(Pocket-lint) - Affordable phones are getting more competitive every single year. As high end phones push new features and boundaries, the more budget-friendly devices tend to pick up on previous gen advancements.
Two very active players in this market are Nokia and Motorola, who often battle it out for the same corner of the market. They sell affordable Android phones at varying increments covering pretty much every price point from the lowest cost phones to the mid-range prices.
Two of the most competitively priced models are the 5.4 from Nokia and the Moto G10. So which should you get?
- Moto: 165.2 x 75.7 x 9.2mm - 200g
- Nokia: 161 x 76 x 8.7 - 181g
- Both: Plastic build
When it comes to the shape and size of the two phones, there’s not a lot to separate them. The Nokia is ever so slightly shorter and thinner than the Moto, and is lighter too, but not be a huge amount. Not enough to make a distinct difference.
What does make a bigger difference to the daily experience is the texture of the back. The two phones both use plastic cases, but Moto has gone with a ribbed design which has a grippy texture where those ripples on the case are actually subtly raised to give you a finish that’s easy to grip on to.
The Nokia by comparison is shiny and a bit more slippery. The Moto also has a bit more of a solid feel to it too. Both the rear panel and the edges of the phone feel sturdier on the Moto than on the Nokia.
From a purely aesthetic point of view there are some nice choices made by Nokia. Firstly, that subtle patterning on the rear plastic and the blue gradient on this model. Plus, the holepunch cutout for the selfie camera looks a little more modern than the notch in the Moto’s display.
Saying that, the camera housing on the Moto does seem to have a more purposeful design about it even if it’s not perfectly centered like the Nokie 5.4.
On a more practical note, Moto’s texturerd power button is a nice touch and makes it easier to find without looking. As for shared features, both have a Google Assistant button and both have a 3.5mm port for headphones. They also both have a Micro SD card slot for expanding the storage.
There are rear-mounted fingerprint sensors on both phones too. Both are reliable, although not especially fast. But that’s to be expected at this end of the market. We rarely had to try twice to unlock, but we can’t say one phone was clearly better than the other in this specific measurement.
- Moto: 6.5-inch IPS LCD 20:9 panel
- Nokia: 6.39-inch IPS LCD 19.5:9 panel
- Moto: 720 x 1600 resolution
- Nokia: 720 x 1560 resolution
Again, there are similarities when it comes to displays. Both manufacturers have gone with an IPS LCD display with 720p resolution.
It’s not in resolution where the two differ then because the sharpness is near enough identical on the two. Even colour reproduction is similar. Moto’s looks a tiny bit warmer at times when looking at pale skin tones on video, but for the most part they’re very similar with other colours like blues and greens. What makes the biggest difference to the experience is actually the brightness.
In our testing, with the display cranked up to full brightness, the Nokia is noticeably brighter than the Moto. That’s even more noticeable if you’re looking at it from a little bit of an angle. When your viewing angle changes away from directly head-on the Moto seems to get darker quicker than the Nokia.
Of course, being LCD means neither is fantastic outside in bright daylight, but the brighter panel is definitely helpful here. It just makes that experience less, well, terrible.
Performance and battery life
- Moto: Snapdragon 460 processor
- Nokia: Snapdragon 662 processor
- Both: 4GB RAM and 64GB or 128GB storage
- Both: microSD expansion
- Moto: 5000mAh battery
- Nokia: 4000mAh battery
What about other areas of performance? Nokia has the upper hand here too. It’s equipped with the Snapdragon 662 processor, while the G10 has the Snapdragon 460. Although, if you do want a slightly more powerful there is the Moto G30, which has a better processor.
What that means in daily use however is that things take a little bit less time on the Nokia. Neither is super speedy though, and both load up Mario Kart Tour - for example - without too much of a struggle, even if you have to wait for it to load for a little longer than you’d like.
One thing we did notice however was that the Wi-Fi performance seems better on the Moto. When we went upstairs, further away from the Wi-Fi router the Nokia lost signal in the bedroom quite a lot, where the Moto stayed strong.
It’s a similar experience with battery. Moto has a 5000mAh capacity where Nokia has 4000mAh. That’s a considerable difference both in spec and in real daily usage. In daily use, that means that with moderate use you can get to the end of a second day with the Moto. For some, maybe even up to three days if you’re a particularly light user.
- Moto: quad camera
- 48MP primary - 8MP ultrawide
- 2MP depth and macro sensors
- Nokia: quad camera
- 48MP primary - 5MP ultrawide
- 2MP depth and macro sensors
- Nokia: 4K video
- Moto: 1080p video
As affordable phones neither of these two is going to give you stellar photography, but they will offer similar experiences when it comes to the lenses on offer. Both have 48MP primary cameras sitting alongside an ultrawide camera, plus low res macro and depth sensors.
There’s no real competition in results though. The Nokia produces much more vibrant and colourful shots. The G10 primary sensor often washed things out quite badly and that meant it didn’t match the ultrawide colours at all often.
If you want the better photographs, it’s the Nokia that outpeforms it’s price tag, although we'd still say the macro on both are pretty useless and not worth using.
- Moto: Around £130
- Nokia: Around £150
There's no getting around the fact that the Nokia is more expensive than the Moto, but there's not a huge amount in it and given the better performance in a number of areas, it's more than worth the outlay.
Motorola has split up its G-series range even more this year, and as long as you’re able to put up with a poorer display and slightly slower performance, it could well be worth saving money and getting the G10 over the 5.4.
However, there’s no denying the better performance and display on the Nokia, which you’d expect from a slightly more expensive phone.
Still, we think in the G-series it’s the G30 that’s the one worth getting this year. It features a more fluid display than either of these two and is still affordable.