Honor 7X vs. Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro: What's the best budget phone available today?

Xiaomi consolidated its position in India over the course of the last 12 months, becoming the largest phone manufacturer in the country. It did so by launching a new budget phone every month for the last four months of 2017, and boosting its efforts in the offline space.

Meanwhile, Huawei sub-brand Honor has continued its focus on the online segment, introducing devices with great specs at affordable prices. In fact, both the Honor 7X and the Redmi Note 5 Pro are very similar when it comes to the hardware on offer — both sport 18:9 panels, aluminum chassis, and dual cameras at the back.

They're also targeted at the same audience: the kind of customer who's primarily looking for all-day battery life and a dependable camera. However, there are a few intrinsic differences in day-to-day usage that sets these two phones apart.

Honor 7X vs. Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro: Specs

Swipe to scroll horizontally
CategoryHonor 7XRedmi Note 5 Pro
Operating SystemEMUI 5.1 based on Android 7.0 NougatMIUI 9.2 based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat
Display5.93-inch 18:9 FHD+ (2160x1080) IPS LCD panel407ppi pixel densityGorilla Glass5.99-inch 18:9 FHD+ (2160x1080) IPS LCD panel403ppi pixel densityGorilla Glass
SoCOcta-core HiSilicon Kirin 659Eight Cortex A53 cores (four at 2.36GHz and four at 1.7GHz)16nmOcta-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 636Eight Kryo 260 cores up to 1.8GHz14nm
GPUMali-T830 MP2Adreno 509
Storage32GB/64GB/64GBmicroSD slot up to 256GB64GB/64GBmicroSD slot up to 128GB
Rear camera16MP with 1.25um pixels and f/2.2 lens + 2MP secondaryPDAF, LED flash1080p video recording12MP with 1.25um pixel size and f/2.2 lens + 5MP with 1.12um pixel size and f/2.0 lensPDAF, LED flash1080p video recording
Front shooter8MP with f/2.0 lens1080p video20MP with 1um pixels, f/2.2 lens and LED Selfie light1080p video recordingBeautify 4.0
ConnectivityLTE with VoLTEWi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, GLONASSMicro-USB, 3.5mm audio jackLTE with VoLTEWi-Fi 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, GLONASSMicro-USB, 3.5mm audio jack, IR blaster
NetworksLTE: 1/3/5/7/8/20/40LTE: 1/3/5/40/41
Battery3340mAh battery5V/2A over MicroUSB4000mAh battery5V/2A over MicroUSB
FingerprintRear fingerprint sensorRear fingerprint sensor
Dimensions156.5 x 75.3 x 7.6 mm158.6 × 75.4 × 8.05mm
ColorsGold, Grey, Black, BlueGold, Rose Gold, Blue, Black

What the Honor 7X does better

Honor 7X

The Honor 7X looks like a premium device, particularly in the blue hue. That's down to the fact that the overall aesthetic is a mix between the Honor 8 Pro and the Mate 10 Pro, which makes the device stand out in this segment.

The Honor 7X comes with a premium design, and you can purchase it right now.

The phone has antenna bands at the top and bottom, and while there's a slight bump for the camera module, it doesn't quite jut out the same way as the sensor on the Redmi Note 5 Pro. Then there's the issue of availability — the Redmi Note 5 Pro is limited to flash sales, so you can't actually pink it up whenever you want.

On the other hand, the Honor 7X is up for sale on Amazon India as well as Amazon.com, and is available in the UK and most European markets.

See at Amazon

What the Redmi Note 5 Pro does better

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro

The Redmi Note 5 Pro sets a new standard for the budget segment. That's usually the case for a new device in the Redmi Note series every year, but Xiaomi's latest device is particularly alluring. The phone is the first in the world to be powered by the Snapdragon 636, and as we've seen from the benchmarks, it offers the same level of performance as flagships from just a few years ago.

The 18:9 panel on the Redmi Note 5 Pro has a slight edge over the one on the Honor 7X when it comes to readability under harsh sunlight, but otherwise both displays offer decent colors and the ability to adjust the settings to your liking.

The Redmi Note 5 Pro has better performance, battery life, and costs less.

There's also the fact that the phone has much better battery life. The 3340mAh battery on the Honor 7X lasts a day on a full charge, but on the Redmi Note 5 Pro you routinely get two days' worth of usage without breaking a sweat.

The Redmi Note 5 Pro runs rings around the Honor 7X when it comes to the cameras — right now, the phone has the best camera in the budget segment. The front camera in particular is astonishingly good, offering a software-driven portrait mode much like the rear camera on the Pixel 2. Xiaomi is leveraging AI-based edge detection for the front camera, which gives the device a distinct edge in this category.

The Redmi Note 5 Pro also wins out when it comes to connectivity, with the device offering Wi-Fi ac and Bluetooth 5.0. The Honor 7X is still limited to Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, so you won't be able to connect to 5GHz networks from the device. Like most Xiaomi phones, the Redmi Note 5 Pro comes with an IR blaster as well, allowing you to control your air conditioner or TV with your phone.

Then there's the pricing — the Redmi Note 5 Pro costs ₹13,999 ($215) in India for the variant with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. The same variant of the Honor 7X costs ₹15,999 ($254) on Amazon India, ₹2,000 ($30) more than Xiaomi's device.

See at Flipkart

Which should you buy?

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro

At the end of the day, the Redmi Note 5 Pro is the clear favorite. The phone offers significantly better battery life, is faster than the Honor 7X, and has better cameras.

Sure, the design is starting to look stale, but that should be mitigated by the new color options on offer. The main problem with the Redmi Note 5 Pro is that it is limited to the Indian market and doesn't offer LTE bands for Western countries, so you won't be able to use the phone on T-Mobile or AT&T even if you import it.

But if you're living in India and are in the market for a new budget phone, there's no other device that comes close to the Redmi Note 5 Pro.

See at Flipkart

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is Android Central's Senior Editor of Asia. In his current role, he oversees the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, networking products, and AV gear. He has been testing phones for over a decade, and has extensive experience in mobile hardware and the global semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.