Samsung Galaxy S5 vs. Moto X: 5 Key Differences

Motorola says that the Moto X 2 won’t be coming until the summer which means that the current Moto X will remain a top option for those in the hunt for a new smartphone. It also means that it will be competing against the Samsung Galaxy S5, the device that will arrive this April to replace the Galaxy S4.

In March of last year, Samsung unleashed the Galaxy S4, the highly anticipated successor to the Galaxy S3, Samsung’s most popular smartphone of all time. The Galaxy S4 may not have lived up to Samsung’s expectations but it was still considered by many to be one of the best smartphones ever made.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 ruled as one of the top options for nearly a year but its time will come to an end in April when Samsung releases its new Galaxy S smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S5.

Samsung’s Galaxy S5 emerged last month at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and as expected, it’s poised to become one of the most popular smartphones on the market. Whether or not it will be one of the best available is still up for debate but from our time with it, it certainly has a good chance at stardom.

Of course, it’s going to face some stiff opposition from the other contenders on the market. One of the devices that will likely be on consumers radar is the Moto X, a device that was released in 2013 but remains one of the best smartphones on the market.

While we can’t offer a full on comparison to the Moto X just yet, what we can offer are some of the key differences that we have discovered between two devices that will likely be at the top of many smartphone shopping lists going forward.

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Form Factor

The Moto X’s claim to fame is that it sports a design that is customizable thanks to Motorola’s Moto Maker. Moto Maker allows users to not only pick from a wide variety of colors but also from different back plates including an impressive composite material and of course the famous wood backs. This kind of personalization means that it’s going to be difficult to run into someone who utilizes the exact same design.

Moto X

Motorola’s flagship isn’t thin but it is lightweight. Its form factor checks in at around 10mm thin and weighs just around 130 grams. And while it may be a little thicker than most flagship devices, it’s still extremely pocketable and easy to hold with one hand.

Moto-X-walnut

The Moto X does not come with a microSD card slot or a removable back which means that users are stuck with their on board storage space and the stock 2,200 mAh battery.

Samsung’s Galaxy S5 does not come with a customizable design though it will be coming in at least four distinct colors. And instead of a composite material or a wood back, the Samsung Galaxy S5 uses a unique perforated pattern on the back cover that Samsung says gives it a modern ‘glam’ look. It’s a stylish piece of plastic.

The Galaxy S5 design includes a removable back with a new dimpled design.

The Galaxy S5 design includes a removable back with a new dimpled design.

The Galaxy S5 is thinner (8.1mm) but heavier (145 grams) than the Moto X. The extra weight is for a good reason though. The Galaxy S5′s design is both water and dust resistant, something that the device borrows from the Galaxy S4 Active, a device found on AT&T. This means that users can take it into rugged environments and not worry about damaging the device.

As for additional perks, the Galaxy S5′s form factor includes a microSD card slot for expanded storage and a removable back plate that Galaxy S5 users will be able to remove to install an extended battery.

Display

Most of the flagship smartphones from last year utilized displays with 1080p support. The Moto X did not. Instead, it comes with a 4.7-inch display that offers up to 720p resolution.

Moto X Review -  003

In our review, we found that the display was still on par with some of the higher end displays from 2013, it just can’t produce 1080p full HD content.

Samsung’s Galaxy S5 display can. The Galaxy S5 offers 1080p resolution to its users which means that content will look a lot sharper on screen. The Galaxy S5′s display is also larger than the Moto X’s.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Display - Settings

Instead of a 4.7-inch display, the Galaxy S5 uses a 5.1-inch display that offers more real estate for watching shows and playing games.

Software

The Moto X offers an impressive software experience that is arguably the best that Android has to offer. While it runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat, it also runs some software unique to Motorola devices.

One feature that we’ll key in on is Active Display. In our review, we noted that Active Display is the best notification system on any smartphone, period. We still think that’s true.

Instead of flashing an LED that tells you nothing like most Android phones, the Moto X shows multi-line previews on the lock screen so it is incredibly easy to see notifications. We detail some of the Moto X’s other software features in the video below.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 will also run Android 4.4.2 KitKat but it’s going to be a vastly different piece of software. Instead of Motorola’s skin, the Galaxy S5 will use TouchWiz, Samsung’s UI that is found on all of its Galaxy smartphones.

The inclusion of TouchWiz means that the Galaxy S5 will not only have a different look but different functionality as well. Many of the Galaxy S5′s software features can be seen in the video below but we’ll touch on one that we found to be extremely interesting.

The Galaxy S5 comes with a feature called “Ultra Power Saving Mode” which turns the display to black and white and will also turn off all unnecessary features in an effort to conserve battery life. It’s a feature that Samsung claims will save users a ton of battery life in the long run.

Home Button

The Moto X does not feature any physical buttons for navigation. Instead, the device relies upon on-screen buttons, something that people both love and hate. The Galaxy S5 features a physical home button but it’s not an ordinary home button. In fact, it supplies the Galaxy S5 with something that the Moto X doesn’t have.

Use a fingerprint to unlock the Galaxy S5.

Use a fingerprint to unlock the Galaxy S5.

Like the iPhone 5s, the Galaxy S5 comes with a fingerprint reader embedded inside of the home button which provides easier access to the home screen and more protection for the content on the phone. This added security and convenience is not found on the Moto X.

What’s more, the company has opened up the fingerprint reader to developers which means that we could see some tweaks and perhaps new apps revolve around the Galaxy S5′s home button and fingerprint sensor.

Camera

The Moto X camera is a solid camera and one that Motorola has advertised as one of its best features. It can produce some stunning imagery, as we noted in our review, but even with update the auto-focus does not give users enough control to let them pick the focus and exposure.

Samsung’s Galaxy S5 comes with a 16MP camera sensor which will provide higher resolution shots. It comes with an extremely fast autofocus that allows users to focus in just 0.3 seconds, something that isn’t found on Moto X camera.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 camera features three new enhancements and a bigger sensor that should deliver better looking photos.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 camera features three new enhancements and a bigger sensor that should deliver better looking photos.

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It also comes with advanced HDR which allows users to actually see the final image on screen before the shutter is hit. The Moto X uses basic HDR.

Comments

  1. Andy says

    One of the biggest breakthroughs for GS5 is the fingerprint scanner. Some users may think this feature is familiar to the one of Apple called Apple’s Touch ID, but actually, you can have more benefit from this feature than just unlock the phone. You can also protect your private data thank to fingerprint-protect. Now, you can keep secret things safe and sound without the need of remembering any password.

  2. Brian Pinard says

    The S5 fingerprint reader is of the same variant found on the Motorola Atrix 4G. It was a gimmick 3 years ago and it’s a gimmick now. It also will not read your fingerprint if you were showering or swimming, due to pruney fingers.

  3. Justin deHart says

    @Brian Pinard: There isn’t a finger print scanner available in the consumer market capable of reading a fingerprint that isn’t flat. Also, that was 3 years ago. If you don’t think technology and its utilization hasn’t improved since then…. you need to go outside more. Look up the patents Samsung has submitted for this phone… the onboard tech is actually really impressive.

  4. Robert says

    Yes, but will SG5 come with all the flabwear? You need that extra SD card because a quarter of the phone’s memory is filled with Samsung apps that nobody ever seems to want or, unfortunately, be able to get rid of.

  5. Michael Aston says

    The S5 is hideous…. something Dell hell like..just horrid owned all the Galaxies… vibrant to S4… It Ugly and the gimmicks are just bloatware…..Moto X it is..

  6. Ben says

    The Moto X feels higher quality, more physically robust with far less “chassis flex” than any Samsung phone ever made. If the Moto X feels cheap, all Samsung phones feel downright disposable. Matt is staight up out of touch.

  7. Andy says

    Having spent some hands-on time with the new phone, we’re left quietly confident, however: Samsung has brought over the build quality of the Note 3 and legitimately useful features like WiFi/LTE bonding, a heart rate sensor, and more to refine its now 5.1-inch smartphone.

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