When Google acquired the ailing Motorola, many believed it would just be absorbed into the big company and help it produce their own brand of Nexus phones. However, Google kept Motorola a separate entity, only adding its name to the papers, and allowed Motorola to do what they do best: make great phones. Now, the company have three mobile devices spanning the range of Low-end, mid-range and top-end in both specs and price. Last year, we got our first look at the mid-range phone. This year, we get to look at its successor, the Moto G (2014).
Moto G (2014) review:
First off, we need to make something clear. We are only adding the (2014) to differentiate between this year’s model and last years model. Officially, it’s just called the Moto G. Additionally, this review model is the Dual-SIM model of the device range. There is also a single SIM model and all hardware and software cited here are exactly the same in either single or Dual-SIM devices.
In an effort to keep costs down and sales high, Motorola have done the smart thing in only tweaking the design and specifications of the Moto G (2014) rather than giving it a complete overhaul. Last year’s model was a great little phone in its price range, and Motorola have clearly listened to user feedback when making this years model.
Design & Display:
The design of the Moto G (2014) hasn’t changed much from last year. The dimensions have changed, but that’s only to accommodate the larger 5′ screen. The downside is, the resolution of the screen is the same as last year’s 4.5′ screen (720×1280), meaning you lose pixel density (down from 326ppi to 294ppi). That’s a loss of just over 9% which isn’t massive, but is sure to get up some people’s noses. The extra screen space does make the phone more standard however. It’s hard to find a phone under 5′ now days. Heck, even Android’s biggest competitor, Apple, have finally reached 5′ screen size. And it wasn’t all that long ago we were calling phones such as the Samsung Galaxy Note a massive “Phablet”.
The design of the phone hasn’t changed much either, retaining its minimalistic style and smooth plastic casing. The phone comes in either white or black, which can be purchased from Motorola directly this year. You also have the option of buying different coloured back covers for the phone, as well as some other accessories direct from the Motorola Shop.
When looking at the hardware of the Moto G (2014), it may come as a surprise that nothing much has changed. It still runs the Qualcomm Snapdragon© 400 Processor running a 1.2 GHz Cortex A7 processor with 1 GB of RAM. This worked very well for last years model and there is no reason why this won’t serve the Moto G (2014) for a couple of years. The main hardware change is in the camera, which we’ll talk about later, and the speakers. The Moto G (2014) now has dual forward facing stereo speakers to make gaming, videos and music better to listen to.
You’ll be able to listen, watch and play more too, with the addition of a Micro SD card slot in the rear of the device (after taking the cover off). This allows you to expand the internal storage of 8 or 16 GB by 32 GB, for a total of 48 GB. This is one of the major advantages to last year’s model, which was one of my disadvantages cited in the conclusion.
With the same benchmarks as last year, it’s fair to expect the same result from this years Moto G (2014) and last years model. In this respect, you’d be wrong; the Moto G (2014) scored roughly 630 points higher on the AnTuTu Benchmark scores than last year’s model. This could be to do with the fact that this year’s model is running a more up to date version of Android, or that the AnTuTu Benchmark has been updated since last year and runs a little faster. That being said, 630 points isn’t much to shout about, but is a promising start.
When we ran the new Graphics benchmark, we saw that despite the same Ardreno 305 GPU, the Moto G (2014) scored 2645 points.
With the new AnTuTu app, we were able to run some new tests such as HTML5 benchmarks (that’s the code that runs all modern websites and some online games), as well as battery fitness tests, the results of which can be seen in the gallery at the bottom of the article.
The Motorola software hasn’t changed on the Moto G (2014) other than usual updates that occur over the year. You still get the Motorola Assist app, which will silence your phone when at meetings, put your phone into silent mode at night etc. You also get Motorola’s Migrate app, which allows you to transfer all of your contact, account and text messages over from your old phone. There is also a new app on the phone called Alerts. The simple idea being that you register an emergency contact and when and if you need to use it, the app will send an alert to your contact stating your location and the reason for the trigger. It appears the app can’t be manually triggered, they are all automatic (for example, if the phone records a large G sensor reading, it will take this to mean you have fallen). This has caused problems for users having alerts being sent when there was no actual emergency (for example, you drop the phone), so be aware of this app.
Operating System wise, the Moto G (2014) comes with Android 4.4.4 KitKat and will get regular update straight from Google as and when they are ready. That’s one of the major appeals to these phones.
As mentioned earlier, the Moto G (2014) has a better camera than last year’s model. The rear camera has increased from 5 MP to 8 MP, and the front facing camera from 1.2 MP to 2 MP. This makes for better images and videos at 720p resolution. The LED flash is the same as last year, but that was a good camera.
Again here, we see that the Moto G (2014) has the same 2010 mAh battery from its predecessor which served more than adequately. We had it on standby for four days with only minimal use, and the battery only drained 20%. Charging time was quick and didn’t cause the device to get too hot.
The Moto G (2014) is the same great phone we reviewed last year, but with the disappointments taken out and replaced. You now have a phone with a mid-range processor, running faster on the same hardware with added storage and a more adequate camera. Add to that a bigger screen and the advantage of dual-SIM (if desired), and more styling options, and you have another hit for Motorola costing only £150 ($240/€190).
The Motorola Moto G (2014) can be purchased direct from Motorola, or other retailers.