The Moto X and the iPhone 5s are available on every major U.S. carrier and with a similar overall size and attractive features many consumers are comparing the two smartphones as they contemplate what phone they will carry or the next year or two.
Rather than compare the specs of these two phones, we are taking a look at five ways the Moto X beats the iPhone 5s. These are the Moto X features we enjoyed most while using the smartphone during the past several months. These features are things the Gotta Be Mobile team enjoys about the Moto X that we don’t find on the iPhone 5s, that users should know about before buying a new smartphone.
With the new Moto X price drop to $399 without a contract the customizable smartphone is even more attractive.
While Google users now enjoy a very similar Gmail and Google services experience on the iPhone, The Moto X brings several special features that the iPhone can’t match such as voice control without your hands, easy unlocking with NFC and the best notification system we’ve seen on a smartphone.
This article focuses on areas where the Moto X is better, but there are also iPhone 5s features that beat the Moto X, which we will share in a future article.
One phone does not fit every user, and with that in mind here are five areas the Moto X shines in, some of which will appeal to users who are interested in buying the Moto X or the iPhone 5s.
Moto X Active Display
The Moto X Active Display is an incredibly cool feature that delivers the best mobile notifications we’ve seen. Rather than flashing an LED that is meaningless like other Android smartphones the display will light up briefly to show the icons of the most recent notifications and allow users to see a little information about the alert.
The iPhone will also show a preview of messages and notifications, so the Moto X is not alone in the ability to see messages, but the solution is more elegant on the Moto X than on the iPhone. We also really enjoy the Moto X’s ability to turn the display on and show a clock and the icons of notifications at the slightest movement, which makes it easier to peak at notifications while in a meeting.
Ultimately the notification method comes down to a personal preference and we leave more notifications turned on with the Moto X because it is less intrusive. Another smart feature we really enjoy on the Moto X is the Assist App which silences your phone when in a meeting, based on your calendar, and can auto reply to favorite contacts who call you to let them know you are in a meeting. The Assist app can also help reduce distracted driving and automatically enter a Do Not Disturb mode at night.
Moto X Display
The Moto X features a 4.7-inch display that offers more room to surf the web, read ebooks and use apps than the iPhone 5s’ 4-inch display. The Moto X offers a 720P display with 326 ppi and the iPhone 5s uses an 1136 x 640 resolution with 326 ppi.
Despite the difference in display size the two devices both deliver a quality looking display for all types of media, but we are drawn to the bigger display for reading and browsing the web because there is simply more on the screen at once which means less scrolling and less page turning.
Even with a larger display, the Moto X is not much bigger than the iPhone 5s, which makes it easy to use with one hand, unlike the Galaxy Note 3. Apple routinely mentions the ease of using the iPhone with one hand as an area where the iPhone beats Android phones with larger screens, but a larger screen and one-handed use are not exclusive.
Moto X Customization
Apple offers the iPhone 5s in three colors and three storage options, and while that is one more storage option than Motorola offers, Apple’s color choices don’t match the customization that Motorola offers.
The Moto X is available at carrier stores in black and white, but users can also buy a Moto Maker version that allows them to pick the colors and materials used to make the Moto X including 18 color options and a new bamboo Moto X option that uses real bamboo on the back of the phone.
In addition to picking the back color, users can the front color, the button and accent colors and add a laser etched signature to the back of the Moto X. In short there is more customization available for the Moto X direct from Motorola than Apple offers and even with customization delivery is possible in about five days.
Hands Free Voice Control
Siri is great and all, but you still have to hold the home button to get started and in some cases you are limited to the built-in iOS apps for using voice control.
The Moto X is always listening for “Ok Google” and when it hears the command it allows users to use Google Now features without touching the phone, which is perfect for setting a reminder while working, controlling the phone while driving or setting an alarm when the phone is out of reach. Here’s a list of some of the Hands Free commands that are available,
- Make a Call to a Contact or a Business
- Get Directions or Travel Time
- Send Messages
- Set a Reminder
- Schedule an Event
- Ask Questions
- Play Music or Movies
- Set Alarms
- See when the Next Meeting Is
- Ask Google what Music is Playing
- Open an App on your Phone
- And many more
The hands free control is a big win for the Moto X and is something we use while driving and while working with the Moto X nearby. With the always listening mode a user can say, “Ok Google. Play Daft Punk.” and the Moto X will turn on and start playing the music in the user’s music app of choice.
Moto X Price
While the overall price of a smartphone is a small portion of the total cost, it’s hard to ignore that the Moto X is $100 cheaper on contract than the iPhone 5s and $250 cheaper off contract.
Previously, finding a cheap phone meant waiting until a new model arrived to push the price of the old phone down or buying a mid-range smartphone that brought many sacrifices with it. That’s not the case with the Moto X which is $99 on contract and $399 off contract. The off contract price is the biggest deal as it makes it easier to upgrade without waiting for a two-year contract to end.
There are many more iPhone deals available now, dropping the price $50 to $75 which helps, but rarely are there discounts on the off contract price of the iPhone 5s.