Motorola Moto G vs iPhone 5C

Vs Paul Briden 14:58, 20 Nov 2013

How does the iPhone 5C compare to Motorola's affordable Moto G?

Ahead of launch, Apple’s iPhone 5C was thought to be the world’s first “affordable” iPhone. While it’s certainly cheaper than the flagship iPhone 5S, it’s still fairly pricey, but for the say-so, let’s have a look at how the “budget” iPhone compares to Motorola’s latest economy option: the Moto G.

Direct spec comparison

DEVICE Motorola Moto G Apple iPhone 5C
Dimensions 129.9 x 65.9 x 11.6 mm, 143g 124.4 x 59.2 x 9 mm, 132g
Display 4.5-inch TFT, 1280 x 720 pixels, 326ppi 4-inch IPS LCD Retina, 1136 x 640 pixels, 326ppi
Camera Rear 5.0MP/Front 1.3MP 8.0MP rear/Front 1.2MP 
Storage 8GB/16GB 16GB/32GB
Processor, RAM, Graphics Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core 1.2GHz Corex-A7, 1GB of RAM, Adreno 305 GPU Apple A6 dual-core 1.3GHz, 1GB RAM, PowerVR SGX543MP3 GPU
Operating System Android 4.3 iOS 7
Connectivity 3G, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0 4G, 3G, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n dual-band, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 
Battery 2,070mAh, non-removable 1,510mAh

Design and build

There’s no getting round the fact that Apple makes some pretty handsome devices and the iPhone 5C is no different.

The basic shape is what we’ve seen before on the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S, but where those phones comprise a metallic back panel and surround with a glass front fascia seated on top, the iPhone 5C has a more rounded, glossy plastic back panel which wraps around the back and sides in one piece.

Proportions-wise it’s very close to the iPhone 5, though a bit thicker at 9mm and heavier at 132g. Although this is noticeably heavier than the iPhone 5’s featherweight 112g it’s still not exactly a heavy phone and is very manageable in the hand.

Build quality is, as we’ve come to expect from Apple, superb, with excellent fit and no creaking in the chassis. The iPhone 5C looks stylish with its neat shape, flattering proportions and range of playful colour choices.

Motorola’s Moto X, being a considerably cheaper model, doesn’t have quite the same high-grade of build, but it’s still not bad by any means. The design is less flashy, being a fairly simple black slab, but Moto is trading on the idea of personalisation as it did with the Moto X. On the Moto G the back panel is removable and you’ve got a range of interchangeable variants in different colours to choose from – so it certainly keeps up with the iPhone 5C in this regard. The back panels have a matte finish and feel very sturdy with nicely contoured shapes and edges.

Motorola has talked of the Moto G having an edge-to-edge display, but it really isn’t and there are plenty of models on the market with narrower bezels.


Apple’s display remains at the same 4-inches and it is still an IPS LCD Retina setup with an 1136 x 640 pixel resolution at 326 pixels-per-inch (ppi). This means visual quality is as good as you’ll find on the flagship, it’s nice and sharp with rich colour and great brightness levels.

Motorola has opted for a larger 4.5-inch TFT panel with a 1280 x 720 pixel HD resolution, which also hits the same 326ppi mark and offers a robust image quality with good colour, clarity and brightness.

Picture quality is therefore more-or-less on a par, but if you like a bigger screen then the Moto G has a half-inch advantage here.

Storage, connectivity and hardware

The Moto G has 8GB and 16GB onboard storage options with no microSD slot and a bonus 50GB of Google Drive storage, while Apple’s iPhone 5C offers 16GB or 32GB internal space, access to AirDrop and iCloud, and again no card capability.

The iPhone 5C features full 4G and 3G connectivity for a wide-range of connectivity bands, as well as dual-band Wi-Fi, Hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and Apple’s Lightning port. It also uses a  Nano-SIM. Motorola’s Moto G has full 3G connectivity but no 4G capability. It features Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Hotspot, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0 and microUSB.

Apple has opted for a 1,510mAh battery pack but manages its usual trick of optimising power consumption in such a way that you’ll typically get a good day’s use out of it on a single charge. KYM’s Richard Goodwin described his experience with it as “better than the iPhone 5S.” Praise indeed.

Motorola’s battery is rated at 2,070mAh and should provide plenty of use time, just like the iPhone 5C.

Neither battery is removable.

Processor and performance

The Moto G is equipped with a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, a chip designed by Qualcomm for cheaper handsets while still maintaining decent performance. It’s based on older ARM Cortex-A7 architecture, carries 1GB of RAM and uses an Adreno 305 GPU.

General performance for multitasking and jumping between apps on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean seems to be quite good, although app load speeds are longer than you’ll find elsewhere. There is the occasional hiccup but nothing too serious and on the whole smoother performance with longer waiting times may be preferable to snappy load-speeds and constant juddering.

The iPhone 5C uses Apple’s A6 chip, which is still a force to be reckoned with and particularly so inside Apple’s carefully optimised ecosystem. It’s a 1.3GHz dual-core setup with 1GB of RAM and a PowerVR SGX 543MP3 triple-core GPU. This thing just flies along with iOS 7 and can handle all the most up-to-date apps aboard the App Store.


Imaging capability for the Moto G is not particularly good, but then that’s perhaps to be expected of a fairly basic 5-megapixel sensor. Images show visible noise and are on the whole quite fuzzy and washed out.

The iPhone 5C fares much better by using the same 8-megapixel iSight camera hardware seen aboard the iPhone 5 and images and video produced are of very high quality.


The iPhone 5C has a few key advantages here in terms of design and build, processing power and optimisation, and the superb camera, but this is all because it is nowhere near  a “budget” phone in the true sense of the word, starting as it does at £469. The Motorola Moto G may have a squiffy camera but in every other way it’s a fantastic little device for the price, which starts at £135 for the 8GB model and goes as high as £159 for the 16GB version. 

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he he.. pot vs kettle

In terms of medium to long term trends, Apple is in trouble, unless the company can make their devices a lot cheaper or come up with a new revolutionary product. Google has just stuck a massive spoke into Apple's and Samsung's wheels.

Why would a 1.2ghz quad core lose to to a 1.3ghz dual core when people find it hard to tell the difference in speed between a 1.2ghz quad core and a 1.4ghz one/

The fact that you can put these two products side-by-side at all is a testament to Motorolla and a very severe detriment to Apple considering the £300 price difference!

They are 1.2ghz x 4 cores and 1.3ghz x 2 cores.

That makes 4.8ghz for the quad core and 2.6ghz for the dual core.

I have now had my moto g for a week and it has been faultless! I would recommend this phone to anyone who is looking for a smartphone without any complications! I new it would b fine as my old skool razor flip still works so Google and Motorola make a good team! I'm well happy!

I got my moto g for £99... Vs a £450 phone and you come out with "its a bit faster and has a better camera"
For the extra £351 you can buy an entry level DSLR!!!

I really want to like this article, the facts are generally there but to me it reads like an Apple fanboy (no offence intended) wanting to play down the competition that Apple has with the Moto G.

The reason I think this is that Paul goes into why the Apple product features are good but doesn't really do more than state the facts for the Motorola product features. In addition I didn't really feel like there was a payoff in the conclusion, I again I feel like it is an Apple fanboy playing down what Motorola has bought to the table even though the price factor is acknowledged.

Paul, it would be nice for you to state what you concluded and your real honest thoughts in the conclusion, I'm sure there is more to it than what you published.

All the same, appreciate the comparison Paul.

Hey Ryan,

Appreciate the civil tone here as usually "fanboy" talk is fairly venom coated. It's interesting how much I hear this considering I actually don't really like Apple products and generally don't use them much unless I have to (for the purposes of articles and such).

In fact I mainly use Android products in my day-to-day life and consider myself something of a dyed-in-the-wool Android fan.

Still, to address your point, I think the reason why I perhaps didn't wax lyrical about the Moto G is that kind of the whole point of it is it's a straightforward, well-optimised, no-nonsense approach to a smartphone, and a very affordable one at that, but there's not really much more to it that that - that's its big trick.

It's very easy to talk up all the fancy icing on the iPhone 5C - the slick design etc., it's a lot harder to get excited about a plain sponge cake, even if it's a cheap yet very well made sponge cake.

The Moto G is a workhorse, while the iPhone 5C, as I mentioned, isn't really affordable at all and is more of a thoroughbred with all the fancy extras that entails. I've been using the Moto G as my personal handset for a good few months following my full review and it really is fantastic, but it's not exactly inspiring from any other standpoint than how little money it costs to get a decent Android experience.

Hi Paul,
Geez, sorry about the length of this mate! Not a rant but I guess I'm looking at value for money and understanding needs more than anything here.

To be frank, I am "civil" as I don't have a problem with "fanboys", it's a personal preference and everyone has the right to their opinions. I actually enjoy it when they get technical facts wrong - it's fun watching them squirm but all in a good nature of course!

I am actually brand and OS agnostic (with exception to my DSLR cameras), in computing and mobility devices I own products from Apple, Motorola, CCE (Brazilian laptop and phone manufacturer), HP, BlackBerry and Acer that have Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Ubuntu, iOS, OS X, the BlackBerry OS (I forget what they call it) and of course Android - that makes me feel like a tech slut actually with only a Windows Phone device missing from the lineup.

My friends are actually surprised by my decision to pick up the Moto G yesterday, I am a videographer and have just started getting into professional photography, they expected I would go with the device boasting the best camera but the fact is that I normally have at least 1 DSLR with me so the camera on my phone doesn't hold much value to me. As I told my friends also, if I was to look at a device for the camera it would be hard for me to go past the Samsung Galaxy S4 due it its 4K video and superb image quality.

When I purchase I look at 3 factors - needs instead of wants; the benefits I get from a device (what it will actually do for me); and value for money - what do I get for my hard earned cash.

The Moto X was very tempting but again, it is still more than I need, I realised that my biggest requirements are to run the Canon EOS app, to receive messages and make calls, all of the devices I was looking at perform these functions perfectly well. I like both iOS and Android interfaces so this wasn't a deal breaker, I don't care what brand is stamped on the device so it just came down to value for money from my point of view and the cheapest represented the best value. The only real differentiating technical factor that meant anything to me in my decision is the 720p screen on the Moto G versus the 640p screen on the 5C, I need to see what detail is in the image when using the Canon EOS app, as I post process most of my work to get the right looks for the client, the colour reproduction means very little little me when I'm shooting - for all I care it could be a greyscale image as long as I have the detail.

I'm curious, why didn't you use some of that last paragraph from your comment in your conclusion to your article? That sounds like half of a conclusion with a payoff for your audience. It is fair to both brands, slightly bias towards value for the Moto G but in saying that, it is really difficult not to be a little bias when looking at comparable value for money and considering the Moto G (here) is 40% of the cost of the iPhone 5C at full retail.

LOL you right!

I've never liked the idea of a device worth £500 - £600 in my pocket. Bang for buck, my moto g is incredible value, considering the spec your getting for the price!! ... Was really the perfect/only option for me.

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