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Moto G quick-read review: Good buy for average smartphone users

Motorola's comeback phone has got rave reviews as the best budget handset. But here is some detail.

Written by Mihir Patkar |
Updated: March 19, 2014 9:59:22 am
Motorola Moto G 8GB is priced at Rs. 12,999 and the 16GB at Rs. 13,999 Motorola Moto G 8GB is priced at Rs. 12,999 and the 16GB at Rs. 13,999

You’ve probably heard about the Moto G already. Motorola’s comeback phone has got rave reviews as the best budget handset. There are five negative points you should know before buying the Moto G, but despite those, is it still value for your money?

Quick Tech Specs: 4.5-inch display (1280×720 pixels, 329 ppi) | 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor | 1GB RAM | 8GB/16GB storage + no microSD slot | 5MP rear camera, 1.3MP front camera, 720p HD video | 3G, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 | GPS with A-GPS | 2070mAh battery | Android 4.4 KitKat
Price: 8GB – Rs. 12,999 | 16GB – Rs. 13,999

Moto G_Black_Front_NA

Design: There is a sturdiness and simplicity to the Moto G that is lacking in most handsets: no logos on the front, rounded edges, a rubber-finish matte back that won’t attract fingerprints, and a straight line in the middle for the camera, flash, logo and headphone port. The phone also has water-repellant coating, but don’t read too much into that—the ports are open, so it’s not like you can use it in the rain. Drops don’t affect the phone either. For most people, it’s comfortable to hold it in one hand and use. But what bothers me are the large bezels. It’s got a smaller screen than most phones at this price, but Motorola still insists on using virtual touchscreen buttons taking up valuable screen space while having a 1.5cm bezel under it that’s just wasted space.

Moto G_Black_Left_Side

Screen: The bezel and virtual buttons mean that you aren’t getting the full 4.5 inches of promised screen space. That said, the screen is sharp and reproduces true colours. It has Gorilla Glass 3 scratch protection, and while it’s not clearly legible in direct sunlight, it’s not bad either.

Performance: The Moto G can go toe-to-toe with any other smartphone in this price range. Most of its competitors use the Mediatek MT6589 quad-core processor, so we ran our usual performance tests on phones with that processor and the Moto G. In all tests, the Moto G was on par or better. The only place it struggles is with high-end gaming—you’ll need to play games like FIFA 14 and Call Of Duty: Strike Team on Medium settings here, not High.

Moto G can be yours for Rs 12,499

Memory: The Moto G is available in either 8GB or 16GB capacities. If you aren’t a gamer, this is going to be sufficient for most users—even with a few casual games. But as a gamer, the space will prove too little in a short time as many HD games are clocking in disk space requirements of 1.2-1.5GB now.

Connectivity: In terms of antenna performance, the Moto G is undoubtedly among the better smartphones you can buy right now. I usually test for dropped calls while in transit and a few spots where I know reception is weak—the Moto G performed as well as or better than any phone out there.

Software: One of the major features of the Moto G is that it comes with the latest flavour of Android, v4.4 KitKat, without any customisations. If updates are important to you, the Moto G is great. But for most average users, this shouldn’t be a big factor in deciding your smartphone.

Camera: Like most budget handsets, the camera is the biggest problem on the Moto G. While outdoors in the sun or in a very well-lit room, you’ll be all right and get good photos—the detailing is good and the colours are true. However, in low light, the Moto G gives up. It doesn’t match up to some of its peers like the Wickedleak Wammy Passion Z+. Images are noisy, out of focus (and it takes a really long time to focus in the first place) and lack the detail you get in bright environments. It’s the same with videos: in bright light, you’re fine, and as soon as lighting is an issue, the Moto G camera is worthless.

Battery: The 2070mAh battery of the Moto G is brilliant. On an day of high usage (including gaming, social networking, calling, photography, music playback and video playback), the phone lasted for 16 hours before needing to be recharged. It can continuously play video for a little over four hours. But do note that while you can remove the back panel, the battery isn’t removable—if you’re a power user who needs to swap out batteries, this isn’t the phone for you.

Special Mention: For all the savings offered by the Moto G, you need to know that the box it comes with is bare-bones. There’s only a charger, but that doesn’t even double up as a USB cable to connect your phone to your PC. So you will have to buy a separate USB cable and a pair of headphones. The Moto G is available from Flipkart, so adding the cost of a USB cable (Rs. 140) and a decent pair of in-ear headphones (Rs. 400), that’s an additional Rs. 540 to add to the price tag.

Verdict: For most average users, the Moto G is a practical purchase. It’s got a fantastic screen, good build quality, strong battery life and is easy to use for most things. I wouldn’t advise the 8GB version, it makes more sense to spend an extra Rs. 1,500 and buy the 16GB model for Rs. 13,999—that’s excluding the cost of a data cable and headphones.

If you’re going to be gaming, steer away from the Moto G—the performance is as good as any other in this range but the limited memory is a problem. Plus, a bigger screen is more fun in those cases. And yeah, if you talk on the phone a lot and need to swap out batteries, the Moto G is again not for you. Also, don’t go by the brand name—Motorola’s after-sales service has plenty of critics. In my books, the Micromax Canvas 4 (available for around Rs. 13,000) is a better purchase for such users. Plus, you won’t have to spend any extra for a data cable and headphones.

Did you read: Moto G: 5 negative things to know before you commit yourself

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