Motorola Moto G 2014 Review

moto g 2014 review - featured image

Amidst all the hype over the iPhone 6, one inexpensive smartphone happened to garner attention too. Yes, I am talking about the Moto G! The second generation Moto G may lack some features the high-end phones have, but it gives you plenty of reasons to pick it from the range of budget phones that are hardly loaded with any features.

Last year Motorola got back into the game with its two releases – Moto X and Moto G. While the former comes at a higher price, the Moto G has been reviewed by users as a strong-performing phone. In fact, the company itself called it the highest-selling and the most successful smartphone in its history. I’m just glad that Motorola decided to try its luck in the market again with the Moto G, because it reinstated people’s trust in the brand.

Hardware

This year, the company launched the updated version of the much loved Moto G. So, what does the second generation model have to offer? The phone runs on Android 4.4.4. It is sturdy chassis and will take a few knocks and falls, unlike more fragile rivals.

The screen size of the phone is 5 inches, half an inch more than what was on offer previously, with a resolution of 1280×720 giving the phone dimensions of 141.5 x 70.7 x 11 mm. It’s noticeably larger than the original 2013 model, but still manageable compared to the 5.5″ handsets becoming increasingly popular. The larger screen has meant a drop in the pixel density however with the phone now running a pixel density of 294ppi, as opposed to 329ppi of Moto G (2013). This lower PPI means if you look closely you can discern individual pixels, but again considering the price you really can’t complain too much.

The Moto G 2014 runs on a 1.2GHz quad-core Cortex A7 processor, and has 1GB RAM, both of which make sure that the phone does not suffer any lags or bumps while navigating screens or using applications.

On the top is a 3.5mm headphone jack, the right side has the power and volume buttons and the bottom and left sides are bare.

moto g 2014 review - top and right side

The back of the phone has the 8MP camera, LED flash and the recessed Motorola logo. Prising off the rear cover you’ll find the non-removable Li-Ion 2070 mAh battery, microSD slot (up to 32 GB) and dual SIM slots.

moto g 2014 review - rear

Apart from a bigger screen size, the 2014 update also includes an addition of dual front-facing speakers replacing the single rear-ported speaker.

Its 8MP camera with f2.0 takes its picture quality up to some of the high-end phones. The previous version of the phone came with a 5MP camera with f2.4, which perhaps was one of its biggest drawbacks.

Some people are knocking the looks of the G 2014, particularly the unusually noticeable speaker grills top and bottom, but overall the phone is pleasant enough although the black model is definitely more discreet than the white review unit I had.

The major drawback to the second gen model is the lack of 4G connectivity, added as a second iteration to the 2013 model. its likely we’ll see a similar thing this time around too, with Motorola releasing an updated version with 4G and perhaps some other small spec improvement to generate a second round of sales. Its disappointing, but Motorola is going to milk sales as much as it can, I’d hold off for now if this is a key feature for you.

Software

As expected after its brief ownership by Google, Motorola has come as close as it can to a native Android experience, adding a few key software Apps onto an otherwise stock Android OS. It takes its updates almost immediately too, meaning it’s as ‘up to date’ as any of the Nexus lines, shipping with Android v4.4.4 (KitKat), and the promise that it will be upgradable to Android L thanks to the “fast track update program”.

Performance-wise too the phone delivers, and is in fact much smoother than before. Transitions between screens, and long scrolling all happens without delay. Opening and switching between Apps is fast and responsive and although some additional RAM would have been nice the supplied 1GB does a great job of keeping everything running along smoothly.

The Moto G (2013) was appreciated for its excellent battery life, and this latest model has great stamina too despite having the same size battery. With the same battery saver mode that you can turn on in the settings, restricting data usage in the background when the battery is low Motorola is helping you get the most out of the phone.

As before Motorola has pre-loaded it’s own set of Apps, but unusually from a manufacturer they are all genuinely useful. Motorola Alert for letting your loved ones know where you are, Migrate to help you transition your data and settings from a previous device, and perhaps the most popular Moto Assist which lets you set custom, intelligent profiles and actions based on the time, location or your calendar. Having the phone turn off WiFi when you leave the house, or go Silent when you have a meeting are incredibly handy settings to be able to configure.

Dual SIM

The Moto G 2014 comes with dual SIM slots, something rarely seen in mainstream phones. Immensely popular in developing markets (perhaps where Motorola is looking to expand into) this allows you tot have 2 separate SIMS in the phone at once, and through a special settings menu, set up which does data and which does calls.

moto g 2014 review - dual sim main settings

Additionally, you can specify that certain contacts always dial out on a particular SIM, perfect for example if you have a work and personal SIM installed, you can ring work contacts on your work SIM and vice versa.

moto g 2014 review - dual sim calling defaults

Price

The standout feature of the MotoG was its price, and the latest model is still extremely competitive at a mere £149.99 from Motorola.co.uk or about £5 less from Amazon.co.uk. And remember this is the unsubsidised, SIM free price!

Verdict

The Moto G 2014 is a budget priced phone with mid to high-end features, and as such is head and shoulders above almost everything in it’s range. the omission of 4G is the only serious complaint, and will only be a concern for a small percentage of the target market.

 

This post was written by Rob Gordon, an IT geek, gadget lover and blogger. Rob has been using the internets since 1994 when the only streaming video was that coffee pot in Cambridge (rip).... Follow Rob on Twitter - @robgordon - about.me/robgordonuk