It seems like any new budget phone that is released gets inevitably compared with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3. Such is the clout of Xiaomi's budget offering which has well and truly taken the Indian markets by storm with its highly-attractive price tag and hardware specs sheet.
So what device do we have in store today to compare the Redmi Note 3 with? Well, it's the ASUS ZenFone Max (2016), which was unveiled by the manufacturer yesterday as a successor to last year's big-battery offering. Both handsets are priced at Rs 9,999, so this is a very apt comparison. So let's get right to it.
The ZenFone Max derives its name from the large 5,000 mAh battery hiding underneath the back panel. The Redmi Note 3 is no slouch in this area with its 4,050 mAh unit, but the ZenFone Max is clearly the better device here.
The Redmi Note 3 comes with a 1080p display while the ZenFone Max settles for a 720p display of the same size (5.5-inches). This is one of the key areas of advantage that the Redmi Note 3 enjoys over the ZenFone Max.
The Xiaomi offering stands out as one of the best looking mid-rangers out there. It's got a premium metal body and a flagship like appearance which adds to its overall value. The ZenFone Max uses a metal frame and a leather (faux-leather?) back panel, which is quite attractive as well, but surely not on the same level as the Redmi Note 3. But appearance is highly subjective, so we'll let you be the judge here.
There's a 16MP rear camera on the Redmi Note 3, while the ZenFone Max is settling for a slightly smaller 13MP sensor. However, both handsets come with a 5MP front camera with an f/2.0 aperture size for those wide angle selfies. It's good to see that front facing cameras have significantly improved over the years thanks to the advent of selfies.
As mentioned above, Xiaomi's 4,050 mAh battery is no match for ASUS' 5,000 mAh unit. Given the fact that ASUS is using a 720p display and not a 1080p panel like Xiaomi, the battery backup should be significantly more as there are lesser pixels to crunch.
The ZenFone Max is packing a Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor while the Redmi Note 3 is featuring the Snapdragon 650 hexa-core chipset. While it might seem like the ZenFone Max has the upper hand here in terms of CPU performance, the Redmi Note 3 has a better chipset/CPU combination thanks to the Cortex-A72 cores running on board.
Both companies offer their handsets in 2 or 3GB RAM variants, which means there's very little to differentiate between the two in this regard. However, true multitasking performance will come down to the UI optimization done by the manufacturer.
Xiaomi takes the cake in terms of additional features as it comes with a fingerprint scanner on board. The ZenFone Max is a pretty old-school offering in this regard and lacks any of these modern features. The ZenFone Max starts with a 32GB storage variant, while the cheapest Redmi Note 3 model comes with 16GB of internal storage. Both handsets have expandable storage, though, so this should be a non-issue for most buyers.
Pricing and availability
The Redmi Note 3 is an Amazon India exclusive while the ZenFone Max is available from Amazon, Snapdeal and Flipkart for Rs 9,999 (2GB RAM model) and Rs 12,999 (3GB RAM model). The ZenFone Max will also be sold via ASUS Exclusive Stores across India in the coming weeks. The Xiaomi handset is available for Rs 9,999 (2GB + 16GB model) and Rs 11,999 (3GB + 32GB model) through flash sales, with the next one scheduled for May 25.