Motorola Moto G review
|Review: November 2013|
Last updated October 2014
In a nutshell: The Motorola Moto G is simply the best low-cost Android smartphone available right now. Highlights include a 4.5" HD screen, quad-core processor, large battery and interchangeable back covers.
We've been raving about Motorola phones for a couple of years now, and the Moto G looks like it could be a game-changer for the company. Rarely has such a high-spec phone been available at such a low cost. It might even be a game-changer for the whole smartphone market.
Note (October 2014): The Moto G has been upgraded for 2014 with a slightly larger 5 inch display, Android 4.4.4 KitKat, a microSD card slot, and an enhanced camera. There's also a 4G version available, so be sure you know which one you're buying! We rate all versions 5 stars, but give zero stars to Motorola for confusing everyone!
Design and build
The Motorola Moto G is quite plain-looking, but not at all unpleasant to look at. Understated is probably how we'd describe it. It's been very carefully designed though, with an almost edge-to-edge screen maximising the available space and giving it an upmarket feel.
It's a heavy phone, and quite chunky too, so perhaps not the best for a shirt pocket. The curved back helps it feel slightly slimmer than it really is and also makes it easy to use one-handedly. Build quality seems robust even if it's just a plastic shell protecting the phone. The display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass and the phone has a water-repellent coating too. It's a pretty tough phone all round.
It also comes with a choice of funky, colourful covers specially designed for the phone. Changing covers is easy - you just snap off the back cover and replace it with a new one.
But what's most striking about the device is the size of the screen - at 4.5 inches, rarely have we seen such a huge screen on such a cheap phone. It's almost a match for the HTC One - our 2013 Phone of the Year. And this is no low-resolution screen like we're used to seeing at this price point. With 2180 x 720 pixels, it's a HD screen with an impressively-sharp 329 ppi pixel density. Seriously impressive, this screen sets a new benchmark in the mid budget smartphone sector.
Another design feature worth a mention is the CrystalTalk dual-microphone noise cancellation that reduces background noise when talking on the phone.
Quad core inside
Vroom, vroom, there's a quad-core processor lurking inside this beast, which is frankly astonishing in a phone this cheap. It's sot some third-rate processor either, but a Qualcomm MSM8x26 A7 running at 1.2GHz. Normally you'd have to spend double to get that kind of power. Together with the Adreno 305 GPU running at 450MHz, this is the perfect multi-tasking, multimedia phone for anyone who likes to play games, watch video, use Google Maps or do any kind of demanding activity on their phone. Like we said, vroom, vroom.
The built-in memory comes in a choice of 8GB or 16GB, with a price premium on the 16GB version. You'll need to give this careful thought, because the system takes up about half of the 8GB and there's no memory card expansion option. If you plan to use your phone as a music player or download a lot of content, then you'd be wise to choose the 16GB version.
The Moto G initially runs Android version 4.3 (Jelly Bean). What? No KitKat? It seems strange that Motorola - a Google company - cannot release a phone with the latest version of Android. But fear not, for an update to KitKat is promised for January 2014.
In any case, 4.3 is a solid version of Android to be running, and there are now more than one million apps available from Google Play as well as a ton of other content.
The Motorola Assist app lets you set actions and exceptions, so for example you can block calls late at night, or just allow important calls. Other than that, this is vanilla Android, which is no bad thing.
Camera & video
The main rear-facing camera has a 5 megapixel sensor and includes autofocus and an LED flash. The camera is easy to use - just touch a spot on the screen to focus and take a picture. Image quality is on a par with most other mid-budget phones. It's good for everyday photos, but doesn't perform so well in low light.
The camera can also record video at 720p HD resolution.
A second front-facing 1.3 megapixel camera can be used for selfies or for making video calls.
The Moto G is a 3G phone with support for fast HSPA networks. 4G isn't available, but it would be crazy to pay for a 4G contract on such a cheap phone.
You also get Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and USB connectivity, plus a 3.5mm headphone jack in the top of the phone. There's no NFC support.
Again, the Moto G raises the bar when it comes to battery life in a low-cost smartphone. Its 2070 mAh battery is a mini powerhouse, and although it has a quad-core processor and a large screen to power, it's definitely going to see you through the day and may last 2-3 days between charges depending on how you use the phone.
The Motorola Moto G is the best budget smartphone we've reviewed. In some ways it performs like a phone costing twice as much - the quad-core processor and large HD screen for instance. In some areas it betrays its low-cost origins - in its plasticky appearance and in the lack of a memory card slot and NFC connectivity.
But as an overall package, it's the best in its class, delivering a brilliant user experience for the price of a budget smartphone. We love the Moto G for its fun, colourful style, its market leading performance and its strong battery life. It's possibly the first cheap Android phone that really feels like there's nothing missing.
You'll need to choose carefully between the 8GB or the more expensive 16GB version, but both are well-priced and offer 5 stars for value.
Well done to Motorola and Google for giving people more of what they want at a price they can afford!
Motorola Moto G features include:
- Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean)
- 5 megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash
- HD 720p video capture at 30 frames/second plus front-facing 1.3 megapixel video camera
- Display: 4.5 inches, 1280 X 720 pixels
- Media player
- FM Radio
- Speech recognition
- Dual microphone noise reduction
- Messaging: SMS, MMS, email (Corporate Sync, Google Mail, POP3/IMAP), Google Talk
- GPS, GLONASS with Google Maps, Navigation, Street View
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, micro-USB 2.0, 3.5mm audio jack
- Processor: Qualcomm MSM8x26 quad-core A7 1.2GHz plus Adreno 305 450MHz GPU
- Memory: 1GB RAM, 8GB/16GB built-in storage
- Networks: CDMA 850/1900, UMTS 850/900/1700/1900/2100, GSM 850/900/1800/1900, HSDPA 21.1Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps
- Size: 66 x 130 x 11.6 mm
- Weight: 143g
- Battery:2070 mAh
- Talktime: 20 hours
Motorola Moto G user reviews
Love this product? Hate it? Please share your experiences to help other people choose the product that's best for them. Please do not review this product if you have not used it. This is a review site, not a forum, so please don't just ask questions. Please do not use swear words or offensive language, and please, no advertising!
Average rating from 31 reviews:
Reviewed by matt
on 20th Jul 2015
good phone till the 5.1 update now behaves randomly, ie the torch will come on, on its own. it freezes and gets hot.
Reviewed by m roberts
on 26th Feb 2015
I've read so many good reviews and was unhappy with my iPhone and it's battery life. Got this and it's great! So easy, so fast, wonderful screen, no bloatware, and battery is lots better. Having trouble finding a decent case for it, it needs more available. Best phone out there and for the price is unbelievable.
Reviewed by lee
from nw england
on 6th Dec 2014
For a while i wondered on this and why it was being raved over by reviewers, when it was pre - 4g + an SD card slot but now i know having had one for a while (about 2wks). I came to this via a Cubot S208 which is a chinese variant & a good choice too. What appeals to me on this fone is; the 4G, the screen really is quite something - real' prima prima stuff...the size is 'just right' it ticks every box! you need in a phone - slight rubberised back for grip, good Cam. (like touch the screen and it'll take a pic. but dont 4get to take the finger off screen as it keeps on taking the shot lol) Also got a slo-mo movie cam which is a good laugh, FM radio (samsungs dont have these i think), LED notif. light loud ringer, the most up to date ui from google which is kk 4.4.4 will be getting LP but there're some aspects of that which arent ness. imo! Motorola have released some apps with LP style on Play. The BIG DEAL for me is simply the battery lasts 2 days if you only use it as an incoming communication tool i honestly feel i could get 3 if i sparingly used it, i have 60/70% by 5-6pm left: BUY ONE ! N.B this'll be the 1st fone ive gave 5 stars to i think!!
Reviewed by Rich
from United Kingdom
on 13th Oct 2014
Bought this phone as a replacement to my Samsung S3 LTE, which I lost. Without doubt has been an excellent substitute and definitely holds its own for the price tag. I don't think there is another handset that can match its power and performance for its price tag. And still looks the part within any other smartphone company.
Reviewed by JOEY
from UNITED STATES
on 29th Aug 2014
MY MOTOROLA MOTO G ALL OF A SUDDEN QUIT WORKING I CHARGED IT FOR HOURS AND STILL NOTHING. IT WILL NOT TURN ON AND WHEN I CHARGE IT JUST A LIGHT COMES ON BUT NOTHING ELSE NO SCREEN NOTHING. HOW CAN I FIX THIS
Reviewed by CharleyPT
on 16th Aug 2014
What a cracking little phone. I have been using other brands but I have been using a Moto Razor i for the last 2 years because of the ability to pick up a signal where I live. Decided to upgrade to the Moto 4G from EE. Had problems with signal so contacted them to replace it within the 14 days. Great service and it arrived the next morning. Replacement works better than my last Moto Razor i. Cannot recommend it enough. Great battery too.
Reviewed by tony
on 6th Aug 2014
Can any say the SAR value for Moto g and htc 516??
Reply by S21
on 6th Aug 2014
Tony, please see our SAR values page.
Reviewed by David
on 20th Jul 2014
5 stars from S21 and 5 stars from the "civilians" is generally a brilliant sign, and it holds true here too. Fed up with my Lumia 520's battery needing charged by 5pm after an 8am house exit, I had to change. The 2070 mAh battery in the Moto G serves me perfectly well, leaving me with about 30% battery come 11pm; activities include watching short video content on social media, a considerable amount of time on WhatsApp (which works brilliantly, and comes with 35 Recents icons no less!), fooling around on apps, and browsing news websites. I do use the battery saving mode at all times, because, well, I don't see why not?
The phone zips between apps and high-definition screens, it doesn't crash (or hasn't on me yet), the screen visibility is decent under sunlight, and it just generally works.
For £109 on PAYG at the time of writing (£20 unlock if necessary from seller), if your phone is causing you grief I implore you to jump ship to this great device. It's a steal. You will become happy. Even if your phone isn't causing you grief, make this your next one.
I won't comment on the camera because I am a man and quite frankly would feel strange inside if I was part of the please-validate-me selfie culture. I don't use it.
Reviewed by Mel Bibby
on 16th Jul 2014
I bought the moto G 8gb because of the size of screen and was impressed by the features and performance I thought I had a gem . Unfortunately after a week it would not switch on so I took it back to the supplier and because they did not have one in stock took a refund.
Reviewed by Tom
on 9th Jul 2014
Just got the 4G version, wow what a phone for the price. Screen is amazing, battery is great, and it's very quick. Only slight negative is wifi cuts out every now and then for no reason, but have searched the net and there are a few potential remedies available so hopefully will sort it.
Reviewed by Andrew
on 30th Jun 2014
Most impressive spec for the money, and battery life better than I expected. Great screen, and good call clarity. I certainly recommend the Moto G.
Reviewed by vamshikrishna
on 26th Jun 2014
moto g no doubt its a gr8 product. but SAR values are on higher side almost 2-3 times higher than other mobiles like samsung,sony,htc etc. after updating to kitkat battery drains quickly. hope motorola gives a bug fix to this at an early.
Reviewed by diane
from south wales
on 29th May 2014
Had this phone for a while then changed to the sony z2,what a mistake the z2 is very over hyped mine seemed to have developed a problem sent is back and went back to my Moto G
Glad i did saved myself a hell of a lot of money. This phone is a lot better then sony clear calls no cutting out as the sony did. Its quick easy to use and has the charger port on the outside another thing that annoyed my about the sony (i know its supposed to be water proof) but as i wasn't going to test that out i found it a pain other people may differ in their
opinion. Its also loud when ringing which is useful in a busy environment. It does have a small usb cable with it but not plug but most people have a spare charger around the house. motorola migrate is great. Im sorry i was tempted i could have saved myself a lot of hassle.
Reviewed by Steve
on 28th May 2014
Bought this mainly for surfing the web, as my main phone, the Blackberry Z10 although a great work phone for organisation and planning,drains the battery terribly, and the reviews for the moto g were astonishing. After two days, I can say that it lives up to its reputation as a great phone, and even though I've downloaded lots of apps, I'd hardly used more than 30% battery power, my Z10 would have been almost empty after this. I recommend it thoroughly.
Reply by Steve
on 23rd Jul 2014
I've had the phone for two months now, and on the whole am pleased with it, a good clear screen, and good battery life, but the battery is just the issue now and again. It goes from say 90% to 10% in a few minutes occasionally, and it has to be recharged. Online forums suggest this is a common problem, and is rectified by fully charging the device,and leaving it connected for a further two hours. Otherwise, it's a great phone,but I'll try leaving it connected after it's charged.
Reviewed by Roy
on 9th May 2014
Very happy with this phone. Bought as a replacement for my nexus 4 which has a broken touchscreen and I can hardly tell the difference! Excellent price Sim free and would recommend to anyone.
Reviewed by Kof
on 17th Apr 2014
After being let down from a Sony Xperia SP due to its extreme lag and constant crashing (and this after an update!), I decided go for the Moto G. Its a risk that has paid off and has really surprised me with smooth performance and very good battery life. The camera is not the best but its still use able and gives ok pics. Its an excellently priced phone and you could even get it cheaper if you look hard enough..
Reviewed by redfitz
on 6th Apr 2014
Excellent value and comes with android 4.4 I'm very happy with this handset £130 for these specs happydays
Reviewed by chewbecca47
on 12th Mar 2014
Fantastic phone for the cost. Doesn't skimp on features, with HD big screen, quad-core processor and Google-focussed operation. Only real cutback is the camera, but will suffice for everyday use. Good to play games on due to sharp HD graphics. Have problem with Internet buffering, but think this is a network problem, not hardware. Fab!
Reviewed by nikita
on 27th Feb 2014
the fon is simply amazing but how can i put a call on reject list.....??? help !!!!!
Reviewed by Christy root
on 14th Feb 2014
Performance is also compared along with cameras and then prices and service plans. Ultimately, we can say that Moto G is offering far more for the money. Best phone in the mid range.
Reviewed by BradC
on 26th Jan 2014
I bought this phone yesterday, I wanted a Stock Android, no overlay, saw this for £160 sim free, phones 4U. Can't believe it, this is faster than my iphone 5 better screen and true multitasking, and not lock down. This is not a budget phone, superb in every way.
the only possible issue is the camera is not as good, thats all, I even get a light to notify me of messages. Also a larger screen, just goes to show you it can be done for the money.
Reviewed by Mohan Ramadurai
on 22nd Jan 2014
Moto G is to be Launched here on Feb 5, as per the latest news.
However, except for your Review, nobody else has mentioned that the Moto G has " Crystal Talk".
Even the Company Specs are silent on this & only say that it has Noise Cancellation Technology.
When Motorola have done so much R& D and Patented their Noise Cancellation Technology, then why not take the trouble to mention it, especially as it is such a wonderful feature.
I own other Motorola Phones & their Crystal Talk makes a lot of difference in Call Quality over other Phones without this Feature.
I have Mailed the Company, but have got no concrete reply.
Upon persisting, the India Office has Mailed me back saying that they have no info about Moto G!!
How on earth are they going to Launch with such a reply?
Guess it's time they pulled up their Socks & did something about it, or a great Product will fail.
Reviewed by chris dee
on 9th Jan 2014
Must say for £100 in tesco then £2 to unlock what a good phone. Nice size nice in the hand screen is amazing battery lasts all day on 3g heavy useage. Camera decent slick all round 8gb not massive but enough for me. Recommend buying though u wont be disapointed.
Reviewed by Eugene
on 6th Jan 2014
What do you mean by "In some areas it betrays its low-cost origins - in its plasticky appearance for instance and in the lack of a memory card slot"
Since when is the SD card slot a feature that describes a high-end phone ? If you haven't noticed yet, almost every flagship out there (besides samsung devices) lacks SD cards.
Reviewed by Steve George
on 6th Jan 2014
The Motog is the best phone I have ever had, it looks, feels and performs great. It is a solid phone in the hand and not to big just right for me. My motog looks like a top of the range phone in every way I have had other top phones in the past and motog holds it own. This phone performs very well with every app I have loaded onto it. I have the 16 gig version and suggest this is the best version to buy. I love my phone.
Reviewed by lover
on 3rd Jan 2014
Amazing phone ! When you click on an advert in a app ; you click the backbutton that automatically appears and you go back on your app ; none of this hone button then wait for app to load rubbish in the apple products ! It is so good !
Reviewed by Sammy Sung
on 28th Dec 2013
Been with Samsung for a long time decided to go with this phone after reading reviews all over web. Not disappointed, this phone is worth every penny top specs which rival some of the high brand phones out there. Just took me a bit of time to adjust to the Moto / Google GUI as I am used to Touch-wiz. Excellent work from Google.
Reviewed by cbap6803
on 22nd Dec 2013
This phone really is as good as everyone says. The screen is amazing, the processor and RAM means that there's no problem whilst completing any tasks or playing any high end games. Even without considering the price this phone would be a great piece of technology. Then, when you consider the price as low as £99, it's a steal. Literally puts Apple to shame.
Reviewed by luciano
on 8th Dec 2013
I would like to emphasize my joy of having the Motorola moto g. I had an iPhone 4s before and I must say that I never felt so happy with the 4s like I am with my moto g.
Just happy to have returned the IPhone 4S back to apple for a full refund and bought the moto g for half the price.
I now have the best phone my money can buy and I just love my moto g each end every day because it gives me the feeling of freedom whenever I feel like doing my tasks on it.
THANK YOU GOOGLE FOR SUPPLYING THIS PHONE. I WILL NEVER LEAVE GOOGLE AS MY FAVORITE COMPANY.
Reviewed by Humza
on 3rd Dec 2013
I think It is a brilliant phone and for such a cheap price as well, it is a rapid phone with a sharp picture quality but the thing which is missing it to make it the ultimate phone is the micro SD slot
Reviewed by John
on 25th Nov 2013
This phone is awesome, well built & a pleasure to use.
Get some cases out there for it!!!
Reply by danny
on 25th Nov 2013
I'm very impressed with the reviews i have read about this phone so i'm going to get one, however i have heard it comes with no charger..surely that isn't true
Reply by Chris
on 27th Nov 2013
Yep, no wall charger. Only USB cable.
Reply by Gary
on 13th Dec 2013
No charger - but they are universal now so any will do. I think this will become more common as it saves waste with chargers that aren't needed. I picked up a dual USB 4A charger from Currys for £7 which is ideal as you can charge two phones or a phone and a tablet at the same time. Search Currys or PC World for SDLSUB12
Reply by lover
on 3rd Jan 2014
No they do give you a USB cable to plug into a laptop but not a wall plug in