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printed October 24, 2017
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Review: Motorola Moto G for AT&T

Form Performance Basics Moto Apps Extras Wrap-Up Comments  

Screen

Motorola boosted the G's screen from 4.5 inches to 5 inches, but kept the 720p resolution unchanged. That means fewer pixels per inch, if you're counting. It's not the sharpest-ever display, I can say that much. Pixels are visible when the phone gets to within a foot of my eyes, but that's probably only because I'm looking for them. Icons and text are reasonably sharp and colors look great. Like the second-gen Moto X, however, I find the G's screen just isn't bright enough for outdoor use. Viewing angles are much better, though, as there is no color shift and no brightness drop off. For a mid-range smartphone, the G's screen offers relatively little to complain about.

Signal

One of the G's biggest limitations is its support for cellular technology - or, more precisely, the lack thereof. The G is limited to HSPA+ and does not support LTE. That's a major bummer. That said, the G performed very well on AT&T's HSPA+ network in and around the metro NYC area. It remained connected no matter where I took it, and managed to make calls even under the weakest signal conditions. Data performance was acceptable and not too terribly far off what AT&T's LTE network offers. Weak signal definitely slowed down data performance, but not any more so than it does on other handsets. In sum, the second-gen G does well in the signal department.

Sound

Wow. The Moto G has one of the loudest earpiece speakers I've tested this year. It produces staggeringly loud voices and pumps them into your ear at decibel levels that are best left for your local dance club. You can't put the volume all the way up and hold the G to your head; it'll overwhelm you. The quality of calls was a bit on the scratchy side. Even with the volume set at a modest 50%, calls were full of crackles. The occasional interference didn't make conversations unintelligible, though, and I was able to talk to people in loud and quiet environments with no problem. The speakerphone was also loud, though not as loud as I was expecting given the earpiece's potent powers. Quality of voices coming through the speakerphone were rather sketchy, but not the worst. People with whom I spoke through the G said I sounded really clear. Ringers and alert tones are plenty loud. I had no trouble hearing in-coming calls, even in spaces that were noisy. The vibrate alert is decent. It could be stronger, but it's not terribly weak.

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Battery

Like many other specs, Motorola carried over the 2,070 mAh battery from last year's model. The lack of 4G and the slightly lower-res screen help keep power use in check. The G's battery generally pushed through an entire waking day 8 AM - midnight with no trouble. I ran into trouble a couple of times around 9 PM, but that was under abnormally heavy usage. With normal use, most users can expect to make it from breakfast to bedtime without issue.

Unlike competing models, the Moto G doesn't include a special battery-saver mode. You have to manage it all on your own. Thankfully, that's not too much of a chore.

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