Find out how Honor's latest budget phone fares next to one of the best-selling devices in this segment.

Huawei has seen a meteoric rise in its smartphone business over the last two years. The company is now the third-largest smartphone manufacturer in the world, and is making inroads into European and North American markets, as well as India. Its online-only sub-brand Honor has been a major contributor to its growth, offering devices with compelling features like the Honor 8 with its dual camera setup or the more recent AI-focused Honor Magic.

The Honor 5X did remarkably well in 2016 on the back of affordable pricing and alluring specs. With the Honor 6X, Huawei is looking to build on that momentum by adding a dual camera at the back, and tweaking the overall design of the phone.

Meanwhile, Lenovo has seen its market share fall in China and global markets. The brand is increasingly turning to Motorola's devices for future growth, a move that makes a lot of sense considering the Moto G series is still one of the best-selling product lines in this segment. Although the Moto G5 is on the horizon and offering several key upgrades for 2017, the Moto G4 Plus will continue to contribute to Motorola's bottom line this year, and it'll likely do well thanks to the inevitable price cut. Read on to find out if Huawei's latest can take on the Moto G4 Plus.

Design and hardware

Honor 6X vs. Moto G4

With earlier models in the Moto G series, Motorola focused on getting the basics right, and the result was a series of handsets that offered a great overall experience in spite of not featuring the best specs available. The same was true on the design front as well — although the phones were made out of plastic, they had great build quality that made them stand out from the hundreds of other handsets in this segment.

All that changed with the Moto G4 Plus, with Motorola shifting its focus to offering better specs to be more competitive in this category. The phone comes with a 5.5-inch Full HD display, and the increase in size has led to an abandonment of any form of design flair from the handset. Gone is Motorola's personality, and in its stead we now get a phone with a plastic back that creaks if you hold it too tight.

In contrast, the Honor 6X has great build quality, and the aluminum chassis gives it an upmarket feel. The 6X also lacks any differentiating features that make it stand out, with its overall design language identical to that of its Chinese rivals Xiaomi, LeEco, and Lenovo. That said, the 6X does look much better than the Moto G4 Plus, and although both phones sport 5.5-inch panels, the Moto G4 Plus is wider, taller, and thicker than the 6X.

As was the case with the Redmi Note 4, that doesn't translate to a larger battery. The Moto G4 Plus has a 3000mAh battery and an overall thickness of 9.8mm, while the Honor 6X comes with a 3340mAh battery in a chassis that's 8.2mm thick.

Motorola also got rid of the IPX7 water resistance, but it has retained dual SIM card slots and a dedicated microSD slot. The Honor 6X also lets you use two SIM card slots, but the second slot doubles up as a microSD slot as well. If you want to extend the storage, you'll have to resort to using a single SIM card.

Category Honor 6X Motorola Moto G4 Plus
Operating System EMUI 4.1 based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow Android 7.0 Nougat
Display 5.5-inch 1080p (1920x1080) IPS LCD panel
401ppi pixel density
5.5-inch 1080p (1920x1080) IPS LCD panel
401ppi pixel density
SoC Octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 655
Four Cortex A53 cores at 2.1GHz
Four Cortex A53 cores at 1.7GHz
16nm
Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617
Four Cortex A53 cores at 1.5GHz
Four Cortex A53 cores at 1.2GHz
28nm
GPU Mali-T830MP2 Adreno 405
RAM 3GB/4GB RAM 2GB/3GB RAM
Storage 32GB/64GB storage
microSD slot up to 256GB
16GB/32GB storage
microSD slot up to 256GB
Rear camera 12MP + 2MP
dual LED flash
PDAF
16MP
dual LED flash
PDAF
Front shooter 8MP
1080p video recording
5MP
1080p video recording
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1 (A2DP), GPS,
microUSB, 3.5mm audio jack
Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1 (A2DP), GPS,
microUSB, 3.5mm audio jack
Battery 3340mAh battery 3000mAh battery
Fingerprint Rear fingerprint sensor Front fingerprint sensor
Dimensions 150.9 x 76.2 x 8.2mm 153 x 76.6 x 9.8mm
Weight 162g 155g
Colors Gray, Gold, Silver Black, White


Honor 6X vs. Moto G4

On the hardware front, the Moto G4 Plus is running the Snapdragon 617, and the Honor 6X is powered by the HiSilicon Kirin 655. Motorola managed to eke the most out of the Snapdragon 617, but you will get the feeling that the phone is underpowered at times. That isn't the case on the Honor 6X, and although it has the same cores as those used in the Snapdragon 617, they're clocked higher. Furthermore, the Mali-T830MP2 GPU on the Honor 6X pulls slightly ahead of the Adreno 405 on the Moto G4 Plus, making the former a better handset for gaming.

Then there's the fingerprint sensor: the Moto G4 Plus has one at the front, and while it does a good job of authenticating, the placement feels like an afterthought. With the Nougat update, Motorola added the ability to lock and unlock the phone with the fingerprint sensor, a much-needed addition that boosts its functionality. The Honor 6X has its fingerprint sensor located at the rear, and the minor indent allows you to easily find the scanner with your finger.

Both phones are sold unlocked on Amazon in the U.S., but the Honor 6X isn't compatible with Sprint or Verizon. The Moto G4 Plus, meanwhile, works on all four major carriers.

Software

Honor 6X vs. Moto G4

One of the major areas of focus for Huawei in 2016 has been on the software front, with the Nougat-based EMUI 5.0 no longer resembling a trainwreck. That said, the Honor 6X comes with the older EMUI 4.1 out of the box, and although Honor has started beta testing the Nougat update in the U.S., a stable update is still a month away.

As the phone is sold globally, timelines for the Nougat update vary based on region-specific requirements. In India, Huawei has mentioned that the update will be rolled out in the month of April, with the delay owing to the lack of Indic language support.

EMUI 4.1 has a lot to offer in the way of customization, but there's a high learning curve involved.

The Moto G4 Plus does not suffer from any such limitations. The phone was first the outside of the Nexus lineup and the Pixels to receive the Nougat update, and Motorola has rolled out the update initially in India — its largest market. Although the update landed in India over two months ago, there's little in the way of information regarding its rollout in other regions.

With Nougat, Motorola continues to offer a user interface that doesn't stray far from Google's Material Design guidelines, and the software experience is without a doubt the highlight of the phone. There are hundreds of phones sold in this segment, but none come close to the clean interface sported by the Moto G4 Plus.

Camera

Honor 6X vs. Moto G4

The dual camera setup on the Honor 6X is certainly its differentiating feature, with the secondary 2MP lens acting as a depth sensor. When used in conjunction with the primary 12MP shooter, it results in creating a bokeh effect in certain shooting scenarios. That said, the secondary sensor is off by default — you'll be able to take an image just fine even if you cover up the 2MP sensor — and it only kicks in when taking wide-aperture shots.

The camera app on the 6X makes it incredibly easy to shoot images, and you have quick access to various shooting modes, filters, toggles, and settings. There are plenty of modes to choose from, including one for food, time lapse, light painting, panoramas, and more. You also get a full-featured manual mode for both images and video.

In comparison, the camera app on the Moto G4 Plus is sparse. You get toggles for HDR, flash, timer, and the ability to choose the shooting modes — slow motion, manual, and panorama. It certainly misses out on the accouterments, but it doesn't fall short when it comes to the image quality.

Honor 6X camera sampleMoto G4 Plus camera sample

Honor 6X on the left, Moto G4 Plus on the right.

Honor 6X camera sampleMoto G4 Plus camera sample

Honor 6X camera sampleMoto G4 Plus camera sample

Honor 6X camera sampleMoto G4 Plus camera sample

The Honor 6X takes detailed images in bright conditions, but it struggles when it comes to low-light scenarios — colors look washed out, and the camera fails to capture adequate detail.

That isn't the case with the 16MP camera on the Moto G4 Plus. The Moto G series went from having one of the worst cameras in this segment to one of the best, and it looks like that tradition has continued with the Moto G5. Ten months after its release, the phone is still the one to beat in this segment when it comes to camera quality.

Battery life

Honor 6X vs. Moto G4

The Honor 6X has a larger 3340mAh battery against the Moto G4 Plus' 3000mAh battery, allowing the phone to last a day on a full charge. The larger battery combined with the more efficient SoC allows the 6X to take the lead when it comes to battery life, but the phone loses out when it comes to fast charging.

You get a 5V/2A charger in the box, which takes just over two hours to fully charge the phone. In this regard, Motorola's TurboPower 15W charger fares slightly better, charging the phone in an hour and 45 minutes. The charger comes in handy when you need to quickly top off the phone in the middle of the day.

Which should you buy? Honor 6X

Honor 6X vs. Moto G4

The Honor 6X offers a lot of hardware for its price, and although the current software situation isn't ideal, Honor is poised to roll out the Nougat update shortly to the device.

The Moto G4 Plus isn't far behind either, particularly when it comes to the camera, but it falls short in other areas. The design is underwhelming, and the phone lags behind the Honor 6X when it comes to the overall performance. Given Motorola's stance with updates to older phones and the fact that the Nougat update isn't widely available yet, you're better off steering clear.

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