Two big companies, acquired by bigger companies, just released what they think is the best budget phone for the emerging market.
Let's see how they fare against one another and is the one you should opt for.
READ MORE: Motorola Moto G review
Build: World of Plastics
At this price range, the materials expected to build the phones are plastic (or polycarbonate if you are fussy like that). Even so, there's plastic, and there's plastic. 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
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 could call it a plain jane with 4.5in being the de facto minimum required size for a smartphone screen. At 326 pixels per inch (ppi), it's no Retina Display either. 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 won't get the best HD viewing experience, and even worse is the fact that the same resolution is being used in all three phones ( X, X+ and XL) and in two sizes (4in and 5in). We'll leave you to imagine the horror.
Winner: Moto G
Camera: Just good enough photography
While we're not asking a lot from something priced lower than a good pair of Nikes, we were disappointed with the cameras on both the Nokia and the Motorola devices.
With only a 5MP sensor, the Moto G camera won't win any awards for picture quality, struggling to pick up fine details in even decent lighting conditions. It doesn't come anywhere close to the formidable snappers of imaging champions such as the iPhone 5s, Lumia 1020 and G2, and low light performance is also predictably lacking.
Similarly the Nokia XL features a 5MP snapper too, with the smaller X and X+ packing a dismal 3MP cameras on their backs. Wow.
For sure, these cameras are definitely not going to be award-winning image capturing devices. Against each other, it's a tie.
Power: Four against two
By 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 barely run themselves smoothly, let alone other apps. If you add a Windows Phone-like skin on top of Android OS, it spells disaster for potential butter-smooth operations.
Winner: Moto G
OS: The future against the past
Moto G, being that it is (well, WAS) a Google company, is first in line apart from Nexus devices to get the latest and greatest OS updates from Mountain View. In fact, Android KitKat 4.4 is already available for the phone now. This includes a full suite of Google-related apps, such as Gmail and the Play Store.
Meanwhile, 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 have 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 (S$318 for 8GB), good screen, decent processor, and is altogether a nice looking package. It doesn’t have a great camera but hey – you can't really have it all.
The Nokia X family, however, is special because it’s the company’s first foray into the Droid universe, aimed at emerging countries (nope – not even the UK will get this phone). Also, it's their first generation, and we know how well first generation devices turn out, right?