Android Central

Nokia stands tall in the budget smartphone space right now, so how does the Moto G stack up?

The budget smartphone space is an interesting place right now, and Motorola just made a big splash with the launch of the Moto G. It's a different take on the concept of a cheaper Android phone, where low cost doesn't equate to a sub-par experience. It currently stands pretty much alone in the Android space at the around £135-160, but it doesn't mean it's the only option. 

Nokia, once the juggernaut of the mobile phone world, now stands pretty tall in the budget category with some of their Windows Phone 8 devices. Hardware aside, the experience is largely the same on the cheaper phones as it is on the top-of-the-line offerings like the Lumia 1020. So, how does the Moto G stack up in a face off with one of these? We've got the Lumia 625, currently available in the UK for £150, and we're putting it up against Moto's baby. 

The design

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Motorola was quite clear at the launch event for the Moto G about the way it wanted the Moto G to look and feel, and that personalization was a big thing. As such, while it does come in black, there's a whole bunch of brightly colored replacement shells and color matched accessories such as flip shell cases and headphones. Red, white, yellow, a kind of teal color, there's plenty to choose from. It's no Moto maker, but it's still impressive. And it does share a little of the look of the Moto X, which isn't a bad thing. The gentle curve on the back makes the Moto G a pleasure to hold, as does the soft touch finish on the rear shells. 

The Lumia 625 is equally bright and colorful, also coming in a range of different colors with replaceable rear shells. It too has a gentle curve to the back and nice rounded edges that makes it feel good in the hand for quite a large phone. Unlike the Moto G you get to see a slight amount of the color of the back around the edges of the display which is a nice touch. The back is pretty awkward to remove mind, likewise with the Moto G. Both manufacturers want you to swap them out, but neither makes it that simple to pop them off. 

The hardware

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Motorola was quite clear that the Moto G was designed to a budget, but also to provide the best possible smartphone experience at that budget. As such, trade-offs such as the active notifications and other features present on the Moto X couldn't be brought to the Moto G. But that aside, Motorola really has nailed it. 

The display is a pretty fantastic looking 4.5-inch 1280x720 resolution panel, with an extremely impressive 329ppi. The Lumia 625 by contrast is a rather more lackluster 800x480 resolution at 4.7-inches. While it doesn't necessarily look bad – the overall design of Windows Phone 8 helps with that somewhat – it's nothing compared to the panel on the Moto G. Brighter, generally more vibrant and of course because of the resolution text is so much sharper on the Moto G. A definite win in that regard. 

The other hardware specs don't disappoint so much on the Moto G either. Inside pushing everything along is a quad-core Snapdragon 400 and 1GB of RAM. Round the back is a 5MP camera, and inside is either 8 or 16GB of on-board storage. It does also have a front-facing camera, but it's not up to much. 

Neither is the front-facer on the Lumia 625, but it is there. Inside, the Lumia houses a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4, 512MB of RAM and 8GB of on-board storage but it does have a microSD card slot. It too has a 5MP camera on the back, but one of the 625's party pieces is the super sensitive touch display, meaning you can actually use the phone with gloves on. 

One thing that is noteworthy; the Lumia 625 has LTE, the Moto G does not. If LTE matters to you, then you have your winner. If it doesn't then read on. Likewise with expandable memory. 

On the out and out specs front, the Moto G looks to be the winner. But, the more important thing to consider is that neither phone feels cheap despite what you pay for it. Solid hardware for the respective platforms with an excellent software experience to go with it. 

The software

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Here of course lies one of the more obvious difference between these two phones. The Moto G runs Android 4.3 and the Lumia 625 runs Windows Phone 8. Both are about as up to date as their respective platforms allow at this time – indeed the Moto G will have KitKat before January is out – and both run a large amount of the apps in the respective app stores. 

The overall user experience is of a sufficiently high standard on each of these two phones that it's sometimes hard to believe they both cost what they cost. Neither phone suffers from any discernable lag and navigating through the operating systems is a pleasurable experience on both. Motorola is already committed to updating the Moto G, and has kept the experience largely the same as Google intended it to be. Nokia on the other hand adds a lot to the stock Windows Phone experience with a ton of their own apps and services. 

Whether you're a Google user or not may be a better question to ask to try and separate the two. If you use Google's services a lot you'll find yourself at a disadvantage on Windows Phone. Whereas if you're a Hotmail/Outlook, Bing, Skydrive, OneNote or even Xbox Music user you'll be well serviced on Android with official apps.  And, while the Windows Phone Store is ever increasing in the number and quality of apps – Instagram is imminent for example – the Play Store still has more availability, and often will get big name apps or games before Windows Phone. That may change going forward, but it's where things stand at the moment. 

Android also offers much more freedom with your smartphone than Windows Phone. Customization stretches beyond just a color for your tiles and accents with wallpapers, custom launchers, widgets and so on and so forth. If you like to tinker Android is still your best friend. 

The camera

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Where would any comparison be without talking about the camera. Both have 5MP shooters on the rear, though one difference is the hardware camera button on the Lumia 625. You miss it when you don't have it. And, while Nokia makes a big deal about the cameras on their high-end offerings, the Lumia 625 is much more befitting of a smartphone at this price point. It doesn't at this point run Nokia's excellent 'pro' Camera application, but the more standard affair is still a good experience. It focuses quickly, and snaps its images without any noticeable shutter lag. 

The Moto G comes with Motorola's own camera application, not that which is found on Google's Nexus devices. It's extremely minimalist in layout, with the settings and gallery access not more than a swipe away and such features as HDR and slow-mo video present. The Moto G isn't the fastest phone in the world at focusing though, and definitely fares better outside than inside. 

So what about the pictures? Here's a couple of samples, with the Moto G on the left and the Lumia 625 on the right. 

Android Central  Android Central

Android Central  Android Central

Neither camera will be capturing any award winning photos, but then we're talking about phones that cost around £150, so we shouldn't expect them to. I'd take the Moto G as the winner in terms of image quality, but it's still too slow to focus and very temperamental when shooting indoors or with the flash. The Nokia is easier to use, but the Moto G will produce better looking photos from its 5MP camera. 

The bottom line

Moto G vs Lumia 625

If you're reading Android Central, then the chances are you'd pick the Moto G hands down. And you wouldn't be wrong for doing so. Until handling the Moto G I was convinced that Nokia owned the budget smartphone category with a series of excellent devices that proved cheap didn't mean a below par experience. But Motorola may have just taken things to a whole new level. The display alone would be enough to differentiate the two if they were say side-by-side in a store. You won't be disappointed if you buy a Lumia 625, it's a fine phone that I like a lot, but the Moto G has more to offer. 

The Moto G is hands down the best Android phone you can buy in this price range; you won't do better for this amount of money. And it might just be the best phone period that you can buy around £150 for some time. 

 
There are 55 comments

quailallstar says:

Nice review. Thanks.

Posted via Android Central App

The lumia display doesn't even come close to the Moto G.the lumia also uses lame old internet explorer with no alternative browsers.doesn't even have instagram or any Google apps not to mention the tiles are beaten by widgets which update more frequently and offer in widget scrolling.Who would buy the POS Lumia

Posted via Android Central App from Nexus 7 2013

Different strokes for different folks. We all use what we think is best for us. Lots of people think Windows Phone 8 is a great system and is for them. Whatever flaws you think it may have, they will come up with an equal amount of flaws for Android =)

If you haven't tried one give it a shot. The Nokia suite of apps on Lumia devices is actually pretty good

Martfo says:

I bought a 625 yesterday on the wifes upgrade and it is the worst tech purchase I have ever made. Simple features like only having the phone vibrate at night on calls but not texts and emails are no where to be found, it's all or nothing. I worked around by manually going in the options and shutting data and wifi off but that's not really slick, the complete lack of quality apps and official apps by the likes of dropbox and FB are a real miss. I can't change the stock keyboard either. I didn't pay a lot for it as it was an upgrade on the wifes P&G but I might take it back and pay a bit more for a Nexus 5 as I just can't get on with this O/S.

I got 20 pound free credit at the App store too and I can't find anything worth buying, it would seem a lot of the apps are just links to the main web sites. The phone itself is well made, seems to have good battery life (the main reason I had it as a lot of android & iphones don't last more than a day on a charge) and a nice screen.

Other gripes apart from the vibrate on everything I have two email accounts and I usually have different tones so I know if it work or personal. If it's personal & I am working it will wait. On the Lumia I cant find a way to do this. I am guessing you can't.

Lol.. Your mistaken bro. I guess you have not used WP in your life. You can't just spread false news to the readers here. The internet explorer is not old. Its internet explorer 10 if im not mistaken. And yes it has other browser options to offer. It also has instagram.

FYI I have Internet explorer 11 on my pc and Chrome is much faster than internet explorer and renders sites more correctly.It also doesn't have a dedicated adblock extension.Not to mention IE updates are slow as hell and chrome updates itself every 15 days or so

Posted via Android Central App from Nexus 7 2013

Lol I thought we were talking about smartphones. Your off topic bro.

Even on phones check out Internet Explorer scores on gsmarena.They are much lower than their Android counterparts.Also those alternative browsers you are talking about don't have access to the same resources as IE which makes them even worse than IE.You can't even set those alternative browsers as default which makes them pointless

Posted via Android Central App from Nexus 7 2013

Og Zygma says:

PWND !!!!!

drokssilva says:

Well, you can have alternative browsers. And Internet explorer has improved by leaps and bounds. Neither phone is perfect either.

Posted via Android Central App

swagsaunders says:

Most users will have an easier and smoother experience on the Lumia. WP8 uses less resources..and even when the Moto G updates to 4.4..the Lumia will still run a tad smoother or at least seem so to the average consumer. You can't go wrong with either choice really.

Posted via Android Central App

sorry aditya.. you were wrong... coz instagram is now available for wp8 ... for confirmation check instagramz pics of yesterday. ..

n its not fare to judge an os n phonez performance in terms f the no f apps .. those apps available for android n iphone are not published_ overnight... wp is new 2 the market if u compare with android n ios... n has crossed 190000 apps..

I must say ..I'm a proud wp8 user holding my 920 along with galaxy note II. . just got updated with 4.3... but I still respect wp platfm...

coz it is such a sleek , powerful, business kinda n safe os...

I'm always scared abt my data n infoz on my note 2. . coz android is such a poor os in terms of security..

n display quality s awesome on lumiaz ..better use it n say... dont simply compare ....

abt ie... it's such a safe n powerful browser ... dont use users data without their permission like google search, email, chrome does... opera mini n many other browsers are available..

kids corner support n nokiaz great apps ..especially nokia music n nokia pro camera....

without any subs u can listen n dwnld unlimited music through nokia music app...

those tiles r really helpfull as it shows notification..
one thing... u can't change the looks f app icons n logos on android. .in wp u can do that...

n wpz apps r almost unique in performance n use... its really a treat for ur eyes...

the no of redundant apps on ios n android is more than half f android n ios users... wp has very less redundant apps n most f such type r unique...

n abt widgets on android... really kills my battery n an data.. most f the apps dont even support timely updates..

I must say that the level f customisation is awesome on android but for that you've to give access to all their permissions..

if you've installed 300 apps.. More than 290 apps n other system apps will b closely wathing n collecting ur call details n other sec ..

even Google reads each n every emails..what else u want???

I'm not at all interested abt comparing camera features..

it's a combo f business n entertainment os...

so bro.. just dont judge wp like that..
coz as a wp n android user I've really understood the diff...

MrCheesecake says:

Already have mine ordered. £16 a month on Three with unlimited data, can't really argue with that!

germcevoy says:

Moto G or Lumia 625?

stevovr says:

for this kind of money in the UK i wouldn't look at either. Carphone Warehouse unlocked unbranded Blackberry Z10. Same price range its a no brainer

MERCDROID says:

Yep, you're right, it's definitely a no-brainer, lol.

Posted via Android Central App

sidharth says:

Blackberry a no brainer

NoNexus says:

Your right, I am all over BB with the dead os and 12 apps.

What the hell was I thinking about, going with a viable ecosystem like I did.

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MERCDROID says:

You definitely chose wrong, lol.

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BB10fanatic says:

This is how retarded people are, they can't even recognize sarcasm?

MERCDROID says:

Lol, if you say so.

Posted via Android Central App

Lumia 625 for fanboys and MOTO G for rest of all. Offcorse guys Moto G for the win. Any mid range android phone can do much more things in much more easier way than any high end windows phone. So there is no need for this comparison.

Posted via Android Central App

There is every need for this comparison and it sounds like the point has been missed entirely...

Average Joe Public who wants to spend less than £200 outright on a phone hasn't been spoiled with any truly good Android phones in recent times, and the lower end Lumias have been gaining traction. That's exactly why a comparison like this is a worthwhile exercise

MERCDROID says:

Agreed.

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Sounds like you are a fanboy of android.

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MERCDROID says:

No, only fanboys use Lumias, lol.

Posted via Android Central App

BB10fanatic says:

No NFC? Why?

sejgiul says:

Awesome review and totally unbiased, which I can really appreciate. I currently own a 620 and am getting a 625 today to replace it.

Having owned a note 2 and various other Android and Apple devices, the main reason for me is the operating system and the integrated services as pointed out in your comparison.

With WP8, I spend less time fiddling with the phone because there is no constant need to customise it. If I want to change the look of things, I change the colours and no further customising is needed. Rearranging of tiles is also easy and straightforward. There is also no need for me to load custom ROMs.

The only downside is not being able to get certain streaming apps such as Sky go (UK) and Lovefilm instant (recently released for iphones). But it's not a deal-breaker for me personally as I have Netflix and I can watch the aforementioned on TV or xbox anyway. I am not particularly bothered about apps such as instagram and vine (which we have now anyway, with instagram supposedly coming today). Games aplenty and all run fantastic on 512mb ram with the exception of a few that require 1gb.

In conclusion, I enjoy using all operating systems but my personal preference is WP8, it has enabled me to be much more productive than any other OS before, which is a good thing!

bleached says:

The lack of a constant need to customize Windows Phone is because it is futile. Beyond changing tile colors, there is no customization. I used to have the same need with Android, but it was because there were so many possibilities and I hated HTC's skin and bloat. Stock Android feels more cohesive and I do not have that compulsion anymore.

There is no way Windows Phone is more productive than Android. I can access my companies network and open documents easily with Quick Office. Wireless printing is built in and automatically recognizes all the printers in our building. Notifications are easily found and give options directly. These are all things that are not available on Windows Phone. Just the sheer number of apps available means anything you want to do is more likely to be possible with Android.

Posted via Android Central App

gmaninvan says:

It's funny, as much as I am sure this is a legitimate opinion, I struggle to trust pro windows commenters since Microsoft was caught paying for positive comments on the blogs

darkoman4 says:

LOL, how about Samsung was found guilty in the court of law for paying people to trash competitors.

asemi says:

So Richard, is this comparison the Moto G review you guys mentioned few days ago or is there another in-depth one coming?

Nope. Full review coming soon, but I'm not handling that one :)

floriyann says:

Hey Richard, i think that you should have compared the Moto G to the lumia 520 instead of the 620, because the 520 is the most affordable Windows phone today, not the 620.

Posted via Android Central App

MERCDROID says:

I don't think that would be a fair comparison. The Lumia 520 is going for under $100 in some areas and absolutely destroys the Moto G on price, alone.

Posted via Android Central App

Exactly. It's not a comparison of the most affordable on each platform. It's a direct comparison against a popular competitor at the same price point. And since there's nothing in the Android space that even comes close for around £150, this is what we went with :)

MERCDROID says:

It's a great comparison, brother. Thanks!

Posted via Android Central App

floriyann says:

Now I get your point! Great comparison by the way. I own a nexus 4 but I also like Windows Phone because they try stand out their interface from Android devices and IOS devices, which is a good thing in my opinion.

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hmmm says:

It should almost be a review of whether Windows or Android is better for you.

MetalMike901 says:

I've considered a Lumia 520 as a backup beater to my N4 and as an introduction to a new os to play around with. At $80 or less it's very tempting, but the biggest issue is that I am entrenched in google services and apps and know that the lumia will offer very little in that regard. With the moto g being so affordable and very close to a nexus experience, I think it would be the perfect second device or a backup. I'd rather spend the extra cheese on the moto g over the 520 just to ensure full goog integration. That said, I still have an itch to try another os just for giggles, and the 520 would be a very cheap way to go. Gotta love choices!!

Posted via Android Central App on my white Nexus 4 with StraightTalk

MERCDROID says:

Agreed!

Posted via Android Central App

annedev says:

I guess I would go with Moto G because it's android, but the phones are very similar. Only the Lumia's camera seems to be a little bit better.

htatc says:

Either phone would be great depending on want or needs. Not feeling all the fanboy rage in the comments. This was a great even handed review. It was not about who rules what but more about comparing two solid phones and the variances between them and there ecosystems in relative to were they stand on the price scale.

atkichr says:

I had an evo3d changed to window's phone. First had a 900 then an 820. For one there are a major lack of games. You can't move apps to the sd card and then you have to pay for apps that are free on android. To me windows phone is boring. Android is much more customizable. The one thing i miss is the camera it was sharp other then that I'm good with my s4. The #s say it all 80% of smartphones are android 3% are windows which puts them still behind blackberry lol.

Posted via Android Central App

borgdog says:

I plan on buying a Moto G for the gf for her initial smartphone. She has been running a Nexus 7 (2013) so it should feel pretty familiar to her. The only problem is we are on-contract with Verizon and it looks like they will only let it go on pre-paid, may have to throw a fit in the store to get a manager to allow it on our plan.

n3rfh3rd3r says:

Nokia makes great devices. Microsoft made a very slick mobile OS. Unfortuantely the experience in both is marred by a market that is limited in its choice of applications (official third-party offerings) and a dependence on Microsoft-specific applications and services. There isn't a Google Play Music app. Yes there is Rhapsody but it is severely lacking compared to other mobile offerings. You have to use Internet Explorer. Any third-party offering is built upon IE, so you don't have a Chrome, Firefox or Opera option to navigate webpages with.

The Moto G is going to get a 4.4 KitKat upgrade. Part of this is due to when the phone is being released, the other part is that Motorola is going to build their devices to be more upgrade-friendly on Android. The same cannot be said for the Lumia 625. Windows Phone has devices running 7.5, 7.8, 8.0 and eventually 8.1. You run into hardware limitiations on devices between 7.5/7.8 and 8.x. Eventually development on 7.8 compatible devices will cease, which if you bought a Lumia 900 or the like and got 7.8 you are chomping at the bit waiting for your contract to expire so you can upgrade to a device that can accept OS updates beyond 8.0.

Then you have the folks that upgraded to the 920 - the experience on 8.1 and above isn't going to be the same as the 1020, 1520, 925/928/929 etc. So many Lumias, so little time to corral them and streamline the offering to accomodate the low-end, mid-range and high-end budgets without giving you multiple variations on each. Part of this is due to the various network frequencies.

You won't suddenly have a woefully underpowered device when 8.1 and the crop of new devices comes out. Windows Phone OS is fluid enough to run on minimal specs and this is why they rule the budget device arena. But, your ability to receive updates and enjoy the full Windows Phone experience is limited.

Meanwhile, you'll have folks hacking their Moto G's and installing Cyanogenmod in no time.

kullkid92x says:

Your first paragraph was on point.

As soon as you got to the second paragraph however your statements became completely false. I have no idea why you would bring fragmentation into this when Android is the worlds most fragmented OS and I know cause I had an EVO Lte lol (which is cool that HTC and sprint are still going to upgrade it to 4.3 I believe)

I am pretty sure that any Lumia device with windows phone 8 will get 8.1 I am 100% sure actually lol seeing as the lowest end phone has a dual core processor.

and your third paragraph is even worse. The Lumia920 has the exact same CPU as the 925,928, and 1020. I don't see why the experience on 8.1 will differ?

and in conclusion, we know at the end of this all it is the carriers that bully the consumers, that is why so many 7.5 devices never got 7.8 because they wanted those consumers to get new 8.0 devices and the carriers are also the reason so many Android devices remained on 2.3 GingerBread

Ry says:

Thank you Richard.

Fernando PG says:

There´s no even possible comparison... In my country 289€ Nokia vs 169€ Moto, and Moto G doubling specs...

artlu629 says:

I'm not sure how much Windows phone has improved but when I got the Lumia 920 last year it was the worst phone I've ever used. It lacked pretty much everything. Prior to that I had a BlackBerry Torch 9800 for two years and I couldn't bare two weeks with the Lumia.

Posted from my Nexus 5 via Android Central App

Martfo says:

Based on my 12 hours of hell with the L625 it's about the same.

Windows phone costing around 30k can t play video other than 3gp and mp4, we have MX player in android to play all formats without conversion

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Windows phone costing around 30k can t play video other than 3gp and mp4, we have MX player in android to play all formats without conversion

Posted via Android Central App

nithyanands says:

this is called no brainer...In WP We have Moli player that can play anything you throw at it...go and get knowledge before u spoil,

simon 4 says:

Does the Moto g do 1080p and have sd card because with 8.1 I can install apps on sd card