I’ve been using the Moto G for about two weeks now. It’s not a new device. People who are familiar with the world of tech know that this is a good device, exceptional for its price range. I agree.
But, at $179 you can’t have everything. And some of the things that Moto G doesn’t offer might be a deal breaker for you. This is not a review, there are many great reviews of this device out there. This is just what I personally love and hate about the device after using it for two weeks.
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1. The Dimple
The Motorola logo on the back of the device is a bit rounded in – the dimple, they call it. And every now and then when I’m using the phone, my finger reaches up to the spot and just docks there, comfortably.
2. Screen Resolution
Expecting a 720p screen from a mainstream sub $200 device seemed like a mad proposition, yet here we are. Local and Chinese brands are providing similar resolution screens at even cheaper rates, but Moto G’s screen is a lot better. Other than the color reproduction, the screen is very much like my old Nexus 4, which cost me double of what Moto G goes for these days.
3. Performance (Gaming)
Adding a quad core Snapdragon 400 processor and Adreno 305 GPU to the Moto G was a smart move from Motorola (read Google) and what ultimately lead them to dominance in developing markets. We Indians like to play games on our mobile devices. Yes, most of it is casual but many do look forward to playing something like Riptide GP or Dead Trigger. And Moto G will run almost all of them, boasting a respectable frame rate.
My dad bought a Sony Xperia ZL recently and it came with 4.2 out of box, with 4.3 update that it just got recently. I’m not even sure when the phone will get 4.4 update, if ever.
Moto G came with 4.3 out of box and as soon as I was signed in, I got the notification for an update. 270 MB and half an hour later (right, my broadband speed is nothing to boast about), I was running the most advanced version of Android yet. And this was on my sub $200 phone, made by a company that 2 years ago shut down all operations in India due to lack of sales.
Moto X is a bit fatter than I would have liked it to be, yes. But the well rounded body sits comfortably in the palm of my hands. The 4.5 inch screen is just the right size. Side by side the iPhone 5, Moto G is only a bit taller and a bit wider.
I’ve used mobile devices ranging from 3.5″ to well over 5.7″ and the conclusion I’ve drawn is Moto G/X’s body is the best compromise between screen size and “one handed use”. Even on the 4.5 inch Moto G, I have to stretch my thumb way out to reach the notification drawer, but at least I can do it, unlike other Android devices.
I’ve talked about Moto G with a lot of people, recommended it to everyone I know but still not many of my acquaintances have bought this rather stellar device, deciding to go for Galaxys and MMX Canvas’ of the world. Yes, they opted for lower processing power and generations old Android version, only because it had expandable memory.
Adding an SD card to a budget phone does not make for a cheap manufacturing process. But in developing countries, people do everything on their phones. They listen to a rather large song collection stored locally (streaming services have yet to pick up steam here), watch movies, play large games and take a lot of photos which they never back up to the cloud.
Motorola is trying to right this wrong by releasing a 4G/LTE version of Moto G which does come with SD card support. But it starts at $219 and its availability is limited to certain markets. Can this update help Moto G land in hands that were previously too far away? Or is this another case of too little (or too expensive), too late? Only time will tell.
2. No NFC
NFC is not that big of a deal to everyone. But if you’ve used it, you know how useful it is. Tapping a sticker to turn on/off multiple settings, activating apps and functions, etc.
3. The Camera
As I found out while I was testing Google Camera’s Lens Blur feature, if you put in enough time with the Moto G’s camera, you get surprisingly stellar images. But the problem is that you have to put in the time. Flick and click doesn’t really work with this 5 MP camera.
4. The RAM
The problem with not being like most people is that 1 GB of RAM is sometimes not enough for you. KitKat does a wonderful job of managing memory and I leave task management entirely up to the OS, choosing not to play God. We all know that task killers don’t really work and that restarting an app from cold state actually takes more power, memory and battery than resuming it from sleep.
Even when I’m not playing a heavy game but have multiple apps open which run constantly in the background like Pocket Casts, K-9 Mail, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Slack, Trello, etc, switching between them sometimes becomes cumbersome.
5. Minor Inconveniences
Distribution and service channel: In India, Moto G is available exclusively only from Flipkart, one of the biggest online stores here. That means local stores don’t carry them, and if they do, they can’t offer the same warranty and assurance as Flipkart. India is still a country where many people think 33 times before buying anything online. Another missed opportunity for Motorola.
Color Reproduction: The blacks are not that deep and solid colors in menus and options seem a bit too dull. But it’s not a major issue, it’s not something you can’t live with.
What About You?
This was my list. I want to know yours. Moto G users, feel free to reply in the comments below.