The Good The Motorola Moto G’s large, bright screen makes movies more immersive, the pure Android Lollipop experience is easy to use, and the camera and battery deliver decent performance.
The Bad Processor power is slowing down, even for a budget phone, which makes it sometimes sluggish.
The Bottom Line The large screen, 4G LTE data rate and low price make the Motorola Moto G a reliable choice for people who want to watch movies on the go and for newbies.
Motorola upgraded its popular budget Moto G smartphone in 2014 with an enlarged 5-inch display, improved camera and expanded storage. Oddly enough, however, the company eliminated a critical feature that was present in the previous model: 4G LTE.
The 2015 Moto G version welcomed the return of 4G LTE. This is the fourth generation visually identical to last year’s model, with the same 5-inch 720p display and a 1.2GHz quad-core processor at the bottom. It has been updated to the latest version of Android 5.0 Lollipop, and an 8MP camera is also sticking to the back.
The 4G-enabled version of the phone is currently only available in Europe, China and Brazil, and Motorola has yet to announce plans to export it to the US or Australia. In the UK, the phone is available without a SIM card directly from Motorola for £ 159, which is around $ 240 or $ 310.
You can still buy a non-4G Moto G in the UK, which will set you back £ 150. It’s only the difference of £ 9, it’s a small amount to pay for adding 4G to your phone. If you have avoided 4G tariffs for the time being, they are getting cheaper all the time (three actually do not charge extra for 4G), so it is definitely worth checking out yourself in the future with a 4G phone rather than having an incompatible phone if you want upgrade in six months.
Design and display
Adding 4G LTE to the Moto G has not changed its design by any length of time, so if you’re upgrading to the latest 4G LTE model, don’t expect any design surprises. Its flat sides and rounded back are comfortable to hold, and the rubberized back cover provides a secure grip. As in previous generations, there are many colors of the back panel available that allow you to apply your own stamp to your phone.
It’s 141mm long, 70.7mm wide and 11mm thick, making it a sizeable phone, but no bigger than many current smartphones. If you need a small phone to slip your jeans seamlessly, then take a look at the 4.3-inch Motorola instead Moto E . No, it’s not the prettiest phone around, but it’s far from ugly, but the silver ring around the camera lens, the curved back and the silver Moto logo all make it look more attractive than most budget smartphones.
The 5-inch display does not change, as with the 1280×720 pixel resolution. Of course, it’s not as sharp as in the high-end full-phones, but it’s more than adequate for most tasks, and you really can’t ask for much else for the money. It’s bright and the screen colors strong enough to do justice to Twitter, Facebook and the amazing Netflix show.
Its simple size, of course, means that there is a lot more room to really show your photos and videos in a more exciting way than you can with a 4.3-inch Moto E. If you want to get a 4G phone to enjoy movies on the go , then grabbing a phone of this size to make these movies a fair idea is a wise idea.
Android OS and processor
Moto G comes with Android 5.0 Lollipop software, the latest, up-to-date version of Google’s mobile operating system. It’s great to see this on the phone, as many budget phones save on older versions. It helps that Motorola did not apply any form of manufacturer on top of the software, ie did not have to spend either time or money to upgrade the skin for the new version.
Vanilla Android Lollipop is well suited for a budget phone. For beginners, it is neat and easy to use, making it a good choice not only for those who want to take their first steps on Android, but even for those who have never used a smartphone before. Because it lacks a confusing array of pre-loaded apps, widgets and customization options, the Moto G’s basic interface is great for beginners.
Another advantage of using normal Android is that it is generally less demanding on the processor than interfaces that use different live widgets and iterate through animated menus. This is important for a phone that only has a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor.
However, I did not find the Moto G navigation as fast as it could have been. At one time with the phone, I felt a strange slowdown, sometimes taking a couple of seconds to open the menu. Maybe I’m too harsh, because for the most part it was great, and only for the main tasks you may not even notice a weird moment of sluggishness.
Failing to accurately fly through our benchmarks, scoring just 5,054 on the Quadrant test, is a significant step below the 8,800 scored with the non-4G Moto G. That’s on par with at least the Moto E (5,256), but given the lower Moto E price , I would hope to see better performance.
Basic tasks such as email, web browsing and Instagramming did well, and several races were able to play on the Riptide GP 2, although the frame rate dropped slightly. For a spot of light games on your morning itinerary, the Moto G will do absolutely great – which is really all it is designed for.
The phone has 8 GB of memory, of which about 5 GB is available for use. Different budget phones come with just 4GB of memory, leaving you with so little usable space that it quickly becomes an annoyance, so I’m glad Moto didn’t go that route. It also has a microSD card slot that allows you to expand the phone’s memory with a card up to 32GB.
The 8-megapixel camera sits on the back of the Moto G. Is it the same camera as the non-4G version, which itself was a step up from the original 5-megapixel Moto G. The cheaper Moto E also has a 5MP camera.
I took it for a spin around moderate sunny London and found a phone capable of capturing some decent footage.
This first snapshot of St. Paul’s Cathedral has a decent amount of detail in the shot and a fine balance between a light sky and a darker river and buildings.
Turning on HDR has significantly helped to shade, making the overall appearance more even.
The same can be seen in this picture of a bright yellow building. Automatic mode has a clear level of clarity and colors are accurate, if not particularly strong. Exposing the image to a bright sky, the camera threw the earth into darkness.
When HDR mode is on, the dark areas below are much more noticeable, although the image looks a bit unnatural.
The Moto G does not deliver the best low-light shooting, but of course I’ve seen worse, especially in the low grades. The clarity is not brilliant, especially with the text on the tea box at the top left of the photo above, but it is bright, the colors look clear and the picture is not too much.
The camera starts up fairly quickly – in my experience of about 3 seconds – and lets you just switch between shooting modes or change settings. It has autofocus, though you can’t tap the screen area to focus. A simple click will take a photo, so you need to drag the center point of focus to a new area to select the focus. This is unlikely to be an attacker, but it may lose you a few valuable seconds when trying to get the focus right in the frame.
If shooting skills are your main concern when buying a new phone, then you should definitely consider spending more money on a high-end beast like the iPhone 6 or Galaxy S6. In the budget arena, however, the Moto G is definitely among the best shooters around and is more than adequate for snapshots.
Juice delivery is a 2390 mAh battery that Motorola believes is capable of holding “all day”. It’s a big claim to the phone, but the Moto G doesn’t have to struggle too much to achieve it, as long as you’re careful about how you use it. In our battery drain test, it took a little less than 12 hours for the battery to go from full to empty, which took great effort.
It easily won the Moto E effort for about 7 hours, and not even the 4G Moto G (which has a slightly smaller cell) reached only about 9. Even with moderate use, it should not be too difficult to go through your workday for a single fee.
If you really want to save power, the first thing you need to do is lower the screen brightness – the main thing that will drain the juice – is power the large display. Turning off Wi-Fi and GPS will also help and avoid any demanding things like games or streaming video. If you spend the whole morning going to games, playing games, and spending most of the day texting, then you probably want to top it up a little after dinner if you want the authorities to leave unprompted tweets from the pub after work.
The large, sharp Moto G screen, good battery life and easy-to-understand interface make it a great choice whether you want to make your first steps in the Android world or want to be solid and just don’t want to spend a lot.
It’s worth £ 9 to get 4G, not the 3G version. While some 4G contracts may now be out of budget, they are getting cheaper all the time, so it’s worth putting yourself in the future for such a small extra cost. If a larger screen, better camera and battery life all attracts sound, you should definitely choose Moto G over cheaper Moto E .