Motorola Moto G review: Little big G

GSMArena team, 11 December 2013.
Pages: 1234567891011

Tags: Motorola, Android

Google Now

Google Now was first introduced back in Jelly Bean 4.1 and is definitely one of the most interesting aspects of the Android OS. Simply put, it's Google's version of a personal assistant. Google Now is meant to be kinda Apple's Siri, but it learns constantly from your daily routines and it also takes cue from the Google searches you do on your computer, not just the ones on your smartphone. You can also use to voice command various aspects of your phone.

Unlike the Moto X, where the A8 chipset was always listening for the OK Google keywords to prop up Google Now, the Moto G can only access it by swiping up from the virtual Home key or through the dedicated Google Search app.

Anyway, Google Now gives you short overviews of information it believes is relevant to you right now in the form of information cards. Going to work in the morning? Google Now knows this and lets you know there's a big traffic jam on your usual way to the office, so it offers you a re-route.

It can interpret a lot of things from your search history as well. If you've been searching for, let's say, your favorite football team, Google Now will prepare a card showing you the next match the team is playing and will provide you score updates once the game begins.

Motorola Moto G Motorola Moto G
Google Now

Google Now, if you allow it, can scan your email for upcoming flights, deliveries or restaurant reservations and let you know when they are due. There are also numerous kinds of cards like birthdays (yours and those of your contacts) and what distance you've walked in a particular month. The last one could definitely feel creepy for some users, but it's easily turned off from the Google Now settings menu.

The More section of the customization will update automatically with topics you can choose from once you've start using Google Now search capabilities.

You can now set reminders straight from Google Now's UI. Just hit the bottom left icon (the palm with a stretched index finger). There you can add reminders or just check all the past, ongoing or upcoming reminders.

Motorola Moto G Motorola Moto G Motorola Moto G
Google Now

Google has also integrated Voice Actions into Now. They can handle stuff like sending messages (SMS or email), initiating a voice call, asking for directions, taking a note or opening a site. Google Now can also launch apps, check and manage your calendar and look for nearby places of interest and stuff like movie openings in theaters.

You can now set your default transportation method, you favorite sports teams, company stocks you are following, places you are interested to visit and more. Once you add items you want to keep an eye on Google Now will do this instead of you. It will automatically inform you for various changes, news and updates.

Motorola Moto G
Google Now

One big advantage of Google Now is that the voice typing functionality doesn't require an internet connection to work. You can enter text by speaking anywhere you can use the on-screen keyboard - be it the Messaging app or a note taking app - without the need for a data connection as long as you have pre-downloaded the needed language packs (and those only take about 20-25MB of your storage per pack).

Making voice typing available offline also made it faster as it's not dependent on your connection. What's even more impressive is that the transition hasn't cost it anything in terms of accuracy.

Low-powered quad-core

The Moto G comes with a Snapdragon 400 chipset with four Krait 200, Cortex-A7, cores clocked at 1.2 GHz and the Adreno 305 graphics processing unit. The phone makes use of 1 GB of RAM.

The Cortex-A7 processor clocked at 1.2GHz delivers a decent mid-range performance very close to the Cortex-A9 chips, with the added benefit of having lower power consumption.

BenchmarkPi focuses on the per-core performance. It evaluates how fast the processing core is and the Moto G scored just under its sibling by processor - the Xperia C - and not far behind Cortex-A9 competition.

Benchmark Pi

Lower is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    166
  • Sony Xperia Z
    264
  • HTC Butterfly
    266
  • Oppo Find 5
    267
  • HTC One X+
    280
  • LG Optimus G
    285
  • HTC One mini
    293
  • Samsung Galaxy Express
    346
  • Sony Xperia C
    374
  • Motorola Moto G
    392
  • Sony Xperia M
    400
  • Samsung Galaxy S II Plus
    409
  • Sony Xperia L
    435
  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini
    499
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 3
    519
  • Sony Xperia go
    543
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    554
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    578
  • HTC Desire X
    639
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    800
  • Samsung Galaxy Young
    831

Linpack is a single or multi-threaded oriented benchmark. Here the Moto G scored just lower than the more powerful HTC One mini (boasting a Snapdragon 400 with better Krait 300 cores) and overpowered the Xperia C by a lot.

Linpack

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4
    788
  • HTC One
    646
  • Sony Xperia Z
    630
  • HTC Butterfly
    624
  • LG Optimus G
    608
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    413
  • Sony Xperia SP
    348
  • HTC One mini
    320
  • Motorola Moto G
    259
  • Nexus 4
    213.5
  • Sony Xperia L
    191
  • HTC One X+
    177
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    175
  • Sony Xperia M
    168.3
  • HTC One X
    160
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    141
  • Sony Xperia C
    132.3
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    107.7
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    85
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 3
    68

Geekbench 3 is a cross-platform CPU benchmark. In it the Moto G bested the Xperia C and came close to the HTC Buttefly - not a bad score.

Geekbench 3

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    2937
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    2670
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    2638
  • Apple iPhone 5s
    2561
  • LG Nexus 5
    2453
  • LG G2
    2243
  • HTC One
    1972
  • HTC One Max
    1899
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    1869
  • LG Optimus G
    1623
  • Meizu MX3
    1579
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    1315
  • LG Nexus 4
    1288
  • HTC Butterfly
    1257
  • Motorola Moto G
    1120
  • Sony Xperia C
    1079
  • Oppo R819
    1047
  • HTC One mini
    887
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 3
    564

AnTuTu 4 gauges the overall device performance instead of just the CPU. Here the Moto G was ahead of the Nexus 4 and again beat the Sony Xperia C by a strong margin. In Quadrant the Moto G scored almost double the points of the similarly-spec'd Xperia C.

AnTuTu

Higher is better

  • HTC One
    22678
  • Sony Xperia Z
    20794
  • Motorola Moto G
    17214
  • Oppo Find 5
    15167
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    14518
  • Sony Xperia C
    13948
  • HTC Butterfly
    12631
  • HTC One mini
    11434
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    11203
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 3
    10448
  • Sony Xperia M
    9902
  • Sony Xperia L
    9746
  • Nokia Lumia 620
    9140
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    7408
  • Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2
    6650

Quadrant

Higher is better

  • Motorola Moto G
    8508
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    7153
  • HTC One mini
    6048
  • Sony Xperia V
    5816
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    5053
  • Samsung Galaxy Express
    4998
  • Sony Xperia C
    4941
  • Sony Xperia L
    4279
  • Sony Xperia M
    4147
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    3240
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    3152

Heading into GPU-intensive test territory it's time to see how the Adreno 305 inside the Moto G performs against the PowerVR SGX544 inside the Xperia C. At GLBenchrmak's 2.5 Egypt 1080p offscreen test the Adreno 305 rounded up 6 more frames per second. GLBenchmark's offscreen test shows what the GPU inside the phone can do in raw performance - not pushing the native 720p resolution, but instead a fixed 1080p one. Naturally, the Moto G was outperformed by Snapdragon 600 and 800-yellding foes as their Adreno 320 and 330 are much more potent.

GLBenchmark 2.7 T-Rex offscreen also gave the nod to the Adreno 305 over the PowerVR SGX544 - the Adreno got twice the framerates.

Finally, the Epic Citadel, which generates a beautiful and rich medieval scene, was the place where the PowerVR GPU was able to redeem itself by a small margin, besting the Adreno 305's otherwise good score - anything above 30 fps is stutter-free and enjoyable.

GLBenchmark 2.5 Egypt (1080p off-screen)

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia Z1
    60
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    60
  • LG G2
    54
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    43
  • HTC Butterfly S
    42
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    41
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 Active
    41
  • HTC One
    37
  • Oppo Find 5
    32
  • Google Nexus 4
    32
  • Sony Xperia Z
    31
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    31
  • Sony Xperia SP
    31
  • Apple iPhone 5
    30
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    30
  • LG Optimus G
    21
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    17
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    17
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    17
  • Motorola Moto G
    16
  • HTC One mini
    15
  • HTC One X
    11
  • Sony Xperia C
    10

GLBenchmark 2.7 T-Rex (1080p off-screen)

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia Z1
    23
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    23
  • LG G2
    22
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    17.1
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    17.1
  • Apple iPad 4
    16.8
  • HTC Butterfly S
    16
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 Active
    16
  • Google Nexus 10
    13.9
  • LG Optimus G
    13.9
  • Sony Xperia Z
    13.5
  • Sony Xperia Tablet Z
    13
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    12.8
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    6.4
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    6.3
  • HTC One mini
    5.6
  • Motorola Moto G
    5.6
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    4.9
  • Sony Xperia C
    2.8

Epic Citadel

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia Z1
    54.9
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    54.9
  • LG G2
    51
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    37.2
  • Sony Xperia C
    36.3
  • HTC One
    35.6
  • Motorola Moto G
    34
  • HTC Butterfly
    29.6

And for the final installment of our synthetic round comes the browsing experience, which is comprised of the JavaScript-focused and HTML 5-oriented SunSpider and BrowserMark 2. Finally, Vellamo does a little of everything for an all-round score.

JavaScript performance deemed the Moto G slightly better than the Xperia C and better overall than most of its more expensive rivals, which can be attributed to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean.

In HTML 5 the Android 4.3 and Moto G duo scored a very high result leaving others, like the Samsung Galaxy S4 in the dust.

Vellamo wasn't as generous as the other two but still showed the Moto G a better competitor than the Sony Xperia C.

SunSpider

Lower is better

  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    750
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    845
  • LG G2
    908
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    1046
  • HTC One
    1174
  • LG Optimus G
    1293
  • Motorola Moto G
    1308
  • Sony Xperia C
    1319
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 3
    1337
  • HTC One mini
    1375
  • LG Nexus 4
    1379
  • HTC Butterfly
    1397
  • Oppo R819
    1423
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    3858

BrowserMark 2

Higher is better

  • LG G2
    2718
  • Motorola Moto G
    2562
  • LG Optimus G
    2555
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    2438
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    2419
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    2398
  • HTC Butterfly S
    2378
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 Active
    2338
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    2314
  • HTC One
    2262
  • Sony Xperia Tablet Z
    2170
  • HTC One mini
    2164
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    2107
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2093
  • Sony Xperia C
    1984
  • Sony Xperia V
    1957
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 3
    1902
  • Sony Xperia L
    1809
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    1801
  • Oppo Find 5
    1797
  • Nexus 4
    1794
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    1774
  • Sony Xperia M
    1642
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    1592
  • HTC 8S
    1556
  • HTC Butterfly
    1475
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    1469
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    1247
  • Samsung Galaxy Express
    1154
  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini
    714

Vellamo

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia SP
    2497
  • HTC One
    2382
  • HTC One mini
    2252
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2189
  • Samsung Galaxy S4
    2060
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    2019
  • Motorola Moto G
    1928
  • HTC Butterfly
    1866
  • Sony Xperia M
    1800
  • Sony Xperia L
    1640
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    1572
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1568
  • LG Optimus G
    1522
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 3
    1409
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    1366
  • Nexus 4
    1310
  • Samsung Galaxy Fame
    1234
  • Samsung Galaxy Young
    1072
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    1065

Overall we'd say the Moto G presented stellar scores all across the board and shouldn't have any issues with providing a smooth and glitch-free smartphone experience. Now, the hardware aside, this could have much (if not most) to do with the excellent optimizations to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean provided by Google. Let's hope that when KitKat arrives, the Moto G will become even faster.

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