There’s an interesting fight currently going on in China, between Xiaomi and Huawei. Both companies want to sell as many affordable smartphones as possible, and their competition is driving prices down for consumers. Case in point: Huawei already has an answer for the Xiaomi Hongmi Note (or Redmi Note) that was just unveiled yesterday.
Before we go into details, though, let’s have a brief history lesson. In July of last year, Xiaomi unveiled the Hongmi (Red Rice), its first foray into cheap devices with decent specs. And it was a great success, because it came with an insanely low price and better quality than the competition. Fast forward to December 2013. That’s when Huawei announced that it would be using the Honor brand for devices aimed squarely at people who want a lot of oomph for very cheap – and everyone knew that the Honor 3X and Honor 3C were specifically meant to fight the Xiaomi Hongmi. The 3X came with better specs than the Hongmi, but it was more expensive too. The 3C matched the Hongmi in most specs, even outdid it in a few areas, and was exactly the same price.
Fast forward to yesterday, then, when Xiaomi revealed the all new Hongmi Note. This basically matches all of the Huawei Honor 3X’s specs, yet starts at a much lower price point. For the version that’s basically identical to the Honor 3X yet has a 200 mAh bigger battery, Xiaomi will charge 999 yuan ($161). The 3X currently costs 1,698 yuan ($279), however, and the Hongmi Note has an even cheaper version starting at 799 yuan ($128), which has a lower-clocked CPU and half the RAM.
So clearly Huawei had to do something to remain relevant in this ‘cheap but decent’ smartphone space. And it did. Not 24 hours after the Hongmi Note got official, Huawei announced a new, cheaper version of the Honor 3X. This costs 998 yuan, so the same as the more expensive Hongmi Note.
The new Honor 3X has a 1.4 GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6592M processor (the exact same part used in the cheaper Xiaomi Hongmi Note). And… that’s it. That’s the only downgrade compared to the full-price Honor 3X. So the 2 GB of RAM is still in there, which makes it on par with the more expensive Hongmi Note. The other specs are virtually identical too, as it comes with a 13 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera, but right now only a TD-SCDMA version of this Honor 3X is in the works. That will play nicely with China Mobile’s 3G network, but won’t be usable internationally.