Motorola or LG? It’s not an easy question to answer this year, at least when you’re comparing the Moto X Pure Edition (also known as the Moto X Style) against the LG G4. At first glance, they’re actually more similar than you might expect (same CPU, GPU, memory, etc.), though there are some important differences worth underlining.
The beauty of the Android ecosystem is that there are so many smartphones to choose from. The problem with the Android ecosystem is that there are so many smartphones to choose from. Nobody wants to carry around a handful of phones, so the goal is to narrow down the options.
After using both these phones, I have to say that it ultimately comes down to what type of phone you want. The LG G4 is arguably better for power users (for example, it has an LED notification light), while the Moto X Pure Edition gives you more bang for your buck (the G4 has a higher list price than the Moto X, but has been available for longer, so you may find comparable deals).
Look and feel
If you care how your phone looks, go with Motorola. You can use Moto Maker to match the exact colors you want. The front can only be black or white, but you can pick from up to 10 accents and 28 different backs (though some cost extra).
The G4 isn’t ugly, but it’s also nothing special to look at. The placement of the power/lock button on the back, however, takes some getting used to. On the flipside, unless you pick a very vibrant back for the Moto X, the G4 will probably turn more heads.
Both phones feel solid in hand, and are definitely not too light. The Moto X is heavier than the G4 (179g/6.31oz versus 155g/5.47oz) so keep that in mind if weight is a concern.
I wouldn’t say either phone is more likely to slip out of your hands. Both devices aren’t particularly slippery, so it’s probably size that makes the biggest difference.
Display and size
Compared to the G4, the Moto X has a slightly larger display (5.7-inch versus 5.5-inch) and is of course the larger phone. But I didn’t find the Moto X too big, surprisingly, despite the bigger screen.
If you have small hands, go with the G4. It’s simply more manageable, and you shouldn’t feel like you’re making any major tradeoffs compared to the Moto X.
If you watch a lot of videos, movies, and TV shows on your phone, or play a lot of games, the Moto X does have an extra 0.2 inches to work with. However, both screens have the same resolution (1440 x 2560), and the G4 actually has a higher pixel density than the Moto X (538 ppi versus 520 ppi).
Both phones produce gorgeous images and never made me feel as if I was getting a subpar experience. These are flagship devices, after all.
Calls and volume
Like with any Android flagship description, there isn’t too much to report here. Both Motorola and LG know how to make a phone, and to make sure that you can hear the person on the other end.
In terms of the speaker, the Moto X is slightly louder, according to basic tests I performed. If you use your phone as a boombox, neither phone will disappoint, but the G4 just won’t produce as much noise.
Both these phones have great cameras, and I find it difficult to place one above the other. The Moto X has a 21MP rear-facing sensor, while the G4 has a 16MP sensor. On the other hand, the G4 gives you more control on the software side than the Moto X does.
Here is a picture of the Moto X taken with a G4:
Here is a picture of the G4 taken with a Moto X:
Again, these are solid camera phones. You can’t go wrong with either.
The Moto X and G4 both come with Android 5.1 Lollipop. Both will be upgradeable to Android 6.0 Marshmallow, though LG has the edge over Motorola because it claims the G4 is the first non-Nexus phone to get the update.
Because these are both Android devices, the software is quite similar. That said, Motorola customizes Android a lot less than LG, and frankly produces better apps.
This is why it’s a bit puzzling that LG beat Motorola to the punch with its Marshmallow commitment. This is probably the biggest missed opportunity for the Moto X Pure Edition: Despite having a better software experience, the company didn’t make as much of an effort to rush Marshmallow onto the device.
Both phones are Android powerhouses. That doesn’t mean you won’t see lag sometimes, a glitch here or there, and maybe even a crash or two.
But these are usually caused by poorly coded apps rather than carefully chosen hardware. Android apps are quite reliable, and you can largely expect your phone to work exactly as you want 99 percent of the time. That said, I did experience more lag with the Moto X than the G4.
If you’re having problems, restarting an app or the whole phone is the easiest way to get back top performance. And it’s easy enough to reset the device to factory settings to really get that fresh start.
Like with any high-end phone, the only real performance deterioration you have to worry about is the battery.
The G4 and Moto X have the same-sized battery (3000 mAh). Possibly because the Moto X is bigger, however, it doesn’t last as long for me as the G4.
Still, both phones can get you through a day without major problems. That said, batteries will start to drain more quickly the longer you’ve had them for. This is just the way phones are.
Nonetheless, the G4 still wins this category due to one major differentiator: It has a removable battery. If you’re a power user who spends hours upon hours on their phone every day, you can dismiss the Moto X right away.
If, however, you replace your phone on an annual basis, then chances are you’ll be OK anyway. You can always carry around a battery pack or car charger and recharge your Moto X that way. With the G4, you can replace your battery as needed, and your phone will last just as long as it did on day one.
If you want to spend less money and get a slightly bigger, but just as powerful, phone, go with the Moto X. If you want a slightly smaller phone, but one that’s more power user friendly, go with the G4.
In fact, the next comparisons we do will only look at devices that ship with Marshmallow out of the box.