Motorola Moto G review: Little big G

GSMArena team, 11 December 2013.
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Tags: Motorola, Android

Google-branded organizer

The Moto G doesn't come with a dedicated file browser, but getting one from the Play store is no trouble at all and doesn't necessarily require a purchase.

The calendar is as good as ever. There are four views - Daily, Weekly, Monthly and Agenda. The app can easily handle several online calendars as well as the local calendar.

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Google Calendar

You can add multiple reminders for each event and search through all events. Google recently added color-coding to events, which helps with organizing tasks.

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Creating an event

Google's own Keep app has seen some changes. What first started as a simple note-taking app is now a little more advanced. Why should you use Google Keep? Simple - first off it syncs with your Google account, so all of your notes are available on any Android device or desktop PC seconds after you've entered your Google ID.

Google Keep now let's you insert images into notes and also supports voice memos. It can also color-code your notes and has a pretty straightforward way of taking them - just start typing and it's all saved. Finally, simply swipe old notes away and even then they'll be available in your archived view.

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Google Keep

Keep also features a nifty resizable widget with scrollable notes view and shortcuts for creating new notes.

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Google Keep widget

Google Drive comes pre-installed on the Moto G. It brings all of your documents, presentations, forms and spreadsheets from the browser-based Drive along with folders and more. You can, however, only create docs and spreadsheets on the mobile version of the app. You can also snap photos and the app transforms them into PDF scans.

One of the best things about Google Drive is the multi-user support. You can share a document and let others edit it real time alongside you. Everything is constantly being saved in the Google cloud, which gives you 50 GB of unified storage so you don't have to worry about losing important stuff.

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Google Drive

Quickoffice is more of an auxiliary app to Google Drive. It still lets you create documents and spreadsheets, but also throws in presentations. You can also scan the local storage for supported files and access your Google Drive docs.

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Quickoffice

Opening the Clock app brings you to your local time giving you the ability to add as many additional world capital cities as you'd like (they will also be visible on your lockscreen widget upon expanding).

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The Clock app

The usual alarm functionality is still present, albeit with a fresh new design. You can set multiple alarms, each with its own repeat pattern, ringtone and label. The app also comes with a stopwatch and a timer.

The good old calculator is here too - it has big, easily thumbable keys and you can swipe to the left to bring up the advanced functions (trigonometry, square root, brackets, etc.).

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Calculator

Google Maps and navigation come preloaded

The Moto G comes with a GPS receiver, which took about a minute to get satellite lock upon a cold start (it supports GLONASS for faster, more accurate locks too). You can use the A-GPS functionality to get near instantaneous locks. Alternatively, network positioning will also do if you only need a rough estimate of your location.

Google Maps is a standard part of the Android package and we've covered it many times before. It offers voice-guided navigation in certain countries and falls back to a list of instructions elsewhere.

3D buildings are shown for some of the bigger cities and you can use two-finger camera tilt and rotate to get a better view of the area.

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Google Maps

You can also plan routes, search for nearby POIs and go into the always cool Street View. The app will reroute you if you get off course, even without a data connection.

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Street View

Google Maps uses vector maps, which are very data efficient. The latest version has a somewhat easier to use interface for caching maps - you pan/zoom around until the desired area is in view and choose "Make available offline" from the bottom of the search bar (after you've scrolled past search results or prompts). You can later view cached areas and delete the ones you no longer need.

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Making map available offline

Note that there's a limit to the size of the area you can cache - you can't just make all of Europe available offline, not even a whole country. We managed to cache Berlin and some surrounding regions before Maps told us the area is too big. Also, there's no address search in the cached maps and you can only cache map data in supported regions of the world.

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Google Earth

Google Play store has all the apps

Like most devices running Android, the Moto G has access to the full (and latest) Google Play store.

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The Google Play store

You get to your account, My Apps, My wishlist and more through a side-swipable menu a la Google+.

The Store is organized in a few scrollable tabs - categories, featured, top paid, top free, top grossing, top new paid, top new free and trending. The in-app section is untouched though and it's very informative - a description, latest changes, number of downloads and comments with rating. There is usually a demo video and several screenshots for most apps too.

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