As mobile phone companies go Motorola is arguably one of the more important, having been involved in a lot of pioneering work for the medium back when things were starting out – it pretty much produced the first mobile phone proper. The firm enjoyed a lot of success in the initial feature phone years of the 90s and early 2000s, but with the debut of the smartphone, largely heralded proper by Apple’s iPhone, Motorola found itself behind the curve and went into a gradual decline.
In the last few years, however, the company has made a remarkable comeback, returning from the wavering fringes of the mobile industry to become one of the most innovative brands on the market. There was evidence of this switch happening, but Motorola’s acquisiton by Google really kicked it into a high gear. Motorola has since been snapped up by Chinese firm Lenovo, but it hasn’t showed any signs of slowing down its march of progress.
It all started with the Moto X and then gathered pace with the release of the Moto G and Moto E and, of course, the company’s first wearable — the Moto 360.
In 2015 Motorola launched two new Moto X handsets — the Moto X Style and the Moto X Play. Dual releases are par for the course these days, as handset makers strive to give consumers as much choice as possible. Both handsets are now readily available in the UK and both are very compelling propositions.
But the phones we’re most interested in are the two–yes, TWO–next generation Moto X models, the mobile maker’s flagship. As you may have guessed from their names, the Moto X Play is the lower end model, while the Moto X Style is the company’s cream of the crop. But just what are the differences between the two? We took a look to find out.
Moto X Style vs the Moto X Play: Specs
Moto X Play
Dimensions: 148 x 75 x 10.9mm
Display: 5.5in, 1080 x 1920 pixels @ 403ppi
Storage: 16GB or 32GB
Processor/GPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core (1.7GHz A57 quad + 1Ghz A53 quad), Adreno 405 GPU
RAM: 2GB RAM
Software: Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
Battery: 3,630mAh (non-removable)
Rear Camera: 21MP, dual-LED two-tone flash, 1,080p HD video recording
Front Camera: 5MP, LED flash
Moto X Style
Dimensions: 153.9 x 76.2 x 11.1mm
Display: 5.7in, 1440 x 2560 pixels @ 520ppi
Storage: 16GB, 32GB or 64GB
Processor/GPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 ‘hexa-core’ (1.8GHz A57 quad + 1.44Ghz A53 dual), Adreno 418 GPU
RAM: 3GB RAM
Software: Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
Battery: 3,000mAh (non-removable)
Rear Camera: 21MP, dual-LED two-tone flash, 4K video recording
Front Camera: 5MP with wide angle lens, LED flash
As you can see from their specs, the Moto X Style is the powerhouse of the two models. For starters it uses the speedy Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 ‘hexa-core’ CPU and Adreno 418 GPU, while it’s cheaper cousin, the Moto X Play gets the slower, but still respectable, Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core CPU and Adreno 405 GPU.
The Style also gets 50% more RAM, at 3GB, compared to the Play’s 2GB of RAM. Further, both the Style and Play come in 16 and 32GB storage options, but only the Style also has a 64GB option. One place the Play does beat the Style, however, is in the battery department. The Play has a whopping 3,630mAh battery, while the Style has a 3,000mAh one.
Moto X Style vs the Moto X Play: Design
As you may have guessed from their names, the Style is being positioned as the more elegant of the models. Yes, both are fairly close in dimensions and weight–and both has curved backs that make each comfortable to hold, but the Style has more customization options, such as Saffiano leather and real wood finishes, while the Play is more rugged.
Moto X Style vs the Moto X Play: Display
Ah, those displays. Now here is where we really see some difference. The Play actually keeps the same display as the 2014 Moto X. It’s got a 1080 x 1920 pixel display, but stretched out over 5.5-inches this time. That means its PPI is slightly less than last year’s at 403ppi.
The Style, on the other hand, is comparatively a beast. It’s got a physically larger display at 5.7-inches (here think the iPhone 6 vs the iPhone 6 Plus), but not only is the display physically larger, it’s also much higher resolution. The Style’s display resolution is 1440 x 2560 pixels at a staggering 520ppi. Between the two models you WILL be able to tell a huge difference just by looking at their screens.
Moto X Style vs the Moto X Play: Camera
Another area where there are some differences–though not as obvious–are with the two models’ cameras. Both have 21MP rear cameras with dual-LED two-tone flash and 5MP front cameras with LED flash. But each camera on the Style has just a little more to offer. While the Play’s rear camera records 1080p video, the Style’s rear camera records 4k video. As for the front camera, the Style’s also offers a wide-angle lens–perfect for selfie lovers.
Moto X Style vs the Moto X Play: Software
When it comes to software, the Style and the Play are identical. Both will run a pretty raw version of Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, meaning you get as authentic an Android experience as possible. But both do also feature the same customs apps, including Motorola’s new Messages app and Moto, the company’s voice command app.
Moto X Style vs the Moto X Play: Price and Verdict
The Moto X Play will be available in August, starting at £299, while the Moto X Style will come a month later in September, and start at £359.
So, which should you get? For me, hands down, the Style is the clear winner. It’s got the better CPU and GPU as well as the far superior display and 50% more RAM. But the thing that clinches it for me is the extras that the Style’s cameras include. The ability to record 4k video and the wide angle lens on the front camera mean that Motorola is being extremely forwards thinking with the Style. This is a phone that’s going to stay relevant several years into the future.