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iPhone 5c vs. Moto X

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September 11, 2013

Gizmag compares the specs and features of Apple's iPhone 5c and Motorola's Moto X

Gizmag compares the specs and features of Apple's iPhone 5c and Motorola's Moto X

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Sometimes the rumor mill is a little off the mark. Motorola's Moto X was originally thought to be a high-powered superphone that would make geeks salivate. When the phone actually arrived, though, it brought tame specs and more focus on the user experience. Apple's iPhone 5c was rumored to be an aggressive play at the budget smartphone market. What we actually got there, though, was a phone that was only a little cheaper than Apple's most expensive flagship. Are either of the phones worth taking a look at? Let Gizmag try to help, as we compare the specs and features of the iPhone 5c and Moto X.

Size

The Moto X is a little bigger, but these two are in the same ballpark

No huge differences here, though the Moto X is a little bigger (it's 4 percent taller and 10 percent wider). Neither phone is going to win any awards for thinness, as each brings a fair amount of bulk to the table.

Weight

Weights are almost identical

Weights are nearly identical, with the smaller iPhone 5c adding just a little extra heft.

Build

Colorful plastic, all around

Both phones are made of plastic, and both are sold in a variety of colors. The biggest difference is that Motorola lets you visit the Moto Maker website, and design your own from 252 color combinations. The biggest minus there is that AT&T has an exclusive on Moto Maker for the time being. Other carriers should jump into the fray later this year.

The iPhone 5c is sold in five different colors: green, blue, yellow, red, and white.

Display

The iPhone 5c gives you 72 percent as much display real estate

The iPhone 5c has a smaller screen, only giving you 72 percent as much screen area as the Moto X. That's somewhat tempered by the Moto X's always-there onscreen navigation bar though. iOS apps get to use every inch of the iPhone's display.

Pixel densities are in the same ballpark. There are much sharper smartphone screens out there, but both of these handsets are still more than solid in that department.

Processor

The 5c rocks Apple's A6 chip, which we presume is specced identically to the one in the iP...

We haven't confirmed the cores and speed of the iPhone 5c's A6 chip, but the above numbers are pretty safe bets. Our reasoning? Well, the iPhone 5 runs a dual core A6 clocked at 1.3 GHz, and the iPhone 5c is basically an iPhone 5 in a plastic shell. We'll update this post, of course, if there are any surprises.

RAM

We're 99 percent sure that the iPhone 5c has 1 GB of RAM

Another minor liberty, as we haven't confirmed that 1 GB in the 5c, but we'd be shocked if anything was different here. If all is as expected, then the Moto X doubles the iPhone 5c's RAM.

Storage

Both phones are sold in 16 GB and 32 GB models

All even here. But, just like the Moto Maker customization, the 32 GB Moto X is an AT&T exclusive for now. Neither phone supports microSD cards.

4G LTE

Both phones support fast 4G LTE mobile data

No worries here: both phones support speedy 4G LTE data.

NFC

The Moto X has an NFC chip

Apple hasn't yet bothered with near-field communication in any of its iPhones. The Moto X's Moto Skip accessory is one imaginative use of NFC: it's a small clip that you tap your phone against to skip entering your passcode. Anyone who doesn't have your Moto Skip will need your code to open the floodgates.

Cameras

Don't let that pixel count fool you: we can vouch for the iPhone 5c's camera (which should...

The Moto X's camera may have more pixels, but it doesn't take better shots. The iPhone 5c's camera should be the same as the iPhone 5's, and we think it gives you much better images than the Moto X's somewhat disappointing camera does.

The best thing about the Moto X's camera is the way you activate it. Twist your wrist a couple times, and the camera app will launch. It works whether your phone is sleeping or whether you're in the middle of a really intense Candy Crush level.

Battery

The iPhone 5c reportedly has five percent more juice than the iPhone 5 did, but the Moto X...

The 5c's battery is one of the few changes from its progenitor, the iPhone 5 (according to an FCC filing sniffed out by Anandtech). We'll have to wait to test the 5c's actual battery life, but the Moto X will be hard to beat there. Motorola advertises up to 24 hours, which may be a stretch, but we were impressed nonetheless with its longevity.

Hands-free voice

The Moto X has a Touchless Control feature, that lets you access Google Now's voice contro...

The iPhone 5c may give you Siri, but the Moto X's Google Now voice control has a unique "Look Ma, No Hands!" aspect that the iPhone can't match. Train your Moto X to recognize your voice, and any time you say "Okay, Google Now" your phone's voice control will be at your beck and call, no touching necessary.

Software

It's Apple's redesigned iOS 7 vs. not quite the newest version of Android

The iPhone 5c runs the new iOS 7, with its flat design, Control Center quick settings toggles, and AirDrop local file sharing. The Moto X runs (more or less) stock Android, though it's a full version behind the latest, Android 4.3.

Pricing

These are on-contract prices, at the time of publication, in US dollars

As of now, the Moto X costs an extra US$100 with a new two-year contract. We'd expect that to drop a little before the holidays kick into full gear though.

Wrap-up

Speaking of the holidays, we imagine lots of shoppers will be wondering which colorful plastic phone they should throw down for. We can't answer that for you, but know that if you've ever used an iPhone 5, that should be pretty much what you're getting in the iPhone 5c. Only minus the aluminum finish, and plus some pastel-like colors.

The Moto X does have a few other handy features that we think warrant a long look. Our favorite is Active Display, which subtly pulses your notifications on a mostly black screen, even when your phone is sleeping. It uses the phone's sensors to know if it's sitting somewhere that you don't need to see notifications (like the inside of your pocket), or somewhere that you might want to see notifications (like sitting face up on a table).

The iPhone 5c doesn't really bring a whole lot else that's new. It replaced Apple's "discounted iPhone from last year" in the lineup, and, as we mentioned, is basically an iPhone 5 with a fresh coat of (colorful) paint. It gets the freshly-designed iOS 7, but all other recent iPhones get that too. If you like a shot of "new and emerging" in your iPhone, then you'll want to check out the iPhone 5s, with its Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

We imagine we'll be focusing a bit more on the 5s in the coming months, but don't let that deter you from investigating the 5c. Just know that its $100 cheaper price (compared to the iPhone 5s) is a drop in the pond compared to what you'll pay over the course of a two-year commitment.

For more on the Moto X, you can check out our hands-on coverage, and our in-depth comparison between it and the Samsung Galaxy S4.

About the Author
Will Shanklin Will Shanklin is Gizmag's Mobile Tech Editor, and has been part of the team since 2012. Will has a Master's degree from U.C. Irvine and a Bachelor's from West Virginia University. He currently lives in New Mexico with his wife, Jessica.
  All articles by Will Shanklin
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