The budget smartphone category has gotten better each year. With the likes of Samsung Galaxy J7 2016, Motorola Moto X Play and Xiaomi Mi Max in the market, it is not easy to make a decision with respect to which device to go with.
Some might prefer the brand they probably know or have heard of before, something that will favor both Samsung and Motorola. However, little do many know that the less-known Xiaomi Mi Max packs some of the best specs you can get on a budget handset in 2016. Still, each of these handsets has its own uniqueness, with the Galaxy J7 2016 boasting the handy S Bike mode, the Xiaomi Mi Max has the largest display and battery capacity of the three while the older Moto X Play boasts a monstrous rear camera and a decent battery that promises a longer life.
Getting into the specs details, you will be impressed with the three handsets, but you will be more impressed with the specs-price combination you get with respect to the Xiaomi Mi Max. The handset packs a monstrous 6.44-inch IPS LCD display panel, but the good side of the story is that it manages to include a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels. This translates to a pixel density of 342ppi. To keep it safe from cracks in case of accidental falls, the Xiaomi Mi Max has a Gorilla Glass 4 on top of the panel.
On the other hand, the Moto X Play comes in with a 5.5-inch IPS LCD display screen with the same 1080p resolution, meaning it gets a better pixel density of 403ppi. However, you get the older Gorilla Glass 3 on top of the screen. In terms of display quality, the Galaxy J7 2016 lags behind with its 5.5-inch Super AMOLED 720p display screen, which has a pixel density of just 267ppi.
Performance specs, camera and battery life
Under the hoods of these three phones, things get even more interesting. As mentioned earlier, the Xiaomi Mi Max has the best specs-price combination so far. In addition to the roomy display, the phablet also adds a faster octa-core Snapdragon 650 SoC. This means you get better performance from this chipset than the octa-core Snapdragon 617 used on the Galaxy J7 2016 and the octa-core Snapdragon 615 of the Moto X Play.
Where the Xiaomi Mi Max comes with a RAM of up to 4GB on the high-end model of 128GB and the 32GB/64GB version packs a 3GB RAM, you only get 2GB RAM and 16GB of storage on the Galaxy J7 2016. As for the Moto X Play, there are two storage options of 16GB and 32GB, but both have the same RAM of 2GB.
In terms of photography, the Moto X Play wins the game with its massive 21MP snapper on the back. The lens has a f/2.0 aperture, PDAF, dual-tone LED flash, face detection and auto-HDR, but there is no OIS. On the front, you get a decent 5MP sensor with an aperture of f/2.2. Samsung Galaxy J7 2016 comes with a 13MP snapper on the back, but it packs a better aperture of f/1.9. There is autofocus, LED flash, face detection and HDR, but there is still no room for OIS. The J7 2016 gets an upper hand as far as the selfie snapper is concerned. Although it is still a 5MP sensor similar to the Moto X Play, it retains the same aperture as the rear snapper and adds a LED flash.
As for the Xiaomi Mi Max, you get a decent 16MP sensor on the back with f/2.0 aperture, PDAF, dual-tone LED flash, HDR and face detection. Unlike the rest, it can record videos of up to 2K. The front part has a 5MP snapper with the same aperture of f/2.0.
In terms of battery life, Xiaomi Mi Max packs a huge 4850mAh battery unit as compared to the 3300mAh and 3630mAh used on the Galaxy J7 2016 and Moto X Play handsets, respectively. The Mi Max also adds a Quick Charge functionality for fast charging the huge battery and fingerprint scanner, which are not found on the other two handsets.
Software-wise, the Galaxy J7 2016 has Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow and so is the Xiaomi Mi Max. While the Moto X Play comes with Android 5.1.1 Lollipop out of the box, there is room to upgrade to the latest Android Marshmallow OS.
As for the prices, you will be surprised at what the three phones cost. While the Xiaomi Mi Max is expected to be the costliest, it happens to be the cheapest of the three, despite the Moto X Paly being older. At the time of this writing, a brand new Samsung Galaxy J7 2016 costs about $240 while a new Moto X Play is valued at $255. On the lower end is the Xiaomi Mi Max, which is available for a price of $225.