Motorola has a revamped Moto X and it has quite a few changes. It has an impressive set of features and a competitive price point. Just a few weeks after the Moto X, the Nexus 6P has appeared on the market boasting similar specifications and price. So what can a dedicated Android fan do? Let’s compare these two phones and see which one comes up the winner.
Both are extremely well-designed. The fact that they do not look like the same boring old black slabs that we have grown used to is refreshing for sure. Motorola has made the Moto X look quite distinctive, but is still recognizable as belonging to the company lineup. It has prominent front-speakers and a curved back, and the phone fits comfortably in the hand considering its weight. The Moto X Pure is also dust-resistant and mildly water-resistant, and carries an IP52 rating.
The Nexus 6P on the other hand has an aluminum uni-body design and front-facing speakers. It has a premium and solid feel to it. The width is just 7.3mm all the way through. The Moto X tapers out to about 1cm in the middle. The Nexus 6P has a neat and thin profile, but is not very comfortable to hold because of the all-metal chassis and the chamfered edges.
The back of the Nexus 6P has a Gorilla Glass strip on the top, a camera sensor, and some antennas. It gives the 6P a unique look, though there is some difference of opinion in this regard. The only thing that you can customize is the color – it’s available in three body colors. The Motorola design, however, is all about customization. You can customize your Moto X using a wide variety of back panels, available in wood, plastic, and leather. You can even use tinted metal accents. Simply access the Moto Maker online tool and customize all the options and get a phone that matches your unique style. Both phones are attractive no doubt, but the Moto Maker sets apart Moto X.
Sadly, the Moto X is missing a fingerprint sensor, even though it has a dimple on the back, which is considered its trademark design feature. It is the exact spot where the 6P has its Nexus Imprint sensor. It works very well – tap the spot and the phone wakes up and unlocks. It is more convenient and faster compared to any phone currently available on the market. This is a small thing, but something important that is missing from the Moto X.
Internals and Display Technology
Both the Moto X and Nexus 6P have 1440p 5.7 inch displays. Those are the only specs in common. Google worked with Huawei to get the latest AMOLED tech for the latest Nexus phone. As a result, the Nexus 6P has a 2560×1440 Super AMOLED panel sourced from Samsung. Samsung usually restricts their technology deals to manufacturers. This move was a bit unusual for them, but the end result was a screen with high brightness, great viewing angles, and brilliant colors.
Motorola bumped up their screen sizes from 5.2 inches and also moved from AMOLED to LCD display. The screen displays crisp and clear images, and the brightness levels are stunning, mainly due to the high resolution, which is 2560×1440. However, the Nexus 6P has better brightness and sharper colors. This shortcoming is only noticeable if you make a side by side comparison. Viewed on its own, the Moto X display is pretty good and the viewing angles are great. Overall, the Nexus 6P is a little better across the board.
When it comes to internals, the Nexus 6P packs in more raw power. It has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810. This is a quad-core collection of high-performing Cortex-A57 processors and there is a collection of four capable Cortex-A53 cores. These chips have been used in other devices and a troublesome tendency to get warm has been observed. This leads to heavy thermal throttling, but the Nexus 6P doesn’t seem to have this issue. It remains fast and doesn’t get too warm. Motorola managed to avoid this issue by sticking to Snapdragon 808 chips. The 808 is a hexa-core chip and has four Cortex-A53 cores and two Cortex-A57. They are powerful and seem to get the job done, although detailed information on the graphical performance front is a little sparse.
The Moto X has 3GB of RAM, but the factory-supplied internal storage is just 16GB. It makes up for this lack by having microSD support. The Nexus 6P has the same RAM capacity, but storage starts from 32GB and models with up to 128GB are available. The negative thing is that it has no card slot and cannot support microSD.
During the last few years, the standard battery used in the large smartphones is 3,000mAh. This is the one you will find in the Note 5, Moto X Pure, LG G5, and more. But the Nexus 6P has a somewhat larger 3,450mAh battery. As expected, the battery life of the Nexus 6P is better than the Moto X. Though the major reason for that is attributed to software improvements in Android 6.0, which we will discuss in detail shortly.
This year, Google really improved their Nexus phone’s cameras. The 6P comes with a 12.3MP sensor with 1.55µm pixels and an f/2.0 aperture. It takes great shots in low-light conditions, and the laser-assisted autofocus feature allows users to take full advantage of the astoundingly shallow depth of field. Motorola also stepped up the game this year and tacked on a 21MP image sensor to the Moto X. This phone performs a lot better in low lighting than past Motorola phones, although it is still not better or equal to the Nexus 6P’s performance.
Photos taken in good lighting conditions by both phones show very little difference. However, the only difference is that the Moto X shows more details. When the lighting is bad, then the Nexus 6P really shines; it produces brighter images without too much noise. Yet, the Moto X is not exactly bad. Compared to the past Motorola phones, it has come a long way in camera performance in poor lighting.
None of these devices have OIS (optical image stabilization), which is unfortunate because it has become the expected feature from much-touted flagship phones. Stabilization compensates for any accidental movement or shaking while taking photos and reduces blurriness. The Moto X and Nexus 6P both have EIS (electronic image stabilization). This feature basically crops out a few pixels on the edges of the frame, then uses it as a buffer to cancel out slight movements that occur during video or image capture. This works fine for still images, but video is not so great. It’s a little wobbly in the Nexus 6P, but Moto X is a little better.
Operating Systems and a Final Word
Most of the Android OEMs looked to slimming down their custom skins in recent years, because consumers have grown conscious of how better stock Android is becoming. Motorola completely overhauled their past customizations and basically started from scratch a few years ago. The Moto X team’s work was so good that many of the features in the first Moto X have shown up in stock Android. The Nexus 6P and Moto X offer a similar experience.
Moto X is running Android 5.1 and a 6.0 update is currently in testing phases. The User Interface looks similar to the Nexus. The design looks pleasingly cohesive and the colors are not excessively muted or extremely garish like some of the OEM skins. The custom features from Motorola are integrated seamlessly; the user gets Moto Assist, Moto Voice, Moto Actions, and Moto Display. All these can be accessed via the Moto hub app list.
A Moto X feature, Moto Display, is one of the coolest on any smartphone. Instead of using an LED for notification, the screen wakes up whenever a new notification is received. An icon is displayed that can be pressed to receive more information. A simple swipe can dismiss, open or unlock the phone. This ties into the Moto Actions and allows you to wake up the Moto Display by waving over the phone. This is accomplished thanks to the array or IR sensors placed on the face of the phone.
Since Motorola has not added much to the software, this has allowed stock Android to catch up with it a little. The Ambient Display is somewhat similar to Moto Display and the Moto Assist features are emulated by the Do Not Disturb feature. The main selling point of the Nexus build is that it always remains updated. The Nexus 6P ships with Android version 6.0 and will remain on the latest build for the next two years at least. The security updates will be available for an additional year.
Android 6.0 has added some important features, such as Google Now on Tap, a doze mode that has led to an improvement in standby battery life, and also supports native fingerprint reader. Android 5.1 had a few annoying quirks that the new version has fixed. The newer version runs wonderfully on the Nexus 6P. There is not much bloatware and Google has limited the number of apps that come pre-installed on the device. The few that are pre-installed and can be easily removed.
Luckily, both of these phones are unlocked and will work on all major carriers, even Verizon and Sprint. The phones can be purchased online from their respective company websites. You can visit the official Google Store and the Motorola website for the Moto X Pure. Financing options for the 6P are available only if you opt for Project Fi, but the Moto X has a payment plan available with all orders. As far as the price goes, the base models, the 16GB Moto X costs $399 and the 32GB Nexus 6P is $499. Extended storage models are more expensive, but for each tier, Moto X ends up being cheaper. The 32 GB Moto X is about $50 less than the 6P’s price.
Both these phones have some definite strong points, but all things considered, the Nexus 6P seems to be a better buy. The Nexus updates, fingerprint sensor, and the more capable camera make the slightly higher price worth paying. The Moto X does not have much things wrong with it either though. Some of you might still prefer this one for its lower price and customizable design.