Moto X Pure Vs Nexus 5x Comparison Essay

The phone that many Android enthusiasts eagerly wait for is the Nexus, and this time around there are two Nexus phones - the 5X made by Nexus-veteran LG and the 6P by débutante Huawei. The 6P boasts of better specs but is pricier too. A contender to the LG-Google Nexus 5X comes from the stable that produced the last-gen Nexus Phone - Motorola. The Moto X Style (known in Moto X Pure Edition in some markets) is priced similar to the Nexus 5X and it could be confusing for buyers to choose one over the other. It actually is.

Having used both the phones extensively for quite some time now, we believe we can help clear the confusion.

Since my first mobile phone (bought back in 2003), I have owned seven (primary) phones of which three were Motorola (including the first) and two LG (the remaining were Samsung). Now I am pondering about which could be the eighth.

For their base models both phones are priced similarly, Rs 29,999 for the Moto X Style 16 GB on Flipkart and the Nexus 5X is currently selling for Rs 29,900 on Amazon India. But the price difference gets stark as you up the storage. While the Style's price goes up to Rs 31,999 for the 32 GB variant, for the 5X it inflates to Rs 35,490. Advantage Moto X Style

When the first Samsung Galaxy Note was introduced back in December 2011 and people around were scoffing at its large form, I felt that these larger phones would be a big success but never could imagine me owning one. I have always liked my phones to be compact, something that I can easily operate with one hand. Given that I have small hands, the other edge of a phablet screen is always out of my thumb's reach.

Even though the 5.7-inch X Style, has a very thin bezel, it is still a good 3.6 mm wider than the 5.2-inch 5X, making it more difficult to hold and handle. The 5X has that nice compact feel that I like in my smartphones, though I still wish that the bezel on the 5X was as thin as in the X Style. Advantage Nexus 5X

While the Moto X Play has received positive reviews, I was not too impressed with its looks. However, the higher-up-the-ladder Moto X Style lives up to its name. The phone does have style. It adheres to the characteristic Motorola curved back and chiselled edges. The ribbed rubberised back and the matte frame running around the sides adds to the visual appeal. But the same can't be said for the Nexus 5X. Placed next to the X Style, the 5X looks plain and boring. The only distinctive features are the protruding camera lens and the fingerprint sensor beneath it. The X Style has a much larger frame and weighs a lot more than the Nexus 5X. The Motorola phone is also a much thicker than LG's but it doesn't feel like, thanks to its curved design. Advantage Moto X Style

Both phones have Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection but on the display front the Nexus is no match for the Moto. The Moto with a 2K display (2560x1440) outshines the Nexus' FHD (1920x1080). It is not only the resolution, the Style's display is also more vivid and content on the 5X appear a little washed-out in comparison. Advantage Moto X Style

Both phones come in 16 GB and 32 GB variants. Our review units were 32 GB of which 24.06 GB is user accessible in Moto X Style and 24.89 GB in the Nexus 5X. The slight advantage that the 5X appears to have on the storage front is nullified by the fact that the Style supports microSD cards of up to 128 GB. Advantage Moto X Style

The Motorola phone is dual-SIM while the Google-LG phone is single SIM. More is usually merrier. Also unlike many phones, Motorola doesn't display the sometimes annoying missing second SIM icon on the notification bar. Advantage Moto X Style

Both phones have similar Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processors (1.8 GHz hexa-core) along with Adreno 418 GPU. The Motorola phone has the RAM advantage with 3 GB against 2 GB in the LG-Google. However, my experience on both the phones with multiple processes running, have been similar. With neither showing any signs of slowness or lag even after extended use. But on paper, the Moto X Style has more on offer. Advantage Moto X Style

Both phones claim to run pure Android, only that the Nexus' is a more pure as it doesn't include any additions that Motorola has put into its phone. That said, the Moto enhancements do not appear as bloatware, that we are so accustomed to in other Android phones (except for the pre-installed Flipkart app). Motorola's additional software are actually quite helpful. While the 5X doesn't come pre-installed with such enhancements, it runs the latest version of Android - Android Marshmallow 6.0. The X Style is still on Android Lollipop 5.1.1 (the Marshmallow upgrade is said to be on its way). Also expect important security updates to reach the 5X much earlier than the Style. Advantage Nexus 5X

One of the USPs of the new Nexus phones is the fingerprint sensor at the rear, what Google calls the Nexus Imprint. Fingerprints might not be the most secure way to protect your phone, but they are one of the easiest. Also the placement at the rear is intuitive. You don't appear to make that effort of unlocking the device. Fingerprints have other uses too, such as authenticating payments. The Moto X Style offers no such comforts. Advantage Nexus 5X

The Moto X Style with stereo-front speakers easily out-sounds the Nexus 5X. Even though the audio output in the 5X is quite good, it is a few notches higher on the X Style. So much so that I often didn't feel the need to connect to external speakers while listening to podcasts during my drive to and from work. Advantage Moto X Style

The X Style boasts of water resistance, while the 5X makes no such claims. Advantage Moto X Style

The 5X comes with a 12.3 megapixel rear camera and 5 megapixel shooter on the front. If it is only the numbers we are counting then the X Style has the edge here with a 21 megapixel rear camera and a 5 megapixel front camera. While the images from the X Style are bigger, the results from both the phones are comparable in terms of quality, though the colours from the 5X appear more natural in daylight while the appears no discernible difference indoors. Both can shoot 4K video and also in slow motion. However, the camera app in the 5X has more options to choose from than what we find in the X Style. From the front camera the 5X appears to capture more light but the X Style has a front flash that the 5X doesn't. Advantage Moto X Style

Even though the Motorola phone has a higher-rated battery (3000 mAh), it is the 2700 mAh battery on the LG-Google phone that on regular appeared to last as much, if not longer. Tie

Both phones boast of quick charging abilities. TurboPower Charging in the Motorola X Style promises 8 hours of battery life in just 15 minutes, while the USB Type-C in the Nexus claims to give a charge to last you for about 4 hours in just 10 minutes of charging. Though the charging on both the devices are indeed fast, the results would vary from user to user. Tie

On big disadvantage of USB Type-C is that it isn't yet popular enough (as is the case with any emerging technology). You might need to invest in an adapter or a new compatible cable to be able to connect it with your computer that doesn't have an USB Type-C port (as the cable that comes in the box is USB Type-C at both ends). I was forced to transfer heavy files via WiFi, as I had no such cable handy. The Moto X Style has the more prevalent micro USB port. But then USB Type-C is the future and that is where we should ideally be headed to. Advantage Nexus 5X

If you are the kind who likes to be spoilt with choices - the Nexus 5X comes in a wider variety of colour options here in India while the Moto X is available in only two. Advantage Nexus 5X

It has been a battle closely fought. One contestant makes the best of what is currently there, while the other takes us to the waiting future. And the Motorola phone wins it in style. There are more checks for the X Style than the Nexus 5X and a few of them on vital parameters.

And about that eighth phone of mine, I would want to use the Nexus 6P for a while before making that buying decision.

Spec comparison: Nexus 5X versus Moto X Style

Nexus 5XMoto X Style
Display5.2 inches5.7 inches
Resolution1920 x 10802560 x 1440
Rear camera12.3 megapixel21 megapixel
Front camera5 megapixel5 megapixel
ProcessorsQualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, 1.8 GHz hexa-core 64-bit; Adreno 418 GPUQualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, 1.8 GHz hexa-core 64-bit; Adreno 418 GPU
OSAndroid 6.0Android 5.1.1
Memory2 GB3 GB
Storage16 GB/32 GB (Internal)16 GB/32 GB (Internal); microSD support of up to 128 GB
Dimensions147.0 x 72.6 x 7.9 mm153.9 x 76.2 x 11.06 mm
Weight136 g179 g
ColourCarbon, Quartz, IceBlack, White
SpeakersSingle front-facing speakerFront facing stereo speakers
Battery2,700 mAh3,000 mAh
PortsMicro USB Type-C; 3.5 mm audio jack; Single Nano SIM slotMicro USB; 3.5 mm headset jack; dual Nano SIM slots + microUSB
Fingerprint sensorYesNo
Quick chargingYesYes

(Photographs and graphics: Soumyadip Choudhury)

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This year, Motorola decided that two variants of the Moto X would be better than one—the mid-range Moto X Play and the more powerful Moto X Style. And Google, which usually unwraps one Nexus smartphone for Android enthusiasts, has the smaller Nexus 5X (made by LG) and the premium Nexus 6P (made by Huawei) this time around.

We pit the Moto X Style and the Nexus 5X against each other, to see which is worth your money.

Design

The design of the Moto X Style is a subtle improvement over its predecessor, and it feels surprisingly handy for a big-screen smartphone. The material used is good, but not everyone will appreciate that it weighs a comparatively heavy 179g. A water-repellent coating allows splashes to slide off the panels quicker, but this doesn’t mean it is waterproof.

In terms of form factor, the Nexus 5X is the logical successor to the Nexus 5 (also made by LG) from 2013. The 5X has a 5.2-inch screen, yet feels incredibly compact. There is a fingerprint sensor sitting just below the camera, and it falls perfectly in the range of the index finger as you hold the phone. The design and visual appeal of the Nexus 5X, however, are underwhelming. The volume rocker on the right-side spine, for example, feels clunky.

Display

The Moto X Style’s 5.7-inch AMOLED screen (2,560x1,440 resolution) is a definite improvement over the previous generation. It is sharper, the colours and the viewing angles are better, and it no longer has a yellowish tinge when the brightness is turned down.

The Nexus 5X’s display has Full HD (1,920x1,080) resolution. It is less saturated than last year’s Nexus 6 screen, which means the colours look more realistic. The brightness levels are adequate, the text looks sharp, and visibility in sunlight is quite good. The black levels aren’t very deep (compared to AMOLED screens, for example), but that one shortcoming isn’t a deal-breaker.

Performance

Motorola and LG have done the smart thing by skipping the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor (which had well-documented heating issues) and opting for the Snapdragon 808, which is quite powerful in itself. Moto pairs this with 3 GB RAM. We did notice that the phone’s back panel becomes a bit warm when using the camera or playing a game. LG has paired the 808 with 2 GB RAM. The Nexus 5X runs a completely plain Android interface, and there aren’t any extra features or apps bogging it down. The performance of both phones is smooth for the most part, and there is no sluggishness even during gaming.

Battery

The Moto X Style’s 3,000 mAh battery capacity lasts a day and a half, and if you are careful with screen brightness, you can get another hour or so. In comparison, the Nexus 5X has a 2,700 mAh battery that lasts a day, on a par with most rivals. Also, the 5X has a USB type-C port (also seen in the OnePlus 2) for charging.

Software

The Moto X Style runs the latest Android 5.1 (Lollipop) version, with minor customizations to the standard Android software—it’s the most appealing thing about Moto phones if you compare them with what other Android phone makers offer. There is also the entire suite of features we have also seen on other Motorola Android phones (such as Assist, Voice, Display and Gestures); these come pre-installed.

This is where the Nexus 5X has the biggest advantage—it runs Android 6.0 (Marshmallow), and brings with it all the performance, battery and security improvements that Google has added to the new software. The biggest addition is the ability to manage what data the apps installed in the phone can access—for example, if you don’t want to give Facebook access to your phone’s contacts, go right ahead and block it.

Camera

The Moto X Style gets a 21-megapixel camera. Fantastic on paper, but, for some reason, Motorola has still gone with autofocus—we were routinely frustrated by the slow and inconsistent focus. You really need steady hands to get the best out of this camera, and sometimes may need to click the same scene in quick succession to get the best photograph. When you are able to wring the best out of it, the results are impressive—rich images with considerable detailing.

The Nexus 5X has a 12.3-megapixel camera. Megapixels don’t matter as much as the quality of the camera sensor and the image processing. This camera, unfortunately, is quite inconsistent in terms of focus, and needs really steady hands to deliver crisp photographs. Daytime images are quite vivid, but the colour and detailing is not always accurate in low light. Yet again, a Nexus camera that just isn’t up to the mark.

Which one to buy

The Moto X Style is overall a better option—solid battery life and smooth performance are the highlights.

 The Nexus 5X will most certainly appeal to Android enthusiasts who want the latest Android operating system. The compact form factor too has its appeal, but the boring look and lack of a memory card slot (the 32 GB version is much more expensive than the Moto X Style) ensure the appeal wears off quickly.

First Published: Tue, Nov 03 2015. 07 59 PM IST

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