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
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
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
Moto G with 4G
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.
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
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:
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:
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.