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June 11, 2016

Motorola Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 vs HTC 10 vs LG G5: What’s the difference?

by John_A

Motorola took to the stage at Lenovo Tech World 2016 to unveil the new Moto Z. This new super smartphone replaces the Moto X as the flagship Moto device. It’s packed with flagship specs and innovation, looking to offer you something a little different, with a range of Moto Mod accessories.

There are two versions, the Moto Z and the Moto Z Force, the biggest difference between them being the battery capacity.

But with 2016 already throwing up some of the best handsets we’ve ever seen, does the Moto Z have what it takes to make its case? Can the Moto Z compete with the likes of Samsung and HTC, and how does it compare to LG’s own modular phone, the LG G5?

We’ve crunched through all the essential specs to bring you the lowdown on these flagship handsets.

Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 vs HTC 10 vs LG G5: Design 

The Moto Z has a metal unibody design using aluminium and stainless steel for a premium result. The Moto Z measures 153.3 x 75.3 x 5.19mm, so it’s super slim. It weighs 136g. Its sibling, the Moto Z Force, is slightly larger measuring 155.9 x 75.8 x 6.99mm and weighing 163g. Both have a fingerprint sensor on the front, a protruding camera on the rear and customisation from Moto Maker, for plenty of design options. It has a nano-coating for water resistance, but has no 3.5mm headphone socket, using USB Type-C instead, with an adapter in the box.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 has a metal and glass body that measures 142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9mm and weighs 152g, so it’s fatter than the Moto Z. It is available in white, gold, black and silver colour options and offers a waterproof rating of IP68.

The HTC 10 offers a premium anodised metal unibody with a deep chamfer on the rear edge for an interesting design. The curved back results in a handset that measures 145.9 x 71.9, but varies in thickness from 3-9mm, so it feels fatter than it’s rivals. The HTC 10 is likely the most substantial with that solid body, but weighs in at 161g. Then there’s BoomSound, giving HTC the best speakers of all the devices here.

The LG G5 features a painted metal body with a modular element that allows for a removable battery – something that is not found on other metal devices. The G5 measures 149.4 x 73.9 x 7.7mm and weighs 159g so a little fatter and heavier than the Galaxy S7 and Moto Z. It has a fingerprint sensor on the rear and it comes in silver, gold, titan and pink colour options, although it doesn’t feel as premium as the other devices on this list.

The big differentiator for the Moto Z is the seamless integration with Moto Mods. These accessories magnetically attach to the rear of the phones to expand the feature set. The LG G5 offers modular accessories too, although these involve more fiddling around, removing the bottom section of the phone to attach them. In that sense, the Moto has the edge.

Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 vs HTC 10 vs LG G5: Display

The Moto Z offers a 5.5-inch 2560 x 1440-pixel resolution display. It is an AMOLED display offering a pixel density of 535ppi. The regular Moto Z is topped with Gorilla Glass, but the Moto Z Force is protected with ShatterShield, so it’s virtually unbreakable. It offers the largest display of the flagship devices.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 also features an AMOLED display, but it is smaller at 5.1-inches (unless you take the S7 edge at 5.5 inches). It also offers a Quad HD resolution for a pixel density of 577ppi, which in theory means sharper and crisper images than the Moto Z. Samsung’s display is seriously impressive but it’s too soon to determine if the Moto Z is as lustworthy.

The HTC 10 plumps for a 5.2-inch LCD display, again with 2560 x 1440 pixels for 564ppi, offering great performance, although not as adept as the Samsung offering.

The LG G5 also has a Quad HD resolution on board. It sits in the middle at 5.3-inches at 554ppi, offering a great display with lovely deep blacks and its always on function. 

Across all these flagship phones there’s certainly no shortage of pixels: Samsung’s AMOLED displays have been great performers, however.

Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 vs HTC 10 vs LG G5: Camera

The Moto Z and Z Force differ in the camera departments. Both have a front 5-megapixel camera, but the normal Z has a 13-megapixel rear camera and the Z Force has a 21-megapixel rear camera. Both offer optical image stabilisation (OIS) and laser autofocus, both have 1.12µm pixels, although the Z Force declares that it has deep trench isolation on its sensor, as well as phase detection AF.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 features a 12-megapixel rear camera with 1.4µm pixels, OIS and an aperture of f/1.7 for better performance in low light. It features dual pixel technology for quicker auto-focusing using phase detection, while the front facing camera is 5-megapixels, which also has an f/1.7 aperture. The Samsung is regarded as one of the best cameras available.

The HTC 10 opts for a 12-megapixel camera with 1.55µm pixels, OIS and an f/1.8 aperture. It also offers laser autofocus on the rear. The front camera is 5-megapixels, but also offers OIS and autofocus. HTC’s main camera doesn’t perform quite as well as Samsung’s, but the selfie camera is excellent.

The LG G5 has a 16-megapixel main rear camera, along with a secondary 8-megapixel 135-degree wide-angle sensor for when you want a wider field of view that is closer to the human eye than a regular smartphone camera. There is also an 8-megapixel front-facing camera on board.

The LG G5 offers some wonderful results and that secondary rear camera is a lot of fun with that wide angle, but for simple consistency and performance, Samsung is one of the best around. It’s too soon the judge the performance of the Moto Z, however.

Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 vs HTC 10 vs LG G5: Hardware

Both Moto Z models are powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset with 4GB of RAM. Options for 32 or 64GB storage with microSD expansion are offered. The Moto Z has a 2600mAh battery, which is a little on the small side, but the Moto Z Force boosts this to 3500mAh, giving it the biggest capacity on this list, although it matches the capacity of the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge. The Moto Z offers USB Type-C.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 comes in two models – one has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chip too, while the other has the Exynos 8 Octa processor. Both have 4GB of RAM though and 32GB and 64GB storage options, with microSD support for further storage expansion. The Galaxy S7 has a 3000mAh battery, and sticks with Micro-USB.

The HTC 10 is also a Snapdragon 820 device with 4GB of RAM and 32GB storage with microSD card expansion. It features USB Type-C and offers a 3000mAh battery.

The LG G5 has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chip, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage with microSD support. It has a smaller 2800mAh battery than many of the devices on this list, but as we mentioned previously, it is removable. There’s USB Type-C for charging and accessories.

Moto offers two very different devices in the sense of battery power; the Z Force is likely to be an endurance star, but we’re still some way from knowing how the Moto Z performs in daily use.

Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 vs HTC 10 vs LG G5: Software

Moto is known for taking a minimal stance when it comes to software. Offering a virtually unsullied version of Android Marshmallow, the Moto is as close to a Nexus as you’ll get without buying a Nexus.

The HTC 10 offers Android Marshmallow and has also reduced the bulk, removing many elements of HTC Sense that used to add bloat, for a lovely slick experience.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 also comes with Android Marshmallow, as does the LG G5, but both have their individual software. The Galaxy S7 has Samsung’s TouchWiz skin placed on top, while the G5 has LG’s Optimus UX on top, changing just about every element of Android visually, and bundling in a number of extra apps and services.

Although based on the same software, the Moto is going to be the most Androidy, the Samsung distinctly different, but with plnety of character. Of the collection, the LG feels a step behind on the software front.

Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 vs HTC 10 vs LG G5: Conclusions

Motorola makes a big play with the launch of two handsets that are virtually the same, but with one offering a big draw – a much larger battery.

LG’s Friend accessories for the G5 don’t look as attractive as those that Motorola now offers through Moto Mods, and paired with a small battery and build that lacks the premium feel of these other handsets, LG is really depending on that great wide-angle camera to win the G5 points.

Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and S7 edge (which we’ve mentioned in passing here) are very solidly positioned, offering great performance across the board, with a great build, waterproofing, camera performance and wonderful displays. It’s Samsung that Moto really needs to knock aside – although the S7 has already been on sale for 3 months, and the Note 7 is likely to launch soon too.

HTC’s solid build makes it one of the best designed models on the list, and the software gives a great mature experience, with outstanding audio performance and a great front camera, a real return to form for HTC.

The slick design and the innovation with Moto Mods sees the Moto Z as a real challenger, although September availability sees them many months behind these other devices that are already available. The Moto Z is an innovative proposition, and on paper, at least, Moto could stir-up the flagship handset arena.

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