Towards the end of the year 2017, we are taking a look at a new smartphone in the mid-range category and this could straightaway call itself one of the top three. And here, we talk about the actual top three. The Xiaomi Mi A1 (read the Xiaomi Mi Ai Review) and the Moto G5s Plus were two top contenders in the price range of under Rs. 20000, but now, Honor India has launched the Honor 7x with the base price of Rs. 12999. Of course, if we are to compare the phone with the high-end variants, it would be with the 4GB RAM variant of Moto G5s Plus, which is priced at Rs. 15999, similar to how the 64GB storage variant of Honor 7x is priced.
Read: Honor 7x Review
In our previous comparison, we had talked about how the two devices, Moto G5s Plus and Xiaomi Mi A1 are better in terms of overall features and camera performance when the pricing is considered, here, the Honor 7x is a good phone. In this comparison, let’s see how does this new smartphone fare against the two leaders in the mid-range category.
Design – Is Mi A1 still the best?
Easily for me, it is the Honor 7x now. The Mi A1 and Moto G5s Plus both had excellent designs and while I loved the comfort and the build of the Moto G5s Plus, it is the big camera bump on the back that bothered me. Now, with the 7x joining the competition, I feel it has a perfect balance. The phone is slightly bigger but that is to accommodate a larger screen and that is what makes it a better phone, with a well-planned design. The camera combination towards the top should’ve seen its place a little lower but then the rings around the camera protect them from scratching.
Display – 18:9 vs. 16:9
This is 2017 and we are seeing more and more companies adopting the 18:9 resolution. Although the Mi A1 and the Moto G5s Plus have decided to go with the more standard approach by having a 16:9 aspect ratio display at 5.5” inch sizing, the Honor 7X does things a little different by including the latest 18:9 aspect ratio at a 5.93” inch size.
While nothing has been talked about the protection offered to the screens of the Xiaomi Mi A1 and the Honor 7X, it should be the Gorilla Glass 3 as they are said to be scratch resistant. The Moto G5s has been confirmed to have the same Gorilla Glass 3 protection.
Although all the three displays perform very well in real life, it is the personal choice that would narrow down to the devices. The Honor 7X and the Moto G5s Plus offer more vivid and aggressive colors while the Xiaomi A1 goes with a more natural tone for the content displayed on the screen. We prefer the Honor 7X display over the other two displays for the color reproduction and contrast.
The only major downside of having an 18:9 aspect ratio display is that there are still several apps that don’t support the aspect ratio and you might have black bars to both the sides if you are using them on the Honor 7X.
OS, Interface, and Experience
In this comparison, the Moto G5s Plus and Mi A share a lot of similarities and yet another among them is the fact that they run on a similar UI. Both these devices are powered by Stock Android and while Moto G5s Plus does include a few gimmicks to make the experience a little more user-friendly and interactive, the Mi A1 chooses to keep it completely stock and not have any sort of bloat or modifications. The Honor 7X, on the other hand, comes with their EMUI over stock Android which does include a lot of nifty features that could one day be useful.
The Honor 7X comes with a single click split view functionality which makes it a lot easier to use multiple apps at a time. It is totally a personal preference to either like the Stock UI or the customized EMUI over the other. However, the EMUI gives you an option to have an app drawer, this way you don’t need to have all the apps on your home screen all the time. You can choose the apps of your choice to be placed on the home screen and even organize similar apps into folders.
Performance, Storage, and UI
The Moto G5s Plus and the Xiaomi A1 have the very same chipsets powering both the phone, The Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 which is an octa-core processor clocked at 2.0GHz performs a great job on both the devices. The GPU on the Moto G5s Plus and the Xiaomi A1 is the Adreno 506 GPU while the Honor 7X is powered by their in-house processor, the Kirin 659 chipset which performs equally good when compared to the Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipsets on the counterparts. Each of the devices come with 4GB RAM and the Moto G5s Plus also has a downgraded variant at 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage. The Honor 7X comes in two variants with either 32GB or 64GB storage.
Coming to the smoothness of the UI, all the phones perform about the same and there isn’t much of a difference. For this review, we’ve considered the top variants of each of the phone and thus have found that all the UI have been responsive, and the RAM management has been pretty good. The Honor 7X does stand out when it comes to the RAM management and does an incredible job by clearing apps that are in the memory for a very long time despite being dormant.
Talking about the heavy performance, all the devices have exceptional processing abilities and we found the Mi A1 to perform a little better than the G5s Plus when it comes to gaming for the mere fact that the later heated up very easily. The Xiaomi Mi A1 has an extra layer of Dual pyrolytic graphite sheet that helps in keeping the phone colder by about 2-degree and that was well noticeable. The Honor 7X did equally good when it comes to gaming performance. At Gizmotimes we don’t review the phones based on the benchmark results, rather we go with the real-life performance of the devices.
When it comes to the camera department, the Honor 7X outperformed the Mi A1 and the Moto G5s Plus. We found the primary camera setup on the 7X to produce the most accurate results and the Bokeh effect in the portrait mode was evenly phased out. The Mi A1 also did a pretty good job with the Bokeh effect and the portraits of faces were better on the Mi A1 than on the Moto G5s Plus or the Honor 7X.
The Moto G5s plus didn’t perform that good when it came to portraits and the dual camera setup on the phone didn’t really help the image processing all that well. The Moto G5s Plus has an image stabilization solution which is otherwise missing in the Mi A1 and the Honor 7X. The only issue with the Mi A1 is when it comes to low light imaging, the telephoto lens in the Mi A1 is a f/2.6 lens which makes it difficult to get the best out of low light conditions.
Note: A full camera comparison with capture samples will be put up soon.
The front camera on the three phones is pretty good. However, the Honor 7X does an exceptional job of adding a bokeh effect to the images taken even using the front camera without the need for a secondary sensor. The Moto G5s Plus has a soft front flash which could be very useful when you have to take selfies in low light conditions.
All the three phones have very similar battery sizes and perform on par with each other when it comes to the battery life. However, the RAM management and software optimization on the Honor 7X is slightly better so you end up getting slightly better standby times on the Honor 7X compared to the Mi A1 and the Moto G5s Plus. However, on a regular usage both the devices return about the same battery life and are self-sufficient. On a ranking, we would rate the battery life of the Honor 7X to be better than the other two which is then followed by the Mi A1 and unfortunately the Moto G5s Plus get the last rank in terms of battery life despite being a decent performer. The Moto G5s Plus and the Mi A1 come with fast charging and of the two, the Moto G5s Plus does a better job at fast charging. The Honor 7X, on the other hand, doesn’t come with support for fast charging.
Fingerprint sensor – functionality on 7x is best – with extra features
The fingerprint sensors on all the phones are responsive and unlock instantly. However, the functionality of the fingerprint sensor on the Honor 7X is the best as it gives you options to use the same fingerprint sensor for multiple gestures which can be trained to perform tasks on being triggered. The Moto G5s Plus has a similar option where you can enable the One Button Nav which will let you make use of the fingerprint sensor to perform the task of a navigation bar.
- The Mi A1 has an IR blaster which lets you control your TV, set-top box or for that matter almost any remote-controlled device directly using your smartphone.
- The Honor 7X comes with support for DTS which should give a more superior audio performance.
- The Mi A1 also comes with the USB Type C port which makes it future-proof and compatible with the newer accessories.
Conclusion – Which is the best mid-range phone?
As always, there’s no perfect winner. But then, for the price at which it is being offered, the Honor 7x is a killer of a deal. The phone has got everything, including the super good large display that is better than the other two phones, but when it comes to a few factors like fast charging, if that is a very important factor, you should then be looking at the Moto G5s Plus.
It is, in fact, a very good time to see a very good competition in the same price range where the users finally have a few super good choices, and the Honor 7x being the latest entrant, has so much to offer in a competitive price.