Motorola\'s Moto X brightened up our lives with its color options, its decent lineup of specs, and its reasonable price tag. As a US-only phone however, it was a bit of a letdown for those of us living outside of America. Motorola\'s new Moto G brings a nearly identical design, a host of colors, a 720p 4.5-inch display, and a ludicrously cheap price tag.
Design and display
With its curving, minimalist back panel and plastic ridge around the front screen, the Moto G looks basically the same as the Moto X. It\'s a simple design, that eschews the industrial, almost aggressive look of the Kevlar weave-coated Razr phones. It has a 4.5-inch display, rather than the 4.7 inches of the Moto X, but its body is almost exactly the same size. We found the Moto X to be very comfortable to hold so hopefully the G will feel similarly nice, although I would have liked a slight reduction in size to make it slide a little easier into my skinny jeans.
Software and processor
The Moto G comes running Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. Although quite a recent version of the software, given that Motorola is now owned by Google, it\'s a little surprising not to see the latest Android 4.4 KitKat on board, although Motorola is guaranteeing an update to the new software by January next year. The Moto X came with touchless voice control that allowed you to dictate messages and e-mails, set calendar appointments, and search for information to the phone, followed by your commands. It is likely that the Moto G will have similar voice control features.
It is powered by a quad-core processor, rather than the dual-core chip found in the Moto X, although it has a slower 1.2GHz clock speed, as opposed to the 1.7GHz of the Moto X\'s chip. How much of a difference that makes in everyday use remains to be seen.
Camera and battery
Around the back of the Moto G is a 5-megapixel camera. That is a big step down from the cameras you will find on the top-end smartphones the Sony Xperia Z1 has a 21-megapixel sensor and the Nokia Lumia 1020 boasts a ludicrous 41 megapixels but considering the massively lower price, that is probably a fair tradeoff. There is also a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera for video calling over Google Hangouts or Skype.
The camera app looks very minimalistic, but Motorola reckons this makes it very simple to flick between settings and shooting modes. Providing the juice for the phone is a 2,070mAh battery, which Motorola promises will get \"all day battery,\" thanks to power-efficient software tweaks. As always, your own battery life will depend completely on how you use the phone. If you play demanding games all day with the screen brightness on max, you should not expect much or any battery left when you go to bed.
The Moto G will be available in a variety of garish colors, including turquoise and purple, or you can opt for a plain black version if you don\'t want to stand out too much. The Moto X is highly customizable with numerous different colors and finishes available including a rather smart wood casing. It is not known yet whether the Moto G will have similar personalization options.
Like Google\'s Nexus 4, the Moto G will come with either 8GB or 16GB of storage. It does not have external SD card support, so if you store a lot of music locally, or download massive games, then you should seriously consider opting for the larger capacity model. You will also get 65GB of free online storage through Google Drive.
Price and availability
It will start at $179 for the 8GB model or $199 for 16GB of storage. In the UK, the Moto G will be available on pay-as-you-go at O2 from £130, and elsewhere for around £135. It will be available from today in Brazil and parts of Europe, including the UK, and will hit the US and the wider world in January.
With its 720p screen and 1.2GHz processor, the Motorola Moto G does not attempt to challenge the smartphone elite, but those specs are seriously impressive for a phone with such a cheap price tag.