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Moto G Vs Moto X: Battle Of The Budget Phones

When it comes to finding a new phone, many people will only consider the phones that they see commercials for on TV such as the HTC One or the Samsung Galaxy S5. However, some of us will take into consideration some of the less advertised phones, the ones that are either cheaper or simply not mainstream. Globally, the Moto G has been Motorola’s most successful smartphone to date, but it’s still not nearly as popular as the mainstream flagships.

Moto G vs Moto X

When it comes to the Moto X and Moto G, there is really only between $200 separating them but both of these phones have their own purposes. I’ve had the opportunity to use both of them for extended periods of time so I’m here to settle the argument; which is better, the Moto X or the Moto G?

Similarities

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Obviously both of these phones are designed and manufactured by the same people, but they have less in common than you might think. Both of them are running Motorola’s skinned version of Android 4.4.2 and have most of the same factory apps that can be updated through the Play Store.

Both are available for under without having to sign a contract and in terms of aesthetics, they look almost exactly the same except for the fact that the Moto X sports a 0.2 inches larger screen. From a features standpoint, that’s pretty much where the similarities end. Surprisingly, despite the fact that they are from the same designers, they are starkly different devices that are designed to serve completely different purposes.

Where The Moto X Shines

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The Moto X is a very interesting device and to date, one of my favorite devices of all time. Last year Motorola designed a special chipset called the X8 mobile computing system. It is a combination of a Snapdragon S4 Pro with a dual-core CPU, a quad-core Adreno GPU, and two low power cores for doing the things that make the Moto X special.

The first low power core is the natural voice processor. Its only responsibility is to handle the processing that is involved with the “Touchless Control” service that is provided by the Moto X. The screen can be off, the phone on the table, but when you say “Okay Google Now,” it summons Touchless Control, which can be used to do a multitude of things within Google Now and several things that are processed locally.

The second low power core is designed to handle Active Notifications, which is the best way for a phone to handle notifications that I’ve ever seen. Rather than just using an LED to signify the type of notification that has been received, it uses the Super AMOLED display to use a small part of the screen and actually show what the notification is for. Additionally, any time you pick up the phone, it will display the time and allow you to unlock the phone without ever touching the power button. Not only does this save time, but it also saves battery life.

Moto X Notification

In addition to handling Active Notifications, the second low power core also has one electronic eye always trained on the phone’s accelerometer. If you hold the phone and twist your wrist twice to the right (a surprisingly awkward motion for a lefty) it will automatically open up the phone’s camera. Again, it doesn’t matter if you’re in the middle of a game, the screen is off, or you’re just sitting at the home screen, it will open the camera app for you.

Other than those things, the Moto X is specially tuned to have excellent battery life. Be warned, however, that all Moto Xs are not created equal. If you use the unlocked Moto X on AT&T’s network the radio isn’t specially tuned for their network and will have significant battery drain compared to phones that are designed for their network, such as the AT&T branded Moto X.

The Moto X can also be designed by you on their motomaker website and shipped to you just as quickly as any other phone that you would order online, but this one says your name on the back.

The Moto G

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Motorola created the Moto G with a couple of particular things in mind. They wanted to create a phone that would be affordable to everyone. This phone would have to cut corners in certain places in order to make a great device that costs only off contract. Impressively, Motorola was able to do it right and the Moto G, sporting a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor and all of the bare minimums to allow the phone to run the latest version of Android.

The Moto G is 3G (HSPA+ 21) only, no NFC, and a pentile LCD display. If you were looking for bells and whistles, you came to the wrong place. However, if you were looking for a phone that is sub- and has a battery life that reminds me of the good old days of pre-ICS Android. I spent an entire week with the Moto G and I gave it my all, putting through all of the ropes and I wasn’t able to kill it with a single day’s use.

The one thing that Motorola did to make this phone special is actually a very appealing feature to me. Although the battery is inaccessible to users, it still has a removable back plate, which is replaceable to make the phone more custom and unique. Among one of the official replacement backs is the one I was using, which is a rubberized plastic and has an attached flap that wraps around to the front of the phone to be a full cover for the phone.

Having this type of a replacement back essentially eliminates the need for a case. I’m normally the type of person that puts a case on a phone before I’m willing to take it out of the house with me but with the Flip Shell, it wasn’t necessary.

TL;DR

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Essentially what it boils down to is that both of these phones are excellent devices for what they are. The Moto G is a basic device but it can run everything that you throw at it and it starts at only $179 off contract! Plus, the battery lasts all day and you can’t kill it with one day’s use if you tried!

The Moto X is a beast of convenience, with Touchless Control and Active Notifications, you don’t even need to unlock your phone to see what it’s made of. Moto Assist does a great job of knowing when to silence your phone or read your messages to you based on appointments in your calendar or your GPS, respectively.

All of those extra features come at the price of lesser battery life, but still very good compared to other 2013 flagships and it still clocks in at only $350 off contract.

Which budget device is your favorite? Tell us about it in the comment section and don’t forget to hit us up on Google+ and Twitter!

Google+: Motorola Mobility
Twitter: Motorola Mobility
Website: Motorola
  • Steven Brumfield

    Moto X all the way for me. AMOLED screen for perfect blacks, always-listening, Moto Assist takes care of muting my phone in Uni. Just a dependable device with a solid battery as a bonus!

    • For me, I totally agree. However, I know a lot of people don’t really care about being able to talk to their phone and battery life is their number one concern and the Moto G can run forever, especially compared to the X. The Moto X has a pretty decent battery life compared to last year’s phones but I would like to see a big improvement in the next generation Moto flagship this year.

      • Steven Brumfield

        I wonder how much battery you can tickle out of the X if you disable Always-Listening and Active Notifications. I’ll do that for the next festival and see how much longer it will run when I really need it to stay on for as long as possible.

        • I’d be interested to see what you find out!

          • Steven Brumfield

            Well, you do notice a slight improvement if you disable both features, but not enough to justify the loss of functionality, definitely. I turn off Active Notifications during jogging though as all those vibrations during running might trigger the feature quite often while I don’t need it anyway to save battery.

            During the Rock im Park festival in Nürnberg, I noticed the battery going down extremly fast, no matter if the stuff was turned on or not, but that was most likely due to VERY congested mobile network (to the point that -I had no internet connectivity at all) and temperatures up to 35°; the battery was reported to be at 61°C while it was in the tent and the external battery at times refused to charge the device due to overheating.

          • Thanks for the update, Steven! You’re probably right about the network congestion being an issue when you were at the music festival. I know that my battery life gets severe drain when I am disconnected from WiFi all day (compared to being connected to WiFi all day) so it would make sense that if your phone is struggling to make a connection and it’s in the heat, it will have more troubles, still.

          • Steven Brumfield

            Well, you do notice a slight improvement if you disable both features, but not enough to justify the loss of functionality, definitely. I turn off Active Notifications during jogging though as all those vibrations during running might trigger the feature quite often while I don’t need it anyway to save battery.

            During the Rock im Park festival in Nürnberg, I noticed the battery going down extremly fast, no matter if the stuff was turned on or not, but that was most likely due to VERY congested mobile network (to the point that -I had no internet connectivity at all) and temperatures up to 35°; the battery was reported to be at 61°C while it was in the tent and the external battery at times refused to charge the device due to overheating.