Moto X vs iPhone 5: Motorola and Apple Flagships Face off

Moto X vs iPhone 5

Earlier this month, Motorola officially introduced the Moto X, the company’s first smartphone influenced by Google after the Mountain View-based acquired it more than a year ago. There’s no doubt that Motorola’s new smartphone aims to steal some of iPhone’s market share and this is why we though we should put them face to face in a Moto X vs iPhone 5 battle.

Apple has launched the iPhone 5 last September and it is currently the most powerful smartphone produced by the Cupertino-based company and one of the best selling smartphones in the world. For years in a row the iPhone has set the standards in the smartphone world, but now the Androiders are putting a lot of pressure on it and the Moto X will be one of them as soon as it hits the market.

The first rumors about the smartphone co-developed by Google and Motorola emerged in 2012, soon after the Chicago-based company was acquired by the search engine giant, when a Wall Street Journal reporter mentioned about a super-smartphone called the X Phone. In the meantime we’ve learned that its name is actually Moto X and that it’s rather a mid-range smartphone than the super-smartphone that was mentioned in the early rumors. But is it good enough to face Apple’s iPhone 5?

If you have read our previous Versus articles you probably know that we put the smartphones/tablets head to head in several rounds, the winner of which round earning a point, then the device that manages to grab more points is declared the winner of the battle. The same will happen in the Moto X vs iPhone 5 battle, as the two flagships will fight in 10 rounds in which we will judge their performance when it comes to Dimensions, Display, Memory, Connectivity, Camera, Operating System, Processor, Battery, Design, and Price.

But let’s cut the chit chat and get through all 10 rounds of the Moto X vs iPhone 5 battle.

Dimensions

I will start the Moto X vs iPhone 5 battle with the dimensions round, as I know that many of you want their smartphones to be slim, light, and, most important, pocketable. I’ve seen a lot of huge smartphones hitting the market over the past couple of years which are almost impossible to use with one hand, but it’s not the case of the Moto X and iPhone 5.

Apple has always boasted about making smartphones that are meant for one-hand usage the iPhone 5 is one of them. The new iOS-powered flagship smartphone measures 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm and weighs in only 112 grams, making it one of the thinnest and lightest smartphones currently available on the market.

Because the Moto X has to accommodate a larger display the Motorola handset is slightly bigger than the iPhone 5. The Moto X is 129.3 mm tall, 65.3 mm wide, while measuring 5.6 mm at its thinnest point and 10.4 mm at its thickest point because of its curved back construction. The Moto X is also heavier than the iPhone 5, weighing 130 grams.

Even though the Moto X is a smartphone you can easily handle with one hand you can see that it’s not way bigger than the iPhone 5. Anyway, the Apple flagship is definitely the lighter and the slimmer of the two, that’s why this round of the Moto X vs iPhone 5 battle goes to the iOS-powered smartphone.

Display

To me, and probably to many of you, the display is one of the most important aspects when it comes to choosing a smartphone. It has to be accurate, large enough, and it has to pack great resolution.

The Motorola Moto X sports a 4.7-inch AMOLED with a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels and a pixel density of 312 ppi. On the other hand the iPhone 5 comes with a 4-inch Retina Display, which is basically a 640 x 1136 pixels LED-backlit IPS LCD unit with a pixel density of 326 ppi. Both smartphones have their displays protected by a Gorilla Glass coating and both come with amazing brightness, but while iPhone 5′s LCD panel performs better under direct sunlight, Moto X’s AMOLED screen is more battery friendly.

As I was mentioning above, Apple has always said that their smartphones are ideal for one hand usage, but so is the Moto X. Even thought the Motorola terminal has a 4.7-inch display it only has a tiny bezel around it which makes it comfortable to use with one hand despite its size.

The Moto X comes with higher screen resolution than the iPhone 5, while its size will make it better when it comes to web browsing, gaming, reading, or watching movies and this is why the Motorola flagship wins this round of the Moto X vs iPhone 5 battle.

Memory

There are over 900,000 apps in Apple App Store as of June 2013 and over 1,000,000 in Google Play Store as of July 2013, so you will need some internal storage to be able to install them. Of course, not all of them, but there are at least 20-30 must-have apps on each platform, not to mention your personal music collection and these require a lot of storage.

The Apple iPhone 5 comes with three internal storage options: 16/32/64 GB which should be more than enough to fit your needs. On the other hand, with the Moto X your storage options are limited to only 16 or 32 GB. Neither of the two smartphone comes with microSD card support, thus you will have to use cloud services in order to store more than 32 or 64 GB of data on your Moto X or iPhone 5, respectively.

When it comes to the amount of RAM, the Moto X comes with 2 GB, while Apple’s iPhone 5 only sports 1 GB of RAM.

Since there’s a 64 GB of storage option available for the iPhone 5, but the Moto X come with one extra GB of RAM, this round of the battle will end as tie.

Connectivity

The 4G LTE support is one of the biggest selling points of the modern smartphones and the big phone makers quickly figured this out and integrated it on their flagship smartphones. The Moto X and the iPhone 5 make no exception, so let’s have a look at their connectivity features.

With the Moto X you will get compatibility with HSDPA, 42.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps; LTE, Cat3, 50 Mbps UL, 100 Mbps DL / EV-DO Rev. A, up to 3.1 Mbps networks, plus support for Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot, NFC chip, Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy with A2DP and EDR, and a microUSB 2.0 port.

The iPhone 5 brings DC-HSDPA, 42 Mbps; HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps, LTE, 100 Mbps; EV-DO Rev. A, up to 3.1 Mbps, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP and Apple’s proprietary Lighting port which make it harder for you to recharge your smartphone using let’s say a friend’s charger unless he/she owns an iPhone, but this is not the biggest impediment.

While the Moto X has a NFC module which makes sharing and syncing more easy, the Motorola flagship also has dual-LTE antennas which provide better reception and Internet speed, also making it compatible with all the LTE networks of the world. For this particular reasons, the Motorola smartphone grabs the point allocated for the Connectivity round of the Moto X vs iPhone 5 battle.

Camera

The smartphone makers are paying a lot of attention to the camera sensors fitted on their handsets lately and so are the users.

The iPhone 5 sports an 8 megapixel sensor called iSight that boasts autofocus, LED flash, simultaneous HD video and image recording, touch focus, geo-tagging, face detection, panorama, HDR, and 1080p@30fps video recording support. The front-facing camera of the Apple smartphone has a 1.2 megapixel sensor that supports 720p video recording.

On the other hand the Moto X features a 10 megapixel ClearPixel camera with 1.4 µm pixel size, geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, panorama, HDR, autofocus, and LED flash. The Moto X is capable of recording 1080p@30fps videos and the user-facing camera that comes with a 2 megapixel sensor also records full HD videos.

The ClearPixel camera of the Moto X promises great results in low light conditions, while the higher resolution sensor with bigger pixel size will definitely outmatch the iSight camera of the iPhone 5. Here’s another point for the Moto X.

Operating System

The Android vs iOS is the biggest rivalry in the history of mobile operating systems and each of the two platforms has its fans saying their favorite is the best.

The iPhone 5 is running iOS 6.1.4 which is the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system available for the public. Even so, the smartphone will soon be updated to iOS 7, which is the biggest change that happened to iOS since its debut in 2007.

The most notable new feature of the iOS 7 is the Control Center which is a pull-up menu that allows the user to quickly toggle WiFi, Bluetooth, Airplane Mode, adjust Brightness or Volume, and launch a couple of useful applications. If you want to better understand how the new Control Center of the iOS 7 works, than grab any Android 4.2 or TouchWiz-powered smartphone turn it upside-down, then pull the Notifications Area from bellow instead of pulling it from the top of the display. That’s what the Control Center is, a reversed Notification Area that is available on Android since like forever.

The iOS 7 also comes with tons of interface improvements, but most of them are a reminiscent of features that debuted on other operating systems. The multitasking looks a lot like WebOS, the call screen, messaging and weather app was borrowed from Windows Phone, and the new iOS 7 lockscreen looks a lot like the one in Ice Cream Sandwich. Even the Safari and Music App look a lot like Google’s Chrome for Android and Google Play Music apps.

I’m not saying that the iOS 7 isn’t a great mobile operating system, but the new changes prove that Apple has stopped trying and that innovation is no longer related to the company founded by Steve Jobs.

The Moto X is running almost-stock Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean out of the box. I’m calling it the almost-stock because it keeps the pure Android user interface but comes with a couple of Motorola-specific features.

Besides the highly appreciated Google Now, which is by far the most useful tool for day-by-day use, the Quick Settings option, and expandable notifications which allow the users to quickly reply to messages or emails and interact with calendar events or other notifications, the Moto X also comes with Active Notifications, Motorola Assist, a gesture-based camera app and always-on voice commands.

While the always-on voice commands allow you to control the Moto X using your voice even when the screen is locked, the Active Notifications is basically a lockscreen replacement that alerts you to messages, emails, missed calls, and any other notifications by flashing in the center of the screen. All you have to do is tap them to see a preview of the notification (then access it if you want) and because the Moto X uses an AMOLED panel, the Active Notifications are battery friendly too, as it doesn’t have to light all the pixels of the display.

The Motorola Assist helps you to stay focused while driving, avoid interruptions during meetings, or get a good night’s rest while sleeping. It’s just like Apple’s Do not Disturb, but way better.

The iOS 7 (not to mention iOS 6) looks obsolete when compared to is biggest rival, Android OS, and even when compared to Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 and this is why the Motorola smartphones wins another precious point in the Moto X vs iPhone 5 battle.

Processor

The processor is the heart of the smartphone as it is responsible for handling all the important tasks performed by the terminal.

The iPhone 5 is powered by an Apple A6 SoC based on two Apple-designed ARMv7 cores clocked at 1.4 GHz. The CPU is manufactured on 32 nm architecture, while the graphics processing tasks are handled by a triple-core PowerVR SGX 543MP3 unit.

The Moto X is underpinned by Motorola’s proprietary X8 mobile computing system. While its name might suggest we are dealing with an eight-core unit, in fact is a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset customized by Motorola. Besides a quad-core Adreno 320 GPU the X8 chip uses a dual-core 1.7 GHz Krait CPU helped by a a natural language core (handles  audio, noise estimation and noise cancellation) and a contextual computing core (handles the sensors, display and touch interaction).

There’s no doubt that the Moto X is the smartphone with more processing power under its hood, thus the Android-powered handset wins another round of the battle.

Battery

On of the biggest issues of the modern smartphones is their battery life and Google’s Larry Page hinted that the Moto X will solve this problem. Well, it did, but partially.

The early rumors were hinting that the Motorola Moto X will be a battery life monster capable of staying awake for 2 days on a single charge. After the Moto X was officially introduced we’ve found out that the handset is powered Li-Ion 2,200 mAh battery capable of keeping it alive through 24 hours of moderate usage.

The iPhone 5 has a Li-Polymer 1,440 mAh battery and our tests have shown that the Apple flagship can stay alive from morning until night on a single charge and used in a moderate way.

The Android-powered smartphone wins another round of the battle. +1 Moto X.

Design

The iPhone 5 continues the design language introduced in 2010 by the iPhone 4, but because it comes with a bigger display, it’s now taller than its successors. The Apple smartphone looks exactly how a premium smartphone should look being thin and light, while being made of aluminium. There’s not more to say about the design of the iPhone 5 except for the fact it’s a gorgeous terminal.

I’ve always considered the iPhone as the most beautiful smartphone on the market until HTC dropped the One with its courved back that provides great grip. Well, the Moto X also comes with a curved back and has a pretty sleek design. Even though Motorola didn’t use premium materials like aluminium or glass, the plastic body of the Moto X feels high-end and solid.

Anyway, the greatest thing about the design of Moto X’s is that you can customize nearly everything about it. While Apple’s iPhone 5 is available in either black or white, the Moto X comes with a plethora of design customization options. The users will be able to choose the color of the front panel (black or white), the color of the back lid (18 color options are available), the accents color (volume rocker, power button, and the ring around the camera), and even the color of the headphones or the wallpaper the smartphone is shipped with.

The iPhone 5 is definitely a good-looking smartphone, but the Moto X outmatches it in terms of design courtesy of its over 500 potential versions. The point allocated for this round of the Moto X vs iPhone 5 battle goes to the Motorola handset.

Price

The Nexus 4 has shown us that the price can make a smartphone succeed on the crowded market, as the terminal had a starting price of $299 without contract even though it had the likes of a high-end smartphone. Well, it’s not the case for either the Moto X or iPhone 5 as they are both pretty expensive smartphones.

The Moto X will soon become available for purchase at 5 of the major carriers in US, with a price of $199 for the 16 GB model and $249 for the 32 GB model if you sign a two-year agreement. The iPhone 5 has the same on-contract price for the 16 GB model, but the 32 GB version costs $299, $50 more than the Moto X.

The unlocked iPhone 5 16 and 32 GB model have price tags of $649 and $749, respectively. The Moto X didin’t receive an official off-contract price, but Best Buy lists the 16 GB model as available for $699, while AT&T charges $575 for the 16 GB Moto X without a contract and $629 for the 32 GB model.

Even though the Moto X is slightly cheaper than the iPhone 5 off-contract, most of the customers get it with two-year agreements. Since the subsidised prices of the two smartphones are the same, this round of the battle ends as tie.

Conclusions

The time to decide the winner of the Moto X vs iPhone 5 battle has arrived. We’ve had two undecided rounds, because the two terminals are equally matched when it comes to Memory and Price.

The Apple iPhone 5 only managed to score 1 point after winning the Design round of the battle, because it’s both thinner and slimmer than its Moto X rival.

The points allocated for the Display, Connectivity, Camera, Operating System, Processor, Battery, and Design rounds went to the Moto X, as the flagship smartphone of the Chicago-based company comes with a bigger and higher-resolution screen, has dual-LTE antennas, better camera, runs Android Jelly Bean with a couple of great Motorola-specific tweaks, has a more powerful processor, 24 hours of battery stamina, and impressive design customization options. Not less than 7 points for the first smartphone co-developed by Google and Motorola.

The Moto X has smashed the iPhone 5 for now, but we shouldn’t forget that the iPhone 5S launch is just around the corner and the iPhone 5 follow-up might be capable to turn things around for Apple. Maybe the iPhone 5 is better than the Moto X in your opinion, that’s why I am inviting you express your feelings in the comments section below.

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  • Diou Canaia

    Lets start telling the truth about the supposed Gorilla glass of the iPhone that as a matter of fact is not the real Corning Gorilla glass but a cheaper Chinese version.
    iPhone used the real thing only for the 1st iPhone, after that Steve Jobs switched to the cheaper alternative, so all Apple fans with their shattered displays know who to thank.