Hands On with the Moto G
Jul 28, 2015, 10:27 AM by Eric M. Zeman
updated Jul 28, 2015, 1:42 PM
Motorola's mid-range wonder boasts a significant number of upgrades over last year's handset, making it a compelling option. Here are our first impression of this welterweight device.
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The Moto G is Motorola's mid-range handset that fights like a flagship. It puts many other handsets in the sub-$200 price range to shame thanks to its solid spec sheet, appealing design, and excellent performance.
The Moto G has a 5-inch screen and is appreciably smaller than the Moto X. That means it will be easier to use for a wider range of people.
The design is a variation on a theme. The Moto G's looks haven't changed much since the phone first surfaced in 2013. It looks similar to its bigger brother, but uses less-expensive materials and has a more blunt appearance. It definitely comes across as a phone for Everyman.
The front is colored either black or white, and, for the first time ever, the Moto G can be customized via Motorola's Moto Maker tool. People will be able to select from a handful of different shells and accents to make the phone more personal. No leather and no wood, but the new rubber-coated silicon is attractive and feels great.
The various shells fit snugly against the back — and that's a good thing. If they didn't, the phone wouldn't be waterproof. Motorola boosted the G's resistance to water. It can sit in up to 6 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. That means it will survive a dunk in the pool or toilet, if you happen to be a klutz. Thankfully, Motorola didn't have to employ hatches to cover the headphone jack or USB port to seal up the phone. That allowed Motorola to keep the design clean.
It's a good-sized handset. The curved rear panel helps it fit more snugly against your palm. The edges taper out a bit, but not as dramatically as on the Moto X. The phone's footprint is appealing, though I do wish it were a hair thinner.
Like the Moto X, the front of the phone is rather plain, but two slits in the glass form the stereo speakers and mic/earpiece. This has become a design trait of most Motorola phones in recent years. There are no buttons on the face of the phone; instead, it relies on software-based controls that come and go as needed.
The left edge of the phone is free of buttons or controls. The screen lock button and volume toggle are on the right edge. Like the Moto X, they are thin metal bars that have a good profile and excellent travel and feedback. I dislike that the screen lock button is closer to the top. The headphone jack is on top and the USB port is on the bottom.
The rear shell may be removable, but the battery is not. It is sealed inside. The SIM card and memory card slots are positioned close to the top of the rear panel; both are easy to access.
The Moto G runs stock Android 5.1 Lollipop. It looks really good on the 720p HD screen. I'd prefer to see full HD when the screen size reaches 5 inches, but Motorola did a great job with the Moto G's glass. The UI is fast and fluid thanks to the snapdragon processor. The camera has some of the improved controls seen on the Moto X, but not all of them.
Some other specs include a 13-megapixel camera with flash, configurable RAM/ROM options, and support for US LTE networks.
The Moto G is available for sale today via Motorola's web site and it should reach stores in August. It costs $179.
Motorola's mid-range masterpiece, the Moto G, is a formidable smartphone that should not be overlooked. It is waterproof, customizable, and outguns the competition on many fronts.
We're live from Motorola's big phone event today in NYC. We're expecting at least one new phone, if not two or three.
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Snapdragon 410 processor 2 GB RAM
2,470 mAh battery
Memory Card Slot, Headphone Jack (3.5mm), Water-Resistant