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.

Display

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.

Camera

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.

Conclusion

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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