Moto 360 (2014)

If it ain't broke, don't fix it

Motorola released the original Moto G back in November 2013 as a mid-range counterpart to the Moto X in an effort to round out its device portfolio. It was clear that the Moto G provided an excellent value at just $179 unlocked — a real go-to phone for any value-minded smartphone buyer around the world, particularly internationally.

Just over three months later, Motorola announced that the Moto G was the best selling smartphone in its history, and not by a small margin. Motorola has consistently expressed that the Moto G is an important part of its refreshed product strategy, and even doubled-down on the value segment with the Moto E.

Coming around on 11 months since its release, it's tough to see why Motorola would want to mess with such a great device. And with this, the new Moto G, Motorola has stuck with its proven recipe and improved it in just a few key areas. Read along and see our first impressions of the latest generation of Moto G.

Moto G hands-on video

We haven't spent nearly enough quality time with the Moto G, but we have managed to put together a hands-on video that encompasses a lot of our initial feelings. Be sure to give it a watch, then read along for our full feelings on the device.

Moto G hardware

Moto G (2014)

The biggest features people are looking for are in the hardware.

Motorola talked to thousands of current and potential Moto G owners around the world, asking them what they care about most in their phone at this price point. Unsurprisingly, the mainstays of screen size, camera performance and speaker quality came up at the top of the list. Those are primarily hardware changes that needed to be made, not software, and Motorola importantly chose to put its time and energy behind fixing those so-called "pain points."

This is the result: a Moto G with the same internals — a Snapdragon 400 processor, 1GB of RAM and just HSPA+ connectivity — and nearly identical design, but a few key changes that will make it just as desirable for the next year as the original was for the last.

Moto G (2014)Moto G (2014)

The most noticeable difference is the display and sheer size of the new Moto G. Stepping up from a 4.5-inch display, it now has a 5-inch display at the same 720p resolution. That's good for 294 ppi, and the IPS panel looks quite nice even though we can't say there are any notable differences in quality over the original (which wasn't too shabby in the first place).

That new display makes the new Moto G substantially larger than the first generation. When you take into account the front-facing speakers and large bezels, the Moto G is actually just slightly larger overall than the new Moto X with its 5.2-inch display.

But the design itself hasn't hardly changed. The back plate is slightly more textured, the "dimple" for the Motorola logo is a bit less recessed, the speaker grille from the back is now gone, and buttons and ports are all in the same places. This really is just a Moto G, but larger.

Going to its next big improvement, Motorola has added front-facing stereo speakers to the Moto G. They live on the top and bottom bezels flanking the display, and actually sound quite good. This isn't BoomSound, but you're going to get a drastically better experience watching videos on this phone than the original.

Bigger screen, better speakers and improved camera quality to boot.

When it comes to camera performance, the Moto G now has an 8MP f/2.0 shooter around back, and a 2MP out front, replacing 5MP (f/2.4) and 1.3MP cameras previously. The camera software is basically unchanged, and as you'd expect the image quality hasn't improved much either. Having additional megapixels to work with helps, but the processing power of the phone and the camera app haven't. We've taken a few quick snapshots and weren't blown away by high-end phone standards. But the Moto G isn't a high-end phone, and the folks who buy this device will surely be happy with the pictures it takes.

Photos you take can be offloaded to a now-standard SDcard slot, something that wasn't available on the original Moto G and only made it to the line with the higher-end (and more expensive) LTE model released earlier this year.

Moto G (2014) Flip Shells

The crazy-popular Moto G Shells are back too, with a wide variety of different colors to choose from in an either standard or Flip Shell design that is basically unchanged from last year save for a second slot at the bottom for the new speakers. Motorola has discontinued the Grip Shells, however, indicating that a vast majority of shell purchases were of standard and flip varieties.

As an added bonus, Motorola has also made the new Moto G water resistant, with a so-called "coating" around the phone that keeps it safe from accidental spills. They won't put a certain IP rating on it, but any increased resistance to water over "none" is a welcomed addition.

Moto G software

Moto G (2014) software

Motorola didn't see much need to mess with the software on the Moto G when it was refreshed, and we can agree with that approach considering how light and functional it is already. And because the new Moto G doesn't make any bump in internal specs, the capabilities of this device haven't increased much to add any more software features. You're getting Android 4.4.4 just like the previous generation, with a subset of Motorola's tweaks and improvements on board.

Still a better software experience than you'll ever find elsewhere at this price.

Unlike the new Moto X, the refreshed Moto G doesn't ship with the Google Now Launcher pre-installed. It is available from the Play Store, however, if you choose to go that route. In either case you're getting practically the same experience, as Motorola has closely followed Google's stock launcher with its own.

Motorola has chosen to expand its Motorola Migrate app, which helps you move contacts and data from your old phone to your new one, with Moto G users in mind. Migrate will now pull in your contacts from even featurephones and load them on your Moto G — clearly speaking to the fact that Motorola knows how many people are moving to a smartphone for the first time with their Moto G purchase.

Most importantly, Motorola has guaranteed that the new Moto G will receive an update to Android L when it's released — something that isn't always bestowed on a device in the sub-$200 unlocked range.

Ready to hold its place atop the mid-range phone world

Moto G (2014)

Motorola's refresh of the Moto G in 2014 could easily be looked at as an extremely iterative update that lacks enough changes to warrant a whole new product release. Though in many ways, it's hard to find fault in Motorola's strategy.

It took an absolutely winning formula that gave it its best-selling smartphone ever — one that propelled it to the number four manufacturer of phones in India and number two in Brazil — and simply added a few features that those consumers were clamoring for.

It did so while retaining the same $179 starting price, something that's often considered the most important specification of all on a phone. Only time will tell, but Motorola seems to have another sure-fire hit on its hands with the new Moto G.

 

Reader comments

Hands-on with the new Moto G

43 Comments

Didn't you read it, says Moto asked thousands of buyers and that's what they wanted.

Posted via Android Central App

It's so annoying to go from 4.5" to 5, takes it from considering to out of the question for me. I know most people would welcome the fact, just annoying for me haha.

Same processor and memory as last year? LOL at Motorola thinking it can swindle folks into buying old tech..

Posted via Android Central App

For the type of people this phone is aiming at they definitely will buy it. These aren't tech geeks, it's people who want a cheap phone that works well. These specs are fine, and to stay at the same price while offering a larger screen and front facing speakers is impressive.

Posted via Android Central App

Meh, at least they're sticking to the price point, I'm sure the larger panel is harder to source since plenty of other OEM have midrange phones using similar displays, but still, feels like they could've at least included LTE... Although given the big target markets it's not surprising they left it out again.

Bigger screen, but same battery equals worse battery life. I know the Moto G got decent battery life, so it will probably still be useable, but would have been nice if they increased the battery along with the screen to compensate for the extra battery drain the larger screen well bring.

Posted via Android Central App

The bigger screen has more area under it so there's definitely more space for a bigger battery. Motorola was just being cheap here.

Any word on whether or not it has a gyro sensor, for photospheres and such? Also any word on MHL/Slimport?

I assume both are still no, like last year, but anything is possible, right?

I asked two weeks ago with no response, so don't get your hopes up. Probably better to ask someone who has one at this point.

Wow, I was kinda underwhelmed until the end where the price was revealed to be unchanged. I had found myself wondering why I'd buy this phone over the original but at the same price.....if in the market for a midranger heck yeah a definite deal. It's interesting though that they didn't update the internals at all; they must be confident it'll still be usable in 2 years time.

Wtf?!?! They put stereo front facing speakers on the G and not the X? I swear there is some sort of conspiracy amongst OEMs to hold back each of their flagships in one way or another so no one had made the 'perfect' phone.

Posted via Android Central App

IKR... So, dumb. The G external size and look should have been the X, and a 5in. 1080p screen, plus of course a 3000mAh battery.

Actually, the X does have dual front-facing speakers. Heh.

They put stereo speakers on the G because there's not enough room price-wise for Motorola to put high-end speakers in there. So instead of putting good speakers, they just put in two mediocre ones that are loud.

The Moto X is actually just as loud, and has higher sound fidelity, than the Moto G even with one speaker.

Thanks Andrew, really good to know the X speaker is that good comparatively

Posted via Android Central App

Not sure about the 8 GB of internal memory. Currently i use the 16 GB model (without sd card) and having free space of 2.5 GB. Apps taking 4.4 GB...

I wonder how well implemented the sd card is, so that 8 GB is enough...

Any experiences with the 8GB LTE model ?

I wonder when the LTE version comes out if the 16GB will be an option.

>I'm the kind of guy who stops a microwave at one second to feel like a bomb defuser.

I have 1st gen and this is valid upgrade to it. Why you need Snapdragon 800 when your work can be completed in sd400? Buy in india from midnight flipkart .com/moto-g-2nd-gen/p/itmdygz8gqk2w3xp?pid=MOBDYGZ6SHNB7RFC&affid=sitamenat

Maybe it's asking too much, but after the Moto 4G was released, I really expected the new Moto G to include LTE in the base model, good upgrade otherwise.
But it's a year later and the absence of LTE is a even bigger issue than last year.
I hope they at least release a Moto G LTE variant quickly, for the extra $40 it costs I wouldn't recommend the hspa+ only model to anyone.

I completely agree with you here movielover.. with all carriers migrating to LTE and some moving towards VoLTE, this is a mistake in my opinion. I also agree with others that the larger screen and last gen hardware will likely equate with battery issues too. It's priced right but for another $100 or so, the One Plus is far more phone or even the Nexus 5

It's still a 720p display, the slight size difference isn't going to matter for battery life too much.
A one plus one is $120 more (if you can find an invite) and a nexus 5 $170 before taxes and that's a big jump in price for the budget market they are going after. This isn't a phone for us spec junkies, never intended as such.

The rest of the specs I think are good for the price point they are aiming for, more would be expecting too much., but maybe they could have gone $199 if they had to and included LTE. that I think is required even in a budget device these days.

Front Facing Speakers.
8MP/2MP Camera
2012 Flagship internals
5" HD Screen
MicroSD Slot

$180. What's not to like? Looks like they have another winner for their specific markets.

So ur battery will run out 10% more quickly. Whatever. U have a desktop in ur pocket. Stop spreading tears. wa wa wa eh eh wa wa

Buy an ext battery like most SP users. They work.

Posted via Android Central App

This will be a great upgrade from the Galaxy Ace 2 for my daughter.Just hope the price in the UK is reasonable.

Buy the Moto G 2nd Gen only for Rupees 12999 /- exculsively on Flipkart.
bit. ly/MOTOG2ndGen (Remove Spaces)

Launching Day offers worth 16000 Rupees. 100 Luckly winner get 100% cash back . Hurry buy now! Using the above link

On the issue of water repellant treatment, I had chance to evaluate this yesterday. Dropped my Moto G phone into water, took it out within a couple of seconds. It seemed ok, but then went into repeated boot loops. Opened it up, no visible water inside (prob because of water repellant treatment). Followed the steps below, and after 24 hrs the boot loops finally ended and it is now working fine.

Removed back to expose as much of the interior as possible; removed SIM card. Then kept the phone in a warm place and left for 24 hrs to evaporate any remaining water; then attempted re-activation. All fine.

@Andrew Martonik
Thanks for your post.

Moto G (2014) edition should have cooler in specification. In it’s hardware
it should have minimum a upgrade processor than the old one (Qualcomm® SnapdragonTM 400 processor with 1.2 GHz quad-core CPU ). Because in that CPU does not support to play *.mkv, *flv…so on video files.

All lower midrange to upper midrange Smartphone should have minimum 16GB phone storage at least.
About video recording why didn’t they gave us the 1080p recording??

Battery should become removable.

Specifically it should be named as MOTO G+ with those above improvement at least. Its 2014.

Thanks in Advance