The recently-announced LG G5 was definitely one of the coolest smartphones announced at MWC 2016 — not only because of the high-end specs and build quality, but also because of LG’s interesting take on modular design. At this point pricing and availability for the G5 isn’t too clear, but we do know it will launch sometime this spring and will be up against some heavy hitters that are already on the market. One of those flagships that might give the G5 a run for its money is Motorola’s latest flagship, the Moto X Style (aka Pure Edition). How do these two devices fare against one another? Let’s find out, in this quick look at the LG G5 vs the Motorola Moto X Style.
The G5 is a huge departure from how LG usually designs smartphones. The slightly curved screen, rear-mounted volume keys and removable back plate has gone by the wayside in favor of an all-metal build. The device looks much more premium than the G4 and the G3, and we’re extremely satisfied with the way it feels in the hand. And just because LG employed an all-metal chassis this time around, that doesn’t mean you can no longer remove the battery. Thanks to the new modular design, you can remove the battery by sliding out the bottom portion of the phone. This also makes room for other modules and peripherals, but we’ll get into that later.
On the other hand the Moto X Style is also premium, but in different ways. It features an aluminum frame with either leather, wood or a rubberized back plate. It also comes with metal accents for the volume keys, power button and rear camera module. All of this can be customized via Moto Maker, Motorola’s online customization shop. All in all the Moto X Style looks just like every other Motorola smartphone from recent years, only with a much more refined design.
LG decided to shrink down the display this year, going with a smaller 5.3-inch display as opposed to the 5.5-inch screens found on the G4 and G3. The company says this is a “sweet spot” in terms of screen size for most users. The G5 sports an IPS Quantum Display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 and a 554 pixel density. The Moto X Style on the other hand is quite a bit bigger. It has a 5.7-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 and a pixel density of 520ppi. Both displays look very good, but the fact that LG and Motorola forwent AMOLED panels this year is puzzling.
The G5 comes with new always-on display capabilities that allow the device to show the time, notifications and a few other things without having to wake the phone. It’s a handy feature to have, but it might have been better optimized on an AMOLED display. The Moto X Style also has a feature similar to this called Moto Display, which shows up when you have a notification, when you pick up the phone or when you wave your hand over the screen. With Moto Display you can interact with notifications, while LG’s version of this feature just shows you information and doesn’t let you interact with it.
Under the hood, the LG G5 comes with Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 820 processor with 4GB of RAM, while the Moto X Style sports a slightly older Snapdragon 808 processor and 3GB of RAM. We’re so far very impressed with the performance of the Snapdragon 820, though we’ll of course need to wait for our full review to give you our complete thoughts. When looking at the spec sheet, though, the LG G5 is a little more future proof as it comes with an extra gigabyte of RAM over the Moto X’s 3 gigabytes.
The G5 comes with a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner that doubles as a power button. It’s plenty fast and reliable so far, but again, we’ll need to spend more time with it before we tell you our full thoughts. The Moto X Style doesn’t come with a fingerprint sensor, which is a little unfortunate as most other high-end flagships on the market have already adopted this feature.
The Moto X Style is a little bigger than the G5 overall, which means there’s more room for a bigger battery. The Moto X comes with a 3,000mAh non-removable battery, and the LG G5 comes with a 2,800mAh removable battery. In our full review, we told you that the Moto X Style has slightly below average battery life and sometimes struggles to make it through a full day on a single charge. We’re hoping that won’t be the case with the G5. If battery life does turn out to be a point of contention though, luckily both of these devices have quick charging capabilities so you won’t be attached to that charging cable for very long.
The Moto X Style doesn’t offer up a whole lot more in terms of hardware, and this is where the G5 shines. The bottom part of the G5 can be removed to make room for other modules that bring more functionality to the device. So far the number of modules, or ‘Friends’, is pretty limited, but LG will be opening up this design to third-party manufacturers, so we’ll soon start seeing many more come to market. There’s a module called the CAM Plus, which adds physical camera buttons and some extra battery power to the device. There’s also a Hi-Fi Plus module that features a 32-bit Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) and dedicated amplifier to the device.
It will certainly be interesting to see what LG and other hardware makers can bring to market for the G5.
The Moto X Style has a 21MP rear-facing camera with an f/2.0 aperture and a 1.1µm pixel size, which performs very well in most lighting conditions. One of the biggest caveats with the Moto X’s camera is its camera application, which is a bit too simple and makes changing modes more difficult than it needs to be. Of course, this can always be alleviated by installing a third-party camera app.
LG decided to do something a little different this year and include an 8MP wide-angle lens to accompany the primary 16MP lens on the back. We aren’t going to get too far into camera quality with the G5 since we’ve only had the device for a couple days, but we can tell you that the camera app is fast and reliable thus far. Having a wide-angle lens on the back is really convenient, and the camera software makes it easy to switch between the two rear camera sensors.
We did spend some time with the G5’s camera, and you can find our full thoughts in our LG G5 camera feature focus video. It’s important to note that we’re dealing with unfinished software here, so it will only get better from here on out.
Both the Moto X Style and LG G5 are running the latest version of Android, though on the surface these two smartphones have very different interfaces. The Moto X Style’s UI is just about as bare bones as you can get. Motorola has thrown in a few of its own software enhancements, but not much in terms of changing the interface in any drastic way. And because the Moto X doesn’t have too many things added on, Motorola is able to push out software updates much more quickly than most other manufacturers with software overlays.
One thing you’ll notice about the G5’s software is that LG is doing its best to make the whole interface less bloated. LG removed Q Slide and dual window from its software overlay, and the settings menu has been reorganized and redesigned. Also, there’s no app drawer. While Samsung is giving users the option to remove the app drawer on the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, LG has removed it altogether. We have no official information as of yet, though a few of our sources have told us that Google will be removing the app drawer in Android N, so it looks like LG may be getting a head start on this change.
Conclusion at a glance
So there you have it — our first look at the LG G5 vs the Moto X Style! These two phones are very different. The G5 has slightly better specifications, a modular design and an interesting new dual camera setup, while the Moto X Style is much more reserved and simple. We’re looking forward to comparing these two devices in depth over the coming months, so stay tuned to Android Authority for more coverage.
What do you think? Are you a fan of what LG is doing with the G5, or are you more drawn to the simplicity of the Moto X Style? Let us know what you think in the comments!
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