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Moto G vs Nexus 5: Which cheap Android phone is the best deal?

Google likes to use its own devices to show off the power of its Android operating system. Nexus phones and tablets usually act as the ambassadors of new updates, coming out just in time to be the first device to show off changes to the OS. The Nexus devices generally carry a reasonable price tag and are designed to bring enough power to show off the best bits of Android. It’s perfect for people already familiar with smartphones and Google’s operating system. But for people who haven’t been exposed to the experience of handheld computing, it can still be a tough sell. The Moto G, Motorola’s latest phone, appears to be the device that will be used to bring Android to a whole new market. But is it on the same level as the Nexus 5? We take a look at the specs to find out.


Moto G


Nexus 5  


Size 129.9 x 65.9 x 11.6 (mm) 69.1 x 137.8 x 8.6 (mm)
Weight 143g 130g
Screen 4.5-inch LCD 4.95-inch Full HD IPS Plus 
Resolution 720×1280 pixels 1080 x 1920 pixels
OS Android 4.3 Android 4.4
Storage 8/16GB 16/32GB
SD Card Slot No No
Processor Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, 4G LTE, NFC Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, 4G LTE, NFC
Camera Front 1.3MP, Rear 5MP Front 1.3MP, Rear 8MP
Bluetooth Yes, version 4.0 Yes, version 4.0
Battery 2,070mAh 2,300mAh
Charger Micro USB Micro USB
Marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Price $180 (without contract) $350+ (without contract)
Availability Motorola (unlocked) AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, Google
DT Review Coming Soon 4 out of 5


The Nexus 5 is arguably Google’s most impressive phone to date, making up for shortfalls on previous models and sporting the latest and greatest in most areas. It’s powered by the newest processor in the Qualcomm Snapdragon line, the 800, and has 2GB of RAM as well. This helps make everything run smoothly, a must when you have a display as sleek as the Nexus 5 does. Pixels are packed in on the 5-inch screen, which reaches full HD with 1080p.

Pretty much every category of comparison between the Nexus 5 and the Moto G is won by the Nexus 5. The Moto G feels like its from another “era,” albeit one just a couple years old. It’s powered by an older model of the Snapdragon processor and has half the RAM of the Nexus 5. It’s display maxes out at 720p and its cameras are less impressive. It’s likely still a solid phone as most of the devices coming out of Motorola are, but it’s just not in the same game as the Nexus 5.


With all of that said, the Moto G is still a great deal at an off contract price of $180 – practically half off the $350 cost of the Nexus 5, which is itself about half the price of a normal high-end smartphone. It’s not too often you come across an unlocked phone that will cost you under $200 and still deliver a solid display, quad-core processor, and a recent version of Android. The Nexus 5 is an amazing phone with some serious legs up on the Moto G in terms of specs. Still, the Moto G may be underpowered, it’s also underpriced for what buyers will get with it. Normally, phones like this go for $300-$450.

This is really Motorola’s goal with the Moto G: It’s not meant to compete with the likes of the Nexus 5 but is instead meant to catch the eye of those who have never had a smartphone before. With a price tag that appears extremely reasonable and no contract restrictions to scare off a consumer, the Moto G can make a name for itself in markets that aren’t over-saturated with flagship phones vying for your attention the way the Nexus 5 tries to do. It’s an affordable option for those that thought a smartphone wasn’t in their budget. The Nexus 5 is a great deal for someone already familiar with smartphones who will recognize the value of the device. 

Both of these phones are solid picks and are priced at half of what competing phones in their classes normally cost. Two wins for Google.

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