[aa_image src="https://cdn57.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Moto-X-Style-AA-1-of-3-840x473.jpg" alt="Moto-X-Style-AA-(1-of-3)" width="840" height="473" class="alignnone size-large wp-image-629696"]

As carriers like T-Mobile and a number of growing prepaid providers chip away at the conventional contract model, many U.S. Consumers are now turning to unlocked, off-contract devices. The downside to going off-contract is that you swallow the entire price of the phone at once, in exchange for long-term savings versus a contract plan.

For those that want to have their cake and eat it too, 2015 has been an exciting year. Unlocked phone buyers have seen a number of powerful yet affordable devices debut over the last few months including the Asus ZenFone 2, Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3, and most recently, the Motorola Moto G (3rd gen).

It’s not just the budget and mid-range ends of the market that have seen a bevy of affordable options, however. A similar phenomenon has struck the flagship domain, with ZTE, OnePlus, and Motorola all offering high-end handsets at sub-$450 pricing.e

So how do the ZTE Axon, OnePlus 2, and Motorola Moto X Style compare? To help answer this question, we’ll start by looking at how they stack up on paper.

Moto X Style (aka Moto X Pure)OnePlus TwoZTE Axon
Display
Moto X Style (aka Moto X Pure):
5.7-inch display
Quad HD (2560x1440) resolution, 515 ppi
OnePlus Two:
5.5-inch LCD, Full HD
ZTE Axon:
5.5 inch, Quad HD (2560x1440)
Processor
Moto X Style (aka Moto X Pure):
1.8 GHz hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor
Adreno 418 GPU
OnePlus Two:
1.8GHz Snapdragon 810
ZTE Axon:
1.8 GHz Snapdragon 810
RAM
Moto X Style (aka Moto X Pure):
3GB
OnePlus Two:
3 or 4 GB (depending on storage option)
ZTE Axon:
4GB
Storage
Moto X Style (aka Moto X Pure):
32/64 GB
expandable via microSD up to 128 GB
OnePlus Two:
16 or 64GB storage
ZTE Axon:
32GB storage
Camera
Moto X Style (aka Moto X Pure):
21 MP rear-facing camera with dual LED flash
5 MP front-facing camera
OnePlus Two:
13MP rear
5MP front
ZTE Axon:
13 MP/2 MP dual camera
Battery
Moto X Style (aka Moto X Pure):
3,000mAh
OnePlus Two:
3,300mAh
ZTE Axon:
3,000 mAh
MicroSD
Moto X Style (aka Moto X Pure):
Yes
OnePlus Two:
No
ZTE Axon:
No
NFC
Moto X Style (aka Moto X Pure):
Yes
OnePlus Two:
No
ZTE Axon:
Yes
Fingerprint scanner
Moto X Style (aka Moto X Pure):
No
OnePlus Two:
Yes
ZTE Axon:
No (with the exception of the Chinese-only variant)
Quick charging
Moto X Style (aka Moto X Pure):
Yes
OnePlus Two:
No
ZTE Axon:
Yes
Waterproofing
Moto X Style (aka Moto X Pure):
Splashproof
OnePlus Two:
No
ZTE Axon:
No
Software
Moto X Style (aka Moto X Pure):
Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
OnePlus Two:
OxygenOS based on Android 5.1
ZTE Axon:
Android 5.1 Lollipop
Dimensions
Moto X Style (aka Moto X Pure):
153.9 x 76.2 x 11.1 mm, 179g
OnePlus Two:
151.8 x 74.9 x 9.85 mm, 175g
ZTE Axon:
153.9 x 73.7 x 9.4 mm, 172.9g
Price
Moto X Style (aka Moto X Pure):
$399
OnePlus Two:
$339 (16GB), $389 (64GB)
ZTE Axon:
$450

As you can see, all three devices are very similar when it comes to many of the key specs. All three are priced more competitively than traditional handsets from the likes of HTC, Samsung, Sony and others. All three also have very light, non-bloated UIs that are nearly stock Android in nature. Of course, there are also a number of differences that set these devices apart.

With that in mind, we’ll look a bit deeper at the pros and cons of each device, in comparison to one another.

ZTE Axon

[aa_image src="https://cdn57.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/ZTE-Axon-Phone-3-840x560.jpg" alt="ZTE Axon Phone-3" width="840" height="560" class="alignnone size-large wp-image-628147"]

Seemingly out of nowhere, the ZTE Axon was announced towards the beginning of this month after a slight bit of teasing. Without traditional marketing or even the type of viral online marketing the OPO and OP2 saw, the Axon didn’t necessarily get the same level of attention upon its debut that the other two phones on this list did.

Nonetheless, the ZTE Axon is a hell of a device. With all the latest specs and a design that is very premium and unique in nature, there are many reasons to consider the ZTE Axon.

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Pros

  • Exceptional sound experience, particularly when wearing headphones, thanks to Hi-Fi audio and the inclusion of JBL earbuds.
  • A unique look thanks to the patterning found on the grills and on the camera area of the phone.
  • 4GB RAM as standard, though it is worth mentioning that the OP2 does offer one model with 4GB RAM.
  • A 5.5-inch QHD display that helps it stand above the OP2 in the visuals department.
  • ZTE Passport protection gives you extra peace of mind if your phone breaks, giving you free replacements and fixes. For those that are spending this kind of money off contract, having a guarantee that you’ll be protected in the event of an accident is a major perk.

Cons

  • 32GB of storage is the only option. Even worse, there is no microSD slot here.
  • The Snapdragon 810 is known for overheating. While later versions of the chipset have reportedly (mostly) addressed the problem, there are still many who are a bit concerned about trusting the 810.
  • While still quite affordable, the ZTE Axon is more expensive than both of its rivals on this list, without offering significantly better specs or software features to help set it above the pack.

Read more:

OnePlus Two

[aa_image src="https://cdn57.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/oneplus-2-launch-aa-46-of-931-840x473.jpg" alt="oneplus 2 launch aa (46 of 93)" width="840" height="473" class="alignnone size-large wp-image-629062"]

Announced just one day ahead of the Moto X Style, the OnePlus 2 was a much-teased product from a company that knows all about viral marketing. To no surprise, it has been generating a lot of attention both on Android Authority’s site and across the web. While OnePlus has had its ups and downs when it comes to reputation, the OP2 is a solid choice with quite a few positives, though it isn’t without its downsides either.

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Pros

  • Easily the most aggressively priced, starting at just $329. For those that are interested, there’s a model with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage priced at just $389.
  • Of the three, only the OnePlus Two offers a fingerprint scanner.
  • The new SwapStyle backs, if OnePlus delivers this time, are attractive and help the phone further stand out against devices like the Axon.
  • The OP2 has a 1080p display but the biggest battery of the three, which should result in solid battery life. Obviously the jury on that is still out, however.
  • Type-C USB means no more fumbling for the right end of the cord, and could also open the door to better accessory support in the future.

Cons

  • Unlike the other two phones, there’s no QHD. Some may not care, but others will consider this a deal breaker.
  • While Samsung, Google, and Apple are pushing hard to make mobile payments more common, the OnePlus 2 goes against the trend thanks to the lack of NFC.
  • Likely due to the adoption of USB Type-C, the OP2 does not include quick charging technology. For those that rely on the ability to quickly top off their phone in between meetings and the like, this could be a major downside.
  • The Snapdragon 810 is known for overheating. While later versions of the chipset have reportedly (mostly) addressed the problem, there are still many who are a bit concerned about trusting the 810.
  • The invite system. Easily the biggest con, you can’t just buy the phone when it ‘arrives’, you have to be invited first. Supposedly, OnePlus has overhauled its invite system this time around to make it less painful but only time will tell for sure.

Read more:

Motorola Moto X Style (aka Moto X Pure Edition)

[aa_image src="https://cdn57.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Moto-X-Style-Hands-On-28-840x560.jpg" alt="Moto X Style Hands On-28" width="840" height="560" class="alignnone size-large wp-image-629542"]

Motorola didn’t even wait a full day after the OP2 announcement before springing its own next-gen flagship on the world. It’s hard not to be impressed by the Style, from its exceptional looks and improved customization aspects, to its killer specs and rock-bottom price tag. I have personally already admitted that I feel that the Style is more of a flagship killer than the OP2, even if they come close in several ways.

So what are the biggest pros and cons for the Moto X Style?

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Pros

  • While the OP2 offers a number of choices when it comes to backplates, it can’t even begin to compete with the number of options that Motorola delivers with its Moto Maker. The default looks of the Moto X Style are also arguably the most compelling, though it really comes down to personal tastes.
  • Unlocked support for GSM and CDMA networks in the US with the Moto X Pure Edition.
  • A beautiful 5.7-inch QHD display.
  • What is said to be one of the best smartphone cameras on the market, though the jury is still out on this one until we can fully review the phone.
  • Dual front facing speakers that should offer exceptional sound when compared to the bottom speaker on the OP2 or the single front speaker on the Axon.
  • MicroSD. Neither the Axon or the OP2 offer microSD.

Cons

  • While the QHD display will look beautiful, it also means that the phone is significantly larger than its predecessor and a bit larger than the 5.5-inch phones on this list. For those that are already pushing nearly past their limits with 5.5-inch — this could just be too big.
  • For those that are into the numbers game, the Snapdragon 808 is technically less powerful than the 810. That said, the 810 has found itself undergoing throttling in many cases to prevent heat issues, and so true day-to-day experiences will likely be comparable.
  • The switch from AMOLED to TFT may be considered a con for some, and it remains unseen how it will affect battery life when it comes to active display tech.
  • While the camera is said to be very good, it is worth noting it lacks OIS. Until we perform a full review, it’s hard to say how much of a con (if at all) this really is.

Read more:


The big story with all three is how much they offer for the price tag. Regardless of which you choice, you’re getting a hell of a device that is much more affordable than the Samsung Galaxy S6, LG G4, other flagships that arguably offer few advantages over these more budget-friendly options.

Now for the big question, which do you prefer? Did we miss any potential pros or cons for any of the three? Let us know in the comments!