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.

Design

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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.

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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.

Display

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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.

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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.

Hardware

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

lg g5 first look aa-20See also: LG G5 feature focus: modules and peripherals33

Cameras

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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.

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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.

g5-camera-thumbRelated: LG G5 feature focus: camera47

Software

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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.

thumb lg g5 uxSee also: LG G5 – UX Feature Focus35
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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

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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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  • Ronald Sims

    Why are they comparing 2015 flagships to the G5? of course specs and hardware are going to be better on the G5

    • moew

      No idea, but I was rather surprised. What’s next? G5 vs Samsung Galaxy Nexus?

      • Marty

        Probably the S7 versus the Nexus One.

    • Kenneth Machowski

      Because the Moto x pure edition is a q4 release and the g5 will be a q2 release. You’re talking about a 6 month gap. The comparison is relevant especially to those who spent the money going full unlock and contemplating switching to a carrier specific device and want to know if it’s worth it.

  • nyarathotep

    I wonder how the seemingly standard practice of photographing brand-new flagship phones screen-down on concrete ledges originated? It gives me a minor case of the heebee jeebies, like when somebody stands close to the edge of a cliff.

    But the 2015 Pure (likely my next phone due to unlocked price and nearly stock Android) isn’t the same level of flagship that the 2016 LG is and I imagine the prices will reflect that. I actually liked the old LG buttons in the back, it was a “gimmick” that kind of worked or at least one that I got used to. The new stuff doesn’t have any special appeal to me, and LG software never has.

    • Marty

      But the modular functionality is what’s interesting about the G5. The B&O module is especially interesting to me. I don’t give a poop about the camera module, though. What’s intriguing, since LG said they’d open up the module system to 3rd parties, is what 3rd parties will come up with.

  • Scott Lowe

    I wish that LG could take a phone like the G5, and do what Motorola has done with their software. Go with stock Android, and put your own stuff in a simple application. Their UI, just like Samsung’s, is just garbage. Why can’t they let their consumers make the decision on software? LG has done a good job in the area of hardware innovation on the G5 to distinguish itself from Samsung. Stock Android on that phone would be awesome. As it is, I’d still take the Moto X PE just because of the smoothness of the experience, even without some of the stuff the G5 has. However, I’d take the G5 over the S7.

  • Adam

    What the hell was the point of this comparison? Pretty sure there are plenty of phones with the SD 810 that would have been a better comparison. I have an OG Motorola Droid if you wanna borrow it to compare to the S7

  • Smash

    the biggest advantage is stock android and bloat ware free

  • Kenneth Machowski

    This would be an amazing phone on vanilla Android. As long as the bootloader can be unlocked and some of our developers push a near vanilla ROM, I would seriously consider making the switch from the PE to the G5.