Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 vs. Samsung Galaxy A35: Good looks, or Good Lock?

Motorola and Samsung have long made some of the better budget phones you can buy, but 2024 threw a wrench into our normal expectations. Samsung isn't bringing the A55 to U.S. shores this year, which means American customers only have the A35 to choose from.

Meanwhile, the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 is the best $400 phone Motorola has ever made, eclipsing the Samsung Galaxy A35 in many ways. The only big advantage Samsung seems to have this year is the number of software updates offered, as the company will keep giving the Galaxy A35 updates until Android 18, while the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 will only receive Android 15.

Whether you'll hold on to the phone for that long may be a different story, but there's no denying the value that comes with years of software updates. With that said, here's how to choose between these two excellent $400 phones.

Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 vs. Samsung Galaxy A35: Design and display

Samsung Galaxy A35 gaming

(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung's Galaxy A35 is an easy choice for Galaxy fans who aren't looking to spend too much on a new phone, all while offering great specs and a feature-rich software experience. The phone's rather boring design is offset by some surprisingly exciting color choices of Iceblue, Lilac, and Navy, plus the standard black variant if you don't care much for colorful phones.

On the front is a 6.6-inch Samsung Super AMOLED display with 2340 x 1080 resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. That display swaps between 60Hz and 120Hz depending on what's happening on-screen to help save battery, but it isn't quite as efficient as an LTPO display.

It features a max brightness rating of 1,000 nits, which is easily viewable in the sun, but the company's Vision Booster technology means that it uses PWM dimming at all brightness levels. If you're sensitive to light flicker, this won't be a great phone for you.

Meanwhile, Motorola is using a 6.7-inch pOLED display on the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 with a 120Hz refresh rate and a 2400 x 1080 resolution. Plus, Motorola's excellent flicker-prevention technology ensures that even PWM-sensitive users will find this display comfortable.

The Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 with its stylus

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

Both phones use plastic frames, but Motorola went out of its way to make the Moto G Stylus 5G's frame look and feel like brushed aluminum. Not only that, but the vegan leather back on the Moto G Stylus 5G makes the phone look and feel substantially more luxurious than the Samsung Galaxy A35's shiny back.

The Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 is nearly 20g lighter than the Samsung Galaxy A35, meaning it's more comfortable to use for longer periods of time. 

The downside is that the Moto G Stylus 5G only sports an IP52 water and dust resistance rating, which means you shouldn't take it in the pool on a hot summer's day. Meanwhile, the Galaxy A35 features a flagship-level IP67 water and dust resistance level, so it can get as wet or dusty as you need it to.

It's also worth noting that Samsung is using Gorilla Glass Victus Plus on the Galaxy A35, which offers better scratch and drop resistance than the Gorilla Glass 3 on the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024.

Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 vs. Samsung Galaxy A35: Specs, performance, and battery life

Multitasking on the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

Both phones feature very comparable specs with a few trade-offs in a handful of categories. The Exynos 1380 processor in the Galaxy A35 and the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 processor in the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 offer nearly identical performance across a range of categories, but the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 adds in 2GB of additional RAM for better multitasking performance.

Samsung sells a model with 8GB of RAM in some regions, though, which is the preferable choice if you've got access to it. It's the minimum amount for truly smooth performance in modern Android, so it makes sense to choose the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 if you're more of a multitasker.

Both phones offer a choice of 128GB or 256GB of internal storage, plus the ability to expand the storage up to 1TB with a microSD card. However, buying straight from Motorola or Amazon will ensure you get the 256GB variant.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Samsung Galaxy A35Moto G Stylus 5G 2024
OSAndroid 14, Samsung One UI 6.1Android 14
ColorsIceblue, Lilac, Navy, Black (varies by country)Caramel Latte, Scarlet Wave
Screen Size6.6 inches6.7 inches
Screen Resolution1,080 x 2,3401,080 x 2,400
Screen TypeFHD+ Infinity-O Super AMOLEDFHD+ pOLED
Refresh Rate120Hz120Hz
ProcessorExynos 1380Snapdragon 6 Gen 1
RAM6GB (8GB variant in some countries)8GB LPDDR4X
Storage128GB/256GB, expandable with microSD128GB/256GB, expandable with microSD
Cameras50MP main camera, 8MP ultra-wide, 5MP Macro, 13MP selfie50MP main camera, 13MP ultra-wide, 32MP selfie
SpeakersStereo SpeakersStereo Speakers
Battery5,000mAh, 25W wired charging5,000mAh, 30W wired charging
Wireless ChargingNoYes, 15W wireless charging
Bluetooth 5.35.1
Water ResistantIP67IP52
Size159.9 x 74.8 x 8.1mm162.6 x 74.8 x 8.3mm
Weight209 grams190 grams

The biggest spec differences turn out to be pretty minor in the grand scheme of things, but can make or break the choice for some people. Motorola included both NFC for quick tap mobile payments and wireless charging in the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024. Not only that, but it's 15W wireless charging, which is as fast as many flagship phones.

Motorola also supports up to 30W wired charging on the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024, meaning it'll charge a bit faster than the Galaxy A35, especially since both phones feature the same battery size.

While Samsung didn't include wireless charging on the Galaxy A35 but it did include a newer Bluetooth standard compared to the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024. The Bluetooth upgrade isn't a massive deal but it does mean the A35 will use less energy when paired with compatible Bluetooth devices and could provide a more consistent connection when used in the vicinity of a large number of Bluetooth devices — like on an airplane.

Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 vs. Samsung Galaxy A35: Software and updates

Samsung Galaxy A35 wet

(Image credit: Samsung)

Here's where the real meat of the difference is, and your choice is likely going to depend on the other tech choices you make. Folks who have a lot of Samsung devices — a Samsung TV, a Galaxy Watch, a Galaxy Tab, etc. — might want to stick with Samsung for their phone, as well.

Samsung does an excellent job of creating an entire ecosystem that links up and talks to other Samsung devices in a way few companies can because Samsung makes so many different types of electronics. The only big Samsung feature the Galaxy A35 doesn't support is Samsung DeX, the desktop UI that more expensive Samsung phones can display when hooked up to a TV or monitor.

The latest Samsung One UI 6.1 release on the Galaxy A35 also supports Samsung Knox Vault for the first time on Samsung's more budget-friendly models. This means deep data encryption and protection against bad apps if you're someone who enjoys sideloading.

Plus, Samsung's Good Lock software allows an incredible breadth of customization options that help make your phone truly feel like your phone and less like a generic Android device.

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

Meanwhile, Motorola recently released its Android 14 update alongside a UI refresh. The OS introduces a handful of important under-the-hood changes as well as additional customization options beyond what was previously offered. For instance, the Quick Settings panel on the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 can now be configured to display a large grid of icons, as seen in the image above.

There are also a ton of amazing little things throughout Motorola's Android 14 UI. Per-app volume adjustment can be a game-changer for anyone who doesn't want an app to deliver a surprise noise or who likes running apps side-by-side and only wants sound coming from one app.

Plus, the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 supports Motorola's new Smart Connect software, one of our favorite things we saw at MWC 2024. Smart Connect seamlessly connects your PC, smartphone, tablet, TV, and other devices, which is even better than Samsung's similar offerings. This includes being able to drag apps between screens and operating systems, making it feel like all your screens are magically linked.

Writing a note on the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

Beyond normal software differences, the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 includes a stylus built into the body, similar to more expensive Samsung phones like the Galaxy S24 Ultra. That makes it easy to take notes at the drop of a hat and also means marking up images and making edits easier than with your finger.

Motorola's stylus software is visually incredibly similar to Samsung's, although you won't find as many useful features like Bluetooth connectivity for remote photo capture and other useful tools.

Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 vs. Samsung Galaxy A35: Cameras

The cameras on the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

I'd wager that while neither phone's cameras are likely going to blow you away—especially if you're coming from a flagship-level device—the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 is more likely to deliver a better overall image than the Samsung Galaxy A35.

Part of this comes from the hardware differences between the two devices. While the main sensor looks nearly identical on paper—both offer a main 50MP camera on the back—the rest of the Motorola camera hardware is notably better.

For instance, the Samsung Galaxy A35 sports an 8MP ultrawide camera and a 2MP macro camera. Historically, 2MP macro cameras are entirely useless and we're unsure why any company continues to include these cameras on any phone. They produce terrible images and certainly aren't worth the money it costs to make them and ship a phone with them.

Image taken with the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024. (Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

Meanwhile, the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 sports a 13MP ultrawide camera that doubles as a macro camera. That means not only will your ultrawide photos look better and feature higher resolution, but the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024's macro photos will look like they come from an entirely different price class when compared to the Samsung Galaxy A35.

On the front, Motorola packs in a beefy 32MP sensor that looks great in most lighting conditions, while the 13MP front-facing camera on the Galaxy A35 delivers softer, less detailed images.

On the software side, Motorola has significantly upgraded its processing and now features much better-looking photos and videos because of it. Meanwhile, Samsung's software tends to produce overexposed images that have difficulty capturing moving subjects like kids and pets.

Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 vs. Samsung Galaxy A35: Which should you buy?

The Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 in hand outdoors

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

The Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 is the better choice for most people but that doesn't mean that the Samsung Galaxy A35 isn't worth buying. Samsung offers better water and dust resistance and, most notably, three additional Android upgrades over Motorola. That means the Galaxy A35 will get Android 18 before Samsung is done with updates while the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 will still be on Android 15.

But most other categories fall in Motorola's favor here. The included stylus on the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 is incredibly handy, even if everyone won't use it all the time, and Motorola's software features are seriously great. Once you start using Motorola gestures like double-chop to toggle the flashlight, you'll wonder why all phones don't do something similar.

Motorola's cameras are notably better in nearly every regard, and the pOLED the company uses on the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 is far more vision-friendly than what's on the Galaxy A35.

Beyond that, the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 has more RAM for better multitasking and a far better build, which looks and feels more premium than the price tag suggests. Both phones are among the best budget Android phones around, but we think the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 is a better buy for $400.

Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu
  • davinp
    I don't like that Motorola only offers 1 major Android upgrade and 2 years of security updates. It doesn't mean a phone is obsolete when it is 2 years old. Phones should have more updates like Samsung.
    Also, Motorola is very slow to upgrade to the next version of Android despite being nearly stock Android/
    Motorola is not one of these Chinese companies that make cheap Android phones.
  • cknobman
    I will tell you from my personal experience with the 1380 chipset, its the bare minimum for acceptable daily performance.

    Seeing as how the Samsung has a worse performing chipset that seals the deal for thee Motorola.
    All the other factors dont even matter.
  • davinp
    cknobman said:
    I will tell you from my personal experience with the 1380 chipset, its the bare minimum for acceptable daily performance.

    Seeing as how the Samsung has a worse performing chipset that seals the deal for thee Motorola.
    All the other factors dont even matter.
    Samsung just took the chipset from last year's A54 and put in the A35.
  • ByoDyne
    This Motorola is almost perfect if you don't need a flagship phone.
    I personally don't think Android version updates matter as much anymore. Back when it was newer there were huge changes with each new version but now it seems that it's just little incremental changes. Security updates are what matters now and the Motorola gets 3 years which is plenty.
    I don't care about IP ratings. I've had cell phones for 25 years and never once have I lost one to water damage.
    The Moto still has a 3.5 jack which I use daily.