The recent announcement of the Moto G4 Plus adds to the tons of devices that are currently available for purchase in the sub-$300 price category, among them the Lenovo ZUK Z1 as well as the soon to be replaced Xiaomi Redmi Note 3.
But at some point you’ll have to choose one and to help ease your frustrations, we have lined up a detailed comparison of these three leading budget phones in the shape of Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, Lenovo ZUK Z1 and the Moto G4 Plus.
Design and display
As far as the design is concerned, it will really depend on your preferences. While all three units offer some of the best smartphone designs you can get out there for this price category, the Moto G4 Plus seems to stand out as it is the slimmest and lightest. Unlike the rest, it features a rubber rear that ensures you have a solid grip on the phone. To add a sleek feel to the phone, Lenovo included a metallic frame, but as for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 and Lenovo ZUK Z1, you get metallic builds.
On matters display, the three phones have the same size of 5.5-inches with Full HD resolution. However, with brightness a key factor in the quality of a screen, the Redmi Note 3 gets the upper hand thanks to its Sunlight Display hardware that ensures you get amazing views even when in direct sunlight. Even though the quality on the ZUK Z1 and G4 Plus is not that bad, you will still enjoy the roomy displays these two offer.
Software and performance
The Moto G4 Plus is the closest you can get to a stock Android experience. The phone packs the latest Android Marshmallow OS and a completely trimmed down UI that allows users to personally choose the apps they want to download and use on the phone. However, Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 and Lenovo ZUK Z1 come with customized UIs, however, the Cyanogen OS that runs on top of the stock Android OS on the latter offers far much more customization options than what you get with the MIUI 7 available on the Redmi Note 3. The Note 3 has a fingerprint scanner on board for protecting your phone, something the rest of the pack also boasts.
Coming down to performance, on-paper specs give Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 an edge over the others. It packs a Snapdragon 650 SoC that offers far much better performance than the older Snapdragon 801 used on the ZUK Z1 and even better than the Snapdragon 617 used on the Moto G4 Plus. However, you will find 3GB on all three units, but the G4 Plus and Redmi Note 3 have 2GB variants as well, with the G4 Plus getting an even better 4GB variant.
You get 32GB of storage, which can only be expanded only on the Moto G4 Plus and the Redmi Note 3. While the former can accommodate up to 128GB of expandable storage, the latter only allows for up to 32GB. As for the Lenovo ZUK Z1, it compensates for the lack of a microSD card slot by offering a 64GB storage variant. However, this doesn’t make it unique as the Moto G4 Plus also offers a 64GB variant. All three handsets have 16GB options on offer as well.
Battery life, camera, and price
The three handsets have decent battery units, but the Lenovo ZUK Z1 gets an upper hand with its 4100mAh compared to the 4000mAh available on Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 and 3000mAh used on the Moto G4 Plus. As for the camera, the ZUK Z1 has a 13MP rear snapper with f/2.2 aperture, OIS, autofocus and dual-LED flash on board. The front has an 8MP selfie camera with the same aperture.
As for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, you get a massive 16MP main camera with a decent aperture of f/2.0, as well as a dual-tone LED flash and PDAF on board. However, you only get a 5MP selfie sensor, although it has the same aperture of f/2.0, which is better than the 8MP on the ZUK Z1. Despite being the newest of the three phones, the Moto G4 Plus still rocks the same 16MP rear snapper as the Note 3, but it has a smaller aperture of f/2.2 on the 5MP selfie sensor. Still, you will find the rear snapper equipped with features like laser and phase detection autofocus as well as dual-tone LED flash, among many others. The selfie camera also offers auto-HDR.
As for the pricing, all three phones are well below the $300 price tag, which should be nothing to break the bank for.