Motorola Moto G review: Little big G
Barebone retail package
At this point we've pretty much given up any hope of finding anything beyond the absolute essentials in the packaging of smartphones and that includes even flagships. However, the Motorola Moto G goes a bit too far with its effort to save on production and shipping costs.
The smartphone ships in the tiniest box we have ever seen and the only accessory you will find inside is a microUSB cable. There're no headphones and you don't even get an A/C adapter for faster charging. Granted, at this point you probably have a few of those lying around, but in case you don't, you should factor in the prices of those if you decide to go for the Moto G.
Motorola Moto G 360-degree spin
The Motorola Moto G stands at 129.9 x 65.9 x 11.6 mm, which makes it one of the more compact smartphones in its price range. It's not the slimmest package around and you can definitely feel the extra thickness around the waistline but at this size it's not too upsetting.
The weight of 143 g is definitely high for the size, though. It certainly contributes to the solid feel in hand, but it also means you won't easily forget that it's in your pocket. In comparison, the Oppo R819 weighs 110g and that one has a 4.7" screen and mostly identical internals.
Design, build quality and handling
The styling of the Motorola Moto G is clean and efficient (even subdued), as if to make a point that it's a device you're going to use, not show off. Even the vanilla Moto X is quite understated - if you decide to skip using the customizing powers of the Moto Maker. Overall, unlike the Motorola smartphones of old, which tended to be overdesigned, this one bets on simplicity, combining traditional materials and flowing lines.
The result is quite good though and even the fact that the Moto G uses two different kinds of plastic for its front and back panels on our black version doesn't spoil the looks. It's clearly not what you'd call an attention-grabber, but that's hardly ever an option when shopping in this price range.
Decent build and acceptable looks are par for the course here and the Moto G over-delivers on both. It's certainly a well put together phone that makes no disturbing sounds of any kind when handled and gives the impression that it will have no trouble keeping it up in the long run. There's Corning Gorilla Glass 3 over the screen for scratch and shutter resistance, while the back can easily be replaced if it gets some damage.
Speaking of replacing the back panel - that's only as far as the Moto G will go in terms of customization. It's not nearly as impressive as the Moto Maker for the Motorola Moto X, but it's still an option and it does have its benefits. The option to replace a scratched back panel with a fresh new one we already covered, but there's also the feature of being able to change your mind after you've purchased the phone.
You can customize the Moto X all you like, but once you get it that's it, whereas you can buy new panels for the Moto G as you please to freshen up your smartphone. Those are pretty cheap too - can get them online for about €10 a pop.
As for the handling, despite its less than slender profile and considerable heft, the Motorola Moto fits nicely in your hand and is not a problem at all to operate it single-handedly. The curved back with matte plastic allows for a great grip too, so accidental drops aren't very likely.