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Review: Motorola Moto G (2015)

Design & Build Quality
Display
Performance
Battery Life
Camera
Audio & Call Quality
Software

The 2015 Moto G has proven to be the best mid-range device in it's category. With a very affordable price, it is packed with great hardware and an almost stock Android experience. It will also be getting the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update in the future.

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The purchase of a smartphone while on a budget is never a good situation to be in. Users would either have to spend over their budgets for a phone with better specs or simply settle for a device that has outdated hardware; and not to mention the lack of support for new OS releases. However, Motorola was able to bridge that gap with the Motorola Moto G that was catered to the mid-range market but still be able to perform daily. Let us take a quick look at the specs of the 3rd generation Moto G.

Specs:-

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 410, Adreno 360 GPU
  • Display: 5.0 inches, 1280 x 720 pixels (294 ppi) IPS LCD
  • Memory: 1 GB or  2GB of RAM
  • Storage: 8 GB or 16 GB with micro-SD card slot
  • Camera: 13.0 MP; f/2.0 rear-facing camera, 5 MP front-facing camera
  • Battery: 2,470 mAh battery
  • OS: Android 5.1.1 Lollipop

Review

Hardware

Design & Build Quality

The first thing that users will realize is that the all new Moto G really does resemble its older brother, the Moto X. The device has has 2 speaker grills on the front face of the device that is protected by Gorilla Glass 3.

The back of the device has a new crosshatch design too. The device, which weighs 155 grams, isn’t the lightest smartphone given its size and specs. However, it sure does provide users with a very solid feel and build.

To the right of the device is where both the power and volume buttons are located. The power button has a crosshatch texture engraved on it, while the volume buttons have a smooth finish to it. This makes it easy for users to differentiate them apart.

A 3.5 mm audio jack is located directly on the top middle of the device while the micro-USB port is located on the bottom of the device.

Moving to the back of the device will reveal the rear camera as well as a dual-LED flashlight. It is also accompanied by a Motorola logo that is imprinted into a dimple on the device.

The back cover is removable (which is great), and once removed users will first notice both the micro-SIM and micro-SD slot on the top left corner. Unfortunately though, the Moto G does not have a removable battery despite having a back cover that comes off.

Overall, we like the design and build quality of the Moto G. It is not a high-end device by any means but it definitely does not feel like it’s poorly built.

Display

The 5″ IPS LCD has a resolution of 1280 x 720, therefore it is only capable of packing in 294 pixels per inch. This isn’t a great display by today’s standard especially comparing it to the Samsung Galaxy S6 or LG G4, but by taking a step back and realizing that it is a mid-range phone, a 720p display doesn’t seem to bad at all.

The display doesn’t have great color reproduction, and that resulted in the display looking less vivid and crisp. We also noticed a slight yellow and hazy hue to the display, just a small nuance but nothing major that would cause an issue.

Performance

The Moto G is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor and has 1GB or 2GB of RAM depending on the options purchased. For this review, we were provided the model with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage.

A benchmark test using Geekbench 3 shows a score of 1539 for multi-core on the Moto G. This is expected given the processor used under the hood. However, we did not notice any issues with daily usage. It was still blazing fast and apps launched upon touch. The only degradation we noticed was when we’re playing games that were more resource intensive.

Battery Life

The Motorola Moto G (2015) has a 2,470 mAh non-removable battery, which is huge for a device that is priced at close to entry level. Pairing that with a near stock Android OS with a mid-range CPU, users could easily and confidently get by a full day of moderate to heavy usage without to even worry

We were also able to run our usual battery test in which we run a continuous video while the device is connected to LTE and Wi-Fi with both Bluetooth and GPS turned on and connected. We also set the display to 1/2 brightness. We were only able to get about 4 hours out of it. However, we managed to get close to 20 hours of mixed usage out of the device, which includes mixed network usage (part 4G, part Wi-Fi).

Camera

The 13 MP rear facing camera that has a f/2.0 aperture lens will get the job done on capturing moments. Beyond that, users should be expecting high quality pictures that will rival that of the LG G4 or HTC One M8. Pictures taken under good lighting conditions turn out good but still lack details when zoomed in. While pictures shot later in low lit conditions turn out slightly grainy but wasn’t terribly dark thanks to the f/2.0 aperture lens.

Motorola also added a quick touch to what is a stock camera app from Google. Tapping anywhere on the picture will automatic take a picture, users could select the focus in the pull out menu on the left to select manual focus and exposure. It also has a night mode to help with taking pictures in those low light conditions.

Overall, the camera has improved from the previous generation Moto G but definitely have room for improvements.

Audio & Call Quality

Though the device has front facing speakers, to our disappointment the audio only plays through the bottom grill; the top grill use used solely for conversations while on a call. This means users will not get the full stereo experience despite having the front facing speakers. Audio played through the speakers were audible even in a loud environment but definitely isn’t as punchy as its older brother, the Moto X.

Running on the AT&T Network while in a LTE covered area, phone calls made were clear and crisp on both ends. We did not have many issues with an exception for one phone call having a little echo in the background.

Software

Android enthusiast whom are familiar with the stock vanilla Android interface will find themselves at home here. Motorola kept the stock experience while tweaking it a little to improve that usability and user-device interaction. These improvements are made simply by having apps pre-installed on the device. These apps are proprietary to Motorola and will only work on Motorola phones.

Assist allows users to create predetermined actions automatically based on location or activities. For example, the sleeping action will automatically darken the screen and put the phone in silent mode at a predetermined sleeping time by the user. We find this very convenient especially for users who have a fairly strict sleeping schedule since they will not have to worry about changing modes on the phone. Assist will also look through a users calendar and determines the user as unavailable thus sending a text should a call come in to the dialer.

We particularly like the Actions feature and what it could do. Actions come with 2 really convenient gesture controlled commands. The first is a double flick of the wrist, and this will automatically turn on the camera while it is in sleep mode. The second is a double chopping motion that will enable the LED flashlight – we find ourselves using this feature alot.

Lastly, Display allows notification to periodically appear on users display without hitting the power button. This is very similar to the feature that we have seen on the original Moto X.

Final Thoughts

Motorola has once again succeeded in creating a mid-range level device that is a good balance price and performance. With a fairly competent hardware and the latest Android OS, this device will make a great daily device for users who are looking for a phone that just works! It is definitely a great choice for a backup device or even an beginner phone for the kids.

Though it does not have capabilities such as NFC or Wireless/Quick charge or even a display that will rival Apple’s Retina Display – we think that this is the best unlocked device that is bloatware free users could opt for when shopping for a device.

About Ruey Yih Loh

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