Moto G (2014)

The Moto G will do everything most people ask of their smartphone, and do it for at least half the price

Shortly after I finished reviewing the new Moto G, concluding a couple weeks of use, our very own Phil finally powered his own Moto G on and started using it for the first time. His immediate response was, "How could you NOT recommend this to someone?" He figured out in just a few minutes of use what I had taken a couple weeks to come to a conclusion on. [Ed. note: That's why dude is the boss!]

It was validation that my findings were in line with his, of course, but it also drives home a serious point about this new Moto G — you really can't go wrong recommending this phone to someone.

Even with the vast number of devices everyone here at AC sees, the value represented by the Moto G is immediately evident as soon as you take it out of the box and turn it on. And that value doesn't decrease after using it full-time. After spending a good amount of time with it personally, I'm pretty convinced that the next time someone asks me for a phone recommendation, the Moto G is going to be on the list.

Moto G (2014)

The one device you can recommend and not be burdened with support calls later.

Over the past few months I've personally recommended the original Moto G several times to folks who had broken their phones, were looking for a cheap option or just weren't willing (or able) to sign a contract for a higher-end device. At somewhere between $99 and $219 depending on the model and carrier you went with, the Moto G was an awesome device to recommend knowing that it wouldn't lead to hours of headaches and support calls down the road when someone bought it.

And as the popularity of buying off-contract or running on prepaid carriers increases, there's a bigger market than ever for phones like the Moto G. "Normal" phone buyers are starting to understand how much a phone actually costs — something phone enthusiasts like us have known for some time — and they're getting a bit of sticker shock in the process.

Now, with the new Moto G on the (digital) shelves for $179, I'm set to recommend it to just about anyone who is looking for a new phone and isn't willing to spend upwards of $400 on a device without a contract.

Budget phones are tough to make correctly, but Motorola does it.

As we've seen time and time again, the recipe for making a budget-minded phone is a tough one to figure out. Every manufacturer makes some mid-range and low-end devices that cut corners, many of which doing so in the wrong places. They have LTE but also absolutely terrible screens. They have huge cameras but laggy software. They have a nice design, but cheap internals not worthy of the price.

Making a phone for under $200 is a world of compromises, and so far the Moto G is at the top of the heap when it comes to putting the money where it matters. Motorola didn't change the design or add fancy materials to the new Moto G, nor did it put a huge battery or even put LTE connectivity inside. But it did put a really good 5-inch screen on the front, flanked by loud stereo speakers and a new rear camera that takes good photos quickly. There's just enough hardware horsepower inside to get the job done without serious slowdowns, and most importantly Motorola has kept the software smooth and simple to use.

Two generations of Moto G

Motorola probably could have added LTE, a metal frame like the new Moto X, a better processor or a more advanced camera, but in the end it probably wouldn't change what the phone is capable of for most users. The new Moto G handles the daily tasks of pretty much any normal smartphone owner out there today for just $179 without a contract, something that honestly can't be said for many other devices even at double its price.

So the next time someone using a GSM carrier (we're still waiting for Verizon and Sprint models to drop) comes to me asking for phone-buying advice, I'm going to start by handing them a Moto G to see what they think — and more often than not I think it's going to be the right phone for them in the end.