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Moto G 2 (2014) review

Michael Sawh




  • Recommended by TR

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Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G 2 (2014)
  • Moto G


Our Score:


User Score:


  • Much-improved camera
  • Strong battery life
  • Solid, well-built design
  • Excellent value for money


  • No 4G LTE support
  • Average front-facing speakers
  • So-so low-light photos

Key Features

  • Android 4.4 KitKat; 5-inch 720pHD display; 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor; Dual SIM; 8GB and 16GB models; microSD card support up to 32GB; 8-megapixel camera; 2-megapixel front-facing camera; dual front-facing stereo speakers
  • Manufacturer: Motorola
  • Review Price: £144.99

Originally reviewed on 15 September 2014

What is the Moto G 2 (2014)?

The original Moto G was Motorola's best-selling phone ever, and remains the only phone we've given 10/10. That's a tough act to follow. The Moto G 2 aims to improve on that success and has since been succeeded by the Moto G 3rd generation. The 2014 edition though can still be bought for under £150 unlike the latest budget Motorola, so it's still one of the best value for money phones you can buy.

The basic formula remains with the Moto G 2 remains the same, but the changes are clear to see. It has a bigger 5-inch screen, improved cameras and front-mounted stereo speakers.

All that means the Moto G 2 to take the mantle of best budget phone on the market, but is it really enough to make owners of the original 4.5-inch Moto G want to upgrade? That's less clear.

The imminent step up to Android 5.0 Lollipop should make it even slicker, though.

Watch our Moto G 2 video review

Moto G 2 (2014): Design & Features

The Moto G 2 doesn't look dramatically different from the original. There’s no One M8-style aluminium body or glass back like the Xperia Z3, but then we never expected that. It’s all plastic with a glossy finish on the front and soft-touch matte on the back.

It's a pretty standard approach to design for cheap Android phones, but like the Nexus 5 it manages to avoid making the plastic design look or feel cheap. There’s no troubling signs of poor build quality and it feels like it can withstand a few bumps scrapes.

The back still has the same soft touch finish and slightly curvy body, which makes it nice to hold. It's not as comfortable as the original, though, mainly due to it being wider. At 11mm thick and 149g it's slightly thicker and heavier, though it's no chunkier than most 5-inch phones.

Motorola offers the new Moto G in black and white, but it supports a number of colourful replaceable back shells. It's a nice option if you find the standard ones a bit drab. The only problem is the rear-cover isn't the easiest to remove, so you need be careful when removing the cover. It's something we'd like to see Motorola fix in future versions.

SEE ALSO: Best Cheap Mobile Phones Round-up

Behind the cover you'll find the same 2,070mAh non-removable battery and the micro SD card slot, which was missing from the 3G-only model of the original Moto G but added for the 4G versions.

You'll also find the surprising new inclusion of Dual SIM card slots. There's room to keep two micro SIM cards, which can be useful if you are one holiday and want to use a local SIM to make cheaper calls or if you have a business and personal number. Motorola also sets aside settings dedicated to the Dual SIM where you can manually switch between the two. Additionally, you can use intelligent calling where the phone learns which SIM to use depending on the call.

The most surprising element of SIM card support, though, is the lack of 4G LTE support. No 4G made sense last year when networks were new and limited, but Motorola corrected that with the Moto G 4G edition. Why it's gone backwards now is puzzling in the extreme.

SEE ALSO: Best Android Phones Round-up

Moto G photo samples

One final change is the addition of front-facing speakers, which sit above and below the display. It’s a welcome move away from the rear speaker on the original, ensuring sound is projected towards you instead of being buried behind in the back. One issue, however, is that the gap around the speaker is just wide enough to trap fluff and muck phones generally have a habit of attracting.

Moto G 2 (2014): Screen

Motorola says it listened to feedback on the first Moto G and one of the things users wanted was a bigger screen. So that’s what we’ve got. Moving to a 5-inch screen will be disappointing for some as there’s no doubt still an appetite for smaller phones, but as Apple has shown, even the iPhone is getting bigger.

The new Moto G 2 doesn’t budge from a 720p HD resolution screen, however, which means it has slightly fewer pixels per inch, 295ppi vs the 326ppi of the original. It still uses Corning Gorilla Glass 3 to protect against scratches, which is always a bonus to have on any phone.

This is still a great quality phone for a sub-£150 phone. It’s not as impressively sharp as the original, but there’s not a great deal to complain about here. Compare it to similarly priced mid-range phones like the Sony Xperia M2, which only offers a 480 x 800 resolution screen, and you can get an idea of how much Motorola is giving us here.

SEE ALSO: Best Smartphones Round-up

Moto G photo samples 11

Moto G (top), Samsung Galaxy Alpha (bottom left) and Acer Liquid E3 (bottom right) displays compared

Moto G photo samples 1

Samsung Galaxy Alpha (left) offers a brighter, more vibrant screen than the Moto G (right)

The only area where it disappoints slightly is brightness, it's just not as bright as similar price phones. While it's more accurate than the 720p screens on the slightly more expensive Acer Liquid E3 and £500 Samsung Galaxy Alpha, it's not as bright as either. It still easier to view outdoors than most cheap phones, but it's a small sour note in otherwise excellent performance.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut


September 15, 2014, 4:36 pm

Ok I have the original Moto G phone and Im sure I saw similar benchmarks regarding battery performance from that in TR but in my experience its far from it. I get 5 hours maybe from surfing, using facebook, texting, making a few phone calls for about an hour max and watching a few short videos, playing a game for an hour maybe.

Prem Desai

September 15, 2014, 5:03 pm

Still an excellent budget phone but the move to remove 4g is a surprising step backwards.


September 16, 2014, 6:54 am

"The Moto G remains the only phone we've given 10/10": not so, I seem to remember you gave the iPhone 3G 10/10.


September 16, 2014, 10:05 am

the low light photo example is a dud.. the reason the camera comes out worse is that the reflecting stickers .. flash back to the phone hence the rest of the scene is washed out. take the photo again without reflecting tape and the phone will probably give a better result


September 17, 2014, 4:01 am

Two issues are why no 4g lte and why make the phone even larger? A replaceable battery would be nice too but i guess you cant get everything

Sumit Dhar

September 19, 2014, 9:36 am

The best smartphone in this budget . I also purchased the same yesterday and its really awesome device and I suggest u must buy this mobile ..All high ended features in this budget...its really a cool device ...For info on price in India and full features of MOTO G 2 do visit http://goo.gl/g42kJn


September 27, 2014, 9:18 am

why were my comments removed from this review?

re: a polite question on whether the new G2 was waterproof (or splashproof), as was the case with the original G.

Oliver Pellatt

September 27, 2014, 3:21 pm

It's not really a step backwards, the original Moto G didn't get 4G until later on and it will probably be the same with this version.


September 27, 2014, 4:12 pm

Why have you scored it as 9/10 when the average of the scores shown is 8.25?


November 2, 2014, 8:04 pm

Lumia 735 all the way... Bigger (removal) battery, 4G LTE support, display with more PPI, built in wireless charging, NFC, Miracast, SensorCore, much better cameras (especially the awesome 5MP front facing one), glance screen, phone is nicer size and also lighter, there's also support for 128GB mSD cards (Moto G supports only 32GB SD cards).

mallikarjun reddy

November 21, 2014, 3:14 am

i suggest don't buy Moto G (2nd Gen), Its not worth of
taking if you buying cause of Gorilla Glass. Even if not, screen is very
delicate and will develop crack easily for day to day normal usage.

For More details following this link


Aaron Klein

January 13, 2015, 9:44 pm

I want to love this phone. I got the new Moto X 2014 and love it...We got the Moto G 2nd Generation for my daughter, and this has been our experience:

We got my daughter the Motorola G 2nd Generation for Christmas. Two weeks later (while in a case) she sat down in her desk chair at school. The phone (which was in her back pocket) had a screen fracture and crack.

I went online to Motorola chat support and was told they will not replace it for free. For $75 (for a phone that costs $179 off contract), they will replace it with a refurbished unit.

I called a few days later to speak to someone in person and received the same story. I elevated the call to speak with a supervisor and received the same story...They will not replace the phone for free (even with a refurbished unit).

I understand that they have a firm policy about damaged units. And I also understand that accidents happen when phones are dropped or too much stress is placed on them. However, when a phone is in a pocket and in the manufacturer's case, and breaks simply by a little 13 year old girl sitting down, these stresses should NOT be enough to cause the phone to flex to the point of breaking the screen. Similar to the iPhone "Bendgate," Motorola seems to have a similar issue with manufacturer quality. And I can't stress enough...The phone was in their case!

Since the replacement cost is $75 for a replacement phone (which would be a refurbished unit), and since a brand new phone is $179, my hope would be that Motorola would stand by their products and simply send me a refurbished unit. You would think the cost for them wouldn't be that great anyway..since they would just turn around and sell our broken unit once they refurbished it.

For me...I just want them to stand by their product...especially since it would cost them next to nothing to make up for what appears to be a manufacturer defect that can't stand up to daily use tolerances.


January 27, 2015, 10:54 am

What is the phone with the best camera around this price range, preferably smaller and lighter than this? It would be used for social media for a small company so a good camera is essential.


January 28, 2015, 8:25 pm

Your entitled attitude makes me speechless. No, no manufacturer warranty would cover something like "My daughter was idiotic and sat on the phone". This always happens to girls who wear super tight jeans and try to shove their phones in the back pocket (stress) and sit down (even more stress). You can try that with different manufacturers and I can guarantee you none would agree to replace the phone for free.
And it's a $179 phone, do you honestly expect a military grade build?

Aaron Klein

January 29, 2015, 3:33 am

While I can appreciate your sentiments (and might even agree with you) in many cases, I would also appreciate refraining from "speechless," "idiotic" judgment (thought that's probably too much to ask on internet forums). We've dropped and cracked screens (with and without cases) on a couple of different occasions over the years. Never have I asked for a replacement without paying...It was our fault! While this was also our fault, there were some circumstances around this situation that gave me pause:

First, we're a conservative family...no "skinny" jeans on our kiddos. Second, she's small...not some 150# + person's rear end putting pressures on it it was never designed to handle. Third, it was in their case, which I believe should offer added protection (though perhaps it altered the way the phone "gives" and caused additional stresses in other areas). Fourth, if you search the forums, though this phone is new, there are a growing number of cases of this screen's Gorilla Glass' fragility...perhaps something that their pre-product testing failed to uncover. Fourth, if you also search the forums, Motorola offered a one time replacement for this very thing last year (a pretty stand-up thing for a company to do if you ask me).

I actually agree with you...It's a $179 phone and I don't expect it to be a military build. If I had desired that, I would have bought that (and an Otterbox case). But, in a way, that's my very point. I could buy a brand new one at $179, get a refurb for $75 (but do I want to risk either option if it is a product flaw?), or just buy a different phone (HTC's all aluminum M7 is on sale for $200 right now.)? The cost to the company in the end would be negligible considering what they would do with it. If it was my $500 Moto X, it would be a different story...I'm not asking for the moon. Companies stand by their products all the time...My hope in this case was not some sort of entitlement mentality, but rather that these extenuating circumstances might warrant a different response.


February 9, 2015, 5:03 pm

Oled screens are WAY more fragile than LCD screens. Get your daughter a Moto E?


February 18, 2015, 2:31 pm

there is no glance screen in the 735

al gonz

March 2, 2015, 2:48 pm

Hi, after reading this review I decided to try this phone, and its really gorgeous.
Two hours after buying it, I got a message from Google to update to Lollipop, well, since I done that, the phone hasn't got mobile data connection (unless on wi-fi), is a known issue and nobody can fix it, motorola support says that I have to return my phone, is just ridiculous, how they offer us that and you cant make the most basic thing with a smartphone like checking your e-mail on the go!!!!

Jacky Cola

May 12, 2015, 9:50 am

and no android, for which i can't and don't want to use it =) also its a bit more expencive for adding stuff i dont need.


May 13, 2015, 7:33 am

I upgraded to Lollipop a month ago, been absolutely no problems.


May 31, 2015, 12:37 am

I bought this phone as a quick and cheap option to replace my Nokia after it went for a swim. It was good at first, I enjoyed using the phone even though I missed Windows OS, then one day while filming it just shut off and went into an eternal boot loop.
No problem, the supplier sent it for repairs, at no cost to me, and I got it back in a timely manor. and everything was fine but now it's starting to get it own little quirks which occasionally want to make me throw the phone against the wall, like not being able to answer calls and the when you unlock the screen it instantly locks again time and time again. Factory resetting it fixes it up for a little while but surely enough the quirks return again with a little more ferocity.
It's probably just a dud phone and not reflective of the Moto g brand itself but it's back to a Lumia for me. Life is too short to get angry at a phone.


July 18, 2015, 1:36 pm

I've bought the Moto G (1st gen) in February 2014. I really loved the phone. So 5 months ago I bought the 2nd gen moto G, but the battery life is a really dissapointing thing. My battery life drains really fast. Maybe it's the Lollipop version the reason of it. So I'm hoping on a new update that will fix the battery drain problem.


August 5, 2015, 12:50 am

HOrrible battery life.

I've had it since december (so, 7 months of use).
I disconnect it and within 10 minutes, there's already 4 or 5% gone. If I don't use it barely, it'll use up the battery in 8 hours. If I use it two to 4 times (for a quick check or 1 minute chat), it'll use up the battery in 4 hours. If I use the internet for 1 hour, it goes out.

Battery life is horrible. And I bought this phone to last me 2 years...regret it already and the Moto G 2015 is barely an upgrade going from 1.2ghz to 1.4. 2gb ram instead, but I expected a higher Speed for the CPU.

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