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Moto G review

Andrew Williams




Our Score:


User Score:


  • Jaw-dropping value
  • Great screen
  • Great performance


  • Camera just OK
  • No microSD slot on non-4G version

Key Features

  • 4.5-inch 720p IPS screen
  • Android 4.3
  • 8/16GB internal memory
  • Manufacturer: Motorola
  • Review Price: £135.00

Moto G - Review in a nutshell

The Moto G is one of our favourite phones at the moment. It provides solid specs with a very low price. It is, quite simply, amazing vaue for money.

It comes with a great screen and strong performance, in fact this is the type of experience we normally come to expect with phones twice its price.

So what are the downsides? Obviously with a phone at this price you won't get everything you would expect from a top-of-the-range model from HTC or Samsung.

Well the camera is not great. That's not to say it's terrible, it's just middling. The 5 megapixel sensor won't get anywhere near the detail of much more expensive phones and there's no clever optical image stabiliasation or large pixel size but it does a decent enough job compared to anything else at this price range.

The Moto G is still a fantastic phone and still great value but you will also need to pay extra if you want it with 4G or a microSD slot.

SEE ALSO: Best Cheap Smartphones

How does the Moto G 4G compare to rivals?

The Moto G is a top phone and was the only one to get a top score on TrustedReviews last year. In an effort to stay ahead of the competition and Motorola has decided to release a new, improved version of the Moto G. Called the Moto G 4G it offers, as you might have already guessed, 4G connectivity but also a new microSD card slot for extra memory on the cheap. Does this change keep it ahead of new rivals from HTC and Sony?

Note: This page includes updates on our review based on long-term use. Head to page two for the beginning of our original full Moto G review, or watch our original video review below.

Moto G video review

SEE ALSO: 10 Best Android Phones

Moto G 4G: What's new?

Until early May, there were just two versions of the Moto G available for purchase, the 8GB Moto G and the 16GB version.

Now, you can buy those editions and an 8GB edition with 4G mobile internet. Why not a higher storage version with 4G? The 4G version has a memory card slot, found under the battery cover. The earlier models do not have one.

If you’re not interested in 4G, you’ll have to do without a memory card slot as Motorola has no plans to refresh the original versions with an added card slot.

The 4G Moto G is marginally more expensive than the older versions. You can buy the 8GB Moto G for about £100 locked to a network, the 16GB version for about £150 SIM-free and the 4G edition is due to sell for around £150 too.

While there are benefits to having more internal memory over SD card memory, the 4G version represents the best value for serious mobile fans.

If you want to spend even less than the £100 commanded by the Moto G, you should also consider the Moto E. It was unveiled at the same time as the new Moto G models and offers a slightly cut-down version of the phone for around £80. Check out our full Moto E review for more on that phone.

SEE ALSO: Moto G 4G vs Moto G

Motorola Moto G 4G

Moto G with 4G

Moto G: Is 4G worth the extra?

If you’re thinking about buying a new phone SIM-free to use for the next couple of years, you’d be silly not to think about getting a 4G handset. Especially now phones like the Moto G 4G are available.

Most carriers now offer 4G as a cost-free upgrade, merely limiting you on data in the same way they would with a non-4G contract.

In recent anecdotal tests we found that 4G mobile internet in the UK tends to be 5-10 times as fast as the 3G you actually get from your network. Of course, this depends on your location, your network and other factors.

You can expect to get between 8Mbps and 25Mbps with current 4G networks – that’s the speed of a decent home broadband connection. With 3G you might get 2-3Mbps speeds. It’s often what we get in London.

Web pages will load faster, video will stream much more reliably and having 4G as another string to your phone's mobile internet bow should mean you get better coverage.

Should you buy the Moto G 4G?

These are all very useful additions and the bottom line is they keep the Moto G 4G up-to-date in comparison to new phones like the Sony Xperia M2 and HTC Desire 610. While we haven't tested both fully yet, on paper the Moto G remains a very good phone that benefits from a better screen and camera for less than either of its main rivals.

The addition memory card expansion only sweetens the deal further, ensuring the Moto G remains one of the best tech deals around. If you want the best possible phone at a reasonable price, it's very hard to beat.

Next, read thhe latest news on the Moto 360

Moto G divider

Living with the Moto G

Andrew WilliamsLong-term test by Andrew Williams

It has now been more than six months since the Moto G was released. Is it still a great phone and our top budget buy?

Absolutely, in that time no phone that obviously trumps it for value has been released. There are plenty of similar-spec rivals like the Sony Xperia M2 and HTC Desire 601 that have popped up, but no-one else has managed to get remotely near the price of the Moto G. You can expect to pay around £180-190 for what you get for £100 in the Moto G.

Where is the best place to buy the Moto G? There are a few different places that sell the phone for under £100.

O2 offers the phone on its Pay & Go non-contract plan for £99.99, Vodafone for £100. Alternatively, Phones4U sells the Moto G on the T-Mobile, Orange, Virgin and Vodafone networks for £100 – with a bit of top-up needed.

The normal SIM-free price for the phone is £114. If you’re willing to pay that bit extra you can even buy it direct from Amazon. This is for the 8GB version of the phone – if you’re into your games or want to use the phone to play music or video, you should seriously consider spending a bit extra on the 16GB version or opting for the new Moto G 4G for around £150. 8GB doesn’t go far and there's no SD card slot in the normal Moto G, the 4G version does come with one though.

Now that we’ve tried all the top new phones of 2014, the Galaxy S5, the HTC One M8 and Xperia Z2, we thought we’d take a closer look at what you really lose out on here. It really has no serious competition at its own price, but what can you get if you pay a lot more?

The answer is not all that much, for many people. The Moto G’s screen is sharp enough not to seem ‘pixelly’ compared with those phones. However, the display does seem a whole lot smaller.

This impacts watching films on the phone. And pricier, bigger phones will tend to last longer when playing video. For example, in our video test we got just under eight hours out of the six-month-old Moto G while the Xperia Z2 lasts for around 13 hours. For a transatlantic flight, you’d rather have a Z2.

However, in normal use stamina is pretty similar thanks to the Moto G’s cool-running CPU. Here's the battery graph showing the phone draining down when playing video:

Moto G

What about games? The surprise is that performance in high-end 3D games is pretty good. There are minor frame rate drops in titles like Dead Trigger 2 and Real Racing 3, but they’re totally playable.

The bigger difference is in visuals. You miss out on the fancy water, lighting and shadow effects with Moto G. So while top-end games look near Xbox 360-style on a Galaxy S5, they’re pretty PS2-style on the Moto G. Still, they’re not bad-looking:

Moto G 1

Moto G 2

The camera is nowhere near as good as that of the top Androids, either. But these feel like relatively small concessions when you make a saving of up to £450 as a result. Check out the Moto G camera review page for more.

For much more detail on the phone, continue reading our original review on the next page.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut


November 15, 2013, 6:27 pm

I bought 2 from p4u £100 for one 4 Xmas present 4 my mummy lol n £115 for other cos of diff network payg s n so far its a great phone and as said seems 2b faster than my s4 which I can't stand lol eBay fodder very soon . phone is simple n simple 2 use n no bloatware that other phones seem 2 have . 9 out of 10 at this price :-) cheap can be great .


November 15, 2013, 7:52 pm

I bought one of these at Phones4us this morning for £119, unlocked, plus the obligatory £10 payg sim. They had just arrived overnight. I admit I didn't need it, it's a weakness I have and I should probably seek help. I only got my Nexus 5 last week. I argued it was a good second phone, a back up, an insurance policy to dropping the Nexus down the toilet... Anyway, guilt over, what do I think of it?

It really is superb, and indeed would be brilliant at twice the price. At this price point it is peerless. Build, screen, feel, weight, responsiveness.....just like a slightly less favoured sibling of the Nexus 4. It feels as good and fast as my 'old' Nexus 4, in fact feels better in the hand thanks to its back being matte plastic not slippery glass.

If you like vanilla Android, want a premium feeling phone for half price, this is The One. It sort of replaces the Nexus 4 at a much lower price, whereas the Nexus 5 is an upgrade at a higher price.


November 15, 2013, 7:55 pm

I bought this phone today, and it's honestly the best budget phone I've ever bought. It easily rivals some £200 devices; mine was £120 from Phones 4 U (plus a £10 top up which can be applied to a contract) for the 8GB version. The only down side is the lack of a micro SD slot, but otherwise it is incredible value. I'm really pleased with it and reckon if you need a new phone, this is the way to go. It's a mid-range phone at the price of a crappy entry level one!


November 15, 2013, 8:57 pm

This seems like a good mid range phone at a very low price. This is definitely Google's attempt to stop windows phone from gaining share in South America and Europe. The current market seems to be:

High end - Android and IOS.

Mid range - Android, Windows Phone and to a lesser extent IOS.

Budget - Windows Phone and Android.

The low end android phones do seem to be low end except for a few but the low end Windows Phone seem to be mid range in specs. However, with this new one android is now leading in the low end market again possibly limiting windows phone growth and maintaining androids dominance.

Luciano Carvalho

November 15, 2013, 9:14 pm

Moto G is in fact performing better than the Nexus 4 on benchmarks, and the camera quality is actually better than N4's. So, Moto G is actually a superb replacement for a Nexus 4. The stock Android experience also is a big plus and will feel like a natural replacement for Nexus users.


November 16, 2013, 12:06 am

Hi, does this handset have a notification light? Not a single review has mentioned this. I was hoping trustedreviews would have covered this.


November 16, 2013, 12:16 am

Yep, there's a nice white LED above the screen - didn't spot it at the start. I'll add this to the review when I get a chance.


November 16, 2013, 7:59 am

Andrew,can I ask you something?
What type of sim did moto g use?mini sim,micro sim or nano sim?


November 16, 2013, 8:47 am

It's a micro sim. You have to prise off the back cover, breaking off finger nails along the way. It's the only reason to take the cover off as the battery is fixed and there is no SD card.


November 16, 2013, 8:52 am

It's a tad more intense than the Nexus 4 or 5 - but still a bit wishy washy compared to e.g. Blackberry notification lights.

mitchell dennis

November 16, 2013, 10:59 am

i have one of these and guess what. it does it glows white when i get emails :)

mitchell dennis

November 16, 2013, 11:00 am

oh btw this phone id freaking amazing! puts other OEMs to shame

andy roid

November 16, 2013, 11:33 am

I have an xperia T - how is the motorola G in comparison please? My main interest is battery life, music quality through headphones and gaming performance - camera is of no interest to me! I really need to know as im thinking of selling my xperia T to get a motorola moto g! :-)


November 16, 2013, 2:08 pm

average battery life mr williams,every other review has stated the battery life as the single standout feature lasting a full 2 days


November 16, 2013, 5:57 pm

We'll be adding more detail on battery life soon. It's one of the tougher bits to test empirically (with a phone). You'll get about a day and a third to a half if you keep data on and use it a bit. Battery testing is something we're looking at improving in future reviews.


November 16, 2013, 6:51 pm

Good to hear. Buy yourself a lightmeter also - most of the reviews just stick screen brightness to 50%, ignoring whether this is brighter or dimmer than others. Given that the screen sucks most juice, it would be a big source of error.


November 17, 2013, 4:25 am

Oh,its like that,thank you bro,
Im will buy Moto G when it enters Malaysia next year

MC Wong

November 17, 2013, 5:04 am

Possibly also in response to upcoming tizen phones from Samsung. This should checkmate Samsung's attempts to replace android.


November 17, 2013, 11:19 am

Does this phone have a constant blinking LED notification light?

Rusty Shackleford

November 17, 2013, 2:29 pm

yeah, many recent events suggest google seriously feels threatened by windows phone.

Neil Anderson

November 17, 2013, 4:10 pm

were do you buy this for 135 pounds pls


November 17, 2013, 7:57 pm

Why is "no microSD card" not in the cons list? That's a deal killer. 8GB is extremely little storage these days.


November 18, 2013, 7:45 am

No idea where you can get it for 135, but you can get it for 119 at Phones4Us, unlocked :) - in store or online, with a free extra back cover.


November 18, 2013, 7:49 am

It's a funny thing, battery life with smart phones. If you want to maximise battery life, say if on the road without a charger, you can shut down so many functions (GPS location, Google Now, as well as the usual screen brightness and timeout etc) - with that I can 2 days easily on my Moto G or Nexus 5. With all the bells and whistles on it drains like crazy. A lot of people don't tweak their phone power variables to suit their particular set of power requirements.


November 18, 2013, 8:47 am

I guess the weighting of the score is strongly biased towards value. In fact you could say they have completely ignored all other scores. The score should have been closer to 8 if the categories were equally weighted.

There is no excuse for no SD slot and there is no excuse for pathetic battery life. But having said that, many much more expensive phones suffer from those complaints.

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