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Moto X Style vs Play: what's the difference?

Motorola has just announced two new smartphones under its flagship Moto X brand, so here's a check-list of the differences between them.
By
July 28, 2015
Moto_X_Play_White_Wood

It’s rare to be presented with a pleasant surprise in the world of gadgets, but Motorola has just unveiled two beauties – the new Moto X Style and Moto X Play. While both come bearing the company’s flagship Moto X branding, there are some rather major differences between the two handsets. So here’s a little check-list of what’s different and what features they have in common.

Let’s quickly breakdown the spec sheets.

Moto X StyleMoto X Play
Display
Moto X Style
5.7-inch display
Quad HD (2560x1440) resolution, 515 ppi
Moto X Play
5.5-inch display
Full HD (1920x1080) resolution, 401 ppi
Processor
Moto X Style
1.8 GHz hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor
Adreno 418 GPU
Moto X Play
1.7 GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor
Adreno 405 GPU
RAM
Moto X Style
3GB
Moto X Play
2GB
Storage
Moto X Style
32/64 GB
expandable via microSD up to 128 GB
Moto X Play
16/32 GB
expandable via microSD up to 128 GB
Camera
Moto X Style
21 MP rear-facing camera with dual LED flash
5 MP front-facing camera
Moto X Play
21 MP rear-facing camera with dual LED flash
5 MP front-facing camera
Battery
Moto X Style
3,000mAh
Moto X Play
3,630mAh
Software
Moto X Style
Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
Moto X Play
Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
Extras
Moto X Style
IP52 certified, NFC, Cat 6 LTE, Bluetooth 4.1, 4K video capture, Turbo Charge
Moto X Play
Water repellent, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, 1080p video capture
Price
Moto X Style
$399
Moto X Play
approximately $299

The Moto X Style is the bigger beast, both in terms of processing capabilities and physical size. The Moto X  still weighs in with a large 5.5-inch FullHD display, but the Moto X Style makes the jump up to a 5.7-inch display with a high-end QHD display resolution, bridging the size gap with the huge Nexus 6.

Despite stacking up an octa-core SoC against a hexa-core, it’s the Moto X Style that features the more powerful processor. Built from a combination of two high-performance Cortex-A57 cores and four Cortex-A53s, the Snapdragon 808 will provide superior levels of peak performance for when you need it. The Adreno 418 GPU is also significantly more powerful than the Adreno 405, but it does have to power the higher resolution QHD display, so the performance gap may not be as big as you may think. The Moto X Style also includes an additional 1GB of RAM which may help with multitasking scenarios, but the 2GB in the Moto X Play should be more than enough for most situations.

The Moto X Style and Play both feature a microSD card slot and 32GB storage options. The Play also offers a smaller 16GB storage capacity, while only the Moto X Style offers 64GB of built in storage. Oddly, the Moto X Play seems to have a larger battery, with a huge 3,630mAh capacity verses the Style’s still plentiful 3,000mAh.

Moto_X_Style_Colors_Back_Lifestyle

From here on out, there differences are much more subtle. Motorola has made big strides with camera technology this generation and both the Moto X Style and X Play offer the same high resolution shooting capabilities. There’s a 21MP rear camera with dual flash and a 5MP front camera on both models, so photographers will likely be happy with either option.

However, the Snapdragon 808 SoC allows for 4K video capture with the Moto X Style, while the Play is limited to 1080p video recording. There’s Bluetooth 4.1 with the Style and 4.0 with the Play. The former also has Tubro Charge capabilities and is IP52 resistant against water and dust, while the latter only features a water repellent coating. Subtle differences I know, but ones perhaps worth considering.

Both smartphones also offer the full range of Moto Maker customization options, including color and Flip Shells, engraving, and metallic accent options. Software is also the same across both models, with the latest Motorola tweaked version of Android 5.1.1 Lollipop on board.

The final separator is the price and retail availability. The Moto X Style, or Moto X Pure Edition as it will be known in the US, is the more expensive smartphone at $399, unsurprisingly. Motorola states that the X Play will be around $100 cheaper than the Style, suggesting a retail price of around $299. It is also important to note that the Play won’t be available in the US, hinting that Motorola is targeting the handset at more price sensitive markets.

Despite the differences, the Moto X Style and Play are two quite appealing handsets in their own rights. Which one is your favourite?