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(Pocket-lint) - The lower-end of the smartphone market is almost as exciting, if not more exciting, than the top-end at the moment. In the last couple of weeks, we have seen not only the OnePlus 2 arrive, but also the third generation of Moto G, two new models of the Moto X and more recently, the successor to Sony's mid-range Xperia M4 Aqua smartphone.

It's hard enough choosing between the flagships, but the latest additions blur the lines between flagship, mid-range and even budget so much, that your decision is likely to become even harder.

To help, we have put the Sony Xperia M5 up against the third generation Moto G to see how the two devices compare, what their differences are, and which of these two new handsets offers the most for your money.

Sony Xperia X5 slimmer and lighter, but Moto G offers more colour choice

The Sony Xperia M5 measures 145 x 72 x 7.6mm and weighs 142.6g, while the new Moto G measures 142.1 x 72.4mm, features a curve between 6.1 and 11.6mm, and hits the scales at 155g.

This means that while the Moto G isn't as tall as the Xperia M5, it is very slightly wider and quite a bit thicker at its thickest point. It is also a few grams heavier, although when it's in your hand, it feels lovely and light.

In terms of design, these two devices are very different. Sony's M5 is a replica of its flagship Z series, offering a flat, rectangular look with curved edges. It has the signature side power button and dedicated camera button and it comes in three colours comprising black, white and gold.

The third-gen Moto G on the other hand, has a softer shape with a curved rear and although it looks similar to its predecessors, its design has been significantly refined. It also offers plenty of customisation options as Motorola has made the new Moto G available through Moto Maker so you can pick various accent colours and rear panels. There are also several Flip Shells and Motorola Shells if you don't want to go down the Moto Maker route.

Both devices can handle a bit of water, but the Xperia M5 is IP65 and IP68 waterproof, while the Moto G is just IPX7 resistant.

Sony Xperia M5 has a shaper display

The Xperia M5 has a 5-inch display, which is the same as the third-gen Moto G. They aren't the same in terms of resolution though with the M5 opting for Full HD, while the Moto G sticks with 1280 x 720.

This puts their pixel densities at 440ppi compared to 294ppi, which should mean the Xperia M5 offers a crisper, sharper image.

The Xperia M4 Aqua's display wasn't brilliant when compared to the new Moto G, but with the bump in resolution on the Xperia M5, we suspect the experience will improve.

Sony Xperia M5 has more camera megapixels

The Xperia M5 features a 21.5-megapixel rear camera, along with a 13-megapixel front camera, while the third-gen Moto G has a 13-megapixel rear snapper and a 5-megapixel front camera.

The Xperia M5 is capable of 4K video recording from its rear camera and it also offers Hybrid AF for speedy focussing, as well as 5x Clear Image Zoom. The new Moto G has 4x digital zoom, auto focus and clever little tricks like twisting your wrist to launch the camera.

In terms of the front camera, the Xperia M5's 13-megapixel snapper is capable of 1080p video recording, while the 5-megapixel shooter on the Moto G has its own features such as display flash and 4x digital zoom.

Sony Xperia M5 will be faster and has more storage support

The Xperia M5 has a 2GHz octa-core MediaTek processor under its hood, supported by 3GB of RAM, while the new Moto G has the 1.4GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor on board, with either 1GB or 2GB of RAM, depending on the storage model.

There is a choice of 8GB or 16GB internal memory for the Moto G, with the 8GB offering less RAM capacity, while the Xperia M5 is only available in 16GB. Both offer microSD support, but Motorola said the Moto G will only support up to 32GB cards, while the Xperia M5 will support up to 200GB.

When it comes to battery capacities, there isn't much in it between these two handsets, but the Xperia M5 takes the crown, just. Sony's device has a 2600mAh battery compared to the Moto G's 2470mAh. That said, both Sony and Motorola are known for offering a decent battery life on their devices so either should perform well.


The Xperia M5 and the Moto G both run on Android Lollipop but you will get a slightly different user experience. The Moto G is very close to raw Android, with Motorola adding only a few specific apps, such as camera and a couple of others over the top.

The Sony on the other hand, has the typical Sony overlay on top of the Android system so it will not only look different, but it has a lot more bloatware than the Moto G.

This comes down to personal preference. If you want a cleaner interface with less duplication, the Moto G is likely to be more suitable but if you want Sony and all it has to offer in terms of entertainment, except a couple of things like PS4 Remote Play, then the Xperia M5 is the one to choose out of these two.


The Sony Xperia M5 is slimmer and lighter than the new Moto G and it offers a faster processor, more RAM, better storage, more camera megapixels and a bigger battery capacity. It also has a sharper display.

In the Moto G's defence though, prices haven't been announced for the Xperia M5 yet and as its predecessor was £200, it's likely the new device will sit around the same mark, if not a little higher.

The Moto G starts at £179 with Moto Maker, which isn't bad given you can start customising your device for this price. And on that note, the colours offered for the Moto G far extend the Xperia M5.

We suspect the decision between these two will come down to design, followed by the software experience you want. Both are great looking devices and both offer a lot of bang for their buck.

Writing by Britta O'Boyle. Originally published on 4 August 2015.