Motorola Moto G

A fantastic budget smartphone without the cutbacks.

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Motorola Moto G
  • Motorola Moto G
  • Motorola Moto G
  • Motorola Moto G
  • Expert Rating

    4.25 / 5
  • User Rating

    0.00 / 5 (of 1 Review)

Pros

  • High density screen
  • Dual-SIM
  • Well priced

Cons

  • Limited availability
  • No 4G LTE
  • No NFC

Bottom Line

Under Google's watch Motorola has managed to deliver one of the best value-for-money smartphones on the market today. It is wonderfully styled, has powerful innards and offers the money-saving advantages of a dual-SIM smartphone.

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Under Google's watch, Motorola has managed to deliver one of the best value-for-money smartphones on the market today. It is wonderfully styled, has powerful innards and offers the money-saving advantages of a dual-SIM smartphone.

The Motorola Moto G doesn’t have any of the trinkets that leading smartphones tend to tout. Rather than focusing on gimmicks, Motorola has concentrated on refining the basics; the things we make use of in our smartphones everyday.

The only unusual additive is the Moto G’s dual-sim capability. The ability to handle two SIM cards allows for the conscientious user to juggle two plans. While we were testing the Moto G, we used SIM1 for voice calls and SIM2 for data usage.

There are only two telltale signs that the Moto G is a bargain smartphone, and that’s the omission of 4G Internet and NFC. Instead, you will have to make do with HSDPA connectivity and Bluetooth 4.0, which by our measure isn’t much of a concession at all.

The rest of the Moto G realises Motorola’s ambition of delivering a powerful smartphone without a discriminatory price tag. Its recommended retail price of $249 makes it a whole $150 cheaper than its step-sibling, the Google- and LG-made Nexus 5.

The Moto G offers detailed dual-SIM configurations.
The Moto G offers detailed dual-SIM configurations.

Simply beautiful

Resting on a table, the Moto G looks as if it is carved from a single block of deep black marble. There are no buttons on its front; only an earpiece and camera interrupt its face. Otherwise, the screen and its bezel share a shade of black so close it’s hard telling where one ends and the other starts. It is beautiful in its simplicity.

A power and volume rocker are the only buttons found on the G.
A power and volume rocker are the only buttons found on the G.

It is beautiful in its simplicity

By today’s standards it’s not a big phone. Its 4.5in screen has a resolution of 720x1280 for a very healthy density of 326 pixels-per-inch. iPhone users will be quick to point out that it’s the same as Apple’s touted Retina display, and being able to deliver such a screen at a low price is a noteworthy feat.

Software keys are used to navigate the Android OS.
Software keys are used to navigate the Android OS.

The proficient screen also makes using the Android operating system pleasurable. The Moto G was the second smartphone Motorola developed under Google’s supervision and its lack of a custom skin is an indication of this. Apart from a couple of useful proprietary applications and tweaks to the camera, it delivers a vanilla Android experience. Furthermore, Motorola has guaranteed an upgrade to Android 4.4 KitKat in early 2014.

The Motorola Assist app (right) alternates sound profiles automatically based on events in your calendar.
The Motorola Assist app (right) alternates sound profiles automatically based on events in your calendar.

Features that count

Inside the smartphone is a 1.2GHz quad-core CPU, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. To compensate for a lack of expandable storage the Moto G comes with 50GB of free Google Drive storage for two years, and that’s in addition to the standard 15GB on offer.

None

Combining a quad-core processor with a vanilla Android experience is a recipe for a smooth interface. There are no signs of software stutter or lag. In fact, during our testing we found that it handled intensive apps with a welcomed sense of immediacy.

Camera quality

Typically smartphone companies save money by sacrificing camera quality. Fortunately that hasn’t been the case with the Moto G. It features a front-facing 1.3MP camera and a rear 5MP camera, of which the latter can record video at 720p resolution. This means the captured videos are played faithfully on the compatible 720p screen.

No other smartphone delivers so much bang-for-buck

Photos captured with the rear camera keep noise to a minimum — even in low-light situations. A vast palette of colours are impressively rendered, with the camera proving particularly adept at snapping photos outdoors. Videos also share these sensibilities along with a quick shift in focus.

Taken with the Motorola Moto G
Taken with the Motorola Moto G

Taken with the Motorola Moto G
Taken with the Motorola Moto G

Taken with the Motorola Moto G
Taken with the Motorola Moto G

The camera interface has been subtly revised to recognise a range of enhancing gestures. Holding your finger down now triggers the zoom function, with a forwards/backwards gesture zooming inwards/outwards respectively. Swiping from the left bezel towards the right generates a range of settings displayed in a rotating wheel. These subtle tweaks add another level of intuition to the camera’s user interface.

Dimming the screen makes the controls more visible.
Dimming the screen makes the controls more visible.

Lasting life

Powering the Moto G is a 2070 milliamp-hour battery. In our real-world tests, where we make voice calls, send texts, surf the Web, watch videos, take photos, and play games and music, we found a full charge of the Moto G’s battery will last for a day. This is pretty good considering we were using two active sim-cards, in addition to intermittently jumping onto Wi-Fi networks.

Final word

As we conclude our review of the Moto G, news of Motorola’s sale to Lenovo breaks, and we’re somewhat saddened by it. The Moto G was only the second Motorola smartphone to be released under Google’s watch and, considering its low $249 price, no other smartphone currently delivers so much bang-for-buck. It is a shame the Google-Motorola dream team will split up, but as far as swan songs go, the Motorola G is pretty special.

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Read more on these topics: Motorola, Google, Motorola Moto G, Android, Moto G

Garth

1

Here are my first impressions of the Moto G 8Gb Dual Sim.

I bought this phone 3 days ago from JB HI FI for $243 unlocked.

Looks: A very simple but smart looking design. The curved rubber back is very comfortable to hold and the phone has a nice weight and balance to it. The 4.5 inch screen is a great size in my opinion but obviously everyone will have their own preference.

Display: A great display. Even with brightness set to auto the display looks clear and bright. Nothing to complain about here - photos and videos look great.

Performance; I use my phone ALOT for work and play and so far have experienced no noticeable lag or performance issues. Phone responds quickly and smoothly. I have a exchange account, 2 Gmail accounts and 1 Hotmail account syncing regularly. 25 apps installed. Facebook, Skype etc and it hasn't skipped a beat.

Storage: With only 8Gb of physical storage (with only approx 5Gb available) I was initially concerned. I have installed 25 apps and still have over 3Gb free for music etc. I don't use my phone to store movies or shows but do use it as a music player when running. 3Gb is more than enough for my running mix. For me personally, storage is not an issue.

Camera; I have previously owned a Samsung Galaxy S3, Note 2 and the Nokia 820. The Moto G 's camera is not as good as the Samsung S3 or Note 2 but it is fine for when I need to take a quick pic of the kids etc. Nothing to write home about but nothing to be upset about either. It does the job.

Battery: Yesterday I took my phone off he charger at 7am and plugged it back in at 1am with 7% battery remaining. I had over 3.5 hours of screen on time, over 2.5 hours talking on the phone. It got used constantly and got me through a longer than usual day. More than impressed with battery life. I leave WiFi on, screen on auto brightness, Bluetooth on, email sync every 10-15 minutes, location/gps on all day.

Phone Performance: As a phone it works well. I am finding I need to have the phone positioned right near my mouth or callers report a significant fade to my voice. Speaker volume is good (although not as loud as my Nokia 820). I was worried that I would miss 4G connectivity but to be honest I haven't noticed any significant difference in speed - even though I am in the CBD and had constant 4G coverage. 3G works very well (Telstra Network).

Features; I generally don't care too much about custom versions of android ie Touchwiz etc -so I really like the fact that there is very little customisation on the Moto G and all the pre-installed apps are useful. I especially like the Assist app that automatically silences the phone during meetings and at night. The integration of sms into Hangouts works well for me.

If you can live with limited storage, 3G only and a good (but not great camera) then I highly recommend the Moto G. It is a fantastic phone for a very affordable price.

Bob

2

I purchased 3 of these phones, 1 in Australia and 2 imported to get the other 16 GB versions ( I'm looking at you Australian retailers, I would have purchased locally if you supplied the 16gb model but you don't, so cry me a river that people are not buying local, I even emailed the big chains about selling the 16 model here and they all ignored me except one who said they had no plans to sell it here, how stupid, the forums are full of people importing because they cannot get the 16 GB model here). The phone is great, I use the dual Sim to keep work and personal calls totally sperate. For the money, don't waste your time on anything else. Now if only the nexus 5 was dual sim

shaun

3

Bought this phone about 2 months ago what can I say brilliant for the money mind you saying this I bought the 16gb version from overseas for the life of me I can't understand why you can't get this in Australia when its available everywhere else mind you I paid less for the 16gb version than I can get the 8 for in oz and they wonder why people shop overseas. The camera is plenty good enough for what I need multi tasking is nearly seem less battery lasts all day well into the evening good size screen not to big or to small I work in the building industry so I'm pretty hard on phones go through a few a year so for less than $250 you can't go wrong there is nothing out there that comes close

ben

4

Purchased two weeks ago.very happy with the performance.If all goes well I should see 4years before having to update. Do yourself a favour and just get one.it will make you feel like your using an $800 phone.

abhi

5

I'm unable to find the sound profile option this phone can anyone help me where is it

g.taljaard

6

New Moto G 2nd Gen Announced
http://www.motorola.com.au/consumers/Moto-G-%282nd.-gen%29/Moto-g-gen2-au,en_AU,pd.html
5 inch 720p screen over 4.5 inch 720p
8 MP camera vs 5 MP
Better front facing camera
Front facing stereo speakers
micro SD card slot - expandable up to 32 GB = He Ha!
And gyro sensor
And guaranteed upgrade to android L

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M

0.0

1

Pros
nothing
Cons
Dual Sim failure
• • •

I have purchased two of these phones and both have failed to work with the dual Sim function. One was returned to Motorola and took a month to have the outcome of a refund. I tried again and the phone worked for 2 days before failing again. Very disappointed and wouldn't recommend at all!

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