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Moto G Review: Pure Awesomeness

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The Moto G finally landed on Indian shores around a month ago and turned the mid-range smartphone category on its head. It has so far received amazing response and continues on a high.

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Moto G specs:

  • 4.5-inch 1280 x 720 pixels display
  • 1.2 GHz quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor
  • Adreno 305 GPU
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 8/16 GB internal memory
  • 5 MP primary camera
  • 1.3 MP front facing camera
  • Google Android v4.3 Jelly Bean
  • 2070 mAh battery

Moto G, like any other smartphone has a history behind it. It came on the scene as a Google-Motorola product and set the charts on fire. It seems Google did not, during its ownership of the company, interfere with Motorola too much – its phones have maintained the Motorola brand name and identity. In fact, the Moto G seems just like any other Motorola product, although it is definitely like a breath of fresh air since I haven’t seen one in so long.

At Rs. 12,499, the Moto G has successfully attacked the mid-range category and captured a niche, which was the domain of brands like Micromax and Spice until recently. If you haven’t had a tête-a-tête with Google Nexus range of devices, this might be your first interaction with stock Android. While the price tag might make you think otherwise, the Moto G packs in a bunch of cool surprises. Motorola has definitely got a winner here.

Let’s stop gushing about the handset and cut to the chase – here’s our Moto G review.

Hardware

Motorola has displayed one philosophy in every aspect of the Moto G handset – it has got rid of any extra clutter and emphasised on smooth, clean lines throughout the handset. The hardware too resounds with this philosophy – the handset is simple yet not crude but stylish. Since the handset is not run-of-the-mill 5-inches but instead, 4.5-inches, it can easily be operated with one hand.

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The Moto G is curved at the back, something which makes it more easily fit in the palm of your hand than most handsets.

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While the front is mostly covered by the screen and the bezels are marginally thick, the bottom bezel is a little thicker.

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Motorola has left this space empty and shifted up the capacitive buttons on the screen itself. This seems to have been done in the interests of simplicity.

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The top part of the display, meanwhile comes with a shrunken bezel and accommodates a speaker along with a front cam.

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The same philosophy continues with the physical buttons. Both the power button and the volume rocker are located on the right side of the handset, while the left side is completely plain. This did not affect the functioning – in fact both buttons were easy to operate. It also helps that they were sleek, slim, metallic and extremely sensitive.

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The bottom of the handset houses a MicroUSB slot, while the top comes with a 3.5-mm audio jack, both are accompanied by microphones.

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The back of the handset is just as interesting as the front. Just like the rest of the handset, it is bathed in simplicity and style. It houses a camera along with a speaker grille. Along with this, it comes with an indented Motorola logo which looks sleek and is also helpful when you need to open up the handset.

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Inside, rests the battery along with a MicroSIM slot. There is no MicroSD card slot, sadly. The back has one problem though – it gets far too smudgy too soon. In fact, it is one of the rare handsets where the back is more smudgy than the front – thanks to a Gorilla Glass 3 sheet covering the display.

The Moto G comes in a range of colors. I got the black one. While it doesn’t have customizability of the Moto X, there are cool colors available, although Black is bound to be the hot favorite. At 143g the handset is pretty light.

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Moto G silhouette compared to XOLO Q1100

Motorola has put together the Moto G in a better way than most handsets in its price range, heck even the more expensive ones will get beat when it comes to design. Overall, the Moto G is pretty well executed in the terms of hardware.

Display

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A common complaint with handsets in this price range is that the display resolution takes a hit with the price downgrade. The Moto G blasts out this myth. What Motorola has done is something pretty intelligent – the Moto G uses a standard 720p screen, but over less screen real estate i.e. 4.5-inches instead of the regular 5-inch ‘phablets’. This imparts the handset with a good screen density (329ppi), making it light up well. Along with this, it is covered with a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 3, which not only protects the handset but also adds to the style of the handset and more importantly, maintains screen sensitivity at good levels.

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A good display works on not just resolution, but also optimization. While many handsets get the resolution part correct, it is rare that someone gets the optimization right. The color optimization is pretty awesome – there are no fuzzy angles and the whites, blacks, reds and blues are all pretty radiant.

The Moto G display is better optimized than even expensive phones, earning it brownie points from us. The Auto-brightness works wonderfully well and the high sunlight visibility lets you work the handset out in the sun pretty easily.

Software

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If you are new to stock Android, here’s the thing – you will love it!

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Although the handset comes with Android 4.3 out-of-the-box, the Android 4.4.2 update is live for the Moto G and you can easily upgrade it.

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Just like the rest of the handset, Motorola has followed the philosophy of clearing away the clutter, until only the useful part is left. Motorola has pretty much used Android 4.4.2 in its basic form, offering minimal Motorola firmware – just the boot animation, the camera app and two other apps; Motorola Assist and Motorola Migrate and absolutely nothing else. It is clean yet functional. Since the handset is not clogged with useless official firmware, everything responds quick and I had no complaints with regard to how the software functions.

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The Moto G comes pre-loaded with Google services. You do not need to download separate apps for Drive or Hangouts, which is pretty cool if you use them regularly like I do.

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As far as the Motorola apps are concerned, the Motorola Assist is something that uses your input to ordain the phone to your usage. Whether you are in a meeting or sleeping, the phone will adapt to your usage. So, if you  are dozing off, no one will disrupt your beauty sleep.

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This feature will work great for all those people who don’t want disruptions during their day. We all have been woken up in the middle of the night with unsolicited calls offering stuff we don’t need, now the phone will reject stuff without hassling you, which is pretty damn cool.

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Motorola Migrate allows you to well, migrate not just from your previous phone. You can transfer almost everything using this app including music, pictures contacts and data.

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Along with this, there is also an official app that protects your data in case the device is lost.

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Motorola recently opened up its service centres in India, so if you are worried about after-sales service, don’t be.

Camera

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Until now, we were surprised by what Moto G has on offer. But how about its 5-megapixel rear snapper?

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Frankly, 5-megapixel sounds just too less in today’s time, when we expect an 8-megapixel one at the very least in any handset priced above Rs. 10,000. But Motorola, yet again, pleasantly continues to surprise us.

Any seasoned photographer will tell you that its not all about the megapixels. But smartphone companies seldom listen to logic, do they?

Well, rather than adorning the handset with extra megapixels, Motorola has been smart even with the camera.

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The camera app is something of Motorola’s own creation – it is the simplest camera app I have seen till date. There are only two controls on the surface of it – one to alternate between the front and rear cam and the other to alternate between taking photos and videos. Instead of putting in too many confusing controls, Motorola has opted for a drag-out wheel that comes with all camera controls. All you need to do to access it, is to swipe left on the main camera app.

Instead of putting in useless modes, it lets you choose between simple controls such as HDR on/off, Flash on/off, panorama and geotagging.

On the video front, it offers you to Slo Mo videos along with the regular ones.

Getting to the gist of it, the 5-megapixel camera performs exceptionally. One amazing feature is control focus and exposure feature which tunes your photo well. If you activate it and HDR, it is a breeze from there.

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With control focus and exposure on

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With control focus and exposure off

If you are like me, you wouldn’t normally tinker with ISO, color balance etc. Since those have pre-determined for you,  the camera works like a charm. Although, I just have one suggestion – always keep the control focus and exposure on.

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The camera performed exceptionally, both indoors and outdoors, in low-light and sunlight. There is no actual snapper icon in the app, so all you need to do is click in the middle of the screen to capture a shot. The burst mode can activated by holding down your finger in the middle of the screen.

Performance and Battery Life

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Battery is an arena where most mid-range phones suck and even high-end phones get beat. Motorola has definitely upped the ante by endowing the Moto G with a 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, Adreno 305 GPU and 1 GB RAM. The question then is – is the 2070 mAh battery capable to pull the load of the smartphone? The answer is a surprising yes!

Yet again, Motorola proves that optimization and efficiency are the key. The battery can easily pull the handset’s weight, I had absolutely no problems with regard to the battery life – I tried to push the handset through everything I could, whether it was recording long videos, playing games for hours on a go or downloading big files – it doesn’t give up.

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The battery is non-removable and shaped oddly, in fact, the zing of the handset still resounds when you open the back.

Moto G isn’t the first smartphone to feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor in its phone, nor would it be the last. What it has done is something that happens rarely – everything works in sync. Since there is no disruption caused by official firmware (Bloatware), the handset is smooth as silk and easy to use. Most apps load pretty fast, while bigger  apps take a little time, but not something that will cause you inconvenience.You can easily swipe the menu and switch between apps. You can tinker all day long, but this handset just won’t give up. I gave up on to finding the phone’s breaking point after trying too much.

There are absolutely no lags on the handset and although I did occasionally miss the MicroSD slot, that might just the only glitch in declaring this handset flawless. On the upside, Google gives you 50 GB of free Google Drive space for 2 years. This actually adds to your 15 GB free Gmail usage, in totality giving you 65 GB of cloud storage.

Not just that, Motorola has in fact taken care so that even the little things such as GPS location and Bluetooth 4.0 don’t give you any trouble. Even the audio quality on this handset was amazing. The voice clarity matched that of a high-end handset such as the Sony Xperia Z1.

Verdict

As far as the competition is concerned, there is actually none that even comes near and I feel that the handset is going to maintain its position for the recent future. Let’s just take most handsets in its price range such as XOLO Q1100 out of the running. The others include the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and HTC Desire 501. Having reviewed all these handsets, we can safely say that even if these smartphones top the Moto G in one or two departments, the Moto G will outscore them in the rest. This is a smartphone in a league of its own.

As far as the price tag goes, Motorola has definitively proved that it can deliver, even at a competitive price point.

Our advice: If you are thinking of investing in this phone, don’t think any more, just do it. This is definitely the most value-for-money smartphone out there. The Moto G is one handset that scores in every section and doesn’t disappoint in any, It has been carefully thought out and perfectly executed.

Pros:

  • Amazing display
  • Amazing camera
  • Stock Android
  • Amazing battery life
  • Cool design
  • Great performer

Cons:

Are you kidding?

To buy Moto G, visit here.

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