The Moto G (3rd Gen) vs the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3—two of the best budget smartphones on the market. Let’s see which one is for you here on PhoneDog.com.
Let’s start with the hardware. The Moto G and the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 are two very different devices in the hardware department. But they do have some similarities. We have dual front-facing stereo speakers, dual SIMs, and a microSD card slot on both devices. The Moto G does feature a smaller and thicker build while the Idol 3 features a thinner and more spread out build mostly due to the bigger display size.
The Idol 3 is considerably more minimal in the hand as it measures in at just 7.4mm thick while the Moto G measures in at 11.6mm thick. I like the slim profile of the Idol 3 but it is much more prone to slip out of my hand as it’s not only thin but the back cover is pretty smooth. The Moto G and its back cover does offer more texture to grip the device and the back cover is curved so it does fit the natural curve of my hand better. So it is chunkier in the hand but there’s more room to grip the device. I prefer the feel of the Moto G over the Idol 3.
I also do love the thick metal frame on the Moto G. The Idol 3 doesn’t feature any metal around the device. It’s made entirely of plastic, which you know, keeps the price down and the weight down but it doesn’t feel that great in the hand. Add in the fact that the Moto G features an IPX7 water resistance and it’s customizable via Moto Maker, I do prefer the hardware of the Moto G.
In terms of its display, both feature IPS LCD panels and both feature HD resolutions. But the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 features a 5.5-inch display with a 1080p resolution while the Moto G features a 5-inch display with a 720p resolution. While the brightness appears to be similar on both devices, I do prefer the display of the Idol 3. It’s more vibrant, sharp and color accurate much more so than the Moto G display. I like the fact that it’s a bigger panel overall. I personally am a big fan of large displays and just the panel looks to be laminated closer to the glass on the Idol 3 so it’s safe to say that the Idol 3 features just a higher quality display overall than the Moto G (3rd Gen).
Now let’s look at the internals. First of all, the Moto G features a Snapdragon 410 quad-core processor with 1GB of RAM which is the model I do have here. You can, however, upgrade it to 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage for an additional $40 bringing the total up to $220 off-contract.
The Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 features a Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor with 2GB of RAM. And after running each device on GeekBench several times, the Moto G received a single-core score near 500 and a multi-core score near 1600. The Idol 3 received a single-core score near 600 and a multi-core score near 2100. So what does that translate to in real-world performance? In terms of performance, they actually aren’t terribly different which is impressive considering the Moto G I have is the version with 1GB of RAM. Apps will open up with similar speeds on both devices and you’ll have really no issues navigating each device without experiencing any sort of considerable lag or stuttering. The most apparent difference would be with multi-tasking. The Idol 3 features four additional cores with a total of 8 cores to help it run and manage background applications more efficiently.
But I do want to take a look at the software. The Moto G is running a very pure version of Android Lollipop version 5.1. You have Google Now to the left, all the Material Design animations are present, and there are very little customizations on top of Android. The two main features Moto included here are some pretty useful gestures—the Jackie Chan karate chop motion to activate the flashlight and the wrist-turn to activate the camera app.
The Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 on the other hand, features a skin version of Android 5.0 Lollipop. You can of course install a custom launcher but out of the box, it does feature a custom skin. Many of the icons feature a squarish rectangular appearance but we still have an app drawer and all of the beautiful Material Design animations are still here which is great to see. The notification panel and the settings drawer all resemble stock Android Lollipop. So while the Moto G does run the pure version of Android, the Idol 3 skin is still very minimal. And Alcatel did include some additional features like double tap to wake, turn over to mute incoming calls, and turn over to activate snooze. You can also use the device upside down to make phone calls as it will calibrate itself accordingly since it has a mic both on top and the bottom of the device.
Both devices feature 13MP camera sensors. The Idol 3 features an 8MP front-facing camera sensor as well and the Moto G features a 5MP front-facing camera sensor. Image quality is very similar between the two devices but after analyzing them in detail, I do prefer the quality on the Idol 3 slightly more. Colors are more deep and accurate than the Moto G, which tends to lighten the subject and add a slight yellow hue to photos captured in direct sunlight. I also found it difficult to focus on a nearby subject with the Moto G. the camera software is pretty awful and needs to be seriously improved.
In terms of the video quality, it’s also a very similar story. The Moto G, for whatever reason, adds a noticeable yellow hue to the footage whereas on the Idol 3, that’s not the case. While both sensors do not feature Optical Image Stabilization, the Digital Image Stabilization appear to do a better job on the Idol 3 than the Moto G.
Battier life? Well that’s a whole different story. The Moto G features a 2470mAh battery while the Idol 3 features a 2910mAh battery. I found the Idol 3 to last me around 4 hours of screen on-time give or take, which really isn’t too bad. But the Moto G was able to last me twice as long around 8 hours of screen on-time which is insane. It doesn’t have as many cores to power or as many pixels to push as the Idol 3 but it’s still very impressive.
I do want to end by talking about the speakers. Both devices feature front-facing speakers, which is awesome. The Moto G features one singular speaker while the Idol 3 features dual stereo speakers. To be honest, both speakers sound good. So much better than the alternative. However, I do prefer the speakers on the Idol 3. They’re crisper, they’re JBL certified and they have more depth and are louder.
Overall, the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 and the Moto G (3rd Gen) are two of the best budget smartphones in the market right now. It’s really hard to go wrong with the Moto G since it starts at just $180 off-contract. But if you’re looking for the best display and camera on a budget, then you will most likely be happy with the OneTouch Idol 3, which costs just $250 off-contract. And if you do decide to go with the Moto G, you can always upgrade it to 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage for an additional $40.