The Nexus 5 and Moto X (2014) have a fair bit in common, with both handsets offering great specs at competitive price points. But having been on the market for almost a year, can Google’s handset hope to compete with Motorola’s 2014 refresh? Read on as we highlight all the key differences between the two flagships.


The new Moto X is 2 percent wider, 4 percent wider and 15 percent thicker (at least at its thickest point) than the Nexus 5.


The Nexus 5 is 10 percent lighter than the Moto X.


The Nexus 5 features a plastic construction, while the Moto X is available in three different finishes, all of which feature a metal band around the edges of the smartphone.


The Moto X is available in a wide range of colors, and if you happen to live in the US or UK you can configure the Moto X in a variety of color and finish combinations via the Moto Maker website.

Display (size)

The Moto X’s display provides 10 percent more screen real estate over its rival.

Display (resolution)

Though the displays here pack identical resolutions, thanks to its slightly smaller size the Nexus 5’s screen offers 5 percent more pixels per inch (PPI).

Active Display

Motorola’s device is fitted with a Super AMOLED panel, allowing for a useful feature the company calls Active Display. When the device is locked and a notification is received, it will pulse on the switched-off display, only lighting up the pixels required to show the alert. Not only is this useful, but it also lets you check notifications without killing battery life.

With this refreshed Moto X you can also hold a hand over the sleeping display to fire up your recent alerts.

Water resistance

The Moto X can cope with getting water splashed on it, but neither handset is suitably equipped to be submerged in water.

Hands-free voice

The Moto X expands upon the operating system’s built-in “Ok Google” voice functionality, allowing users to choose any phrase to activate it, as well as the ability to access it without first switching on the display.

The Nexus 5 didn't launch with this functionality, but it now mostly duplicates it. After turning on hotword detection in the Google Now settings, it will recognize your voice nearly anywhere. The only exception is if the screen is off and it isn't on a charger (it will work when it's charging).


In our testing we found the Nexus 5’s cameras to be capable, but far from the best shooters we’ve used on a smartphone. The Moto X’s cameras offer better resolutions than those found on its LG-built rival, but without hands-on time, we can’t judge how they'll perform.

Twist-to-launch camera

You can instantly switch on the Moto X’s camera by twisting it back and forth, similar to how you'd open a doorknob.


Battery capacity is identical on the two handsets, but that doesn't necessarily mean battery life will be. Stay tuned for our full review for our thoughts on the new Moto X's battery life.


Both devices come in 16 and 32 GB configurations, and neither offers a microSD slot.


Both devices pack powerful quad core CPUs, but the Moto X’s chip is newer and offers a higher clock speed per core.


Both handsets are fitted with a healthy 2 GB memory.


Being a Google handset, the Nexus 5 runs stock Android. While the unaltered version of the operating system might not offer the same plethora of features you’ll find on certain treatments of the software, it does offer a clean, simple and smooth experience.

The 2014 refresh of the Moto X largely follows suit, only altering the OS to make way for the features that the company has added to the device.


The Nexus 5 hit shelves a full 11 months before its rival. There's still no official word on a 2014 Nexus phone, but there's still plenty of time for Google to get something out before the holidays.

Starting price (off-contract)

Both phones are doing very well in this department. The new Moto X comes in at around US$150 cheaper than most flagship handsets, and, while the Nexus 5 might lack a few of the bells and whistles found on the Moto X, its price point is still extremely competitive.

If you’re interested in reading more about the Nexus 5, head over to our full review. Stay tuned for our full Moto X (2014) review. In the meantime, you can check out our hands-on impressions of the new handset.

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