On Wednesday 13th November, Motorola held a press conference in London, and we were there. At the event, Motorola launched the Moto G, a cheap, off contract phone which they said would retail from £150 ($241.46/€178.69).
Moto G Review:
As part of the press pack, we were given an 8GB test model of the Moto G to review. I’ve had the pleasure to play with it over the weekend.
At first look, the phone is a very minimalist, much like Google’s own Nexus range of devices. There is simply a forward facing camera and sensors, volume rocker and power button on the left hand side, a Micro USB port on the bottom for charging, a 3.5mm jack on the top for headphones and a camera and flash on the back. Everything is matt black (except for the screen for obvious reasons) and that’s it. So on the outside, the Moto G is rather ‘boring’ to look at.
On the inside, however, it’s a completely different story. The Moto G is powered by a Qualcomm quad-core A7 processor running at 1.2GHz with an inbuilt Adreno 305 GPU running at 405MHz. To support this massive power, you get 1GB or LPDDR RAM. So the Moto G is by no means slow and will support future OS’s for a long time to come. There will be two versions at launch, an 8GB version and a 16GB version, both available through Amazon and Phones4U in the UK, with other networks soon joining suit.
Gaging the performance of the Moto G was, somewhat, difficult. After repeatedly trying to download the AnTuTu Benchmark apps from the Play store, I managed to get one Benchmark app installed form Araura Software. Using the standard edition of Quadrant, I ran it to find the Moto G 8436, well above the HTC One X which was almost half as long. AnTuTu did finally load, but because the device isn’t registered, I couldn’t get any bar charts to show you, but it did score 17, 243.
The Moto G comes with standard Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with posibility to upgrade to KitKat in January (there has been rumours that the Moto X will have Android 4.4 by Christmas too) with only two apps added by Motorola themselves. One of them is the Assist app, which will perform certain functions for you automatically.
For example, it can use your calendar to note when you’re in a meeting reject all incoming phone calls and send a text message back to them explaining you’re in a meeting and will call back. The Assist app will also turn your notifications off when you’re asleep. Just set the times you don’t wont to be disturbed between, and you can sleep soundly knowing that you won’t be woken up at three am by a pocket dial. However, if you want to be reached in emergencies, you can adjust the settings so that anyone in your favourites group in your address book can get through to you, or anyone who rings twice within five minutes.
Moto G Accessories:
Along with our Moto G test device, Motorola also handed out three accessory samples: One new shell (back cover), one Flip Shell (a back cover with a screen cover) and a pair of their new Moto Buds, a pair of Bluetooth earbuds.
Moto G Shells:
The two types of shells that you get from Motorola are basic but functional covers. They give the Moto G an injection of colour other than the standard black. The Flip Shell gives you the same colourful injection, and adds a practical cover which flips over onto the screen to protect it from scratches. The nice feature I like about this cover is that it magnetically sticks to the screen so it doesn’t flap open unnecessarily, and when you open the cover, it will turn the screen on automatically for you, a handy feature.
The one downside I would say about the Shells, is that they are by no means easy to take off. Unlike on some phones with removable covers (like my Samsung Galaxy Note 2), there is no hole or gap to get leverage to pry the back cover off. Instead, you have to tease the cover off from the Micro USB port first. Once off, the new one just snaps on with minimal effort. Just be warned that taking them off isn’t the easiest.
The Motorola Buds are a pair of Bluetooth Headphones which are classy, functional and a very clever design.
When not in use, the earbuds connect to the end of the headset magnetically. When in use, however, the in ear buds are close to noise cancelling, making any commute on the bus or train disappear. The headset collar sits round your neck and should you get a call, you can press the button and speak clearly using the built-in microphone. The CrystalTalk noise cancelling technology will ensure the person on the other end can hear you, rather than the noisy children in the next row. Once the call has ended, you can return to your music in peace.
Battery life won’t be a problem, as the device has up to 10 hours audio time and 8 hours on standby. Fortunately, you don’t have to have a Motorola phone to use them, as they use the latest Bluetooth technology to give you a connection with up to 150ft (45m). You can also use a combination of button pressing which will give you certain audio prompts via either voice or beeps (depending on your device).
The Motorola Buds come with a travel pouch, spare ear buds and a Micro USB wall charger. The only downside (at the moment) is that they don’t appear to be on sale in the UK/Europe, but only in America (reinforced by the fact that the headset we got came with a US charger, which isn’t much use here). As soon as they are available here, they will be going straight in my Amazon wish list though, as they are outstandingly good headphones.
We weren’t’ given a price for any of the accessories sadly, so I can’t help you on that front. Keep an eye out for the shells in the shops or on Motorola.co.uk. I did try to ask Motorola through their online chat system, but I was simply told to look at the website.
If you want a powerful yet cheap phone and don’t fancy opting for the Nexus range from Google, then the Moto G will be your next option. With a stock Android experience and powerful hardware with lots of shells and cases to adapt the look of the phone, you can’t go wrong with the Moto G.
It does have minor caveats such as no Micro SD slot, only 720p recording and playback and mediocre camera, but for £150, you can’t beat it!
The Moto G is available for pre-order from Amazon (at £130) and Phones4U.