The budget smartphone market is getting more competitive with each passing day. Gone are the times when Indian OEMs like Micromax, XOLO and Lava used to dominate this price segment. With the entry of the Chinese, smartphones OEMs like Xiaomi, MEIZU, Lenovo have taken over the reins; especially in terms of online sales. Samsung, Intex and Micromax still have strong foothold in terms of offline sales, though. Now that we have established that Chinese brands are dominating the online space, let’s take a look at the budget smartphones from Xiaomi, MEIZU, and Lenovo.
After some delay, Xiaomi launched its budget Redmi 3S in India and guess what – it has been a successful launch for the brand so far. That said, both MEIZU and Lenovo also have budget offerings competing agains the Redmi 3S – the Moto E3 Power and the MEIZU m3s. While one claims to deliver an impeccable battery life, the other tends to steer clear of the competition by its looks.So without further ado, let’s find out how these two budget smartphones stack up against its competitors.
DesignThe MEIZU m3s and the Xiaomi Redmi 3S shares similar design cues with each other. Both the smartphones come with a metal unibody design with a non-removable battery on the inside.The Moto E3 Power, on the other hand, comes in a polycarbonate shell that packs a large removable battery on the inside. It’s also the thickest device among the trio at 9.6mm.
The MEIZU m3s and the Redmi 3S on the other hand come in at 8.3mm and 8.5mm, slim profiles respectively. That said, the MEIZU m3s is by far the best looking device among the three, albeit it shares some design cues with the iPhone but it indeed feels premium in hand. It’s also quite light at 138g as compared to the 153g heavy Moto E3 Power. The one advantage of buying a Moto E3 Power is that the budget smartphone from Motorola comes with a water repellent nano-coating.
All the three smartphones share a similar display, well that’s the case in terms of raw specs at least. The Moto E3 Power, Xiaomi Redmi 3S and MEIZU m3s, all sport a 5-inch HD (1,280 x 720) IPS LCD display upfront. Despite, the similar display size and resolution, all the displays are calibrated differently. While all the three panels reproduce good colour with decent viewing angles, the panel on the Redmi 3S is by far the best. It’s also worth noting that budget smartphone from Xiaomi has the best screen to body ratio of about 71.1 percent. Unlike the MEIZU m3s and Xiaomi Redmi 3S, the Moto E3 Power from Lenovo makes use of onscreen buttons thereby reducing the area of usable screen estate.
Under the hood, is where a lot of things are different between the three. In terms of raw processing power, the Lenovo-owned Moto E3 Power takes a back seat. The Mediatek 6735P quad core (4 x 1.0GHz Cortex A53) with Mali T720 MP2 GPU simply fails to match up to the competition. Next comes the MEIZU m3s with its Mediatek 6750 octa core (8 x 1.5GHz Cortex A53) SoC. While the Mediatek on the inside of the MEIZU falls shorts of the Redmi 3S, its markedly faster than that of the Moto E3 Power. The Xiaomi Redmi 3s uses a much faster Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 octa core chip (4 x 1.5GHz Cortex A53 + 4 x 1.2GHz Cortex A53). This is the latest gen chip for budget and mid-range smartphones from the American chipmaker, which essentially is an update of the Snapdragon 615.
Talking of RAM, the MEIZU m3s, Xiaomi Redmi 3 and Moto E3 Power all come with 2GB RAM modules. However, there’s a higher end variant of the Meizu m3s that comes with 3GB RAM. The same can be said about the Xiaomi, as there’s a device called Redmi 3S Prime that has all the Redmi 3 does, but it comes with 3GB of RAM, 32GB storage, and an added fingerprint sensor.
Software and Connectivity
The MEIZU m3s seriously misses a punch in this department; for a device that’s being launched in late 2016, Android Lollipop 5.1 indeed seems quite dated. The Xiaomi Redmi 3S and Motorola E3 Power, on the other hand, both run on Android Marshmallow. With the Motorola though, you can be rest assured to receive a major OS update on time. For instance, the Moto E3 Power is scheduled to receive the Android Nougat update early next year. The same won’t be the case with the other two smartphones though.
While Xiaomi and MEIZU are rather quick in rolling out bug fixes, they are just too slow when it come with major software updates. That aside, the MIUI 8 skin on the Xiaomi Redmi 3S and the Flyme OS 5.1 layer on top of base Android on the MEIZU m3s, lack an app drawer and even the UI doesn’t look anything like stock Android. Nevertheless, both the UIs have a number of tricks down their sleeves and eventually choosing a winner between them completely boils down to personal preferences.
On the connectivity front, all the three smartphones come with Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth (with A2DP profile), A-GPS, GLONASS, and Micro-USB 2.0 port. There’s a 3.5mm headphone jack too on all the three devices. That aside the trio come with support for two SIM card slots. However, only the Moto E3 Power ships with a dedicated dual SIM slot, while the other two pack a Hybrid SIM slot. All the, the smartphones come with support VoLTE and therefore you can use your Reliance Jio connection with it.
A surprise inclusion in the MEIZU m3s, however, is the presence of a fingerprint scanner located on the home button at the bottom of the 5inch HD display. It’s one of the very few phones that come with a biometric sensor at this price point. Xiaomi however has a Redmi 3S Prime that comes with a fingerprint sensor located to the back of the smartphone, but that’s priced quite higher than these three.
Storage and BatteryComing to the storage front, all the three devices come with 16GB of internal memory. That aside, there’s room for memory expansion via a microSD card slot. While both, the MEIZU m3s and Xiaomi Redmi 3S, share a microSD card slot with the SIM 2 slot, the Motorola Moto E3 Power boasts of a dedicated card slot. This essentially means that you don’t need to pop out your SIM 2 if you plan to use a microSD card.
Battery, on the other hand, presents a completely different story. It’s worth noting that only the Moto E3 Power comes with a removable battery, while the smartphones from Xiaomi and MEIZU don’t. In fact, the 4,100mAh battery inside the Xiaomi Redmi 3S is one of the biggest batteries out there in a budget smartphone. The battery powering it, is in fact, similar to one found inside the costlier Redmi Note 3. The MEIZU m3s on the other hand sports a 3,020mAH battery, while the Moto E3 Power packs a slightly large cell at 3,500mAh. Talking of real time usage, the Redmi 3S’ battery is expected to deliver the best screen on time.
The Motorola E3 Power and the Xiaomi Redmi 3S comes with support for Fast Charge. The MEIZU m3s on the other hand misses out on this small yet vital bit of tech.
CameraIn the camera department, the Xiaomi Redmi 3S and the Meizu m3s excel over the Moto E3 Power in almost all cases. Both the smartphones come with a 13MP f/2.0 rear camera and a 5MP selfie snapper. This is in contrary to the 8MP rear unit and 5MP front unit found in the Moto E3 Power. As expected, the Moto E3 Power isn’t capable of shooting Full HD video and is only limited to HD (720p). The rear unit on the Redmi 3S also comes equipped with a PDAF (Phase Detection Autofocus Sensor) that helps to focus on a subject quickly. All three rear shooters, however, come with LED Flash. That said, the rear flash on the MEIZU m3s and the Xiaomi Redmi 3S are dual tone dual LED while that on the Moto E3 Power is single LED.
The Xiaomi Redmi 3S is the cheapest of the lot at Rs 6,999. The MEIZU m3s and the Motorola E3 Power are priced markedly higher at Rs 7,999. That said, the top end variant of the MEIZU m3s with 3GB RAM/32GB memory comes at Rs 9,299. This is in fact costlier than the Xiaomi Redmi 3S Prime which comes at Rs 8,999. Nevertheless, the Moto E3 Power and MEIZU m3s are both available via open sale on Flipkart and Snapdeal, respectively. Whereas, flash sales are the only way to get hold of the Xiaomi Redmi 3S. So, just in case you don’t want to go through the hassle involved in a flash sale then you might to settle down with either MEIZU m3s or Motorola E3 Power.
Pricing and Availability
VerdictIt’s tough to pick one among the three smartphones, as each device comes with its set of pros and cons. While the MEIZU m3s boasts of premium looks and a fingerprint sensor, the Redmi 3S from Xiaomi packs the largest battery and has a powerful processor. Motorola E3 Power comes with a stock Android experience and promises faster updates. All said and done though, the Xiaomi Redmi 3S appears to be most balance device among the trio. The device performs decently in all departments and excels in some. Besides, it’s the cheapest among the three. But then again, getting one isn’t easy. You are required to go through the pain of a flash sale. So in case you don’t want to do that, the Redmi 3S is not for you.
Now, choosing between the MEIZU m3s and the Moto E3 Power is even tougher. However, the premium build, better display, higher resolution rear shooter and a faster processor are all plus points for the MEIZU m3s. But, just in case you need your device to run on Android Nougat as early as next year then look no beyond the Lenovo-owned Motorola’s Moto E3 Power. In fact, it’s not yet confirmed whether the Meizu m3s and the Xiaomi Redmi 3S would end up receiving Nougat at all. Xiaomi’s track record of updates isn’t really great to be honest, and they still have a number of devices running on the two-generation old Android Lollipop.