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.
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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!
The new EE Kestrel comes close and is a 4G phone costing less. The Motorola Moto E is also cheaper and is worth a look if money is tight.
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
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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 28 reviews:
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
Mailed the Company, but have got no concrete reply.
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
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
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