Moto X or Galaxy S5?
April 23, 2014 7:45 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking to upgrade my phone with AT&T. What are your experiences with the Moto X and Galaxy S5?

I'm making an upgrade with AT&T from a Samsung Captivate Glide. I've basically narrowed it down to a Moto X and a Galaxy S5. They seem relatively similar - both seem to have gotten positive reviews from the usual online places, both can run Android KitKat, etc., so I'm looking for anyone's personal experience with the phones.

I don't have any particular specialized needs, mostly looking for something faster and with long battery life. AT&T is pretty good about not putting on too much bloatware. The Galaxy is a bit larger (too large?) and a bit more expensive.

Thoughts please!
posted by Chrysostom to Technology (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I have the Moto X, and actually had a Captivate Glide before that. I'm really enjoying the Moto X, mostly because the battery life is much better than the Captivate. I was running down to 5-10% with just normal usage on my old phone, but the Moto X is typically above 25% even with heavier usage (I'm not a true power user, though.) I like the smaller size - it fits in a front pocket with my wallet. It seems fast enough - no noticeable lag when apps open, etc.

The notification system is pretty nice - all you have to do is tip the phone (to trigger the accelerometer) and it will display the latest notification. Easy to see if you have anything new. It's also supposed to be lighter on the battery because it doesn't turn on the whole screen, just a small central area.

The one feature I miss from the Captivate is the abiity to silence an incoming call by flipping the phone over. I find myself doing that with the Moto, but it just keeps ringing. Probably an app that would do that for me, but I haven't really looked for one.
posted by five toed sloth at 8:00 AM on April 23, 2014

While on Verizon, I own and love my Moto X. It's as close to a stock Android experience you can get and not own one of the Nexus line phones, and the things it does add (Touchless Control, Motorola Assist) are extremely non-invasive and only add to the experience.
posted by deezil at 8:08 AM on April 23, 2014

These two phones approach things from almost completely opposite perspectives.

Moto X - unobtrusive software (as close to stock vanilla Android as you'll find outside the Nexus line), comfortable size for one-handed use, enough hardware power to do what you need without sacrificing performance.

Galaxy S5 - larger screen, larger overall size, lots of software gimmicks and add-ons that the majority of people turn off or ignore, biggest and best hardware (which is already occasionally taxed due to software bloat).

There are a few differentiators for most people:
-size - if you have smaller hands and/or hate the idea of using two hands, Moto X is better.
-gaming - if you plan to run graphic intensive games, you'll have a better experience with the GS5's larger screen and beefier hardware
-updates - if having the latest version of software is important, Moto has been really great about issuing quick updates to the version of Android, plus they have decoupled a lot of their core apps so they can be updated more frequently via Play Store updates. Samsung does not have a good history with timely updates, although most OEMs seem to be getting somewhat better on this front.

Note - if you do opt for the Moto X, try to wait it out a bit longer as they are rumored to be refreshing it this summer - probably better hardware and possibly a better screen for the same or similar cost.
posted by trivia genius at 8:13 AM on April 23, 2014

I have the Samsung S5. It is much easier to actually DELETE (or actually never install) the bloatware on this phone than on the motorolas I've had in the past. (and I've had motorola smart phones for 5+ years)

The camera is AMAZING. It takes better pictures than my old point and shoot, even in low light. Battery life is decent, but nothing spectacular, I go about 1.5-2 days on a full charge. It DOES have the grayscale mode which is pretty awesome- basically it stretches 10% battery power into about 24hrs of extra phone use.

Also, it's waterproof for 30+ mins of submersion, however, this means the charging plug has a little cover which is fiddly and suprisingly annoying to deal with.

I was sold on the camera and waterproofness.
posted by larthegreat at 8:24 AM on April 23, 2014

The S5 has a microSD slot and a removeable battery; the X has neither. The camera on the Moto X is ok but not great... I wouldn't be surprised if the S5 camera is better.

That said I have a Moto X now after using a S3 for several years and I really prefer it. The software is just so much better than Samsung's dreck and the few things that Moto added are actually great. The shake to start camera and the way it does notifications/screen on are so great that I would be really bummed to give them up on another device. And it's a much more sensible size.
posted by selfnoise at 8:40 AM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

I just moved from an S4 to a Moto X, so not sure if that's exactly what you're looking for. I love the Moto X so far, I don't really care about the camera but do care about bloatware and battery. Both issues are soo much better for me on the Moto X. Plus I got it backed with wood which I love.
posted by Carillon at 11:52 AM on April 23, 2014

Very happy Moto X user, previously used an S3. I don't miss the microSD slot. I do wish the camera was a little better (it isn't bad, it just isn't spectacular or anything), but otherwise it is goldilocks-perfect. Not too big, not too small, powerful enough, etc. And, as others have mentioned, the software Motorola added is great -- small but thoughtful additions that try to make your phone better instead of half-baked attempts to juke the stats on # of features.
posted by genug at 2:08 PM on April 23, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone. Appreciate the feedback!
posted by Chrysostom at 2:17 PM on April 23, 2014

I have the S5 and I've been very happy with it. The large screen is very nice, and the phone actually fits better in my pocket than my old iPhone 4 since it is so much thinner. There isn't much bloatware in the phone. I think a lot of folks had bad experiences with Touchwiz on the older Galaxy models but the new version seems slimmed down. The only downsides to the phone I've discovered so far is that it is not possible to add widgets to the lockscreen, and the fingerprint scanner only works 100% of the time with an index finger (maybe ~50% of the time with my thumbs).
posted by Thoughtcrime at 4:32 PM on April 23, 2014

five toed sloth, it's pretty simple to give yourself the "facedown to silence" functionality using Tasker. Grab that from the Play store, and there are lots of simple instructions for that online. (It's one of the first things almost everyone does with Tasker, before playing with the more complex stuff. Tasker is very, very cool, once you get past the almost user-antagonistic UI)
posted by jammer at 7:47 AM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

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