The Taiwanese brand ASUS has added more coal to the fire in the budget smartphone segment in India. With the launch of its two new entry-level budget smartphones—Zenfone Lite L1 and Zenfone Max M1—it has taken on itself quite a mighty challenge, fighting the market leader Xiaomi, which has been dominating the budget smartphone market in India for the past two years.
In this post, we shall compare one of the two new ASUS handsets, the Zenfone Max M1, with its closest competitors, all of which are quite new and offer great value for money. The Lenovo K9 was unveiled in India just yesterday, while the Realme 2 and Redmi 6 came not long before. Keep reading for a detailed comparison of these four smartphones, so that you can make an informed decision before buying a smartphone under the INR 10,000 budget.
ASUS Zenfone Max M1 vs Lenovo K9 vs Realme 2 vs Redmi 6: Price in India
The new ASUS Zenfone Max M1 will retail at INR 7,499 during the launch offer under Flipkart’s Dhamaka Days sale. However, dates for the sale have not been announced yet. After that, it will still sell as a Flipkart exclusive, but at INR 8,999. You get 3GB RAM with 32GB storage. The pricing for the Lenovo K9 is exactly the same, i.e. INR 8,999, and this handset comes with the same memory configuration as well. It is also a Flipkart exclusive and has been listed already, but the release date is not yet specified. Flipkart has put up a Notify Me page for the Lenovo K9, but not yet for the Asus Zenfone Max M1.
The Realme 2 sells for INR 8,990 as well and comes in the same memory configuration. However, you can also buy a 4GB RAM variant with 64GB storage at INR 10,990. Xiaomi’s budget champion, the Redmi 6 sells for INR 7,999 for the 3GB RAM and 32GB storage variant, so it has a clear price advantage. Also, it comes in a 3GB RAM and 64GB storage variant for INR 9,499.
ASUS Zenfone Max M1 vs Lenovo K9 vs Realme 2 vs Redmi 6: Design, Display
The ASUS Zenfone Max M1 and the Redmi 6 both have a similar 5.45-inch HD+ IPS LCD display, with no notch and 18:9 aspect ratio. However, the ASUS device gets a metallic finish on the back panel and hence a premium look, while the Redmi 6 gets a regular plastic body. The Lenovo K9 has a slightly larger 5.7-inch HD+ LCD display with 18:9 aspect ratio and no notch, but with dual 2.5D curved glass, making it look better than the other two phones. The best looking phone in this comparison, however, is the Realme 2, which sports a tall 6.2-inch HD+ IPS LCD display with a notch and 19:9 aspect ratio, and a superb screen-to-body ratio of 88 percent. It also gets a diamond-cut glass finish on the rear panel, making it look gorgeous and a class apart.
ASUS Zenfone Max M1 vs Lenovo K9 vs Realme 2 vs Redmi 6: Performance, Software
Performance wise, the ASUS Zenfone Max M1 does not offer anything better than the rest here. All four handsets get octa-core processors, but the ASUS device is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 430, which is slightly older than the Snapdragon 450 which is powering the Realme 2. Both these chipsets, however, lag behind the Mediatek Helio P22 processor that is powering the Lenovo K9 and the Redmi 6.
The ASUS Zenfone Max M1 runs ZenUI 5.0, the Lenovo K9 boots ZUI 4.0 skin, the Redmi 6 gets MIUI 9, and the Realme 2 boots Color OS 5.1. All four of these skins are based on Android 8.1 Oreo. The Mediatek P22 chipset that is faster than the Snapdragon processors in the other handsets, and MIUI 10 has already started rolling out for the Redmi 6, so we reckon that the Xiaomi budget phone provides a much better overall user experience.
ASUS Zenfone Max M1 vs Lenovo K9 vs Realme 2 vs Redmi 6: Camera
The imaging abilities of the new phones from ASUS and Lenovo will need some testing, but at first glance, the Lenovo K9 looks quite competitive in this category, since it is the only handset offering a front dual-camera as well a rear dual-camera. The Lenovo K9 gets a 13MP+5MP setup for both the primary and the selfie cameras, and hence has the natural lead. The phone that lags the most, in this comparison, is our newest entrant, the ASUS Zenfone Max M1, with a single 13MP rear camera and a single 8MP front shooter. The Redmi 6 has the weakest 5MP selfie shooter here, while the Realme 2 offers an 8MP selfie camera. But both these handsets do provide a dual rear camera, with the Realme 2 sporting a 13MP+2MP setup, and the Redmi 6 featuring a 12MP+5MP dual rear camera.
ASUS Zenfone Max M1 vs Lenovo K9 vs Realme 2 vs Redmi 6: Battery, Connectivity
The Realme 2 has the largest battery, at 4230mAh, but it misses out on fast charging. The ASUS device follows next with a 4000mAh battery and 10W fast charging, while the Lenovo K9 and Redmi 6 both get a 3000mAh battery. The Lenovo K9 offers a 10W fast charger, so it is still better than the Redmi 6. All four of these handsets provide a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, and the standard connectivity options for budget phones, such as single-band Wi-Fi and 3.5mm audio jack.
ASUS Zenfone Max M1 vs Lenovo K9 vs Realme 2 vs Redmi 6: Conclusion
Rounding up the comparison, we must admit that the competition in this segment is quite fierce. The Realme 2 is certainly a great looking phone and also offers the largest battery, but missing the fast charging option and opting for a Snapdragon 450 may not work so well for it. However, there is more. The display with higher screen space is an advantage for the Realme 2, even though the Redmi 6 starts at a lower price point.
In conclusion, we feel that the Realme 2 offers a competitive package in terms of value for money, but you can go for the Redmi 6 as Xiaomi provides great software features and timely updates in comparison. Sadly, it is hard to recommend the new ASUS budget device, as it does not really offer anything unique, like Lenovo K9’s dual-front-facing camera.