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Moto G: Smartphone for the aam aadmi at Rs 14k

Last updated on: February 05, 2014 18:46 IST

Moto G: Smartphone for the aam aadmi at Rs 14k

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Himanshu Juneja

The Motorola Moto G is a cracker of a phone at an enticing price point.

Loaded with Android KitKat 4.4, a quad core processor, ample RAM to boot, and of course a very impressive 4.5-inch display, the Moto G will definitely redefine competition in its segment, believes Himanshu Juneja.

While the phone was launched in a number of markets abroad in November-December 2013 and received rave reviews for offering bountiful of features for an exceptional price, the long wait for the Moto G fans in Indian finally came to an end with its launch today.

Available in two variants -- 8Gb for Rs 12.5k and 16GB for Rs 14k -- the phone is exclusively offered by Flipkart.

Let's see if the phone can entice buyers despite having a mediocre snapper.

Specs:

  • Processor: 1.2 Ghz Quad core
  • RAM: 1GB
  • Display: 4.5-inch @ 1280x720 resolution
  • Camera: 5 MP with LED flash, 1.3MP as front facing
  • Memory: 8GB/16GB, no microSD slot.
  • 50GB Google Drive storage free for first two yrs.
  • Battery: 2070 mAh Li-Ion (non-removable)

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Image: Motorola Moto G
Photographs: motorola.com/us

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Moto G: Smartphone for the aam aadmi at Rs 14k

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Build and design

Motorola is known for making solid-feel phones and the Moto G is no exception either. The phone's shape is pretty simple and basic, but it is built with high class polycarbonate plastic which feels premium when you hold the phone.

The phone itself gives you an impression that it is a well-balanced, well-made piece of instrument.

To add to the quality construction, Motorola has added a 'nano' water-resistant layer inside the shell so as to make the phone stand up to light exposure to moisture. Sure hope that the phone won't make you skip a heartbeat when you have to be viewing your messages when there is that slight drizzle.

The back panel is rubberised, assisting in the grip and the tapering edges gives the feeling that it is thinner than it actually is. Well done motorola!

The phone comes with changeable back panels to give that little bit of customisation option as well.

The top side of the phone contains the headphone jack, and right hand side will reveal the volume rocker as well as the power button. The base has the microUSB port and upon removing the cover, one finds the microSIM slot as well.

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Image: Motorola Moto G
Photographs: motorola.com/us
Tags: Motorola

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Moto G: Smartphone for the aam aadmi at Rs 14k

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Display

The phone comes with a 4.5-inch display and 1280x720 resolution. The screen is an IPS LCD with Gorilla Glass 3 protection which is really nice to see.

One needs to just double tap the screen to allow the text to get fitted according to the screen and let screen make the text feel easy on the eyes. The IPS LCD does full justice to the sharp resolution and the images come out well defined too.

To put things in perspective, for a phone which is being touted as a budget phone, to have a screen density (~329 ppi) which is better than the iPhone 5S is really a good offering. The Gorilla Glass 3 provides ample protection from scratches and duress.

Motorola has definitely provided a very capable display here. The colours come out vividly and saturation level is just right. One cannot help but think that maybe Moto G's specs got mixed up at the production line and a top end phone's screen landed up on the MOTO G by mistake.

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Image: Motorola Moto G
Photographs: motorola.com/us

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Moto G: Smartphone for the aam aadmi at Rs 14k

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OS

The Moto G surely is coming with ample hardware power to run the Kitkat 4.4.2 right out of the box, but the good part just doesn't end here. It is infact running the stock Android version!

It is nice to see that Motorola has refrained from slipping in the Motoblur which would have added the dreaded bloatware on the phone. The result is for everybody to see, from fast boot up times to fluid working of the OS in general.

The phone comes with fixed number of homescreens: 5 and really, users should find the homescreens to be good enough for their usage. Of course there is the option to create folders to house shortcuts if a need arises.

One can activate Google Now by swiping the finger from bottom to top on the screen. Neat thing about Google Now is that it tracks your usage pattern vis a vis mails and messages and delivers you relevant and useful information via series of 'Information cards'.

Certain notifications from the notification bar seem to be having some tricks up their sleeve. Like for example if a new e-mail arrives, one just needs to swipe the finger over the notification to view a more detailed overview of the message. This really should come in handy and act as a major time saver.

In general operation, there was no lag observed. Demanding apps like heavy games did take a few seconds more to load up but the gaming experience thereafter was lag free. Interestingly, apps which are considered a must/default on phones now like Facebook and Twitter were absent here. But this shouldn't be an issue as one little trip to the playstore will get them in a jiffy.

All in all, the stock Android will keep things light for the processor as it goes about its task of multitasking smoothly.

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Image: Motorola Moto G
Photographs: motorola.com/us

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Camera

If one was wondering where the catch is with the Moto G, it is right here in the camera department, and unfortunately too.

The phone comes with a 5MP camera and even after getting assistance from an LED flash light, the photos were mediocre to decent at best.

It was really disappointing that Motorola chose this department to let the cost cutting take effect. Photographs at times came out either blurred or with grains, and if it is an unlucky day, the pics had both the aberrations.

Motorola decided to make the entire screen the click button, which might lead to many unwanted pics being clicked often. One can access the settings by sliding the finger from left to right and a setting wheel will pop up on the left. The phone has limited settings and the cupboard does feels empty here.
The 4x digital zoom is not really advised as it lends to depreciate the quality of the pics.

The camera offers burst mode by keeping your finger on the screen for as long as you want to keep clicking.

The videos don't fare much better as the setting menu has pretty much the same options. The 5MP camera trying to capture 720p videos doesn't really makes the cut.

One of the neat feature was the button on the top left which is dedicated for video recording only. Hit the button and recording starts immediately.
Secondly, one can record the videos in slow motion and have a nice effect rendered on to your videos.

The bottomline: Definitely not the best of the camera phones and one should only count on it to get the job done to an acceptable level.

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Image: Motorola Moto G
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Other key features

Assist

A preloaded app from Motorola, this does some nifty jobs to 'assist' you in life.

One can make the phone to turn itself on to the silent mode during certain hours so as to not be disturbed. It can also skim through the calendar appointments and mute itself while there is a meeting going on.

Should there be a case of real urgency, the caller can try calling again within 5 minutes and the phone will be allowed to ring as normally.

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Image: Motorola Moto G
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Migrate

In order to make the cumbersome process of tranferring content like SIM contacts, text messages, call history, media files, screen brightness, volume setting etc from the old phone to the Moto G, this app comes in handy. One needs to download the app on the old phone as well to accomplish the task with this app.

Be sure to check out the support for this app, as there is no support yet for iOS7, WP8 and blackberry OS.

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Image: Motorola Moto G
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Maps and navigation

The Moto G has been equipped nicely in every department except for the camera. So this section here is not disappointing either.

The phone comes pre-installed with the popular Google Maps, which honestly wasn't a surprise owing to its association with the search giant. It was a pleasant thing to see that the maps loaded without too much of a hiccup and presented itself almost in a flash. The GPS lock was established within 2 seconds.

Coming from a Motorola Atrix user, there were expectations that with the general optimisation fiddling around with the maps won't be a tough task and indeed it was a pleasure. The map zooming in and out were butter smooth.

Anybody who opts for the Moto G should seriously drop any ideas of going in for a dedicated navigation device as the turn by turn navigation system is very effective.

Only place where Nokia seems to be trumping the Moto G is that there is no offline navigation in the latter. Would have been really a master stroke if that was the case, but with a price tag of Rs 13,000 for the 8GB make and 14,500 for 15 GB model, it seems obvious really.

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Image: Motorola Moto G
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Battery

The Li ion 2070mAh non-removable battery is good enough to last for a day's usage after moderate to heavy usage. This is really nice to see, as
the device doesn't bring along with it the constant reminder that the user has to shut some of the services or turn the brightness down every now and then or be ready to charge the phone in the middle of the day.

The only gripe is that Moto G's comes with a non-removable battery. So one has to go to the customer care store whenever the need arises for a battery change.

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Verdict

The phone garners a solid 8/10 rating, and for a budget phone, that is brilliant.

With the 16GB model priced at sub Rs 15,000 level, the Moto G surely will find fans in hordes!

Keeping a gap of around Rs 1,500 between the two variants really should hit the sweet spot for customers and Motorola.

A device with Android KitKat 4.4, a quad core processor, with ample RAM to boot, and of course a very impressive 4.5-inch display, the Moto G will definitely redefine competition in its segment.

The phone is no slouch with it's apps and features too are not disappointing at all.

If buyers can get over a mediocre camera, a non-removable battery and limited storage space then there is no reason why the Moto G cannot deliver the promise it claims to have in the offing.

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Image: Motorola Moto G
Photographs: motorola.com/us
Tags: RAM , Motorola

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