The Budget Smartphone Battle: Moto G vs Nokia Lumia 525

Friday, 7 March 2014 - 3:15pm IST | Place: Ahmedabad, Mumbai | Agency: DNA
Both have won praise from critics and users alike for offering a very good smartphone experience at a relatively low price. But which of the Moto G and the Nokia Lumia 525 is the better deal for someone looking for a smartphone that performs well and comes at a reasonable price? Here’s our comparison.
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A few months ago, you had to cough up a fair bit if you wanted a decent handset from a reputed brand with good hardware and software to boot. Yes, there were always “affordable” smartphones but with lower prices came compromises on the hardarware , software and ultimately on the performance front.  However, that could be changing if devices like the Nokia Lumia 525 and the Moto G are any indication. 

Both came with relatively low price tags and yet each punched well above its price point in terms of performance – the Moto G had the kind of display and processor power rarely seen at a sub-Rs 15,000 price, while the Lumia 525 handled games and tasks better than many of its more expensive counterparts while costing just a tad over Rs 10,000. 

But what if you were in the market for a smartphone that performed solidly without costing a bomb? Which one of the two would you go for? Well, here’s our view of how this awesome twosome perform when pitted against each other:

Appearance
Phones in the Rs 9,000-Rs 15,000 price point generally are not head turners, but both the Lumia 525 and Moto G buck this trend, thanks to some good design and some very colourful back covers. Both phones are a welcome change from the big, bulky devices that we have been seeing from most players and are compact and will fit most hands – male and female – easily. While the 525 is slimmer and lighter than the Moto G, we will be handing this round to the latter simply because its glass front and rounded edges look more classy than the slightly more edgy look of the Lumia 525. Mind you, you do get the chance to select the colour of your Lumia 525, whereas in the case of the Moto G, if you want a colour other than black on the back of your device, you will have to order it separately. 
Winner: Moto G

Hardware
So much for the externals. What about what lies within? In terms of hardware, the Moto G might seem a runaway winner to most people with its quad core Snapdragon processor against the dual core one on the Lumia 525 and its 720p display against the modest 800 x 480 one on Nokia’s phone. However, Windows Phone runs perfectly fine on dual core processors – even the mighty Lumia 1020 only uses a dual core processors – so that is not as much of a difference as some might presume. The Lumia 525 also scores heavily with its expandable memory – the Moto G is stuck at 8GB /16GB, depending on the version you take. Both devices come with 1 GB RAM.   Connectivity options are about the same for both with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and 3G being available, and both phones come with 5.0-megapixel cameras, although the Moto G does have one with a flash, unlike the Lumia.  Where however the Moto G does seem a notch above the Lumia 525 is in the most used hardware feature of any touchscreen device – its display. The 4.5 inch display of the Moto G has a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels and comes with a pixel density of 329 ppi, which is way ahead of the more modest 4.0-inch 800X480 display with 235 ppi density on the Lumia

525. Notch another win for the Moto G.
Winner: Moto G

Software
And this is where matters get interesting. While most reviewers have gone into ecstasies over the Moto G running the latest version of Android (4.4, Kit Kat), the Lumia 525 also runs the latest version of Windows Phone, complete with the Black update. Both are formidable in their own right, but tipping the scales in the favour of the Lumia is the fact that it comes with a number of freebies from Nokia, including free music downloads, maps and navigation, and free games as well. While Android does generally have more apps than Windows Phone, the latter comes with more preinstalled applications, one of which is a very feature-rich mobile avatar of MS Office. We can hear howls of protest from the Android fans already but we are handing this round to the Lumia simply because out of the box, it comes with more software. 
Winner: Nokia Lumia 525

Ease of use
Honestly, we did not have any problems with either device. Yes, the Moto G does have the advantage of running the more popular Android platform, but Windows Phone has been gaining popularity of late and the Lumia 525 is a very good ambassador for those wanting to try it out. In the end, it is going to boil down to whether you like the icon driven interface of the Moto G or the tile-riddled one of the Lumia 525. We are calling this one a tie, as there is not too much separating the two rivals here, although the Moto G’s bigger display does give you more space to type.
Winner: Tie.

Performance: General
When it comes to general tasks like handling calls and texting, and the odd spot of mail and messaging, we found the Lumia 525 outperforming the Moto G. Call quality was markedly better on the Lumia 525 and we found its battery lasting longer than the Moto G, even when we used the latter with a single SIM. 
Winner: Nokia Lumia 525

Performance: Multimedia 
This is a very close call. The Moto G’s terrific display gives it the edge on the video watching front, but sound quality is much better on the Lumia 525, which incidentally also comes with much better headphones out of the box. On the camera front, neither device is going to tempt you to leave your point and shooter behind but the Lumia 525 does come with a better camera app (Nokia Camera) and a dedicated camera button. Round that off with the free music on Nokia MixRadio, and it is hardly surprising that the Lumia 525 wins this round at a canter too. 
Winner: Nokia Lumia 525

Performance: Apps and Web
The Moto G’s Android edge becomes very evident the moment you venture online or into app territory. Not only are there more apps and games to choose from, but they also perform very smoothly indeed. The Lumia 525 is no slouch in this department, thanks to its 1 GB RAM which lets it handle games and apps a lot better than some of the more expensive Lumia devices like the 620 and 720,  but it still comes second to the Moto G in this department. Even when it comes to browsing, the Moto G’s browser is a step ahead of the one on the Lumia 525. The difference between Android and Windows Phone is not as wide in the app and Web department as it once was, but the Moto G’s Android roots see it win this round.

Winner: Moto G

Value for money
So it all boils down to the money at the end. And here the Lumia 525 scores a very clean victory. At the time of writing, it was retailing at prices in the vicinity of Rs 10,400 while the Moto G starts at Rs 12,499 for the 8 GB model and Rs 13,999 for the 16 GB one. Yes, there is no doubt that the Moto G comes with a better display, but that advantage is offset by the Lumia’s expandable memory. Similarly while the Moto G comes with the best of Android, the Lumia 525 delivers a Windows Phone experience without any hitches. And while the Moto G gives you access to a bigger app repository, the Lumia 525 comes with more app freebies out of the box. Finally, we do think that the Lumia 525 comes with better headphones and charger as compared to the ones that accompany the Moto G. The Lumia 525 wins this round easily.
Winner: Nokia Lumia 525

Conclusion: which is the one for you?

On paper, the Lumia 525 edges out the Moto G, winning four parameters and tying with one, while the Moto G won three parameters. However, which device works best for you depends on your own inclination – it is notable that the Moto G scores in hardware, performance (web and apps), and appearance, which makes it the better choice for those with a ‘geek’ bend of mind, for whom multi-core processors and apps make a difference. The Lumia 525 however wins in performance (multimedia), performance (general), software and value for money, making it the best option for those on a very tight budget who are looking for a smartphone that also does the basics well, and comes with a lot of app goodness onboard. In sum, if there’s geek blood in your veins, then the call of the Moto G will be hard to resist, while if you are the more generic smartphone user, you will find the Lumia 525 a better proposition. As in most things, it all really boils down to your needs. 


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