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Review: Moto G (2014, G2)

By Leigh D. Stark | 2:31 pm 14/10/2014

Big phones are in, and to go with that trend, Motorola is upgrading one of its entry-level handsets, increasing the screen size of its G series phone to make it a sub-$300 5 inch handset, but is the G2 better or just a bigger version of the same?

Features

It’s time for a new Moto G, with Motorola applying a new size to the last Moto G, which can still be found on the market.

In the new edition, you’ll find a quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 paired with 1GB RAM, 8GB storage, and working alongside the Adreno 305 graphics set. The storage can be upgraded with a microSD card, with the slot found underneath the plastic casing of the back.

Google’s Android operating system runs here, with version 4.4 provided out of the box, also known as “KitKat.”

Connection options are fairly basic, with Motorola including support for 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and GPS, while mobile broadband is handled by a 3G modem, and wired dealt with via the microUSB port found at the very bottom of the handset.

Cameras are included as well, with an 8 megapixel camera with flash on the back, while the front-facing camera is rated at 2 megapixels.

This technology sits under a 5 inch In-Plane Switching (IPS) display, protecting by Corning’s scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass 3 and running the 720p resolution of 1280×720.

No soft buttons can be found printed on the unit, with these included as part of the software, changing based on what you’re doing.

That said, you’ll find two physical buttons on the Moto G 2014 handset, with both the power button and volume rocker found on the right edge, with the power button sitting above the volume.

Ports equal the buttons in number, with a 3.5mm headset jack found at the very top and centre of the phone, while the microUSB charge and data port sits at the bottom centre.

The Moto G 2014 edition arrives with two microSIM slots in Australia, making it possible to run two services at once, both of which can be found by removing the back of the phone. The microSD slot can also be found when the back cover is removed.

The battery is not removable in the Moto G and is rated at 2070mAh.

Performance

It doesn’t seem like the Moto G 4G version has been out in Australia all that long — a few months, barely — but here we are with a totally new model, and just in case you weren’t confused yet, it even carries the same name as its predecessor.

Yes, it’s the Moto G, but you can call it the Moto G second-generation, or Moto G2 like other people. Or, you can call it the Moto G, because that’s what it says on the box, not really discerning itself all that much from the still-available 2013 Moto G out there in the world.

That said, we’re told the 3G 2013 Moto G will be disappearing in retailers, and while the 4G model will stick around for a while, it is a little different from this 2014 model, even though they have similar names.

In the hands, the feeling is a larger version of what we’ve seen in the past since Motorola’s re-invention, with Motorola’s stickler for hand-ready designs, including a soft plastic back that curves into the palm quite nicely allowing you to grip the body easily, soft plastic edges, and a glass front that exudes quality.

One obvious change is the inclusion of a bigger screen, jumping half an inch from the 4.5 inch of the other G up to a full 5 inches, and keeping the resolution in tact at 720p or 1280×720.

Switch the phone on and while it’s obvious the screen has changed, Motorola has still provided a relatively sharp display, with vibrant and crisp colours, especially for something at this price point, and a screen that has no problem nailing the various angles you’ll want to view your information at.

From a technical standpoint, the identical resolution on a bigger display means the pixel count has gone down, with the Moto G2 providing less than the Retina pixel clarity of 326 pixels per inch, but at 296ppi, Motorola isn’t off by a huge distance, and many will have trouble discerning the difference in sharpness, as this is still a pretty nice screen on the eyes. It isn’t the excellent display that Samsung’s Galaxy S5 has, nor is it the benchmark that LG’s G3 holds, but it’s still nice all the same.

Using the phone is more or less like every Motorola we’ve seen this year, with the company providing Android the way Google envisioned it.

Thanks to that lovely ownership Google once had over Motorola, the company’s learned trick of keeping things mostly stock has paid off, and this is basically a budget version of a Google Nexus phone.

As such, the version of Android here has had pretty much no tweaks to its operation, with several homescreen, a drop down notification bar, app menu screen, and a persistent Google Now search bar that sits at the top of the screen.

Also included is the Google Now screen, which sits at the very left of your homescreen and is there whenever you need it, much like any other Android user can get if they download the Google Now launcher and use that for their phone.

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Price (RRP)

$269

Pros & Cons

Product Pros

A dual-SIM phone; Feels great in the hands; Excellent battery life; Upgradeable memory; Bleeding edge version of Android, totally up-to-date, moreso than a lot of the flagship phones we see;

Product Cons

3G performance is among the slowest of the 3G phones we’re used to seeing, likely due use of two 3G SIM card slots; Mediocre system speed; No NFC;

Ratings

Overall

Features

Value for money

Performance

Ease of Use

Design

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