Review Price £135.00
Motorola Moto G - Apps, Software and Performance
Motorola Moto G – Software, Apps and PerformanceThe Motorola Moto G runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, one step behind the very latest Android 4.4 KitKat software, first seen in the Nexus 5. Motorola has made very few additions to Android 4.3, and that’s a good thing. Motorola has also promised an Android 4.4 update by January 2014 (Android 4.4 has a slightly nicer-looking interface and a few new features).
Motorola has made all the right moves with the Moto G software. Vanilla Android 4.3 is a mostly clean-looking, easy to use operating system.
You get all of Google’s standard Android apps, including the latest addition Quickoffice. This is a mini Microsoft Office-style suite that lets you make documents, spreadsheets and presentations from your phone/tablet. It’s all sync’d in with Google Drive too, making it remarkably handy if you already use Google Drive to share your documents.
Android 4.3 a pretty complete system, but for flashier extras you’ll need to head to the Google Play store. We found that all we hankered after were a new clock widget, and the third-party apps and games we always download on a new Android device. As with the missing NFC and other advanced features, we didn’t miss the missing software bells and whistles.
As the Moto G doesn’t have a custom interface, performance is very good indeed. This was the one thing we were slightly concerned about as the Motorola Moto G ‘only’ has 1GB of RAM, where the comparable Nexus 4 has 2GB of RAM. However, it's not something that's too apparent when the phone has 20 or so apps installed.
Despite being quad-core, the Moto G also has a lower-mid range processor. The phone uses a Snapdragon 400 CPU clocked at 1.2GHz.
Although obviously not as powerful as the top-tier processors of 5-inch phones, it’s once again very impressive for the price. Snapdragon 400 uses Cortex-A7 cores that are significantly more powerful than the Cortex-A5 cores seen in the £200 HTC Desire 500.
The Moto G is also much more powerful than the LG L7 II or Sony Xperia M, and not that far behind the HTC One Mini and Galaxy S4 Mini. Those more expensive ‘mini’ phones use Snapdragon 400-series processors like the Moto G, but the dual-core Krait kind, which are slightly more powerful.
Where the 1GB will show a little is when the Moto G gets congested with apps trying to run processes in the background. However, if you’re not an app hoarder you shouldn’t have too many problems with slow-down. In our testing, the Moto G was never less than snappy despite having had a barrowful of apps loaded onto it.
Motorola Moto G – Motorola Assist and Motorola MigrateThere are two extra apps that Motorola humbly bundles into the Moto G – Motorola Assist and Motorola Migrate. Their functions are things designed to make your life easier in simple ways, and both are fairly good.
Motorola Assist is our favourite of the two. It lets you silence your phone during night-time hours, with customisable caveats such as those ringing multiple times can get in, or selected contacts. A little more clever, Assist can also cross-reference with your Google calendar entries and silence the Moto G when you’re in a meeting.
Assist is a little more elaborately executed than some other versions of this very same idea we've seen in other phones – by simply having its own app – but it is very friendly for those not used to using advanced smartphones.
Motorola Migrate is too aimed at the person who can’t necessarily recite the specs of their last phone. It’s an app that lets you drag text messages contacts, media and settings from your old phone to your new one. It works, and pretty well too, but it only does so with Android phones, not iPhones or Windows mobiles.
Motorola Moto G – GamesWith more power and more internal memory than we usually get for £135, gaming performance of the Motorola Moto G is predictably excellent too.
The phone isn’t yet supported by the 3DMark benchmark that we usually rely on for empirical 3D tests, but the phone has no problems running high-end 3D games like Real Racing 3. The frame rate was more solid than it was with our initial tests of the Sony Xperia Z, a phone that still sells for over £300.
However, we should stress that the Motorola Moto G does have a mid-range GPU, not a top-end one. It has the Adreno 305 GPU, shared by the Galaxy S4 Mini and HTC One Mini. To even begin complaining about the Moto G, you need to compare it to much, much more expensive phones.
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