Near-identical hardware, vastly different software.

Motorola has enjoyed a lot of success in India following its resurgence, with the company now counting the subcontinent as its largest global market. A lot of that has to do with strong sales of the Moto G series. Motorola revealed earlier this year that it sold over 6 million Moto G devices in India since the series debuted in 2013, and last year's Moto G4 Plus certainly proved to be a hit with local customers. With the G5 Plus, Motorola is looking to continue that success.

Xiaomi is also gaining ground in India. The Redmi Note 3 turned out to be the standout phone in the budget segment last year, racking up over 3.6 million sales in under a year. The Redmi Note 4 is following in the same vein, with Xiaomi selling over 1 million units in just 45 days.

The Moto G5 Plus and Redmi Note 4 are going to be two of the most popular devices in this segment. If you're looking for a capable budget device that doesn't compromise on the basics, these two should be high on your list. But which one should you ultimately buy? Read on to find out.

Hardware

Moto G5 Plus vs. Xiaomi Redmi Note 4

Motorola opted to go with a metal backplate with the Moto G5 Plus, a first in this series. The sides are still plastic, albeit with a metallic finish that makes them blend in seamlessly with the rest of the phone. The overall result is that the G5 Plus looks upmarket when seen next to its predecessors.

The metal back also adds some much-needed heft to the device, which at 155g weighs the same as last year's Moto G4 in spite of the smaller size. It is also thinner at 7.7mm (versus 9.8mm) while featuring the same 3000mAh battery as last year. Motorola made the design a priority on the G5 Plus, and it shows.

Xiaomi has been building metal phones for a few years now, and with the Redmi Note 4, it has refined its design aesthetic. The phone feels much more premium than its predecessor, and the black color option in particular stands out. It's similar to the Midnight Black model of the OnePlus 3T, offering a murdered-out look that seems to absorb all light.

Redmi Note 4 in black offers a matte finish that looks amazing.

There are subtle chrome accents for the antenna lines and the camera housing that serve to add a bit of flair to the design, and overall, the black variant of the Redmi Note 4 is one of the best-looking budget phones I've used. Phones in this segment don't get much better in terms of design.

As for color options on the G5 Plus, you're currently limited to either the Fine Gold or Lunar Grey variants. The Fine Gold variant has a gold front and back, which when placed next to the Redmi Note 4 looks gaudy. You're better off getting the grey option as it has a black faceplate.

Category Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 Motorola Moto G5 Plus
Operating System MIUI 8 based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow Android 7.0 Nougat
Display 5.5-inch 1080p (1920x1080) IPS LCD panel
401ppi pixel density
5.2-inch 1080p (1920x1080) IPS LCD panel
424ppi pixel density
SoC Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
Eight Cortex A53 cores at 2.0GHz
14nm
Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
Eight Cortex A53 cores at 2.0GHz
14nm
GPU Adreno 506 Adreno 506
RAM 2GB/3GB/4GB RAM 3GB/4GB RAM
Storage 32GB/64GB storage
microSD slot up to 256GB
16GB/32GB storage
microSD slot up to 256GB
Rear camera 13MP
dual LED flash
PDAF
12MP
dual LED flash
PDAF
Front shooter 5MP
1080p video recording
5MP
1080p video recording
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, LTE, Bluetooth 4.1 (A2DP), GPS,
microUSB, 3.5mm audio jack
Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2 (A2DP), GPS,
microUSB, 3.5mm audio jack
Battery 4100mAh battery 3000mAh battery
Fingerprint Rear fingerprint sensor Front fingerprint sensor
Dimensions 151 x 76 x 8.5mm 150.2 x 74 x 7.7mm
Weight 165g 155g
Colors Silver, Gold, Black Lunar Grey, Fine Gold


Xiaomi has always led the way when it comes to sheer hardware prowess, but it doesn't have that advantage anymore as both the G5 Plus and Redmi Note 4 are running the Snapdragon 625 SoC. As they're both pushing 1080p displays, the performance is at par when it comes to day-to-day usage. You won't notice any slowdowns in normal usage, but you will see a certain amount of lag in visually-demanding games.

Although the G5 Plus has a smaller 5.2-inch display when compared to the 5.5-inch screen on the Redmi Note 4, both devices are just as tall and wide thanks to the generous bezels on the G5 Plus. The bezels are necessitated by the front fingerprint sensor, which thankfully is rounded and larger than what we've seen last year. It is also much more functional, as we'll see later.

While the G5 Plus isn't as compact as you'd imagine for a 5.2-inch phone, it is comfortable to hold and use one-handed thanks to the rounded corners and arched back. The Redmi Note 4 has sloping edges that curve inward, allowing for one-handed usage. That said, the black color option is a magnet for smudges, and you'll have to clean it several times a day to make it look pristine. Thankfully, there aren't any such issues on the G5 Plus.

The G5 Plus has the same chipset as the Redmi Note 4, but it costs more.

However, like last year's G4 and G4 Plus, the G5 Plus is missing key sensors like a magnetometer. While this doesn't cause an issue when using Google Maps, the Lenovo forums are full of complaints from customers dissatisfied with how the device works with other navigation solutions, like Here. Considering how affordable the sensor is, continuing to omit it is a strange move by Motorola.

The Redmi Note 4 has no such limitations on the hardware front. Xiaomi — more than any other manufacturer — is cognizant of customer feedback, and the Redmi Note 4 has a full complement of sensors, including an IR sensor that lets you control a myriad of TVs and set-top boxes.

As we're on the subject of internal hardware, it's worth pointing out that although both phones are powered by the same chipset, they're offered in varying memory and storage configurations and price points. The Redmi Note 4 starts off with 2GB of RAM and 32GB storage for just ₹9,999, whereas the variant with 3GB of RAM and 32GB storage retails for ₹10,999. The best option is the one with 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage, which costs ₹12,999.

The Moto G5 Plus is available in two configurations: a base variant with 3GB of RAM and measly 16GB internal storage for ₹14,999. The model with 4GB of RAM and 32GB storage costs ₹16,999, a full ₹4,000 more than the Redmi Note 4 while offering half the amount of internal storage. Motorola is counting on two factors to make up for the added cost: a 12MP camera with an f/1.7 lens and Dual Pixel autofocus, and class-leasing software.

Software

Moto G5 Plus vs. Xiaomi Redmi Note 4

Motorola has led the way for clean and unencumbered software, and that thankfully hasn't changed under Lenovo's stewardship. If you're looking for an uncluttered user interface that sticks to Google's guidelines for Material Design, you're not going to get anything better than what's on the Moto G5 Plus, at least in this segment.

Although Motorola hasn't tweaked the UI itself, it offers several useful features through Moto Actions. You can easily launch the camera with a double twist gesture, and toggle the flashlight with a chop motion. Then there's one-handed mode, which lets you shrink the screen down for easier one-handed usage. A particularly interesting addition with the Moto G5 Plus is One Button Nav, which relies on the fingerprint sensor as an all-in-one replacement for the standard navigation keys.

The feature allows you to use gestures as the primary form of interaction. A single tap on the sensor takes you to the home screen, a right-to-left swipe corresponds to the same action as the back button, and a left-to-right swipe serves up the multitasking pane. Lenovo has debuted the feature in a few phones in India, but this is the first time the company has rolled it out in a Motorola phone.

If you want an uncluttered software experience, get the G5 Plus.

As is the case with the rest of the software, Motorola didn't go overboard with Moto Actions, instead opting to give customers a few features that augment the overall experience.

As for the Redmi Note 4, MIUI 8 is a known quantity at this stage. The user interface is loaded with customizations, and if you're getting started for the first time, there's a high learning curve. But once you get used to it, you'll love the sheer number of features on offer. From the built-in video editor to Dual Apps — which lets you run two instances of the same app simultaneously — and several features aimed at combating call and text message spam, there's a lot to explore in MIUI 8.

The G5 Plus comes with Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box, and while Motorola has done a great job of rolling out platform updates quickly (at least in India), the company isn't doing the same for monthly security patches. In mid-April, the G5 Plus is on the January 1, 2017 security patch.

Meanwhile, the Redmi Note 4 is still on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, and while Xiaomi is offering a beta Nougat build, we're still a long way away from seeing a stable release. Security updates are also an issue, as the device is still on the December 1, 2016 patch.

Camera

Moto G5 Plus vs. Xiaomi Redmi Note 4

The Redmi Note 4 comes with a significantly better camera than its predecessor, and the same holds true for the Moto G5 Plus as well. The end result is that you're looking at phones that offer two of the best cameras in this segment. The G5 Plus pulls ahead thanks to its f/1.7 lens and 1.4-micron pixels — the same hardware as the Galaxy S7 — and while the phone doesn't come close to the S7 in most lighting conditions, it sets the standard for the budget segment.

The G5 Plus doesn't handle low-light conditions as well as it should considering its imaging sensor, but in most other shooting conditions you'll get a great image on the first attempt.

Moto G5 Plus camera sample Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 camera sample

Moto G5 Plus on the left, Redmi Note 4 on the right.

Moto G5 Plus camera sampleXiaomi Redmi Note 4 camera sample

Moto G5 Plus camera sampleXiaomi Redmi Note 4 camera sample

Moto G5 Plus camera sampleXiaomi Redmi Note 4 camera sample

The Redmi Note 4 has a great camera, but it is overshadowed by the one in the G5 Plus. That said, Xiaomi offers more shooting modes and live filters, whereas Motorola focuses on ease of use. You get a manual mode on both phones, along with tools to edit and retouch images.

Battery

The Moto G5 Plus has a 3000mAh battery that manages to last all day. However, it doesn't match up to the massive 4100mAh battery on the Redmi Note 4. Aside from phones like Gionee's Marathon series — which usually have a battery the size of an external power bank — there isn't a phone that comes close to the Redmi Note 4 in terms of battery life.

The 14nm Snapdragon 625 combined with the 4100mAh battery and MIUI's optimization make the Redmi Note 4 a battery life champion. You'll easily get a day's worth of usage from the battery even with heavy usage, and more often than not, you'll be able to eke out two full days from a full charge.

If you do need to top up, the G5 Plus has faster charging speeds thanks to Motorola's TurboPower charging tech. The Redmi Note 4 is still limited to 5V/2A, and takes just over two hours to fully charge.

Which should you buy? Your call

Moto G5 Plus vs. Xiaomi Redmi Note 4

The Redmi Note 4 wins out when it comes to battery life and overall design, but the G5 Plus takes the lead in imaging and software. If you value battery life above all and aren't deterred by the learning curve of MIUI 8, then the Redmi Note 4 is a great phone to get, particularly considering it costs ₹4,000 less than the G5 Plus and offers 64GB storage, double that of Motorola's offering. The downside is that you'll have to wait for the weekly sale to get your hands on one.

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However, if you're looking for a phone that has a stellar camera, is easy to use and comes with the promise of quick updates, then the G5 Plus is a better choice. The ₹16,999 price tag will undoubtedly cause most potential buyers to rethink their decision, but the overall merits of the phone justify the increased cost.

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