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Phone Comparisons: Moto X vs Xperia Z3 vs HTC One M9 vs LG G4 vs Galaxy S6 Edge

April 28, 2015 - Written By Cory McNutt

Introduction

Do we have a good one for you today – as the new LG G4 flagship is finally launched and we wonder how does it stack up with a couple old friends, the Moto X and Xperia Z3…and a couple of new friends, the HTC One M9 and the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge.  The new LG G4 is a refinement over the LG G3 with a better display, newer processor, camera improvements and some fancy colored plastic backs with a metallic look and genuine leather backs in a multitude of colors.  How does this new flagship compare to the older and newer flagship devices.

Please take a deliberate look at the detailed Specifications Comparison chart below and here you will see just how these five devices stack up against one another – click on the “View Full Comparison” link at the end of the chart to expand the details.  After that, we will look at different areas of the devices in greater detail and point out some pros and cons.  From all of this information we can draw some conclusions based on specs and execution of design and functions.

Specifications

 Displays

The displays on these smartphones range from only 5.1-inches to 5.5-inches, all within the limits of most premium devices.  The Moto X (2014) has a 5.2-inch Full HD (FHD) AMOLED display and the Xperia Z3 also has a 5.2-inch FHD LCD display.  The newer HTC One M9 display falls in at 5-inches and retains the older FHD Super LCD technology, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge display comes in at 5.1-inch and uses the Quad HD (QHD) and Super AMOLED technology.  The newest LG G4 is the largest of the bunch at 5.5-inches and uses the QHD and IPS LCD technology.

When it comes to their respective pixels-per-inch (PPI), the three FHD displays…1920 x 1080 pixels…fall very close to one another – the Moto X has 424 PPI, the Xperia Z3 has 424 PPI and the HTC One M9 has 441 PPI, due to its slightly smaller display size.  You can see this happening with the QHD displays…2560 x 1440 pixel resolution…with the smaller display on the Galaxy S6 Edge with 577 PPI and the new LG G4 touting 538 PPI.  The QHD displays on the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge and LG G4 will give you an outstanding viewing experience – both Samsung and LG continue to make great strides in refining their respective technologies.  Samsung uses their own Super AMOLED technology and LG uses their LCD technology, and both companies do a wonderful job in pulling the most from their screen tech.

The displays are all flat, except the LG G4 with a slight curve to it (top-to-bottom) and the Galaxy S6 Edge where both the right and left edges of the display are curved downward.  For both devices this causes a slightly different view, but more so on the Galaxy S6 Edge – it is a part of the total design and physical look of the device.

Processor/RAM/Memory

These five devices offer diversity in their processors – the Moto X and Xperia Z3 use a 32-bit Qualcomm 801 quad-core processor clocked at 2.5GHz, while the HTC One M9 uses a 64-bit Qualcomm 810 octa-core processor with four cores clocked a 1.5GHz and four cores clocked at 2.0GHz.  The Galaxy S6 Edge uses a 64-bit Exynos 7420 octa-core processor with four cores clocked at 1.5GHz and four cores clocked at 2.1GHz.  The LG G4 uses a 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor with four cores clocked at 1.44GHz and two cores clocked at 1.82GHz. LG opted out of the Snapdragon 810 octa-core and went the hexa-core 808 model, even though they used the 810 in their LG G Flex 2.

The Moto X comes with 2GB of DDR3 RAM, the rest come with 3GB of DDR3 RAM except for the Galaxy S6 Edge which uses Samsungs’ newer, faster DDR4 RAM.  The internal storage is widely varied – with the Xperia Z3, One M9 and LG G4 you have the option of expanding the basic storage with a microSD card and the Moto X and Galaxy S6 Edge do not offer this option.  The base storage in the Moto X and Xperia Z3 is 16GB or 32GB, the One M9 and LG G4 have 32GB and the Galaxy S6 Edge offers 32GB/64GB/128GB models using its faster UFS 2.0 Flash Memory.

Camera Specs

The camera is becoming a very important feature in a smartphone with the majority of people now using it as their go-to camera for all pictures.  It makes it easier to upload them immediately to social media and with the photo apps available, you can even throw in a quick or comprehensive touch up before you post them.

The Moto X takes decent pictures with its 13MP main shooter and 2MP front-facing camera (FFC), but it is not in the same league with the others at this point.  Sony smartphones have always excelled at taking great pictures and the Xperia Z3 with its 20.7MP main camera and 2.2MP FFC is no exception.  HTC revamped its camera area this year with a new 20MP main camera and 4MP UltraPixel FFC.

The stars of this show so far in 2015 are the Galaxy S6 Edge with its 16MP main camera and 5MP FFC and the LG G4 with its 16MP main camera and 8MP FFC.  All of the devices compared today have autofocus and LED flash, but the Galaxy S6 adds a wider f/1.9 aperture, OIS and Live HDR shooting, as well as newly refined camera software and a new Pro Mode.  It was just anointed the best camera so far in 2015 and received a remarkable 86/100 DxOMark score.  The LG G4 also has a 16MP main camera and a large 8MP FFC – LG also adds OIS+ and Laser autofocus and a wider f/1.8 aperture and offers its own new Manual Mode in its camera software.  It should take great pictures and we look forward to its DxOMark score after testing.

Battery

Battery size used to be a huge deal – the bigger that battery, the longer your smartphone would last between charges.  While this is still true in extreme circumstances – an 1800mAh battery up against a 4000mAh battery – when battery sizes are between 2300mAh and 3100mAh, the lines begin to blur.  When comparing smartphones, there can be many factors that determine how long your device will last – display technology, processor selection and battery management – all play an important role.  Qualcomm continues to make strides in how much power it needs in order to function and Samsung, which actually designs and makes their own processors, is using the newest 14nm technology versus 20nm in the Qualcomm processor.  The 14nm is smaller, generates less heat, is faster and uses less power.  Sony does an excellent job in power management, whereas Samsung and LG, not so much, but they are getting better and Samsung felt confident enough to use a 26000mAh non-removable battery in the Galaxy S6 Edge and so far it is holding up fairly well.  The jury is still out on the LG G4 until we can get some more hands-on experience and testing.

Another factor is power-saving modes and charging technology…if your smartphone is getting low on battery life, is there a way to slow down its usage or a fast way to charge the battery?  The Moto X uses a 2300mAh battery, the Xperia Z3 uses 3100mAh, the One M9 uses a 2840mAh battery, the Galaxy S6 Edge uses a 2600mAh battery and the LG G4 comes in at 3000mAh.  Because all of the devices, except the Samsung, use a Qualcomm processor then you can access their Quick Charge capability that will give you a 60-percent charge in only 30 minutes.  Samsung’s new battery will give you up to 4 hours of usage with only a 10 minute charge…so if your battery capacity is low, at least you can extend its usage in a 10 short minutes.  The Samsung also has wireless charging built-in for both Qi and PMA standards and has their UPSM (Ultra Power Saving Mode) to extend battery life.  Sony has their Stamina mode and HTC has an Extreme power saving mode.

Summary

These five devices show where smartphones were – the Moto X and Xperia Z3 – and where they are going with the HTC One M9, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge and the LG G4.  Did the One M9 go far enough by eliminating the QHD display?  Does the curved display and total redesign of the Galaxy S6 Edge go too far?  The LG G4 – will people hesitate by their use of the Snapdragon 808 when HTC and Samsung are using octa-core processors?  We are looking at a great line-up of new devices, go check them out and let us know what you think about them.