It’s obvious that large smartphones have seen a rapid growth in popularity over the years, and while big displays have more or less become the standard in the Android world, even Apple finally gave in to the trend last year with a Plus iteration of their flagship smartphone. Apple recently unveiled their latest 2015 flagships, with there once again being a larger version in the mix, and it’s natural to be curious about how this device fares against the best large screen smartphones that Android has to offer.

With this in mind, we pit the latest plus-sized iPhone against Motorola‘s flagship, in  an in-depth look at the Moto X Style / Pure Edition vs Apple iPhone 6s Plus!


Moto X Pure Edition Vs iPhone 6S Plus-22

As far as the design is concerned, neither smartphone features a dramatic departure from their predecessors, and in the case of the iPhone, the design language is identical, given that this is an “s” iteration. The Moto X Style also retains a lot of the design language of the Moto X (2014), featuring the same metal frame, an identical placement of the buttons and ports, as well as the significant curve along the corners and the rear. The difference in the style comes when looking at the signature Motorola dimple on the back however, which is now housed in a metallic strip that includes the camera and flash, and is also much smaller in size and takes on a more subtle look.

As mentioned, the iPhone 6s Plus features the same design language as the iPhone 6 Plus before it, but unlike previous generations, where Apple has typically made the “s” iteration thinner and lighter, the iPhone 6s Plus is actually slightly thicker and heavier than its predecessor. This is because the iPhone 6s Plus is now made with a stronger 7000 series aluminium, which makes it less likely to bend, and there is also an additional pressure sensitive layer below the display, needed in order to utilize the phone’s new 3D Touch feature.

Moto X Pure Edition Vs iPhone 6S Plus-16

When comparing the two, the Moto X Pure Edition is thicker, but manages to be less tall and not as wide as the iPhone 6s Plus, despite the former featuring a larger display, courtesy of the very thin bezels the device features along the sides. This difference in size also means that the Moto X Pure Edition has the edge with regards to the handling experience, but both are still very large smartphones that do fall just outside the realm of comfortable one handed use.

One aspect that makes the Motorola flagship hard to beat is when it comes to the customization possibilities available to you. Moto Maker allows you to pick and choose your own color scheme, accent colors, and material for the back cover, and you also have the ability to add custom engravings and messages on the back, for that little bit more of a personalized touch. On the other hand, things are far simpler with the iPhone 6s Plus, with your choices limited to space gray, gold, and silver, with there now also being a rose gold version available for those who want it.


Moto X Pure Edition Vs iPhone 6S Plus-25

On the display front, the Moto X Pure Edition comes with a 5.7-inch IPS LCD display with a Quad HD resolution, while the iPhone 6s Plus features a 5.5-inch IPS LCD screen, but with a lower 1080p resolution. The display of the Motorola flagship is understandably the sharper of the two because of its higher resolution and resulting pixel density, which allows for a great media-viewing experience.

Of course, the display of the iPhone 6s Plus is no slouch either and looks fantastic in its own right, but some differences are noticeable when looking at the two displays side by side. The screen of the iPhone 6s Plus does get significantly brighter, and the colors are more natural, when compared to the more saturated color tones of the Moto X Pure Edition. This default saturated look may be more appealing to some, but if it doesn’t quite suit your tastes, you do have the option to change it, which can easily be done in the Settings.


Moto X Pure Edition Vs iPhone 6S Plus-17

Judging purely by specs, the Moto X Pure (Style) certainly looks like it could easily trounce the iPhone 6s Plus, but let’s remember that there’s more to the story here. These two phones run on very different software, and Apple’s tight control over its ecosystem allows it to provide a level of optimization that Android OEMs just can’t offer. The subsequent result is that Apple can make due with much less aggressive specs and yet still offer flagship-level performance.

As far as their respective processing packages are concerned however, the Moto X Pure Edition comes with a hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, backed by 3 GB of RAM. In contrast, the iPhone 6s Plus features a dual-core Apple A9 processor, with 2 GB of RAM in tow, doubling the amount of RAM available with the previous generation of the iPhone.

Despite the significant difference on paper, there is barely any disparity when it comes to real world performance. Both devices perform extremely well, and both handle multi-tasking and gaming equally impressively. That said, the iPhone 6s Plus actually manages to outperform the Moto X Pure Edition when it comes to benchmark scores, with the former featuring much higher single core and multi-core scores when compared to the latter, when using Geekbench. The Moto X Pure Edition is certainly of the snappiest Android devices available in the market right now, but you are going to get an overall more consistent experience on the iPhone, when it comes to things like gaming.


Moto X Pure Edition Vs iPhone 6S Plus-20

When it comes to on-board storage, the Moto X Pure Edition is available in 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB iterations, while the iPhone 6s Plus also features a base 16 GB model, but with the larger storage options being 64 GB and 128 GB. 16 GB is not a lot of storage with any smartphone, but is still a possible choice with the Motorola device, given that it also comes with expandable storage via microSD card, by up to 128 GB. With no expandable storage available with the iPhone 6s Plus, 16 GB of on-board storage may not be enough for a lot of users.

The iPhone 6s Plus doesn’t hold a candle to the Moto X Pure Edition when it comes to speaker quality however. The dual-front facing speakers of the latter not only get very loud, but also provides high quality audio, further enhancing the media-consumption and gaming experience. The speaker of the iPhone 6s Plus does delivery some decent audio as well, but considering that it is a single speaker unit mounted at the bottom, the audio experience is obviously not going to be the most impressive around.

Moto X Pure Edition Vs iPhone 6S Plus-14

Neither device packs a whole lot extra on the hardware front, but the iPhone 6s Plus does get the leg up here with the addition of a a really good fingerprint sensor. Touch ID is faster than ever, and simply pressing the home button will instantaneously unlock the phone. The fingerprint sensor is actually a little too fast, which is a weird thing to complain about, but if you are trying to glance at your notifications in the gap between pressing the button to turn on the display and the device unlocking, you will likely not be able to. The obvious work around here is to use the power button to wake the device first before unlocking it, but is something you may have to get used to, depending on which device you switch from.

When it comes to the battery, the Moto X Pure Edition packs a 3,000 mAh battery under the hood, while the iPhone 6s Plus comes with a 2,750 mAh unit. The battery life is pretty good with both smartphones, with both comfortably allowing for a full day of use, which sometimes goes up to a day and a half with the iPhone 6s Plus. Where the Moto X Pure Edition has the advantage here is when it comes to charging. With Motorola’s Turbo Power charger, the Motorola device charges extremely fast and will get you back to full capacity in around 75 minutes. On the other hand, the proprietary lightning cable may not allow for any fast charging, but the cable is reversible, which sounds minor, but makes plugging in the device that much easier and more convenient.


Moto X Pure Edition Vs iPhone 6S Plus-11

Historically, flagships from Motorola and Apple have been at opposing ends of the smartphone camera quality spectrum, with Apple releasing great cameras year after year. As expected, Apple has introduced a few improvements to their camera experience with the iPhone 6s Plus, but this time around, Motorola promised a significantly improved one as wellm with the aim to at least bring its camera at par with the impressive competition out there.

With the Moto X Pure Edition, you get a 21 MP rear camera with a dual tone LED flash and phase detection autofocus, while the iPhone 6s Plus features an also upgraded 12 MP unit, with optical image stabilization on-board. This is a significant bump for both smartphones, and in the case of the iPhone, the new sensor finally allows for video recording in 4K. Another new feature the iPhone 6s Plus comes with is called “live” photos, which essentially records 1.5 seconds before and after a photo is taken. To see them, you use 3D Touch on the photo you took, and image will instantly come to life in the form of a short video.

Moto X Pure Edition Vs iPhone 6S Plus-9

The front-facing cameras have also received upgrades on both smartphones, with both now featuring 5 MP units, compared to the 1.2 MP and 2 MP front-facing cameras seen with the iPhone 6 Plus and the Moto X (2014). The interesting part about the Moto X Pure Edition’s camera is the availability of a front-facing flash, included to help with taking selfies in low-light conditions. The iPhone 6s Plus may not have this, but comes with what Apple calls “Retina Flash,” which is basically the screen lighting up when you a take a photo.

Neither implementation is revolutionary, but Apple’s Retina Flash does work a little better at evenly illuminating the face, and isn’t as blinding as the front-facing flash on the Moto X Pure Edition. Another difference between these two front-facing cameras is that the Moto X Pure Edition camera is of the wide angle variety, which will allow you to fit multiple subjects into the frame, which isn’t possible with the iPhone 6s Plus.

The camera of the Moto X Pure Edition has proven to be very good this year, but when compared to the images of the iPhone 6s Plus, there is a big disparity in the way that both devices handle post-processing. The images with the Motorola smartphone are a lot more saturated and with more contrast, while the iPhone 6s Plus maintains a more natural look. Which one you prefer boils down to personal taste, but where the iPhone really outshines the Moto X Pure Edition is in dynamic range. There is a lot more detail to be found in darker areas like shadows, and highlights aren’t blown out like they are on the Moto X.

Things remain along the same lines when it comes to taking shots in low-light conditions as well. The photos with the Moto X Pure Edition aren’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, and there is certainly a huge improvement when compared to the camera of its predecessor. That said, the highlights are typically blown out, and there is quite a bit of noise reduction and over brightening being performed, which results in a much softer and grainier photo. For something that doesn’t feature OIS, this camera is a decent performer in low light, but definitely pales in comparison to the much sharper and cleaner looking images that the iPhone 6s Plus manages to capture.


Moto X Pure Edition Vs iPhone 6S Plus-26

As is the case with any Android versus iPhone comparison, you are looking at two completely different experiences and ecosystems on the software side of things.

With the Moto X Pure Edition, you get a near stock Android experience of Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, which helps keep everything running smoothly, and should also provide for speedy updates to future versions of Android. There are some really useful features baked in by Motorola though, such as Moto Voice, that lets you use a custom catch phrase to call on the device, even when the phone in an idle state. There is also Moto Display, Moto Actions, and Moto Assist, that allows for a variety of different features, like subtly peeking at your notifications, twisting your wrist to launch the camera, or automatically silencing your phone during any preset times.

With the iPhone 6s Plus comes iOS 9, and if you having been using iPhones previously, there won’t be too many surprises here. Everything remains largely the same aesthetically, and it is still the same grid of icons as it has always been, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, if you are looking for a pretty straightforward software experience.

Moto X Pure Edition Vs iPhone 6S Plus-18

The most notable addition with the latest iPhones is the addition of 3D Touch, which lets you perform functions that Apple likes to call “peek” and “pop.” Keep in mind that 3D Touch isn’t the same thing as a long press, which still works as it would normally. With 3D Touch, you are physically applying pressure on the display, and this will allow for access to certain additional features and functions.

As an example, if you are in the Mail application, pressing down on a e-mail lets you take a quick glance at it without fully opening it, and pressing a little harder will take you into the full email, if you decide that it something you want to go through further. This can also be done with applications on the homescreens, so if you were to use 3D Touch on the camera app, you can quickly take a photo, record a video, and even take a selfie.

Moto X Pure Edition Vs iPhone 6S Plus-3

Most of Apple’s own applications already come with 3D Touch support, and while third-party app support is limited for now, that number will continue to go up as more developers update their applications. Even without a heavy amount of third-party support, there is still a lot you can do with 3D Touch, such as easily moving the cursor around by pressing down on the keyboard, or jumping into the multi-tasking screen by pressing the display and sliding from the side. It is quite fun to just poke and prod at things to see what works and what doesn’t, and from the looks of it, this feature certainly offers a lot of potential for Apple.

Specs comparison

 Moto X Style / Pure EditioniPhone 6s Plus
Display5.7-inch TFT LCD display
Quad HD resolution, 520 ppi
5.5-inch IPS LCD display
Full HD resolution, 401 ppi
Processor1.8 GHz hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808
Adreno 418 GPU
1.8 GHz dual-core Apple A9
PowerVR GT7600 GPU
Storage16/32/64 GB
expandable via microSD up to 128 GB
16/64/128 GB
no expansion
Camera21 MP rear camera with phase detection autofocus, dual tone LED flash
5 MP front-facing camera
12 MP rear camera with OIS
5 MP front-facing camera
ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.1
microUSB 2.0
Bluetooth 4.2
NFC ( with Apple Pay only)
USB 2.0
SoftwareAndroid 5.1.1 LollipopiOS 9
Battery3,000 mAh2,750 mAh
Dimensions153.9 x 76.2 x 11.1 mm
179 grams
158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm
192 grams


Pricing and final thoughts

The Moto X Pure Edition is easily one of the most affordable flagship smartphones currently out there, and for just $400, you can get yourself a completely customized device. The iPhone 6s Plus, on the other hand, with set you back $750 for the 16 GB base model, and pricing goes up from there, based on your storage needs. The iPhone 6s Plus is definitely not cheap, but you do have the option of picking it up at a subsidized rate through network carriers, an option that isn’t available with Moto X Pure Edition.

Moto X Pure Edition Vs iPhone 6S Plus-21

So there you have it for this in-depth look at the Moto X Pure Edition vs iPhone 6s Plus! You of course, can’t go wrong with either smartphone, but what the Moto X Pure Edition brings to the table is customization, a clean software experience, and microSD expansion, all for a price point that is significantly cheaper that most other current-generation flagships. The iPhone 6s Plus will offer everything you’ve come to expect from previous iPhones, will adding and improving features like the camera and 3D Touch.

Related: Note 5 vs iPhone 6S Plus

If you absolutely want an iPhone, the iPhone 6s Plus, is the best one that money can buy. On the flipside, for those that want the freedom provided by Android, and also want to save some hard cash, the Moto X Pure (Style) remains one of the best choices on the market.

Buy Moto X Pure
  • Sorry, but it sounds like an Apple fan wrote this. Did you guys hawk this from 9to5 Apple? If not, maybe this person is on the verge of switching phones.

    lets see the fun comments since this site has been riddled with Apple trolls as of late

    • i_say_uuhhh

      He’s just stating what each device does and which one does something better at. I didn’t see any bias here at all. I can agree with him on all these merits, since I own a Moto X Pure Edition as my daily driver and an Iphone 6 for work.

      • good point. I guess its all subjective. I just thought it was silly comparing these two phones to begin with since they are in different classes all together. Its just my opinion tho.

      • Gordo

        I must admit it’d be pretty hard to have two crappy phones that’s why I go with HTC 10 that’s right that’s the best phone and the best company

        • i_say_uuhhh

          Nether were crappy. My 6S Plus has been a solid overall performer with very little hiccups. I actually bought a 6P as the Moto X had a screen problem and very horrible customer support. The 6P has been the most solid Android phone I’ve ever owned.

    • VersedNJ

      No excuse for their behavior, but aren’t you doing the samething?

  • karthik G

    honest comparision

  • Jose Lugo

    Def enjoyed this review!! The Moto looked snappy.

    • Whocares

      Lol…I wanted to puke when I saw this ugly Moto X. You can put a V-8 engine with turbo charges and other bells and whistles into a Toyota but it doesn’t mean you can make it run like an BMW M car.

      • T4rd

        Lol, sans the Richard Yarrell comments, this is the dumbest thing I’ve read in a while.

      • Gordo

        true that there’s a reason they went out of business. LG is next as the Chinese manufacturers come over here and kick butt on everybody

  • illregal

    I disagree with the display brightness, and the camera comparisons. iphone 6s plus=593 nits. Moto X pure=715 nits. The moto obviously gets brighter. Maybe you still had adaptive display on?

  • s2weden2000

    L 0 L aijphoney …

  • Fardeen Beharry

    great comparison without bias, i love it

  • David

    No Apple isn’t the only one allowing you to pay monthly. You forgot the Moto X can be had for $25 a month with financing on their website which you praised. You can add in more money if you want to pay off the phone sooner. Other than that great review.

  • T4rd

    This was a nice and interesting comparison, but not sure it will really be useful to many given that they’re different platforms and I’d say 90% of phone consumers out there already know what platform they want and wouldn’t be cross shopping these in the first place. Regardless though, thanks for making it. ;-)

  • Leo9

    Can you share both wallpapers?

  • Asif Hasan

    Not a very fair comparison considering the iPhone 6s plus costs almost twice as much, though everything stated here is absolutely correct. Also keep in mind that subsidized rates are only prevalent in the USA; most of the world still have to buy unlocked phones at full price. A comparison with note 5 would be more appropriate.

  • Konj

    When I was reading this I had the feeling that I’m on iPhone lovers Web page, not Android Authority. And this is objective comparison, hah, more like buy iPhone it’s much more better than any android, iPhone full HD display is soo natural, pictures from camera soo natural. If you people here are so much in love with iPhone better name your site iPhone Authority.

  • Konj

    One more thing. I think AA app was on my phones for 3 years now, but after all of this marketing pitching for iPhone , every comparison article is praise for iPhone without any objectivism I’m finally deleting AA from my phone.

  • #Note5 IsBoss

    Apple’s iPhone 6sPlus sucks large donkey balls and the Motorola Pure sucks excessive monkey balls two handsets for a bunch clueless Joe’s technology simpletons at best.

    • squiddy20

      Says the guy who claimed the Lollipop update for the Note 4 would be available by the end of 2014. Says the guy who claimed rooting was for “2plus year old devices”, and then a few months later, was “looking into” rooting his less than 6 month old Galaxy Nexus (which you couldn’t do after 2 months of trying). You have no clue what you’re talking about.

    • Moxin JC

      note 5 is a poka yoke fail lol, they have to redesign it’s flaw cause people were inserting the s pen wrongly lol did you get your refund

  • Robert

    I have the standard 6S and the 3D Touch feature is nice….if I could ever remember to use it. I’m definitely set in my ways after years of simply tapping an icon. But it looks like Android will be implementing this feature in the near future so maybe It will become second nature fairly quickly. The Moto Actions are similar in that once you get used to using them it really sucks to go to a device without them. I had the 2014 Moto X and I loved the software.

  • Paolo Pizzi

    Sorry Apple Authority, but DxO Labs has rated the Moto X camera as better than the iPhone 6s Plus’. Also they have determined that the Moto X’s digital stabilization actually works better than Apple’s OIS. Moreover, it’s completely false that you have to pay the Moto X upfront, as they offer 48-month payments with ridiculously low interest. Something Apple has actually copied from Motorola (minus the low interest, of course.) Oh, and like illregal said, the Moto X screen is brighter. So, it’s three lies you’ve been caught in, while trying to shill for Apple…

    • Kody

      Actually DxO rated the camera of the MXPE as better than the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The iPhone 6s Plus got a higher score on DxO than the MXPE for photos. For video the MPXE still wins the stabilization is practically the same now with the MXPE beating out the iP6s only because the exposure and contrast are better.

      As for the pricing subsidized doesn’t mean monthly payments. It means the part of the price is already paid for. Carriers sometimes offer phones for reduced pricing for phones if you sign with them. For example, with certain plans from sprint the iphone 6s is $0.

      So it was 1 lie that was probably a mistake.

  • More interesting than this outstanding tech comparison piece, is the bipolar reaction it brings from those embedded in the android culture in and of itself. It seems that tech writing on the android side of the house is becoming more in-tune to real world centric operations, performance and perception…and away from the fallacy of spec-sheet performance…which Android marketing is so heavily invested in.

    After reading one of the most comprehensive comparisons between 2 handsets that I have come across…I find myself almost dissapointed that I am unable to produce a link to a video that provides visual proof that is needed to suppress the android zeal factor…if only for a moment…to get to the gravity of the topic. I collect these here:

    There are only 2 bias driven components that I can detect: the size of the table column width on the spec comparison…and the comments from AA readership…some of whom actually infer that an infraction has been committed because of the piece is too balanced. Ironically, I appreciate the level of stupid one has to muster to make such an allegation. Not because all that stupid makes my head hurt and I love the flavor of Tylenol. No, it is because I am relieved that no matter how much effort is exerted to establish tech journalism excellence by content writers in the android space…full spectrum readers (and content creators like myself) are going to leave a great story page chuckling at references to ‘donkey balls’ and shaking my head in disbelief at those attempting to nullify the efficacy of the piece because of the percieved ‘Class’ delta realized difference in Price point, and spec sheet reference to display luminosity between the i6sP and the MotoXPure. While the metric of brightness can be arbitrary, Display brightness…while important, is also a liability to the nucleus of a wireless, data-connected device in the environment it was designed to operate. Display over bright can even pose obscurity to reading text in no-light environments. The ‘brighter’ display doesn’t win a prize. The one that projects just enough brightness so there is no eye strain, and visual acuity is maintained outdoors.

    I’m no fan of Jokerola, but I can see where effort was put into the design customization component and the audio projection.

    Not all AA readership is obtuse, however. Great points about the camera comparison at DxO, a respected source for quality in optics and sensors, rated the i6splus worse than its predecessor..well below the top 3 which were all android devices if I’m not mistaken. But let’s face it…Android / iPhone cameras are used for taking pictures of people’s food and their cats. It’s not like anyone is using them for real visual artistic expression….are they?

    Excellent performance from all players here at ‘Apple’ authority, especially the journalistic contribution. I’ve been referred to as partial to iOS (6ya iPhone/iPad cellphone/Tablet expert) despite owning devices from mountain view, Redmond and Cupertino…but I give props where they are earned: This was a good ******* read.

  • Troclon

    And the clear winner is not apple, as usual. Most of their products are surpassed by the competition. Often, it’s just their prices that are above others, but when you add value to the comparison, they loose.

  • Landontuber

    Live Photos are a gimmick if I’ve ever seen one… But still cool, even if it’s not an advantage over the Moto X

  • Kody

    It seems some people misunderstood. Subsidized does not mean the same as monthly payment.

  • Ronald Sims

    Apple still producing phones with 2 GB of ram. They should be making phones with 6gb of ram or at least 4gb. With the prices they are charging, to say the least.

  • Moxin JC

    i am currently in love with my Moto X Pure, white and champagne option is just amazing, love it

    • 1mjohn

      just curious on the white back material on the x pure, does it gets dirty easily? or its probably made of a material that can retain its pure white colors in a long time. any comment on this please

      • Mohsin Javed

        Well I can’t say anything about that cause I take care of my phone very well. You should ask someone who is a rough user. As far as my usage goes it almost still new. Material is not too soft to go off white this easily.

        • 1mjohn

          Thanks for the quick reply. Well im not a rough user as well. How long did you own your moto x already? Did you protect it with a back case? Really attracted on the white version because of the gold metallic sides surrounding it.

          • Moxin JC

            Today is the 32nd day. I have not protected the back, just applied the bumper that came with the phone which saves it’s metallic sides.

          • 1mjohn

            Thank you!

  • Gordo

    see you got a great camera with a phone inside it great big deal I’m about having a phone with a camera as a side dish how about that