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Moto G review

The best budget handset around

Our Verdict

A stunning phone for very little money - poorer camera aside, it's the perfect PAYG phone. You won't get a better budget blower than the Moto G.

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 16 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 5 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 1 Day
  • Screen Resolution : 1280 x 720
  • Processor Core : Quad-core (4 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Great value
  • Decent screen
  • Slick interface

Against

  • Poor camera
  • Low internal storage
  • Extra cost for microSD and 4G
Ratings in depth

Moto G review

Moto G review

Moto G review

Moto G review

Moto G review

Update: There's a new low cost Motorola on the market in the form of the Moto G (2014). So if you fancy the latest budget Android blower you'll want to check out the 5-inch, 4G enabled, quad-core 2014 edition - although it will cost you a little more.

Motorola kicked off its global smartphone revival with the keenly priced Moto G handset, which was quickly followed by the 4G enabled Moto G 4G.

Both have since been replaced by the larger, 5-inch Moto G (2014) edition, although it will set you back a little more and the bigger screen may not suit everyone's tastes.

The Moto G is a mid-range handset with a low-end price tag and Android KitKat - enough to pique the interest of many savvy shoppers..

First things first then, the Motorola Moto G price. You can pick the 3G handset up in two storage sizes - 8GB and 16GB. The former will set you back around £135/$175, while the larger size is still a very palatable around £155/$199.

Motorola has enhanced the handset with the new Moto G 4G iteration, which is a little pricier coming in at £149 - but does also pack in a microSD slot for some lovely storage expansion.

That price is for the 8GB model, as the Moto G 4G doesn't have a 16GB variant.

Motorola Moto G review

So where does this place the Moto G in the market? Well at that price it has the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Fame, Nokia Lumia 520 and LG Optimus L3 2 for company, but dive into the spec list and you'll note the Moto G wipes the floor with them.

In terms of design both the Moto G and Moto G 4G take most of their cues from the firm's first, post-Google takeover handset, the Moto X.

It's hardly groundbreaking in terms of looks, but the soft, curved edges of the Moto G make it relatively attractive and the swath of plastic feels solid and well built.

Motorola Moto G review

Weighing in at 143g the Moto G has a pleasing, well balanced presence in the hand without being overbearing, and while it may measure 11.6mm thick in the middle the tapered edges make it feel thinner than it is.

Couple that with a rubberised rear plate which slightly hugs the side of the handset too, and the Motorola Moto G fits comfortably in the palm, providing a decent level of grip.

The Moto G features a water repellent coating which means you'll be able to whip it out in the rain without fear of a short circuit, but it is not waterproof - so no jumping in the bath with it.

Motorola Moto G review

You can even take the rear cover off and swap it for a different color, which Motorola is pushing as a big customizable feature of the phone. In reality however it just reminds me of my Nokia 3310.

Sure, changing covers is fun for all of five minutes, but the novelty soon wears off. Not to mention the back cover is also pretty tricky to remove - you need to really dig your nails in at the base of the handset to get it free.

In fact, so much strength needs to be employed to free the cover from the Moto G I feared on more than one occasion that the thin plastic would snap - thankfully it never did.

Motorola Moto G review

Motorola did make a point that the younger generation like the ability to "customize" their handsets and this particular feature, along with the rock bottom price, reinforces the Moto G's credentials as a handset which may land in the laps of many teenagers.

Something worth noting is that because the Moto G and Moto G 4G are identical is design and size you can switch covers between the two variants.

The left side of the Motorola Moto G is devoid of any features, while the top of the handset only sports a centralized headphone jack. Both the power/lock key and volume rocker switch are located on the right of the G and these are easy to reach and responsive to the press.

Motorola Moto G review

On the base is a microUSB port, while under the removable cover the only physical difference between the Moto G 4G and Moto G can be found.

Open up the 3G enabled Moto G and you'll spy a microSIM port on the side towards the top of the handset- but no microSD slot.

Now take a look at the Moto G 4G, and the microSIM port has changed to a microSD slot, with the new SIM location in the bottom corner of the handset.

Motorola Moto G review

The 2070mAh non-removable battery housed inside the Moto G is claimed to give you all day battery life, and I put that to the test - skip ahead to the battery life and connectivity section to see how it got on.

The Moto G comes with a 4.5-inch, 1280 x 720 display and boasts a 329ppi pixel density. To put that in some perspective that's a bigger, higher resolution and more defined display than the iPhone 5S - not bad for a handset which is a third of the price.

Of course a HD display isn't the only key factor in a smartphone, but Motorola has managed to equip the Moto G 4G and G with a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor and 1GB of RAM.

Motorola Moto G review

In terms of specs then the Motorola Moto G is actually giving the HTC One Mini, Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and Nokia Lumia 820 a run for their mid-range, dual-core money - and once again the screen is bigger than these rivals. The Motorola handset even beats the Samsung and Nokia when it comes to resolution.

The camera on the rear of the Moto G is only 5MP and this is trumped by the S4 Mini and Lumia 820 and their 8MP snappers.

All in all the Moto G finds itself in no-mans land, with a complete disconnect between its price and spec list. This, of course, isn't a bad thing and on paper it offers outstanding value for money.

The proof however, is in the pudding, so let's see how the Motorola Moto G got on in real life.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Built-in Memory16 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotNo
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationNo
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyMoto G
Cellular Generation3G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Phone StyleBar
ColourBlack
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameMotorola
Battery Talk Time1 Day
Screen Size11.4 cm (4.5")
Screen Resolution1280 x 720
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)143 g
Processor CoreQuad-core (4 Core)
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Operating System VersionAndroid 4.3 Jelly Bean
Messaging TypeMMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging, SMS (Short Message Service)
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Pixel Density329 ppi
Front Camera Resolution1.3 Megapixel
Height129.9 mm
Width65.9 mm
Depth11.6 mm
Radio TunerYes
ManufacturerMotorola, Inc
Product NameMoto G Smartphone
Processor Speed1.20 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon 400
Product LineMoto G
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Proximity Sensor, Digital Compass
Manufacturer Part NumberSM3723AE7B1
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.motorola.com/uk
Marketing InformationStunning 4.5" HD display. Exceptional price.

What you'll notice first about Moto G is the sharp HD display. Its edge-to-edge display stretches to all four corners of the phone. Watch, read and browse on a big, brilliant display. You'll get a sharp picture and then some.

Quad-core speed. Exceptional price.

You don't have to hang up to send an email or turn off YouTube when you want to text. Moto G multitasks as easily as you do.

Pure Android™. Exceptional price.

With Android 4.3, browse, stream, navigate, play and more with the world's most powerful mobile OS. Enjoy a guaranteed upgrade to Android™ 4.4, KitKat®.

Packaged Quantity1
Standard Memory1 GB