(Pocket-lint) - The mid-range battleground is heating up, with everyone wanting to offer you an affordable sub-flagship device.

Both the OnePlus Nord and the recently-announced Moto G 5G Plus run on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765, offering 5G away from the heady heights of flagship phone prices. 

The two phones are now official, and that means we know all the specs and details of each phone. So which phone should be getting your attention? 

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Price and availability 

  • Nord: £379/£469, available from 4 August
  • Moto G 5G Plus: £299/£349, available now 

OnePlus being OnePlus, the availability is far from straightforward. It has various pop-ups and pre-orders happening through the end of July. However, the Nord will be available for purchase from 4 August with prices set at £379 for the 8GB/128GB version and £469 for the 12GB/256GB model. 

The Moto G series is known for affordability, so it's no surprise to find that it starts at £299, which is really aggressive pricing for what you get. It's also available to order in some regions now and there's are two versions. The 6GB/128GB version is £349.99 which is cheaper than OnePlus but has less RAM.

Design

  • Nord: 158.3 x 73.3 x 8.2mm, 184g
  • Moto G 5G Plus: 168 x 74 x 9mm, 207g

The OnePlus Nord features glass on both the front and the back but has a plastic frame. Size-wise, it's a little shorter than the Moto G 5G Plus and is also a tiny bit narrower and slimmer. 

The Moto G 5G Plus is finished in plastic, although based on the feel and look of phones like the Moto G8 Power, we don't think that's a bad thing - if it keeps the price down. It's a tall phone, most of which comes down to the display size, but it's not hugely wide. 

What you will notice about the Moto 5 5G is that it's heavy - 207g is weighty by any measure, but that's because of the huge battery - more on that later. That means the OnePlus is lighter too. 

Despite earlier rumours of IP53 water resistance, the Nord doesn't have any official IP rating but it is water-resistant to some degree and can survive being rained on or being dropped in a shallow puddle - and Motorola also offers some water repellency. 

We think that the OnePlus might have a slightly more premium build - but Motorola has been really good at offering quality phones at low prices in recent years.

Display

  • Nord: 6.44in AMOLED, 2400 x 1080 pixels, 90Hz
  • Moto G 5G Plus: 6.7in LTPS LCD, 2400 x 1080 pixels, 90Hz

The displays on these two phones hit some of the same spec points. Both phones offer a full HD+ panel - with the exact same resolution - and both offer 90Hz refresh rate. This was to be expected long before it was official after OnePlus stated that it's not going back to 60Hz. 

Despite the similar resolution and refresh rate, these displays are fundamentally different. The Moto G uses an LTPS LCD panel while the OnePlus is AMOLED. That means that the Nord should offer better visuals, with deeper blacks and more vibrant colours. 

With all that said, the Moto phone is HDR certified, so will deliver punchy visuals of its own.

Interestingly, both phones offer dual punch hole cameras in that display.

Hardware and specs

  • Nord: Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G, 8/12GB RAM, 128/256GB storage, 4115mAh battery
  • Moto G 5G Plus: Qualcomm Snapdragon 765, 4/6GB RAM, 64/128GB storage, 5000mAh battery 

OnePlus is known for producing fast phones and it may well have the edge when it comes to competing with the Moto G 5G Plus. It's using the Snapdragon 765G, which offers a little more power for the GPU over the regular 765 in the Moto. 

OnePlus also has more RAM in both variants that it offers. Specifically: OnePlus is offering models with 8GB and 12GB RAM, depending on how much storage you need. Moto sticks to lower specs with 4GB at the entry level and 6GB of the step up. These are just specs, however, and we're not sure there will be a huge real-world difference between the 6GB, 8GB RAM or 12GB in these phones. 

But there is a big difference in the battery. The OnePlus Nord has a 4115mAh battery and also charges up quickly using OnePlus' 30W Warp Charge technology. It can do 0-70 per cent in just 30 minutes. The Moto has a massive 5000mAh battery, so is likely to last a fair bit longer than the OnePlus. The Moto only has 20W charging - although 20W is still fast! 

The Moto also has a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, but the Nord uses an optical in-display sensor which adds to that slightly more premium appeal.

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Cameras

  • Nord: 48MP main, 8MP ultra-wide, 5MP macro, 2MP depth; dual selfie cameras
  • Moto G 5G Plus: 48MP main, 8MP ultra-wide, 5MP macro, 2MP depth; dual selfie cameras

When it comes to cameras, these phones have camera systems that are almost identical. OnePlus' main camera is the same 48-megapixel main camera that's in the OnePlus 8, and that means there's OIS. OnePlus has added three other cameras, with an ultra-wide 8-megapixel sensor being the only useful one. The low-resolution macro and depth cameras are there for extra data capture. 

Similarly, in the Motorola there's a 48-megapixel main camera, and we suspect it will be the same as the Moto G8 Plus. That's a pretty good camera, but the appeal of ultra-wide really adds to the picture. 

So what's going to divide these similarly equipped phones when it comes to photography? The software behind them. Having used neither phone - but having reviewed the latest OnePlus and Moto G devices - we think this is going to be a close-run thing, although neither is market-leading when it comes to computational photography - that accolade lies with Google and Huawei.

As for those two selfie cameras - we weren't totally sold on this approach when Samsung tried it in 2019, but both phones here offer a wider-angle front camera as the second lens.

Software

  • Nord: Android 10 with Oxygen OS
  • Moto G 5G Plus: Android 10

If you're looking for phones that are free from bloat, then Moto and OnePlus have to be at the top of the list (ok, there's Nokia too, but the Nokia 8.3 that rivals these devices is also yet to go on sale).

Both phones run Android 10 but OnePlus goes a little further with customisation and optimisation - which is what it's known for. We suspect that the OnePlus will be a little snappier.

Both, however, will give you an Android experience that's free from unwanted duplications, however and that's a good thing. 

Summing up

You wait all year for a Snapdragon 765 phone with a quad camera on the back and a dual-camera on the front - and then two come along at once. The similarity between these phones is uncanny - and there's no avoiding the fact that the fight for this middle ground of affordable 5G phones is going to be hard-fought. 

We suspect that the OnePlus Nord will be slightly faster and offer a slightly more premium build quality with a better quality display. 

We think that Motorola will counter that by being a little better value for money, offering a larger display and a having a longer battery life.

Without further testing and comparison, we won't know exactly how they differ in real everyday usage, but it certainly shaping up to be an interesting battle between Moto's highest-end G series phone and OnePlus' first mid-ranger. 

Writing by Chris Hall.