Motorola launched the third generation of its highly praised budget smart phone, the Moto G 2015, last month in India. Priced very sweetly at 11,999 for the base variant and 12,999 for the 16GB internal/2GB RAM combo, we put the new device to test and see if it really is the king of budget smart phones?
Look and Feel: Plastic all around!
Straight out of the box, you’ll notice that the new Moto G feels both broader and lighter than its predecessor. Motorola has put a strong focus on making the new phone look aesthetically pleasing and it pays. Moto G 3rd generation is essentially a plastic copy of its expensive sibling, the Moto X. While you don’t have the option of choosing the metal/wood/leather back covers, you do get up to 10 back panel choices with the Moto G and with the choice of a black/white front, you can create something funky or sober if mood be!
The front of the phone is dominated by the large display and flanks the dual speakers in the iconic Motorola arrangement. There are no capacitive navigation keys and unlike other phones in this price range, Motorola has opted for on-screen navigation buttons. This actually makes Moto G 2015 a lot more usable as budget smartphones have a tendency of not backlighting the keys which makes it a pain to use in dark.
The rear houses the 13 MP snapper with the dual LED flash snap in the middle with the Moto logo that looks like a futuristic fingerprint sensor. The textured back provides for an extremely good grip and the subtle curves add more to the style statement. Personally, we liked the rubber finished back of the Moto G 2014 but this does feel a lot lighter than the previous gen and won’t get smudged easily.
Waterproof: Let’s Shower!
What sets the Moto G 2015 apart from its competitors is the IPX7 waterproof certification. Moto recommends snapping the back panel properly in place for the waterproofing to work but trust me, no matter what I did, I missed a couple of snaps each time.
After loosing my primary iPhone a couple of weeks ago to a downpour, I was glad that the new Moto comes with a certain level of waterproofing. Every smart phone must come with some form of water resistance.
Back to the device, what’s the first thing you do with a phone that has a waterproof tag to it? You put it in a tumbler of water and upload a video on YouTube. Well, that’s not what I did. Though I did shower while replying to some emails all the while grooving to my favorite tracks. The capacitive screen does go haywire once under water but a quick dab and the Moto works exactly like a new device.
Motorola markets the Moto G as a smart phone for the budget conscious so to expect it to top some charts is foolish. The smart phone boasts of the following specs:
- 1.4 Ghz Snapdragon 410 (quad-core)
- 1 GB / 2 GB RAM
- 8 GB / 16 GB internal storage
- expandable microSD support up to 32 GB
Moto G works fine for most tasks and that’s what the USP of the phone is. The phone feels fast and thanks to stock Lollipop, zips through daily tasks. Apps open pretty quickly and the interface and experience is pretty minimal, just like you would find on any Nexus device. However, if you are looking for some serious gaming, you will be disappointed as the phone just lacks enough grunt for intensive gaming.[pull_quote_right author=””]Moto has slowed down the shutter speed to let more light in which results in shaky photos[/pull_quote_right]
We were able to run Asphalt 8 on mid settings with no drops in frame rates. Ironically, the same game lags even on low settings on the K3 Note which boasts of a Octa core processor. We have always emphasized, and will say it again, blindly buying a handset just because it has a octa core or deca core processor and loads of RAM will never work in your favor.
Moto G did slow down on opening a multitude of apps that often resulted in a hung display for us. However, for simple everyday tasks, Moto does take the cake. There is absolutely no bloatware except for some interesting Moto apps. Motorola has built-in some gestures like twisting your wrist to turn on the flashlight and stuff which works 60% of the time. We admit it is intuitive but couldn’t really see us using it in near future.
The best software mod is perhaps Moto’s easy-glance lock screen for notifications, called Moto Display: tap to see important info, or slide up to open the app. Moto Assist keeps track of where you are and what you’re doing and adapts accordingly. So if you’re in a meeting, it puts your phone in silent mode.
We received the 16GB/2GB variant as our review unit. We would definitely suggest you to pay the Rs. 1000 premium over the entry-level variant for the performance and the peace of mind!
The new Moto G sees a boost in the camera department. Moto G 2014 had an 8MP rear shooter and a 2MP front facing camera. While these may sound fine for a budget smartphone, the rising competition has seen some manufacturers packing 13MP modules as well. Moto G 3rd generation sports the following specs:
- 13MP Rear Camera
- Dual LED Flash
- 1080p @ 30fps
- 5MP front camera
Moto might have struck all the chords on the hardware front, the camera interface leaves a lot to be desired. There is no dedicated shutter button and you can “tap anywhere on the screen to shoot.” The minimal interface and simplicity extends in the settings department as well. You can swipe left for the gallery and right for the camera settings.
The outdoor shots are impressive with lots of detail and accurate color. As you can see from the test shots, the photos are crisp and look natural. Zoom into the photos and poof! It’s all gone. All you get is grain and washed out colors.
In dimly lit situations it is an entirely different story though. The camera fails to capture the level of detail expected even with a dual tone flash. Moto has slowed down the shutter speed to let more light in which results in shaky photos as even small a movement of your hand can cause troubles. The dual tone flash does work as advertised and adds an extra dash of color but don’t expect exceptional low light shots.
The front camera is exactly what one needs though. The megapixel bump plays along nicely. Outdoor photography is where the snappers on the new Moto G really shine. If you are the type who loves shooting in low light scenarios, we would recommend looking elsewhere!
The Moto G fares quite well for a smart phone its size. The limited number of pixels on the display and stock Android mix well and positively affect the battery life. The device comes with a 2470mAh non user replaceable battery which is an 80mAh bump from the last generation.
The battery lasts well over a day on casual use but there were instances where I was left longing for a charger even before 6. Overall, you would rarely be of juice unless you are constantly on 4G. There is also the built in battery saver but a word of advice, it is true to its word. The performance of the device takes a massive hit and before you know it, even opening the dialer will take ages!
Moto G offers exactly what an average user wants from a smartphone. Solid build quality, good performance and my personal favorite – waterproofing to a certain extent! There is also vanilla Android experience for people who don’t like bloatware on their smart phones. The Moto G 2014 was one of the best budget smartphones we had tested in a while. We are glad that a year later, nothing’s changed! Moto G 2015 is the king of budget smartphones when it comes to value for money!
As some of our readers asked, why one must consider the Moto G over competitors like the Xiaomi Mi4i and the Lenovo K3 Note? Well, it boils down to a personal preference and your usage. If you want a great camera above everything else, get the Mi4i or if budget and screen resolution are your primary concerns, the K3 Note. For those looking for a more well-rounded device, the Moto G 2015 is a no brainer.