Motorola Moto G review: Little big G

GSMArena team, 11 December 2013.
Pages: 1234567891011

Tags: Motorola, Android

Gallery

The Gallery in Android 4.3 Jelly Bean retains its ICS looks and functionality. The Default view of the gallery is Albums, the first of which is always the Camera album, which has a camera overlay icon too. Rather than the familiar stacks, the app uses a grid of photos, two on a line.

Besides, Album view, you also get Locations (photos are grouped based on where they were taken), Times (grouped by when they were taken), People (if the photos have tagged faces in them) and Tags (these are general tags you can add manually).

A handy option is the Make available offline feature - it lets you easily select multiple online albums and download them for offline viewing. The Gallery app supports online albums like Picasa (but not Facebook).

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The gallery

Getting inside an album displays all the photos in a rectangular grid, which is horizontally scrollable.

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Viewing a photo

The settings menu lets you do simple edits to a photo (rotate, crop) or go into a more capable editor with a lot more options. The editor can be accessed from a small icon from the bottom left hand-side corner and offers light adjustments (so you can bring out the shadows or the highlights), effects, color styles, red eye correction, straightening a photo, sharpening and face glow (which detects faces automatically). Most of these options have a slider that lets you fine-tune the strength of the effect.

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Editing an image

Video player

The video player has retained its stock Android interface. Motorola however, have added much better codec support than the one found in Nexus devices. The video player is now perfectly usable out of the box - it plays a host of formats which include H.263, H.264, MPEG4, VC-1, VP8 in up to 1080p resolution.

The only files the Moto G refused to play were MOV videos and a single DivX file (for unknown reasons).

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The video player

You can also wirelessly share videos with a Wi-Fi enabled TV. You can either use the good ol' DLNA technology for sharing multimedia content or use the Miracast protocol for direct mirroring of the smarthone's interface on the big screen.

Music player and FM Radio

Google's own music player called Play Music features the spanking Listen Now feature which tries to determine what you like and the sequence of your track-changing so that it can start offering you music you might like to play next.

Google Play Music also gives you the option to stream on your smartphone your whole music collection that you may have on your computer. There's also the nifty option of downloading the content onto the device if you want to have there for connection-less times.

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Google Play Music

From the Settings key you can get into the equalizer. It can be turned on and off and features several presets that along with a user defined one. If you plug in a headset, you can also play with the Bass boost and 3D effect sliders.

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The equalizer

The Now Playing screen uses the song album art and gives you a quick shortcut to the rest of the artist's songs along with the play controls.

While the player is working, the lockscreen features the album art and track info for the current song along with simple playback controls. The notification area also lets you control the playback via an expandable notification.

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Playing music in the lockscreen

The FM Radio is a pretty straightforward affair. Once you plug in a pair of headphones (to act as an antenna), the app will scan the stations available in your region. You can also the region manually if the app doesn't configure it.

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The FM Radio

Great audio output quality

The Motorola Moto G did quite well in our audio test, posting scores that would make even a flagship proud and garnishing them with well above average volume.

When connected to an active external amplifier the smartphone showed great dynamic range, signal-to-noise ratio and stereo crosstalk. Its frequency response could be better in the lowest and highest frequencies but was close to perfect for the rest of the range. There were no traces of distortion, either.

The great news is, besides some extra stereo crosstalk, there's virtually no degradation when you plug in a pair of headphones. And with the volume levels pretty high in both tests, the Moto G earned an excellent mark here.

And here go the results so you can see for yourselves.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
Motorola Moto G+0.08, -0.85-92.191.90.0059 0.082-91.4
Motorola Moto G (headphones attached)+0.10, -1.03-92.091.80.010 0.117-50.4
Motorola Moto X+0.25, -1.12-91.691.70.0029 0.243-92.8
Motorola Moto X (headphones attached)+0.24, -1.08-91.491.40.012 0.244-55.0
Oppo R819(headphones attached)+0.58, -0.13-91.090.90.015 0.438-48.7
Oppo R819+0.04, -0.09-92.492.30.017 0.045-87.9
Oppo R819(headphones attached)+0.58, -0.13-91.090.90.015 0.438-48.7
Nokia Lumia 625+0.13, -0.10-90.390.30.013 0.355-82.5
Nokia Lumia 625 (headphones attached)+0.24, -0.00-90.290.20.014 0.460-83.8
HTC Desire 600 dual sim+0.04, -0.31-91.389.50.020 0.052-89.6
HTC Desire 600 dual sim(headphones attached)+0.10, -0.25-91.189.40.020 0.045-47.5
Samsung Galaxy S4 mini+0.06, -0.05-93.592.70.0090 0.056-86.2
Samsung Galaxy S4 mini (headphones attached)+0.08, -0.04-93.291.80.029 0.089-53.3

Motorola Moto G frequency response
Motorola Moto G frequency response

You can learn more about the whole testing process here.

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