“We pit the best smartphones priced around Rs 15,000 against each other”

Seeing as the  Motorola One Power (first impressions) has finally been launched in India, people looking for phones around the Rs 15k price point are going to have a hard time. That’s because the market in this price range is currently being dominated by the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro (review) and ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M1 (review), both of which are attractive, all-round offerings with the promise of a long-lasting battery. So which one should you go for? Let’s find out in a detailed comparison between the Motorola One Power, Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro and ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M1. 

Design and display

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All three of these devices have gone for conventional design languages. While the Motorola One Power grabs a polycarbonate back with a glass-like finish, the rear panels on the Redmi Note 5 Pro as well as the ZenFone Max Pro M1 are constructed out of metal. And it’s too hard to ignore the resemblance of the Motorola device with the new iPhone models. But one thing that none of the phones is copying from the iPhones is the exclusion of the headphone jack, thankfully. 

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All three handsets have their fingerprint sensors placed on their rear panels. The one on the One Power does stand out with an interesting placement of the scanner on the trademark Moto dimple. Furthermore, Motorola’s offering has the advantage of being resistant to water splashes, which the other two smartphones don’t. That’s not it, the One Power also comes with the new-gen USB Type-C port, while the other two phones settle for micro-USB sockets.

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Tall displays are present on all three handsets, but it’s only the One Power that has a notch on top. Whether that’s a good thing or bad, depends upon personal preference, but it does allow the handset to shrink the bezels by quite a margin. The Motorola phone opts for a 6.2-inch LCD display with a resolution of 1,080 x 2,246 pixels. In contrast, both the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro and ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M1 features a 5.99-inch, 18:9 screen with a full HD+ resolution.

Hardware and software

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It’s no surprise that the tried-and-tested Snapdragon 636 chipset has gone inside the trio. The SoC comes with a 1.8GHz octa-core processor and an Adreno 509 GPU. As for memory, the Motorola One Power offers 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. The Redmi Note 5 Pro on the other hand, is available with 4GB or 6GB RAM, both of which ship with 64GB memory onboard. ASUS’ smartphone however, comes with three RAM and storage options — 3GB + 32GB, 4GB + 64GB and 6GB + 64GB. microSD card slots exist on all three handsets letting you expand the storage further.

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The Motorola ‘One’ series gets its name from the fact that the smartphones run Android One out of the box. The device ships with 8.1 Oreo, with a promised update to 9.0 Pie. You do get trademark Motorola features like gestures on the brand’s latest offering. While the Redmi Note 5 Pro ships with Oreo-based MIUI 9, it has started receiving the update to MIUI 10, which brings nature-inspired notifications, a portrait mode on the front camera, a redesigned recents menu and a few more additions. The software on the ZenFone Max Pro M1 is a stark departure from ASUS’ ZenUI. That’s because, you get the stock iteration of Android with little to no bloatware. 

Cameras and battery

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All three smartphones ship with dual cameras at the back. The One Power sports a 16MP sensor and a 5MP depth sensor, the combination of which offers a portrait mode. On the front of the Motorola device is a 12MP selfie shooter. The Note 5 Pro on the other hand, is blessed with a 12MP + 5MP combination at the back and a 20MP unit at the fascia. The ZenFone Max Pro M1 has two different camera modules depending upon the variant you go for. The high-end 6GB RAM model comes with 16MP + 5MP rear cameras and a 16MP selfie shooter, while the 3- and 4GB versions get 13MP + 5MP snappers at the back and an 8MP sensor at the front. 

Xiaomi and ASUS have both paired their front cameras with flash modules for better low-light selfies, but that’s not the case with the Motorola handset. The trio also offers software-based bokeh effect with their selfie cameras. As for the 4K videos, they can only be shot with the One Power and the Max Pro M1, with the Note 5 Pro natively limiting its shooting capabilities to 1080p. However, third-party apps can indeed be used to bring out this ability in the Xiaomi phone. 

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Battery life is a highlight of all three smartphones. Motorola and ASUS have granted 5,000mAh batteries to their devices, whereas Xiaomi’s Note 5 Pro has gone for a 4,000mAh unit. This allows them to easily run for more than one day on a single charge. The One Power also has an advantage of supporting the brand’s TurboPower technology, which promises six hours of talktime in just 15 minutes of juicing up. 

Closing thoughts

There’s a little doubt that these smartphones are aiming to offer the best bang for one’s buck. While there are a lot of similarities between the trio, it can be argued that the Motorola One Power looks better than the other two thanks to its notch-toting display and a glass-like finish at the back. The handset also has the advantage of quick and guaranteed software updates as it’s part of the Android One program. That said, with a price tag of Rs 15,999, the Motorola handset is also priced higher than both the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro and ASUS ZenFone Max Pro.