Motorola Moto G (2015) Review
- Excellent build quality
- Stock android runs very fluidly
- Great daylight photographs
- A real brand name means better support and warranty service
- Some minor autofocus issues
- Low-light photograph quality is lacking
- 1GB of Ram on lower end model can be limiting
Summary: After playing around with the Moto G (3rd Gen) for a couple of hours I was convinced: this is one of the best sub-$200 phones out right now. The combination of a great build quality, stable operating system and decent camera make it a winner for those who don’t need a high-end device.
Where to Buy
Moto G (3rd Gen, 2015 Model)
Price at time of review: $179 (8GB Model)
Build Quality & Appearance
When I first picked up the Moto G (3rd Generation) my mind was blown. The build quality of this device is excellent for its price range. The plastic it is made of has a nice texture and is firm: there is absolutely no flex or ‘cheap’ feeling to it. It’s great that the phone has waterproof capabilities too. I wouldn’t personally take it swimming, but it’s just a little bit extra peace of mind. I’m a big fan of the feel of the textured back. It adds a nice edge to an otherwise plain smartphone. The front looks like a standard smartphone and while a bit boring I couldn’t find anything to fault with it.
The screen is one of the more disappointing parts of this device. It is 720p, and even with a smaller screen size it is possible to see individual pixels. There is a “screen-door” effect, meaning that the black lines between pixels are slightly visible. That being said, the screen has quite nice color and tonal range and it looks good from most angles. The screen is not a deal breaker, but I wish Motorola had sourced a 1080p screen for this device, especially at the higher price point of the larger storage model.
Performance & Storage
The touch screen is quick and responsive and the U.I. runs extremely smooth even on the 1GB ram / 8 GB rom version. I would suggest getting the 2 / 16 GB version when it becomes more readily available but if you’re a light smartphone user the smaller storage space will be enough. This phone offers expansion via Micro SD so you can store media including pictures and videos on it.
One feature that surprised me about The Moto G (3rd Gen) was how good daylight photographs are. After having used a dozen budget smartphones in this price range, I wasn’t expecting much. Previous generations of this phone haven’t had the best camera so I wasn’t expecting much, but it seems Motorola has really stepped up their game and used a sensor was great colour, adequate detail and speedy shooting.
Despite having excellent daylight photo quality, there were a few issues I noticed with the camera. First, the autofocus in the default camera app was quite poor. It would lock focus on an object then not refocus fast enough. Often, this meant I would miss focus. When I touched to focus it would often choose to focus on the object beside the one I tapped on. This issue can be mitigated with a different camera app or by changing the settings. Second, night time photography suffered from severe noise and detail loss.This is a common trait of smartphones in this price range, and to say the least the Moto G is better than its counterparts.
Sample Photos (click for full resolution)
Battery life is decent. With moderate to heavy use I got just over a day out of it, occasionally rounding off into the second day. This is with some text messaging, taking a few pictures, browsing the web for a while, social media and listening to music. It nearly matches any flagship device, which is quite astounding at this price point, though the heaviest of users still may not find it enough. It’s worth noting that there is no removable battery so if you do run out you’ll need a portable power pack.
I’m thoroughly impressed with what Motorola has put together. With most budget smartphones some things are sacrificed in order to keep the cost low. Other than the screen, this phone is on par with many of the budget phone specs in its price range. It’s not a phone for power users but most people would be happy with it. The Moto G (3rd Gen) would be a perfect buy for casual smartphone users and those who don’t need all the big specs of a high end device.