Budget smartphones might not attract as much attention as their
high-end counterparts, but there is no denying that these devices are in
massive demand, especially in markets like India. Motorola's Moto G is
an attempt to grab buyers' attention by offering a number of features at
an extremely reasonable price.
After a brief sabbatical,
Motorola has returned to the Indian market with its Moto G smartphone,
which is an affordable device for cost-conscious consumers worldwide.
This phone was designed as part of Google's plan to focus on creating a
distinctive lineup of devices for different markets. Now, with Lenovo
recently acquiring Google's stake in Motorola Mobility,
we don't know whether or not the company will stick with the same
Motorola underscored its plan to focus on emerging
markets by unveiling the Moto G at a huge event in Sao Paulo, Brazil in
November last year.
The budget-friendly smartphone was supposed to have reached Indian
shores by January 2014, and it's here after only a short delay. As
promised, it comes at a decent price.
We got our hands on the black version of the Moto G (single-SIM). Does this low price come at the cost of performance?
Look and feel
first thing that struck us about the Motorola Moto G was its novel
packaging. When it came to our doorstep, we didn't realise that the
sleek box hid a mobile phone inside. Amazingly everything from the
device to the charger fits within this slim box.
The Moto G is a
candybar phone. It doesn't have any contours - the design is very basic
yet modern. When we first looked at the Moto G, we mistook it for the
company's flagship Moto X.
The G looks like a replica of the Moto X (except for its
size), which is not really a bad thing considering the premium look of
its elder sibling. However, the Moto G is different in a few ways. It's
definitely thicker, measuring 129.9x65.9x11.6mm compared to
129.3x65.3x10.4mm for the X. At 143 grams, the Moto G is also heavier
than the Moto X (130 grams). However, we assume that for an average
buyer in this price segment, thickness and weight of a smartphone are
not the biggest concerns. The Moto G features curved edges that offer a
The Moto G's front panel is dominated by a 4.5-inch
screen, which is only marginally smaller than 4.7-inch display found on
the Moto X. The front panel features a black strip of glass around the
screen that visually differentiates the plastic front and rear panels.
Notably, the Moto G does not have any logo or branding on the front.
a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera which to the left of the chrome
earpiece. There are no soft-touch capacitive buttons on the front panel,
a design touch that is commonly seen on the Nexus range of devices.
It's worth pointing out that Google's Nexus 7 (2013) tablet's front
panel also bears a lot of similarities to the Moto G. The new Nexus 7
features a glass strip around the screen, identical to the Moto G.
seems Google wanted to align the industrial design of its hardware
products. The Nexus line and Motorola's two recent phones do have a
family resemblance that sets them apart from Samsung's and HTC's phones.
has also used a nano-coating on the Moto G that acts as light water
repellent. This does not make the Moto water resistant, but it can
protect the smartphone from light splashes of water, which is still an
interesting touch for a smartphone at this price point.
curved rear panel is made of a soft-touch polycarbonate, and is
comfortable to hold. Yes, it sometimes gets badly smudged by
fingerprints, but this is nothing that cannot be cleaned. The panel is
removable even though the battery isn't. Motorola has announced that
there will be accessories including rear shells and flip covers (both in
seven colour options) and Grip Shells (in five colour options). This
means that customers will have a choice of colours, something we
generally see on Nokia's Lumia range.
The power and volume rocker
buttons are placed on the right side of the Moto G, while the 3.5mm
audio jack is on the top and the Micro-USB port is on the bottom panel.
The placement of the physical buttons is fine and we had no problem
reaching them even when we were not looking at the device. The Moto G's
back houses a 5-megapixel camera with an LED flash with a speaker grille
to its left. The Motorola logo is embossed just below the LED flash and
is identical to the one found on the Moto X. Peel off the back panel
and you can get to the SIM slot, which accepts a Micro-SIM. The unit we
received was a single-SIM device, though Motorola has introduced a
dual-SIM Moto G variant in India.
The Motorola Moto G has an
overall solid build, though it does feel bit plasticky. Yes, it follows a
tried and tested design rather than a radically new one, but it
certainly has its own identity and there's no mistaking it for any other
phone from any other company.
One of the biggest
highlights of the Moto G is its 4.5-inch 720x1280-pixel IPS LCD, which
works out to a density of 329 pixels per inch. Notably, the Moto G's
screen is a bit sharper than Apple's iPhone 5s, which offers 326ppi.
has also used Corning Gorilla Glass 3 on the Moto G to protect it from
scratches. It's worth pointing out that Gorilla Glass is usually found
on premium devices priced at Rs. 30,000 and above.
The IPS LCD
screen doesn't have the fullest colour reproduction like the HTC One and LG G2
or the deepest blacks like
Samsung's high-end Galaxy smartphones (Galaxy S4 or Galaxy Note 3) with AMOLED screens do,
but it is bright and colours are consistently vibrant. Thankfully the
viewing angles are never a problem. The screen is not very reflective
and visibility in bright sunlight was also acceptable. Further, the Moto
G's 4.5-inch screen is fine for video playback and gaming.
Text on the Moto G is always crisp and clear.
is no denying that many brands have launched smartphones with full-HD
screens of late, but after using the Moto G for some time we felt that
329ppi is more than enough for a screen of this size. Motorola has
definitely upped the ante for phones in this price bracket.
Moto G sports a 5-megapixel rear camera accompanied by an LED flash,
and also has a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera. At this price point,
we didn't expect a higher megapixel count. The camera delivers decent
but uninspiring shots in good lighting conditions.
We tested the
Moto G's rear camera both outdoors and indoors in a variety of lighting
conditions and found that images taken outdoors during daylight came out
well, though they were a little over-saturated and we could detect a
little bit of noise at the edges. You can notice that detail is lacking
if you zoom in to a photo taken with a Moto G. Other than that, we found
the quality of images taken in sufficient light to be satisfactory.
However, the same could not be said for indoor and low-light shots.
Photos taken in artificial light (without using the LED flash) are not
very impressive, as background noise does tend to creep in.
Moto G's rear camera can be set to take 5-megapixel shots in the 4:3
aspect ratio, while 16:9 shots will come out at 3.8 megapixels.
Moto G's camera app is not stock and adds a bit of flavour the
otherwise vanilla OS. Motorola's camera app has a circular control bar
that pops out from the left of the screen when tapped. Additional
features include 4X digital zoom, slow motion video, burst mode, auto
HDR mode, Panorama and tap to focus. The Moto G's burst mode allows
users to take up to 99 shots at once; users just need to long-press the
camera soft key on the screen to start shooting. Notably, there are no
ISO and exposure control settings on the Moto G.
front facing camera can be used for selfies and video chats. We found
that videos and images captured indoors or even outdoors with this
camera were a bit grainy.
We would have liked a physical button for the camera as one has to rely on the soft key on the screen to click images.
the Moto G reached our office, the device was running Android 4.3 out
of the box. However, we soon encountered an alert that said "Please
update your Moto G to Android's latest version (4.4.2)." Motorola had
rolled out the Android 4.4.2 KitKat update for the Moto G ahead of
schedule in December last year.
The Moto G with Android 4.4.2 KitKat is most updated smartphone in its price segment and offers a stock Android experience.
Nexus 5 was the platform
lead for Android 4.4 (KitKat) and the Moto G bears a lot of similarities
to it in terms of software. Android 4.4 has a number of visual changes
compared to Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean), including a new launcher that
makes the interface even more minimalistic. The Moto G also has flatter
design elements, more muted colours in the status icons, more
transparency, and smoother transition animations.
We noticed a
smooth flyaway animation on the Moto G, similar to the one seen on the
Nexus 5, while moving between the app launcher and homescreen. The Moto
G's app launcher features app icons and widgets; now due to the icons
being larger, you'll see a grid of 4x5 instead of a 5x5.
The Moto G
offers five customizable homescreens, and lots of widgets and apps
classified into preloaded and downloadable categories. Notably, you
cannot go beyond five homescreens, unlike with the Nexus 5.
for the dialler, Chrome browser, main menu, Messages and camera app
remain visible when you swipe between homescreens. Notifications in the
tray can be expanded with a two-finger pull gesture, and there are
buttons for clearing all notifications and showing the quick settings
shortcuts. These include toggles for Brightness, Settings, Wi-Fi,
Network, Battery, Airplane Mode, Bluetooth, and Location settings.
Unlike the Nexus 5, the Moto G does not have a quick Alarm clock
Long-pressing on the Moto G's homescreen brings up
options to change the wallpaper. A choice of still, live and custom
wallpapers are now available under a single menu.
that gives the Moto G a clear advantage in the affordable smartphone
segment is the voice guided search feature. This was also first seen on
the Nexus 5. A user can initiate a voice search on the Moto G when it's
unlocked by simply saying, 'OK Google.' However, it is only available
when the language is set to US English.
The Moto G also includes a
revamped Phone app that now automatically prioritises contacts based on
who you talk to most often. The app includes a search bar, space for
the most frequently called contacts and favourites, and shortcuts to the
contact list, dialling pad, call history and settings.
The Moto G
also features a new Photos app that allows viewing and editing of
locally stored and Google+ images. The new Photos app features deeper
integration with Google+ and can be used to tag photos.
app on the Moto G has also been revamped, and it now displays pictures
of contacts for emails. Navigation has been made identical to the Gmail
app and you can swipe messages to delete them.
The Moto G also
includes Google Drive, Keep, Play Games, Play Movies, Play Movies, Play
Books, Play Newsstand and Quickoffice for creating and editing
documents, spreadsheets and presentations. You can print documents
through the Google Cloud Print plugin, or apps made by printer
Motorola preloads two other major apps on the Moto
G. Motorola Migrate can help move the contents of an old Android phone
to your new Moto G. Motorola Assist allows users to silence the device
while you're sleeping or driving. We tried it out, and noted that the
app automatically sent a text message to callers in the time we told it
we were busy.
Performance/ Battery Life
The Moto G is
powered by 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with
Adreno 305 graphics and 1GB of RAM onboard. The Moto G comes in two
storage capacities: 8GB and 16GB, and does not support expandable
storage. We received an 8GB unit, of which only 5.5GB was
Even though the Moto G falls in the budget
smartphone segment, the limited storage on the device is definitely a
limiting factor. Google is offering 50GB of free Google Drive storage
for two years for every Moto G buyer, which is additional to the
standard 15GB available to every Google account user. However, cloud
storage is no substitute for physical storage, especially since budget
users won't have very expensive data plans.
The Moto G definitely
ups the ante in terms of innards. Brands such as Micromax and Xolo,
which have come to dominate the sub-Rs. 15,000 segment, usually use
The overall experience of navigating through
the Moto G's interface was extremely impressive, thanks to all the power
under its hood, and the fact that the UI is devoid of unnecessary bells
and whistles such as transition effects. We did not experience any lag
at all while launching apps, playing light games, scrolling through web
pages and switching between apps on the Moto G.
With its quad-core
processor running under the hood, the Moto G manages to chug along just
fine. We multi-tasked all day, which included chatting via WhatsApp and
Hangouts, browsing the Web and playing games like Temple Run 2 and
Plants vs. Zombies 2 without any trouble. In day to day activities the
Moto G worked smoothly and we were never left wanting for more power -
that is until we tried a few heavy games like Shadow Gun and Dead
The clarity of the Moto G's loudspeaker is good, but
isn't too loud and breaks at its highest volume. Motorola does not
supply any headphones in the Moto G box, which is a surprising omission.
Moto G's 4.5-inch IPS LCD HD screen is good for movies and videos. We
were impressed with the colour reproduction and viewing angles on the
Call quality on the Moto G was impressive and the device
was able to latch on to cellular networks even in weak signal areas,
which came in handy at times. Our tests were performed on a single-SIM
model, although Motorola will be selling the dual-SIM version here.
Moto G scored well in our benchmark tests. We recorded a score of
11,874 in AnTuTu, which was right behind the Nexus 4 and Samsung Galaxy S
III. Quadrant gave us a score of 8,569 which is ahead of HTC's flagship
smartphone from two years ago, the One X. On the graphics front, the
Moto G remarkably reached 11 frames per second in the GFXbench test, and
5629 in the 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme run-through.
The Moto G
packs a 2070mAh battery which is non-removable and can deliver a mixed
usage time of up to 24 hours, according to Motorola. We were able to get
about a day (22 hours) of normal usage on the Moto G, which consisted
of Web browsing and watching videos on YouTube, a few calls lasting for
about an hour, with Wi-Fi switched on, the display set to auto
brightness, and the usual notifications for the messages, emails,
Facebook, Hike and WhatsApp enabled.
With heavy usage, which
included calls lasting for about two hours, 3G turned on all the time,
casual photography and watching a movie for around two hours, an hour of
casual gaming (Temple Run 2 and Dead Trigger), and notifications
enabled, the device lasted for about 12-13 hours, which was not bad.
In our video loop rundown test, the Moto G was able to able to deliver 8 hours and 30 minutes of battery life.
What makes the Moto G special is the fact that it is
one of a very small number of devices running the latest version of
Android, and one of the only ones priced this low to be doing so.
Moto G scores heavily in terms of style and substance, and our only
major quibbles are the non-expandable storage and below-par camera
performance. The 4.5-inch HD screen is wide, and yet the phone is small
enough to hold in one hand and type easily with a thumb. Most of all,
praise be, the Moto G is also extremely affordable.
phone is definitely aimed at price-conscious Indian smartphone buyers,
and its array of colourful back shells will attract the style-conscious
as well. Yes, it isn't perfect, but it isn't meant to compete against
the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One or LG G2. At its price,
we're willing to overlook its faults.
The Moto G is
available in two variants: 8GB for Rs. 12,499 and 16GB for Rs. 13,999.
At this price point, no other phones offer an experience that is as
good, so in that sense the Moto G is a game changer. If you have your
eyes set on the Moto G, we recommend you spend the extra bucks and get
the 16GB version, given the limited user accessible storage available in
the 8GB version. Our only other complaint with the Moto G is the
average camera, but the only phone that offers a better camera in the
same price bracket is the Nokia Lumia 720, so the newest Motorola
smartphone is a winner overall.
Moto G in pictures