Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1 vs Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro: A Fight you can’t afford to miss

We compared Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1 vs Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro to find out who wins the mid-range smartphone battle

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Asus in a partnership with Flipkart has announced its latest budget handset- ZenFone Max Pro M1 for the Indian consumers. At a starting price of Rs. 10,999, the ZenFone Max Pro M1 offers some really exciting features that would certainly please millennials. With a dual-lens camera setup, 18:9 aspect ratio screen, big battery and Snapdragon 636 CPU, it takes on Xiaomi's Redmi Note 5 series smartphones, which are easily the most popular budget handsets at present.

Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1 vs Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro

 

Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 will sell in two variants- 3GB RAM + 32GB ROM and 4GB RAM + 64GB ROM at Rs. 10,999 and Rs. 12,999 respectively. The company also plans to introduce a 6GB RAM variant with an upgraded dual-lens camera module in the coming months. What makes the new Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1 even more exciting is the bundled Flipkart's Complete Mobile Protection plan at an introductory price of Rs. 49.

Until now, we were mostly recommending Xiaomi's devices to our readers based on their class-leading performance and overall value for money deal. However; with the launch of ZenFone Max Pro M1, we can't stop ourselves from taking a closer look at both the handsets to find out which offers the most bang for your bucks.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro First Impressions

Having said that, we did a comparison of the 3GB RAM variant of ZenFone Max Pro M1 with Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro 4GB RAM variant to understand their price-spec ratio. Here we are not stressing on multitasking as both the phones have different RAM configurations. Besides, we are also going light on camera performance as Asus is yet to push a final camera update for the ZenFone's dual-lens camera setup. Let's find out what's in store for consumers in this battle of best budget/mid-range smartphone.

Design: Not much of a difference

Design: Not much of a difference

As I mentioned in my first impressions of ZenFone Pro Max M1, the smartphone seems like a refined version of Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro. Asus seems to have taken design reference from Xiaomi and worked out to improve certain elements of the overall design. For instance, the camera bulge that you see on Redmi Note 5 Pro is not visible on ZenFone. The dual-lens camera module on ZenFone Max Pro M1 is flush and looks better. The dual-tone metallic back on ZenFone also looks slightly pleasing to eyes; however this will not apply to everyone's liking and you might just prefer Redmi Note 5 pro over ZenFone Max Pro M1. As far as ergonomics are concerned, both the handsets are comfortable to hold and follows ergonomic placement of buttons and fingerprint scanner.

The interesting thing here is the overall weight distribution. Despite having a bigger battery cell, ZenFone Max Pro M1 is 1 gram lighter than the Redmi Note 5 Pro. You will not feel that difference in real-life but talking purely about numbers; Asus has done a great job here in designing the overall handset.

Display: One is colorful, one is brighter
 

Display: One is colorful, one is brighter

Both the smartphones boast edge-to-edge 18:9 aspect ratio displays with exact similar screen size, i.e. 5.99-inches. The difference comes down to their color reproduction. The screen on Asus ZenFone Pro Max M1 punches slightly vibrant colors than the Redmi Note 5 Pro due to its 85% NTSC color gamut and 1500:1 contrast ratio. The difference is easily visible if you keep both the phones side-by-side. The display on ZenFone Max Pro M1 has a better overall color delivery and videos and pictures look slightly better on it. However, Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro wins in the brightness department. The screen on Redmi Note 5 Pro punches more light and is slightly more comfortable to use in outdoors. If you prefer punchy colors over brightness, you can go for ZenFone, otherwise Redmi Note 5 Pro comes out to be a better option if you mostly use the phone outdoors.

Camera: Fight of the dual-lens camera setups in under Rs. 15k

Camera can also be a defining factor for you to make a decision here. Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1 sports a 13MP+ 5MP dual-lens rear camera (F/2.2 aperture) that can create a hardware driven bokeh effect. For selfies, you have an 8MP front-facing camera that works on an F/2.0 aperture. In contrast, the Redmi Note 5 Pro sports a 12MP+5MP dual-lens camera setup (F/2.2 aperture).

Shot on Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1 in daylight

Shot on Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1 in daylight

We took some shots with similar light conditions and found that the results look better on Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1. The pictures show better color reproduction and look slightly better than the shots captured by Redmi Note 5 Pro.

Shot on Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro in daylight

Shot on Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro in daylight

The pictures captured by Redmi Note 5 Pro look a bit under-saturated in daylight.

When it comes to portrait shots, Redmi Note 5 Pro wins the game as edge detection is better and bokeh effect looks more natural.

Shot on Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro in low-light

Shot on Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro in low-light

Moreover, the images shot in low-light also look slightly better on Redmi Note 5 Pro than the ZenFone Max Pro M1.

Shot on Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1 in low-light

Shot on Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1 in low-light

The images captured by ZenFone have slightly more information in darker areas but were mostly washed out and lacked sharpness.

But there's a catch here. The review unit we are testing right now is yet to receive a software update that as per Asus will enhance the camera performance to a great extent. For now, we can say that the camera on ZenFone Max Pro M1 is pretty capable and can deliver some good shots, but it falls short in low-light and while taking portrait shots.

We will keep a close eye on the upcoming software update and will again pit the Zenfone against Redmi Note 5 Pro to find out who wins the camera battle.

As far as selfie camera is concerned, Redmi Note 5 Pro simply blows ZenFone Max Pro M1 out of water. Its massive 20MP front-facing camera is way ahead of ZenFone's 8MP front shooter.

Software: Stock Android 8.1 Oreo vs MIUI

Software is one department where you can easily make a choice if you are struggling in making a decision here. The ZenFone Pro Max M1 ships with Android 8.1 Oreo in its stock Android version. There's no ZenUI on the new Asus device, which can be a game-changer or a deal-breaker for consumers. In contrast, Redmi Note 5 Pro runs on the tried and tested Xiaomi's MIUI 9 based on Android Nougat.

You can choose your device depending on your inclination towards software experience. On one side you have Asus handset with pure Android experience which you can customize as per your liking. On the other side, you have Xiaomi's MIUI, which has come out to be the best custom skin on an Android handset.

Battery and Connectivity

Battery and Connectivity

Battery and Connectivity is another department where Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 takes a lead over Redmi Note 5 Pro. The smartphone is backed by a 5,000 mAh battery unit that is the best-in-class in this price-point. And despite a bigger battery cell, Asus has managed to keep the weight and thickness in check. Redmi Note 5 Pro on the other hand is powered by a 4,000 mAh battery cell.

As far as connectivity is concerned, the Zenfone Max Pro M1 comes equipped with a triple slot hybrid tray that allows you to use two nano SIM cards and one micro SD card at the same time. This is again a feature that Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro fails to offer. Besides, you get all the standard connectivity features such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, FM, Quick charging, etc.

Hardware: Snappy and Efficient SD636

Hardware: Snappy and Efficient SD636

Both the smartphones are powered by the best-in-class Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 CPU. The octa-core CPU is built on the 14nm node and features eight Kryo 260 cores in a 4 + 4 cluster. For graphics, you have Adreno 509 GPU. The combination offers best-in-class performance where you can comfortably use the handset for everyday tasks, photo-editing, and even high-end gaming. We haven't come across any lag on ZenFone Pro Max M1 and on Redmi Note 5 Pro in everyday usage. Now, all it comes down to price factor. Take a look below.

Pricing

Pricing

The 4GB RAM variant of Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1 is priced at Rs. 12,999, whereas you have to spend Rs. 13,999 on the 4GB RAM variant of Redmi Note 5 Pro. Asus is offering a bigger battery, dedicated SIM card slot and stock Android at Rs.1,000 less. If these three things don't bother you and you just love Xiaomi's MIUI to the core and care for a good selfie camera, you can go for Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro.

You can also read our review of Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro and first impressions of Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1 for a detailed look on the devices.

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