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Honor 9i vs Xiaomi Redmi Note 5: Battle of Thousand-Yuan Phones

As the best-selling price segment in the smartphone market, products between 1000 and 2000 yuan have been the most concerned by many consumers. Therefore, each brand will make great efforts for the products in this price segment. Not that long ago, Honor launched a product called the Honor 9i, which entered the market at a price of 1399 yuan ($203). Due to this, it could attract the attention of many customers. But there has been another smartphone in the price segment of 1399 yuan that has also received much attention. If you guess, we are talking about the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5.

Also read: Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Review | Deal

These are among the most prestigious Internet brands in China. So we believe that many buyers will be choosing between these two when looking for a new smartphone from the mentioned price range.  Therefore, today we have specially obtained these two products for comparison. It’s quite interesting how the Honor 9i and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 are going to perform in terms of design, system UI, performance, and photography.

First, let’s take a look at the key features both phones come with:

Phone model Honor 9i Xiaomi Redmi Note 5
Screen size 5.84 inches, 19:9, Notched screen 5.99 inches, 18:9, full-screen
Resolution 2280×1080 2160×1080
Processor HiSilicon Kirin 659 Qualcomm Snapdragon 636
Frequency Octa-core up to 2.36GHz Octa-core Kryo260 up to 1.8GHz
Storage 64GB 64GB
RAM 4GB 4GB
Main camera 13MP + 2MP 12MP + 5MP
Front camera 16MP 13MP, soft light
Dimensions 149.2×71.8×7.7mm 158.6×75.4×8.5mm
Body weight 152g 181g
Battery 3000mAh 4000mAh
Colors

 

Magic Night Black/Charm Blue/Dream Purple/Jasper Green White/Blue/Pink/Gray
Operating system EMUI8.0 (Android 8.0) MIUI9.5 (Android 8.1)
Price 1399 yuan 1299 yuan

From the configuration point of view, both the Honor 9i and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 adopt the popular full-screen design, but since the Honor 9i adopts the notched design. It costs more than the ordinary full-screen Redmi Note 5. In terms of configuration, the Honor 9i is equipped with the Kirin 659 processor. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 is equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor. So we have to write down, in terms of performance, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 has a little advantage.

Honor 9i vs Xiaomi Redmi Note 5

The main camera features are almost identical, but when it comes to the front cameras, the Honor 9i sports a 16MP camera, while the Redmi Note 5 comes with a 13MP shooter. So the Honor 9i seems to have an advantage. But these assumptions should be confirmed in actual tests.

Honor 9i vs Xiaomi Redmi Note 5: Design

From the parameters we learned that the Honor 9i uses a 5.84-inch 19:9 bangs screen, while the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 sports a 5.99-inch 18:9 full screen. Thus, there is not much difference in screen size. However, thanks to bangs screen design, the actual body size of the Honor 9i will be much smaller than the Redmi Note 5.

Honor 9i vs Xiaomi Redmi Note 5

In terms of body material, the Honor 9i uses glass, while the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 uses metal. These two materials can be said to have their own merits. However, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 comes with a standard three-stage design. To be honest, this design has not been able to keep up with the times. In contrast, due to the glass material, the back of the Honor 9i is more succinct and unified.

Honor 9i vs Xiaomi Redmi Note 5

When holding in hands, the difference in feel caused by different materials is excluded. Thanks to the narrower frame, the Honor 9i’s body width is comparable to that of a regular 5.2-inch phone. So the actual grip feels better than the Redmi Note 5. This is also great for people with small hands. Single-hand operations won’t cause any problem. In contrast, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 is similar to a regular 5.5-inch product.

Honor 9i vs Xiaomi Redmi Note 5

Generally, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 gives a rougher feel. This is caused by the different materials used. So we should say Xiaomi has been more conservative when making the Redmi Note 5, while Honor went towards young customers’ needs.

Honor 9i vs Xiaomi Redmi Note 5: Camera

The Honor 9i is equipped with a dual-camera of 13MP + 2MP, while the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 is equipped with a dual-camera of 12MP + 5MP. From the parameters, the Honor 9i should have some advantages. But the difference between the two is not very large. In addition, as for the sub-camera, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 will take advantage of it.

Honor 9i vs Xiaomi Redmi Note 5

In order to find out whether what’s written on the paper corresponds to the actual experience, let’s compare the samples of both handsets. We have taken photos in three conditions – daytime, in the low-light conditions, and background blurring.

The first impression we got when looking at the photos is that the overall color of the Honor 9i is cold, while the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 is warmer. At the same time, in terms of picture brightness, the Honor 9i is higher than the Redmi Note 5. Plus, the Honor phone adjusted a photo optimization for each scene, so its color performance is very rich. We think it should be very pleasant for many customers. But in fact, the color of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 is closer to the color seen by the human eye.

In terms of picture detail, thanks to the higher resolution main sensor, the Honor 9i’s are slightly better than the Redmi Note 5’s. However, we think the performance of both cameras is still at the same level.

In the dark/night environment, the two also showed good qualities. From the overall picture brightness, the brightness of the Honor 9i is better, and the details are clearer. This shows that the Honor 9i has much better control over light than the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5. Thus, in addition to the advantages of hardware parameters, the Honor 9i also has certain advantages in software algorithms.

In terms of blurring, it can be seen that the mapping algorithms of the Honor 9i and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 are quite perfect, and the recognition of the subject is quite accurate. There is no case where the subject is blurred. In terms of blurring outside the focus, the blurring of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 is more natural. But overall, there is not much difference between the two in terms of background blur.

So we can say, in terms of photographing, both the Honor 9i and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 represent the overall level of the thousand yuan machine. Whether it is a daytime shooting or a night sample or even a macro shooting with background blurring, the photos are really good. Of course, due to the advantages of software algorithms and hardware parameters, the Honor 9i will have some advantages in the details of the picture. At the same time, Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 benefits from a better sub-camera and optimization in the dual-camera algorithm.

Honor 9i vs Xiaomi Redmi Note 5: Performance

As we said, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 is packed with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor. This new mid-range processor is also the star product of the Qualcomm 6 series used to replace the Snapdragon 625, while the Honor 9i is equipped with its own-made chip. It uses the Kirin 659 processor, which is also a mid-range product. So this is a unique battle between two mid-rangers coming our way from Qualcomm and Huawei.

When looking at the AnTuTu scores, we can see a certain gap between the two. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 636’s performance is way stronger. Of course, the performance of the HiSilicon Kirin 659 is still in a medium-up position among many midrange processors. But it has nothing in common with the SND636.

When it comes to the actual experience, say when playing games, we see the difference between the two is not that obvious. But the stability control of frame rates is better at the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5.

In general, in terms of performance, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor is better than the Kirin 659. But as the actual game test showed, in real, the Honor 9i doesn’t yield its rival much. Plus, the Honor 9i has got the GPU Turbo update starting July. So it performs better than the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5. (This test has been done before the update was installed.)

Honor 9i vs Xiaomi Redmi Note 5: Battery

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 is equipped with a 4000mAh battery, while the Honor 9i is equipped with a 3000Ah battery. As their screens have different sizes, theoretically, the Redmi Note 5 should perform better. As for charging, according to the official data, both products support 5V2A (10W total) charging power.

The above data was taken when the phone’s power was 9%. It can be seen that the actual power of the Honor 9i can reach 10.7W, and the actual power of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 can reach 9.7W. Both products can reach the nominal speed of 10W. But the Honor 9i’s power not only exceeds the nominal 10W but also has a 10% advantage over the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5.

As the screenshot shows, the battery capacity difference affects on the charging speed. The Xiaomi Redmi note 5 takes two and a half hours to fully charge the battery, and Honor 9i takes nearly two hours to fill.

In the power consumption test, with a larger battery of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 will perform better than the Honor 9i in every project. But one thing surprised us a lot – there is a big gap between the two when recording videos and playing games. In other aspects, such as listening to music or watching movies, the gap is not obvious. Probably, it’s related to the Honor 9i’s excellent power control.

Honor 9i vs Xiaomi Redmi Note 5: Software

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 runs on MIUI 9.5 version (based on Android 8.1), while the Honor 9i comes with EMUI 8.0 version (based on Android 8.0). The differences shouldn’t be obvious.

According to the official introduction, the internal code of MIUI9 is ‘Lightning’, which has greatly improved the stability, fluency and battery life of the system. It can be said that the main feature of MIUI9 is the ‘speed.’ The meaning can be seen from the official slogan of ‘fast as lightning.’ The addition of new functions such as portals, information assistants, photo search, and split screen also effectively improves the efficiency of the handset.

In contrast, EMUI 8.0’s biggest highlight is the addition of AI smart engine and intelligent scheduling of CPU and memory resources. Moreover, the system actively defragments memory, compresses the background memory, and uses a new file system with its own defragmentation mechanism. The AI engine optimization and the resources scheduling according to user behavior habits make you get a smooth experience.

What we liked more is the voice assistants coming pre-installed in the Honor 9i as well as in the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5. The latter could boast of the Xiao AI, but the Honor 9i’s variant doesn’t yield it at all. This refers to the speed as well as the accuracy of recognition.

In short, these are the most popular UIs in the Chinese smartphone market and outside. So not accidentally, they are capable of providing the best user experience in all aspects.

Summary

As for appearance, the Honor 9i and Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 have nothing in common. If the former model comes with a modern look and more valuable materials, the Redmi Note 5 is more conservative and is made of metal. Although both look amazing.

Due to some algorithm advantages, the Honor 9i’s colors are more pleasing to the user’s eye and the dark light shooting is better. But the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 takes more natural photos.

The Snapdragon 636 chip has a clear advantage in comparison to the Honor 9i’s Kirin 659 SoC. But once you install the GPU Turbo update, the gap won’t be too big.

Thanks to the larger capacity battery, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 provides a longer life, but when it comes to the charging, the Honor 9i is 10% faster.

Both phones run on modern software. So we can say this is the case when the advantage can’t be given to any of them.

In general, as the two most famous Internet brands in China, compared with other brands’ same-priced products, the performance of the Honor 9i and Redmi Note 5 is quite good in all aspects. Among them, the Honor 9i has advantages over the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 in terms of design and photography. So it can be recommended to young customers, while the Redmi Note 5 is for larger masses.

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Argam Artashyan

Back in 2010, he was dismissed from his position as a lecturer at the university. This made him get another job at his friend’s digital marketing company as a blog writer. After a few years, when he was thinking the article writing is his mission, Google pushed the Panda update and affected the company and websites he was working at. (Un)fortunately and surprisingly, he got an offer to head a large knitting factory. In 2016, he got his Ph.D. and resumed teaching at the University … and writing tech-related articles following his passion.

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