If you’re specifically looking for performance and good gaming capability out of a smartphone, a high-end device would generally be the safest bet. However, the same requirements can be subjective which is why so many smartphones exist in different price brackets.
On that note, the Xiaomi Mi A1 and the Honor 7X are two of the most popular handsets in the lower mid-range segment and can be preferred choices for many on tight budget. Both come with big screens, decent specs and flagship-like designs at competitive price points to deliver an overall acceptable performance. And we have pitted them against each other in this performance and gaming comparison. So which one is better?
Specifications – Xiaomi Mi A1
Processor: Snapdragon 625 Octa-core 2.02 GHz
GPU: Adreno 506
RAM: 4 GB
Display: 5.5-inch, 1080p x 1920p resolution, 398ppi
OS: Android Nougat 7.1.2, MIUI 9.0
Specifications – Honor 7X
Processor: HiSilicon Kirin 659 Octa-core (4 high-speed @ 2.36 GHz and 4 low-speed @ 1.71 GHz)
RAM: 4 GB
Display: 5.93-inch, 1080p x 2160p resolution, 407ppi
OS: Android Nougat 7.0, EMUI 5.1
Geekbench is considered the standard for obtaining the performance numbers for any smartphone out there. This test showcases the performance capability of a smartphone in pure numerical values, and in two categories – Single Core and Multi Core. Let’s check out the numbers then.
Xiaomi Mi A1 and Honor &X
3D Mark is used to test the graphical prowess of a smartphone’s GPU. This app runs a series of tests to determine framerates on the parameters of physics and graphics. Let’s see how the handsets stand up against one another in this test.
Xiaomi Mi A1 and Honor 7X
Once everything is said and done, it is the performance in the real world usage which eventually matters. If your phone is good at performing every task that you expect it to, you have found the best possible product for yourself no matter what the various benchmark numbers say. The same holds true in case the device turns out to be a mediocre performer while the figures might indicate otherwise.
The point is – how the phone performs on daily basis is what really matters.
When it comes to the Honor 7X, we are already aware and used to its day-to-day performance as it is one of our daily drivers for quite some time now (click here for its extensive long-term review). It is a device that delivers mixed performance. While it performs the usual tasks like calling, messaging (with native and other apps), browsing internet, social media, clicking pictures, watching videos and listening to songs fairly well, it tends to irritatingly struggle while indulging in some graphic-heavy games (especially modern car racing games that involve fast-changing scenery). Even though this behavior is not common or has a specific pattern to its occurrence, it happens enough that it is a bother and negatively affects the overall smartphone experience.
If you decide to go for the Honor 7X, you are better-off without playing heavy-duty games on it, and this is a bit ironic to me. Personally, if I get a phone with a screen that big (5.93 inches), I would surely like to enjoy some nice games on it (which means going far beyond simple games like the Subway Surfer and such).
Xiaomi Mi A1
The Mi A1 is powered by a Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor coupled with 4 GB of RAM. The difference between the octa-core architecture of the 625 and the Kirin 659 is that while the 659 has 4 high-speed cores clocked at 2.36 GHz (and 4 low-speed cores clocked at 1.7 GHz), the 625’s all 8 cores are clocked at 2.0 GHz making it perform better at multi-core tasking. This is the reason Snapdragon 625’s Multi-core score in Geekbench (see screenshots above) is better than the Kirin 659’s.
When it comes to the actual performance, we found the Mi A1 to be a tad better than the 7X. While there isn’t any perceptible difference between the two handsets when it comes to performing day-to-day tasks, the Mi A1 feels smoother in operation by a hair’s length. I do not have anything specific to point out regarding the app switcher either as the apps switch without any issues. Although, there are random instances of hiccups when there are a few heavy activities left suspended in the background like the Youtube, video camera etc.
The good thing is that the Mi A1 does a better job than the Honor 7X when it comes to playing some graphic-heavy games like the Asphalt 8, Modern Combat and such. We would like to highlight here that it is not a super smooth gameplay experience at all and it is visible that the Snapdragon 625 and its companion, the Adreno 506, are being pushed to their limits, the chipset still manages to keep things more in control than its Kirin counterpart.
Also, while both phones heat up a little while playing a game like the Asphalt 8 for at least 30 minutes nonstop, the Mi A1 did not heat up as much as the Honor 7X. The heating was never a too big a concern though.
We believe that the slightly better performance of the Xiaomi Mi A1 has more to do with the overall capability of the Snapdragon 625 chipset in handling the tasks (especially multitasking) better than the Kirin 659 and not so much on the difference between the size of the handsets screens.
We would like to point out that the Mi A1 is only marginally better than the Honor 7X, but then that marginally better performance is noticeable especially when indulging in some decent gameplay. Perhaps the biggest point in the favor of the Xiaomi Mi A1 is that it is backed by Google’s Android One program. This means that it offers a pure android experience which will receive timely security and software updates from Google for a specified period of time. Furthermore, the Mi A1 gets unlimited photo storage on cloud (at high quality with Google account) through Google Photos as well as the Google Assistant.
At Rs 13,999 (4 GB RAM and 64 GB internal storage), the Xiaomi Mi A1 is only Rs 1,000 more expensive than the starting price of the Honor 7X which is Rs 12,999 (for 4 GB RAM and 32 GB storage variant). All said and done, between the Xiaomi Mi A1 and the Honor 7X, our choice is the Xiamo Mi A1 as the better smartphone.