Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro vs Honor 9i — Which Mid-Range Phone to Buy

We compare Xiaomi’s first dual-camera Redmi Note 5 with the Honor 9i, both part of the mid-range segment. 

Published
Gadgets
5 min read
Honor 9i or the Redmi Note 5 Pro from Xiaomi? 
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Xiaomi has begun 2018 by launching a slew of smartphones, and its first Mi TV in the Indian market. Talking about phones, you get the annual upgrade for the Redmi Note series, which gets a Pro version this year too.

The Redmi Note 5 and Note 5 Pro are entering the market, probably for the first time with serious competition waiting in the wings for them. Yes, Huawei’s Honor has changed its tactics in recent times, looking to capture some of Xiaomi’s mid-range segment market.

And therefore, it was important for us to pit Xiaomi’s new Redmi Note 5 Pro against Honor 9i. Both fall within the same price bracket (of sorts), and here’s what we can find between these two devices, just in case if you were planning to buy one.

Honor 9i (above) vs Redmi Note 5 Pro (below)
Honor 9i (above) vs Redmi Note 5 Pro (below)
(Photo: The Quint/Erum Gour)

Design

Xiaomi has taken care of the 18:9 ratio screen design with the Redmi Note 5 Pro. This ensures that the Honor 9i and the Note 5 Pro are sailing at the same level. With that out of the picture, we assess the overall design imprint of both of these phones.

Xiaomi has somewhat taken a safer approach (again) with the Redmi Note 5 Pro, which gets a metal body finish, a tall design profile (thanks to a full-sized screen) and vertical dual rear cameras. Other than that, the Redmi Note 5 Pro looks identical to the Redmi Note 5.

The Honor 9i has a better design appeal compared to the Note 5 Pro, and the use of a smaller battery (whichever way you see it) on the Honor 9i ensures that the phone weighs lighter than the Redmi Note 5 Pro.

Also, we feel that the front design of the Honor 9i has been better utilised, while the Redmi Note 5 Pro seems to have a lot of unused space, right below the display.

Purely from the point of view design, we’d pick the Honor 9i over the Redmi Note 5 Pro, however, you’ll be paying an extra grand to buy the former.

Display

This is another segment which most people value a lot in smartphones these days. Both Xiaomi and Honor are offering 18:9 screen with slim bezels, and 2160x1080 pixels resolution, which is nothing but full-HD in this format.

But the quality difference shows up the moment you place both these devices together and measure the level of contrast and brightness. And no surprises here – the Honor 9i takes the cake even with the display quality.

The Honor 9i comes with dual front camera
The Honor 9i comes with dual front camera
(Photo: The Quint)

The Redmi Note 5 Pro’s screen is basically the same as the Redmi Note 5, and that doesn’t help matters here, especially when the Pro version costs 17K.

I would have loved to see Xiaomi using a better screen panel (at least for the Note 5 Pro) even if it would have bumped up the price of the device to 18K. But I guess Xiaomi clearly was going for value and that might work for buyers (market history works in their favour).

Hardware & Software

This is where the game evens out a bit, and in fact, we’d actually give this to Xiaomi, for offering six gigs of memory, and expandable storage up to 256GB on the Redmi Note 5 Pro.

Both phones support Dual-SIM, but in order to expand storage via microSD card, you’ll have to sacrifice one of your SIMs on the device. 

The Kirin chipset from Huawei has proven to be a capable competition to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon, and the story is no different with these two devices either.

But, the Honor 9i has to rely on the four gigs of RAM, which is slightly lower than the six gigs on the Redmi Note 5 Pro. Does this hit the overall performance of the Honor 9i? Not really, but for the spec-seekers, this could make or break the deal.

Redmi Note 5 Pro (left) & Redmi Note 5 (right).
Redmi Note 5 Pro (left) & Redmi Note 5 (right).
(Photo: The Quint)

Xiaomi has packed the Redmi Note 5 Pro with a 4000mAh battery (making it heavier than the Honor 9i), and Honor feels that with its claimed software optimisation, the 9i can breeze through your daily grind with its 3340mAh battery unit. Does that really work out in reality, we’ll test those claims to find out.

Honor 9i gets a fast-charging unit, but it remains to be seen if the Redmi Note 5 Pro can stand up to that challenge with its bundled charger and bigger battery. 

Somehow, Honor and Xiaomi are still selling these phones with Android 7.1 Nougat on board, but the Oreo update for these devices is likely to make its way anytime now. But while MiUi is a proven bet among users, the Emotion UI on Honor has faced its challenges over the years, but definitely improving with every product launch.

Camera

So this is a segment which we’re talking purely from the hardware optics on offer. Honor 9i has the higher number of megapixels, but that is never the benchmark to ascertain the quality of the camera in tow.

The Redmi Note 5 Pro (left) sports a dual 12+5 megapixel camera 
The Redmi Note 5 Pro (left) sports a dual 12+5 megapixel camera 
(Photo: The Quint)

Redmi Note 5 Pro is Xiaomi’s first Redmi phone in the country to pack dual rear cameras, and interestingly, the phone gets better aperture f/2.0 on the 5-megapixel sensor, while the bigger 12-megapixel unit comes with f/2.2.

We’re yet to test the camera on both these phones, only then we’ll be able to ascertain the quality of the camera. Stay tuned for that.

Which One is Worth Buying?

So, which one is worth your hard-earned money? It’s quite clear that Xiaomi is playing to its strengths yet again, with a value-for-money product. But, hang on, the Honor 9i is no slouch, and gives a good account for its worth.

Better display, and a polished design ensures that the Honor 9i has the better score in the first instance, but Xiaomi opts for a bigger battery, more RAM and storage expansion, and still costs a grand less than the Honor 9i.

If Xiaomi manages to stock the Redmi Note 5 Pro adequately, then we know what you’d pick, but if that doesn’t happen, then the Honor 9i isn’t a bad alternative to buy.

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