Budget shootout 2014: Xiaomi Redmi vs Motorola Moto G

With the launch of Xiaomi’s Redmi in just one day, we here at Twenty First Tech have decided to give you a run-down of early 2014’s cheapest smartphones. Today, we are going to compare the Xiaomi Redmi to Motorola’s wildly popular budget offering – the Moto G.

Xiaomi Redmi

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Releasing tomorrow, the Xiaomi Redmi is set to take the mobile division by storm. Developed and manufactured in China, this fact should not put you off the device. In fact, Motorola has just been recently sold by Google to Lenovo for US$2.9 billion. Read on to find out what characteristics of this device have impressed us.

Motorola Moto G

Moto G

Announced in November 2013, and released the same month in the USA, it took a while to properly go international, and even then it only arrived on 16 January. The retail price was the lowest we had seen for a good Android smartphone till then, and Singaporeans, like their international counterparts, were enamoured. There were massive overnight queues – something we only see with the launch of an Apple or Samsung product. It certainly is a very good device, but how will it compare to the dirt-cheap Redmi? Let’s have a look!

PERFORMANCE

As is the main selling point of Android smartphones, the first thing we’ll be looking at is performance. Generally, Android has shown poor performance on mid to low-end devices, so a slight edge for either the Redmi or Moto G can translate to longer longevity.

Looking at the performance part of these devices, this is what we see.

  Xiaomi Redmi Motorola Moto G
Processor 1.5 GHz Quad-core MediaTek MT6589 1.2 GHz Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S400
GPU SGX544 PowerVR Series GPU Qualcomm Adreno 305
RAM 1 GB 1 GB

snapdragon410_678x452

Qualcomm is a very well known mobile CPU and GPU manufacturer, and has been running well into the lead with their flagship and low-end chips.

MT6592

MediaTek on the other hand, has never been synonymous with good performance, and that has been further reinforced recently where they released the world’s first true octa-core mobile CPU. The processor, even with its eight cores only came to the level of Qualcomm’s one generation old Snapdragon 600.

The story is similar here. The Snapdragon 400 is significantly ahead of the Redmi, in both CPU and GPU compute tasks. While the Redmi’s SGX544 GPU performs not far from the Moto G’s Adreno 305, the CPU gulf is much wider.

However, it must be said that you get what you pay for. With a price just over half of the Moto G, the performance of the Redmi is really good.

Performance Winner: Moto G
Value-for-Money: Xiaomi Redmi

DISPLAY

Both the Xiaomi Redmi and Moto G have 720p displays. The key difference is in the size of it.

moto-g-display

While the Moto G has a 4.5 inch diagonal, the Redmi increases that to 4.7 inches. Thus, the respective pixel densities are 326 and 316 ppi. None of those are going to be the cause for griping about fuzzy text – above 300 ppi, the pixel density ceases to make a large difference.

Here it is difficult to decide a single winner, but by virtue of simply having a larger display, the Redmi takes it.

Display Winner: Xiaomi Redmi
Value-for-Money: Xiaomi Redmi

DESIGN AND BUILD QUALITY

Looking at each device, the Redmi’s design seems much more aesthetically pleasing, however, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. While many will gravitate towards the Redmi’s looks, the Moto G is not too shabby looking either.

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When it comes to build quality though, the Redmi manages to feel surprisingly premium, even more so than Samsung’s S4 and Note 3. The 158g weight and rubberised plastic back make it feel like an expensive device, when it’s the exact opposite.

moto-g-desk-cases

The Moto G also feels nice in the hand. The recessed Motorola logo is a comfortable place where the index finger tends to rest, however it feels cheaper than the Redmi. While it isn’t bad, the Redmi’s build quality just is better.

Design and Build Quality Winner: Xiaomi Redmi
Value-for-Money: Xiaomi Redmi

BATTERY LIFE

Xiaomi has given their Redmi a 2000 mAh battery – the same capacity which powers the Moto G.

In theory the Moto G will be easily outlasting the Redmi – it has a cleaner and less bloated interface, which in turn uses less resources. However, don’t dismiss the Redmi just yet, because…

The Redmi has a removable battery, and that costs just S$10. Ten dollars. And of course, don’t forget their US$11 10, 400 mAh power bank as well.

This option massively tips the scales in the Redmi’s favour. While the Moto G has a non-removable battery, the Redmi has no such issue. Users can just carry a slim piece of plastic in their pockets, and when the need arises, can easily replace the battery of the Redmi. Looking at how many people have no qualms carrying a fat power bank around, a battery should be no issue.

Battery Life Winner: Xiaomi Redmi
Value-for-Money: Xiaomi Redmi

STORAGE

A major gripe some have of the Moto G is that it has a paltry amount of storage – 8  GB. The ill-effects of the poor capacity are made more apparent when realising that the Moto G does not have a micro-SD card slot.

sandisk storage

The Redmi though, while having just 4 GB of internal storage, has a micro-SD card slot (up to 32 GB). This won’t allow you to install a large amount of apps, but you will be able to capture and store plenty of images, videos and whatever (save games and apps) that suit your fancy.

In the end, this comes down to how you use your phone, but we’ll give this to the Redmi mainly because of its expandable storage.

Battery Life Winner: Xiaomi Redmi
Value-for-Money: Xiaomi Redmi

USER INTERFACE

Until recently, Motorola had been a subsidiary of Google since 2011. That heavily influenced Motorola’s choice of their user-interface, which is nearly stock Android.

Motorola-Moto-G-Front-UI

The look, feel and functionality of the Moto G (and mid-range Moto X) is the same as the Nexus 5, which is a massive boost. Stock Android is certainly the best way to enjoy Android – there’s no bloat, annoying animations or cartoonish icon packs.

While they were with Google, Motorola provided lightning quick version updates – almost as fast as the Nexus 5 – but how this will change under Lenovo is a wild guess.

On the other hand, Xiaomi has heavily customised Android for the Redmi. Called MIUI, it is actually not really Android anymore, but a firmware based on Android that has access to all Google services (e.g. Play Store, Google Now, GMail, Maps).

The UI looks heavily like iOS, with touches of TouchWiz (Samsung’s UI) thrown in. Updates are provided every Friday, and community support is also huge. While it is not really Android, it is a great alternative, and certainly nothing to complain about in such a cheap device. And of course, if you really don’t like MIUI, there’s always CyanogenMod.

Still, the Moto G has a vastly superior UI, but that comes at a price.

UI Winner: Moto G
Value-for-Money: Xiaomi Redmi

CAMERA

Motorola has given the Moto G a really poor 5 megapixel camera. Photos have soft focus, cool colours and exposure is set incorrectly most of the time.

moto-g-camera

The Redmi has a much better camera on the other hand. It has an effective resolution of 8 megapixels, and the images that come out are much better.

6 camera redmi

Unlike what you’d expect from low-end devices, there’s no shutter lag, and there are plenty of software options such as panorama and HDR. The performance of the camera is surprisingly good, as good as what you’d expect from a high-end smartphone. Outdoor shots are clean, with plenty of detail. Colors aren’t overly saturated, as well.

Camera Winner: Xiaomi Redmi
Value-for-Money: Xiaomi Redmi

PRICE

And finally, we come to the most important aspect of a budget device – its pricing. Looking at the above categories, you would probably rank the Redmi ahead if not equal to the Moto G. However, it is highly likely that those are largely secondary to a budget consumer.

The Moto G retails for S$318 over the island, but the Redmi is nearly half as cheap at a price of S$169. The price gulf is so huge that it becomes really hard for you to not pick the Redmi over the Moto G.

FINAL WORDS

At the end of the day, for a budget consumer, the more appealing choice definitely seems to be the Redmi. With an overall package that puts it on par with the Moto G, it’s dirt-cheap price of S$169 makes it irresistible. It does have it downsides though.

Moto G

The Moto G is for those who can afford to spend a little more, and at S$318, it is still a very good deal. The near-stock Android experience, and very decent performance still make it a killer budget device.

Xiaomi will definitely make massive inroads into the Singaporean market however, and might even knock the Moto G off as the best-selling budget smartphone.

What do you think of the Redmi? Better or worse than the Moto G? Leave your thoughts in the comments section and on our Facebook page today!

8 thoughts on “Budget shootout 2014: Xiaomi Redmi vs Motorola Moto G

  1. love this website!
    but i still can’t decide between a moto g or a redmi… ><
    what would you recommend for a student?
    wow redmi was sold out in minutes… wonder whether i can still get them off telcos later on…
    btw, please write an article on whether we should still stick with contracts?
    Thanks!!!

    1. Thank you very much!

      Well, it depends on your budget first of all. The Moto G is a better device overall, but it’s personal preference if you want to value it as two Redmis. Both devices are equally good for a student, I’d recommend trying them out separately at a telco shop to see which you prefer.

      As for availability, the Redmi will be going on sale again soon. Check on the Xiaomi Singapore Facebook page and website for more info.

      Thanks for the idea, that is certainly an intriguing topic. Be sure to look out for the article soon!

      Best,
      Shikhar Gupta

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  4. The Redmi 1S has a big problem with memory management and apps can’t run together at the same time. The phone also gets very hot and the processor will drop its speed causing everything to slow down. Its strange that you would use the 158g weight as a plus in the redmi’s favour when it is a big minus. And actually it weighs even more than the specs ~165g so Xiaomi was bluffing in the specs. The latest firmware did try to fix the memory issues but uses compression technology which of course uses even more cpu power which heats up the phone even more.

    Long story short, avoid this disaster of a phone and get the updated 2014 MotoG.

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