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Moto X vs. HTC One Google Play Edition

Review by Andrew Kameka on Wednesday August 14, 2013.

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HTC One Google Play Edition vs. Motorola Moto X
HTC One Google Play Edition vs. Motorola Moto X

Android has an odd way of cannibalizing itself when it comes to "Best smartphone" arguments. Just as quickly as one phone is crowned, another challenger appears a short time later. There's an endless cycle of saying X is the best phone...for now.

Now, X is the challenger. Moto X, that is. The first Motorola smartphone built under the wandering eye of Google ownership will be released soon, and it will challenge the HTC One for the distinction of being the best smartphone. The complete Moto X review has already been published, but it made sense to dedicate some time for direct comparisons to the HTC One. I made a short Moto X vs. HTC One video highlighting the interesting differences between the two phones and how they share similar screen sizes despite the HTC One being noticeably taller than its newest rival. It seemed natural to double back and revisit the issue.

To add another wrinkle to the comparison, I'm comparing the Moto X to the HTC One Google Play Edition. The Google-infused version of the One runs software nearly identical to the Moto X, only it's newer. The One has Android 4.3 while the device from Google's subsidiary sits on Android 4.2. It may seem odd but it's actually to be expected considering that Google likes to keep Motorola at arm's length in order to maintain the appearance of fairness, an issue I discussed in further detail to explain why people probably don't want a Google Play Edition Moto X. A GP Moto X might be treated to faster updates, something that makes the HTC One GP so attractive, but it might also remove the ability to have always-listening Google Now and the sensor-based software that takes action based on the Moto X's position. These are features that make the Moto X attractive even with a slightly older version of Android.

The physical makeup of the Moto X doesn't hurt either. As I've stated several times now, I love the compact body of the Moto X. It's the perfect-sized phone and more finger-friendly than the large HTC One. The two devices are equal at their thickest points, but the Moto X is curvier and has button placement that is easier to access. The aluminum unibody of the HTC One is marvelous visually and physically. However, the Moto X's soft woven texture and smaller size provides a better overall feel.

HTC made an incredible phone with the One, and Motorola took a major step forward with the Moto X. Which is best? Well, take a look at the Moto X vs. Google Play Edition video below to see which phone comes out on top. Also be sure to look at the photo comparisons below to see how the cameras stack up.

All of the images above show the Moto X on top and the HTC One below. In some shots, the Moto X is able to be as good or better, particularly in the fire hydrant photo that does a much better job of capturing color while in the shade. It takes a darker image of the city hall building, but it's still a good photo. However, the HTC One is a clear winner when looking at the beer bottle. The photo, taken in a night club with flash on, looks much better than the Moto X. You can also see in the statue comparison that the HTC One has a more balanced image that looks better than the overly white Moto X version.

The HTC One is typically a better camera, particularly in low light. As you can see in the second photo, the HTC One on the bottom is darker but has a better overall image thanks to the clarity and sharpness. By comparison, the Moto X looks out of focus (I actually took the same photo four times and got the same results). In other images, the differences are not as bad, and the close-up of the collectible actually looks good for the Moto X. However after taking several shots of the same situations under identical conditions, the HTC One delivers a better photo in the majority of situations.

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About the author

Andrew Kameka
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.

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