"Putting the Honor 5C in the ring with Xiaomi's Redmi Note 3"
Huawei’s sub-brand Honor has launched yet another affordable smartphone in the country, dubbed the Honor 5C. The new smartphone brings in a breath of fresh air in a category that is already saturated with the monotonous approach of other companies, resulting in handsets with similar look and feel.
That said, in a segment where competition is already soaring high, the introduction of the new smartphone means some new clashes and even more confusion in the minds of the consumers. For instance, there’s the Redmi Note 3 (review) from Xiaomi which until now has been the undisputed king in the VFM category. But can the Redmi Note 3 hold on to its crown when we pit it against Honor’s latest offering? Let’s find out.
Both smartphones come encased in beautiful metal unibody designs that speak of sheer quality and premiumness. Honor has put in minor touches at the back of the 5C, making it stand out from the crowd of metal body smartphones, which also consists of the Redmi Note 3.
And as is customary nowadays, both smartphones come with fingerprint scanners, placed below the cameras module at the back. And while the weight and thickness of both the devices are quite similar, there exists a stark contrast between the two. The handheld experience of the two smartphones differs immensely, thanks to the more compact and easy-to-use form factor of the Honor 5C. All this is because of the smaller canvas that the 5C sports. If you’re looking for one-hand usage, the Honor 5C might be your best bet.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 flaunts a 5.5-inch canvas with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. Although the Honor 5C sports a smaller 5.2-inch display, it doesn’t compromise on the resolution, coming in at full HD resolution.
If you do some math, you’ll notice that the difference in screen size means that the Honor 5C offers a crisper display with a higher pixel density. If you ask us, 5.2-inches is the perfect size for a smartphone. It’s big enough to enjoy media consumption, yet it is not too large to hinder use and feel uncomfortable to carry. That said, you might prefer the larger display of the Redmi Note 3.
Now here’s when things start to get interesting. The Redmi Note 3 comes with a hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 650, which is a decent enough processor. On the other hand, the Honor 5C becomes the first smartphone in this price tag to feature the octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 650 SoC which uses a 16nm architecture.
This in itself brings along a slew of improvements such as reduced battery consumption, slimmer profile, better performance, and improved optics. The shift towards the 16nm architecture is a big step forward, and we applaud Honor’s efforts in doing so. Coming to the amount of RAM, both smartphones come with 2GB RAM, but the Redmi Note 3 gets a slight edge here as it also offers a 3GB RAM variant. All said, it is difficult to pick a winner here. But if you can live with 2GB of RAM, which by the way, is enough for most users, then the Honor 5C comes on top once again.
The Honor 5C features a 13MP rear camera with LED flash and phase detection autofocus. The Redmi Note 3, on the other hand, flaunts a 16MP CMOS image sensor, aided by dual-tone LED flash and phase detection autofocus. Unfortunately neither of the two smartphones come with optical image stabilisation. What the two smartphones do come with are simplistic camera applications, with support for modes like HDR and burst mode, and support for shooting videos in full HD. Overall, it’s a big lead to the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3.
But when it comes to the front camera, the roles are reversed completely. The Redmi Note 3 comes with a 5MP front camera compared to the 8MP front camera of the Honor 5C. Overall, while the Redmi Note 3 is a better camera for casual photos, the Honor 5C is the one that selfie fanatics should opt for.
On the storage front, the Honor 5C comes with 16GB of internal storage. On the other hand, the 2GB RAM variant of the Redmi Note 3 comes with 16GB of onboard storage, while the 3GB RAM variant gets 32GB of internal storage. Thankfully, both smartphones come with microSD card slots to expand the storage further.
As expected, the shift towards a unibody design means that neither of the two devices feature a removable battery. The Redmi Note 3 draws juice from a hefty 4,050mAh battery. And although the 3,000mAh battery of the Honor 5C might seem small, it doesn’t exactly tell the whole story. The combination of an efficient processor and software enhancements makes the Honor 5C’s battery last much longer than it would seem. In the video loop round of our battery test, the phone lasted over 10 hours before giving up finally. Surely, the Redmi Note 3 offers better battery life, but it also takes ages to charge from zero to hundred.
Xiaomi’s smartphones are characterised by the brand’s custom MIUI platform. And the Redmi Note 3 is no different, as it runs MIUI 7 based on Android 5.1 Lollipop.
The Honor 5C runs EMUI 4.1 built on top of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Both platforms lack app drawers, but more than make up for the loss with tons of customisations, themes and added functionality.
On the connectivity front, both phones feature dual-SIM support, 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, mobile hotspot, Bluetooth, and A-GPS. Both the Honor 5C and the Redmi Note 3 use micro-USB 2.0 ports for charging and data transfer.
No comparison is complete without comparing the USPs of the two smartphones. And Honor has built a lot of features in its EMUI to make it different from what the others have to offer. For instance, you can use gesture shortcuts to launch specific applications right from your smartphone in standby mode. Just like Apple’s iOS, EMUI offers a floating dock to control basic functions of the smartphone.
The company has even got one step further by including gesture based fingerprint scanner shortcuts and customisable navigation buttons. The Redmi Note 3 on the other hand, comes with much more customisation in terms of looks. You can customise everything in your smartphone right to the boot logo. Lastly, for all those music lovers out there, it’s worth mentioning the fact that both these smartphones come with support for FM Radio.
When it comes to pricing, the 2GB / 16GB variant of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 is priced at Rs 9,999, while the 3GB / 32GB variant is priced at Rs 11,999. You can buy the smartphone across various ecommerce websites in an array of colours, including Silver, Gold or Grey. In contrast, Honor has priced the 5C in India at a price of Rs 10,999. The device would be sold in Silver, Champagne Gold and Grey hues on the company’s online store as well as Flipkart.
Both the Honor 5C and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 have a close fight making it really difficult for us to pick a winner.
Mostly, it was the Honor 5C edging ahead of Xiaomi’s budget smartphone. That said, you cannot go wrong with either of the two smartphones.
If you’re one who likes the phablet experience, then the Redmi Note 3 is for you. But if you want a compact, and powerful device, then the Honor 5C should be your next smartphone. Honor has played quite smart, as it even offers a 5.5-inch Honor 5X (review) to spice up the competition. EMUI’s additions make the user experience a hassle free one, while MIUI lets you customise every bit of the OS. Either way, it’s a win-win situation.