Last week, Indian arm of consumer electronics major Sony Mobile released the feature-rich Xperia M4 Aqua.
It will be competing with popular smartphones like Xiaomi Mi 4i, Asus Zenfone 2 and the recently launched ZTE Nubia Z9 Mini.
To provide a better perspective on these phones, we have briefly described the key specifications of Xperia M4 Aqua, Xiaomi Mi 4i, Asus Zenfone 2 and ZTE Nubia Z9 Mini, so that so you can make an informed decision before you buy any one of these smartphones.
The new ZTE Nubia Mini and the Xiaomi Mi 4i sport a 5.0-inch full HD display having pixel density of 441 ppi (pixels per inch).
One notable feature of Xiaomi Mi 4i is that it boasts Sunlight Display technology. This dedicated processor inside Xiaomi Mi 4i enables the device to make changes in display brightness automatically based on the lighting conditions of the environment. It is done by brightening only the darker regions, so the resulting image becomes clearer to the user's eyes irrespective of the surroundings.
Though Asus Zenfone 2 sports an energy-efficient full HD super AMOLED screen, its big display foot-print (5.5-inch size) reduces the pixel density close to 401ppi (pixels per inch).
On the other hand, Sony Xperia sports a 5.0-inch HD (1,280x720p) screen. Though its screen resolution sounds a bit sub-par, we'd like to point out that many research studies have reportedly stated that the human eye cannot note differences in pixel density beyond HD (720x1,280p), so we can assume that anything beyond HD resolution is just a gimmick used by companies to sell the device.
And moreover, Sony Xperia M4 Aqua comes with the highest IP (Ingress Protection) rating in a smartphone category – IP65/68. This is a standard that measures a device's resistance levels to dust (IP65) and water (IP68 – both for splashes and submersion).
This means users can take the phone for a dip in the swimming pool (or any other fresh water-body) up to five feet (1.5 metre) under water for close to 30 minutes, provided that the phone's ports are covered by the flaps that come with the package.
Processor & RAM storage capacity:
All four competitors house 64-bit class SoC (System on Chip), but differ in chipset model.
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua, Xiaomi Mi 4i and Nubia Z9 Mini are shipped with Snapdragon 615 Octa-core SoC (System on Chip), manufactured by Qualcomm.
Snapdragon 615 chipset comes equipped with H.265/High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) that enables faster computational operations. It will be aptly backed by Adreno 405 graphics engine and 2GB DDR3 RAM.
The only drawback of Xiaomi Mi 4i is that it lacks microSD card slot for memory expansion.
On the other hand, Asus Zenfone 2 -ZE551ML models come in two types of Intel chipset. Higher-end models with 4GB RAM houses a 64-bit class based 12.3GHz Intel Atom processor Z3580 with PowerVR G6430 GPU.
Recently Asus also launched a new 4GB RAM model housing 1.8GHz Quad Core Intel Atom Z3560 with PowerVR G6430 GPU. [For more information, scroll down to the table]
Besides the Finnish firm, (the now defunct) Nokia, Sony is undoubtedly a pioneer in the smartphone industry to bring top-notch cameras on not just on its Xperia phones, but also on popular MNC brands like Apple, Samsung and Xiaomi.
Mid-range Xperia M4 Aqua too houses a state-of-art 13mp with proprietary Sony Exmor RS sensor, LED flash, HDR, full HD video recording, image stabiliser, Red-eye reduction and many more features.
And on the front, it comes packed with a 5mp wide-angle camera enough to capture a decent selfie.
ZTE Nubia Z9 Mini is no less a competitor as it is also shipped with a feature-rich 16mp camera on the rear-side with Sony IMX234 Exmor RS sensor, LED flash, f/2.0 aperture and an 8mp front camera with f/2.4 aperture, 80-degree wide-angle picture capture feature.
Asus Zenfone 2 also boasts top-of-the-line 13mp camera on the rear-side, backed by proprietary PixelMaster technology, Backlight (HDR) mode, f/ 2.0 aperture, and 5mp snapper on the front with 88-degree field of view and also comes with ZenUI Selfie Panorama mode which can capture panoramic selfies with up to a 140-degree field of view.
Xiaomi Mi 4i too features a 13mp Sony/Samsung camera with dual-tone LED flash, f/2.0 aperture, auto-focus, HDR, touch-focus, full HD video recording ability and a 5mp snapper with 80-degree wide-angle lens, f/1.8 aperture with full HD video-recording ability that is certain to please the selfie aficionados.
[Note: More mega-pixel count in the camera does not guarantee a good quality photograph. It all depends on the type of the lens, size and aperture.]
Mobile operating system:
In this aspect, all phones stand even as they run on the same Android mobile OS platform, but differ in OS version and user interface.
Xperia M4 Aqua, Xiaomi Mi4i, ZTE Nubia Z9 Mini and Asus Zenfone 2 ship with Lollipop OS accompanied with respective custom interface Xperia Themes, MIUI v6.0, Nubia v2.8 and ZenUI respectively.
Price is one of the most important aspects of this comparison article as it plays a crucial role in the minds of the price-sensitive shrewd middle-class working population, which forms the biggest chunk of the India's demography.
Xiaomi Mi 4i comes with a budget-friendly price-tag of just ₹12,999 and is likely to sway more buyers who don't mind with limited 12GB (4GB used for system OS and apps) memory.
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML models are available in five 4GBRAM/128GB memory/2.3GHz Intel Atom processor Z3580, 4GB/64GB memory/2.3GHz Intel Atom processor, 4GB RAM/32GB memory/2.3GHz Intel Atom processor, 4GB/32GB memory/ 1.8GHz Quad Core Intel Atom Z3560 and final model comes with 2GB RAM/16GB memory/1.8GHz Quad Core Intel Atom Z3560. They cost 29,999, ₹22,999, ₹19,999, ₹14,999 and ₹12,999 respectively. Among them, select models are on sale on Flipkart [HERE].
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua is now available across India for ₹24,990. On the other hand, ZTE Nubia Z9 Mini costs ₹16,999
Key Specifications of ZTE Nubia Z9 Mini, Xiaomi Mi 4i and Asus Zenfone 2:
|Models||Sony Xperia M4 Aqua||ZTE Nubia Z9 Mini||Xiaomi Mi 4i||Asus Zenfone 2 (ZE551ML)|
|OS||Android 5.0.2 Lollipop||Android 5.0.2 Lollipop with Nubia 2.8 UI||Android 5.0 Lollipop with MIUI 6.0||Android 5.0 Lollipop OS with custom Zen UI|
|Processor||64-bit Class Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 (MSM8939) Octa-core CPU (1.5GHz Cortex-A53 quad-core + 1.0 GHz Cortex-A53 quad-core)||64-bit class Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 series Octa-core CPU||2nd Generation 1.65GHZ Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 Series Octa-core (1.7GHz quad-core ARM Cortex A53 + 1.0GHz quad-core A53) CPU||
|GPU||Adreno 405||Adreno 405 graphics engine||Adreno 405||PowerVR Series 6 - G6430, with OpenGL 3.2 support Intel Exclusive 3D Tri-Gate Transistor Technology|
|Storage capacity||16GB, expandable up to 128GB||16GB, expandable up to 128GB||16GB (eMMC), not expandable||16GB (+ 64GB via microSD card)|
||3120 mAh (enough to run for close to 1.5 days under mixed usage)||3000 mAh;
|Network||4G-LTE (select markets)||3G/ 4G-LTE||4G-LTE||4G-LTE (Cat 4: 150/50 mbps), Wi-Fi (802.11ac), Bluetooth, DSDA (Dual SIM Dual Active) SIM slots (type: micro), Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac dual band up to 433Mbps), Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP|
|Add-ons||Dual-SIM slot (comes in separate model), IP65 and IP68 water-and-dust proof certifications, Bluetooth v4.1 (A2DP), Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n), micro-USB 2.0, A-GPS/GLONASS, FM Radio with RDS,||Dual-SIM slots (Nano+ Nano), Bluetooth v4.1, Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n/ac), NFC, micro-USB slot (OTG), microSD card slot, Dolby 7.1 surround sound technology||Visual IVR (Interactive Voice Response), Dual-SIM (micro+ micro) slots, Wi-Fi (802.11 ac; MU-MIMO), GPS/GLONASS, uni-body design,||
|Dimensions||145.5 x 72.6 x 7.3 mm||141.30 x 69.8 x 8.2||138.1 x 69.6 x 7.8 mm||152.5 x 77.2 x 3.9 ~ 10.9 mm|
|Weight||136 g||147 g||130 g||170 g|