In the RM2,000 price range, you have quite a number of pretty interesting smartphones. From a flagship device like the honor View 10, the no-nonsense Moto X4, the refined and premium Samsung Galaxy A8, and to the long-lasting Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra.
While we still have these four phones in our office, we decided see how they stack up to each other in various aspects. So let’s get to it.
Right off the bat, we can separate these phones into two categories: the Galaxy A8 and View 10 are 18:9 smartphones, while the Moto X4 and Xperia XA2 Ultra sport more conventional 16:9 displays with thicker bezels.
It’s quickly evident that the 18:9 phones are much sleeker in comparison. I’m quite a fan of the Moto X4’s glass back design, but its thick bezels pale in comparison to the minimal bezels of the Galaxy A8 and View 10. As for the XA2 Ultra, it’s…very bulky and angular in comparison.
Between the Galaxy A8 and View 10, it’s a bit of a toss-up. Both phones sport small bezels, they feel really premium in the hands, and they’re solid, well-built smartphones. However, the glass back of the Galaxy A8 gives it a slight edge over the View 10’s metal chassis. Not only does the glass back feel slightly more premium, it’s also not quite as slippery as the View 10’s metal back.
Oh, it’s also worth mentioning that the Galaxy A8 is IP68-rated, much like the Moto X4. The View 10 and XA2 Ultra, on the other hand, are not water- or dust-resistant.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy A8
In this department, the Moto X4 is immediately in favour. As is the case with most Motorola phones, the X4’s software is very close to stock Android with minimal bloatware and “extra features.” On top of that, Motorola’s range of gesture-based Moto Actions are really quite intuitive to use, not to mention the Moto Display lock screen notification system.
That is not to say the other three devices don’t offer good software experiences. The Xperia XA2 Ultra software is quite close to stock Android too, though it doesn’t have Motorola’s other neat features. Despite sporting a pretty heavily modified version of Android, the honor View 10 is actually quite pleasant to use.
But it’s worth noting that the Galaxy A8 is the only device here that comes with an Always On Display. In fact, it sports very similar software to its higher-end sibling, the Galaxy S8 and Note 8. On top of that, it has one of the most refined software experiences too.
That being said, we’re more impressed with the Moto X4’s range of useful additions and close to stock Android experience. In comparison to the Galaxy A8, the X4 feels ever so slightly faster and more responsive as well. The View 10 is the speediest phone of the lot, but honor’s EMUI 8.0 isn’t as refined as the Moto X4’s software.
It’s a matter of personal taste, of course, but the Moto X4 edges it for this one.
Winner: Moto X4
We tested the four phones over the course of a week, cycling through them as our daily driver. We then measured their screen on times to see how long they lasted.
Surprisingly enough, the Xperia XA2 Ultra gave us the best battery life here despite not having the largest battery capacity – it has a 3,580mAh battery in comparison to the View 10’s 3,750mAh cell. On average, we got about six hours of screen on time with the XA2 Ultra. Not surprisingly, the next best phone is the View 10 with about five to six hours of screen on time.
These are followed by the Galaxy A8 and Moto X4, which we managed to get about four to five hours of screen on time. Not exactly bad by any measure, but in terms of sheer battery life, the XA2 Ultra takes the cake.
Winner: Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra
Dual-camera systems are increasingly common today, and all of these phones feature it one way or another. Both the View 10 and Moto X4 have two rear cameras with different implementations, while the Galaxy A8 and XA2 Ultra come with two selfies cameras.
Let’s start with the rear camera performance. Looking at the sample images we took with these four phones, the View 10 comes up on top, followed by the Galaxy A8, the Moto X4, and the Xperia XA2 Ultra. It must be noted that despite some good-looking shots, the Galaxy A8 photos are usually brighter than what they actually look like in real life. The View 10 also has the most pleasant shooting experience, with the worst being the XA2 Ultra – there is avery noticeable shutter delay, especially in low light conditions.
Judge for yourself with these sample images. (From left to right: View 10, Galaxy A8, Moto X4, XA2 Ultra.)
When it comes to selfies, the Galaxy A8 has the upper hand with its two front-facing cameras. Its image quality is better compared to the rest of the phones, and the bokeh effect is not too bad. That said, the default beautification setting is a little too strong for our liking.
The View 10 can also take selfies with bokeh effects, but honor’s implementation isn’t as good as Samsung’s – the View 10’s front camera also takes more saturated pictures. Speaking of which, the XA2 Ultra’s dual front cameras are not able to replicate bokeh effects. Rather, it’s just a 16MP primary shooter paired with an 8MP wide-angle camera.
Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)
Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra
So which of these phones have the best camera? It depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re more interested in taking the best-looking shots with the rear camera, the View 10 will serve you well. If you’re more keen to take selfies, however, the Galaxy A8 will give you better results.
Winner: honor View 10 (rear camera), Samsung Galaxy A8 (selfie camera)
Value for Money
In terms of sheer value for money, the View 10 offers the most – after all, it’s the only flagship smartphone in this list. Retailing at RM2,099, it has the same Kirin 970 chipset found in the Huawei Mate 10 phones, a capable dual-camera system, and pretty respectable battery life. The only thing that’s missing, of course, is any form of dust and water resistance.
And that’s where the Galaxy A8 comes in. Not only is it IP68-rated, it also offers decent level of performance, a capable camera, and a sleeker, more ergonomically-friendly design. Carrying a RM1,799 price tag, it is a solid package as a whole.
The Moto X4, on the other hand, is priced slightly higher at RM1,899 than the Galaxy A8, but it doesn’t offer the same level of camera performance, battery life, or sleek design. It has the upper hand in terms of software, but its overall value doesn’t quite match honor and Samsung’s offerings. The same goes for the Xperia XA2 Ultra: while it has the best battery life here, it pales in comparison to the other phones in other aspects.
As far as value for money go, the View 10 is our choice. Although it lacks IP68 rating, it offers a level of performance heads and shoulders ahead of the other three phones. On top of that, we’ve seen the device go for as low as RM1,799 now, making it the most affordable device of the lot here.
Winner: honor View 10
So which is the best smartphone in this list? It’s actually a difficult choice considering the strengths of each smartphone. Depending on what you look for on a smartphone, the choice will differ quite significantly. If you want the sleekest-looking phone with water-resistance, the Galaxy A8 is for you. If you want a great smartphone camera with good value for money, the View 10 fits the bill – so on, so forth.
For what it’s worth, the honor View 10 is my personal pick. It has excellent value for money, great battery life, a sleek 18:9 display, and respectable camera performance – all of these for less than RM2,000. Of course, the other phones in this list also have their own strengths and weaknesses, but the View 10 just ticks more boxes for my personal needs.