iPhone 5C vs Moto X – Battle of the Colorfuls [POLL]


Apple has finally officially announced the iPhone 5C, the company’s first iPhone that departs from the typical “ultra premium” look and feel that they’ve prided themselves on since the launch of the first one. The device’s claim to fame is obviously its ability to be had in a multitude of different colors, with Apple seeding the market with 5 different selections to choose from.


The phone obviously reminds us of what Motorola’s trying to do with the Moto X, a phone that can be customized with over 2,000 different combinations of colors in the Moto Maker. You may have remembered our Moto Maker walkthrough where we showed you all the different things you could change to make the phone truly “yours.”

That particular feature is still exclusive to AT&T customers for now, but Motorola has set the stage for manufacturing a phone that is made just for you. We’re obviously wondering how these two devices stack up, so let’s take a look!

iPhone 5C

Apple’s iPhone 5C is a phone that’s “unapologetically plastic,” according to them. It sounds like they’re trying too hard to make their plastic materials sound less… plasticy. Apple says it’s arsenic-free and mercury-free, and that it’s dense enough where it actually feels “premium.” The device is aimed for those who want a more affordable (read: cheaper) iPhone that doesn’t have all the same bells and whistles as the iPhone 5S.



Apple challenges the custom device space Motorola looked to jump start by introducing a series of silicone cases that have holes in them. The idea is to allow you to give your phone a different look by simply plopping a case onto it. Let’s be real here — it’s a case. One that tons of other manufacturers could have made. It’s not really a big deal, but Apple definitely is making it sound like one.

Cosmetics and aesthetics aside, there’s still a great deal of  “phone” involved here. Let’s jump into what allowed Apple to introduce it for a $99 starting price.

Hardware and specs

The iPhone 5C is said to replace the iPhone 5, so the internal, functional specs remain largely the same. We’re looking at an Apple A6 processor, which is a dual-core chipset that features quad-core graphics. Apple’s going to be delivering it to us in 16GB or 32GB flavoring, and while they have yet to confirm RAM we imagine it will have the same 1GB that the iPhone 5 had.


Apple’s 4-inch display makes a return here, of course, with a “Retina” resolution of 1136 x 640, which is actually sub-720p. The pixel density of 326 is still quite significant, though, which makes the text and graphics look as sharp and crisp as anything else. It’s an IPS TFT-LCD affair here, with all the multi-touch points and colors you can handle. Nothing really stands out compared to previous models, but it’s still quite beautiful.


The iPhone 5C will feature the same 8 megapixel backside-illuminated camera that the iPhone 5 had, which wasn’t a bad piece of sensory. It’s a 5-element f/2.4 lens that can record 1080p HD video at 30 frames-per-second.

If you don’t remember, Apple received a lot of heat for a “purple hue” issue that occurred when trying to shoot in lowlight, though that problem has since been cleared up through software updates. Flipping it around to the front, you’ll get the all-important 1.2 megapixel FaceTime camera that can shoot 720p HD video. Selfies and video chats are the main uses here, of course.

Software and features

The iPhone 5C will launch with Apple iOS 7, the latest major software upgrade by the company. This rendition of the software was unveiled quite some time ago, though Apple has finally given a date of September 18th for its release date.

This will be the biggest change in aesthetics from one version of iOS to the next, with Apple ditching the gradient-filled look with a palette of brighter, more charming colors. The whole thing has gotten a bit flat, which is just one of the many new design trends in mobile tech. All the changes aren’t strictly looks-based, though.

iOS 7 iPhone

One of the bigger things Apple added are quick toggles and music controls, which can be accessed when pulling up from the display. This is where you’ll go to change things like brightness, Bluetooth, WiFi, and skip between tracks, all without having to jump in and out of the Settings or Music app.

Changes to Siri bring the ability to change the virtual assistant’s voice between male or female. Siri can also respond to more commands, though we’ll have to wait until iOS 7 is fully available to see what she (or he?) has in store for us.

Other features for iOS7 will include:

  • Revamped user interface for Mail, Weather, and Messages
  • New omni-bar for Safari
  • iTunes Radio
  • AirDrop to share photos with other iOS users over-the-air
  • Snapshots of apps when using the app switcher

You can read more about all of these changes in our iOS 7 breakdown from earlier this summer.

Moto X

The Moto X is one of the most interesting devices of the year. It doesn’t house the most powerful silicon in the world, but Motorola has made waves with its “assembled in America” backstory, and the ability for certain customers to customize their phones with a multitude of colors in the Moto Maker — to the tune of over 2,000 different combinations.

Also available through the Moto Maker are custom engravings and bootup messages. Staying on the topic of build and aesthetics, Motorola also prides itself on the slight curve the phone has, making for a more comfortable phone to hold in the hand.

Moto X wheel cropped


Motorola made a bold statement with the Moto X, with the company declaring they wouldn’t be interested in playing the specs game with all the rest. Motorola didn’t need a 5-inch+ display with all the pixels they could cram in, an 8-core processor, 3GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage or a 20 megapixel camera to excite the masses.

Instead, Motorola decided they wanted to make a phone that was “just right,” and one that had respectable battery life. The 4.7-inch display is most welcome in that regard. Motorola’s suspect decision to go with a 720p display was highly scrutinized, but the pixel density with the smaller screen size (312 ppi) makes the device just as crisp and clear as any of them. And the RGB subpixel arrangement of the AMOLED panel does us a lot of favors in areas of clarity and color accuracy.

Hardware and specs

Motorola caused confusion regarding the Motorola X8 computing system when it was first announced, with the company initially being a tad vague about what it was. Later, we learned that it was actually a custom version of Qualcomm’s dual-core Snapdragon S4 Pro clocked at 1.7GHz.

Moto X gaming performance DSC00728

Many folks wrote the device off with that, but the company optimized the chipset to squeeze as much out of it as they can. While there are only two application cores, Motorola also added two cores for low-powered computing for the device’s various “always listening” functions (Active Notifications and Touchless controls, which we’ll touch on in the section below).

Couple those four cores with a quad-core Adreno 320 GPU (the same one found inside Motorola’s Snapdragon 600 chipset, mind you) and that’s where the X8 name is derived from. As for the rest, here’s a quick tale of the tape for the Moto X:

  • 2GB of RAM
  • 10MP RGBC rear camera
  • 2MP front camera
  • NFC
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • WiFi a/b/g/n/ac
  • aGPS with GLONASS
  • 2,200mAh battery

It isn’t a phone that will punch you in the nose and make you cry in terms of sheer power, but the Moto X has more than enough inside to keep you running for a solid two years.


Motorola’s RGBC camera is a 10 megapixel shooter that is said to be a good performer in low light. Motorola’s added “cyan” (hence the extra C on the end of the color arrangement) might make for some weird looking shots every now and then, but there aren’t many sensors of this size that can otherwise claim good low-light performance without having to sacrifice image quality. For video, you can crank it up to 1080p at up to 30 frames per second. The Moto X also features a 2 megapixel HD front-facing camera for self portraits and video chat.

Software and features

We imagined Google would tell Motorola to tone their user interface customization down, and so they have — the Moto X is nearly stock Android at first glance. The phone is virtually stock Android 4.2.2, though custom changes were obviously made to accommodate stuff like Touchless Controls and Active Notifications.

Moto X active notifications

The former allows you to activate your phone’s Google Now voice search using your voice. You can issue all of the same commands you could if you were using Google Voice regularly by saying “OK Google Now,” and following that up with something like “navigate to Starbucks.” This is what one of the aforementioned low-powered cores — dubbed the natural language core — makes work, all without having to sacrifice battery life.

As for Active Notifications, that feature will illuminate parts of the AMOLED display to give you a quick glance of your notifications as they come in. You can use the sliding mechanism to either unlock to the home-screen or unlock straight to the notification. Active Notifications will also pulsate throughout the day to show you the time, date, and whether or not you need to charge your battery up.

Here are some of the other things you can find in Motorola’s new experience:

  • Motorola Assist — an app that will help you respond to messages and calls while you’re sleeping, driving or in a meeting.
  • Motorola Connect — a Google Chrome plugin that allows you to see incoming calls and text messages, and lets you respond to text messages right from your computer.
  • Motorola Migrate — a tool that makes it easier for you to transfer your contacts and media over to your new phone.

And that’s pretty much it. Google and Motorola put their foot down when it comes to carrier bloatware, too, so you won’t have to worry about too many “undesirable” applications clogging the experience up. This is as pure as pure can get for a phone that’s not part of the Nexus program, and it makes the device that much snappier. For more on the Moto X, do yourself a favor and read our official review.

Which horse wins this race?

So the race is on — which of these color-oriented beasts will best the other? Does the iPhone 5C have what it takes to make people forget about the Moto X, or did Motorola breed a surefire winner this go-around?

There’s a poll sitting below, and you know what to do with it — vote! And once you’ve done that, you’ll want to head to the comments section (because there’s sure to be some pretty juicy discussion going on down there). Hop to it!

[polldaddy poll=7386295]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Lmao, if a fingerprint scanner is the biggest thing apple fans get, I’m so glad I use android. Year after year we see huge technological leaps and tons of new features. They get a gimmicky button teehee

    1. I know! Its so awesome right? They took a flopped feature from a 3 year old android device (Atrix 4G) and tried to make it sound cool!

    2. what kinda of technologies are you really talking about. new phone has 64bit, way better camera…etc.

      1. Are you the baddest man in the whole damn town? Bladder than old king Kong and meaner than a junkyard dog? Not if you use an iPhone…Leroy

      2. Yeah , iphone with 64bit processor,,, right..

      3. 64-bit and 1GB RAM makes no sense. You need more than 4GB of RAM before 64-bit is relevant.

        1. True 64-bit is probably mostly meaningless however if it’s 2x the performance of the A6 chip then it’ll hit 1 TFLOP in Linpack which absolutely smokes any Android processor and is a new milestone for the Nexus 5 to reach for.

        2. This is a misconception. The ability to address more than 4 GB of memory is a *feature* of 64-bit computing. One of many features, 32-bit computing lacks.

      4. camera still sucks compared to high-end camera phones (such as PureView 808).

        i’ll give you 64bit and to those who claim it’s pointless without 4GB+ of RAM: you don’t understand microarchitecure – 64 bit has potential to be quite meaningful even with only 1GB of RAM. i’m not saying apple is actually going to make use of the potential (who the hell knows there?) but if you dismiss the 64 architecture simply because the phone isn’t trying to address greater than 4GB of RAM you are arguing based on stale, incomplete data for an irrelevant platform.

    3. I don’t recall a recent technological leap in an Android phone. Faster, more battery efficient, better display, better camera, etc? Sure; but that goes with flagships of any platform. Android’s IR blaster could be compared with Apple’s fingerprint scanner. These are the two greatest technological leaps I can think of in recent history, and neither are all that great.

      1. Come on-the iphone 5S is still stuck at 4″ screen. Not even 4.3″.

        1. I’m not saying the iPhone 5S is better than anything currently available; I’m saying neither Android nor iOS (or any other mobile platform) have introduced any breakthrough features, lately.

          1. 1080p on a phone my goodness…
            OK I know what you want. That new flexible display that Samsung is working on

      2. well, for one thing Android was first to the fingerprint scanner (Moto Atrix). Also the first Smartphone with LTE! On top of that, the “innovative technological advances” for Android have been quite numerous. Some of them may be gimmicky but…….Android Beam (along with main-streaming NFC), Google Now, voice commands (present in Android long before SIRI), Face Unlock, advanced styluses, integrated barometers, Samsung’s Air Gesture, Air View, Smart Pause, Group Play……so, yeah….there has been quite a bit.

        1. Everything in your comment, aside from some of Samsung’s GS4 features, were implemented in Android phones years ago. I specified “recent” technological improvements. There has been little in recent innovation of mobile platforms.

      3. Wireless charging and NFC come to mind. Yeah, they were around before Android, but so were fingerprint scanners (laptops, Atrix, etc). And wireless charging is far more useful than a gimmicky fingerprint scanner.

        1. Right, but I’m discussing recent innovations, of which, there have been few.

          1. how about a dedicated voice processing core running all the time? seems fairly innovative to me (though i wouldn’t credit moto for its invention, the semiconductor industry has been racing to get such a core integrated into embedded apps processors for a while now and qualcomm was first to market a few months back – moto is just an early adopter of others’ innovations… so is apple with most of their “innovations”)

      4. Fingerprint scanner on a mobile phone is ancient history. HD recording at 60fps. IR Blaster that you already mentioned. True HD screens. 4k outputing. Those are the recent technological innovations. All of which are missing on the iPhone.

  2. It might be a hit with tween girls…

  3. Wait until all the 12 year old girls get their hands on a hot pink 5C…

    1. the iPony

    2. I think Apple made a big mistake. They should have went to their old playbook and called them flavors and hot pink would be bubble gum. The other flavors would be lime, lemonade, blueberry, and milk.

  4. I’m not sure the polls are going to be an accurate reading of the average consumer. I’m sure the iPhone 5C will win this race. It has the momentum of a popular brand phone behind it, while the Moto X is new, and to many, unknown. Assuming the Moto X is a success, next year’s successors may be a closer race.

    1. thats what people dont understand about mindshare and brand power. apple is a company that alot of people trust with. it took them years to do. moto x is nice with the color customization but we will find out if most people care about doing that kinda stuff

    2. Quentyn never mentioned this polls are going to be accurate to the average consumer, you’re just assuming that.

      1. I’m not assuming they’ll be accurate. I stated above, I assume they will not.

    3. Apple is a bigger smartphone company than Motorola, it’s true, but they’ve been steadily losing ground for the past 3 years. Motorola has had a rocky road, but every tech reviewer of the MotoX has been overwhelmingly positive. I’d say their fortunes are changing for the better in the short term.

  5. iPhone 5c as in c u later. Just like the moto x this is a phone with mid range specs for teenage girls. snooze

    1. C as in cutiepie
      S as in snob “Oh… you have a C. You poor little thing. Here’s 5 bucks-now go away!”

    2. I don’t see a single mid range spec on the Moto X. You might want to check again, it has one of the best battery life of any phone, very fast processor, and a NON-PENTILE OLED display which means very high sub pixel density. The thing is an excellent phone that is even better because it’s almost pure stock Android.

      1. did you seriously just claimed the moto x to have “one of the best battery life of any phone”?


  6. The iPhone 5C’s battery size made me laugh.

    On another note, what game is on the Motorola X? I’ve asked this before. =.(
    Maybe I’ll copy and paste the picture into XDA. They may have an answer. It looks interesting.

    Watch I only play it for 5 minutes then uninstall it. =.P

    1. iPhone 5 has incredibly good battery life don’t let the mAh fool you. That been said, Moto X’s battery life is even better.

      1. i think his point is that the specified battery size for the iPhone 5C is “larger than iPhone 5” – a completely meaningless metric to say the least. this didn’t make me laugh, it made me cringe. there are no listed mAh numbers, so the unlisted numbers can’t ‘fool’ anyone…

      2. That doesn’t tell me anything. What is incredible battery life? Some people only use their phones for talking and texting. In that case, then yea. Everyone phone has incredible battery life.

        1. Supposedly from what I’ve read in the past the iPhone5 battery is around 1500mAh. So it’s almost gauranteed the battery size is smaller than the Moto X which sports a 2100mAh battery.

  7. Not much of a competition for anyone outside of North America – there is only one of them we can buy.

    1. Yeah, there are only 5 zillion other android phones you can buy.

      1. Not in the poll there isn’t.

  8. The Moto X has the edge as far as sheer customization. The fact that you can customize more than just the color of the case (I.E. buttons and camera ring), possibly engraving again, and the potential for more colors and patterens in the future. Oh yeah, and Motorola’s got wood, too.

  9. If you can’t innovate and provide better specs… make it colorful and people will buy it.

  10. My wife is due for an upgrade. She has an iPhone 4S. She wanted to wait to see what the new iPhone would offer. I have a Maxx and she’s very impressed with the battery life. She was hoping the new iPhone would offer something close. Let’s be honest, if you have to micro-manage your phone you are not enjoying your phone. I believe this will push her towards the Moto X. With 24 hours of battery life, real life no managing apps or features will give a solid 16 hours without blinking an eye. She said my Maxx is a bit too big for her but the Moto X will fit her hand nicely.

    The ONLY thing that Apple has had on Android over the past few years is build quality. Looks like they’ve abandoned the only thing they had left.

    1. X is only slightly larger than the iPhone, but the screen size is significantly larger. Really don’t understand why Apple can’t figure that out.

      1. Bigger screen uses more battery, and Apple hasn’t figured out power management. Bumping up to a 4.5″ screen increases the power usage significantly, which will cut into the already abysmal “best case” numbers they’ve published.

  11. The more that I read about the Moto X, the more intrigued I am about it. Hopefully their full priced phone is comparable to the Nexus line. Otherwise, it’s a Nexus 5 for me.

    1. So far the Moto X is the only phone that interests me in replacing my N4. I’m waiting on the N5 or if the X gets a decent price drop.

      1. Don’t get held up on the specs with the MotoX. I had an HTC One, went to the X and love it. I would say it’s sadly faster than my HTC One at most tasks, it’s almost unexplainable.

  12. The 5C smells like a panicked, rushed response to what Google and Motorola rolled out.

  13. The moto x has wireless charging???

  14. the comparison table leaves a lot to be desired – i feel like an editor here, but this just drove me nuts as i scanned the article and kept referring back to the table looking for summary info that just wasn’t meaningful in the least:

    * Resolution: 1280×720 versus ‘retina’: this is covered in the TEXT but one shouldn’t have to read the details to translate the summary graphics. moto’s resolution is slightly better, apple’s pixel density is slightly better, both deserve their own line in the table and neither are significantly better than the other.

    * Front Camera: again, the apple spec isn’t even specific. ‘facetime hd’ isn’t a measurable quantity, many varying camera specs could be called ‘facetime hd’ as apple sees fit. apparently apple is using a 1.2MP camera for this though, and that metric really should be listed right in the summary table rather than buried deep in the text. 2MP versus 1.2MP actually means something. 2MP versus [advertising buzzwords] means nothing. at all. ever.

    * Processor: these are non-comaprable units, so just the names suffices here (and only here). the main reason for this is that they aren’t single ‘processors’ but rather ‘system-on-chip’ devices. the systems differ greatly. Still, a summary metric like X-cores running at Y-GHz would make for a meaningful side-by-side comparison, but a notation that they can’t be compared directly would be fair. better yet, don’t even list non-comparables in a side-by-side comparison.

    * Sensors: really? between the two devices there is only one sensor, and that is NFC (not even a sensor…)?

    *Battery: ok, 2200mAh compared to “something larger than the iPhone 5”. thanks. at least compare the advertised standby and usage times here rather than a meaningless phrase. who thought to compare a hard quantitative value against an amazingly abstract qualitative description? is 2200mAh bigger more or less ‘green’ than the roundness of a pig? (don’t recall the origin of that phrase, but i love it). here, let’s compare the advertised standby times: moto(240 hours) versus apple(250 hours). a negligible difference. talk time is in motos favor by 1.3x apple’s spec, but all the specs are estimates so for a summary review they should just be called “roughly the same” when hard numbers are unknown.

  15. No one is talking about the genius/ridiculousness that apple just pulled.

    Normally in apple’s pricing scheme, the iphone 5S would take 5’s spot like it did, and the iphone 5 would move down $100 to the price of the 5C.
    Instead people will now get a plastic version of the 5 for the same money they would’ve gotten a 5 for. A version that is made of cheap plastic, heavier and has a bigger battery (but for some reason still gets the same 8-10 hours as the 5 according to what i’ve read), only reason for that would be lowering the A6 yield requirements (slower/less efficient processors don’t get tossed for battery quality, instead get shipped out).

    Apple’s stock is hurting do to their lower per unit profit, and the 5C will raise that number. My guess they’d rather you buy a 5c than a 5s.

    1. That’s what I expect from Tim Cook. He may not be such a tech leader but you can’t underestimate his ability to make lots of money with these tactics.

    2. Well you have to remember too that Apple isn’t just focused on the US Market. I’m not an iPhone owner, just love tech, and realize that it looks like the 5c was tailor made for China.

      1. How is it tailor made for china? It’s the same price that the 4s was when the 5 came out… all they did was lower their cost by wrapping it in plastic. They did nothing to reduce the price or push this on developing markets. This phone is for those who like to buy the last generation iphone at a lower cost… except now they get it in a cheap body… which is probably what the C stands for.

  16. Retina and Facetime HD aren’t useful screen resolutions and makes this comparison kind of pointless.

    1. my thoughts exactly. Retina HD front camera is really…what…a 1.2MP camera I believe? What a joke.

  17. as an android focussed developer, I was wondering if Apple can change the market once again with Iphone 5C. I was about to start learning all the Apple stuff to get started. Yesterday’s announcement of Iphone 5C has made me realize that this is going to be a waste of time. Android FTW. I see WP8 becoming meaningful and so will learn WP8.

    1. Windows Phone – Becoming meaningful since 2009.

  18. Steve Job would have smacked the heck of Tim Cook. What an embarrassment for the tech industry. Hopefully other companies will keep the bar up high and know what the consumer need.

  19. tinyurl.com/l3cselt


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