- Still smooth performer
- Dependable camera
- New model about to launch
We re-review the Motorola Moto G3, a.k.a. Moto G 3rd Generation in 2016, a full year after its release, to see if it’s still one of the best-value budget mobile phones around.
The first Moto G phone (now nearly three years old, eep) properly stirred our undercrackers with its killer combination of strong specs and great-value price, proving once and for all that good phones don’t have to cost hundreds of pounds.
Of course, by the time the third Moto G, or ‘Moto G 3rd Gen’, was launched in 2015, rivals were finally catching up. Now you can expect previously premium features like an HD screen and dependable camera for a shade over £100, from the likes of the Wileyfox Swift and the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6. And even flagship phones like the OnePlus 2 can be bagged for around £200.
So, now we’re in 2016, does the 3rd Gen Moto G still stand up to budget rivals at £130? Here’s our full long-term Moto G re-review, after nearly a full year of use – and one month before the Moto G 4 possibly launches.
Moto G (3rd-Gen) Re-Review: Design
The Moto G still remains the most affordable water-resistant phone out there, narrowly beating Sony’s Xperia M4 Aqua (which can be grabbed for around £175). And while waterproofing is by no means an essential feature, it does mean I can take the Moto G into the bath for some chill-out TV catchup (although the screen is still tricky to use when slightly wet). It’s good for underwater snaps too, when you’re on your holidays.
I personally prefer the look of the Wileyfox Swift, with its sleek, slender frame and funky foxhead logo, but the Moto G is comfortable to wield and operate one-handed thanks to the compact-ish design and curved backing. Don’t stress if you’re a bit clumsy, either; the Moto G has been kicked about a fair bit in the past few months and, aside from the standard tiny scuffs and general wear, it’s still as fresh as a daisy.
Moto G (3rd-Gen) Re-Review: Screen and media
The new Moto G stuck with a 5-inch 720p HD display, just like the previous year’s Moto G. Of course, that meant that another budget phone – the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 – beat it in terms of pixels-per-inch, boasting a 1080p HD screen for just £125.
At first this seemed like a real shame. Why was Motorola being so stingy, with this samey display? But after several months, it’s quite clear that it really doesn’t matter. The 3rd-Gen Moto G’s screen is still sharp enough to make the most of your high-def videos, with a pleasingly vibrant finish. And on auto brightness I’ve never had any trouble seeing what’s going on, even on those rare occasions when the sun has shined.
I’ve had no issues with the Moto G filling up either, as the storage can be easily expanded with a microSD memory card (even though 32GB is the maximum size supported).
Moto G (3rd-Gen) Re-Review: Performance and battery life
Despite packing a processor that’s well over two years old now, the Moto G still performs solidly after a few months of use.
I was cautiously optimistic when I first reviewed the handset, as Motorola’s mostly vanilla version of Android doesn’t bog down the inner workings. Sure enough, the Snapdragon 410 seems to have survived the test of time. Everyday performance is solid and relatively demanding games such as Sniper Fury still run well, so gamers should be satisfied even after all this time.
However, bear in mind that our Moto G review sample is the 16GB model, which comes with 2GB of RAM rather than the 1GB found in the cheaper 8GB handset. And that extra memory will undoubtedly make a difference to the overall smoothness.
As for battery life, I still get a full day of use per charge, even with plenty of web browsing, social media scouring and so on. Although the Moto G’s cell probably isn’t quite as efficient as it once was, there hasn’t been any noticeable degradation, which is reassuring.
Moto G (3rd-Gen) Re-Review: Cameras
The Moto G is still one of the best budget blowers when it comes to camera tech, offering a premium 13-megapixel snapper that is completely dependable on auto mode. The dead simple camera interface is incredibly user-friendly, with its quick load wrist-flick action and tap-and-shoot app, which hides away messy clutter.
Of course it won’t suit anyone who wants pro controls, but if you want good-looking photos with minimal effort, you can’t go wrong at this price point. I’ve rarely been disappointed in the past year, even when viewing back my photos on a big screen. The built-in HDR processing deals remarkably well with tricky lighting and you also have a powerful (but not too blinding) dual LED flash for those night shots.
Moto G (3rd-Gen) Re-Review: Verdict
The Moto G 4th-Generation might be about to launch, but last year’s handset is still a steal at well under £200 SIM-free. Of course, it’s likely to drop in price come next month when the latest Moto G is unveiled by Motorola, so try and hang on if you can before making a purchase.