Hands On with the new Moto G
Sep 5, 2014, 1:00 AM by Rich Brome
Motorola's first Moto G has been their best-selling phone ever. It's just enough phone at a really great price. Now they're back with a second generation that ups the screen size and throws in a memory card slot and stereo speakers. We give it a quick whirl to see how it works in this hands-on.
The Moto G is the phone for the people. The new remains priced at $180 unlocked, yet has the looks and features you'd expect from a much pricier phone. The screen has jumped from 4.5 to 5 inches, and sports 720p HD resolution. They've also added a memory card slot and dual front-facing stereo speakers. With that larger screen it's basically the same size as the new Moto X. In fact, hold them both in your hands, and the Moto G feels like the larger one.
The phone comes in all white or all black, but you can buy color covers for the back. They snap on snugly and have a very nice matte texture. Covers are available that have a flip-over screen cover. The side buttons are easy to find, although it's too easy to mistake the small volume toggle for the lock button. The overall build quality is quite good. It's “splash-resistant” thanks to a special coating, (just don't mistake that for true waterproofing.) It looks and feels like a much more expensive phone.
The screen is 720p resolution, which is good for a phone at this price, although at the 5-inch size, you won't mistake it for a high-end screen; it's not as sharp as the screens on high-end phones. But at least at 5 inches, no one will call it small.
The main camera is 8-megapixel and the front camera, 2. The photo quality is about what you'd expect at this price point.
The Moto G doesn't have all of the smart voice, sensor, and gesture features of the Moto X. It's very close to standard Google Android. However they did bring the excellent Driving Mode over from the X. The fewer people tempted to text and drive, the better.
Since the target market for the G includes people switching from a non-smartphone, the G includes Migrate, which now has extensive options for transferring contacts from non-smartphones. It guides you step-by-step through a Bluetooth contact transfer. If your old phone can't transfer contacts over Bluetooth, it will even guide you to a web tutorial for other options, such as syncing a contact backup file by side-loading over USB. Neat.
Surprisingly, the new Moto G doesn't have LTE. That's presumably part of how they kept the price at $180. The old model had an LTE spin-off model; presumably there will be one for this year's model, too.
Motorola's second-generation G earns solid marks thanks to tasteful improvements to the hardware and evolutionary improvements to the specs. It's a mid-range middleweight that puts up a good fight amongst its competitors.
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