“Can the recent budget offerings from ASUS and Lenovo challenge the dominance Xiaomi’s popular Redmi 6?”

The Taiwanese handset maker, ASUS, today launched its latest budget offerings – the ZenFone Max (M1) and ZenFone Lite (L1) (first impressions). As such, the new launches are aiming to dethrone Xiaomi’s sub-Rs 10k offerings from the top spot. The newest ZenFone Max (M1) goes right up against Xiaomi’s Redmi 6 (review), which is the reigning champ in this bracket. And just yesterday, Lenovo also tried to achieve the same feat with the launch of the K9 (first impressions). So if you are wondering how these smartphones stack up against each other, read our comparison to know which is the best smartphone between the ASUS ZenFone Max (M1), Lenovo K9 and Xiaomi Redmi 6. 

Design and display

ASUS ZenFone Max (M1) UFI 0010

Design-wise, the ASUS ZenFone Max (M1) and Xiaomi Redmi 6 are almost identical to each other with polycarbonate unibody build and metallic finish. However, the camera module on the rear panel of Redmi 6 is stacked horizontally and houses a secondary shooter. The Lenovo K9 on the other hand, is an absolute looker. In fact, we will go on to say that the K9 is one of the best-looking smartphones in this price bracket with 2.5D glass panels on the front and rear. 

Lenovo K9_6

Bringing the spotlight to the front, once again we can see that both the ASUS ZenFone Max (M1) and Xiaomi Redmi 6 are neck to neck. The handsets come with 5.45-inch IPS LCD panels with 18:9 aspect ratio and a resolution of 1,440 x 720 pixels. In comparison, the Lenovo K9 also comes with the same IPS panel with 18:9 aspect ratio and HD+ resolution. However, the display size is relatively larger at 5.7-inch.

When it comes to design and display, there are no two thoughts here that the Lenovo K9 gets an edge against its rivals.

Hardware and software


Turning our attention to the performance department, once again two of the three contenders are at par with each other. Both the Xiaomi Redmi 6 and Lenovo K9 come powered by octa-core Helio P22 chipset. With 12nm fabrication, the processor promises to offer a good balance between performance as well as battery efficiency. The ZenFone Max (M1) gets Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 430 ticking at its core, which is an octa-core SoC running at 1.4GHz, and a step behind the 2GHz clock speed of MediaTek’s silicon. 

ASUS ZenFone Max (M1) UFI 0002

Moving to the software, the ZenFone Max (M1) runs Android 8.1 Oreo-based ZenUI 5.0, which offers a minimal interface without much bloatware. The Lenovo K9 too, gets Android 8.1 Oreo as the base, however, the custom interface is close to stock with goodies like a tweaked camera app and gestures thrown in. In comparison, the Redmi 6 comes with the proprietary MIUI 9.6 out of the box, running atop Android 8.1 Oreo. 

As for the storage and RAM, the ASUS ZenFone Max (M1) comes with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, which can be expanded up to 256GB. The Lenovo K9 also comes in the same configuration. In contrast, the Redmi 6 is being offered in two variants – 3GB RAM + 32GB ROM and 3GB RAM + 64GB ROM.

Camera and battery

Lenovo K9_3

In the imaging department, the Redmi 6 and Lenovo K9 flaunt a dual-camera module on the rear, whereas the ZenFone Max (M1) ships with a single shooter at the back. Specs-wise, the Xiaomi handset offers 12MP + 5MP snappers, whereas the K9 sports a 13-megapixel and 5MP depth sensor. The ZenFone Max (M1), on the contrary, comes with a single 13-megapixel camera on the rear panel. As for the front camera, both ASUS’ offering and Redmi 6 comes with 8MP and 5MP shooters, respectively. The K9 again emerges on the top as it offers dual selfie cameras in a 13MP + 5MP configuration along with a dedicated LED flash. 

Lastly, both the Lenovo K9 and Xiaomi Redmi 6 are equipped with a 3,000mAh battery. The ASUS ZenFone Max (M1) gets an advantage here as it comes with a beefy 4,000mAh battery with support for 10W charging.

Closing thoughts

It’s pretty evident now that Lenovo K9 is the better of the lot here. The smartphone comes with a stunning design, a larger display and quad cameras. The remaining two are almost identical in all aspects with the ZenFone Max (M1) getting an upper hand owing to the battery size, and relatively affordable price point of Rs 7,499 as compared to the Rs 8,999 price tag of its competitors.