“To make your choice easier, we’ve compared three VFM smartphones to see which one wins the battle”
The VFM category is saturated with numerous smartphones being launched in the past few weeks itself. The latest to enter the competition is Lenovo-backed Motorola, which has recently unveiled the Moto G4 series of smartphones at an event in New Delhi. Lenovo has been in the midst of a busy schedule, as can be seen by the fact that its sub-brand ZUK just entered the Indian market a few days ago with the unveiling of its Z1 smartphone. These new smartphones face tough competition from contenders like the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (review), which was launched in March this year and has since then proven to be a solid offering for the price. While more choice is certainly a good thing to have, it can often lead to some confusion among the consumers.
So to make your choice a little easier, we’ve compared the ZUK Z1 (first impressions) with the Moto G4 Plus (review), and also with Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 3 to see which one wins the battle and comes on top.
Design and Display
Although the Moto G4 Plus sports a metal frame around the edges, its polycarbonate body isn’t the one that gives the best hand held experience to the user. The device now features a flatter back as compared to the Moto G (3rd-gen), something that we’re not that fond of. That said, the Moto G4 Plus has the slimmest waistline out of the three smartphones, coming in at just 7.87mm. Much like the Moto G4 Plus, the Lenovo ZUK Z1 also features a plastic back and a metal frame. However, its bulky design and 175g weight make it a bit less desirable than Motorola’s offering. And finally, we have the Redmi Note 3, which is the only phone out of the three to boast a full metal unibody design. The device feels premium even though the metal body doesn’t provide adequate grip like the other two smartphones. All three smartphones come with fingerprint scanners for biometric security, although the placement is not quite the same. Unlike the Moto G4 Plus and ZUK Z1 which feature the fingerprint scanners on the front of the devices, the Redmi Note 3 sports a fingerprint scanner below the camera at the back of the phone. Overall, if we had to pick one out of three based on design aesthetics, we’d go for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, with the Moto G4 Plus coming in a close second.
All three smartphones feature 5.5-inch canvases with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. The colours on all three smartphone displays are vibrant and the viewing angles are decent. However, the Sunlight Display technology in the Redmi Note 3 gives it an edge over its rivals when it comes to outdoor legibility.
The companies have opted for Qualcomm Snapdragon processors in all three handsets, although the choice of the SoC is very different. An octa-core Snapdragon 617 processor powers the Moto G4 Plus, whereas a more powerful hexa-core Snapdragon 650 is found inside the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3. The ZUK Z1 is powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 801 SoC, which is an older generation flagship from Qualcomm. All three handsets get 3GB RAM variants to enhance the multitasking capabilities. The Moto G4 Plus and Redmi Note 3 provide lower variants as well, offering 2GB of RAM. When it comes to the prowess packed in the three devices, the ZUK Z1 and Redmi Note 3 fight neck-to-neck closely followed by the Moto G4 Plus.
With smartphone cameras evolving so much over the past few years, the need for a standalone camera is diminishing with every passing moment. All three phones bring some decent optics at a budget. The Moto G4 Plus and the Redmi Note 3 come with 16MP primary cameras, assisted by phase detection autofocus. But the Moto G4 Plus gets another addition in the form of laser assisted autofocus. With two autofocussing techniques working in tandem in the Moto G4 Plus, the focussing is quick and accurate both in well-lit and low light scenarios. And although the ZUK Z1 by Lenovo features a 13MP rear camera with OIS, the quality of the images is on-par with the other two. All three smartphones come with dual tone LED flash to assist the rear camera in dimly lit situations. Overall the Moto G4 Plus seems to be a winner when it comes to the camera department, with the ZUK Z1 taking the second spot.
However, for the selfie enthusiasts, the ZUK Z1 seems to be a better choice, thanks to the 8MP sensor on the front of the device. For comparison, the Moto G4 Plus and the Redmi Note 3 sport standard 5MP front cameras, although the wider angle lens of the G4 Plus ensures more is captured in every selfie. Another advantage the Moto G4 Plus boasts is screen flash, illuminating poorly-lit environments.
Storage and Battery
On the storage front, the 3GB RAM variants of the Redmi Note 3 and Moto G4 Plus come with 32GB of on-board storage, while the 2GB RAM variants get just 16GB of internal storage. However, both phones come with support to expand the storage with the help of microSD cards. And while Lenovo’s ZUK Z1 misses out on the microSD card slot, it more than makes up for the loss by offering 64GB of internal storage.
None of the phonescome with a removable battery. And although the 3,000mAh battery of the Moto G4 Plus is decent enough, it is still way less than the 4,050mah and 4,100mAh batteries which power the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 and the ZUK Z1 respectively. All three devices support quick charging as well.
Software and Connectivity
The software is the key differentiator when it comes to the three aforementioned phones. Motorola has always opted for a slick, almost stock-like Android experience with just a few additions. Features like the Moto Display and the Moto Pure add some nice functionality to the OS. The Moto G4 Plus offers all these features built on top of Android Marshmallow. On the other hand, the ZUK Z1 runs Cyanogen OS 12.1 based on Android Lollipop which gives the users a ton of customisation in addition to a stock-like experience. And lastly, if you’re one who prefer the feature-rich MIUI user interface from Xiaomi, the Redmi Note 3 is obviously the way to go. MIUI offers a revamped interface and tons of themes and features to customise the look and feel of the device. It’s worth noting that the Redmi Note 3 runs Android Lollipop at the base as well.
On the connectivity front, all phones feature dual-SIM support, 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, mobile hotspot, Bluetooth, and A-GPS. The Moto G4 Plus and Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 feature VoLTE support, something that is missing on the ZUK Z1. Each phone has something different as well. The Redmi Note 3 comes with an IR blaster, the Moto G4 Plus gets NFC support, while the ZUK Z1 is the only one to feature the reversible USB Type-C port.
Pricing and Availability
The Lenovo Z1 is available exclusively on Amazon India at a price of Rs 13,499. The 2GB / 16GB variant of the Redmi Note 3 is priced at Rs 9,999, while the 3GB / 32GB variant is priced at Rs 11,999. Both are available via Amazon India and mi.com. Unfortunately, both the ZUK Z1 and Redmi Note 3 are available via flash sales, unlike the Moto G4 Plus. Motorola has priced the G4 Plus at Rs 13,499 for the 2GB / 16GB variant and Rs 14,999 for the 3GB / 32GB variant.
While all three smartphones offer some amazing specifications and technology for the price, in the end, the choice depends on your usage. If the camera is a priority, then the Moto G4 Plus is for you. If you want a big battery with near-stock Android like experience, then the Lenovo ZUK Z1 is the way to go. And if you want a powerful device with a premium design, then the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 should be the one to look out for. The budget market has seen a plethora of new phones in the recent times, and it wouldn’t be wrong to say that each of them has some nice tricks up its respective sleeve.