The Honor 7X is rushing into a market filled with strong competition. With a premium design we’ve rarely seen at this price point, and a powerful Kirin processor, Huawei’s newest entry into the Honor range looks set to take on the best. But Motorola’s phones have long ruled the budget roost, and though superseded by a successor, the G5 Plus is still a great choice for your budget phone. How does the Honor 7X fare against the Moto G5 Plus? We pitted them against each other to find out.
|Moto G5 Plus
|Size||156.5 x 75.3 x 7.6mm (6.18 x 2.96 x 0.30 inches)||150.2 x 74 x 7.7mm (5.91 x 2.91 x 0.30-inches)|
|Weight||165 grams (5.82 ounces)||155 grams (5.47 ounces)|
|Screen||5.93-inch IPS LCD display||5.2-inch IPS LCD display|
|Resolution||2160 x 1080 pixels (407 pixels-per-inch)||1920 x 1080 pixel (424 pixels-per-inch)|
|OS||EMUI 5.1 (over Android 7.0 Nougat)||Android 8.0 Oreo|
|Storage||32GB, 64GB||32GB, 64GB|
|MicroSD card slot||Yes, up to 256GB||Yes, up to 256GB|
|Processor||HiSilicon Kirin 659||Qualcomm Snapdragon 625|
|RAM||3GB, 4GB||2GB, 4GB|
|Connectivity||GSM / HSPA / LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n||GSM / CDMA / HSPA / EVDO / LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n|
|Camera||Dual sensor 16MP & 2MP rear, 8MP front||12MP rear, 5MP front|
|Video||1080p @ 30 fps||2,160p @ 30 fps|
|Bluetooth||Yes, Bluetooth 4.1||Yes, Bluetooth 4.2|
|Audio||Headphone jack||Headphone jack|
|Other sensors||Accelerometer, proximity, compass||Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass|
|Charging port||Micro USB||Micro USB|
|Marketplace||Google Play Store||Google Play Store|
|Colors||Black, Blue, Gold, Red||Lunar Grey, Fine Gold|
|DT review||4 out of 5 stars||3.5 out of 5 stars|
The Moto G5 Plus is equipped with a Snapdragon 625 processor that makes day-to-day performance smooth and silky, one of the key reasons we recommended the phone in our Moto G5 Plus review. But it’s going to be hard for the aging Snapdragon 625 in the G5 Plus to compete against the Kirin 659 in the Honor 7X. When we tested the 7X’s predecessor, the Honor 6X, back in March 2017, we noted that the Kirin 655 in that phone was roughly equivalent to the Snapdragon 650. The tests in our Honor 7X review revealed that the Honor phone is the slightly stronger performer. But it’s closer than we’d have thought.
Moving on to memory, and we see some more close calls. Both handsets have options for the amount of RAM, and both top out at 4GB for the top model (though it’s the international model of the Honor 7X offering 4GB). The Honor 7X does have a slight edge here, offering a 3GB model as the baseline, rather than the 2GB on the Moto G5 Plus, but since the impact RAM has on performance is debatable, we’d prefer not to let this dictate too much of the final score. It’s all square in the storage stakes as well, with both phones offering models with 32GB and 64GB (on the international Honor 7X) of internal storage. If that’s not enough, you can expand either of these handsets by up to 256GB with a MicroSD card.
Connectivity-wise, there’s still not a lot to separate the two. As is annoyingly common for budget devices, both lack NFC, so there’s no Android Pay. The G5 Plus has a small edge in Bluetooth, having Bluetooth 4.2 instead of the 4.1 on the 7X. But that’s such a minor difference as to not really matter.
Both of these are great, snappily performing devices, with tons of available storage and the sort of power that should last for a while. But when the competition is this tight, the smallest advantage matters. The Honor 7X wins with a slightly more powerful processor.
Winner: Honor 7X
Design and display
As much as we hate to admit it, the Moto G5 Plus looks dated, and more than a little bland. It’s very similar to the previous generation, the Moto G4 Plus, and while it’s not the ugliest phone around, the chunky feel and large bezels really detract from an otherwise good phone. Thankfully, there’s a pretty good 5.2-inch LCD display that we enjoyed using. The look is otherwise minimal, with few manufacturer logos, and little to distract from the phone’s style. The back cover is removable, which is a plus for those who miss being able to replace their own battery, though Motorola does warn that replacing it yourself will void your warranty.
Sadly, the few things the Moto G5 Plus’s look does have going for it are heavily overshadowed by the style of the Honor 7X. Huawei has thrown itself wholesale into the edge-to-edge trend that’s defined much of 2017, and its budget range is no different. The Honor 7X is the first Honor phone to come with Huawei’s Fullview display, and it’s a stunner. At almost 6 inches, it stretches nearly the full length of the phone, with slight bezels and a small forehead and chin at the top and bottom of the front housing the phone’s sensors. The metal unibody covering the phone adds more grip than you’d expect and adds a premium feel to a budget phone.
In terms of durability, there’s not much to differentiate the two. Both phones are clad in reasonably resistant metal, and their screens are covered in Gorilla Glass. That said, the Honor 7X’s screen is significantly larger, so there’s a larger chance of that suffering damage, but we still reckon you should cover up with a protective case. The Honor 7X does win some points back with impact-resistant corners that act as a buffer against damage — though Huawei were quick to label that as “life-proof”, rather than “shockproof”.
The Honor 7X’s design is just too strong for the Moto G5 Plus to win here. The gorgeous Honor 7X made us forget we were looking at a budget phone, and that wins it this round.
Winner: Honor 7X
Peer at the back of either of these phones and you’ll find some decent budget snappers. The Moto G5 Plus is packing a single 12-megapixel lens with an f/1.7 aperture. Impressively for a budget phone, it comes with phase detection autofocus, laser autofocus, and dual-LED dual tone flash. It’s a pretty solid camera, and it produces some good images. It does suffer more than a little in low light though, and although it’s pretty much at the same level as other phones in the same price range, it doesn’t necessarily exceed the standard.
The Honor 7X definitely exceeds the standard set for budget smartphones. Like its predecessor, the 7X is packing two lenses: A 16-megapixel monster, and a 2-megapixel lens that helps to create the DSLR “bokeh” effect that many premium smartphones are aping through dual lenses or software trickery. Working together, these two lenses create some amazing pictures for a budget handset — it impressed us so much we advocated buying the phone for the camera alone.
It’s night and day here — and only the Honor 7X has the photography chops to take decent night shots. The Honor 7X takes it.
Winner: Honor 7X
Battery life and charging
Battery life is becoming increasingly important, and while neither handset has the incredible two-day battery life of the Moto E4 Plus, both the Honor 7X and the Moto G5 Plus sport hefty batteries with enough juice to keep you going.
The Moto G5 Plus comes with a 3,000mAh battery that saw through the day with 30 percent left after fairly heavy usage. Lighter use saw it reduce to 50 percent, and most users should see a day-and-a-half from the phone. When you finally end up plugging it in, you shouldn’t be hanging around for too long either — Motorola claims its TurboPower charging tech should see the battery charge up to 80 percent in 35 minutes. An impressive boast.
The Honor 7X comes with a heftier 3,340mAh battery that, like the Moto G5 Plus, should last the day from a single charge. However, it didn’t exhibit as strong a performance as the G5 Plus, and heavy usage saw the battery drop to around 20 percent by late evening — not as good as the G5 Plus, but close. The larger screen is likely the culprit behind this mismatch in battery size and performance, but despite that, it’s still a good showing.
Despite the slightly smaller battery, we have to hand this round to the Moto G5 Plus. It does wonders with a lower capacity, and the TurboPower fast charging is just too much for the Honor 7X’s own fast charging.
Winner: Moto G5 Plus
Android phones are a varied bunch. For sure, they share a common ancestry, but look at these two phones running side by side and you might be hard pressed to tell. The Moto G5 Plus is running close to stock Android, as Motorola prefer to roll. There are a few small quality-of-life additions, such as Moto Display, which opens the lockscreen and shows notifications when it detects the phone has been picked up, and Moto actions, which allows you to use simple screen gestures instead of the navigation buttons — much like the iPhone X. The real star here is the fact the Moto G5 Plus is running the latest version of Android — Android 8.0 Oreo. Android adoption rate is traditionally slow, so it’s always a good sign when a manufacturer can get updates out fast.
In contrast, the Honor 7X is currently running an older version of Android — Android 7.0 Nougat, with Huawei’s Emotion UI (EMUI) over the top. It’s a disappointment that the 7X doesn’t come with the latest version of EMUI 8.0, and though EMUI 5.1 is feature-rich (including features like split-screen mode, and better performance across the board), it’s always a shame when a new phone is launched without the latest upgrades. Doubly so when it’s as good as the Honor 7X.
Despite the additional oomph offered by the implementation of EMUI, we can’t help but be disappointed by the lack of Android 8.0 Oreo on the Honor 7X. The Moto G5 Plus takes this one with a clean and smooth implementation of near-stock Android.
Winner: Moto G5 Plus
Price and availability
The Moto G5 Plus is currently available, with prices starting at $230 for 32GB of storage and 2GB of RAM, while getting 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage will cost you an extra $70. You’ll be able to pick this phone up from Amazon, but note your phone will come with lockscreen ads, and it’s a Prime member-exclusive — but that seems silly when it’s available to buy from Motorola for the same price, and ad-free.
The Honor 7X will be available from the HiHonor store starting December 15, priced at $200. Getting the version with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage will require you to buy it from an international seller, and get it imported. The lack of a CDMA band means that the Honor 7X will not work on Sprint and Verizon — so if you’re locked into those carriers this is one to avoid. Still, you can’t argue with that value for money.
Winner: Honor 7X
Overall winner: Honor 7X
The Moto G5 Plus puts up a titanic struggle, but the strong camera, the smooth performance, and those good looks just can’t be toppled by Honor’s monolith. The Moto G5 Plus has a lot of great things going for it: It’s a good performer, it’s cheap, and it works on every carrier. But the dated design and standard camera mean that the Honor 7X is simply the better overall phone.
Sure, if you’re a Sprint or Verizon customer then you’ll be wanting to avoid it, but otherwise the great camera, the gorgeous design, and the smooth performance mean that the Honor 7X is an absolute steal for $200.