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December 6, 2017

Honor 7X vs. Moto E4 Plus: Big-screen budget battle

by John_A

Honor, a subsidiary of Huawei, focuses on mid-range and budget smartphones for the younger generation. The devices often look good, packing great selfie cameras and multimedia features — and that’s exactly what we’ve seen in our Honor 7X review. With an enormous HD display that measures almost 6-inches, you get a lot of phone for your money. But how does it weigh up against the current king of the budget devices, the Moto E4 Plus?

Specs

Honor 7X

Moto E4 Plus

Size
156.5 x 75.3 x 7.6mm (6.18 x 2.96 x 0.30 inches)
155 x 77.5 x 9.6mm (6.10 x 3.05 x 0.38 inches)
Weight
165 grams (5.82 ounces)
181 grams (6.38 ounces)
Screen
5.93-inch IPS LCD display
5.5-inch IPS LCD display
Resolution
2,160 x 1,080 pixels (407 pixels-per-inch)
1,280 x 720 pixel (267 pixels-per-inch)
OS
EMUI 5.1 (over Android 7.1 Nougat)
Android 7.1 Nougat
Storage
32GB for U.S., 64GB for international
16GB, 32GB
MicroSD card slot
Yes, up to 256GB
Yes, up to 128GB
NFC support
No
No
Processor
HiSilicon Kirin 659
Qualcomm Snapdragon 427
RAM
3GB for U.S., 4GB for international
2GB
Connectivity
GSM / LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
GSM / CDMA / HSPA / LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
Camera
Dual sensor 16MP & 2MP rear, 8MP front
13MP rear, 5MP front
Video
1080p@30fps
1080p@30fps
Bluetooth
Bluetooth 4.1
Bluetooth 4.1
Audio
Headphone jack
Headphone jack
Fingerprint sensor
Yes
Yes
Other sensors
Accelerometer, proximity, compass
Accelerometer, proximity, compass
Water resistant
No
No
Battery
3,340mAh
5,000mAh
Charging port
MicroUSB
MicroUSB
Marketplace
Google Play Store
Google Play Store
Colors
Black, Blue, Gold, Red
Iron Gray, Fine Gold
Availability
HiHonor

Amazon, Best Buy, Motorola, Verizon

Price
$200
$180
DT review
4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars

It’s always a good idea to temper expectations where budget phones are concerned; you’re not going to get the best performance in the world. But that doesn’t mean either of these phones are processing power slouches. The Moto E4 Plus is equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 427 chip, and though this isn’t the most powerful chip, it consistently exceeded our expectations in our Moto E4 Plus review, providing smooth and snappy performance.

But can it can stand up to the Kirin 659 processor in the Honor 7X? Our benchmark scores show the Honor 7X obliterates the Moto E4 here, and we’ve generally seen good performance from Honor’s phone.

The Honor 7X also has the edge in RAM, with 3GB in the U.S. model and 4GB for the international variant, both exceeding the 2GB offered on the Moto E4 Plus. While RAM isn’t the be-all and end-all for dictating phone performance, it does help with multi-tasking, running lots of apps at once, and switching between active apps. Storage options offer a similar story, with the Honor 7X offering twice the available base storage than the Moto E4 Plus. Both phones have MicroSD storage expansion.

The Honor 7X will offer you better performance, and it takes the win here.

Winner: Honor 7X

Design and display

Impressive for budget phones, both the Honor 7X and the Moto E4 Plus come with all-metal bodies that feel great in the hand. However, that’s pretty much where the similarities end.

We’ll start with the displays. As a larger version of the Moto E4, the Moto E4 Plus rocks a large 5.5-inch IPS LCD display, running a 1,280 x 720 resolution. It’s a decent screen, but with a pixels-per-inch (ppi) measurement of only 267 you’re not getting the sharpest display. The Honor 7X’s screen is IPS LCD as well, but the screen is a lot sharper thanks to the 2,160 x 1,080 pixel resolution (407 pixels-per-inch).

The Honor 7X also follows 2017’s biggest trend: The bezel-less design. Honor has somehow crammed a massive 5.93-inch HD display into a phone slightly larger than the 5.5-inch E4 Plus. The Moto E4 Plus has chunky bezels on the front, and it’s thick. It’s not a bad look, but it is a tad dated next to the svelte and skimpy bezel-ed Honor 7X.

In terms of physical durability, you’re probably going to withstand the same sort of damage with each phone. Neither have any water resistance, and there’s glass protecting the screen. It is worth pointing out the larger screen on the Honor 7X means it has a larger amount of glass to smash, even if it is Gorilla Glass. Honor said its phone is a little more durable, though, because of its airbag-style internal design. The company dropped the phone in front of us a few times and it survived without a scratch. It’s not shock-proof, but it certainly helps.

The Honor 7X wins again this round. It’s looks gorgeous, has a bigger, higher resolution screen, and it may edge out over the Moto E4 Plus in terms of durability.

Winner: Honor 7X

Camera

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

There’s not a huge amount to say about the camera on the Moto E4 Plus. It’s a rear-mounted 13-megapixel camera that takes hit-or-miss photos. It’s not the most reliable camera. The front 5-megapixel camera is serviceable, and should provide you with some decent selfies. It’s not bad for a budget snapper, but you shouldn’t expect too much of it.

The cameras on the Honor 7X deserve a little more time. There’s two of them on the rear: A 16-megapixel lens sits next to a 2-megapixel lens, giving the Honor 7X the ability to create “bokeh” (blur) shots you see in professional photography, like the iPhone X’s Portrait Mode. The pictures are pretty good, though it does suffer in poorer lighting. The front houses an 8-megapixel camera, and it takes solid selfies with live filters you can apply to your face and other fun effects.

We’ve found the photos from the Honor 7X to be better, and it’s overall a more reliable smartphone camera. It takes the win here.

Winner: Honor 7X

Battery life and charging

Adam Ismail/Digital Trends

The Honor 7X comes with a respectably-sized 3,340mAh battery. That should be enough to take you through a day, maybe a day-and-a-half with Huawei’s strict power management settings. That’s good for a smartphone, and you likely won’t be disappointed with the battery’s lifespan.

The Moto E4 Plus easily blows it out of the water. It packs an enormous 5,000mAh battery — which is why it’s so thick — and it excelled at our review’s battery tests. After a day of heavy streaming, YouTube videos, and constant Bluetooth, we only managed to knock 20-percent off the battery by the end of the day. After 36 hours off the charger, the battery still had just over 50-percent left.

The Moto E4 Plus’s battery is staggeringly good. It takes this category easily.

Winner: Moto E4 Plus

Software

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Motorola’s Moto E4 Plus software is fairly close to stock Android. There are a few quality-of-life additions, such as Moto Display, which fades notifications in and out of the lockscreen, and also lights up when the phone is picked up. The bad news is the E4 Plus isn’t running Android 8.0 Oreo — it runs Android 7.1 Nougat, last year’s version of Android — and there’s been no word as to whether it will be getting an update either.

The Honor 7X is similarly burdened with an older operating system, running Android 7.1 with Huawei’s EMUI 5.1 over the top. This device is far more likely to receive an EMUI 8/Android 8.0 Oreo update from Huawei, though when that will be is questionable. It’s far from stock Android, and you’ll be disappointed if that’s what you want. EMUI 5.1 is an improved and simpler version of the EMUI interface, but EMUI 8 is better and we can’t wait for the Honor 7X to receive it.

If you’re a fan of the uncluttered, stock Android experience, then you’ll find yourself drawn to the Moto E4 Plus. If you don’t really care about the interface much, then you’ll probably find the Honor 7X the richer of the two.

Winner: Tie

Price and availability

Adam Ismail/Digital Trends

The Moto E4 Plus is out now, with prices starting from $180, with the extra storage available for an additional $20. It’s available from Verizon for a bargain $130, but you won’t be able to take that to any GSM carriers like AT&T or T-Mobile.

The Honor 7X will be launching on December 15, with prices starting from $200. There’s no word on whether any U.S. carriers will be selling this device yet, though it does bear mentioning the Honor 7X — like many Huawei or Honor phones — does not work on Verizon or Sprint.

We have to give this round to the Honor 7X. For $200 you could get the Moto E4 Plus with 32GB of storage, or you could get the Honor 7X with the same amount of storage. Despite the lack of support for Sprint or Verizon, the Honor 7X represents pure value for money.

Winner: Honor 7X

Overall winner: Honor 7X

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Honor 7X is one of the nicest looking budget phones we’ve seen in a long time. The screen-heavy look of a bezel-less phone is very welcome in a market that often consists of bulky and ugly phones. It helps the Honor 7X has the power to back its looks up, with processing power and memory in spades.

That’s not to say the Moto E4 Plus doesn’t have its areas where it shines. Despite losing out in performance and camera, its battery life is phenomenal. If you need a phone that lasts and don’t care too much about style, then the Moto E4 Plus is the phone for your needs. Still, the Honor 7X is a well-rounded smartphone.

If you’ve not been excited by either of these phones, but you’re still shopping for a cheaper phone, check out our list of the best cheap phones.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • The best cheap phones you can buy
  • HTC U11 Life vs. Moto X4: Who rules the midrange smartphone market?
  • HTC U11 Life review
  • Honor 7X review
  • LG X Venture review




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