Budget Overkill! The Moto G (2015) Review

The Motorola Moto G series, truly defined what and how a budget phone should look like. This propelled the phone to become best seller, when it was launched. Keeping with the same promise, Motorola continued with the series, and this is the third iteration. This phone was announced around July 2015, comfortably sitting in the low end category.

Motorola-Moto-G-2015 (4)-horz

Niggling doubts come to mind : Is this phone worth it? Am I getting bang for buck? These and more will be revealed as we go on with the review, but before then, let’s look at the key features of this phone:

  • 5.0 – inch HD IPS display, with 720 ×1280 pixels (294 PPI) with Corning Gorilla Glass 3.
  • Stock Android 5.1.1 Lollipop upgradeable to Android M.
  • Snapdragon 410 chipset with Quad-core 1.4 GHz processor, Adreno 306 GPU and 1 GB of RAM.
  • 13 MP Autofocus camera with dual LED flash, pixel count 4160 x 2340 pixels and Video recording of 1080p.
  • 5 MP front-facing camera, with pixel count 2560 x 1440 pixels and 1080p video recording.
  • 4G LTE.
  • 8 GB internal storage (4.5 GB usable)
  • USB On-the Go
  • IPX7 certified – water resistant up to 1 meter and 30 minutes
  • Single SIM support.
  • 2470 mAh battery.

Main Disadvantages

  • Non removable battery.
  • Phone is quite pricey.
  • Moto Maker not available in all markets.

Read the full detailed specifications HERE, as well as our Hands on experience and Unboxing HERE.

Hardware/Design

The Moto G 2015 is made of plastic all round. The back is somewhat arched like you find in HTC phones, and the back cover has a rough texture which all helps for good grip. The front is covered by Gorilla glass 3 for protection, then there are two groves for the speakers, one at the top and another at the bottom.

The side has the power ON/OFF buttons and volume rockers. The former has a rough texture to help differentiate even in dark situations. Like I mentioned in the Unboxing review, this phone looks quite smaller than a 5 inch phone, though it actually is. The bezels are big, but not so big.

Moto G - sides

This phone has that air of sturdiness and finesse written all over it. You handle it and sense that this is special. It doesn’t look or feel cheap in any way. Opening the back cover you see the slots on the left side for micro-SIM and memory card. Sadly, the battery is non-removable.

The the back cover should be tightly sealed to ensure the water resistance. The phone warns you to make sure the back fits properly. Apt I must say.

motomaker-image
Image source: GsmArena

There’s a program launched by Motorola called Moto Maker. This program allows buyers of this phone ( and some other select phones) to customize it with choice back covers. There’s also another option of writing what you want at the back. This attracts extra cost, but it’s sadly not available in Nigeria. Oh! see what we’re missing 🙁

Software:

The Motorola Moto G 2015 is excellent in terms of software. First of all it runs stock Android. This is raw Android with no extra bloat ware, lean on resources and running smooth as ever. Unlike many other firms, Motorola doesn’t mess around too much with their Androids. The only tweaks are tiny details, here and there such as a simple gesture control, a wizard for automating tasks and the interactive notifications on the lock screen.

The gesture controls are cute. First, there’s double shake to use the LED flash as torch, and the, second is quick turning your wrist to open up the camera. With the Moto Assist, you can set tasks, and the phone reminds you appropriately. There’s also an intelligent assistant that can automatically mute your Moto when you’re in a meeting, or when you arrive at certain places.

Moto G - Controls

Due to the lack of notification light, this phone employs interactive notifications on the lock screen – This shows you alerts even when your phone is on standby. From there you can view the notification, go straight to the app, or close it. The gripe with this feature is that the phone glows from time to time even when there are no active notifications.

Display and User Interface:

The Moto G 2015 has a 5-inch screen with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels and 294 ppi. The display is rich with a very fine color reproduction. Viewing angles is superb, no matter how you tilt it. Sunlight legibility is very poor. But hey, this is the case with smartphones in this category. Increasing the brightness helps for better reading under sunlight.

The user interface is what you would find in stock Lollipop. All the color transitions are here when you switch between apps.

Camera:

The camera performance of this phone can be summed up in one word. Awesome!! In this category, this phone ranks among the best we’ve used. The 13 MP takes in a lot of details. Images are sharp and clear, and the colors are natural. On the flip side, when you zoom into shots, you see some form of noise.

Even in dark situations, the dual LED flash performs well. Pictures taken in totally dark places still come out well.

The 5 MP camera for selfies is another wonder. It brings out lots of detail. I could see all the wrinkles on my face. It has a wide angle too, so if you love taking selfies, this phone would serve you right. Below is a comparison with the 8 MP camera of the Infinix Hot 2. Shots taken with the Moto G are placed lower.

Ikeja City Mall- Daytime shot.

Moto G vs Hot 2 -day
Night shot- with flash.
Moto G vs Hot 2 -night
Which of these two is better, you be the judge.
Multimedia:

The speakers on the Moto G 2015 are really good. The music output is more refined compared to many other phones we have used in the past. Google Play Music is the default player here. Overall, the music listening experience is decent. As the case with stock Androids, the default video player is crap. You would have to install a 3rd party app like Mx Player to enjoy your videos.

Multitasking /Performance:

The unit we reviewed is the base model of this phone, carrying 8 GB storage and 1 GB of RAM. The performance is exactly what you would expect from the specs. Regular apps and usage glides smoothly with no noticeable lags. The Snapdragon 410 processor does a good job of keeping thing fluid. Questions are only raised when you try playing a heavy duty game like Asphalt 8, you notice a bit of a drag. Below are screen shots of its Quadrant and Antutu Benchmark tests.

Moto G-Tests

Battery life:
This phone comes with a 2470 mAh battery, and it lasts. With steady connection to Wifi, this phone can take you through 12 hours of normal usage. On heavy usage on mobile data, you should churn out 6 to 8 hours. Yes. The battery is that good.

Below is a screenshot of my usage.

Moto G- Battery

Miscellaneous:
Overall the Moto G 2015 has very subtle, nifty, useful features. The two gesture controls for camera and flashlight, once set up works perfectly. This phone is very intuitive and pulls off really cool surprises on you. One time it requested I got bed after 11 pm (Too early for people like me 😎 ) The other time it requested I move files to the media card – on it’s own – without help of another app. Mind you, my storage wasn’t filled or anything. Who knows the surprise it has in store for you.

Moto G Software

Thankfully, Motorola added a gallery app here alongside the weird Photos app, unlike what we saw on the Infinix Hot 2 (Android One) phone. There was also the issue of no file manager. Simply add a google account and download your preferred File Explorer app from the Store. USB OTG works. Call clarity is also great on this phone.

Final Words

The Motorola Moto G 2015 is a lovely device, but company stretched it to the limit – already looks like it was overstretched -because this reflects on the price. Design is great, there’s 4G LTE, awesome camera, and water resistance. With all these and more, what else should one of expect from a “budget” device?

Looking at the competition there are many other phones that rubs shoulders with this, but they’re lacking one thing or two this phone offers, that’s what makes it stand out.

I call this phone “budget overkill” because it’s perfect, but the price is steep. The phone glows with class, finesse, and elegance. Evidently, only those that can afford it would go for it. If you want a low end phone, a reeeally good low end phone, then this is your one and only option.

Chibueze is an award-winning gadget reviewer and geek. He loves research, while living and breathing tech. You can reach him on Facebook, Twitter ,OR LinkedIn

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