Xiaomi’s Redmi Note series has been literally the king of sub 15K smartphone category ever since the Redmi Note 3 was launched in 2016. There have always been options but never an alternative. This time, however, Asus has stepped in this category with its new Zenfone Max Pro M1. I know, that’s a ridiculously long name for a smartphone but let’s focus on the good part here. The Zenfone Max Pro M1 will go on sale on 3rd May starting at Rs 10,999 only. When I say an alternative to the Redmi Note 5 Pro, it shares a lot of specifications with its Xiaomi counterpart and also outguns it in some areas. So how does it stack up against the Redmi Note 5 Pro in reality? Well, let’s break it down.
Note: I haven’t used the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 yet so this comparison is entirely based on the reviews from other critiques.
Alright then, let me first hit the design elements of both the smartphones. To be honest, there is not a lot to choose from. Both the smartphones feature a uni-body metal design with vertical dual camera setup at the back along with the fingerprint sensor placed just where your index finger will rest. Both the devices are near identical in dimensions as well but the Redmi Note 5 Pro seems to have taken a little more inspiration from the iPhone X than the Max Pro M1. Also, you have more colour options for the Redmi Note 5 Pro. Another feature that the Redmi Note 5 Pro wins over the Zenfone Max Pro M1 is the infrared port which, in my opinion, is extremely underrated these days. Apart from this, we don’t really have that much of a difference in the design.
Let’s put down the specifications to paper and see which one comes out on top.
|Specifications||Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro||Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1|
|Price||Rs 13,999 - 16,999||Rs 10,999 - 12,999|
|Dimensions||158.6 x 75.4 x 8.1 mm||159 x 76 x 8.5 mm|
|Display||5.99-inches 1080 x 2160 pixels, 18:9 ratio (403 ppi density)||5.99-inches 1080 x 2160 pixels, 18:9 ratio (402 ppi density)|
|Processor||Octa-core 1.8 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 636||Octa-core 1.8 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 636|
|Battery||4000 mAh||5000 mAh|
|OS||Android 7.1.2 Nougat (MIUI 9)||Android 8.1 Oreo (Stock Android)|
|Camera||Rear: 12MP (f/2.2) + 5MP (f/2.0)|
Front: 20 MP | f/2.2
|Rear: Dual 13MP + 5MP (f/2.0)
Front: 8MP | F/2.2
Micro USB 2.0
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Micro USB 2.0
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
|3.5 mm Headphone Jack||Yes||Yes|
|Colours||Black, Champagne Gold, Rose Gold, Lake Blue||Deepsea Black, Titanium Grey|
The notable differences is the battery and Bluetooth. The Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 has a 5000 mAh battery whereas the Redmi Note 5 Pro is still stuck at 4000 mAh. But, Redmi Note 5 Pro comes with Bluetooth 5.0 which is any day better than the v4.2 present on the Zenfone Max Pro M1.
User Interface and Updates
This is probably where most of you will have to decide between these two. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro comes with its proprietary MIUI 9 running on Android 7.1.2 Nougat. Yes, this is Sad. On the other hand, the Zenfone Max Pro M1 comes with Stock Android 8.1 Oreo and if you ask me, I will surely bet my money on the Zenfone Max Pro M1 when it comes to Android Updates. MIUI is not entirely a let down here as Stock Android doesn’t even come close when it comes to the customization. I know a lot of people who prefer MIUI over any Android skin including Pure Vanilla Stock Android. So this one, I leave it to you.
So this is where things get a little more interesting and confusing at the same time. Both the smartphones boast a vertical dual camera setup at the back but I am pretty sure the software has a role to play here. Let’s quickly re-visit what is underneath those vertical dual camera lenses.
The Redmi Note 5 Pro packs a dual 12-megapixel + 5-megapixel camera at the back with f/2.2 and f/2.0 aperture respectively. The sensor we are talking about here is the Sony IMX486. If we flip the device, Xiaomi has outfitted a 20-megapixel sensor with f/2.2 aperture.
Zenfone Max Pro M1, on the other hand, comes with a dual 13-megapixel + 5-megapixel sensor with f/2.2 aperture while on the front, we have an 8-megapixel f/2.2 sensor.
Now I haven’t personally tested the camera on the Zenfone Max Pro M1 but here is a video of the detailed comparison of both the cameras.
If we take in the initial impressions, the Note 5 Pro edges out in video stabilization and low-light performance. The portrait shots on the Redmi Note 5 Pro also comes out a tad better than the Zenfone Max Pro M1.
Price and Availability
Availability is not something which you can count on for both these devices. Both the companies have opted the flash sale model. The price, however, is not same.
The Redmi Note 5 Pro will cost you Rs 13,999 for the 4GB + 64GB variant while the 6GB RAM variant model is priced at Rs 16,999.
Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 comes in two variant. A 3GB + 32GB variant which is priced at Rs 10,999 and 4GB + 64GB variant priced at Rs 12,999. Asus also claimed that a 6GB + 64GB model is in the pipeline which will cost Rs 14,999.
Which one should you choose?
If I have to sum up this battle, a bigger battery and Stock Android favours the Zenfone Max Pro M1 while a slightly better camera is what should matter if you are going for the Redmi Note 5 Pro. Besides, if you absolutely love MIUI, then Zenfone Max Pro M1 is not even in the picture. What do you think? Which one is better? Let us know in the comment section below.