Solid value: Motorola’s third-gen G reviewed

Start using the Moto G third gen and you’ll find a star in the making, with Motorola appearing to fine tune that Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 to hum along nicely, working well with the 2GB RAM Australians are lucky to receive.

Why are we lucky?

Well, overseas, there are actually two variants, with one sitting pretty with 8GB storage and 1GB RAM, and the other sitting prettier with 16GB storage and 2GB RAM.

motorola-g-3rd-gen-2015-review-screenshot-drop-down-menu

Perhaps with a view to expecting someone to complain about how the first one just doesn’t sound good enough for a mid-range phone — does that sound like us? — Motorola has picked only one to be released locally, and fortunately, it’s the good one, offering more storage and more RAM.

As such, this combination of parts, as well as Motorola’s expert understanding of Android — because it was owned by Google for a bit there, wasn’t it? — helps to make the third generation Motorola G just purr, with little to no lag as you jump across apps, load new ones, and generally use the phone.

motorola-g-3rd-gen-2015-review-screenshot-home-menu

Motorola’s insistence that Android stays the way Google envisioned it is also along for the ride, and as a result, this is the cleanest experience you can have on an Android phone short of buying one with the “Nexus” name stamped on it which have been made by Google as flagship phones for the Android operating system.

That means there’s no extra interpretation from Motorola as to how Android should perform, none of the quirks overlays like TouchWiz provide, and no chance that this will get confused with an iOS device like you might get with either Huawei’s EmotionUI or Oppo’s ColorOS.

This is Android and only Android, and you get the several widgetised home screens, the app menu, and a Google Now virtual assistant that looks through your day and tries to help you along with neato cards every step of the way

Yes, this is the Google Android we like most, and it’s delightful on a mid-range device like the Moto G.

motorola-g-3rd-gen-2015-review-screenshot-bench

We’ve already touched on the performance, and it hums nicely despite it not being a top end phone, so you’ll find most apps will have no problem on this device, though if you run something a little more graphically heavy, say a game or something big, there may be a bit of lag, as is to be expected from a device where benchmarks don’t exactly reign supreme.

Furthermore, the addition of a microSD card slot is a nice inclusion, though it’s something the G series of devices has become known for.

Because, you know, upgrading phone memory is nice, even as some companies move away from it.

motorola-g-3rd-gen-2015-review-07

The display isn’t bad either, with 720p HD staring back at you on a screen size of 5 inches, making it a fairly meaty phone for the $369 price point where this one sits.

Despite the decent offering, you may notice the odd bit of pixelation here and there, part and parcel with the fact that you’re viewing roughly 294 pixels per inch, approximately 30 lower than the original recommendation for Apple’s “Retina” grade panels.

It needs to be said that it’s not a huge amount lower that it’ll cause problems at all, and for the price, this isn’t a bad screen either, with decent viewing angles while the sides wash out slightly. Rather, it’s that you might see a little pixelation on numbers and letters every so often, though only slightly.

motorola-g-3rd-gen-2015-review-screenshot-battery

Over in the battery life department, the 2015 Motorola G is an absolute star, besting every flagship from 2015 thus far without a problem and scoring two days of battery life.

That’s not “two days provided you charge a little at lunch” or “two days but you should get home quick because in the evening the battery life will turn to dust”.

No, this is “two days” full stop, with two days worth of listening to music, making and taking phone calls, sending messages, reading emails, browsing the web, watching the occasional YouTube cat video, and using the camera.

That is very impressive, as is the inclusion of a Category 4 modem inside.

motorola-g-3rd-gen-2015-review-screenshot-4g

Mobile data download speeds are, as such, fairly high, and while the price tag on the phone might appear low, the performance of it on a network is certainly anything but.

Tests of the 2015 Moto G in Sydney on Telstra’s 4GX network yields speeds ranging from 40Mbps all the way up to 100Mbps, making that Category 4 limit of 150Mbps well within reach.

While it may not have the edge like some of the Category 6 (300Mbps) and Category 9 (450Mbps) devices out there, if you have a problem with these speeds, you’re investing in the wrong section of the market, as the Moto G is doing bloody well, offering super fast speeds while you’re out and about.

At home, the WiFi isn’t the best it can be, though it should be fine for most people. For us, randomly, the WiFi would work and then drop out, despite being switched on. Indeed, we would see the exclamation mark of doom that you occasionally see on WiFi symbols, denoting that something just isn’t getting through.

That’s on top of this phone only supporting 2.4GHz 802.11n networks, which isn’t a total shock given the mid-range status, though our occasional WiFi dilemma may end up causing the odd headache for some people.

Hopefully you won’t have such problems, because while our 802.11ac network struggled at home, the 802.11n network at work appeared to be fine.

If all else fails, turn the WiFi on and off, as that appears to fix it, at least for a few minutes.

motorola-g-3rd-gen-2015-review-09