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Affordable phones round-up: Motorola New Moto G vs Nokia Lumia 635 vs Sony Xperia E1 vs HTC Desire 510

We compare the Motorola New Moto G with some of the other big affordable value phones of 2014 – the HTC Desire 510, Nokia Lumia 635 and Sony Xperia E1.

In 2013, Motorola dominated the world of affordable phones with its incredible Moto G, which offered up some tasty value for money with its HD screen and slick, simple interface. Rival phones didn’t stand a chance and the Moto G was crowned our best smartphone for under £100.

New Moto G vs Nokia Lumia 635 vs Sony Xperia E1 vs HTC Desire 510 comparison review

Can Motorola do the same in 2014 with the New Moto G? Well, we’ve already compared the New Moto G with the 2013 model, and now we’re pitting it against some of the biggest cut-price mobiles out there: HTC’s Desire 510, the Nokia Lumia 635 and the Sony Xperia E1.

Let the four-way battle royale commence!

Motorola New Moto G vs HTC Desire 510 vs Nokia Lumia 635 vs Sony Xperia E1: Design

Phone New Moto G Lumia 635 Desire 510 Xperia E1
Dimensions 71x141x11mm 67x130x9mm 70x140x10mm 62x118x12mm
Screen size 5-inches 4.5-inches 4.7-inches 4.3-inches
Weight 149g 134g 158g 120g

With the New Moto G, Motorola went big. Most value phones are quite compact and chunky, with screens averaging around 4.5-inches, making the 5-inch New Moto G a true beast amongst its peers.

That said, the HTC Desire 510 rocks an almost identical frame, despite its smaller 4.7-inch display. Both phones are proper palm-fillers and we struggled at times to use them one-handed, having to adjust our grip to stretch our thumbs to the very top corners of the screen.

New Moto G vs Nokia Lumia 635 vs Sony Xperia E1 vs HTC Desire 510 comparison review

If you’d prefer something a little more compact and manageable, the Lumia 635 and Xperia E1 are worth a look. The Xperia E1 is well suited to dainty hands with its dinky 4-inch screen, while the 4.5-inch Lumia 635 is also easy to use with just one mitt.

If you’re after a phone with a splash of colour, the New Moto G and Lumia 635 both come in a range of colours and you can pop off their backs and stick on a new cover any time you like. The Xperia E1 only comes in black, white and purple, while the Desire sports even fewer colours: white and grey are your rather insipid choices.

Motorola New Moto G vs HTC Desire 510 vs Nokia Lumia 635 vs Sony Xperia E1: Features and usability

Phone New Moto G Lumia 635 Desire 510 Xperia E1
OS Android 4.4 Windows Phone 8.1 Android 4.4 Android 4.3
4G? No Yes Yes No

If you’re tempted by a 4G contract, for speedy web browsing and media streaming, you have a choice between the Nokia Lumia 635 and the HTC Desire 510. These two budget phones both support LTE networks in the UK, while the New Moto G and Xperia E1 top off at 3G.

New Moto G vs Nokia Lumia 635 vs Sony Xperia E1 vs HTC Desire 510 comparison review

The Lumia 635 also stands out because it’s the only Windows Phone handset here. The other three phones are all Android, although they all look and feel different thanks to their individual skins.

If you want a simple, friendly user experience that’s tailored around friends and family, the Lumia 635 is most likely to appease. Windows Phone is perfectly designed for people who want a hassle-free experience, while features such as Family Room let you share the Lumia with younger users, controlling exactly what they have access to.

New Moto G vs Nokia Lumia 635 vs Sony Xperia E1 vs HTC Desire 510 comparison review

If you’re more into apps, the Android phones here enjoy a better selection on the Google Play store. Windows Phone is catching up, but there are still a fair few holes in the Windows Market offerings. Gamers, for instance, have a meagre selection of titles to play with, many of which are overpriced bilge.

Motorola New Moto G vs HTC Desire 510 vs Nokia Lumia 635 vs Sony Xperia E1: Media

When it comes to movies, video and other media, the Motorola New Moto G is our hands-down winner.

That’s not just because the 5-inch screen is more spacious, for a comfortable viewing experience, either. It’s thanks to the glorious 720p HD resolution, which means your video will look beautifully crisp. The other phones here have lower resolution screens, so visual clarity isn’t as strong and you’ll make out individual pixels when you look close.

New Moto G vs Nokia Lumia 635 vs Sony Xperia E1 vs HTC Desire 510 comparison review

The New Moto G’s screen isn’t just sharp, though. It’s also bright, colourful and boasts wide viewing angles, great news if two of you are trying to watch something at once.

We also like the Lumia 635’s 4.5-inch display, which is just as bright and bold, but the other two phones here disappoint when it comes to media. The Xperia E1’s screen is particularly lackluster, suffering from grainy visuals, murky colours and yellowy whites.

New Moto G vs Nokia Lumia 635 vs Sony Xperia E1 vs HTC Desire 510 comparison review

Meanwhile the Desire 510 suffers from a dim screen with poor viewing angles, while colours don’t exactly leap from the screen.

If you’re more of a music fan, both the Xperia E1 and the Lumia 625 cram in some interesting audio features. Nokia MixRadio is a cool and completely free service that lets you stream mixes and even download up to four at one time to listen to on the move.

The Xperia E1 is the latest Sony phone to rock a physical ‘Walkman’ button, on top of the device. This can be used to quickly call up the Walkman app and pause or play your music without fiddling around in menus. It’s not exactly a killer feature, but it’s handy for skipping tracks when you’re strolling down the street, without fumbling around unlocking your phone.

New Moto G vs Nokia Lumia 635 vs Sony Xperia E1 vs HTC Desire 510 comparison review

However, if you want a phone with a powerful speaker for blasting out tunes, the New Moto G is your best bet. The dual front-facing blowers ape HTC’s BoomSound speakers and they put out a rich, full-bodied sound. It’s a shame that HTC’s Desire 510 doesn’t rock the BoomSound tech, making do with a single rear speaker instead.

All four phones here pack a micro SD memory card slot, so you can expand their on-board storage and carry your whole media collection around.

Motorola New Moto G vs HTC Desire 510 vs Nokia Lumia 635 vs Sony Xperia E1: Performance

With the exception of the Sony Xperia E1, all of the phones here enjoy slick and fast performance for affordable phones. We had no trouble playing games or messing around with several apps at once, with the Xperia E1 being the only device that suffered from occasional stutters and pauses when loading apps.

New Moto G vs Nokia Lumia 635 vs Sony Xperia E1 vs HTC Desire 510 comparison review

Motorola New Moto G vs HTC Desire 510 vs Nokia Lumia 635 vs Sony Xperia E1: Battery life

In our tests, the best affordable phone for battery life was the HTC Desire 510, which happily lasted well over a day per charge and survived for seven hours straight when streaming movies. The other phones here will just about see you through a full day with regular use, and can stream video for five or so hours before biting the dust.

Motorola New Moto G vs HTC Desire 510 vs Nokia Lumia 635 vs Sony Xperia E1: Cameras

Phone New Moto G Lumia 635 Desire 510 Xperia E1
Camera 8-megapixel 5-megapixel 5-megapixel 3-megapixel
Flash? Yes No No No
Selfie cam? Yes No Yes No

Once again, the winner here is the New Moto G. That 8-megapixel snapper is one of the best we’ve ever seen at this price point, coping well with a range of conditions and producing bright, detailed photos boasting realistic colours. We also like the camera interface, which is as simple as it comes – just tap the screen to take a photo, with the settings all tucked away in a hidden scroll wheel.

New Moto G vs Nokia Lumia 635 vs Sony Xperia E1 vs HTC Desire 510 comparison review

The HTC Desire 510 also enjoys a simple, streamlined interface, but the 5-megapixel camera itself is a bit ‘meh’. Low light performance is poor, not helped by the lack of a flash, while the lack of an HDR mode means tricky lighting conditions will often result in ugly, dark photos. Matters aren’t helped by the absence of autofocus, which occasionally gives hazy results.

The Lumia 635 suffers just as much in the dark, with a lack of detail and some serious blurriness in the wrong conditions. The Xperia E1’s 3-megapixel camera is also a downer despite coming packed with plenty of modes and features.

The New Moto G and Desire 510 both have front-facing cameras, but this feature’s missing from the Xperia E1 and the Lumia 635. So if you love a bit of selfie action, that’s your choices cut by half.

Motorola New Moto G vs HTC Desire 510 vs Nokia Lumia 635 vs Sony Xperia E1: Verdict

Motorola’s New Moto G wins the majority of the rounds in this four-way slugathon, thanks to its brilliant 720p HD screen and dependable 8-megapixel camera, which will appeal to movie fans and social photographers. It’s just a great all-round device that should appeal to almost every user type, while packing an impressively affordable price tag.

New Moto G vs Nokia Lumia 635 vs Sony Xperia E1 vs HTC Desire 510 comparison review

That said, there’s plenty to recommend in the Nokia Lumia 635 and the HTC Desire 510 too. They both support 4G, if you’re keen on nabbing an LTE contract, and they have their own particular strengths. For instance, Nokia’s live tiles interface will most likely appeal to smartphone noobs and familys more than Android.

Read next: Which Moto G is best for me?

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