The budget phone segment (Rs10000-15000) in India has really exploded over the last couple of years and a lot of credit goes to all the Chinese manufacturers pushing the definitions of what a budget offering should pack in. Last year, Asus debuted the Zenfone Max Pro series which made a huge impact in this segment and had us believing that Xiaomi‘s time as the budget king might be over. However, Xiaomi had other plans and shocked everyone by announcing the Redmi Note 7 at an unbelievable price point. Samsung had literally zero impact in this segment but it aims to change that with its brand new Galaxy M series. Today we pitch the Zenfone Max Pro M1 with the latest entrants near its price point, the Redmi Note 7 and the Galaxy M20. Is it time to crown a new budget king? Let’s find out.
Samsung Galaxy M20 vs Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 vs ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M1: Price in India
The Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 (review) has been around for some time now and has received its fair share of price cuts. It is available in 3 RAM variants – a 3GB version which is currently selling for Rs9,999; a 4GB RAM variant available for Rs 11,999; and the top-end 6GB RAM version which is available for Rs 13,999. The Galaxy M20 has just hit the Indian market and is available in two variants: a 3GB RAM version, which sells for Rs 10,990 and a 4GB RAM version costing Rs 12,990. The Redmi Note 7 is yet to launch in India officially, but it is expected to start at around Rs 11,990 for its 3GB RAM variant, with the higher 4GB RAM variant expected to be priced around Rs 13,990.
Samsung Galaxy M20 vs Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 vs ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M1: Design and Display
Xiaomi was being criticized for using the same design template since a long time now, and boy did it surprise us with the Note 7. The phone looks unlike any other budget phone, with its glossy glass back finish and gradient color patterns. The phone looks absolutely stunning to boot and more so, considering the price it comes for. The Zenfone Max Pro M1 features a sober industrial design with an all-metal construction, and feels rock solid in hand. Don’t expect it to wow anyone with its looks though. The Galaxy M20 is a start departure from Samsung’s traditional budget phone designs but still features a bland polycarbonate back, which does very little aesthetically, but still feels solid enough and won’t get dented or scratched too easily.
At the front of the devices, however, is where Samsung pulls ahead of its competitors. It features a 6.3-inch TFT LCD screen with FHD+ resolution, and almost zero bezels all around. It’s also the first Samsung phone with an actual notch, however the “Infinity-V” notch, is not too intrusive and does make the phone look quite premium for its price. The Redmi Note 7 comes with a 6.3-inch IPS LCD screen with FHD+ resolution. It features a tiny O-shaped notch at the top, but otherwise features very slim bezels at the front, making it a great immersive media consumption device. The Zenfone Max Pro M1 was one of the few phones of 2018 that didn’t jump on the notch train, and features a notch-less 6-inch LCD panel with FHD+ resolution. Unlike the other phones in this comparison, the Max Pro M1 features substantial bezels both above and below the screen.
Samsung Galaxy M20 vs Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 vs ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M1: Specifications and Performance
The Zenfone Max Pro M1, although the senior-most contender in this list, still features decent specifications. It comes in 3 storage variants: 3GB RAM/32 GB Storage, 4GB RAM/64GB Storage and 6GB RAM/64GB Storage. Running the phone is a Snapdragon 636 processor, which has been around for some time but is still quite a capable mid-range processor. The Galaxy M20 features Samsung’s own Exynos 7904 chipset, which is quite similar to the SD636, in terms of graphic performance and processing power. It comes with either 3GB RAM or 4GB RAM, coupled to 32GB or 64GB of storage respectively. The Redmi Note 7 again dominates the competition when it comes to specs, as it packs in the Snapdragon 660 processor, which is arguably the most superior chipset that any phone offers in this range. It comes in 3 storage variants too: 32GB storage coupled with 3GB of RAM, and 64GB storage coupled with either 4GB or 6GB of RAM. All of these phones support memory expansion via microSD cards.
Coming to software front, the Zenfone Max Pro M1 and Galaxy M20 both launched with Android Oreo 8.1. The Max Pro M1, however features a stock Android experience, which is a big plus and it has already started receiving Android Pie 9.0 update. The Galaxy M20 runs on Samsung Experience 9.5, which is a skinned down version of sorts, optimized specially for Samsung’s budget devices. The Redmi Note 7 is ahead of the competition here too, coming with Android Pie 9.0 with Xiaomi’s MIUI 10 on top.
Samsung Galaxy M20 vs Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 vs ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M1: Camera and Battery
The Galaxy M20 and Zenfone Max Pro M1 both feature huge 5000mAh batteries. The Redmi Note 7 comes in slightly short with only a 4000mAh battery. The Zenfone Max Pro M1 is the only phone here that sticks to a micro-USB port, and doesn’t come with support for any fast charging support. The Galaxy M20 uses a Type-C port for charging and comes with Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Charger in the box, which is basically a 15W fast-charging standard and helps the phone charge its mammoth battery in just under 150 minutes. The Redmi Note 7 however makes up for its smaller battery size with support for Quick Charge 4.0 standard and should definitely be a battery beast in itself. The Redmi Note 7 is also the first Redmi phone to come with a USB Type-C port.
Coming to the cameras, The Galaxy M20 features a 13MP+5MP setup at the back, where the secondary 5MP sensor comes with an ultra-wide 120 degree field-of-view lens. On the front, it has a single 8MP shooter with an f/2.0 aperture lens. The Zenfone Max Pro M1 comes with a 13MP+5MP dual camera setup at the back too. However the secondary sensor here is a dedicated depth sensor. On the front, it too comes with a single 8MP camera. The Redmi Note 7 comes in as a real game-changer for the budget segment as it packs in a massive 48MP primary camera at the back, with a secondary 5MP camera for depth sensing. At the front it features a 13MP single camera, and is sure to deliver stunning picture quality.
Samsung Galaxy M20 vs Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 vs ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M1: Verdict
The Zenfone Max Pro M1 is a great device and truly deserved the applause it got when it launched. However, it has already completed its life cycle, with ASUS having already released its successor, the Zenfone Max Pro M2, which is arguably the best phone around the 15K mark right now. The Zenfone Max Pro M1 still makes a solid case for itself, with its massive battery, stock Android experience and a dependable SD636 chipset. The Galaxy M20 is a step in the right direction for Samsung, and things should only get better from here. It’s a good first attempt at a competitive budget phone, with its impressive display, great battery life and wide-angle camera. However, the processor used isn’t the best and I’m really skeptical how will the performance hold up over time. But today’s winner, by some margin, is the Redmi Note 7. Although we haven’t had a chance to test the phone out in person, it just sounds like an unbelievably good value-for-money package, with its glass body, impressive camera hardware, a huge battery with QC 4.0 and almost everything else that you can expect out of a budget phone. We are waiting with our fingers crossed for the Redmi Note 7 to land here soon. Currently, we expect the phone to launch in India in the second half of February, and that might be Redmi having the last laugh in this budget phone battle.