“The new Lenovo Z5 goes neck-to-neck with Redmi Note 5 Pro and Zenfone Max Pro M1 with the inclusion of a Snapdragon 636 SoC”
Lenovo announced the launch of its new Z5 smartphone in China on Tuesday. While the phone doesn’t seem as exciting as promised by the teasers, the handset’s attractive price tag and capable hardware have put it in direct competition with some of the best value-for-money smartphones. If you are wondering how Lenovo’s new offering stacks up against the Redmi Note 5 Pro (review) and the Zenfone Max Pro M1 (review), read our detailed comparison below:
Design and display
If we talk about design, Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 and Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro can be put broadly into the same category, but the Lenovo Z5 is a different beast altogether. While all three smartphones feature a taller-than-usual screen aspect ratio, the Lenovo Z5 opts for a slightly nascent notched display design. The Zenfone Max Pro M1 and Redmi Note 5 Pro feature slim and symmetric bezels and offer unibody metal designs. The Lenovo Z5 comes with a glass sandwich design, which provides it with a distinguished look in combination with the gradient colour pattern at the back.
Coming to the display, ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M1 comes equipped with a 6-inch screen, compared with the 5.99-inch panel on Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 5 Pro. As mentioned earlier, the display on both handsets has an 18:9 aspect ratio and an FHD+ (2,160 x 1,080) resolution. Among the two, the Redmi Note 5 Pro gets a slight advantage, as the Xiaomi smartphone comes with a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass on top to protect against everyday wear and tear. The ZenFone Max Pro M1 comes with a regular 2.5D curved glass on top of the display.
Again, the Lenovo Z5 comes with a 6.2-inch IPS LCD panel that bears a screen resolution of 2,246 x 1,080 pixels and an unusual aspect ratio of 18.7:9. The bezels at the bottom on Lenovo’s smartphone are much slimmer than the ones on other two handsets and the overall screen-to-body ratio is also much higher.
No surprises for guessing, the Z5 beats the other two hands down in this department, unless you have a personal bias against the notch design.
Performance and software
Swiftly to the hardware, All three smartphones are powered by Snapdragon 636 processor but the configurations differ ever so slightly. The Zenfone Max Pro M1 is currently being offered in two configurations – 3GB RAM + 32GB storage and 4GB RAM + 64GB storage, with the 6GB RAM model slated to launch at a later date. If we talk about the Redmi Note 5 Pro, the handset comes with 64GB built-in storage along with either 4GB or 6GB RAM. Storage on both these phones is expandable but the ASUS smartphone features a dedicated slot for the microSD card.
Continuing the trend of being the black sheep, the Z5 comes with 6GB RAM with 64GB and 128GB storage options (both non-expandable). Moving to the software, the Zenfone Max Pro runs stock Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box, with a promised update to the next two Android iterations. On the other hand, the Redmi Note 5 Pro has recently received Android 8.1 Oreo-based MIUI 9.5.13 global stable ROM update. The Lenovo Z5 runs Android 8.0 Oreo-based ZUI 4.0 out of the box.
While the difference margins are thin, Zenfone Max Pro M1 gets the preferred outcome in this category.
Camera and battery
Next up is the camera department. The Redmi Note 5 Pro features a rear-facing dual camera setup, comprising 12MP + 5MP sensors along with an LED flash. On the other hand, the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M1 also comes with a dual camera setup that has a 13-megapixel sensor along with a 5-megapixel depth-sensing unit, also accompanied by an LED flash at the rear. Finally, the Lenovo Z5’s dual camera setup on the rear panel comprises a 16-megapixel primary camera and an 8-megapixel secondary shooter.
At the front, the Redmi Note 5 Pro offers a 20-megapixel shooter, which seems a much more capable sensor in comparison to the 8MP front-facing camera on the Zenfone Max Pro M1. On the Lenovo Z5, we get an 8MP sensor with AI integration. Going by the specs on paper, we can give Redmi Note 5 Pro a lead as we have not got the chance to try out the Z5 in person just yet.
The battery capacity is a crucial aspect of any handset and the Zenfone Max Pro M1 manages to overshadow its competition in this particular category. The ASUS smartphone houses a large 5,000mAH battery, compared to the 4,000mAh and 3,300mAh battery capacities on the Redmi Note 5 Pro and the Lenovo Z5, respectively.
There is no clear winner here. Your choice will depend entirely on your individual preferences. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro offers a brilliant selfie camera, while the Zenfone Max Pro features a larger battery and offers stock Android. The Lenovo Z5 looks the most premium handset out of the three, and if you are the sort of person who cares deeply about aesthetics, this would be your obvious choice. While the Lenovo Z5 has currently been launched only in China and comes with a starting price tag of RMB 1,299, which is roughly Rs 13,500, the pricing for Zenfone Max Pro M1 starts at Rs 10,999 (3GB RAM variant) and Redmi Note 5 Pro retails at a starting price of Rs 14,999 (4GB RAM variant).