Both the Redmi Note 4 and the Honor 6X look (and feel) like expensive phones, but both of them aren’t expensive at all. While the Redmi Note 4 is a gradual progression of the Redmi Note 3, the Honor 6X follows in the footsteps of the Honor 5X. The Redmi Note 4 is, without a doubt, the better looking of the two. With its curved 2.5D glass and polished antenna lines, Xiaomi’s phone looks distinctly different and distinctly (more) premium than Honor’s 6X. Xiaomi’s phone also holds an edge in terms of all-round build and form factor. The Redmi Note 4 weighs in at just over 160 grams, which isn’t quite that much when you consider the fact that it’s housing a 4,100mAh battery inside. And just so you know, it measures a respectable 8.3mm (in thickness) as well. What is remarkable, however, is that even though it crams in such a big battery inside, the phone feels practically the same no matter how you hold it. An even distribution of weight throughout its body, coupled with the curved glass ensures the Redmi Note 4 feels smaller (and more compact) in comparison to other 5.5-inch phones including the Honor 6X.
The Honor 6X may not be as good-looking but it is certainly more ergonomic. Unlike a phone like the Redmi Note 4, the Honor 6X comes with more dramatic curves on the rear and a front panel that sticks out as flat as a pancake. The phone, as a result, feels sharp(er) in the hands when you hold it for the first time. The design then grows on you, so much so that you start to appreciate it. No other smartphone at its price point offers better ergonomics, after all. Sadly, its build quality remains questionable. The Honor 6X maybe an all-metal phone — with top and bottom ends being plastic with brushed metal finish to accommodate the antennas — but it doesn’t actually feel like one. It feels plastic in the hands, something which is accentuated (even) further when you apply a little bit of pressure on its backside. The back panel makes this odd creaking sound every time you press it with your fingers, which I am sure, would irk many. The Redmi Note 4 feels much sturdier.
The Honor 6X’s screen-to-body ratio also leaves a lot to be desired. In fact, Honor’s new phone has some of the chunkiest bezels that I’ve seen in (and around) its price point. The Redmi Note 4, in comparison, offers slimmer bezels and hence more real estate.
The 5.5-inch 1080p IPS LCD display on-board the Redmi Note 4 does well most of the time unless you’re out and about in direct sunlight. Its (above) average brightness levels feel lacking when you’re out and about. Also, the screen is prone to reflection which adds up, hampering the phone’s outdoor legibility further. But, the screen of the Redmi Note 4 handles — and reproduces — colours so well you don’t mind that it’s not as bright as the company’s more expensive phones. There’s also an option to manually correct contrast and an in-built reading mode that turns colours to the warmer end of the spectrum when enabled.
The 5.5-inch 1080p display on-board the Honor 6X meanwhile gets pleasantly bright and viewing angles are also quite good. The two when put together ensure the phone is perfectly usable under direct sunlight. At the same time, because the phone uses an LTPS panel, it runs cooler than standard LCD-toting phones (for instance, the Redmi Note 4). Sadly, colour accuracy leaves a lot to be desired. They appear washed out, or more precisely, lacking in contrast when compared to a phone like the Redmi Note 4. There is an option to correct colour temperature manually, which helps a bit, but not as much as I would have liked. The phone also comes with a built-in blue light filter — Eye Comfort mode — that automatically turns colours to the warmer end of the spectrum when enabled.
The Honor 6X is powered by a 2.1GHz octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 655 processor clubbed with Mali-T830MP2 GPU. The phone comes with up to 4GB of RAM and up to 64GB of internal memory. Expandable storage — of up to 256GB — is supported via a hybrid micro-SD card slot. The Redmi Note 4 is meanwhile powered by a 2GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor clubbed with Adreno 506 GPU. The Redmi Note 4 is available in three versions: 2GB RAM and 32GB memory, 3GB RAM and 32GB memory, and another with 4GB RAM and 64GB memory. All the versions of the Redmi Note 4 support expandable storage of up to 128GB via a hybrid microSD card slot.
Unlike a phone like the Redmi Note 4 (Qualcomm Snapdragon 625) which uses a chipset built on the power-efficient 14nm finfet process, the custom-built Kirin 655 which is inside the Honor 6X is based on a 16nm finfet process. Both the chipsets are however guided by the same principle, which is, attaining higher clock speeds without overheating and draining the battery quickly. There are (of course) differences but for most users it would all narrow down to this: you’re more likely to get (much) better battery life and little (or no) overheating in phones powered by a chipset on the lines of a Snapdragon 625 or a Kirin 655. Honor holds an edge (over Xiaomi) however, in that — just like Apple — it has complete control over both its hardware and software which invariably should entail in better all-round optimisation. Better all-round optimisation means Honor’s phone should ideally be the smoothest of the lot. It is, but, only marginally.
Both the phones are quick and responsive in every sense of the word. Xiaomi’s phone, however, holds a slight edge when it comes to GPU-intensive gaming because the Adreno 506 GPU inside it is slightly more potent than the Mali GPU inside the Honor 6X. The Honor 6X is, as a result, prone to some occasional lags while playing graphical games at maxed out settings for longer periods.
The Honor 6X runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow-based EMUI 4.1. As expected, you get a user interface with lots of fancy colour schemes and animations, and no app drawer. An update to Android Nougat (EMUI 5) is on its way and should land sometime in Q2 2017. It will allow you to access an app drawer for one, among other things. The Redmi Note 4, on the other hand, comes with Android Marshmallow-based MIUI and an update to Android Nougat is also in the cards. Huawei’s Emotion UI may not be as visually appealing as Xiaomi’s MIUI, but it is feature packed to the brim, and is very, very slick provided you’re the kind of person who’s as curious as a cat and likes to dig into things. The Emotion UI has a number of useful Easter eggs scattered all across its length and breadth. You can get quick access to apps like voice recorder, calculator, torch and camera (depending on the theme, there could be more) right from the lock screen by swiping up from the bottom edge. This saves you the trouble of unlocking and sifting through your apps when you’re in a hurry. Features like one-hand UI and dual window are also worth mentioning. A very handy Wi-Fi+ feature, meanwhile, allows you to switch seamlessly between Wi-Fi and mobile data depending on whether or not you’re near your Wi-Fi hotspot. Some of the notable features of Xiaomi’s MIUI are scrollable screenshots, second space and dual apps. Additionally, the Redmi Note 4 comes with an IR-blaster that can be used (in tandem with the Mi Remote app or even some third-party solutions) to control smart home appliances.
Both the phones support 4G LTE and dual-SIM connectivity. The single speaker out on-board the Honor 6X – that supports DTS audio as well – is louder in comparison to the one on-board the Redmi Note 4.
The Honor 6X comes with not one, but two cameras on the rear. On the front it comes with an 8-megapixel camera. The dual camera setup consists of a 12-megapixel + 2-megapixel setup assisted with phase detection autofocus and LED flash. While the 12-megapixel lens is what you can a regular lens, the 2-megapixel lens is capable of depth sensing so users can attain software-enhanced background blur in photos post clicking a shot. The dual rear camera system on-board the Honor 6X can assist (only) in achieving fancy bokeh effects in shots both before and after taking a shot. The second 2MP sensor springs into action only when you hit a dedicated wide aperture mode that sits up top in the camera app at all times. It works best when your subject is within 2 metres. It works even better when it’s in isolation and the subjects in the background are at some distance. It works really well when everything’s in place, which means you’ll have to be absolutely committed to it if you’re looking for good results. The 12-megapixel primary lens however clicks only above-average photos even in ideal lighting. Dynamic range leaves a lot to be desired and photos are often marred by metering (underexposure) issues. Although some of these photos look brilliant on the phone, when viewed on full-screen these tend to have noise, the level of which rises even further as the intensity of light decreases.
The Redmi Note 4, on the hand sports a 13-megapixel camera on the rear with f/2.0 aperture, phase-detection autofocus along with a dual-LED (dual-tone) flash. On the front, you get a 5-megapixel snapper. The phone captures some good-looking photos — with occasional softness — in good light with good amount of detail and mostly spot-on (if a little oversaturated) colours. Dynamic range could have been better but it’s still better in than something that the Honor 6X offers. Also, the Redmi Note 4, surprisingly, does well in macro photography scenarios which means close-up shots come out well (enough) when the light is adequate. Xiaomi’s new phone is also able to capture well to-do photos — with occasional softness — in tricky light situations with good detail.
The Redmi Note 4 is backed by a massive 4,100mAh battery, which is non-removable. Moderate to extreme usage saw us cross the one whole day barrier with ease, while toning down further should get most users one and a half to two days out of the phone. Extreme usage scenarios got us close to 15 hours on the Redmi Note 4, which is phenomenal. The 3,340mAh battery inside the Honor 6X may not last you as long as the massive 4,100mAh battery inside the Redmi Note 4. But it is no slouch either. Moderate to extreme usage saw us cross the one whole day barrier with ease, while toning down further should get most users one and a half days out of the phone. Extreme usage scenarios got us close to 11 hours on the Honor 6X, which is not bad at all. Both the Honor 6X and the Redmi Note 4 don’t support fast charging.
The Honor 6X starts at Rs 12,999 and goes all the way to Rs 15,999. The Redmi Note 4 on the other hand starts at Rs 9,999 and goes all the way to Rs 12,999.