Nexus 5 vs Moto G: More Than Just Specs

After appearing in multiple leaks for a few weeks Motorola finally made the Moto G official this week. With most of the details and specs already being available from the various leaks, the most important detail was the price, and you’ll be happy to know it’s only $179 off contract.

When looking at the Moto G you’ll find nearly everything you’d want in a smartphone. It runs stock Android thanks to Google and Motorola working together, it offers an HD screen, you’ll get quick updates, and the price is extremely fair and competitive. Compared to the Nexus 5 there’s a huge difference, but there’s more to it than just the specs, and we have a feeling both devices will sell quite well over the coming months. Read on to see what’s different, and why it isn’t just the specs that are important here.

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For $179 you essentially get a Moto X that is slightly smaller, not quite as groundbreaking with some of the software enhancements, but is every bit as much a smartphone with something to offer. Instead of touchless controls and smart notifications, you get an excellent premium experience for a low price. Unlike anything offered with an Android device before we get nearly the latest and greatest without breaking the bank.

The Nexus 5 is taking a similar approach. It doesn’t have anything groundbreaking like a fingerprint scanner or buttons on the back, but offers a top tier device with stunning features for a relatively low price as well. Compared to similar devices available today the Nexus 5 is a compelling option simply based on the price, so lets compare it to the Moto G.

Price

With the Moto G and the Nexus 5 we’re finally starting to get a clearer picture of what Google has planned. And that is to offer excellent devices to two key groups, and do it for a great price. One being the Nexus 5 for developers to expand and improve the Android OS, not to mention all the geeks and Android enthusiasts to enjoy. Secondly it’s for those who want a top-end device without signing a contract.

Then we have the Moto G, which caters to a similar but different group. That being those who want an excellent smartphone experience, but don’t want last years models, aging technology, or a contract, but are also on a budget. And also to help expand Android, and Google’s reach. Both of these devices aren’t going to win any awards like the Galaxy S4, but have the potential to do quite well.

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The Moto G will run users just $179 total. That is without a contract. No strings attached right from Motorola.com or your respective carrier. Then you’ll be able to snag it likely for free on contract if you’d like, not to mention use it with prepaid options around the world and throughout the US. There will also be a 16GB model for $199.

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The Nexus 5 is a bit more expensive simply because of the additional specs, bigger screen, and better camera. Google is currently offering the NExus 5 for $349 for the 16GB model, or $399 for a 32GB flavor. As mentioned above Google’s now hitting the main market, and the enthusiast or elite market with both smartphones.

Android

The Nexus 5 already comes loaded with the latest Android 4.4 KitKat, and will be the base Google uses to launch updates for the foreseeable future. The Moto G on the other hand will launch with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, which most devices available today are still in the process of being updated to, or will shortly. So both have their respective advantages here, but the Nexus 5 clearly wins. Motorola claims Android 4.4 KitKat will hit the G early next year, and we’ve even heard when it launches in the US it will be running KitKat.

Both are stock Android, which is a pro and con depending on the user, then Motorola’s added a few changes and its own services. That aside, this is stock, pure Android, right from Google. There is no carrier bloatware or add-ons, at least not yet, but could once carriers start offering the Moto G. With the Nexus 5 you know you’ll have none of that, and we have a feeling the Moto G may be the same situation. We hope so at least.

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In the end Nexus devices will be updated first, and the Moto X is already taking priority over the G for updates, and we expect that to continue moving forward.

4G LTE

One of the biggest differences with these two phones aside from the specs and price is connectivity. The Nexus 5 is Google’s first Nexus smartphone with 4G LTE support, which was the only major complaint for the Nexus 4, and will likely be the only issue with the Moto G. The Nexus 5 is LTE ready if a buyers carrier support it, while the Moto G is stuck on 3G only.

The Moto G is in every way aimed at the budget crowd and emerging markets. Many regions don’t support 4G LTE outside of the US and users won’t miss it. Then for those finally making the move from a dumbphone to a smartphone the Moto G will be refreshing, cheap, and they’ll never miss the LTE because you can’t miss what you’ve never had. Again, it’s more than just specs here, and Google’s figured that out.

Display

The Nexus 5 employs a 4.95-inch 1920 x 1080p full HD display with 445 ppi that is beautiful, crisp, and clear while the Moto G comes with a 4.5-inch 1280×720 screen with 329 ppi. The screen is smaller and doesn’t have as many pixels, but 720p on a 4.5-inch device will still look rather sharp, have clear text, and again won’t be an issue for someone coming from a Tracfone. Too often we want to get into the spec battle, but the Moto G doesn’t need to.

Nexus 5 LTE Best Carrier

It is a big spec and arguing point for many but the Moto G doesn’t need to be top of the line, especially considering the price and target audience. Not to mention a lower resolution display will keep the Moto G from draining the smaller 2,030 mAh battery inside. So while the Nexus 5 clearly wins the spec race with the display, the 4.5-inch 720p HD panel inside the Moto G should keep most users plenty happy.

Availability

For those in the United States the wait to try and purchase the Moto G will be a little over a month. Motorola has promised an early January 2014 release for the G across multiple US carriers, and Verizon’s even confirmed they’ll offer it in Q1 for those prepaid customers. The Nexus 5 is readily available, or at least it should be, but is selling out fast no matter where you look. From T-Mobile stores, Sprint, and the Play Store you’ll have a tough time finding stock but it is available right now.

The Moto G can be purchased in Brazil and parts of Europe starting this week, but most other regions will have at least a month to wait before they can get their hands on the wallet-friendly device.

Customization

The Nexus 5 is available in white or black, and will come with 16 or 32GB of internal storage, and that’s it. If you’re looking for a customized smartphone that stands out from the pack the Moto G is the clear winner. Offering similar options as the Moto X the G will be customizable with 17 different colors on back, and even clip-on backs with additional color options. It isn’t quite as customizable as the Moto X, but will give users a lot more options than the Nexus 5.

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Motorola didn’t confirm what regions will be able to take advantage of the customization features and options, but surely the US will be one of the main targets considering the huge plant in Texas where they’ll be made, assembled, and distributed. The Moto G is the winner here, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Specs

Last but not least is the specs. As we’ve mentioned above there’s a lot more here than just specs. It is nice to offer a premium device with all the bells and whistles but lets face it, not everyone needs, wants, or can afford to get one. This is where the Moto G will shine. Offering enough to be a quality and excellent option without breaking the bank.

The Moto G houses a 1.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor with 1GB of RAM, and you’ll get 8 or 16GB of internal storage. It isn’t as impressive as the Nexus 5 but it doesn’t need to be. Android 4.3 Jelly Bean runs great on devices of this caliber, and KitKat was designed to run without issues on older and aging devices. Although we wouldn’t go as far as calling the G old, even if the specs aren’t top notch. You’ll get a decent 5 megapixel camera for Facebook and social network photography, not to mention 720p video recording.

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The Nexus 5 comes with the latest and greatest yet still manages to also be easier than some on the wallet. Offering a 2.3 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 with 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage if needed, Android 4.4 KitKat, and an 8 megapixel camera with full Optical Image Stabilization and 1080p video recording. You get wireless charging, a bigger battery, and other impressive features. Aside from a smaller battery than some of the competition and sub-par speakers, the Nexus 5 is a flagship and top tier device in every sense of the word. Only it will still cost just $349 for over $500 for most similar devices from the competition.

More Than Just Specs

Obviously there’s a huge difference between these two devices in the hand and on paper, but there’s more to it than that. Both, of course, are leading the charge when it comes be being an excellent deal, easy on the wallet, and won’t require a 2-year contract or commitment of any kind. Specs and features play a huge role in the purchase decision for many but so does the price or need, and both of these devices understand that.

In the end I’d take the Nexus 5, of course, given I’m a tech junkie but I’d have no problem recommending the Moto G to friends or family wanting their first smartphone or a device for the kids. Getting something like the Moto G for $179 off contract and adding it to a family plan on AT&T or T-Mobile early next year may prove to be extremely lucrative. For the price the Moto G can’t be beat, and you’ll be happy to know Google and Motorola will hopefully make their best efforts to keep it up to date.

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The experience from both of these devices can’t be beat for the price, and this is only the beginning of what Google and Motorola are planning.

Comments

  1. carmenmstancil (@carmenmstancil) says

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  2. markus wallett says

    Ultimately, both smartphones do the same sort of thing, and for 95% of the population, they wouldn’t notice too much of a difference when it comes to their day to day general uses.

    • Barry Crosby says

      I’ve just bought one just to see what its like …and (WOW) all I can say this is a boss phone for the price .I’ve been heating it with my N4 and my brothers iPhone ..and this is on par with them both …..and of trumps my old galaxy note N7000 very good phone .recommend of you thinking about it

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