Moto G Handset Review
It's rare that I get to review a device that I really like and all of a sudden I'm reviewing another!
As a follow up to the Google LG Nexus 5 review, the next handset I'm going to take a look at is the Motorola Moto G. As is my usual, I'm going to take a look at the box specifications of the Moto G and then delve deeper into the device.
As with most Android devices these days, hardware specifications are something of a moot point. Some devices are missing some features, but generally they'll all do pretty much the same thing. It's how they feel when doing these things that's important and this is what I'm reviewing. Therefore, I'm less interested in what the box says is under the hood and more in how it is to work and live with.
Motorola have also given the Moto G a water resistant coating. The handset doesn't gain any water-proofing certification but it should give the user more confidence to use the it in the rain.
But, without further ado, let's dig into the numbers. The Moto G is based around a 720p 4.5″ screen. This is a little smaller in size than the Nexus 4 but with the same number of pixels, it's a little sharper. There's a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, which is clocked at 1.2 GHz. This is backed up by 1 GB of RAM and either 8 or 16 GB of storage. There's no 4G LTE or NFC and the battery is 2,070 mAh in capacity. The Moto G has a removeable and changeable back, or shell by Motorola and a fixed battery. There's no microSD slot and after the operating system, my 8 GB model has 5 GB of free space left.
Writing of the operating system, the Moto G runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with Android 4.4 Kit Kat promised for early in 2014. The Moto G uses a near-stock version of Android with only a few additions by Motorola. This keeps the interface speed up, which is good.
In the hand, the Moto G is a little smaller to most flagship Android devices, but there isn't much in it. The screen is officially smaller but for day to day purposes there's just nothing in it.
Although the processor in the Moto G is considered to be a mid-range chip, the device is beautifully smooth in day to day use. This is partially because the Moto G uses a stock Android interface, but also because the Snapdragon 400 processor is also powerful. I'm going to be tempted to write this quite often, but it feels like a baby Nexus. It's up there between the Galaxy Nexus and the Nexus 4; most of the time, the difference isn't noticeable.
Comparing the Moto G with the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4, the Motorola sits firmly between the two for most applications. It renders complicated pages in Chrome quicker than the Galaxy Nexus, but slower than the Nexus 4. It's the same story when switching between applications; for a budget handset, the Moto G is very responsive.
I've compared the Moto G's battery with my two daily handsets, the HTC One and the Nexus 4. On paper, the Moto G has a smaller battery than both but it also has more power efficient hardware and a smaller screen. To put things into perspective, I see twenty four hours of my typical use from both of my daily driver handsets. I see closer to thirty six from the Moto G.
The only reason why the Moto G's 4.5″ 720p screen is nothing special is because of devices like the HTC One and Nexus 5 having their 1080p screens. The Moto has great color reproduction, plus it's also sharp too. It's better than the Nexus 4 display.
Motorola use a 5 MPixel camera in the Moto G with some clever software. Pictures are okay; I'm going to write that they're mediocre but I am spoiled by the high end cameras available these days. Like the Nexus 5 I've just reviewed, you wouldn't be buying the Moto G for the camera.
Motorola have given the Moto G a noise cancelling secondary microphone to help call voice quality. In use, I've found the device to be a little too bass-heavy for my tastes and it's a little harder for me to use compared with the Nexus 5 but there isn't so much in it.
When it comes to using the Moto G for productivity duties, it's “good enough” device. Solid battery life and a reasonably spacious, high resolution screen makes for a great device for email, messaging, social media and calling. It's fast enough to keep up with everything I've thrown at it even if it doesn't have quite the speed of the last two Nexus devices. Where the Moto G struggles is with limited internal storage, as 5 GB does not so very far.
Are there any disadvantages to a device that is approximately half the cost of the Nexus 5 but easily greater than half as good? Apart from the storage situation, no. If you absolutely must have more space for applications, pictures, music and videos, then it's a deal breaker. Otherwise, that Motorola can offer smartphone so much for so little cash is fantastic. This may be the Android ‘phone that changes the market forever.
When I concluded my Nexus 5 review, I wrote that I wasn't sure if it's worth the upgrade from the Nexus 4. The Moto G is in some respects a backwards step as it isn't as quick, doesn't run quite the very latest version of Android and has an inferior camera… but if you value battery life and amazing value for money, it's the current champion and my favorite device of 2013.