Motorola Moto G (3rd gen) review: Is it worth an extra $100?
The Moto G has long been the go-to phone for people on a budget. Is it still?
- Good build quality
- 5MP and 13MP cameras
- Water resistant with IPX7 rating
- No support for larger microSDXC storage cards
- Same 5-inch display as last model
- More expensive than similarly specced rivals
Price$ 369.00 (AUD)
There was no two ways about it: if you wanted a well rounded smartphone on a shoestring budget, you would buy a Moto G. Then you would tell your friends about its incredible value-for-money — the first and second gen models cost no more than $269. These really were the kind of smartphones that would turn the sceptical into brand advocates.
A year on and the times are changing. Google has passed Motorola on to its new owners, Lenovo, and the business is trying to increase its profitability. The result is a third generation Moto G that costs an extra $100.
The only matter left unresolved is whether the third-gen model is worth its $369 asking price.
What does the extra money buy?
Our only gripe with the older Moto G was its lack of 4G. This year’s model packs a 4G LTE modem than can take advantage of Australia’s fast mobile networks. More impressively, it supports fast Internet while retaining support for two SIM cards.
Armed with a Vodafone SIM in Bankstown, NSW, the Moto G recorded respective download and upload speeds of 40Mbps and 14Mbps. And just like that, the successor turns a weakness into one of its strengths.
Other changes represent a welcomed departure from the Motorola formula. Separating the Moto G from its me-too rivals is an IPX7 rating, which certifies it can be immersed in water 3 feet deep for a period of 30 minutes.
‘Waterproofing’ a smartphone doesn’t necessarily mean it can be used underwater. Water will falsify finger touches and gestures on a capacitive smartphone screen. The IPX7 rating then reaps rewards by making it possible to hold a call when it is raining, or to handle the smartphone when hands are dripping wet. Consider it a feature of convenience.
Is it any good for multimedia?
The smartphone’s design hasn’t been sacrificed in order to make it water resistant. No flaps desecrate its ports and the overall profile remains slender. If anything, the 3rd Gen Moto G is better looking than its forefathers. Gone are the protruding speaker grilles of yesteryear; in their place are hollowed grilles that preserve the understated front. This smartphone still is inconspicuous, curvaceous and symmetrically attractive.
Up front is a familiar display. The LED-backlit LCD screen spans 5-inches, has a resolution 1280x720 and a 294 pixel-per-inch density. Failing to update the display puts the Moto G at the mercy of better equipped rivals. Its pixel density contends with ZTE’s Blade S6 and Microsoft’s Lumia 640, but trails behind Kogan’s Agora 4G Pro and Oppo’s R7.
A revised display would’ve served the improved cameras justice. The front camera has jumped from 2- to 5-megapixels. Whereas rivalling front cameras go too soft on detail, in a failed effort to make people’s skin appear flawless, the Moto G’s is sharp on detail and organic in its colour. It has an f/2.2 aperture and, because it has a 72-degree field of view, three or four people can squeeze into the frame. The resulting photos look fantastic on the smartphone screen and commendable on computer monitors.
Sharing the same gene-pool is the rear camera, which has jumped in size from 8- to 13-megapixels. It has an f/2.0 aperture and a dual-LED flash for improved night photography. The changes work for the most part, with daytime photos that are clear, well exposed and vibrantly coloured. Many of them will look great on a large screen television.
Artificial, low-light situations don’t do the camera any favours. The camera’s interface tries to streamline how a photo is taken by autofocusing and taking the photo in one continuous process. When light is scarce, some of the photos will be out of focus, soft on detail and riddled by image noise. The flash offers some salvation in select scenarios, such as a mid-range group shot, but falls short on most occasions.Read more: Sink or swim: The right way to use your waterproof smartphone
In spite of its shortcomings, the Moto G’s cameras still surpass what’s on offer from most rivals. We consider it superior to the Lumia 640 and Kogan’s Agora 4G Pro, and a contender to the cameras in Oppo’s more expensive R7.
What’s the deal with the hardware and battery life?
Benefitting notably from upgrades is the computing hardware. The quad-core CPU runs at a faster 1.4GHz; the RAM has been doubled to 2GB and; the storage is larger at 16GB. This hardware is just enough to cover the Android 5.1 operating system, systematically processing one instruction to the next without strain, but lacking the immediacy characterising more expensive rivals.
The proof is in the numbers. A 3DMark ice storm unlimited benchmarking test returned a score of 4463, which is significantly less than the scores of Kogan’s Agora 4G Pro (7523), ZTE’s Blade S6 (8680) and Oppo’s R7 (7775).
These numbers become a tangible hassle when gaming. Frames stutter, spoiling the fluent motion common to the rest of the operating system, and this is the case in titles as intensive as Real Racing 3 and as light as Boom Beach. Games can be played, only with less success than most of its rivals.Read more: Motorola's Moto X range will go on sale at Vodafone, starting from $45 a month
Another disappointment is the lack of support for microSDXC memory cards, that is, microSD cards 64GB in size and above. Rivals leave the Moto G behind by supporting larger memory cards.
Integrated into the smartphone’s enclosure is the same sized 2070 milliamp-hour battery. Its performance correlates to how light or how intensively the smartphone is used. Our testing returned results as varied as 18 hours to 29 hours, with the smartphone often averaging just shy of a full day.
The bottom line: is it worth $100 more?
Let’s not be coy: yes, this smartphone is worth the extra $100. Some rivals have better screens or support larger memory cards, but these top-tier features are pointless if they fail at the basics. And it is here, with its above-par build quality, large screen, audible speakers and fast Internet, where the Moto G excels. Only now the price hike leaves the 'Moto G' brand feeling less special. It no longer is the smartphone you want to tell all your friends about.
Join the newsletter!
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
cloudandco Smart Cane
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
Apple iPhone X
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Toys for Boys
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Bose SoundLink Micro
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Xbox One X
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Fallout Geeki Tikis
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 LG 65E7T Ultra HD OLED TV review: The South Korean thoroughbred is still first past the post
- 2 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 3 Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- 4 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 5 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
Latest News Articles
- Moto E5 Release Date, Price & Specification Rumours
- Nokia 1 Release Date, Price & Specification Rumours
- Android 9.0 Release Date Rumours: When is Android P coming out?
- OPPO Load Up A73 Smartphone With Flagship Features
- Sony Xperia XA2 to be Available in Australia
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- JBL Link 10 review: Full, in-depth review
- OPPO Load Up A73 Smartphone With Flagship Features
- CES 2018
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTReporting AnalystQLD
- FTPortfolio & Governance Senior AnalystVIC
- FTProject Manager | 12mth ContractOther
- CCDesktop/Field Services EngineerQLD
- FTSenior Pega Developer (Pega Senior Systems Architect)Other
- FTInfrastructure Manager / Service Delivery ManagerVIC
- FTSAP ABAP DeveloperOther
- CCDigital Project Manager - AdobeVIC
- FTLead Data Engineer - Greenfield projectQLD
- FTInfrastructure Security AnalystOther
- FTProject Director - SAAS ImplementationOther
- FTTechnical Support Rep - Maryborough QLDOther
- FTNetwork Technical Specialist L3 x 2 ? Large Telco ? 6 month contract initiallyNSW
- FTPenetration TesterNSW
- CCFront-End DeveloperNSW
- CCProgram ManagerNSW
- FTSenior Business Analyst - MortgagesOther
- FTPerformance and Capacity Management SpecialistOther
- FTNetwork Engineering Team Lead/Network ManagerQLD
- FTIT Support OfficerWA
- FTJunior Account Manager - Global Cloud OrganisationVIC
- TPSenior Project Manager (Applications & Business)NSW
- CCTechnical Business Analyst - Government - 12 Month Contract - SydneyNSW
- CCBusiness AnalystACT
- TPProcurement ManagerACT