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Motorola Moto G 4G vs Nokia Lumia 635: battle of the cheap 4G phones

We pit the Motorola Moto G 4G against the Nokia Lumia 635 in this full comparison review. It’s bitter rivalry between two cheap 4G phones, but which offers the best value?

Aside from EE’s Kestrel, two of the cheapest 4G phones you’ll be able to bag from June 2014 are the Nokia Lumia 635 and Motorola Moto G 4G. Both phones pack fast 4G LTE for nippy web browsing and media streaming, but offer very different experiences. The Lumia is one of the very first Windows Phone 8.1 mobiles, while the Moto boasts the latest Android KitKat interface – but which is best for you, and offers the most satisfying all-round experience? Let’s compare the specs and features…

Also check out our full round-up of the very best affordable 4G phones right now…

Nokia Lumia 635 vs Motorola Moto G 4G comparison review which is the best cheap 4G phone?

Nokia Lumia 635 vs Motorola Moto G 4G: Look and feel

If you check out the key stats for these two affordable 4G phones, they seem to rock very similar designs. However, they sport a very different look and feel once you actually get the wee blighters in your hand.

Phone Nokia Lumia 635 Motorola Moto G 4G
Screen size 4.5-inches 4.5-inches
Thickness 9.2mm 11.6mm
Weight 134g 143g

Key stats: Nokia Lumia 635 vs Motorola Moto G 4G

The Lumia 635 has an old-school vibe with its blocky build, but that’s not to say it’s a brick. It’s actually relatively slim at 9.2mm and boasts a colourful glossy shell that can be snapped off and replaced with any other Lumia 635 cover – orange, green, yellow, black and white.

Likewise, the Moto G’s case can be replaced with another colour, and the range is just as vibrant, with lots to choose from. You can even attach covers from the original Moto G smartphone, as the two are identical sizes and shapes. We also found the Moto G 4G more comfortable to handle than the Lumia, thanks to its rounded rear – although Nokia’s mobile isn’t exactly uncomfortable to operate.

Both phones feel suitably rugged, with solid bodies that don’t flex or bend and Gorilla Glass 3 screens that can take a pounding without getting scratched up. So either phone will suit younger users, who like hurling their expensive toys around.

Nokia Lumia 635 vs Motorola Moto G 4G: Interface and ease of use

The major distinction between these phones is the interface. While the Nokia Lumia 635 runs Windows Phone 8.1, the Moto G 4G packs Android 4.4 KitKat.

We’re big fans of the latest Windows Phone, which is still dead easy to use and play around with, but also finally packs in some of those features we’ve missed, like a handy notification bar and – soon – a sultry voice assistant. If you’re new to smartphones, the Lumia 635 is a solid choice.

Nokia Lumia 635 vs Motorola Moto G 4G phone comparison review which is best?

On the other hand, if you want a bit more customisation, you’ll get on better with the Moto G 4G. And Android’s other advantage is its apps store, known as Google Play. You’ll find a much greater selection of first-party apps and plenty of great games, which sadly aren’t found – yet – on Microsoft’s OS. The Lumia has the likes of Nokia’s Here suite to somewhat make up for it, but it’s not enough to make up for the dirth.

Nokia Lumia 635 vs Motorola Moto G 4G: Media

Although the Lumia 635 and Moto G 4G both sport 4.5-inch IPS screens, they’re very different displays.

The major difference is in resolution, with the Moto G 4G sporting a 720p HD screen, while the Lumia 635 has a lesser 480 x 645 resolution. That means movie fans will get more from the Moto G, thanks to its high-def support providing sharper images.

That said, the Lumia 635’s ClearBlack display boasts great contrast levels, and is just as vibrant. And Nokia also has a bonus feature for music fans, namely Nokia MixRadio. MixRadio allows you to stream music for free over t’interwebs, or download up to four mixes for offline enjoyment, and can even grow to understand your musical tastes.

Nokia Lumia 635 vs Motorola Moto G 4G phone comparison review which is best?

Both phones find room for a microSD memory card slot, a blessing due to their limited built-in storage, so you’ll comfortably be able to carry around a hefty collection of movies and music.

Nokia Lumia 635 vs Motorola Moto G 4G: Performance

You’ll find quad-core processors packed into both phones, and for budget mobiles, the performance is excellent. We had no trouble playing games on either device, and the overall experiences were similarly slick.

Of course, you can’t expect the world from these budget smartphones. In a year or so, they’ll be struggling to run the latest games, or refusing to play them altogether.

Nokia Lumia 635 vs Motorola Moto G 4G: Cameras

Both phones sport 5-megapixel rear cameras, capable of capturing 720p video.

The Lumia 635’s camera is more feature-packed, with the excellent Nokia Camera app providing slick manual controls, and a bunch of ‘Lenses’ for adding motion effects and other fun shenanigans to your snaps.

Nokia lumia 635 vs Motorola Moto G comparison 4G phones review

However, the Moto G 4G has two critical advantages over the Lumia 635. First, it has a built-in LED flash for snapping night shots. And second, it has a front-facing lens for the all-important selfie snap. Both are missing from the Lumia 635, so it’s only usable in bright conditions, unless you like grainy photos. And if you want to show the world how bloody gorgeous you are, you’ll need to fumble around with the rear-facing lens.

Nokia Lumia 635 vs Motorola Moto G 4G: Verdict

The Moto G 4G can be yours for £149 come the end of June, while the Lumia 635 is expected to cost around £125 when it hits the UK in a couple of weeks. Both great deals for a fully 4G-ified phone, but which should you go for?

If you’re after a simple-to-use phone with a colourful, shiny interface, the Lumia 635 is a fine choice – and we like the MixRadio music streaming service, an excellent partner to the LTE support. However, the Moto G 4G’s HD screen, more capable camera and greater range of apps make it an all-too tantalising choice, especially if you’re a movie fan who wants to use that glorious 4G to stream video content on the go.

Check out our videos on other great 4G phones and our ‘what is 4G?‘ explainer.

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