Motorola has a new flagship smartphone in the 2014 Moto X, an updated version of last year's release that's bigger, faster and better in almost every way. But this month, the company also released the 2014 Moto G, an updated version of last year's budget-priced Moto G smartphone.
The new 2014 Android phones are pretty similar: Both sport big screens and the same gently curved back, and they come with most of the same productivity-boosting software features. But the Moto X boasts better hardware and better performance than the more affordable Moto G. The flagship phone also comes with some killer exclusive features, like always-listening voice commands. But should business users pay a premium for the Moto X, or opt for the budget phone? Read on for a feature-for-feature matchup between the Moto X and Moto G.
Moto X: The most noticeable difference between the original Moto X and the 2014 version is screen size. Last year's release came with a modest 4.7-inch display, while the new version sports a much larger 5.2-inch screen. That means you get a lot more room to work on, so screen-intensive tasks like editing a spreadsheet will be a lot more comfortable. Of course, the phone is now heavier and harder to use with one hand, compared to the original. Most users will find themselves stretching their thumbs to reach the corners of the screen.
Moto G: The new Moto G's 5-inch screen is a lot bigger than the 4.5-inch display on last year's Moto G release, though it's a bit smaller than the 5.2-inch screen on the new Moto X. It's not nearly as sharp as the Moto X's screen, though. Overall, the device strikes a pretty good balance between productivity and portability, but it might still be too big for users with small hands.
Moto X:The original Moto X was a pretty slick smartphone, but Motorola gave it a makeover this year anyway. The phone still looks a lot like last year's version, with a curved back that fits comfortably in your hand, but it is bigger, thanks to the phone's bigger screen. The edges of the device are covered in a metal frame, giving the phone a premium look; the original Moto X was made entirely of plastic. That makes the new Moto X a phone that business users can take seriously. Meanwhile, the expanded Moto Maker website lets you order your Moto X in a wide variety of colors and materials. You can select from 25 different backs, which come in 17 different colors, including four leather backs and four backs made from real wood; you'll pay a $25 surcharge to upgrade from the standard plastic back to a premium material. Motorola also lets you add an accent color for details like the phone's power and volume buttons.
Moto G: Size aside, the Moto G looks a lot like the Moto X, but there are a few key differences. First, the Moto G is all plastic; there's no metal frame on this device. And you can't opt for premium materials like wood or leather, as you can with the Moto X, nor can you order the phone with customized colors. However, you can snap off the phone's stock back and swap it with one of several colorful plastic backs, sold separately. The Moto G is also a bit thicker than the Moto X, but not by much.
Moto X: The Moto X may be a premium smartphone, but it's still more affordable than most flagship phones. You can get it for $99 after signing a two-year contract through a major carrier like Verizon or AT&T.
Moto G: Although the Moto X is affordable for a flagship phone, the Moto G is an even better pick for business users who really want to save money. Unlike most phones, it's not even available to buy at a subsidized price when you sign a two-year contract with a carrier. Instead, you can only buy it off-contract (without agreeing to a two-year contract) for $180 up front. That's more than you'll pay initially to pick up the Moto X, but buying a phone off-contract lets you avoid pricey two-year plans and opt for a cheaper monthly plan through a smaller carrier instead. If that doesn't convince you, consider that the original Moto X still sells for $500 off-contract. If you can stomach the initial cost of the contract-free Moto G, you could save a lot of money in the long run.
Moto X: The new Moto X is about on a par with competing flagship phones in terms of performance and speed. The device packs a 2.5-GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of onboard storage, so business users can expect extremely fast performance and snappy multitasking.
Moto G: The more affordable Moto G isn't nearly as powerful. It packs a 1.2-GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor that's several generations behind the Moto X's chip, with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. Regardless, it delivers decent performance for everyday business tasks like checking email and browsing the Web.
Moto X: The Moto X's best feature is its always-on voice commands, a feature that the Moto G lacks. Just say "OK, Google Now" to activate the voice command prompt and then state a command such as, "Remind me to meet Sally at noon tomorrow." Then, wait to receive an alert when the time comes. The Moto X is always listening, so you can complete all sorts of tasks without ever touching the phone, even when the display is turned off; other phones require you to manually trigger the voice command prompt by pressing a button. And the 2014 Moto X actually lets you set a custom launch phrase for the feature; last year's model only recognized "OK, Google Now."
Moto G: The Moto G isn't always listening, but you can use voice commands by tapping the microphone button on your home screen. From there, you can set a reminder, take a note or retrieve turn-by-turn directions using verbal commands.
Moto X: The New Moto X provides enough longevity to help you get through the workday. The phone lasted about 7 hours and 30 minutes in tests that involved continuous Web browsing via Wi-Fi, which is about on a par with the smartphone average but trails other flagship devices like the Samsung Galaxy S5 (8 hours and 40 minutes). With average use, it should last until bedtime.
Moto G: The Moto G doesn't last quite as long as the Moto X. During the same test, it lasted about 6 hours and 30 minutes.
The second-generation Moto X and Moto G smartphones have a lot in common, but business users who want a premium device should opt for the flagship phone. The Moto X is bigger and faster, and has extra features like always-listening voice commands. It also lasts longer on a charge, and comes with more storage space. On the other hand, the Moto G is the budget smartphone to beat, with good hardware at a great price. That makes it a better pick for business users who want a great phone for a cheap price.
Originally published on Business News Daily.