Motorola Moto G review: Little big G

GSMArena team, 11 December 2013.
Pages: 1234567891011

Tags: Motorola, Android

Controls

Above the Motorola Moto G display you get an earpiece, the front-facing camera, as well as the ambient light and proximity sensors.

Motorola Moto G
Some sensors join the earpiece and the front-facing camera

With the main controls on the actual screen, the space below the display is completely bare. The same goes for the left side of the Moto G.

The mouthpiece has been moved to the bottom, next to the microUSB port. The port has support for USB host, so if you get yourself an extra adapter needed, you can attach various peripherals like keyboards and mice as well as USB memory sticks. However it has no support for MHL or Slimport, meaning pairing with an HDTV isn't an option (unless the HDTV supports wireless streaming of content).

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The primary microphone is next to the microUSB port at the bottom

On the right we see the only two hardware controls on the Motorola Moto G. The power key sits slightly above the volume rocker and while both keys are a bit too thin for our liking, they make up for it with nicely solid press.

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There's just two hardware keys on board

The 3.5mm audio jack is located in the middle of the Moto G's top, where it's joined by the secondary noise-cancelling microphone.

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The secondary microphone and the 3.5mm audio jack

The 5MP camera lens has the loudspeaker on its side at the back of the smartphone, while the LED flash sits underneath it. A Motorola logo completes the picture here.

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A view of the back panel

Opening the back panel is a bit of a hassle, involving pushing you fingernail in the microUSB slot and pulling with a reasonable amount of force until you undo the stubs one by one. It does feel like the cover is about to break at times, but after several changes it's still in one piece, so the problem was perhaps mostly in our heads.

Underneath the cover you only get the microSIM slot. Disappointingly enough, the battery isn't user replaceable and there's no microSD card slot. We could live with the first of those shortcomings but the lack of expandable storage on a device where 16GB is the most you can get out of box can be quite the deal breaker for many.

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Removing the battery cover doesn't grant you access to the battery

Display

The Motorola Moto G 4.5" 720p display is one of its most potent weapons in the fight for survival in the overcrowded mid-range. Having a pixel density og 326ppi, the IPS LCD matches the Apple Retina screens and is by far the sharpest display in the price range.

It's not just the pixel count either - the Moto G screen also impresses with very good contrast and nice color rendering. Viewing angles are also very wide with everything remaining perfectly legible even when you go to extremes. There is some color shift, but even so the display is way better than we've come to expect in this price range.

Our only gripe is the white balance, which is a bit on the cold side, but that's nitpicking really.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Motorola Moto G 0.35 315 906 0.57 550 967
Sony Xperia C 0.18 151 842 0.66 639 962
Oppo R819 0.56 607 1078 0.62 754 1210
Samsung I9082 Galaxy Grand 0.37 382 1040 0.62 586 948
Huawei Ascend P6 0.14 136 986 0.62 670 1080
Apple iPhone 5 0.13 200 1490 0.48 640 1320

The front display glass isn't too reflective either, which means the Motorola Moto G screen also does pretty well in direct sunlight. An admirable overall performance indeed.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Nokia 808 PureView
    4.698
  • Apple iPhone 5
    3.997
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    3.997
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    3.419
  • Nokia Lumia 925
    3.402
  • Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
    3.352
  • Samsung Omnia W
    3.301
  • Samsung Galaxy S
    3.155
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    3.127
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom
    3.118
  • Nokia N9
    3.069
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.970
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    2.950
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • BlackBerry Q10
    2.856
  • Samsung Galaxy S II
    2.832
  • Samsung Galaxy S II Plus
    2.801
  • BlackBerry Z30
    2.790
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    2.655
  • Sony Xperia ZR
    2.672
  • Nokia Lumia 900
    2.562
  • HTC One Max
    2.537
  • Nokia Lumia 720
    2.512
  • HTC One
    2.504
  • Motorola Moto G
    2.477
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini
    2.422
  • Motorola RAZR i
    2.366
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    2.307
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2.269
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    2.262
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • Nokia N8
    2.144
  • Oppo Find 5
    2.088
  • BlackBerry Z10
    2.051
  • Apple iPhone 4
    2.016
  • HTC One mini
    2.003
  • LG G2
    1.976
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia ray
    1.955
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    1.938
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    1.865
  • Sony Xperia V
    1.792
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • Meizu MX3
    1.754
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1.691
  • HTC One V
    1.685
  • BlackBerry Q5
    1.682
  • LG Optimus Vu
    1.680
  • LG Optimus GJ
    1.666
  • HTC Desire V
    1.646
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    1.578
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    1.563
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    1.552
  • LG Optimus 3D
    1.542
  • Nokia Asha 302
    1.537
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • Nokia Lumia 610
    1.432
  • Gigabyte GSmart G1355
    1.361
  • HTC Desire C
    1.300
  • Sony Xperia C
    1.283
  • Nokia Asha 501
    1.270
  • LG Optimus L7
    1.269
  • LG Optimus L9
    1.227
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    1.203
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket
    1.180
  • Sony Xperia tipo
    1.166
  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2
    1.114

Battery Life

The Moto G features a 2,070 mAh battery, but Motorola didn't specify how long it is expected to last. The capacity isn't too big, but given the efficient chipset and relatively small screen we were quite optimistic about its prospects.

The Moto G duly delivered and posted an endurance score of 54, meaning it will last for more than two full days if you do an hour of calls, an hour of video watching and an hour of web browsing each day. The achievement is also much better than what the Moto X managed, but that one had the always on voice commands eating into its endurance.

We should even give the Motorola Moto G a few extra points here as it's notably brighter than most of its competitors at their respective 50% settings. You can learn more about our testing procedures here.

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