It's a good medium-size phone by today's gargantuan standards. The front edge-to-edge Gorilla Glass looks sharp, too. I did, however, already ding a plastic corner a bit. The p display looks bright and crisp -- you probably won't notice that it isn't higher-res, because at pixels per inch, this still feels HD pixel count is much lower than on the p HD Alcatel Idol 3. And for a budget phone, the colors and clarity look great the only issue: turning to landscape mode when you have sunglasses on creates huge polarization. The front-facing speakers are pretty loud, too, offering decent sound for movies and games.
The rear of the Moto G has a swappable shell.
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You can create your own MotoMaker custom design for the G, or buy new back plates separately. You can pick a black or white front, 10 different color options for the back, and one of 10 different color accents that change that little camera-bar on the back to pink, orange, champagne or something else. Motorola also sells five different-colored, textured flip-shell cases. No, this doesn't have fancier metal or wood backs, but the G still feels like it's got enough fun colors to have some personality. The textured plastic back on my model felt comfy, but some people might prefer a smoother finish.
You need to snap the back on completely for it to be water-resistant, though. I feel like no matter how many times I put it on, I missed a few snaps. The Moto G adds IPX7 water resistance , a big plus for those who are afraid they'll drop their phone in the toilet. IPX7 means the phone can survive dunking in one meter three feet of water for up to 30 minutes.
That means that the new Moto G, like other pricier phones out there, is really, truly, an all-weather phone. As long as the rear plastic cover is snapped on properly, you'll be fine. I took a shower with the Moto X, and all went well. Shower sprinkles set the capacitive display nuts, and water droplets affected speaker volume, too, but I could listen to music while I shampooed, and also check emails. All smartphones should have this level of water resistance.
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I even dropped it into a glass of water and let it sit there for a while on my desk. Still worked. I still wouldn't recommend swimming with it, and definitely don't take it into salt water corrosion fears , but at least this means the G is ready for a good, wet day outdoors, without any annoying port covers to worry about. Use it in the rain, send an email in the bath, take a photo in the hot tub. Breathe easy: you don't have to worry about dropping this phone in a puddle -- unless the puddle isn't water, or is filled with sharp rocks, or both.
The big advantage to Motorola's recent phones has been how clean they are, Android OS-wise. If you like a "pure" version of Google's Android without lots of pre-installed junk or customized layers, this is about the closest you can get outside of a Nexus phone. The Moto G comes with Android 5.
Instead of layering some sort of extra experience on top of Android, this feels just like regular Android Lollipop as Google intended. Apps pop up quickly, and a folder of Google apps lies ready for you on the home screen, but other than that, the experience is minimal and clean. Motorola does have a few of its own apps to offer, tastefully lying in wait in the app grid. You'll find this all in the Moto app. You can't start talking to your phone hands-free like you can on the Moto X, but you can set the phone to automatically adjust notifications and other settings by contextual action or location "sleeping," or "in a meeting" via a function called Moto Assist.
There are also some physical gestures that can be used, like shaking your phone to turn on the flashlight which works only some of the time or flip your phone with your wrist to turn on the camera ditto. The best is Moto's easy-glance lock screen for notifications, called Moto Display: tap to see important info, or slide up to open the app.
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There's even a real FM radio, which uses plugged-in headphones as an antenna. Laugh if you want, but I love using an actual FM radio to listen to radio broadcasts of local NFL games local sports games are usually blacked out on national streams. The camera is one of the key areas that's seen a boost in the new Moto G.
It now packs a megapixel sensor, rather than the 8-megapixels we've seen before. While this is a very generous amount for a budget phone, Motorola isn't alone here. Other phones in this range, like that Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3, also use a megapixel sensor. Every phone manufacturer is throwing more megapixels into its phone specs, but there are some added photo hardware improvements beyond that; most notably, a new dual-LED flash on the rear cam to color-correct for night shots.
The front camera's also been boosted to 5 megapixels over the previous 2, which is the kind of evolution we want to see out of this Moto G family. New cameras, longer battery life, Night Mode, a goofy selfie feature and a price drop How the refined, feature-packed Note 10 Plus closes the gap with rival phones. Be respectful, keep it civil and stay on topic. We delete comments that violate our policy , which we encourage you to read.
Discussion threads can be closed at any time at our discretion. Don't show this again. See It. CNET may get a commission from these offers. Compare These Apple iPhone Moto Actions is included, which is a motion sensor and response tool enabling you to communicate with your phone via actions. Turbopower charging is also included, making the Moto G one of the fastest charging phones around.
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Above all else, the Moto G range is a budget smartphone option which manages to keep costs low without skimping on features. As noted above, all Motorola Moto G phones come with slightly different specifications, so it makes sense to consider just the two most common versions: the Moto G4 and the Moto G5. The G4 — Launched in , the Moto G4 was received with enthusiasm by tech journalists and phone owners.
It brought a wholly new HD display which delivered clearer, brighter visuals and added some extra processing beef to the general package. Compared with the version, the G4 had been slimmed down and the bezels had been reduced, giving it an uncluttered, efficient appearance. The G4 Plus — Launched to offer a slightly higher-end alternative to the bog-standard G4, the updated G4 Plus brought more capabilities to the table. It was faster and more efficient on the inside, had an enhanced camera and generally delivered slightly clearer visuals, making it a good option for gamers or streaming video fans.
Now equipped with the latest version of Android Nougat , the Play may have lacked water repellent coatings and fingerprint scanners, but it still delivered with its intuitive design, resilience and wide range of features. The G5 — Released in , the G5 was a definite update on the G4.
Now sporting a metallic exterior made from diamond-cut aluminium, the G5 perfected the fingerprint sensor bundled in with the G4 Plus and delivered higher definition graphics. However, a word of caution: the G5 reduced the screen size slightly and cut back on the processor front, presumably to reduce costs. As with the G5, this option comes with a fingerprint scanner, plenty of internal and expandable storage, turbocharging and the latest Android version with great customer support as well.
Although the screen has been slightly reduced relative to the G4 Plus, this is for a good reason: the G5 Plus is easier to hold, while still easy to watch or read on thanks to its high definition display. These phones are basically identical to the standard options but cost a little less. The catch is that you have to watch Amazon ads when you boot up.
However, if you are an Amazon Prime subscriber, the range of pre-installed Amazon Apps could actually be a bonus. Compared to the 3G only versions, the data speeds are up to 10 times faster on the 4G LTE mobiles, which makes them a smart investment if you browse the internet a lot. Another thing to think about when choosing your Moto G model is colour. Buyers should know that the G5 and G5 Plus only come in two colours grey and black.
The G4, on the other hand, comes in an array of tones, including vibrant blues and reds. If aesthetics matter when buying a phone, the generation could be more to your taste.
So, in theory, you can purchase a SIM-only deal from the company offering the best deal. You can also check prices on a rolling basis and take advantage of SIM deals when companies lower their rates — so SIM-free setups tend to be a great option for savvy mobile phone users. SIM-free phones are new phones and are not pre-owned. SIM-free phones tend to have some major advantages aside from the ability to shop around.
For example, when you just buy the handset, you will almost certainly get a better resale price than you would with a phone tied to a network.
You can use Pay as You Go SIMs as well, keeping costs limited to periods when you really need to have smartphone access. And SIM-free phones are great for globe-trotters.