- Colourful, personable design
- Okay battery life
£135 doesn’t typically afford you the smartest of smartphones, but Motorola’s Moto G brings some incredible top line features to the budget Android realm for just that. As a result, this 4.5-inch Jelly Bean beast is one of the best-value handsets we’ve ever seen.
The Moto G goes for the same design as its more expensive brother, the Moto X. The curved soft-touch body feels good in the hand, and you get a bold range of colours to choose from, which can be swapped out at any time. It’s a little chunky in the middle, but still slips easily into a pocket, and the 143g weight makes it comfortable to clutch.
The Moto G is kitted out with an edge-to-edge 4.5-inch 720p HD display, which the company was quick to point out offers a greater pixel density (329ppi) than the iPhone 5S’ screen. The difference compared to similarly-priced Androids such as the Samsung Galaxy Fame is instantly noticeable. There’s no blocky, ugly images here – HD video looks fantastic, colours bleed off the screen, and the panel is bright enough to be clearly visible in stark daylight.
Motorola Moto G performance: Zippy little mobile
Most phones around this price point pack a basic dual-core processor at best, but the Motorola Moto G boasts a quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, backed up by 1GB of RAM. It handles Android 4.3 Jelly Bean – now updated to KitKat – without issue. We played the latest games such as Fifa and Asphalt and they ran with a smooth, satisfying frame rate. Apps loaded quickly, and we rarely found ourselves hanging around waiting for the phone to catch up.
If you’ve read our hands-on encounter with the Moto G, you’ll already know we’re fans of its near stock Android experience, which packs some handy tools like Moto Assist. Without a heavy overlay, the phone performs well but also looks clean. This is where rivals such as the Samsung Galaxy Fame and Galaxy Young fall down – the extra bits bolted on top of Android really slow them down, which is instantly noticeable on a budget device.
Battery life is decent if not remarkable. If you limit yourself to emails, web and other basic bits, you can expect a full day from each charge. Sadly video streaming and gaming kills it off much quicker, with five hours or under before a fade to black.
Motorola Moto G camera: Simple snapper
The Moto G also rocks a 5-megapixel camera with a simple, stripped-down interface. You only get two on-screen buttons, one to swap to video mode, and another to switch to the front-facing lens. Zooming is performed with a pinch, while shooting a photo is done by tapping the screen.
The lens automatically focuses, which can be a problem as we found it often struggled to make our subject sharp – the answer is to bring up the focus reticule, an option in the settings, which can then be dragged over your subject before taking the shot. It’s slightly fiddly compared to the usual tap-to-focus method, but we found we eventually got used to it.
The lens instantly captures a photo when you tap the screen, but you’ll need to wait a second or two as the image is processed before shooting again. Our photos were packed with detail, an excellent result considering the Moto G’s price point. Low-light photos also fared well, appearing brighter than we expected, and there’s a flash for night shots.
Also worth a mention is the slow-mo video mode, which ups the frame rate so the action can be slowed right down. You get no manual control over the slow-mo, as you do aon the Apple iPhone 5s, but it’s still a cool inclusion.
Check out our full Motorola Moto G camera review run-down
Features are rounded off by 8 or 16GB of storage space, backed up by an impressive 65GB of Google Drive online space – which lasts for two years. There’s no NFC or 4G support, but at this price it’s hard to complain.
Motorola Moto G: The verdict
With its sharp 720p screen, colourful changeable design, quad-core processor and dependable 5-megapixel camera, the Motorola Moto G offers incredible value for money. This is easily the best sub-£150 smartphone you can buy right now, and we’re hoping that other budget phone manufacturers sit up and take notice.