Nexus 5 vs 2014 Moto G: what’s the best value for money Android smartphone?
Both of these phones punch well above their weight. The Nexus 5 is a high-end smartphone with a mid-range price, and similarly the Moto G 4G is a mid-range device with a bargain-basement price tag.
Nexus 5 vs 2014 Moto G: price and storage
The Moto G 4G costs £149 and comes with 8GB of internal storage, 1GB of RAM and an all-important microSD slot. The Nexus 5 has no expandable storage slot, but comes with two different storage options – both coupled with 2GB of RAM – £299 for the 16GB model and £339 for the 32GB option.
The Moto G was recently upgraded to having a microSD card slot and 4G connectivity. While this is undoubtedly a good thing, it does have a knock-on effect with contract/PAYG prices as data over 4G is more expensive than 3G. If you’re looking for a smartphone that represent the best value, you should also consider the 2013 Moto G models that come with either 8/16GB of storage options – but no microSD. These Moto G’s cost £127 and £159 respectively and other than 4G connectivity and the expandable storage slot, they are identical to the 2014 version.
Nexus 5 vs 2014 Moto G: interface and software
With Motorola being a Google owned company at the time of releasing the Moto G, and the Nexus 5 taking pride of place as the flagship Android smartphone, it’s hardly surprising that these smartphones come with stock, uncustomised versions of Google Android 4.4 installed.
The only difference here is the handful of extra apps that can be found on the Moto G. Moto Assist is the first of the bunch, and the idea behind this app is to make your Moto G work seamlessly with your day-to-day life. It does so in subtle ways such as learning when your meetings are, and then automatically turning off notifications during important event such as meetings. Or learning when you’re sleeping and only letting important calls wake you up, rather than allowing every email or Facebook alert to blast through.
Another useful feature we found with the Moto G was Motorola Migrate. This feature lets you transfer all your previous smartphone’s contacts, messages and media to your new Moto G by downloading an app from the Play Store and syncing the data over Wi-Fi, or by granting Motorola access to iCloud if you’re transferring from an iPhone.
We actually rather like the Moto Assist software, but in reality, you shouldn’t give this feature any significant weight when it comes to choosing between the Nexus 5 and the Moto G.
Nexus 5 vs 2014 Moto G: processor
The processor comparison here is a pretty open and shut affair, as the Nexus 5’s is a different class entirely. On board Google’s flagship Android smartphone is a Qualcomm MSM8974 Snapdragon 800 chipset, with a quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait CPU powering proceedings. The Moto G on the other hand has a Qualcomm MSM8226 Snapdragon 400 chipset with a quad-core 1.2GHz Cortex A7 CPU.
When it comes to benchmarking, these specs equate to a resounding win for the Nexus 5. The Nexus 5 is approximately twice as fast as the Moto G in the Sunspider browser test, its score of 707ms soundly thrashing the 1,442ms posted by the Moto G. These numbers are in-line with our personal experiences, too, as we regular notice a little lag on our long-term test Moto G handset when scrolling and zooming on complex web pages.
Graphics performance, unsurprisingly, sees the Nexus 5 continue its winning streak It outscored the Moto G in the GFXBench T-Rex HD test by turning in an average of 24fps, well ahead of the MotoG’s 11fps.
Finally, the Geekbench 3 test the Nexus kept it’s near 2:1 benchmark ratio in the multi-core Geekbench 3 test posting a score of 2,547 compared to the Moto G’s 1,157.
*Score taken from Geekbench Browser due to the timing of our Nexus 5 review.
Nexus 5 vs 2014 Moto G: screen
The plucky Moto G has to be given plenty of credit for its screen, which is downright impressive. A £150 smartphone that has a 4.5in, 720 x 1,280 (326ppi) IPS display as good as this is a real achievement.
From our Labs testing we measured Moto G’s display brightness at a maximum 436cd/m[sup]2[/sup], with a contrast ratio of 991:1. In real-world language this means it’s an incredibly bright display with colours that really leap from the screen.
The Nexus 5 refuses to be outdone here though, with a beautiful 4.95in 1,080 x 1,920 (445ppi) IPS display. This pixel rich screen boasts a brightness of 508cd/m[sup]2[/sup] and a contrast ratio of 888:1, which ensures video content, images and graphics on this screen all look their best.
The display you get on the Moto G for its price is truly remarkable, however the sheer pixel count of the Nexus 5 makes is impossible to ignore.
With both devices sharing the same Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection we’re calling this round a score draw – although the Nexus 5 edges the win on penalties after extra time.
Nexus 5 vs 2014 Moto G: camera
The cameras in the Nexus 5 and the Moto G are middling at best. Open up the camera app, and this is the only area where these smartphone’s performance is representative of their price tags.
The rear-facing 5-megapixel snapper in the Moto G isn’t terrible, and is more than capable of capturing a scene with reasonable clarity, but it’s impossible to get excited about. Similarly the 8-megapixel camera in the Nexus 5 is far from a world-beater, but it does do just enough to trump the Moto G here. The kicker is that the Nexus packs in optical image stabilisation.
Both phones have front-facing 1.3-megapixel cameras which are completely unremarkable, however they’re more than adequate for selfies and Snapchat.
The Nexus has better video recording capabilities, though, filming 1080p video at a framerate of 30fps compared to the 720p, 30fps recordings of the Moto G.
Moto G sample camera image
Nexus 5 sample camera image
Nexus 5 vs 2014 Moto G: battery
With its significantly lower specs, and therefore demand on battery, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that the Moto G performs better here.
The Moto G retained 70% of its capacity after our 24-hour rundown test – above average in today’s smartphone market – while the Nexus 5 only managed 50%, which also put it slightly behind its high-end rival.
As both batteries are non-removable, we’re awarding this round to the Moto G.
Nexus 5 vs 2014 Moto G: design
Despite its significantly bigger screen, the Nexus 5 isn’t much larger than the Moto G. Its ultra-slim screen bezel means that its 137.9 x 69.2 x 8.6mm dimensions are only just larger than that of the Moto G’s 129.9 x 65.9 x 11.6mm frame, and it is significantly thinner too.
The Nexus 5 feels pleasant in the hand, and with its soft-touch matte-black rear – similar to that of the Nexus 7 – it’s the more handsome phone here. That said, the Moto G is far from repulsive, but its slightly hollow plastic rear cover leaves it lacking that solid, premium feel. On the plus side, if you’re hankering for a little individuality, you can replace the Moto G cover with a range of shells and cover cases that come in a variety of colours.
Nexus 5 vs 2014 Moto G: connectivity
All the usual connectivity suspects can be found in the Moto G, including 802.11bgn Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4, microUSB, 3G and now 4G LTE.
However, the Nexus 5 shows its class once again, trumping the Motorola with dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, NFC and also wireless charging.
Nexus 5 vs 2014 Moto G: verdict
The Nexus 5 is undoubtedly the superior smartphone here, but its SIM free price reflects that – it costs twice as much as the Moto G.
That poses the question “is it twice as good?”
In terms of performance, our benchmarks suggest that it is. However, both the Nexus 5 and the Moto G’s screens, battery performance, cameras and available software are closely matched; making the price jump appear more extreme.
If you want a fast high-end smartphone that is a bargain compared to its flagship rivals, then go for the Nexus 5. However, if you want a solid smartphone that gets the job done while representing incredible value for money, we’d go for the Moto G.
See also: Nexus 6 release date, specs and price.