Motorola’s Moto G4 Plus hold a kind of sort of become a gold standard to beat in the lower mid-range mobile segment. Priced at just under Rs 15,000 Motorola’s (or rather Lenovo’s) Moto G4 Plus offers a healthy concoction of fine build quality, vibrant screen, good all-round performance, great cameras and decent battery life. The Moto G4 Plus may be a fantastic smartphone, and a true value for money, but you can’t help but notice that it is also a little dated now.
Earlier, there were not many good phones out there at around similar pricing, so the Moto G4 Plus invariably became the first choice for many buyers. Call it the go-to smartphone if you may. Not anymore. There are some good phones out there now that are challenging the Moto G4 Plus’s benchmark. One of them is the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4. In fact, it’s even better.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 looks like an expensive phone but it isn’t expensive at all. It is similar to the Redmi Note 3 , Xiaomi has added curved 2.5D glass with rounded edges and polished antenna lines, into the mix. 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 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 in comparison to other 5.5-inch phones including the Moto G4 Plus. The Moto G4 Plus is an all-plastic smartphone which measures almost 10mm in thickness.
The Redmi Note 4 has an always fingerprint scanner on the back which works well most of the time unless you have greasy or sweaty fingers and physical capacitive keys on the front which are backlit. The Moto G4 Plus in comparison has an oddly shaped fingerprint scanner on the front and it gives you an on screen home button right above it. The fingerprint scanner only helps in locking and unlocking the phone.
The Redmi Note 4 has a scratch resistant protective coating on board but Xiaomi wouldn’t tell me exactly what kind , For protective glass we use multiple suppliers and can’t mention on which exact one but its quality is up to what you’d expect from the premium competition is what a Xiaomi spokesperson told me. The Moto G4 Plus on the other hand comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection on the front.
Both the phones come with a 5.5″ (1920×1080 pixel) IPS LCD display but the Redmi Note 4 fairs slightly better in this department. The screen of the Redmi Note 4 does well most of the time unless you’re out and about in direct sunlight. It is 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 has one ace up its sleeve. It handles and reproduces colours so well you don’t mind that it’s not as bright as the company’s more expensive phones. Although the screen of the Moto G4 Plus produces excellent colours, it is also very reflective and viewing angles are average and that affects the outdoor visibility by a great deal.
The Redmi Note 4 is powered by 2.0GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor clubbed with Adreno 506 GPU. The Snapdragon 625 is notably the first 600-series chipset to be built on the power-efficient 14nm FinFET technology. The Snapdragon 625 consumes up to 35% lower power than the Snapdragon 617 in typical usage scenarios According to Qualcomm. In layman’s terms, a phone like the Redmi Note 4 is more likely to give you a much better battery life and little overheating than phones like the Motorola Moto G4 Plus (Snapdragon 617). The Redmi Note 4 doesn’t heat up at all. And, it gets the job done.
The hardware inside the Moto G4 Plus is speedy a Snapdragon 617 processor and offers a good bump in raw performance compared to the Moto G3. The Snapdragon 617 is an Octa-core processor at 1.5GHz clock speed. Because Motorola has optimised the software well, the performance of the phone is smooth, lag-free irrespective of what you are doing. But, the Snapdragon 617, is still a dated processor as compared to the Snapdragon 625 that is inside the Redmi Note 4 , because Xiaomi has optimised the software well , the Redmi Note 4 even with its fancy animations, feels faster than a phone like the Moto G4 Plus, no matter how you push it. The Moto G4 Plus at the same time is also prone to some overheating when pushed to the edge.
The Redmi Note 4 sold in India is available in three versions: 2GB RAM | 32GB internal memory and a 3GB RAM | 32GB internal memory and another with 4GB RAM | 64GB internal storage. Price starts at Rs 9,999 and goes all the way up to Rs 12,999. All the versions of the Redmi Note 4 support expandable storage of up to 128GB via a hybrid microSD card slot. On other hand the Moto G4 Plus comes in two versions: one with 2GB RAM | 16GB internal storage and the other with 3GB RAM | 32GB internal storage. Expandable storage is supported. The two variants of the Moto G4 Plus have been priced at Rs 13,499 and Rs 14,999. Clearly, the Redmi Note 4 has more options including more colour options as well and is also cheaper .
The Moto G4 Plus runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow and the user interface it sports is the same that you get on a Nexus phone plus a few Moto nuggets which are useful and not overburdening. Aesthetically, it is slick with polished animations. In usability it is simple and yet comprehensive. Software is the high point of the Moto G4 Plus and something that makes it stand apart from others in the crowded market. An update to Android Nougat is already rolling out for the Moto G4 Plus. On the other hand the RedMi Note 4 comes with Android 6.0 Marshmallow based MIUI. As expected, you get a user interface with lots of fancy colour schemes and animations and no app drawer. If you are not a ‘stock Android fanatic’ the MIUI offers all the bells and whistles that you’d want from a fully functional operating system including customisation themes. Some of its features like scrollable screenshots, second space and dual apps are worth mentioning. An update to Android Nougat is already in the works (it’s in beta now, and is downloadable if you’re willing to take the plunge) for the Redmi Note 4. Additionally the Redmi Note 4 comes with an IR-blaster that can be used to control smart home appliances.
The Moto G4 Plus has a 16Mp rear camera with laser and phase detection autofocus along with a dual-tone LED flash. On the front it comes with a 5Mp camera . The performance of both the cameras is fantastic. The front camera has a wide-angle lens which covers a lot of area this is great for shooting group selfies. The rear camera really impresses with the amount of detail in captures. By default it tends to slightly underexpose the images but the colours it shoots come out rich. It particularly excels at macros or somewhat close-up shots that allow it to capture details very well. The Moto G4 Plus can manage impressive results in low light as well. The Redmi Note 4 sports a 13Mp camera on the rear with f/2.0 aperture, phase-detection autofocus along with a dual-tone LED flash. On the front it comes with a 5Mp shooter . The phone captures some good looking photos with occasional softness in good light condition with good amount of details and mostly spot on (if a little oversaturated) colours. Dynamic range could have been better but then none of the camera phones at under Rs 15,000 have dynamic range to really brag about. They are just about average. The Redmi Note 4 is a tad better. 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 good 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. Sadly the Redmi Note 4 supports only 5V/2A charging and not Qualcomm’s Quick Charge. The Moto G4 Plus with its 3000mAh battery, meanwhile, consistently manages around 14-15 hours of battery life with heavy use. The Moto G4 Plus also supports turbo charging and comes with a compatible charger that can recharge the battery by 20 to 30 per cent within minutes.
Both the phones support 4G VoLTE and dual-SIM connectivity options. The Moto G4 Plus has a mono speaker on the top. The sound quality is average and peak loudness leaves a lot to be desired. The bottom-firing mono speaker on-board the Redmi Note 4 gets very loud but there is some distortion at high volume.
which one should you buy?
The Moto G4 Plus may be a fantastic smartphone and a benchmark setting one at that. But it is out dated now. Lenovo (the company that owns Motorola Mobility now) may be launching one too many smartphones at around similar pricing lately but none seem to inspire the level of confidence that a certain Moto G brings to the table. Maybe the Moto G5 will change all that. Now there’s a new champion in the block with the lower mid-range segment and it is calls the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4.