Apple iPhone 5S vs. Motorola Moto X: How they compare

Apple iPhone 5S vs. Motorola Moto X: How they compare

Summary: We compare features, specifications and more for Apple and Motorola's latest flagship smartphones.

TOPICS: Mobility

Yesterday, Apple introduced its newest flagship smartphone, the iPhone 5S, which will be widely available on Sept. 20.

Here's how it stacks up against Motorola's top contender, the Moto X, which is available now in the U.S. and Canada.


iPhone 5S: Starts at $199.99 with two-year contract; also has $299 and $399 price points with progressively increased storage. Without contract, priced at $649, $749, $849.

Moto X: $199.99 with two-year contract. Without contract, priced at $599.

Carrier (U.S.)

iPhone 5S: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile

Moto X: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular

Operating System

iPhone 5S: Apple iOS 7

Moto X: Google Android 4.2.2 "Jelly Bean"


iPhone 5S: 4.87 inches (123.8 mm) tall; 2.31 inches (58.6 mm) wide; 0.30 inches (7.6 mm) thick

Moto X: 5.09 inches (129.3 mm) tall; 2.57 inches (65.3 mm) wide; 0.41 inches (10.4 mm) thick


iPhone 5S: 112 grams, or 3.95 ounces

Moto X: 130 grams, or 4.59 ounces


iPhone 5S: 4-inch (diagonal), touch-enabled display capable of 1136-by-640-pixel resolution at 326 ppi

Moto X: 4.7-inch (diagonal), touch-enabled display capable of 1280-by-720-pixel resolution at 316 ppi

Battery Life

iPhone 5S: 10 hours (browsing, Wi-Fi), 10 hours (talking, 3G), 10.4 days (standby) 

Moto X: 8 to 9 hours (browsing, Wi-Fi), 13 to 14 hours (talking, 3G), 13.8 days (standby). "Up to 24 hours," Motorola claims.

Camera (primary/back)

iPhone 5S: 8 megapixels, f/2.2 aperture. LED flash. Digital image stabilization, backside illumination sensor, five-element lens, 3X zoom.

Moto X: 10 megapixels, f/2.4 aperture. LED flash. Digital image stabilization. 4X zoom.

Camera (secondary/front)

iPhone 5S: 1.2 megapixels at 1280-by-960-pixel resolution. Backside illumination sensor.

Moto X: 2 megapixels at 1600-by-1200-pixel resolution.


iPhone 5S: gold, gray, silver

Moto X: black ("woven" texture), white ("woven" texture). Sixteen additional flat colors available via "Moto Maker" customization process.


iPhone 5S: Uses iTunes Store for downloadable music; no terrestrial radio support. Supports AAC, Protected AAC, HE-AAC, MP3, MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, 4, Audible Enhanced Audio, AAX, and AAX+), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV file formats for playback.

Moto X: Uses Google Play Store for downloadable music; no terrestrial radio support. Supports AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, FLAC, MP3, WMA, WAV, AMR, OGG and MIDI file formats. 


iPhone 5S: Records at up to 1080p (Full HD, 1920-by-1080-pixel resolution) at 60 frames per second. 3X video zoom. Supports H.264, MPEG-4, M-JPEG, as well as FaceTime video calling with similarly enabled devices; AirPlay mirroring and video out to Apple TV, video mirroring with adapter. Includes slow-motion video capability, video stabilization, face detection, geotagging and ability to take still photo while recording.

Moto X: Records at up to 1080p (Full HD, 1920-by-1080-pixel resolution) at 60 frames per second. 4X digital zoom. Supports MPEG4, H.263, H.264. Includes slow-motion video capability, face detection, geotagging.


iPhone 5S: Unknown

Moto X: 2 gigabytes.


iPhone 5S: 16, 32 or 64 gigabytes local; 5 gigabytes free in the cloud

Moto X: 16 or 32 gigabytes local; 15 gigabytes free in the cloud (plus an additional 50 gigabytes, free for two years)


iPhone 5S: Apple A7 (dual-core, 1.7 GHz)

Moto X: Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro (dual-core, 1.7 GHz)


iPhone 5S: Nano SIM (storage); Lightning (charging); 3.5 mm audio. USB, Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi.

Moto X: Nano SIM (storage); micro USB (charging); 3.5 mm audio. USB 2.0, Bluetooth 4.0 EDR, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi.

Features you'll talk about

iPhone 5S: Fingerprint sensor, slow-motion video capture, OpenGL ES version 3.0 support for higher-res gaming, free iWork apps.

Moto X: Touch-less/voice-activated control; wrist-flick camera activation; Motorola Assist intelligent shortcut tool; Motorola Connect in-browser communication tool for Chrome. Oh, and all those colors.

This list can't be everything to everyone, but if you're interested in more specifications or features that are not included here, visit the detailed product page for the iPhone 5S. (There isn't an official one available for the Moto X.) If we've missed anything major, just give us a shout.

PreviouslyApple iPhone 5S vs. Nokia Lumia 1020: How they compare

Topic: Mobility

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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  • Moto X Wifi

    I believe the Moto X supports the new ac wifi standard as well.
    • I believe you're right!

      Will add, thx.
      • This simply does not tell the whole story...

        The 5s has 1 Gig of RAM first of all...

        As for the Moto X, these are things that were left out...

        It does feature a dual core main CPU but, it also has a Core for Contextual Computing and Gesture Recognition, a Core for Voice Natural language Processing and Voice Recognition, and a Quad Core Adreno 320 GPU for powering the graphics... The whole system is referred to as the X8 system.

        I also don't see mention of the Apple Motion Co-Processor here.

        You also left out the specs for Slow motion video recording (the 5s actually can go up to 720P/120 FPS where as the Moto X can go 1080P/60 FPS).

        I'm not saying either phone is better (In fact both are very comparable and the Moto X is winning rave reviews as the Android phone of the year over much higher spec phones).
      • Oh and one more note...

        The measured power consumption showed the iPhone 5s used, on average, 2.5x more power than the Moto X in spite of the larger, higher pixel count display.

        So, Apple claims 10 Hours of browsing and surfing from a 1558 mah battery and you're saying Moto claims 9 Hours from a 2200 mah battery... Hmm, somebody is lying but, I'll let you be the judge of that because the numbers don't add up!

        Real world tests for web browsing are showing the 5s at 5:02 Hours and the Moto X at 8:13 Hours. Voice is more comparable with both getting over 12 Hours but, the Moto X still wins here.
  • Thanks Andrew, these are helpful

    So far the iphone 5s has lost against the Nokia Lumia 1020 and the Moto X.

    Amazing considering the iphone 5s is being released AFTER these 2 phones have been on sale for a while.
    • Thanks

      I noticed that you folks were already trying to compare devices in the comments while we were covering the news, and thought that these would be handy.
    • The only real innovations for the 5S is....

      ... a 64-bit processor. Whether that will have any real effect is yet to be seen as only the native apps have been updated to 64-bit. I was underwhelmed by the 5S. The 5C, on the otherhand, has some colors that make it sand out. Otherwise, Apple is still playing catch-up and losing.
      Thomas Kolakowski
      • Even the fingerprint reader..

        ... is of debatable value to most users, assuming it even works 100% of the time.

        "Underwhelmed" is the perfect word for the 5S introduction. They didn't even catch up with the best devices that are already out there, much less jump ahead. They're floundering badly.

        "Trust us, 8 megapixels is plenty when the pixels are 15% bigger." Yeah right. That 15% must make a "massive" difference in the quality of those medium resolution images. Come on, Apple! You're missing so many opportunities for a return to excellence it's no longer funny. Get a new design team if this is the best you can come up with.
        • --

          ooh, can u give one example of "floundering badly" for a company that make a billion dollar profit every week!

          You are commenting as if you have already seen and compared the quality of pictures taken from 5S and the next best.

          Which "best device" are you taking about here ? does it have a name ?

          Forget the finger print reader for a while and think about how you can make a device that can unlock itself when only the owner touches it.... now it sounds great. Its a tech feat that no one will be able to achieve for at least 2-3 years.
          • Why are you being so defensive?

            "Floundering badly" was in reference to the phone, not the company's profits. Just because a company makes a large profit, doesn't automatically mean that the products they make are good products.

            Also, BillDem referred solely to the information available to him right now - the statistics given by Apple. He judged the phone justly and fairly, and he never implied that he had ever taken pictures on either device.

            And he said "best devices," not "best device." There are several devices on the market today that are statistically better on paper than the iPhone 5S. The Lumia 1020, the Moto X, the HTC One, and the Galaxy S4 are all good examples.

            The fingerprint reader sounds like a great addition to the iPhone, but there's no way that it would take even 2 years for other companies to come up with that technology. I would even go as far as to say that other companies are already working on it, and that's assuming they don't already have it working.

            By the way, does anyone know if this 'fingerprint reader' works like most other biometric devices, where it simply records the location of your veins?
          • --

            Yes you do judge a companies product success by their profits. What makes u think otherwise ? Give an example dude!

            what kind of people start making judgement on things that havent even been shipped!! i guess mindless trolls, not me.

            Apple paid $356 million for a company called AuthenTec, thats where all this is coming from. I dont remember any other mobile company doing such an acquisition which is required to build a team quickly. They didnt as they wanted to promote lame NFC technology.

            Dont catch me on a typo, whatever he said he should have given proper reference. Apple makes the best overall device. What good a device is if it can only take great pictures. These so called "devices" on paper are good, what u mean ? Did u see the real time processing that takes place when u take a picture on the iphone ? 7 layers of processing, give you the best picture.

            I have seen first hands on video of this finger printing sensor, its just great.
        • Fingerprint reader....

          I don't know why they are making such a big deal out of the fingerprint reader. My Motorola Atrix 4G has a fingerprint reader to unlock it and it's over 2 years old!
      • --

        World's First 64-bit hardware software platform.

        Its a great achievement and no one will come near it for at least 2-3 years. They gave a live example of a 3D game ported to 64-bit in under 2 hours.

        I hope you are not suggesting that all 900,000+ apps in the app store are avaibale on the same day as 64-bit compatible.

        Do you know that when the Nexus 7 table came out, for months streached out phone apps were used on it
        • World's First 64-bit hardware software platform ...

          for a phone.

          > Its a great achievement and no one will come near it for at least 2-3 years
          All the manufacturers have the same access to the ARM designs that Apple did. Also, you assume they aren't already working on 64 bit processors for phones.

          > example of a 3D game ported to 64-bit in under 2 hours
          Perhaps they chose the easiest example where all they had to do was recompile for a 64 bit target.

          > Nexus 7 table came out, for months streached (sic) out phone apps were used on it
          On Android that's not as big a problem, since it's been designed for multi-resolution support for quite a while. I've certainly never thought that anything on my Nexus 7 looks like a stretched out phone app.

          Personally I think the 5S looks like it's a great phone, as do the Nokia 1020 and Galaxy S4. Not sure why people get so uptight about other people's choice of device.
          • --

            looks like u married ur wife for looks only.

            what 64-bit target are u taking about! are u nuts? I design and verify microchips, dont even get me started dude...

            64-bit is not only about the hardware.. aaaaaaahh!!! its the Software too!! unless both are updated, its useless.

            I am sure they even have a 256-bit processors, so ?
        • Nope

          Everyone will have 64-bit ARM in 2014. ARM's v8 architecture was released in 2009, after all, and all the big players have acknowledge having licensed the 64-bit cores. Even AMD! nVidia has admitted to be working on their own custom v8 core for over a year now. Samsung admitted last July that they're developing their own v8 core for mobile (the A57 and A53 cores directly from ARM are higher power/performance, but than again, so was the A15, and yet, that's already making appearances in tablets). Qualcomm is quiet, but as the company selling the most mobile processors, and the one with the most experience building custom ARM designs, they're bound to be in there as well.

          The salient question is whether Android goes 64-bit. Samsung's more recent comments seem to suggest they know something here. That's also a possible explanation for Google sticking to Android 4.x releases this year.. most time for the 5.x team to prove a 64-bit version (obviously, you get the Linux part of 64-bit just by changing a few makefile parameters, but there's work to be done if they want to fully tap the large memory model with Dalvik programs).

          About 80% of the 1,000,000+ Android apps are Dalvik apps, not native code. While they won't be able to use 64-bit addressing (they'll always have a 32-bit memory limit... not a big problem on a mobile device), all of those apps will be able to run in 64-bit mode in a 64-bit Android OS... just as they all run on x86 versions of Android.
    • 5s will sell in the tens of millions

      Moto X is selling at 100,000 per week.

      Lumia 1020 will likely not even get to those levels.

      And from that you adduce that the 5s has lost. You really are a mindless troll.
      • Moto X is the wrong comparison

        The Moto X is trying to be different.. it's not a high-end superphone, and it doesn't have a built-in upgrade market like the iPhone or the Galaxy S. It's selling on customization and being more useful, less techie -- actually not unlike the way Apple original sold the iPhone.

        But check you math... $100K a week is $12 million a quarter, if the demand just stays flat. That IS tens of millions. And really, it's only been available a few weeks, and the ads haven't even kicked in full gear yet. It's not going to outsell the iPhone or the Galaxy S, but it's poised to do quite well.

        That shouldn't make you feel bad about your iPhone, should it?
    • They did skip ac

      Apple's decision to to stick with b, c, n, for now, was the right move. The peripheral world is not ready for it and Apple is not now, nor never be a Company to always want to be fIrst, first, first to satisfy their egomania. If Apple is first, then the are because the timing is right. Look at NFC--none yet in Apple for 3 years now, give or take, and who uses and who uses it?--no one, or the very few. AC is important and will be used probably on the iPhone 6. Hopefully, it will be a fully-integrated Wi-Fi protocol that Apple will utilize next year when it's time while Samsung twiddles it's thumbs wondering, "Whit did we do this so early, while they could have spent more time investing in something more useful. BUT, ego buckets filled with oats must be kept sated for asses- er, donkeys- er, mules- er, assholes.
    • The 5S has lost already?

      No it hasn't lost yet. The only place it has to win or lose is in sales and I suspect it won't be the loser you are.