The Rs. 15,000 segment has always been crucial in the Indian market, and a lot of manufacturers have tried to make their mark by offering good value-for-money smartphones in this price bracket. While it's good to have a lot of options, too much choice can get a little overwhelming. Two such options that are quite popular at the moment are the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy M30. The Redmi Note 7 Pro has been in the news for the kind of performance it offers for the Rs. 13,999 price point. The Samsung Galaxy M30, on the other hand, is among the very few smartphones to sport a Super AMOLED panel at this price. So which one should you buy? We put the two head to head in a bid to help you decide.
While both these phones are available in the same price segment and are targeted at the same audience, the approach to design is a little different. With the Galaxy M30 (Review), Samsung has opted for a gradient finish which looks modern, but the body is made of plastic which doesn't feel as premium as the Redmi Note 7 Pro (Review). Xiaomi also offers gradient finishes along with a standard black variant, which we had for our review.
The build quality of the Redmi Note 7 Pro is significantly better, as Xiaomi has opted for Corning Gorilla Glass 5 at the back. While this looks and feels good, we found it to be a fingerprint magnet, needing us to wipe the phone multiple times each day. The Samsung Galaxy M30 manages to hide fingerprints better than the Redmi Note 7 Pro.
Both smartphones have waterdrop notches, and both displays span over 6 inches. These panels have thin bezels on the sides but the chins at the bottom are considerably thicker. Neither of these phones is waterproof, but the Redmi Note 7 Pro has a P2i hydrophobic coating which the company says will help it resist water splashes to some extent.
The volume and power buttons are positioned on the right for both smartphones, and are a bit hard to reach. The fingerprint scanners are positioned at the backs, but we found that the Redmi Note 7 Pro had a better placement while the Galaxy M30 needed us to move the phone in our hand.
Both phones have their SIM trays on the left. While both phones have dual SIM slots, the Galaxy M30 has a dedicated microSD card slot while the Redmi Note 7 Pro has to make do with a hybrid dual-SIM slot. Both these phones sport USB Type-C ports at the bottom, along with their loudspeakers.
You get a 10W charger with the Redmi Note 7 Pro and a 15W charger with the Galaxy M30. The Note 7 Pro supports Qualcomm's Quick Charge 4.0 standard but you'll have to buy a compatible charger separately. You get 3.5mm headphone jacks on both phones, but the Redmi Note 7 Pro also offers an IR emitter which could come in handy.
The Redmi Note 7 Pro has a dual camera setup at the back with a dual-LED flash, while the Galaxy M30 has a triple camera setup. We found that the camera module on the Redmi Note 7 Pro protrudes a bit, causing the phone to rock when placed on a flat surface. The camera module on the Galaxy M30 sits nearly flush with its body.
Overall in terms of design, it is the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro that feels better built and uses more premium materials, which helps it score this point for design.
While these smartphones are in the same price segment, the hardware they sport differs to quite an extent. The Galaxy M30 has a 6.4-inch full-HD+ Super AMOLED display which is crisp and has good viewing angles. Xiaomi on the other hand has opted for a 6.3-inch full-HD+ LTPS display. While both panels are good, Samsung gets the edge here in terms of brightness and crispness.
Samsung has picked its Exynos 7904 SoC, which has two ARM Cortex-A73 cores clocked at 1.8GHz and six ARM Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.6GHz. This smartphone is available in two variants, one with 4GB RAM and 64GB of storage priced at Rs. 14,990, and the other with 6GB RAM and 128GB of storage priced at Rs. 17,990. The dedicated microSD card slot lets you expand storage by up to 512GB.
Xiaomi has opted for the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 SoC which has eight Qualcomm Kryo 460 CPU cores that can run at up to 2GHz. The Redmi phone has the exact same RAM and storage configurations, but these variants are priced at Rs. 13,999 and Rs. 16,999 respectively. Storage is expandable by up to 256GB, but at the cost of dual-SIM functionality.
With a bigger 5000mAh battery, it is surprising that Samsung has managed to keep the weight down to 172g. The Redmi Note 7 Pro has a comparatively smaller 4000mAh battery but weighs 186g.
Connectivity options on the Galaxy M30 include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, dual 4G and dual VoLTE support. The Redmi Note 7 Pro has support for Bluetooth 5, dual-band Wi-Fi, dual 4G and VoLTE, and IR.
Software is where we see a bigger difference between the two competitors. The Galaxy M30 ships with the Samsung Experience 9.5 UI on top of Android 8.1 Oreo, which is now quite dated. It was running the February security patch when we reviewed it, which was acceptable. Xiaomi's Redmi Note 7 Pro ships with the latest MIUI 10 on top of Android 9 Pie, and it also had the February security patch.
Both UIs have a fair bit of customisation that deviate from stock Android. We found preinstalled apps and had to deal with spammy ads and notifications on both phones. Since the Redmi Note 7 Pro is on the latest version of Android, it gets a few points over the Galaxy M30. This could be a deciding factor for a few people.
Neither phone showed any signs of lag or stutter, and we had no trouble with basic day-to-day tasks and multitasking with a few apps in the background but the Samsung takes a little longer to do the same things. The Redmi Note 7 Pro feels snappier and can handle more load compared to the Galaxy M30.
We also found that the fingerprint scanner on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro was quicker to unlock the phone, compared to the one on the Galaxy M30. Face recognition is available on both smartphones, and while it's easy to set up,it was the Redmi Note 7 Pro again that managed to unlock itself a little quicker than the Galaxy M30.
We ran benchmarks on both these phones to see how much of a difference there is between them in terms of performance. Starting with the AnTuTu benchmark,the Redmi Note 7 Pro posted a score of 1,78,570 points, but the Galaxy M30 could only manage 1,07,495 points. In Geekbench 4, the Redmi Note 7 Pro managed 2,389 and 6,593 in the single-core and multi-core tests respectively. The Galaxy M30 scored less, with 1,328 and 4,171 in the exact same tests.
The Redmi Note 7 Pro also took the lead in graphics performance, and it managed to return 41fps and 15fps in GFXBench's T-Rex and Manhattan 3.1 scenes respectively. Samsung's Galaxy M30 scored 22fps and 7fps respectively in these tests. Clearly, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro is significantly more powerful than the Samsung Galaxy M30.
We played PUBG Mobile on both these phones to see how they would fare. The Redmi Note 7 Pro defaulted to the High settings but the Galaxy M30 settled at the Medium setting. We noticed occasional stutters on both these phones and had to lower the graphics settings on both for smoother gameplay.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro did get hot after playing for long durations, while the Galaxy M30 could keep its cool. We played a 15 minute match on both phones in identical conditions and observed that both showed a 2 percent battery drain at the end of it.
Battery capacities are different on these phones. The Galaxy M30 sports a bigger 5000mAh battery compared to the 4000mAh unit on the Redmi Note 7 Pro. Despite its bigger battery and Super AMOLED display, the Galaxy M30 delivered slightly poorer battery life in our HD video loop test. It managed 17 hours and 4 minutes, while in comparison the Redmi Note 7 Pro ran for 19 hours and 23 minutes in the exact same test.
With our normal usage, both phones managed to last over a day easily on a single charge. The Galaxy M30 has a slight edge when charging since the included 15W charger tops it up faster than the 10W Xiaomi charger.
Xiaomi has opted for a 48-megapixel primary sensor with an f/1.79 aperture and a 5-megapixel depth sensor. The Galaxy M30's triple camera setup consists of a 13-megapixel primary camera with an f/1.9 aperture; a 5-megapixel depth sensor; and a 5-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera with a 123 degree field of view.
We tested these phones together to see how they compare. The Redmi Note 7 Pro shoots at 12-megapixels by default while the Samsung returns 13-megapixel images. Both phones can meter light properly and lock focus quickly when shooting in daylight.
In landscape shots we noticed that the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro could manage sharper results, and objects at a distance were more recognisable. The Galaxy M30 could not get the same amount of detail as the Redmi Note 7 Pro. However, the Galaxy M30 does have a slight advantage when taking landscapes, as the wide-angle sensor can be used to fit more people or objects into a single frame, but we did notice a drop in quality. The Redmi Note 7 Pro can take full-resolution shots at 48-megapixels which have better detail, but the overall output was dimmer.
While shooting macros, we found that it was best to tap to focus on both phones, to ensure sharp results. Both phones managed good separation between the subject and the background, but the Redmi Note 7 Pro produced better details and better-defined edges. We noticed that macros taken with the Redmi Note 7 Pro had warmer hues and were less colour accurate.
Shooting against the light enables HDR automatically on both these smartphones. The Galaxy M30 overexposed shots slightly, but the Redmi Note 7 Pro managed to capture good shots. In low light, the Redmi Note 7 Pro had a slight edge due to its wider aperture. Photos taken with the Redmi Note 7 Pro were brighter and had better details than those we shot with the Galaxy M30. However, we still found that low-light shots taken with the Redmi Note 7 Pro had warmer hues compared to the Galaxy M30's shots.
When taking portraits, we found that both phones could detected edges well, but the Galaxy M30 also gave us the option to adjust the level of blur before taking a shot. On the Redmi Note 7 Pro, we noticed that portraits taken with the AI Camera mode enabled were better than those taken without it.
Selfies taken with both phones were sharp and good enough to go on social media directly. Beautification options as well as filters are available on both devices, and you can tweak the levels before taking your selfie.
Video recording maxes out at 1080p for the Samsung Galaxy M30 while the Redmi Note 7 Pro can record at 4K as well as 1080p at 60fps. The Galaxy M30 lacks stabilisation which results in shaky output, but the Xiaomi delivers stabilised video. However, we did notice a focus hunting issue when shooting at 1080p 60fps on the Redmi Note 7 Pro. In terms of camera performance, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro is better than the Galaxy M30 overall, as it gives you better-looking photos and has the option to record video at higher resolutions.
These two smartphones are pretty much the best that Samsung and Xiaomi have to offer in the sub-Rs. 15,000 segment, but when compared against each other they bring pretty different stuff to the table. The Redmi Note 7 Pro (Review) is more powerful, offers better cameras, has more up-to-date software, and is actually priced lower. However, the smartphone has the tendency to heat up when stressed.
What the Samsung Galaxy M30 has going for it is its excellent Super AMOLED panel and battery life that's as good as the Redmi Note 7 Pro, in addition to the fact that it runs cooler. So if those are the attributes you care about the most, pick up the Galaxy M30. But overall, the Redmi Note 7 Pro seems to be more rounded pick. Sadly, getting your hands on one won't be easy, since it's only available in limited quantities through periodic flash sales, and has been going out of stock very quickly each time.
Do Redmi Note 7 Pro, Redmi Note 7, and Mi Soundbar redefine their price segments? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.