app switcher. However, the Redmi Note 5 Pro again feels a touch smoother in operation.
The more noticeable difference comes in gaming and especially while indulging in some graphic heavy games. The Redmi Note 5 Pro, from the word go, visibly does a better job when it comes to keeping up with the framerate requirement in a car racing game like the Asphalt 8. Not that the difference between the two handsets is big, but it is clear enough.
Secondly, neither phone does an impressive job of navigating between various game menus. We have experienced 1-2 seconds or random lags while moving from one game menu to another on the Redmi Note 5 Pro while the Honor 7X has gone on to completely freeze. It is a rare occurrence, but then it happened on the 7X and not on the Note 5 Pro. So there it is.
This is a big deal. The camera in any smartphone today has become one of its strongest points, so much so that being just “good enough for social media” is not good enough anymore. People want better, irrespective of the segment most times, and companies are trying to treat them with the best possible solutions.
Both phones come with dual camera setups at the back. Redmi Note 5 Pro gets a 12 MP primary lens and 5 MP secondary lens with aperture sizes of f2.2 and f2.0 respectively. On the other hand, the Honor 7X gets a 16 MP primary lens and a 2 MP secondary lens with an aperture size of f2.2. As far as the front cameras are concerned, the Note 5 Pro and the 7X get a 20 MP and an 8 MP unit respectively.
Below are a few samples.
We found both cameras decent enough. In the Redmi Note 5 Pro, the image is overall sharper while the colors are slightly dull. In comparison, the image from the Honor 7X is not as sharp, although, the colors are a bit livelier. Furthermore, there is a tad more noise in the images from the Note 5 Pro while the Honor 7X tends to overexpose its images a bit (this has been a consistent observation with the 7X).
Both handsets are capable of delivering a day-long battery life. Especially in the case of the Redmi Note 5 Pro its 4,000 mAh battery definitely raises the expectations regarding the battery life. Our experience regarding with the Redmi Note 5 (which has the same 4,000 mAh battery) wasn’t as expected. But it seems Qualcomm’s newest mid-range processor, Snapdragon 636, is better at battery management. It clearly outperformed the Honor 7X as well as its own sibling, the Redmi Note 5. In normal usage, the Redmi Note 5 Pro will go past one day, while heavy usage will bring the life down but it will not be too disappointing.
At Rs 13,999, the Redmi Note 5 (4 GB RAM/64 GB storage) is Rs 1,000 more expensive than the Honor 7X (4 GB RAM/32 GB storage). The differences between the two phones are not significant but then they are there. Since the price difference is nothing to raise our eyebrows on, we would go with the Redmi Note 5 Pro and spare the Honor 7X.