If that’s the case, Google can hold its head high because it has managed to deliver a budget smartphone that doesn’t feel like a budget smartphone. Although I tend to think that the Motorola acquisition primarily strengthens Lenovo’s ability to make inroads in the U.S. smartphone market, the Moto G is the type of product that could help Lenovo expand the Motorola brand overseas.
Good Specs At a Great Price
The most notable aspect of the Moto G is its price. The phone sells for $179 — unlocked and contract-free — for the 8GB variant. A 16GB version (which we tested) is just $199. There isn’t an expansion slot to increase storage, so I’d recommend ponying up the extra $20 to most would-be-buyers.
It’s natural to want to compare the Moto G to its similarly-styled big brother, the Moto X, but that’s not really fair. The Moto X sells for $399 in the US (it debuted on the market at $599 in Aug. 2013) and will sell for around $600 in Europe when it finally makes its way overseas next month. That puts the phones in two different categories.
Even though it’s priced for the budget market, the Moto G manages to pack in very decent specs.
- 4.5″ 720p display
- Quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor
- 1GB of RAM
- 2070 mAH Battery
- 5MP rear-camera, 1.2MP front camera
- 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0
Amazingly, however, the Moto G doesn’t feel like a discarded phone from yesteryear. Most phones in its price range are similar to the Samsung Galaxy Duos 2.
One trade-off buyers will have to accept with the Moto G is a lack of 4G LTE. The Moto G does support HSPA+ — or faux 4G — but you won’t get blazing connectivity.
In the past, I’ve been downright hostile towards non-LTE phones, but in the case of the Moto G, I’m willing to give it a pass. Why? Because the target market is Europe and Asia, where LTE isn’t as big of a deal. Moreover, this isn’t being positioned as a flagship phone (as the Nexus 4 was), which makes it more tolerable.
On the AT&T network in NYC, I found that the Moto G was perfectly serviceable as a smartphone to use on the go. I was able to send email, upload photos and videos to Instagram and download app updates with any real problems.
A Cheap Phone That Feels Premium
From a design perspective, the Moto G is a great looking — and feeling — phone. It shares many of the same design cues as the Moto X, including a curved back that feels great in the hand.
Unlike the Moto X — which has a unibody construction — the backplate on the Moto G is removable. That means you can customize the phone with different colored backs and flip covers.
Adding a touch of color to the Moto G really makes the phone come into its own. Basic backplates retail for $14.99 and a flip cover goes for $29.99.
The phone doesn’t feel quite as high-end or premium as the Moto X or HTC One — but it feels like a solid, well-made phone.
When it comes to the screen, I have to give Motorola kudos for managing to put such a nice display in such an inexpensive phone. At 4.5-inches, the Moto G is a tad smaller than the Moto X, but it has the same resolution. And while the Moto G is LCD (the Moto X is AMOLED), the screen looks great.
Colors are bright and look good from all angles and there is very little — if any — bleed. Moreover, the screen is is covered with Gorilla Glass 3, which means that the phone should hold up to scratches and light drops.
The loudspeaker isn’t fantastic, but it’s passable for making a phone all or playing a game. If you pop in some earphones, the sound gets much, much better.
Performance, Camera and Battery Life
I’ve been using the Moto G on and off for the last six weeks and it continues to surprise me with its versatility. It might not have the raw power of a high-end smartphone, but I’ve never felt like I had to wait on the phone.
When playing some games — such as Real Racing and Grand Theft Auto — the phone doesn’t push as many pixels as you’d find on a Galaxy S4 or LG G2 — but the performance is still solid.
Despite having only 1GB of RAM, the phone handles memory quite well. Part of that may be due to some tweaks with Android 4.4 KitKat. One of the nicest surprises with the Moto G was getting an update to Android 4.4.2 just days after receiving my review unit. It’s a testament to Motorola that it rolled out KitKat so quickly to this phone.
Aside from a few minor Motorola tweaks — the interface is almost pure Android. That goes a long way towards keeping the phone usable over time.
If there is any place where the Moto G feels like a budget phone, it’s the camera. The 5MP sensor takes passable — but not particularly vivid or sharp — photos. The good news is that Motorola has brought its camera interface from the Moto X to the Moto G. I much prefer this to the stock Android 4.4 camera, and it t least makes capturing shots a bit better.
The same is true for video, which looks good in 720p, but lacks a sense of fluidity and color depth of better cameras. The Moto G’s camera is certainly no worse than anything else in its class, but it’s the one area that really signals that this is an entry level phone.
When it comes to battery life, I got great performance. Intense sessions of Candy Crush Sagadidn’t zap the battery any faster than any other phone — though that game is a battery hog — and I got great standby time.
An advantage of not having the LTE radio is that the phone sucks less power. I easily got through an entire day with the Moto G without feeling the need to plug it in. The battery isn’t removable — but it charges fairly quickly. Because this is a budget phone, it doesn’t come with a charging brick, just a USB cable.
Setting a New Budget Phone Standard
The Moto G isn’t just “good smartphone for its price,” it’s a good smartphone, period. No, its specs won’t match the latest and greatest offerings from Samsung, LG or Apple, but the phone is a great performer and has great battery life.
What I really like about the Moto G is that it doesn’t treat budget smartphone buyers as second-class citizens. Too often, phones in this price range offer substandard experiences, further re-enforcing the tech gap between the haves and have nots.
That’s why I’m interested in watching what Lenovo does with the Moto G once it takes over Motorola. Lenovo already has a strong presence overseas — especially in Asia — but products like the Moto G could really help set it apart from other phone makers, especially when it comes to price and performance. Whether or not Lenovo wants to continue in that direction is unclear, but I hope it continues making phones like this in the future.
- Fantastic Price
- Nice screen
- Good Battery life
- Mediocre camera
- No LTE
The Bottom Line
The Moto G is the best budget Android phone on the market, period.
read more: http://mashable.com/2014/01/31/moto-g-review/?utm_cid=mash-com-fb-tech-link