Solid value: Motorola’s third-gen G reviewed

Camera quality is next, and on paper, the Motorola G for 2015 has no problem giving some of the stars of this year a run for their money, throwing in a 13 megapixel camera on the back with a 5 megapixel camera up front.

As a heads up, neither of these are particularly world class or market leading, so don’t expect a camera to rival a Galaxy S6 or iPhone in these models, as it just won’t happen. What you do get, however, is enough guts to let you get a decent shot online.


First we need to talk interface, because controlling the Motorola G is remarkably easy, with Motorola’s touch to fire the shot setup employed again. That’s all you really need to do here, with no camera button on the interface and a system that mostly focuses when you change aim.

There are some speed variations in the auto-focus, but mostly it’s relatively quick, though you may find the odd time where it doesn’t necessarily provide the sharpest focus around.

Motorola has also made the interface a little more in depth, ideal for those who might want to exert a little more control than let the phone decide how you should take photos. To get this, you merely need to swipe in from the left side where you’ll be given a control ring of options such as flash control, video modes, and HDR. Once these have been selected, it’s back to the touch-to-fire design, because that’s the main way Motorola’s camera works.

You can also get the camera to load up simply by shaking your wrist twice, which will interpret this gesture as a shortcut to switch the camera on, handy for some, no doubt.

Image from the Motorola G rear camera (HDR)
Image from the Motorola G rear camera (HDR)

Images out of the camera are certainly acceptable, and the 13 megapixel rear camera and 5 megapixel front module definitely provide the numbers to make most people smile, though these aren’t the best cameras around.

Aside for the aforementioned odd auto-focus speed quibble, you may find at night and in low-light, the images are a touch soft, with little detail up close, as well as a fair amount of obvious noise.

Image from the Motorola G rear camera
Image from the Motorola G rear camera

Fortunately daylight is much better, with bright and colourful results that are relatively clear, ideal for any of the social networks you might be ready to upload the photos to.

There is one neat trick worth mentioning on the G, and it’s something only a handful of phones support: water resistance.


You can, if you want to, drop the 2015 Moto G in a tank of water, and even take photos underwater using that 13 megapixel camera by touching the volume button.

That also means the phone will survive if you inadvertently drop a beer or a glass of wine on the phone, though it may look and smell a little worse for wear until you rinse it off under the tap.

Officially, Motorola rates the third generation G at IPX7 which roughly translates into “survivable of up to a meter of water for up to 30 minutes”, a feature you’ll get to use if you’ve pressed the back completely on so that no liquid can get into the electronics.

Once you’ve done that, you’re good to go, and Motorola even checks with you in software to make sure you’re aware.


Does this mean you can take it into the pool or the ocean?

Kind of, but because the IP ratings companies test against are rated for freshwater and don’t take into account erosion from other elements such as chlorine or salt (seawater), if you do happen to take it swimming, make sure to wash it off under the tap when you’re done, as you wouldn’t want any of these extra elements breaking the ruggedised ports.

Even with this notice ahead of time, this little addition, makes the G even more worth the price of admission, simply because few phones get water resistance, and even Motorola’s other models including the more expensive X flagships (both of them) miss out.

We don’t know why, either; surely it would make sense to make the more pricey phones sport this technology, as that’s what competitors have done in the past, but Motorola seems content with offering it only on the mid-range G.



We started this review asking a pretty basic question about the Motorola G — does the third Moto G perfect the series? — and really, that question came down to one basic concept: is the third time the charm, so to speak.

But the Moto G has never really needed to worry about that question because it has always been pretty good, evident from Motorola’s recent observation that this range is the company’s most successful smartphone.

So the question we really need to answer is has Motorola made the G even better, and has it become the midrange model to beat, and the one to watch?


The answer to that is a clear resounding yes, because as good as the midrange models we’ve seen have been this year, the G represents solid value, even sporting a feature we wish more flagships offered.

Seriously, why don’t more top tier phones arrive with water resistance? And why does it not appear on Motorola’s own flagships? How does that work that the model for less money gets a feature the others don’t?

We’re a little confused, but you shouldn’t be. Rather, if you’re already confused by the amount of choices out there in the smartphone world under the $400 mark, Motorola’s G can help you make your mind up in a flash. Recommended.

Value for money
Ease of Use
Reader Rating0 Votes
Feels great in the hand; Pretty good system performance; Excellent two day battery; High speeds possible from the Cat4 modem inside; Two SIM card slots; Upgradeable storage; Sports more water resistance than most flagship phones offer;
Screen is a little pixel-y; WiFi is occasionally glitchy; Camera could be a little better;