Moto X (2014) vs. LG G3

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The refreshed Moto X (left) and LG G3 (right)

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The LG G3 and Moto X (2014) are two of the year’s top high-end handsets, but how do they compare to each other? Read on as Gizmag highlights all of the key difference between the two Android flagships.

Size

The G3 is the larger handset, coming in at about 4 percent longer and 4 percent wider than its rival. While LG’s handset is certainly bigger than the Motorola device, its curved back means that it still feels comfortable in the hand.

Both devices measure in under 1 cm (0.4 in) at their thickest points, though the Moto X is 11 percent thicker than the G3.

Weight

Neither handset is particularly weighty, with the LG G3 coming in just 3.5 percent heavier than the 2014 Moto X.

Build

The G3 has a plastic build with a faux brushed metal finish that feels solid in the hand, though not quite as premium as some of its aluminum-built competitors.

Motorola offers a choice of plastic, leather or wood for the back of its handset, all of which are finished with a metal band around the edge. It's also worth noting that the Moto X's more premium wood and leather finishes push its cost up slightly.

Colors

There’s a fair bit of choice when it comes to picking a color for the G3, but the Moto X wins out, offering a wide selection of finishes and colors through its Moto Maker service.

Display (size)

While the G3's 5.5-in display provides plenty of real estate, the phone doesn’t feel overly large, and is only 4 mm (0.16 in) wider than the smaller-screened HTC One (M8).

The Moto X’s display is by no means small, but the G3 gives you 12 percent more screen real estate.

Display (resolution)

The LG handset’s quad HD display is extremely sharp, offering 27 percent more pixels per inch (PPI) than you’ll find on the Moto X’s panel.

You’ll want to note, though, that the Motorola device’s 432 PPI screen is still very sharp, with a pixel density that puts it between the iPhone 6 Plus' 401 PPI and the HTC One (M8)’s 441 PPI.

Active Display

The Motorola handset makes use of a Super AMOLED panel, allowing for what the company calls Active Display. When the screen is switched off and notifications are received, the device will light up only the pixels necessary to show the alert. This eliminates the need to switch on the display to check notifications, therefore extending battery life.

With the new Moto X you can also hover a hand above the display to show recent alerts.

Cameras

In terms of megapixel count, the two devices are almost identical, with the G3’s front-facing 2.1 MP shooter just besting the Moto X’s 2 MP offering.

When it comes to smartphone cameras, pixel count only tells part of the story. Some devices make do with significantly less megapixels on their rear shooters and still produce good – if not great – shots (the One M8 and iPhones 5s, 6 and 6 Plus spring to mind).

In our testing, we found that the G3’s cameras to product some great (and fast) results.

Laser autofocusing

LG’s device uses a laser to measure the distance between the lens and the subject of the shot, making for some lightning-fast autofocus times. Tapping the display to focus the shot will instantly take a picture, with the chosen subject as the focus. This was one of our favorite things about the G3’s camera during our testing, and is a big help in snapping the perfect shot.

Twist-to-launch camera

You can start up the Moto X’s camera, even when the display is switched off, by simply twisting it back and forth in your hand, sort of like you’re opening a door.

Water resistance

Neither device is fully waterproof, but the Moto X can cope with water splashes.

Knock Code

You can unlock LG's device by tapping out a pre-registered pattern on the display.

Infrared

The G3 is fitted with an IR blaster, allowing for use as a TV/set-top box remote.

Battery

The G3’s battery is significantly larger than the Moto X’s, but considering its larger, higher resolution screen, that’s probably a good thing. In our testing, we found that the LG smartphone was easily capable of getting through a full day.

Processor

The devices are fitted with the same powerful quad core chip.

RAM

The amount of memory you’ll find in the G3 varies depending on your choice of storage, with the higher capacity 32 GB version of the device offering an extra gigabyte of RAM over the 16 GB variant.

Storage

Only LG’s device offers a microSD card reader.

Software

The Moto X ships with near stock Android, with only minor tweaks to accommodate for the extra functionality that Motorola has added to the device.

LG, meanwhile, augments the G3 with its own Android skin that changes the look of the operating system. The LG UI has a slick, muted aesthetic while providing tweaks such as a customizable setting menu and pop-up, interactive notifications when you receive a message.

Out of the box, LG’s handset suffers from a minor lag issue, with transitions and loading times just a hair slower than we’ve seen on other leading Android handsets. Luckily, you can easily improve performance by switching from Dalvik to Android runtime (ART) in settings. This is technically a developer option, but we didn’t notice any stability issues after making the change. You can find full details on implementing in our G3 tips and tricks guide.

Release

LG’s handset beat the Moto X to market by four months.

Starting price (off-contract)

The G3’s US$600 off-contract price tag pegs it at about $50 cheaper then the HTC One (M8) and Samsung Galaxy S5. But none of them are as affordable as the new Moto X. At $500 full retail, it's one of the more affordable high-end flagship devices on the market.

Starting price (on-contract)

In the US, you're more likely to see these prices – subsidized with a two-year agreement. It’s a similar trend here, with the LG G3 coming in at $100 more expensive than the Moto X.

For more on the handsets, check out our full review of the LG G3. We're still putting our Moto X review unit through the paces, but, in the meantime, you can hit up our initial hands-on.

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