If you’re looking into buying the Motorola Moto G, you may well be wondering – where’s the catch? It’s a phone that seems to offer impossibly good specs, given it sells for as little as £99.99 in some places.
We thought the phone was an absolute stonker at review, but have since had a lot more time to spend with the phone to find out all of its little weaknesses. So, should you be buying the Motorola Moto G, or is it really too good to be true?
The good news is that we haven’t really changed our opinion. This is an incredible value phone that has only fairly minor problems given its price. But, for the sake of full disclosure, here are those little niggles and how to fix some of them.
Moto G Video review
Want to see what the phone looks like up-close? Check out our video review of the Moto G below.
1GB RAM does come with performance limitations
The one part of the Motorola Moto G that does feel a little compromised is its RAM – the memory that acts as the grease in any computer system’s cogs. It has 1GB of RAM where more expensive Android phones tend to have 2GB.
Once you’ve thoroughly eaten away at the internal memory by installing a bunch of apps, there is some delay in the Home screen’s contents popping-up when you hit the Home soft key. Background processes take up RAM, and thanks to the way Android works, many of your apps will claim their share – whether you’re ‘actively running’ them or not.
How to fix this – You can’t manually install more RAM into your Moto G, but task killer apps will help to improve performance if your phone starts misbehaving. We use Super Task Killer. It’s also a good idea to try and limit the number of apps you have installed, as an uninstalled app isn’t going to nibble away at your RAM at all. We also hope that a future Android 4.4 update will help things thanks to Google's Project Svelte.
It only has Android 4.3, not Android 4.4 KitKat
As noted above, the latest version of Android is 4.4 KitKat, but currently the Motorola Moto G uses the version before that, Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. There’s quite a difference between the two, as Android 4.4 has a completely redesigned interface that, to our eyes, looks a bit better an improved performance.
Motorola told us that the lack of Android 4.4 was down to timing. The new software simply came out too late to give the company enough time to implement it without risking delivering a bug-ridden phone. It’s a fair excuse.
How to fix this – We don’t recommend rooting your phone just to get Android 4.4 KitKat installed. Android 4.3 isn’t bad, and Motorola is currently working on delivering the update. It says Android 4.4 will be available by January – we imagine that means by the end of January. Once it’s released go to Settings > About Phone > System Updates to make the Moto G manually search for the update.
The camera is slow
One thing you simply can’t fit into an ultra-budget phone is a top-end camera. The Motorola Moto G’s is pretty unremarkable in most respects. It has a 5-megapixel sensor and an f/2.4 lens.
In use the worst part about the camera is that it’s pretty slow. You need to hold the camera still for a little while during each shot to ensure it’s in focus. This becomes even more of an issue when using the HDR mode, which takes multiple exposures and melds them to offer more detailed pictures.
How to fix this – You can’t, you just have to live with it. However, this is still one of the better cameras in a £100 phone.
Moto G parse errors reported
We haven’t experienced this problem ourselves, but there are reports online of parsing errors when trying to install .apk app files when sideloading apps from outside of Google Play. It’s a very annoying problem that makes installing apps a bit of a nightmare.
Issues like this are, or at least were, pretty common in Android phones.
How to fix this – Most reports seem to be solved by resetting the phone. This gets rid of all your data, but is a worthwhile fix. To reset your Moto G, go to Settings > Backup & Reset and hit the Factory Data Reset option. Within this menu there’s also a tick box to make the phone backup some of your data to Google’s servers – always a good idea with an Android phone.
The cases aren’t immune to developing creaks
One issue with using removable rear covers is that if one of the connectors of the back gets a little weakened from being taken on and off a few too many times, it can make part of the phone’s back creaky. A corner of our test Moto G’s black plastic cover has developed such a creak, and it is a tiny, tiny bit annoying. Like being able to hear someone in another room listening to Eastenders.
How to fix this – Don’t remove the rear of the Moto G unless you need to. There are very few reasons to as well. There’s no memory card slot back there, and you can’t take out the battery. Unless you’re switching cases, leave the thing on. And if your case develops an annoying creaky bit, you can always buy a new case. Standard cases cost around £9, while flip cases sell for £19.
Every phone has a few little issues, a few gremlins that pop up now and then. However, the Motorola Moto G isn’t plagued by them too badly. There’s nothing major to worry about unless you need a phone with a great camera.
If you have found a particular problem we haven't written about, please leave a comment below and (if you know) how to fix it.
Next, read our 10/10 Moto G review