Moto G

The phone we're all smitten with is now available on one of the cheapest carriers in the United States — but how well does Republic Wireless' 'hybrid calling' actually work?

What’s left to say about the Moto G? When we first met the Moto X’s little brother back in November, we raved about its solid spec sheet, gorgeous design and eye-popping price tag — the budget entry in Moto’s lineup was a refreshing look at just how few corners need to be cut to make a sub-$200 smartphone.

Six months later, we’re just as impressed as ever. The Moto G still feels like one of the best choices out there for smartphone buyers on a budget, and for those who refuse to pay for another contract-subsidized device. But now, unlike six months ago, it’s readily available – the unlocked version available on Motorola.com works on AT&T, T-Mobile, and a plethora of GSM carriers overseas, while CDMA versions have popped up at regional carriers across the country, even making it’s way to Verizon’s prepaid shelves. There’s really never been a simpler time to get your hands on a quality, affordable smartphone.

Here, we’ll look at the Moto G on Republic Wireless, the North Carolina-based carrier that combines Wifi coverage and Sprint’s 3G network to create what it calls its “hybrid calling” system. Republic Wireless is now available in nine out of 10 of the United States' major metros, with plans starting at $5 per month and topping out at just $40 per month. Combined with the $179 Moto G, Republic Wireless customers are looking at extreme savings compared to the major carriers, without having to make sacrifices in terms of hardware. But how sustainable is the model?

 

Inside this review: Hardware recap | Republic Wireless review | Bottom line 


Hardware recap

Back in November Alex dived deep into the Moto G and put its spec sheet to the test. After using the device for a few weeks, I can echo his sentiments: the Moto G performs remarkably well with its Snapdragon 400 processor, 1 GB of RAM and stock version of Android 4.4. KitKat. Its 4.5-inch 720p display is surprisingly gorgeous, and its sturdy build quality makes it a pleasure to hold in hand.

On any network, Moto G still is just about the best 'budget' smartphone out there.

If it’s been said once, it’s been said a million times: the Moto G is the closest a budget smartphone has ever come to crossing the line into mid-to-high range territory. It’s nearly impossible to tell you’re using a $179 device, which is not only a testament to Motorola’s impeccable build quality, but also to just how far Android devices have come in the past year.

No, not everything’s perfect. The processor isn’t going to satisfy hardcore gamers, and the lack of LTE (yes, Republic Wireless’ model is the LTE-free version) is hard to adjust to. And those smitten with the Moto X’s voice recognition and motion gestures are going to miss them on the G. But all told, these are relatively small sacrifices for a lower price point.

Living with Republic Wireless

Launched on Republic Wireless last month, the Moto G is the second best phone you can buy on the carrier today, just behind it’s slightly more expensive (and slightly more powerful) sibling, the Moto X. There’s something to be said about the lack of choices on Republic Wireless – it lets the carrier focus on quality devices while keeping prices low.

It's not just pricing — with its Wifi-only route, Republic really is doing things differently.

Republic Wireless is more readily available than it has ever been, with a fairly extensive coverage map in most of the country’s most populated metros. Here in New York City, it joins the likes of Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Straight Talk as the low cost alternatives of choice to the big names like Verizon, AT&T and Sprint. These carriers are geared toward those on a tight budget, and they’re becoming more and more reliable every day thanks to the big-name carrier bandwidth on which they operate.

But unlike its fellow low-cost carriers, Republic Wireless is shifting away from the reliance on other’s airwaves and focusing on what it calls a “hybrid calling” model. In short, Republic Wireless devices are trained to seek out and join public Wi-Fi networks whenever possible – this limits reliance on cell coverage, which in turn reduces how much data you consume and pay for. When there is no Wi-Fi available, or when Wi-Fi coverage is too weak to be relied on, your Moto G will automatically fall back to Sprint’s 3G network.

Real world usage with the Moto G here in Manhattan produced mixed results. In midtown I found myself joining and falling off of Wi-Fi networks on just about every block. This would have been great if I had been stationary, but most of the time I was on the move, making the entire process frivolous and at times frustrating.  And as a result, I spent a lot of time on Sprint’s 3G network, which is notoriously slow and unreliable. In short, the set up is ideal for folks who spends a large portion of their time in a Wi-Fi-covered spot; for those constantly on the move or using their device while commuting and traveling, the setup becomes more of a hassle it’s worth.

That’s the bad news. The good news is, well, better – when connected to a strong Wi-Fi network, your Moto G will use it data, texts and even VoIP phone calls, which sounds significantly louder and clearer than they would on a poor network signal. And if you’re confident in being always within reach of a reliable Wi-Fi network, in theory, you could get away paying only $5/month for unlimited VoIP calls, texts and data (the option to fall back on Sprint’s networks start at $10/month for unlimited talk and text).

Bottom line

Republic Wireless Moto G

The Moto G on Republic Wireless is a stellar device on a flawed but evolving network. $179 will get you a powerful stock Android experience in body that’s as well built as anything Motorola has ever developed; as little as $5/month, and up to $25/month, will get you unlimited VoIP calls, texts, data, and unlimited access to Sprint’s network.

For those looking for a ultra low cost option, this one is hard to beat. You will not, and I repeat NOT, find a more reliable and powerful phone at this price point. You will also be hard pressed to find a more affordable option for data, talk and text. You'll sacrifice true 4G speeds, which is a bit of a drag, especially since you're bogged down in Sprint’s dark, scary 3G zone, but the ability to utilize just about any open Wi-Fi network for VoIP services make up for it in the long haul.

 
There are 47 comments

I'm waiting for the next Moto X to arrive. I hope they keep it the same size. Good review of the Moto G.

Posted via Android Central App

cluckkillerb says:

Here's an updated referral link if anyone wants to save $20 on new service when buying a moto x or moto g. Enjoy

http://rwshar.es/Q2_J

Tom-V says:

$20 Credit w/ Refer a Friend. Use this link and get $20 credit with new plan and phone:

http://tinyURL.com/republic-20off

Once you have selected a phone and plan the credit will show in your cart as an RAF credit

tmk39 says:

Save $20 on your Moto G or Moto X Republic Wireless purchase by using the following referral link. http://rwshar.es/PL4H

randragon42 says:

SAVE $20 on your new Republic Wireless plan:

http://rwshar.es/SA8l

Bought the 16GB Moto G for wife and I about three weeks ago and on t mobile $30 a month plan. Love the phone and the service.

Posted via Android Central App

newboyx says:

The Moto G in no way ever connects to the Clearwire/Sprint Wimax network.

Posted via Android Central App

Eric Kunz says:

The article has apparently been corrected.

iharley says:

Yeah, pretty sure the G can only connect to 3G network. The X can access Sprint's LTE network.

Eric Kunz says:

Correct. Read the quote from above, which is apparently an edited version.

"Here, we’ll look at the Moto G on Republic Wireless, the North Carolina-based carrier that combines Wifi coverage and Sprint’s 3G network to create what it calls its “hybrid calling” system."

Subliminal says:

I doubt they'd let you pay for the 4g plan with a 3g only phone, but i guess it's your money. ;-)

Eric Kunz says:

Correct. The 4G plan would be $40 a month, whereas the 3G plan, which this phone would need, is $25 a month.

paul-c says:

It's really a stretch to say the Moto G has a gorgeous design.

turbofan says:

Every other review states that the Moto X on republic wireless runs on 4G LTE, not WiMax. I highly doubt that they added horrible wimax radios to the Moto X. Can you confirm?

podux says:

There's mistakes in the review. The Republic Moto G only connects to Sprint's 3G CDMA network. The Republic Moto X connects to either Sprint's 3G CDMA network or its 4G LTE network on Band 25 only. This is not a Sprint Spark capable device.

Correct. A couple things we incorrectly put in the review, but have now been fixed. The Moto G on Repub Wireless is 3G-only, and the Moto X has LTE, not WiMax. Thanks for helping point it out. :)

movielover76 says:

Did the writer even actually use the device?
The Moto G doesn't support any kind of 4G on Sprint not WiMax or LTE
It only supports cdma.
The moto X on republic wireless has 4G LTE support, not WiMax
republic wireless doesn't use WiMax at all.

Disappointing article as it gives no actual data on the experience.
It honestly sounds more on a combination of press releases than an actual review of the service.

sross0830 says:

I have the Moto X on Republic Wireless and it is the greatest phone/plan ever! I took a weekend trip to a lake house on Lake Michigan and my sister was trying to call a restaurant to set up a reservation for dinner. She was using an iphone on the Verizon network...Halfway through her call it cut out. I told her not to worry and to go ahead and use my phone because I always have signal when I have WIFI in reach...Long story short, she will be switching to Republic Wireless when her contract is up with Verizon. :)

reeper55 says:

Maybe she should consider doing it even before her contact runs out.
I was planning on waiting until I put all my costs down on paper. Even with paying 3 early cancellation fees and buying 3 new Moto X's it ended up being cheaper than staying with Verizon. Now add the fact that I will have earned 29 referral credits at $20 each very soon, I really came out WAY cheaper.
Cheap is only half the battle though, it's only worth it because the service works as well as advertised. I have had ZERO problems.

Posted via Android Central App on my Republic Wireless Moto X

DesertEddie says:

I've been a RW Moto-X user for 6 months. Just bought my wife a RW Moto-G for her vacation to Europe with her sister. She'll get free calling back to any USA phone number while on the trip. Plus, every picture she takes with the phone is auto-uploaded to her Dropbox. Simplifies everything. Only $5 per month. And, I got the $20 off my bill for "referring her" to RW. She's resisted getting a cell phone forever, but this deal was too sweet for even her to pass up. When the trip is over, I can send the Moto-G back for a full refund if she isn't hooked on having it, but I predict that won't happen. I will "upgrade" her to the $10 per month rate so she can make calls on the Sprint network here.

Tomer Elias says:

Unless RW has figured out a way to automatically connect to "public" free wifi without manually needing to sign in like you do in Starbucks for example it seems like it would be extremely annoying to use when moving around from place to place. Some of the comments here are a little fishy, no service is flawless and I'm sure you forgo a lot of convenience for your cheap service.

Besides that don't both sprint and T-mobile also offer some kind of VoIP through wifi if you buy their phones?

reeper55 says:

I don't think the comments are fishy, most of us Republic customers are just that impressed. I went from paying $205 per month on Verizon to paying $85 on Republic. Think about that over the life of a normal 2 year contract! I can also say that I have not missed Verizons superior network as of yet. Yes if you compare Verizon to Sprint on paper the speeds are superior but in "real world" usage it has been just fine and I am around wifi 90% of the time anyhow.

Posted via Android Central App on my Republic Wireless Moto X

cnhardwick says:

This seems like one of the most common questions about RW and rightly so. As a RW user I can say you are absolutely right, you do forgo some conveniences with RW, Anyone who says otherwise has either never used RW or is trying to sell you something. But in all fairness, isn't that true of every carrier?
So what conveniences do you give on RW? The three I hear most are lack of short codes, not having the latest hardware and software, and the poor Sprint network. Lack of short codes, IMO, is the most notable short coming of RW. It is understandable given that RW is a VoIP company, but is a convenience that most users have come to expect from their carrier. That said, RW is working on bringing short codes. This is one of the reason I love RW, they listen to their customers and they are pushing VoIP technology into the future. Which brings up the second caveat of RW, RW will never get the latest and greatest technology first. And even older tech like short codes will leave RW users waiting. But again, at least RW is listening and working to bring users these features. Lastly, RW uses Sprint's network. And Sprint's network leaves much to be desired. In all fairness, there is nothing RW can really do about this other than partner with another carrier, but given other carriers are not as friendly toward MVNO this seems unlikely to happen any time soon. One feature of RW common over looked though is that RW offers free roaming. Not even Sprint owned MVNO like Virgin and Boost offer this. Also, while WiFi calling main purpose may be to save costs, WiFi calling can be very useful when inside buildings with poor cell coverage.
Which brings me around to your last question, what makes RW's WiFi calling any different from the rest of the companies that offer VoIP services. Honestly, it is how seamless RW has made it. WiFi calling is integrated into the OS itself. To the average user, there is no difference between a VoIP call and a cell call. Compare that the way most other companies that do VoIP calling, using a separate phone app, this is much simpler approach. Another commonly overlooked feature RW's VoIP offers that other don't is WiFi call hand-off. If you place a call on most VoIP phone and leave WiFi your call will be drop. On RW the call is handed off from WiFi to cell almost seamlessly. This is the big feature IMO that sets RW apart from the competition.
In the end, RW is not for everyone. Nor is any other carrier really. For me is a good fit. I would pay twice as much if not more for the same service on any of the big four. That said, for a family of four AT&T would probably be as cheap if not cheaper. Everyone really needs to look at what fits their needs. For me RW works.

cluckkillerb says:

If anyone wants to save $20 when buying a new moto g or moto x from Republic wireless you can use this referral link. Grats on saving money, I'm capped at $600 in credit so this is my gfs link!

http://rwshar.es/Q2_J

walliby84 says:

I just switched from ATT and couldn't be happier. Spint coverage is not great but I am on WiFi 90% of time. I got a referral discount from a friend and anybody can get an extra $20 off by using my referral link. http://rwshar.es/O0SL

Joy Kuhns says:

I wanted to throw my two cents in as a new Republic Wireless customer with a Moto G. I got mine a few weeks ago and went with the twenty-five dollar plan. While I really like the phone itself, I definitely had a few bumps with Republic Wireless. I experienced trouble setting the phone up, poor call quality, and a couple missed calls. I was ready to send it back when I emailed their customer service about my issues and they were very, very helpful. They ended up resetting my phone and it's working fine now. They also continue to check in with me, which I really appreciate. It's definitely not perfect, but for the amount of money I'm saving every month (fifty dollars), I'm going to stick around for a while. Hope this helps any prospective customers. Thanks!
http://rwshar.es/TVJx

Get $20 credit on your Republic Wireless bill by using this link to signup: http://rwshar.es/OpJ-

Dex Sinister says:

I switched from Virgin Mobile, so I'm still on Sprint's network, But now on RW I can actually *use* my phone at home, instead of it being an expensive paperweight. I'm pretty impressed with the Moto G so far.

http://rwshar.es/UhH3

zHappyz says:

I've been using the Moto G for almost a month now. I waited until I found out how well it would work for me and where I am from day to day before porting my number. I am able to use wifi at work and home so, it works well for me. I started out with the 25 plan, but dropped back to the 10 plan because I really didn't seem to need the data out and about much. When I travel next month, I am going to add it back, which I think is a great feature. The community board is great for helping people out and I've seemed to have quick response on the help ticket I submitted.
You have 30 days to give it a try, and see if it will work in your situation. I've now ported my number over, so it worked for me. If you decide to give it a try, you can use this referral and save 20. http://rwshar.es/Q-1k (Just make sure to use it when you are ready to purchase or it can clear out and not give it to you.)

Use the link below to receive a $20 referral credit when ordering from Republic Wireless!

http://rwshar.es/OttK

Or visit http://www.republicwirelessreferafriend.com/

Arbitronmn says:

I use the Moto X with Republic Wireless and it's a good phone for a decent price at $299. The price is a lot better than elsewhere for over $500. Republic also has access to Sprint's roaming partners so the coverage is much better than other MVNOs from Sprint. All in all, great service at an awesome price. Use this link to save $20 when you sign up! http://rwshar.es/UEbp

I have been using Republic for about a month now and I have to say it has been smooth sailing so far. I have the Moto G and the operating system seems thus far to work flawlessly. The handoff between wifi and cell service works great. I have started calls on cell, then arrived home and I didn't even notice until later that the service switched over to wifi. My first bill arrived and with tax, it was only 29. Less than 30/month for unlimited phone, text and data. Gotta love it! If you need a referral code to save 20 on signup, feel free to use my link below. Cheers!

http://rwshar.es/Q4Po

f2racer says:

Feel free to use my referral for $20 off: http://rwshar.es/WZLT

I've had Republic Wireless for 2 years and it has been a terrific experience! If you want $20 off your Republic Wireless service, use this link when you sign up:
http://rwshar.es/PCBW

Enjoy!

Great service! Great Price! Save $20 on new services with this link! http://rwshar.es/YqMu

RStevens5035 says:

I've been using the Moto G on the $25 / month plan and it has been flawless. Highly recommend. Here is my referral link to save $20 on your purchase: http://rwshar.es/UVqF

Chris Mont says:

I switched to Republic Wireless a few weeks ago and I am very happy with the service and the price. I am using the Moto X on the $10/month plan. Great phone. No problems with Republic, so far. I used someone's referral code to save $20 on my order. If you want to use my referral code to save $20, please use this link:

http://rwshar.es/XEmw

Arbitronmn says:

I use the Moto X with Republic Wireless and it's a good phone for a decent price at $299. The price is a lot better than elsewhere for over $500. Republic also has access to Sprint's roaming partners so the coverage is much better than other MVNOs from Sprint. All in all, great service at an awesome price. Use this link to save $20 when you sign up! http://rwshar.es/UEbp

I switched to Republic recently and couldn't be happier! Their service was prompt and without a glitch, and things are moving swimmingly for me. After joining, I changed my plan once--and that was completely hassle-free! I strongly recommend that you join them, too! When you do, make sure to save $20 by using one of the referral links you find in this webpage. http://rwshar.es/ZoHJ

Adam Boyce says:

http://rwshar.es/1mCU Unemployed student. Use my referral and you not only help yourself but you can help me as well. You get $20 dollar credit if you use my link. I love my moto x and the service is awesome. They even sent me stickers, cups and a t-shirt.

Arbitronmn says:

I use the Moto X with Republic Wireless and it's a good phone for a decent price. The price is a lot better than elsewhere for over $500. Republic also has access to Sprint's roaming partners so the coverage is much better than other MVNOs from Sprint. All in all, great service at an awesome price. Use this link to save $20 when you sign up! http://rwshar.es/UEbp

Matt Caesar says:

Republic Wireless provides great service at a price that blows the competition out of the water. Get $20 off your first month's service charge when you sign up using the link below!

http://rwshar.es/3nST

Chris Mont says:

Really happy with my Moto X on Republic Wireless! Great phone and great service. I am on the $10/month plan which fits my needs. If you want to save $20 on your order, you can use my referral link:

http://rwshar.es/XEmw

MoneyWise says:

Republic Wireless is amazing. Use this referral link to get $20 off!! http://rwshar.es/44VV

Great Phone. Loving it. Republic Wireless is the best option for college students since i always have wifi signal around me.
If you plan to buy Moto G on republic wireless then use this link : http://rwshar.es/5VM0 . You will get $20 off during checkout and even i will receive $20 balance. :)

Boon Joe says:

Republic Wireless service has been great. You will save $20 off your new service by using this referral link: http://rwshar.es/3NIT

My teenage daughter has been using the Moto X since April. She has been very pleased with the performance of this phone. Nice camera on this phone. Excellent call quality. Kit Kat is on there now.

Between wifi at her school and at our home, she is almost always near good wifi, but it is also very good to have unlimited voice and text on the cellular network the rest of the time. She has been on the $10/month plan for all but one week (she upgraded to the 4G plan for one week when we took a family vacation).

It has been totally worth laying out the money for the Moto X to now be reaping the benefits of a $10/month phone bill that does every she needs.

If you want to get $20 off, please use this referral code when you sign up:

http://rwshar.es/QGQ2

You'll get $20 off your first bill (and she'll also get $20 off her bill - Republic Wireless is awesome. They let you use up to 30 referrals per year!)