Moto G (2014)

With not even an year since its global launch, Motorola’s mobility division came out with an upgrade. The original Moto G was announced back in November 2013 while it was launched here in India this year in February. It’s primary objective of providing affordable yet quality smartphone experience have been a success in India. Acknowledging the same along with proving India as potential market for such products, Motorola included India in the first wave countries launching the Moto G on September 5, 2014 itself.

We had enjoyed our time with the Moto G 1st Gen and now with the 2nd Gen as well. Though it is not much of an upgrade but still the few things which have changed are closely related to the end consumer. So is Moto G still the best low-mid phone out there? Well you have to read the details below to find our take on this.

Design

Moto G (2014)

If you have experienced the old Moto G you may not find anything changed because it is pretty darn similar. The same solid Moto G design which is water resistant with non-removable battery yet removable back cover. We have the black variant with us, but it is also available in white as well. None of these two colors have that snazzy feel probably because they are meant to be used with back covers. This is actually a good marketing tactic for their accessories making people invest more in colorful back shells. We found the black variant to be absolutely fine and personally preferring over the white, but that’s my choice.

The Moto G has a curved designed back ranging between 6-10mm steeping towards the edges. The rubbery plastic back this time has no speaker grill but the same dimpled logo resides in the middle. There is a camera and a LED flash at the back just above the Motorola logo.

Moto G (2014)

The left side is completely clean, though the right side houses the power and the volume rocker.

Moto G (2014)

The top has a 3.5mm audio out in the middle along with the secondary microphone.

Moto G (2014)

There is a micro USB port at the bottom middle nearby the primary microphone.

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Moto G (2014)

The front is unsurprisingly clean. The Gorilla Glass 3 protected display with smooth finish and front stereo speakers. This is actually a nice addition comparing to the original model. There is a 2MP secondary camera on the front along with a fairly invisible proximity sensor and LED indicator.

Hardware

As we described the changes this time in our initial impressions post which was published few days ago, this upgrade might not look worthy but the you may contradict yourself more with the time you spend with the device. The handset has a 5-inch HD IPS LCD display with 720×1280 pixels resolution. It is protected by a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection and has a pixel density of 292ppi. It measures 141.5 x 70.7 x 11 mm in dimensions and weighs about 150 grams.

On the power packed inside, there is not much change you would find when comparing with the 1st Gen Moto G. It has the same chipset, Qualcomm MSM8226 Snapdragon 400 with 1GB of RAM. With the same 16GB on-board storage, it now supports an expandable memory option up to 32GB using a microSD card. It features an Adreno 305 GPU along with the Quad-core processor clocked at 1.2GHz. It supports dual SIM standby with both SIM card slots capable of handling 3G networks. It is backed up by a 2070mAh battery and features stereo loudspeaker which we feel is good add-on especially for the targeted audience in our country.

Hardware overall is pretty much similar, and is capable to run the operating system smoothly, as we saw on the previous generation.

Software

The best part of the Motorola handsets since last year is the purest form of operating system which it runs. Since the first gen Moto G Motorola products have been running on the latest Android version, much before a lot of Android smartphones in the market.

Moto G Screenshot

This Moto G, runs on Android 4.4.4 KitKat and will be very soon updated to Android 5.0 Lollipop. It comes with all the Google apps pre-installed which includes – Gmail, Google+, Drive, Google Play Newsstand, Google Play Books, Google Play Games, YouTube etc. It also comes with few app input from Motorola which basically is the Camera, Gallery, Alert, Migrate etc. like it has been in the previous generation.

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Moto G Screenshot

Out of the box, it runs on Google Now launcher with the left most screen being the Google Now app itself. Apart from this, it is the same as stock what we have on Nexus devices. Smooth, fluid and bloat-free.

Camera

Moto G (2014)

This smartphone has never been talked about when it comes to comparing camera. The reason behind being simple, because it doesn’t come with a good sensor. Well, the manufacturing cost had to be compromised somewhere. The new Moto G has a better camera comparing from the previous generation, and it is clearly depicted in the results.

The camera on the Moto G 2014 edition has a 8MP rear camera and a 2MP front camera which is definitely an improvement from the 5MP rear and 1.2MP front-facing from the last year’s model. Motorola’s aim here is to provide a camera which can take pictures good enough to share it on social networks. The camera just works with its plain simple UI and nothing else. You have to be very specific in order to capture good shots in a few tries.

Below attached are few samples clicked from the rear camera on the new Motorola Moto G.

The smartphone can shoot up to 720p videos @30fps from the rear camera. We will recommend to leave the camera in auto HDR mode for decent results. The camera actually struggles adjusting the focus areas and with tap to click enabled it comes even worse. Actually we should not keep our expectation bar too high because camera has never been a primary focus on the Moto G. It accomplishes the goal of providing the camera pretty well but don’t expect to be blown by the results.

Performance

Testing the smartphone under all conditions possible, we were impressed with the results we got. Motorola with the new version has upgraded the 2013 model with a better camera, a SD card slot, faster WiFi module, stereo speakers but has cut down LTE networks which is not even considerable in third world countries like India.

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Motorola will never get an award for its Moto G’s design but we shall really appreciate the design team for keeping it ergonomic. It does not have that feeling of a premium smartphone but there is nothing here to prove the reason why it should have it, though a delight is always welcome. The hardware specifications seems to be okay with a better expectation from RAM but trust me, you will not feel the need if using it moderately. The camera has been well described above as being there when you need. The operating system runs very smoothly without any hiccups on the latest version of Android. The benchmark test scores

Moto G (2014)

Conclusion

After Google acquired Motorola, they actually made a point to prove the difference between Nexus and the rest of popular Android devices available in the market. Nexus originated as a brand meant to be under direct supervision of Google but manufactured by partner OEMs. These devices were meant to be for developers, which also explains the fact that why Nexus smartphones are never ‘the perfect’ one to buy.

Motorola Mobility actually is a consumer centric brand, which Google re-discovered by giving out quick updates and awesome pricing to its products. Moto G being one of the affordable smartphone with a quality experience. The fact that it has been made available for the price tag of Rs. 12,999 which is even 1000 bucks less than previous generation model makes it the best catch for early updates. It might not replace any of the flagship smartphones but will help users to upgrade for one of the best possible Android at this price point.

You may find smartphones which have been launched for less than 10k pricing with a similar specification set but running a different version of Android and that is where they will lack always. There are always pros and cons for every device but you may need to prioritize your requirements in order to find a perfect fit.

Pros:

  • Quick software updates
  • Quality Android experience

Cons:

  • Avg camera