Motorola secured a name for itself with its extremely popular clamshell Razr V3 phone back in 2004. With the rise of the smart phone however, Motorola has somewhat fallen into the background. Its more recent line of Razr phones, while perfectly fine, didn't really do much to stand up to its Apple and Samsung competition.
Get used to hearing the Motorola name though as it's come out from the shadows with all guns blazing. The Moto G is a 4.5-inch smart phone with a 720p resolution, a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, a 5-megapixel camera and -- prepare yourself for this one -- a mind-blowingly cheap price of £135 SIM-free. I'll let that sink in for a moment.
Should I buy the Motorola Moto G?
The Moto G is the best value phone around by miles. It has a great screen, plenty of power, a good battery, colourful, interchangeable cases and a good battery -- all of which would normally demand a considerably higher price. Make no mistake: there is nothing else at this price that even comes close.
It handles all the everyday essentials perfectly well and will tackle more intense tasks too. Its Android software is easy to use whether you're an Android veteran or a smart phone newbie. Sure, its lack of expandable storage might be frustrating for some, and it doesn't have 4G, but its phenomenal value means these aren't massive issues.
It's not just a brilliant option if you're on a budget, it's a superb choice for anyone who just isn't that fussed about buying the top-end kit.
Design and build quality
The Moto G has a fairly plain but nonetheless quite attractive design. The front is simply an unbroken slab of glass, but the back holds more interest. It has a soft-touch, matte plastic back, which is available in a host of colours. You can opt for the black model if you're not keen on bright designs, but the white version looks very smart, while the hot pink and turquoise models will appeal to those of you looking to stand out from the crowd.
With its 4.5-inch screen, it's smaller than many top end phones that pack in huge displays, which helps make it more comfortable to use, particularly for those of you with smaller hands. That's helped too by its gently curving back, which sits neatly in your palm.
At 11.6mm at its fattest point, it's quite a chunky little chap, and its 143g weight is quite noticeable when you first pick it up. It's certainly not going to drag your jeans down when you're walking around with it in your pocket though.
It feels very well put together. There's no creaking or flex in the chassis, the volume and power buttons on the edge all have a satisfying click and the glass front is made from toughened Gorilla glass. It definitely feels like it can take a few knocks and bumps, and you can always swap the back cover for a new one when it starts to look a little knackered -- or if you just fancy a change of colour.
Motorola reckons that the phone is water resistant too. Moto says you can take a call in the rain without fearing for the phone's life, which is pretty helpful here in grey Britain. It's not submersible though, so don't take it in the shower and definitely don't take it swimming. If you want to do that, get the fully waterproof Sony Xperia Z1 -- but expect to pay vastly more money.
As well as the buttons, the edges of the phone are home to the 3.5mm headphone jack and a micro-USB port charging the phone and for transferring data between it and a computer.
Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the phone is the fact that it's only available with 8 or 16GB of storage (for £25 extra). There's no SD-card slot either so you're not able to expand it. If you download lots of big games like Real Racing 3 or store lots of music locally then you'll blow through 8GB of space pretty quickly, so I highly advise opting for the 16GB model.
If you only really use a smart phone for calls, texts, tweeting and checking Facebook, then even 8GB of space will be sufficient. While it's a shame not to see more storage available, its super low price means I have to forgive it a little.
As a sweetener though, the Moto G snags you can extra 50GB of Google Drive cloud storage, on top of the 15GB you'll already have for free. That's a great amount of storage, but you will need to have an Internet connection to use it and it won't help you in installing large apps to your phone.
The Moto G's 4.5-inch screen has a 1,280x720-pixel resolution, which is a very impressive amount of pixels for such a cheap phone. It gives it a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch, which is the same as the iPhone 5S's retina display -- but the Moto G costs £414 less. It's the same resolution too as last year's Nexus 4, but the Moto G is marginally sharper as it packs the same number of pixels into a tighter space.
Sure, it doesn't have the Full HD bragging rights of phones like the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One or Sony Xperia Z1, but for most people, that resolution -- not to mention the sheer size of the screens -- is probably just overkill. Side by side, I doubt you'd notice a huge difference between those phones and the Moto G, at least not for everyday tasks. Icon edges are crisp, high-resolution photos and videos look sharp and small text in Web pages is easily readable.
Resolution aside, the screen is very impressive. It's bright, and its colours are enjoyably rich and bold, without looking oversaturated. It's more than good enough to handle high-definition games and movies on Netflix. It displayed my favourite test video, Art of Flight, with vivid blue skies, and crisp, clear flurries of snow. It has good viewing angles too, meaning you don't need to stay completely square on to the screen to get the best view.
If you want a huge display for games and videos, the 5-inch or larger phones will suit you. For most of you just wanting a phone for everyday use, the Moto G's screen is more than good enough. At this price, it's without a doubt the best screen you can get your hands on. Samsung's Galaxy Fame has a similar price tag, but its 320x480-pixel display doesn't even come close to the Moto G's.