Right before the holidays, it seems like there's a major new smartphone or tablet announced every other day. We aren't quite there yet this year, but we must be getting close. LG's G2 and Motorola's Moto X, both announced in the last couple of weeks, are significant Android phones that show their significance in very different ways. Let's compare their specs and features, and see if we can help you find which is better for you.
Yep, the G2 is the much bigger phone. It's eight percent taller and nine percent wider. The stout Moto X, however, is 17 percent thicker.
Unless you worship at the altar of thinness, though, the Moto X's size shouldn't give you anything to worry about. It has a curved back, which we found made it extremely comfortable in hand.
One of the most intriguing Moto X features is its Moto Maker website, which lets you customize its color, texture, accent colors, and a few other things before buying. Unfortunately, though, this feature is an AT&T exclusive at launch, putting an annoying limit on one of the phone's most eye-catching features.
According to LG, the G2's killer feature is its rear-facing buttons. They might want to sit down with their marketing team, because we have a feeling button placement isn't going to sell many phones. Especially when the verdict is still out on whether back-facing buttons are really any better than the traditional side buttons.
As the bigger phone, it's little surprise that the G2 is ten percent heavier than the Moto X.
If a bigger, sharper screen is all you're looking for, then the LG G2 wins this round without question. The Moto X only gives you 82 percent as much display real estate as the G2. It also only gives you 44 percent as many pixels.
But that doesn't mean that the Moto X's screen won't hit a sweet spot for a lot of people. Do you care about the difference between "really sharp" and "extremely sharp?" Or the difference between "expansive" and "enormous?" Because that's basically what we're comparing here.
Keep in mind that both phones have a persistent onscreen navigation bar (home, back, etc.) so apps won't be using the full screen with either phone.
The G2 wins this round too, with what will likely be the fastest mobile processor of the year in Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800. But again, we're comparing "faster than what most people need" with "much faster than what most people need." Both phones are zippy, so unless you're obsessed with winning benchmark showdowns, we'd recommend prioritizing other features and categories.
Here's a place where all is even: both phones pack 2 GB of RAM.
Both phones are available in 16 GB and 32 GB flavors, though not all carriers will be stocking the 32 GB edition of the Moto X. We aren't yet sure how the different models of the G2 will be distributed.
The G2's battery holds more juice, but remember that it's also powering a display with 125 percent more pixels. For what it's worth, Motorola advertises up to 24 hours with mixed use, while LG is touting a full day for work or play.
No shock here, as both phones max out on speedy LTE networks. The G2 does support the fastest LTE, LTE Advanced, but odds are extremely low that you have access to that. By the time the end of a two-year contract expires, though, those odds will be a little higher.
The G2's camera wins on pixel count, and it could very well be the superior camera. Its Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), if it works as advertised, is also a huge bonus.
But the Moto X's solid camera has one very marketable trick up its sleeve: twist your wrist twice to activate it from anywhere, including while the phone is asleep. We suspect it's the kind of user-friendly feature that smartphone shoppers will gravitate towards.
The Moto X's killer feature is a bit, shall we say, sexier than rear-facing buttons. Its Touchless Controls let you activate Google Now without even touching your phone. Say "OK Google Now" and do something like compose a text message, set a calendar meeting, or search the web.
We don't imagine many people buy a smartphone based on whether it has an NFC chip, but if this plays a part in your decision, both phones fit that bill.
If you want to use your phone as a remote control for your TV, the G2 can rise to the occasion with its IR blaster.
Both phones run Android 4.2, but the G2 has LG's skin on top. The Moto X runs stock Android, apart from a new camera app, and a few cool features like Active Display (which subtly pulses notifications without having to turn your screen on).
Is LG approaching Samsung territory with the list of (possibly gimmicky) features it threw into the G2's software? There's a new multitasking mode that lets you run a few select apps in hovering windows, there are restricted profiles for kiddies, and there's a feature called KnockOn, which lets you power your phone on or off by rapping twice on the screen. Some of these could be useful, but others could be bloat that go unused for most users, much like Samsung's Galaxy S4 software.
Here we have two very different approaches to getting customers' attention. LG seems to have borrowed Samsung's playbook, mixing the highest-end specs with software features that might be a little desperate to be branded as "innovative."
The Moto X, meanwhile, offers some features that could be truly game-changing for geeks and their parents alike. Touchless Controls alone are unprecedented. Active Display and the camera activation gesture make up a package of some of the most user-friendly features we've seen on a phone. If you're on AT&T – or can wait until that annoying exclusive deal expires – the Moto Maker customizations could also be a huge draw. Taken as a whole, it's the kind of feature set that you might expect the iPhone to have by now, were Steve Jobs still around.
That doesn't mean that the G2 won't make a lot of people happy. We haven't yet put it through its paces, and we're pretty psyched to get our hands on that big, gorgeous display, put that Snapdragon 800 processor through its paces, and see if its OIS really does eliminate camera shake.
In the meantime, you can peruse our Moto X review to see if it tickles your fancy.
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