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Gadget review: Is Motorola's Moto G still a smart buy?

Motorola is finally offering its Moto G smart phone with 4G and 2GB Ram. But at 13K, is it worth a buy, especially when there are other options at lesser price?

When Motorola launched the Moto G (in India) in 2013, it sold like hot cakes, thanks to its specs and price tag. Back then, Motorola was a Google company, and its future was uncertain. People lapped up the smart phone not only because it was attractive, but also due to its link with a trusted brand.

Moto G 2015

A year and half later, much has changed. Motorola is alive, and competes with popular brands in the affordable and premium segments.

Its current owner, Lenovo, then struggling for attention, now offers much better products at lower prices; as are several other players such as Xiaomi, In Focus, Yu, Asus, Coolpad, etc, who either didn’t exist or were new in the market.

To top it all, Moto G now has a younger sibling, the Moto E, which is affordable, more stylish and cuter — everything the Moto G was. In short, we think, the Moto G has lost its charm. Here’s why:

Moto G 2015
Design: Unlike the previous editions, Moto G (2015) has a textured backcover, which adds to the grip, thus reducing chances of accidental slips. There’s also a metallic accent around the camera. Visually, Motorola doesn’t offer much in the new Moto G - a huge let down when compared to the recent design innovations we saw in the Moto E. However, we will give it extra points for IPX7 water resistance, which makes Moto G safe from the regular splashes of water during rain or if it gets submerged within one metre depth (for maximum 30 minutes). We suggest not testing it under a heavy pressure tap, though.
Rating: 6/10

Display: The display is the same 1280x720 with a pixel density of  294ppi (our calculations show it to be 320ppi) with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection.  The display works well across light settings, and suppresses ambient reflections. We wouldn’t have any qualms was it not for the Xiaomi Mi4i, which offers a 1080p screen at the same price, or the Asus Zenfone 2 offering a choice for 1080p screen for few more bucks.
Rating: 7/10

Connectivity: The dual-sim Moto G supports 2G, 3G as well as 4G (band 1, 3, 7, 8, 28 and 40) networks. The other connectivity options include Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 LE and Wi-Fi Hotpsot. It also gets an ambient light sensor, accelerometer, proximity sensor and a sensor hub. The device can also cast screen to television sets wirelessly. It is good to see that Motorola has not compromised on GPS, which means you can use its navigation system without a working Internet connection. It also supports AGPS, GLONASS and BeiDou.
Rating: 7/10

HARDWARE: The Moto G (2015) runs the Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 SoC with a 64-bit  1.4GHZ quad core processor from ARM, and is available in two models — 1GB RAM with 8GB storage (R11,999) and 2GB RAM with 16GB storage (for R12,999). Our review unit featured a 2GB RAM and was quick while multi-tasking. However, the Adreno 306 GPU lags behind while playing video games. Fortunately, there’s no heating issue. The device’s built-in speakers, were also weak for our needs; its front positioning didn’t help either.
Rating: 7/10

OS and USER INTERFACE:  The Moto G3 runs Android Lollipop 5.1.1 (32-bit) which negates the purpose of having a 64-bit processor onboard. We also find the app icons on the screen too big for our comfort; perhaps a drawback of running stock Android OS. An option to customise the UI would have helped. We also don’t like that Moto G still doesn’t support call recording function. We would recommend the Asus Zenfone 2 for the same.
Rating: 5/10

Camera: Motorola offers very good quality cameras in the latest version. Both the 5MP front camera and the 13MP rear camera (with auto focus and flash) are superb. The picture quality has improved a lot in the front camera. The rear camera is great too — it can record 1080p videos as well as slow motion in 720p. However, there’s no option for manual focus.
Rating: 9/10

Battery: Moto G3 features a 2,470 mAh, which lasts a full day on regular usage. However, at times it falls short, especially on days where you have to use the built-in GPS or remain connected to Wi-Fi. We weren’t able to test its performance on 4G network, though.
Rating: 6/10

Overall rating

6.7 / 10

The guide Verdict: The Moto G third generation is a great device. But it fails to create the same excitement as it did, back in 2013. Perhaps it’s the fading nostalgia about the brand or growing competition, Moto G (2015) leaves much to ask for. We also feel the  device has arrived late by six months. It would have been a great bargain at that time. Now, the lone bright spot going for it is its camera and water resistant ability. But this might not help to woo buyers.

Specifications
Display: 5 inches, 1280x720, 294ppi
Processor: Qualcomm S410 1.4 GHz quad core processor with Adreno 306 GPU
Memory: 2GB RAM, 16GB ROM, expandable up to 32GB
Camera: 5MP (front), 13MP with flash (rear)
Connectivity: GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, 2G, 3G and 4G
SAR VALUE: 0.905 (head) and 1.069 (body) in W/kg
Price: Rs 12,999


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