Nokia X vs Motorola Moto G: the weigh in

One straight from the bowels of Mountain View, the other from the snowy plains of Finland via Redmond - both running Android. Who wins? FIGHT!
Nokia X vs Motorola Moto G:  the weigh in

Two big companies, acquired by bigger companies, just released what they think is the best budget phone for the emerging market.

Now that we know the ins and outs of the two candidates, let's see how they fair against one another and which one you should opt for?

READ MORE: Nokia X, X+, XL: hands-on review of Nokia's first Android smartphones

READ MORE: Motorola Moto G review

Build: World of Plastics

Nokia X vs Motorola Moto G:  the weigh in
Nokia X vs Motorola Moto G:  the weigh in

At this price range, the expected materials to build the phones are plastic (or polycarbonate if you are fussy like that). Even so, there are plastics, and there are plastics. Nokia chose to use the design that underpins their Asha line – so the monocoque polycarbonate used here is sturdy. When closed, the front glass and the back plate are seamless. The colours are so vibrant that they almost glow – which makes it awesome to pick it out among the me-too phones plaguing the market now. It does look a bit cheaper than expected though.

Meanwhile, Motorola copied their Moto X design, but now with a removable back plate. This means users will be able to change the colour according to their mood. While it is chunkier than higher-class smartphones in the market, it doesn’t feel cheap to hold and feel. The build quality of the Moto G goes above and beyond its pricetag.

Winner: Moto G

Display: Someone spent more than the other

Nokia X vs Motorola Moto G:  the weigh in

This is where money meets the road, and Motorola certainly spent extra here to make up for the rest of the phone. At 4.5in, the 720p display isn’t a shrinking violet – in fact, you can call it a plain jane with 4.5in becoming the defacto standard minimum size for a smartphone screen. At 326 pixels per inch (ppi), it is no Retina Display. Considering the price of the phone, it's amazing that Motorola found someone to produce such a quality screen at this price point.

Nokia on the other hand thinks that we are still in 2011. With a screen resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, you will not get the best HD viewing experience on an X. Even worse, the same resolution is being used in all three phones ( X, X+ and XL) and in two sizes (4in and 5in) so you can imagine how ‘good’ the screen will be. We can see all the pixels!

Winner: Moto G

Camera: Just good enough photography

Nokia X vs Motorola Moto G:  the weigh in
Nokia X vs Motorola Moto G:  the weigh in

While we're not asking a lot for something that is priced lower than a good pair of Nikes, we were disappointed with the camera modules on the Nokia and the Motorola devices.

With only a 5MP sensor, the Moto G camera will not win awards for picture quality. It struggles to pick up fine details in even decent lighting conditions and doesn't come anywhere close to the formidable snappers of imaging champions such as the iPhone 5s, Lumia 1020 and G2. Low light performance is also, predictably, lacking.

Nokia also features a 5MP snapper on their XL model. The smaller X and X+ packs a mere 3MP camera on the back.

For sure, these cameras are definitely not going to be Pulitzer-winning image capturing devices. Against each other, it's a tie.

Winner: draw

Power: Four against two

By the virtue of processing power alone, the Moto G trumps the offerings from Nokia. With a quad-core Snapdragon processor from Qualcomm, the Moto G runs anything and everything thrown at it with ease, with a small caveat that it only has 1GB of RAM.

On the other hand, with only dual-core processors plus 512MB of RAM (758MBs on the XL), the Nokias might barely run itself smoothly. If you add the Windows Phone-like skin on top of the Android OS, it spells disaster for potential butter smooth operations.

Winner: Moto G

OS: The future against the past

Nokia X vs Motorola Moto G:  the weigh in

Moto G, being that it is (well, WAS) a Google company, is first in line apart from the Nexus devices to get the latest and greatest OS updates from Mountain View. Android KitKat 4.4 is available for the phone now. This also includes a full suite of Google-related apps – Gmail, Play Store and such.

Nokia had to be content with Android 4.1.2 in the X family. Not only is it running a dated Android version (which is optimised for mid to low end devices, such as the X series here), there is minimal Google support. That's right, there's no Google Play Store. Apps are installed either via Nokia’s own app store, or it has to be sideloaded into the phone.

Winner: Moto G


It seems clear from the start that the Moto G is destined to win this weigh in. What's not to like about the phone? It has a good price (RM698 for 8GB), good screen, decent processor and all in a nice looking package. It doesn’t have a great camera but hey – you can't really ask for everything.

The Nokia X family, however, is special because it’s the company’s first foray into the Droid universe, aimed for emerging countries (nope – not even the UK will get this phone). Also, it is their first generation, and we know how well first generation devices turn out, right?

READ MORE: Nokia gives Android a Microsoft-friendly skin with the Nokia X, X+ and XL