I have trialed for a couple of weeks a third generation Motorola Moto G. This is specifically the lower-end model with 8Gb of internal storage and 1Gb of RAM. I have in the past recommended the Moto G to several people and all those that purchased it were indeed happy with the smartphone. However, I have never tried one myself, so this is a great opportunity to see how well this phone works.
To put this review in context, I am generally a person that only uses higher-end phones and it takes a bit of effort to put the experience with the phone in the context of what it costs, which is currently 196 euros on Amazon.es. This is a good price for a SIM-free smartphone that promises decent performance.
The first thing you notice with a new phone is its design and build quality. The design is rather plain and functional, and it hasn’t evolved much over the last iterations of the phone. I don’t mind though, because this phone is build to a cost and the design works well enough. The build quality is fine as well, although I did find a bit of creaking with the back plate. Given that this is a trial device, it may be due to the fact that the back plate has been taken off quite frequently. It terms of handling the device, I found the size and weight to be more than adequate for day-to-day use, and only if you want to watch a lot of video, would you consider a larger display (and, therefore, larger phone).
The thing you interact with most on the phone is by far the screen. I have found the display quite legible in bright day light. However, in general, the screen looked a little washed out and the contrast and colours are not great. The resolution is passable though for the 5-inch sized screen. One of the greatest features of the phone is Moto Display. It is a very useful feature that allows you to have a quick overview of your notifications as soon as you pick up the phone and allows you quick access to the apps that have notifications.
The performance of the phone is, in one word, fine. It responds reasonably well and animations are quite fluid. You’ll have a bit more waiting, when compared to a high-end phone when loading apps, but it is certainly more than acceptable. When switching apps, I did notice ocassionally that this phone only has 1Gb of RAM. If you have the money, it is worth going for the 2Gb model, as it will give you a better experience now and future-proof your purchase. Also, that same model will give you 16Gb of internal storage. I loaded about 40 apps on the Moto G 8Gb version, and I did run into the lack of storage error message (with only a few weeks of usage). That being said, if you are not willing to shell out more, and you are not a big multi-tasker or app user, the lower-end model should work fine for you.
Battery life is good. I had no problems getting to the end of the day on most days. Motorola did a good job balancing the chip set, the screen, and the data connections with the size of the battery.
As one of the more important aspects of the phone, I have tried the camera, of course, and this is where I think the difference with higher-end phones becomes quite noticeable. In lower light situations, the photos are pretty poor, with noise and the camera having difficultly to capture enough photons. In well-lit environments, though, the photos came out OK, certainly well enough to share on social networks. The camera app itself is easy enough to use and the phone has an interesting wrist-flip gesture to launch the camera.
Besides all this, it is worth mentioning that the Moto G offers 4G connectivity, has IPX7 water resistance certification, allows you to swap the back plate with the colour you fancy, and allows for an external SD Card with up to 32Gb of storage (though I managed to use it with a 64Gb card).
So, in general, would I continue recommending this phone to people in the future? Yes, I would. For anybody that has between 150 and 200 euros to spend on a SIM-free smartphone, this really is a good experience. I never really felt a sense of frustration when using this phone and had a pleasant experience with it. This is all due to a very good software experience and reasonable hardware specs. Only when taking pictures did I really miss its higher end cousins, but I think that is only fair when a phone costs a third of what a high-end phone goes for. Well done, Motorola.