Motorola One Fusion+, Poco X2 and Redmi Note 9 Pro Max: Which is the best at Rs 17,000?
Amritanshu Mukherjee June 22, 2020
Let's say you have Rs 17,000 to spend on a new smartphone and you want one that looks good, has a large battery, performs decently, takes nice photos and looks good. Right off the shelves come three phones that tick all these boxes: the Rs 16,999 Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro Max, the Rs 17,499 Poco X2, and the Rs 16,999 Motorola One Fusion+. All of these are great phones in their own might and there's nothing else that beats these in terms of sheer value.
But you have to choose one of these three and that could be a difficult thing to do. Luckily, I happened to review all these three phones (with the exception of the Motorola phone that is still under the review period) and I think I am in a better position to help you out with your choice. While these three have similar chipsets, the phones themselves vastly vary in their characteristics.
The Motorola Fusion+ is what every geek asked for whereas the Poco and Redmi phones are pushing the benchmark for what a midrange phone can be. Time to dig in with more details.
Design & build
Design is always subjective and I will leave it upon you to figure out which one captures your fancy. That said, I can comment on the build and design easily.
Out of the box, it is the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max that feels the most expensive, followed by the Poco X2. These phones are made of shiny and scratch-resistant glass panels carrying all the 2020 design trends. Punch-hole cutout for the camera? Check. Gradient colours? Check. Big camera hump designs? Check. If you want to get the premium-in-hand feel, there's nothing better than these two phones at this price.
While the Poco and Redmi phones only have plastic in their frame, the Motorola One Fusion+ is entirely made of it. This has an all plastic unibody design that has some mild gradient on it. Plastic is plastic and it does not feel good to hold, like glass. Hence, the Fusion+ is the least desirable out of these three to hold. It is also the most boring looking phone here, with a dull overall design layout. It feels as if the phone was meant to release in 2019.
You also get a pop-up camera mechanism in a bid to get rid of a notch or cutout, which is a great thing if you value uninterrupted viewing. At 6.5-inches, it is relatively compact than the other two, which is a good thing for those with smaller hands. Also, plastic is more resistant to cracks and hence, you can forget about putting on a case, despite Motorola offering one in the box
On the whole, the Motorola One Fusion+ looks bland but it has an understated design as well as a relatively practical footprint. The Redmi Note 9 Pro Max and Poco X2 are stunning looking phones and fashion-conscious should opt for these.
Features & performance
All these three phones have almost similar hardware capabilities. The Redmi Note 9 Pro Max uses the Snapdragon 720G chip whereas the Poco X2 and Motorola One Fusion+ rely on the slightly bumped up Snapdragon 730G. Practically, these chips are indistinguishable. All these phones offer 6GB RAM as standard for their base variant.
It's the rest of the package where things start to differentiate. The Redmi Note 9 Pro Max comes with MIUI 11 based on Android 10. The Poco X2 also uses the same MIUI skin but it has a Poco launcher installed to liven up the homescreen. The Motorola One Fusion+, in contrast, has a completely stock Android interface.
Again, it is up to you whether you like stock Android or MIUI as your phone's interface. With MIUI, you get hundreds of customisation options and new features to help you get the most out of your phone. With the upcoming MIUI 12, the interface is expected to bring massive design overhaul. That said, new Android features take time to come as Android updates may take up to one year to be delivered. Additionally, there's the ad and bloat issue with MIUI that could spoil the overall user experience.
This is where stock Android comes in on the Motorola phone. Motorola is giving a completely clean version of Android 10 with no third-party apps pre-installed, except for Facebook. This is pure Android here but you can customise accent colours and icon shaped with the Moto app. You also get some of the custom gestures that Motorola phones are known for.
The One Fusion+ also impresses with its audio quality as it has a very loud main speaker along with wider support for all audio frequencies. The other two phones have decent speakers.
When it comes to the display, it is a close tie between the Poco X2 and the Motorola One Fusion+. The Poco X2 has this large 6.7-inch 120Hz LCD display that is a bliss while gaming and navigating web pages. That said, the colour profile is just fine and you can sense that it is not a good quality display. This is where the Motorola phone shines. The 6.5-inch LCD display only has a standard 60Hz refresh rate but you get support for DCI-P3 colours. In-person, the display is more lively than the other phones, with vibrant colours and high contrasts.
As for the battery performance, the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max with its 5020mAh battery and the Motorola One Fusion+ with its 5000mAh unit easily manage to last for more than a day with moderate usage. The Poco X2 comes close with its 4500mAh battery but the 120Hz display takes it toll on it, making it strictly a one-day smartphone.
That said, Motorola only gives you an 18W fast charger that takes up to two hours for a complete refill. The Poco X2 gets 27W fast charging whereas the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max tops the chart with its 33W fast charging. These two have much lesser waiting times and prove more practical in the real world.
This is a close draw between all these three phones. The Redmi and Motorola make use of the Samsung 64-megapixel camera sensors for the main camera while the Poco X2 uses the Sony IMX686 sensor. The Poco and Redmi have similar colour profiles but the Sony sensor on the Poco X2 has a slight edge in terms of details and low-light performance. You will get to see vibrant pictures with slightly boosted colours and higher contrasts on both these phones.
The Motorola One Fusion+ tries to go for a natural colour tone and so far, the photos end up looking as good as the other two. Details aren't on the same level as the Poco X2 but most of the time, you will like what you see. There's an issue with overexposure of skies but that's something which can be fixed with an update. On the whole though, the Fusion+ impresses with its overall camera tuning.
All three phones have quad camera, with a similar combination of an ultra-wide camera, a macro camera and a depth camera. Personally, I liked the output from the Motorola's ultra-wide camera as the image processing takes care of the colours and exposures well. The Poco and Redmi phones have average ultra-wide camera. The macro camera was more useful on the Poco X2 in daylight whereas all three perform well in portarit mode.
All three phones have nice selfie cameras too. The resolutions may vary on all three but selfie lovers will find all three phones likeable. The Poco X2 gets a depth sensor for better portrait mode photo and it definitely shows in the pictures.
This is what matters most to the masses. The Poco X2 amazes with its list of features but it has seen massive price hikes recently. Hence, the base version starts at Rs 17,499, with 6GB RAM as well as 64GB storage onboard. The Redmi Note 9 Pro Max also has same RAM and storage for its base variant but it starts at Rs 16,999. Motorola has priced the One Fusion+ at Rs 16,999 and it only sells one variant with 6GB RAM as well as 128GB storage.
There's no doubt that all these are exceptional phones. The Poco X2 has been around for the longest time as our pick in the sub-Rs 20,000 category, especially for its cameras, and if you can spend more on it, it still is an amazing phone to own, especially for budding photographers and gamers. The Redmi Note 9 Pro Max trumps every other phone with its long battery life but at Rs 16,999, it is too expensive for a Redmi Note device, especially when the Poco X2 is just a stone's throw away at Rs 500 more.
This leaves the Motorola One Fusion+ in a different space. In terms of value, there's nothing like it. It offers the most storage and performance freaks will appreciate the bone-stock Android experience with meaningful Moto enhancements and no bloatware, which is almost in-line with what you get from the Pixel phones. It has a great display with no camera cutout, a fast chipset, a 2-day battery and nice cameras overall. The One Fusion+ is then, undoubtedly, the most sensible one you can buy.