Motorola Moto G 3rd Gen review
|Review: August 2015|
In a nutshell: The third generation Moto G is a competent mid-range Android phone with colourful, changeable covers. It's a good all-rounder with a nice camera and good battery life.
Today's best buy: Moto G LTE 8GB (3rd Gen) from Tesco Direct (£146.95)
Confused by the Moto G and its different variants? Us too! The Moto G is now in its third iteration, and is cunningly known as the 3rd Generation Moto G, or Moto G Third Gen, for short.
Design and build
The 3rd generation Moto G is a mid-range phone that looks like a budget model. It's an unassuming phone with a plain, but smart front, neat edging, and a textured easy-to-grip back. Designed to be durable, the phone has Gorilla Glass to protect the screen, and certified IPX-7 water protection to stop water splashes from ruining your day. It's a tough cookie, and looks like it can take a few knocks. It's not completely waterproof however, so don't use it in the bath.
Despite us cheekily describing its looks as budget, it's quite a classy little number, with ultra-narrow edges making the screen almost fill the width of the front panel. One nice feature about the Moto G is its customization options. The front, back and accent colours can all be changed, and you can even design your own covers with the Moto Maker custom design option.
It's not exactly a slimline phone. The back is curved, measuring a chunky 11.6mm thick in the middle, but tapering to just over 6mm at the edges. It's quite heavy too, at 155g.
You do get a nice big 5-inch screen to play with though, and it's a HD screen too, with a very respectable pixel density of 294ppi. It's a good screen for a mid-range phone, and great for all kinds of smartphone apps.
The Moto G is a mid-range product, so expect mid-range specs. The processor is a Snapdragon 410, which has 4 cores running at 1.4GHz. It's not anything to get excited about, but it's a cut above the entry-level crowd. The 1GB of RAM is decidedly ho-hum as well.
The built-in memory comes in a choice of 8GB or 16GB, with the option to add a microSD card to extend this. We'd seriously avoid the 8GB model, as there's very little room left after the operating system and core apps. With 16GB and a memory card, you'll have far more options available for installing apps and storing videos, photos and music. Unfortunately, it seems to be the 8GB variant that's appearing in the shops.
The Moto G comes with the latest Lollipop 5.1.1 flavour of Android.
Camera & video
The rear camera has received a significant upgrade from the original Moto G. It has a 13 megapixel sensor, autofocus, a dual-LED flash and automatic HDR mode to boost low-light image capture. For the price, this is a very respectable camera and it's capable of capturing some nice shots, both indoors and outdoors. There's no dedicated camera button, but instead a quick twist of the wrist launches the camera. We'd prefer a proper camera button to be honest. To take a shot, you just tap on the screen.
Video-wise, the camera can record at full HD 1080p resolution.
The front camera has been upgraded to 5 megapixels and also features HDR, and is fixed focus, which is fine for selfies.
The 3rd Generation Moto G is a 4G phone. It also has Wi-Fi, USB and Bluetooth, plus a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Strong battery life
The phone scores well for battery life, with a large 2470mAh battery giving solid all-day battery life. Lighter users will get a couple of days from it between charges,
We can't get very excited by the 3rd Gen Moto G. It's a competent performer, with no significant weaknesses, but it's not an outstanding phone either. The mid-range is an uneventful arena, with few surprises and lots of safe plays. You won't go wrong with the Moto G - hence the 4 stars - but it's not one that we are going to waste a lot of adjectives over.
The current best phone in this price bracket is the Sony M4 Aqua, which matches the Moto G, but has an 8-core processor, more RAM, and an ultra-slim design. It's fully waterproof too.
Motorola Moto G 3rd Gen features include:
- Android Lollipop 5.1.1
- 13 megapixel camera with autofocus, HDR and dual LED flash / 1080p HD video
- Front-facing 5 megapixel camera with HDR
- Display: 5 inches, 1280 x 720 pixels
- Messaging: SMS, MMS, email
- GPS, AGPS, GLONASS, BeiDou location services
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, micro-USB 2.0, 3.5mm headphone jack
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 (MSM8916) processor with 1.4 GHz quad-core CPU, Adreno 306 with 400 MHz GPU
- Memory: 1GB/2GB RAM, 8GB/16GB built-in storage, microSD card slot
- Networks: GSM/GPRS/EDGE, UMTS/HSPA+, 4G LTE
- Size: 72 x 142 x 11.6 mm
- Weight: 155g
- Battery: 2470 mAh
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Motorola Moto G 3rd Gen user reviews
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Average rating from 5 reviews:
Reviewed by Lewis
on 8th May 2016
I thought I'd share my views after using the Moto G 3rd gen for a good while. As per my first review I run CyanogenMod ROM. I used CM13 (android 6) but preferred CM12.1 (5.1.1).
The phone hasn't let me down so far. It does everything I require without any lag issues or force app closures. Battery life is great. Bluetooth range is great. My old iPhone 5s struggles to play music to my sound dock which is 8 meters away. The Moto G 3rd gen manages up to 15 meters when tested (line of sight).
Camera, it's a phone not an DSLR but photo quality is acceptable for my needs. I use Dropbox for photo backup. With Dropbox on this phone (Android in general) this happens automatically but on my iPhone I have to go into the app for auto upload. Pain in the backside.
Call quality is good. Reception is far better than iPhones.
Build quality is good for price. I don't have a screen protector and so far no scratches. I have a cheap rigid case and it protects the phone well.
Enough said, good phone for a great price.
Reviewed by Lewis
on 14th Apr 2016
After my old phone gave up working (wouldn't turn on) I was left with no option to get a new phone. As I'm mid way through a sim only contract I can't opt to get a contract with a device of my choice. I like many like iphones. My old phone was a iPhone 5 which is now a paper weight. I looked around and tried several phones in a local popular store and I wasn't left with much choice. Spend little you get little. Spend a lot and your options are better. I'm adverse to using a different OS but I wasn't about to pay out lots for the iPhone 6s or any other similar priced device. My attention was drawn to the Moto G 2015 model. The store I visited did not have much good to say about the device but I liked the price, the features/specification (2gb ram version) and build. I did a quick review search and couldn't find anything terrible about it. Instead of buying it from the store (they only have the 1gb ram version) I got it of a popular website. New for £150 an it's the 2gb ram version. Having found this site through my review searches I thought I'd leave my views on this device.
Features for price are good. Build quality for price is very good. Screen quality for price is good. Battery life for size and price is very good. I'm a heavy user and as I use my phone as a satnav for work it is almost always plugged in and I end the day with just under 50% battery. Android M OS is great. I had my iPhone jailbroken to achieve what this device does as stock.
I'm not an Android newbie, I've used Android devices just as much as apple, Windows and Blackberry so I have unlocked my bootloader and flashed CM13. It runs flawlessly. No issues what so ever. CM13 runs smoother than stock Android M in my opinion.
I can recommend this phone highly even without modding it like I have. Modding it just makes it better. Maybe Motorola should supply future handsets with the option of Cyanogenmod ROMs.
5 out of 5 stars from me.
Reviewed by LM1980
on 31st Jan 2016
I bought this phone a while ago as a short term device as I broke my iPhone. I was so impressed with how it did everything I required I never replaced my iPhone. Considering I have been an Apple customer since 2007 using iPhones and iPads I thought using Android would be a pain. I had used a few Android devices but on earlier versions. The Moto G 3rd gen comes with near stock 5.1.1 and although I had the 1gb version it worked far better than older Android devices with the same spec but running older versions of Android. Google/Android have definitely made the OS as good if not better than iOS. I do believe the hardware has a big thing to do with this. I briefly used a Galaxy S6 and I use a specific app. It runs flawlessly on the Moto G 3rd gen but very poorly on the Galaxy S6. Apps and the OS are tested more with Qualcomm CPUs than other makes like the Galaxy S6's.
The Moto G 3rd gen is a low end phone with low end specs, but this works. I did the other week take the plunge and for the Nexus 5X. The idea of the phone took my fancy. Finger print scanner to unlock it. Hexa-core instead of octa-core. Full HD screen instead of QHD. The minor issue I had was battery life. It was good when not using the phone, but in use it drained fairly quickly. As I was impressed with the Moto G 3rd gen I looked at the 3 X range versions. Comparing specs etc I decided to trade all my other spare phones in and got the X Force.
Moto make really good smartphones, no gimmicks like other manufacturers.
Moto G 3rd gen = 5*
Reviewed by Steve
on 18th Jan 2016
I bought the Moto g3 as a second phone, and although it cost less than half that of my M8s, it's a wonderful piece of technology. It's fast,the sound is good, the screen clear, and the battery good, although it takes almost three hours to fully charge it. For only £89 it was incredible value, and shows that Motorola are the King of budget phones which have mid-range specs. I'm now using it more than my M8s.
Reviewed by Steve
on 18th Aug 2015
I think your recommendation for the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua in preference to the Moto G is a little unfair. Yes the M4 comes with more RAM but the Moto G also has a 2GB otption, and that comes with 16Gb of storage versus the M4s mere 8GB which you say you would "seriously avoid".